Satan’s destiny and role in sin

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For 2023, the Day of Atonement runs from sunset September 24th through sunset September 25th.

Satan is often discussed on this day.

Satan the devil does exist.

Satan plays a major role in sin.

Here is something that the late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote related to that:

The Azazel Goat Not Our Sin-Bearer

Let us get this straight!

Is there justice with God? Is not God a God of justice, as well as of compassion and mercy? Who is the real author of our sins? The devil is the author of them, even as Christ is the author of our salvation. Jesus took our guilt our blame our sins upon Himself as an innocent substitutionary sacrifice. He was an innocent victim. He loved us, and was willing to die for us. Our guilt our sins, were borne by Him, and Him alone and God forgives them when we repent and accept His sacrifice. And yet, is this, if we stop there, full justice?

The real cause the actual author of those sins was Satan the devil. Is it justice for Christ to bear guilt that is not His, while the devil goes off scot-free? Do you not suppose GOD’S great plan will finally work full justice by placing that original blame and guilt right where it belongs?

Now mark carefully this distinction. Christ bore our guilt. For we have been guilty, even though the devil was the original cause of it all. But justice certainly demands that God place right back on the head of the devil his guilt not our guilt, but his own guilt for leading us into sin. We were guilty, too and our guilt Christ bore yet all our sins belong right back on the devil as his own guilt!

Now notice another point. The Azazel goat carries away the sins of all the people already forgiven. These sins already were fully paid for by Christ’s substitute sacrifice, symbolized by the killing of the innocent goat before those same sins were finally laid on the live goat. They had been previously paid for by the death of the slain goat.

The devil is the real author of all sin. Can we, then, be finally made at one with God, as long as this instigator of sin is with us? Can we not see he must first be driven away? And there would not be justice with God unless his own guilt in our sins were placed right back on his head? Is it justice for Christ to bear the devil’s guilt, as well as our own guilt, for our sins? Christ has carried our sins, but must He continue to carry them? Should they not be removed entirely from us, and from the presence even of God?

Thus the killing and sprinkling of blood of the first goat visibly set forth the means of reconciliation with God, through the substituted sacrifice of an innocent victim. So finally the sending away of the second goat, laden with those sins, the expiation of which had been signified by the first goat, no less vividly sets forth the effect of that sacrifice, in complete removal of those expiated sins from the presence of God!

Satan the Accuser

Satan is the accuser of the brethren. His power over men is founded on sin. When all these sins, of which he is the author, are laid back on him, after being removed from us by Christ, then Satan shall have lost his claim on us. And no longer can he accuse us!

Thus, finally, as the acceptance of the blood of the first goat (Christ) symbolized complete propitiation, and pardon of Israel’s sins, so the sending of Azazel bearing away those expiated sins symbolizes the complete removal of all sins deliverance by the atonement from the power of the adversary.

The sacrifice of the first innocent victim was the means of reconciliation with God, but not yet complete justice.

The driving away of the second live goat shows the final atonement, by placing the sins on their author where they belong, and the complete removal of the sins and their author from the presence of God and His people and thus the complete deliverance of the people from the power of Satan.

Webster says to atone means to set at one. To join in one to form by uniting. We shall not be completely joined in one, and united with God, until this is done.

Before leaving this, notice, too, that after laying both his hands on the live goat, Azazel, Aaron had to wash and cleanse himself before coming in contact with the people. So, too, the “fit man” also had to wash his clothes and bathe himself after coming in contact with the Azazel goat, before he came into the presence of the people. The symbolism is certainly that of having come in contact with the devil!

Notice, now, this act of putting these already expiated and forgiven sins on the head of this live goat does not take place until after the high priest returns from the Holy of Holies within the veil so this typified an act to take place after the Second Coming of Christ to this earth!

