By Juan R. Rains
The Atonement Scapegoat
Some in the Church of God are promoting the theory and doctrine
that both of the goats used on the Day of Atonement were
representative of the Messiah.  Is this true?  If not, can you explain to
others why this is not true?  Those who promote this doctrine claim
that Satan is not the cause of all sin and for this reason one cannot
consider the “scapegoat” as a representation of Satan.  Let us
consider this idea and see if the Scriptures will support it.

Is Satan the cause of <all> sin?  Supposedly, we could say that this
depends on one’s perspective.  A prominent problem with most
articles written on nearly all subjects is that usually the writer chooses
one perspective as the whole truth at the expense of all other
perspectives.

Paul says that sin entered into the world by one man.  Of course, that
man was Adam!  However, why did Adam sin?  From the
Genesis
article, one can understand that God did not allow Satan’s evil spirit
to influence Adam and Eve until Satan got them to take of the
forbidden fruit.  

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by
sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:  

We know that Satan did not get into the Garden of Eden in spite of
God’s will.  Was Satan the cause of the original sin?  How we can
escape the knowledge that he most certainly was the cause.  

Let us examine one perspective of the causatives of sin.  Moses
indicated that Aaron had brought a great sin upon the Israelites
because of the golden calf in the wilderness.  In other words, Aaron
was the direct cause for the people sinning in this way.  He was the
one to whom they looked as their leader while Moses was away and
because he did not stand firm against the people, Moses indicated that
he was the cause of their sin.  

Exodus 32:21  And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that
thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?  

In 1Kings 14:16, we understand that Jeroboam caused Israel to sin.  
An evil ruler can influence those under him to sin.  Therefore, we
cannot say that Satan causes all sin from the perspective of the
immediate cause.  However, from the perspective that Satan
originally caused Adam and Eve to sin and thereby sin entered into the
world, certainly the blame belongs on him.  Had God never allowed his
spirit to influence man, the world would not be the sinful place it is
today.

1 Kings 14:16 And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who
did sin, and who made Israel to sin.  

We can appreciate that even though Aaron and Jeroboam directly
caused the people to sin, Satan was the evil protagonist, at the root
level.  The spirit of Satan confuses one to believe that what he is doing
is right even when it is wrong.

Therefore, sin entered into the world through Adam and the spirit of
Satan influenced him, from the moment that he ate the forbidden
fruit.  Of course, we could say that Eve caused Adam to sin after
Satan had caused her to sin.  Nevertheless, sin would not have
permeated the world without the spirit of Satan.  Therefore, Satan is
at the root of all sin.  God gave Satan license to influence Adam’s
mind and all succeeding generations through Adam because of Adam’s
disobedience.  

Eve sinned because Satan influenced her to do so.  However, once Eve
sinned, she had to take the blame for she had used her mind to reason
that it was acceptable to eat the forbidden fruit.  She therefore, had
her part in the sin.  It was not Satan’s sin!  It was Eve’s sin.  Although
Satan caused the sin, one could not totally blame him for the sin, which
Adam and Eve committed.  To blame Satan for man’s part in sinning
would be to absolve man from all sin.  Man could do as he pleases and
not be required to take responsibility for his own sin.

Let us return to our example of Aaron and the Israelites concerning
the golden calf in the wilderness.  God made plain that it was the
Israelites sin.  He did not call it Aaron’s sin.  Aaron was the cause for
them sinning with the golden calf because he went along with their
scheme and ordered the casting of the golden calf.  However, the
responsibility for the sin was upon those who did the sinning.

Exodus 32:34 Therefore now go, lead the people unto [the place] of which I
have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in
the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.  

God told the serpent, “Because you have done this…” In other words,
it was the serpent, or Satan, that was the <cause> for Eve’s sin.  
Therefore, God placed a curse upon the serpent.  However, it was
Eve’s doing.  Therefore, it was Eve’s sin and she could not escape the
responsibility for her sin.

