By Gerald Flurry • January 29
Satan has deceived the whole world regarding two gigantic biblical truths necessary for our spiritual well-being. Did you know that the Apostle Paul observed the Day of Atonement—and all of God’s holy days? “Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,” (Acts 27:9). The margin in my Bible says, “The fast was on the tenth day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:27).” In other words, the fast was the Day of Atonement. If Paul kept Atonement, true Christians today should too. (Request Pagan Holidays—or God’s Holy Days—Which? for more proof of the relevance of these holy days to your life.)
Did you know that it’s impossible for humans to discern between Jesus Christ and Satan the devil? Satan, the god of this world, deceives all mankind (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9). Keeping the holy day of Atonement shows us the difference between Christ and Satan.
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. … Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath” (Leviticus 23:26-27, 31-32). On Atonement, we “afflict [our] souls,” or fast to draw closer to God. Atonement is at-one-ment with God. It is a statute forever—meant to be observed to this day. We need this because we can’t discern between Christ and Satan otherwise.
This holy day pictures a great event to take place after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ: Satan the devil being bound in chains and cast into the bottomless pit, unable to sway mankind for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3). He will then rampage across the Earth one last time before being locked up forever (verses 7-10). During this time, Christ will bring the whole world into at-one-ment with Him. Peace, prosperity and joy will abound—and that’s before mankind even enters God’s Family!
“And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat” (Leviticus 16:5-8). “Scapegoat” is an inaccurate interpretation of the Hebrew word Azazel, which is actually another name for Satan!
Why did ancient Israel cast lots to determine which goat would picture God and which would picture Satan?
“[A] ‘lot’ is a solemn appeal to God to decide a doubtful matter. It is a sacred religious ceremony. It included a supernatural act of God,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote. “Notice, men were unable to decide which goat was qualified to represent Christ. This involved an appeal to God to decide! ‘[O]ne lot for the [Eternal], and the other lot for Azazel.’ Now one lot was for the Lord—this goat typified Christ—but the other lot was not for the Lord, did not typify Christ, but Azazel—Satan!” (Pagan Holidays—or God’s Holy Days—Which?).
The high priest would lay hands on the Azazel goat, putting all the sins of Israel on it and sending it away into the wilderness. Then, he would cleanse himself and prepare a sin offering on behalf of the nation (verses 20-26). Satan is the author of all sin. God will make him pay an eternal price for causing humans to sin. We too are guilty of our sins, but we have a chance to repent and enter the Kingdom of God. Satan will never repent. When Christ was sacrificed, He bore our guilt, but certainly not Satan’s.
What does this mean for us today? It explains why the whole world is deceived! People think they know God, but they don’t. “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? … And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:13, 16-17). Peter only knew Christ’s true identity because God revealed it to Him!
What a wonderful truth—if we’re willing to grasp it! We can know God and where He’s working today if we let God reveal the truth from the pages of the Bible.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:3-5). Millions are deceived by a message about Christ. They don’t believe the actual message He preached! “Take heed” to this warning.
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Religion without obedience to God is vanity. That’s a sobering statement straight from Christ.
“Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great” (verses 47-49). We build our spiritual foundation upon the Rock, Jesus Christ. We obey what He says, or else the whole house comes crashing down.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Satan and his ministers can appear righteous, as if they are of the light. This is how Satan has deceived the whole world—not part of it, all of it! How can we ever discern between Christ and Satan if Satan is capable of transforming into an angel of light?
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:6-8). Be rooted in Christ, or else. Today’s English Version translates “rudiments of the world” as ruling spirits of the universe. Demons are confined to Earth and causing horrific problems! Because of them, God’s own people have given up the truth for philosophy and vain deceit. Satan invaded their minds! (verse 18). They lost their Head, Jesus Christ! (verse 19). This is the deadly power of satanic deception.
Our High Priest
The role of the ancient high priest remains relevant to us today because it is a type of Jesus Christ: “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:19-20). Christ went into the Holy of Holies after the crucifixion to unite with His Father and to serve us. We now can have special access to our Father. Christ advocates to God when we sin to ensure perfect judgment, mercy and justice.
Jesus Christ is our High Priest! You need to study my free booklet on this subject, The Book of Hebrews: What Jesus Christ Is Doing Today. Hebrews is a powerful message specifically for this end time. The Apostle Paul wrote it about four years before the holocaust by the Romans in Jerusalem in a.d. 70. This bloody suffering is only a type of what is coming! We must heed Paul’s warning!
There’s still all kinds of hope. This world is about to be at one with God forever.
Your Bible says you have a responsibility to know when Christ’s Second Coming is “near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33). If you understand this prophecy today, you can be at one with God, qualifying to rule from David’s throne as the Bride of Christ over the Earth for 1,000 years!
Remember, Jesus Christ is alive. He has spent thousands of years as our High Priest, working with puny humans to unite us with God.
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. … When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-2, 4). Christ’s return is near! Proclaim His message to the world today, and you will receive glory when He returns.Read More