But if the live goat represented the resurrected Christ, then the sins Christ bore on the cross were placed by another, typified by the high priest, back on Christ, after His resurrection. Would this make sense? Is the theory of the Azazel goat being Christ consistent? No, but the plain simple meaning does fit at every turn, and IS consistent. The first goat represented the innocent Jesus who died for our sins the high priest represented the risen Christ going within the veil to the mercy seat, or throne of God in heaven, for over 1900 years and the high priest returning to place the sins finally upon the head of the live goat represented the return of Christ who will place the sins He bore on their author, the devil, and who will send him away alive into a desolate uninhabited wilderness the “bottomless pit” or abyss of Revelation 20:3.

In the 19th chapter of Revelation, we have the prophecy of the Second Coming of Christ. At the beginning of the 20th chapter, what is to happen?

Exactly what the 16th chapter of Leviticus shows. The devil is sent away the symbol here used is the “bottomless pit” symbol of an uninhabited desolate wilderness (Revelation 18:2) and he is sent there by a FIT man an ANGEL from heaven. Now the devil is not killed. He does not die. He is still alive a thousand years later after the Millennium (Revelation 20:7).

Now a few points that will come to mind. Both goats were “presented before the Lord.” Can Satan be presented before the Lord? Job 1:6 and 2:1 says he has presented himself before the Lord. Note, too, Azazel was driven away from the Holy of Holies, a symbol of God’s presence.

And so the annual Day of Atonement was instituted forever to keep continually before God’s children and His Church the plan of redemption, to occur after the Second Coming of Christ.

And we find this annual holy day recognized in the New Testament. In Acts 27:9, when Paul was on his perilous sea voyage to Rome, it is recorded that “when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past. . . .” See the margin in your Bible. The fast refers to the Day of Atonement the 10th day of the seventh month. Now this day could not then have been past on that particular year unless that day was still in full effect and force and existence. Otherwise the Holy Spirit surely could never have inspired those words! Surely this strongly indicates that this day was still in existence and being recognized thus by the Holy Spirit. (Armstrong HW. Pagan Holidays or God’s Holy Days Which?)

The goat ceremony was part of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). Christians have kept the Day of Atonement throughout the church age (see The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance).

In Leviticus 16 you can read that one of the goats is for the “Lord/Yahveh” and the other for one was for Azazel. Jesus was often the “Yahveh/Jehovah” in the Hebrew scriptures.

Christians note the parallels between the first of the two goats with Jesus being the sin offering in verse 9 and the second of the two goats with Satan (the Azazel goat).

Some have been confused about the identities of the two goats.

Could Satan or his ministers outwardly appear to be without blemish?

Yes, as the Apostle Paul wrote:

14 … For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)

That is part of why lots were cast (as Leviticus 16 points out) to determine the goat for the sin offering and the other for Azazel.

As far as ‘Azazel,’ notice the following:

R. Menachem interprets Azazel of Samael, the angel of death, the devil, the prince that hath power over desolate places: there are several Christian writers of great note, that understand this of the devil as Origen (b), among the ancients; and of the moderns, Cocceius (c), Witsius (d), and Spencer (e), who think that by these two goats is signified the twofold respect of Christ our Mediator; one to God, as a Judge, to whom he made satisfaction by his death; the other to the devil, the enemy with whom he conflicted in life; who, according to prophecy, was to be delivered up to Satan, and have his heel bruised by him; and who was to come, and did come into the wilderness of this world…(Gill, John. Exposition of the Entire Bible. [1746-63])

So, basically a Jewish rabbi (“R.” is an abbreviation for Rabbi) and certain leaders who professed Christ believed that the Azazel goat represented Satan. And that is consistent with the passages in Leviticus 16 and other scriptures.

Notice more about part of an Old Testament ceremony that occurred on the Day of Atonement:

And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness…And he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp (Leviticus 16:20-22,26).

Notice that the atonement is over after the first goat is sacrificed. The atonement is not part of the symbolism of the second goat. While some Protestant commentators understand this correctly, others either do not know what the Azazel goat represents or think it represents the physical life of Christ. Yet, that latter explanation would not seem to be consistent with the statements in Leviticus 16:26 (bolded above).