Gen 3:13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast
done?  And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
14  And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou
art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly
shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

However, the thing that goes unnoticed in the Garden incident is that
Satan’s spirit had no influence on Adam and Eve until they ate of the
forbidden fruit.  It was after eating of the forbidden tree that they
realized they were naked – in an evil connotation.  Moses did not
record that Satan told them they were naked.  Rather, it seems to
have just “come to them” that they were naked – in an evil sense.  
This is an indication that after eating the forbidden fruit God allowed
Satan to continue to influence Adam and Eve through his evil spirit.  

Therefore, the root cause of sin is the evil spirit that Satan broadcasts
to every human being in the world.  The importance is not <who>
causes sin, but rather to whom will we yield ourselves.  We can either
yield to Satan and sin or we can yield to God and live righteously –
providing God has given us the holy spirit.

Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of
unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive
from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.  

The converted man has two natures instead of only the one nature of
the unconverted man.  The carnal mind – the mind received at birth is
not subject to the law of God.  Satan tainted the physical mind with his
evil spirit when Adam ate of the forbidden tree and through Adam sin
entered into the world causing all to sin and be laden with a nature,
which cannot be subject to the law of God.

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not
subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by
sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Where character is concerned, when we yield to the carnal mind we
build evil character and when we yield to the mind of God we build
righteous character.  One’s character is recorded in the “spirit in
man” or man’s conscious and one’s mind-set determines whether evil
or good will triumph at last.  When one partakes of baptism, God
washes away his past sins: God clears man’s record.  One then has a
clear conscious before God.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the
eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from
dead works to serve the living God?

However, even though God has cleared our conscious the carnal mind
is still with us and we must constantly resist the pull of evil and yield to
the mind of God so that our conscious abounds with righteousness.  
The evil nature in us constantly wars against the nature of God, which
we received at baptism.  Therefore, we must daily ask God to forgive
us of our trespasses – what we do.  This constant writing of good and
evil on our conscious and the erasure of the evil when we ask
forgiveness tends toward a good conscious in the righteous man.  In
the converted man, there is less of evil, and more of good resulting in
a character useable for an immortal life in God’s Kingdom.  

Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of
my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my
members.

Satan has sway over the carnal man – but he has no sway over the
mind of God, the new man within.  The following verse is rather clear
that blindness, and darkness is by the influence and power of Satan.  
Light is by the influence and power of God.  Blindness is the influence
of Satan’s evil spirit and light is the influence of God’s holy spirit.  If
we want to depart from sin, we must yield ourselves to God so that He
can rescue us from the power of Satan.

Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and
[from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins,
and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.  

Therefore, how can we escape that Satan is the root cause of sin.  
This does not mean that our sin is his sin, however.  One can blame
Satan for causing the sin, but one cannot blame him for our sin, for we
are to resist the devil.  Satan is the god of this world and he has
blinded the minds of those who do not believe.  He blinded Eve by his
words of confusion.  However, after she took of the fruit, he did not
even have to speak to her to continue to blind her.  It is this automatic
blinding of the world that causes people to come to the erroneous idea
that Satan is not the root cause of sin.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee
from you.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them
which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the
image of God, should shine unto them.  

Satan did not force Eve to follow his words of deception.  He did not
take hold of her arm and force her to wrap her hand around the fruit
and put it in her mouth!  Nevertheless, he did get to her through her
mind.  We do not have to wonder about that for she did eat of the
fruit.  He planted an idea in her mind and that alone was cause enough
to bring about the evil.

However, this is getting all beside the point!  The responsibility lay
squarely on Adam and Eve.  Satan’s suggestion and encouragement to
Eve was the catalyst that got her mind going in the direction that
resulted in the eating of the fruit.  God allowed Satan in the Garden,
so one can suppose some would blame God for Eve’s sin.  However,
the plan of God was such that Satan was an important tool to give man
something to resist against once he had the new-nature option.

If man was to come out of the human experience better than Satan
had come out of his experience, then man had to be able, in some way,
to resist a wrong way of life.  Of course, that way is through the
Messiah.  Through the Messiah, the power of Satan is broken.  Even
so, one accomplishes this by degrees while we have opportunity to
resist and work our spiritual muscles by doing what is right rather than
what is wrong.  In this way, we will be able to never sin once God
gives us eternal life.  We will have a bank of good character traits to
draw from and build upon.

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Why the Day
of Atonement ?