The Day of Atonement and Satan

17th Century Depiction of the Binding of Satan


The Day of Atonement lasts from sunset October 4th until sunset October 5th in 2022. (A version of this article is also available in Spanish:

A unique ceremony related to the Day of Atonement is discussed in the Old Testament:

5 And from the assembly of the sons of Israel he shall take two he goats of the goats for sin, and one ram for a burnt-offering. (Leviticus 16:5, Smith’s Literal Translation; Note that this verse does not state that the goats are both for sin offerings. We see in verse 15 only one of the goat’s is described as “the sin offering.”)

8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for Jehovah, and the other lot for Azazel. 9 And Aaron shall present the goat upon which the lot fell for Jehovah, and offer him for a sin-offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell for Azazel, shall be set alive before Jehovah, to make atonement for him, to send him away for Azazel into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:8-10, ASV)

8 ‘And Aaron hath given lots over the two goats, one lot for Jehovah, and one lot for a goat of departure; 9 and Aaron hath brought near the goat on which the lot for Jehovah hath gone up, and hath made it a sin-offering. 10 ‘And the goat on which the lot for a goat of departure hath gone up is caused to stand living before Jehovah to make atonement by it, to send it away for a goat of departure into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:8-10, YLT)

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 tied in with Satan (the Azazel goat).

Now as the goat representing Jesus does get killed, but the goat representing Satan does not (which parallels him being placed in the bottomless pit for 1000 years in Revelation 20).

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.

Notice also:

17 If a person sins, and commits any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD, though he does not know it, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity. (Leviticus 5:17)

15 Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. (Leviticus 24:15)

Unrepentant sinners are to bear their sins. Satan is unrepentant and has had a part if causing others to sin–Satan will bear his sins, which includes his part in pushing others to sin–not to take the sins of others away, but in order to reap what he has sowed (cf. Galatians 6:7).

Moreover, the following is also applicable to him:

52 … bear your own shame also, because the sins which you committed were more abominable than theirs; (Ezekiel 16:52)

Consider the following related to Satan and his influence:

2 … prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Ephesians 2:2-3)

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44)

The new Testament is clearly assigning blame to Satan–and we also know that God did as well starting with Satan deceiving Eve (Genesis 3:1-14).

The old Worldwide Church of God taught:

The English word scapegoat is not a correct translation of the Hebrew word God inspired. Most Bibles with marginal renderings show that the original word was azazel. Azazel refers to none other than Satan the devil!

The modern word scapegoat carries an entirely wrong connotation. Originally it was escape goat — the goat allowed to escape in the wilderness — that the translators took to be the meaning of azazel. But today the English word scapegoat signifies “one who bears blame or guilt for others.” As we shall see, azazel — Satan — will bear his own guilt! (MINISTUDY: The Day of Atonement in God’s Great Master Plan. Good News, August 1983)

What happened to the live goat in Leviticus 16 is symbolic of Satan for three basic reasons:

  1. The term scapegoat is an inappropriate translation into English, as it implies that blame is being placed where blame is not due. The Hebrew term is actually aza’zel. This is a term that some Jewish people have historically ascribed to a Satanic adversary.
  2. Satan will reap what he sows (Galatians 6:7) and yes, does bear blame for sin–including sins of others as he has been involved i influencing from the time of Adam and Eve to present.
  3. What happens with the Azazel goat and what happens to Satan is quite similar, if one compares Leviticus 16:20-22,26 to Revelation 20:1-3.

The New Testament Fulfillment of the Binding of Azazel/Satan

Place called ‘Devil’s home’ in New Zealand

The New Testament shows that Satan will be bound for a thousand years to be kept away from humanity during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ:

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. (Revelation 20:1-3)

Since the above is consistent with the ceremony in the Old Testament about bringing (essentially casting) the Azazel goat into the wilderness, it appears that the binding and casting of Satan into the bottomless pit will occur on the Atonement.

Notice that the Old Testament shows that it is a fit man that places the Azazel goat, which bares blame for sins into the wilderness and in the New Testament it is an angel that places Satan, who brought sin into the world, into the wilderness of the bottomless pit.