Because notice that it is a fit man that takes the goat into the wilderness and he has to wash himself after he has released the aza’zel goat. If the second goat represented Christ, the fit man would have to wash BEFORE touching the goat (cf. Leviticus 16:4) and not AFTER releasing it. Touching the one representing Satan would make one unclean, not touching the one representing Christ. Washing in Leviticus 15 clearly was shown to be required after touching/being exposed to various things considered to be unclean.

The live goat is taken to an uninhabited land by someone, whereas Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection–and heaven is not uninhabited.

Some who claim Jesus was the released goat have pointed to the following statement from John the Baptist to support that view:

29 … Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

However, Jesus did not take away the sins of the world by leaving, He took away the sins through His sacrifice (cf. Hebrews 10:11-12).

Satan does not want people to be in the Kingdom of God.

Christians are to resist Satan and draw close to God:

7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:7-9)

Christians are not to be double-minded, but are to:

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 2:5)

Notice also:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Just as with Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6), Satan wants you to be wise in your eyes.

Do not fall for that–resist Satan and ask God to help you overcome your vanity.

The late evangelist Dibar Apartian wrote the following that was originally published old the Good News magazine in May 1983 of the old Worldwide Church of God:

How to Escape Satan’s Three Major Snares

What causes a seemingly solid, balanced, deeply converted Christian to turn from God’s way of life? Could it ever happen to you?

From time to time, sad to say, we all hear of cases in which true Christians burn out, sour on God’s Work or are caught up in some problem or movement that takes them out of God’s true Church.

Many of us probably even know people — perhaps former close friends — to whom it has happened.

When it occurs, we are shocked and disheartened. In disbelief, we ask ourselves, Why?

But it would, perhaps, be more appropriate if we asked ourselves, Can this ever happen to me?

Can it, really? Is there any possibility that you, too, would one day turn away from the Christian way of life — reject the calling God has given you? What assurance do you have that you are firmly rooted in God’s true Church? How can you be sure — absolutely sure — that you are immune to such tragedy?

Can’t serve two masters

No matter how converted we are, it is possible for everyone of us to become preoccupied with the cares of the world. Then, we are easy prey for Satan’s snares. We overlook Satan’s relentless efforts to tempt us and attack us on our weakest points. Without realizing it — and certainly without wanting to — we are actually trying to serve two masters.

Christ said: “No one can serve two masters [that’s a dogmatic statement!]; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24).

The more deeply you are involved in God’s Work and in the aims and activities of God’s true Church, the less likely you are to fall to Satan’s snares. It’s a matter of setting your priorities right.

Strangely enough, those who leave often spend more time thinking about the Church than some of us who are still in the Church! But the concern of dissidents is destructive; they seem to want to fill their minds only with what they imagine is wrong with the Church. They want to find ways to hurt and destroy the Church.

Our focus must be the exact opposite. We must constantly look for ways to build up God’s Church and God’s people — constantly work toward unity, harmony and peace.

Have you taken time to find out what other master you may actually be trying to serve? Could it be your ego, perhaps? Your vanity? Your ambitions? Your job? A close friend or one of the other members of your own family? When you are facing trials and tribulations, do you begin to doubt your calling? Do you want to turn away from God’s Church? Do you start to seek other ways to satisfy your desires or solve your problems?

Let’s look at three broad areas through which Satan works to trap and destroy God’s people — cause them to lose out on their chance at salvation!

The spirit of rebellion

Satan, the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), is rebellious toward authority. He wants you to be like him and to follow his example. He will set all kinds of stumbling blocks before you to make you fall.

Swayed by his own ambition, he turned against God, fought and lost (Isa. 14:12-14). He also wants you to turn against God, fight and lose!

He will, therefore, do anything in his power to make you rebel against authority — whether at home, at work or in God’s Church. He will do everything he can to work on your emotions and put all kinds of doubts in your mind.

In the name of freedom, people all through history have turned against authority — chosen rebellion. Mankind has not understood that there is no place for rebellion in true freedom. Only God’s way leads to true freedom — to peace, joy and happiness. The apostle Paul wrote: “Because the carnal mind [a mind set on worldly things] is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:7-8).

