The Antitypical Day of Atonement
Part Four: Azazel (The Goat of Departure)
“Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2) Some may think that this was a new revelation made to the apostolic Jews in the first century, but as we look at the process of Yom Kippur, it is clear that Paul and his brethren were amplifying revelations previously written in the Old Testament. Consider the following from Psalms 73: “From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth…When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!” (Psalms 73:7-9 & 16-19)
Note that the writer of this Psalm mentions that he was able to comprehend the final destiny of the wicked through his knowledge of the Sanctuary. Throughout the year, the Sanctuary’s daily services were geared towards the forgiveness of sins. But the day of Yom Kippur is unique because it centers its focus upon the offering of Azazel who is eventually rejected from the camp. The psalmist is careful to mention “surely you have placed them (the impenitent) on ‘slippery ground” This is a direct reference to the “Song of Moses”- “In due time their “foot will slip”; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them." (Deuteronomy 32:35) It is within the Song of Moses that Paul and the first century apostolic Jews based much of their understanding of the Last Days. Note also the connection between Paul’s “seducing spirits” comment and the prophecy of Moses “They (the impenitent) sacrificed to demons… gods that recently appeared, gods your fathers did not fear.” (Deuteronomy 32:17)
One of the best illustrations that describe the elimination of Azezel from the camp is that of King Saul and David. Just as the two goats were brought forward before the people, so Saul and David were held in prominence before the people. Saul’s form was impressive in the minds of the people, but as we know, he possessed a bad spirit due to his deviation from the specific commands of the Torah. Just as the High Priest at Yom Kippur pointed out Azazel, Samuel prophesied to all Israel that Saul would diminish and David would increase. King Saul’s hatred then grew out of control and he gathered his loyal followers to persecute and destroy David. David on the other hand, fled into the wilderness where he found protection under the wings of the Almighty. The heart of Saul became so destitute of the spirit of God that he finally reached out to a spiritualist to receive divine guidance. Saul and those who followed him were led away through the influence of a seducing spirit and destroyed in the wilderness.
A similar experience is about to befall the “Holy People” when enlightenment about the Torah shines upon the earth. The foolish virgins (those who rebel against the Torah) will see the blessings imparted upon the wise. The foolish virgins will become jealous for their traditions and will display their zeal and power before the community just as King Saul. But their feet will slip as prophesied in the song of Moses. They will be led away through the false instructions of Satan who leads them into destruction. As we prepare for the enlightenment, each must reflect upon their attitude towards all of the instructions given to Moses for Israel to obey. Are you attracted to those who teach that is no longer relevant to obey these instructions? If so, you are likely to be attracted to the spirit of Azazel when they are exalted before the congregation. The message behind the Anti-typical Day of Atonement is that the God of Israel is going to cleanse the sanctuary from those who are high minded towards the His instructions. He is going to bring forward the mightiest of the high minded who have great talent and influence. They may keep the same commandments that you keep, but refuse to advance into the new light that leads them into obedience according to all of the ancient ways. This is the point made in the following vision of the future shown to Ellen G. White. (Quoted below)
“I saw an exceeding bright light come from the Father to the Son, and from the Son it waved over the people before the throne. But few would receive this great light. Many came out from under it and immediately resisted it; others were careless and did not cherish the light, and it moved off from them…Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them (the impenitent) look up to the throne, and pray, "Father, give us Thy Spirit." Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace. Satan's object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God's children.” (Early Writings Page 56)