Is your mind set on worldly things? What preoccupies you most, day after day? Physical things or spiritual things?

Pride will befriend you with Satan, but will put a wall of separation between God and you. Is your pride worth that tragic price? Will you turn your back to God because of your own vanity?

Of course, you need to take care of yourself, as well as the needs of your family. That has nothing to do with serving two masters. What Christ meant is something totally different — you cannot have other gods before the true God. You cannot be slave both to God and to the ways of the world.

Actually, in a world where Satan is still god (II Cor. 4:4), you don’t need too much encouragement to set your mind on rebellion. Satan knows this better than anyone else. He is always available to give you the push you need. He will help you to be more carnal — to become enslaved to the works of the flesh.

In Numbers 16, God tells us the story of Korah as an example of rebellion. Korah and his men, 250 strong, turned against Moses and rose up before him in protest, saying, “You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy” (verses 1-3).

Is this the way you sometimes reason? Whenever you wonder whether you should submit to authority, remember the fate of Korah and his group: “And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment'” (verses 20-21).

God was truly angry with the people. It was only because of the fervent intervention of Moses and Aaron that the whole congregation didn’t perish.

Moses strongly pleaded with God, saying: “‘O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and You be angry with all the congregation?’ So the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the congregation, saying, “Get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram”‘” (verses 22-24).

Notice what happened: “And a fire came out from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering incense” (verse 35).

There is a great lesson for all of us to learn. We too, stirred up by Satan, can sometimes nurture similar thoughts. We judge and criticize. “Why should I obey that order?” we may say. “I don’t agree with it.”

When you look at the world today, you can see how hard Satan is at work. Everything he does, in one way or another, is directed toward rebellion. Satan’s attacks are primarily directed toward God’s Church, however — that’s where he wants to do the most damage.

In a society based on Satan’s principles of selfishness and vanity, obedience doesn’t always seem pleasant or easy, but with God’s help we can overcome Satan’s snares: “Submit to God,” wrote the apostle James. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7).

This is a strong commandment. But what should you do in order to resist the devil? And how can you submit yourself to God?

James gives the answer: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (verse 8). In other words, you can draw closer to God by submitting yourself more and more to Him, by hungering and thirsting for His Word and His way of life. If you always put God first in your life, you will not be serving two masters.

The snare of pride

Another of Satan’s snares, one that affects us all, is pride. Satan will tempt you by working on your pride and vanity.

You don’t always realize it, but pride is potentially one of your biggest pitfalls. It makes you unable to recognize your faults — unwilling to apologize when you are wrong. You want to maintain your own ways because of pride. And Satan loves that, because he himself maintains his own ways and does not recognize his sins.

The apostle James, in the course of telling us to get closer to God in order to resist Satan, states that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Jas. 4:6).

Do you grasp the meaning of this verse? Pride will befriend you with Satan, but will put a wall of separation between God and you. Is your pride worth that tragic price? Will you turn your back to God because of your own vanity?

One of the most important lessons God gave to His people through Moses was to command them to remain humble: “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. … Beware that you [all of us] do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest — when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses… your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage … then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth'” (Deut. 8:3-17).

This warning applies to us today as much as it did to our forefathers. It is only by the grace of God that we have whatever we possess.

Pride will also incite you to judge and criticize; it will make you think you know better and that your opinions are wiser. Christ said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).

Think of it — there is no place for the carnally proud in the Kingdom of Heaven!

Don’t {wrongly} judge. Don’t {unnecessarily} criticize. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (Jas. 4:10).

The more you know God and study His Word, the more you will realize just how little you actually are.

Always be ready to admit your faults. Correct them and forgive those of your neighbors. When you return good for an evil deed, you will have God for your partner. He will be your friend, and will help you solve your problems the right way.

Continuing in James: “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law” (verse 11).


The third major snare of Satan is covetousness. Satan wants you to covet — to go after something that is not yours, or to which you are not entitled. Humanly speaking, covetousness appeals to our nature. We want to get rather than give, to have and keep for ourselves rather than share.

God actually spelled out, in the Tenth Commandment, a whole list of items after which we should not covet (Ex. 20:17). Be sure to read the article entitled “Beware of Covetousness!” beginning on page 17 for a full explanation of this Tenth Commandment of God.

In Satan’s world, everything is geared toward lust — false publicity, sex, material wealth. The media encourage you to covet: You are given many vain but appealing reasons to buy things you don’t really need, or to lust after things that are neither right nor good for you.

Are you guilty of breaking the Tenth Commandment? Are you deceived by Satan’s snare of encouraging you to covet?

There is danger in much wealth, just as there is danger in much poverty. In both instances Satan can effectively use this tool of covetousness.

God has promised to never forsake you. If you let Him fight your battles… you will never have to fear Satan’s snares. They will have no power over you. Satan will be powerless…

Agur said, under God’s inspiration: “Two things I request of You (deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches — feed me with the food You prescribe for me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God” (Prov. 30:7- 9).

Do you pray this way when you are asking God to supply your needs? If you have everything you want, you may deny God and turn away from Him, claiming you don’t need Him anymore! And if you have too little, you may allow Satan to make you judge and condemn, and you may even end up stealing.

Christ taught us to ask God for our daily bread — just what we need from day to day (Matt. 6:11 ).

This will help us not to fall into temptation. It will teach us to trust God — and not to set our hearts on material things, which are temporary (Eccl. 5:10).

Remember Christ’s warning: You cannot have two masters. If you lust after wealth or anything else, you will actually be trying to serve two masters.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Keep your life free from love of money [covetousness], and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never fail you nor forsake you'” (Heb. 13:5, Revised Standard Version).

Be courageous

God has promised to never forsake you. If you let Him fight your battles, and if you resist evil with His Spirit, you will never have to fear Satan’s snares. They will have no power over you. Satan will be powerless — totally disarmed.

Perhaps you had not thought of it before, but those who leave God’s Church let themselves fall victim to these three major snares of Satan: They rebel against God’s authority; they are too proud to admit they are wrong; and they covet power, material possessions or personal glory.

Be courageous! Act and live as a true Christian. Ask God daily to help you, and do your part in fighting against Satan’s three major snares: the spirits of rebellion, pride and lust.

Your victory over them will put you on the way to the Kingdom of God!

Yes, you can, with Jesus’ help overcome the snares of Satan and become part of the coming Kingdom of God.

As far as Satan’s fate goes, the Continuing Church of God put out the following sermon on its ContinuingCOG channel by the late deacon Richard Close:


Is Satan immortal? Does he have eternal life? Or will he perish? Will you believe what the Bible says about this? Richard Close examines many scriptures indicating that Satan’s final fate has been revealed.

Here is a link to the sermon: Destiny of Satan.

Some items of perhaps related interest include:

The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? What is the Jubilee? Is fasting healthy? Here is a link to a sermon: Christians, the Day of Atonement, and Fasting; here is another sermon: Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Expiación Su significado cristiano.
Lies Where did they originate? What was really the first lie? What happens for lies? Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese {,NN*ŒŠTŒWúwc_’v„aTs
Christian courage vs. cowardice As you courageous? What biblically is cowardice? Do YOU really understand this? Two sermons related to this article are available and are titled Courage and Cowardice and Cowardice and Overcoming Fear. A Spanish language article is also available: Valor Cristiano vs Cobardía.
Ten Steps to Rid Yourself of Fear This is a vastly expanded version of a shorter article by the late Dr. Herman Hoeh on getting past fear. Here is a link to a related sermon: Ten Plus Steps to Rid Yourself of Fear.
Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. In German: Glaube für die von Gott Berufenen und Auserwählten. In French: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen.and here is a link to another sermon
Faith and Courage. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese N{ÇQsNŽOáNðv„\e‡zà. Here are links to the sermons Christian Faith and Increasing Faith.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available:
What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
Did God Create a Devil? If not, what happened? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to four related sermons:  The Fantastic Gospel of the Kingdom of God!, The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.

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