Some Roman Catholic leaders, oddly, believe that this already happened physically or spiritually:

Revelation 20:1-3 . . . God has always respected our freedom of choice between covenant fidelity to him and to apostasy. That seems to be the theological point of this thousand-year period that is relatively free from Satanic temptations. (Kurz, W. What Does the Bible Say About the End Times? A Catholic View. Servant Books, Cincinnati. Nihil Obstat: Kistner H., Schehr T.P. Imprimi Potest: Link F., Paul J.M. Imprimatur: Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004, p. 168, 173-174)

Millenium {sic}: Since the Holy Office decreed (July 21, 1944) that it cannot safely be taught that Christ at His Second Coming will reign visibly with only some of His saints (risen from the dead) for a period of time before the final and universal judgment, a spiritual millennium is seen in Apoc. 20:4-6. St. John gives a spiritual recapitulation of the activity of Satan, and the spiritual reign of the saints with Christ in heaven and in His Church on earth. When Christianity triumphed over the Beast (in its sixth head, the pagan Roman empire) Satan was chained. With the re-appearance of the Beast in the anti-Christian world empire (the seventh head), he will be unchained, and muster all his forces against the Church until the peak of the persecution under Antichrist. Meanwhile, the church enjoyed its milleniun {sic} with Christ enthroned among the nations. (LeFrois, Bernard J. Eschatological Interpretation of the Apocalypse. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. XIII, pp. 17-20; Cited in Culleton RG. The Reign of Antichrist, 1951. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1974, p. 9).

Notice that the above suggests that Satan has been gone a thousand years. Does any thinking person believe that Satan was ever bound and away from the earth for 1,000 years after Revelation (which Roman Catholics often refer to as the Apocalypse) was written? This has never happened literally or spiritually–though it will in the millennium (see also
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?).

Contrary to the claims of those who do not take this portion of Revelation literally, this 1000 year binding of Satan has certainly not taken place since John was inspired to pen Revelation.

The New Testament shows that the Gentile Gospel writer Luke knew about the Day of Atonement, when he wrote:

9…sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over (Acts 27:9).

The Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God states this about the Day of Atonement (and more detail is in the article The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance):

The Day of Atonement, called “the Fast” in the New Testament (Acts 27:9), helps show our own weaknesses and need to be closer to God (Isaiah 58:5,11). This day shows that Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for our sins now (1 John 4:9-10; cf. Leviticus 16:15-16) and those that will be called in the “age to come” (Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; cf. Acts 3:21). It also helps picture that Satan has a role in the sins of humankind and that he will be punished by being bound for one-thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3; cf. Leviticus 16:20-26; Isaiah 14:12-16).

While some believe that what the Old Testament pictures is past, the reality is that the Holy Days help show God’s plan of salvation, and in the case of the Day of Atonement, it also shows Satan’s role in sin and his coming binding for 1000 years.

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.

Those who have more interest may wish to study the following:

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? Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Ayuno –Su significado cristiano.
Sermon: The Bible and the Day of Atonement The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? Was it observed in the New Testament? What did some of the ancient Hebrew ceremonies surrounding it mean? Does one goat in Leviticus represent Jesus and the other Satan? How does the New Testament help answer this?
Sermon: Atonement, Fasting, and Jesus What does the Bible teach about the Day of Atonement? What was Jesus’ role? Why fast?
The Atonement Plan How does the Day of Atonement tie into God’s plan of salvation? Two sermons of related interest are available God’s Atonement and Fasting Plan and God’s Atonement Plan.
Atonement Offertory Jesus Was the Atoning Sacrifice Should an offering be taken up on the Day of Atonement? What does the Bible seem to teach about that? Was Jesus a type of atonement offering? If you send an offering, how does that support the work? Dr. Thiel goes over scriptures and facts related to this. Here is a link to the donation page of the Continuing Church of God, which includes the ability to use PayPal:
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History; The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character; The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon; Eucharist, Passover, and Easter; Views of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & Baptism; Scripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. Sunday; Church Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s Plan; Seventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?; Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of Salvation; Crosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean Meats; The Godhead and the Trinity; Fleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession? Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, PassoverWhat Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & CelibacyEarly Heresies and HereticsDoctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, MeatsTithes, Crosses, Destiny, and moreSaturday or Sunday?The GodheadApostolic Laying on of Hands SuccessionChurch in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession ListHoly Mother Church and Heresies, and Lying Wonders and Original Beliefs.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Michael’s Day of Atonement Quiz Another free on-line Bible quiz by my son Michael.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should Christians keep the Fall Biblical Holy Days?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not? What does the Feast of Trumpets, which the Jews call Rosh Hashanah, help teach?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach? A related sermon video is Feast of Tabernacles from Israel.
Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. Two related sermons would be Which Spring Days should Christians observe? and Fall Holy Days for Christians.
The Last Great Day: Shemini ‘Azeret What is the ‘eighth day’ of the Feast? What does it help picture? A sermon on this topic is also available: Shemini Azaret: The Last Great Day.
Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims? Should Christians sojourn? What does the Bible and Feast of Tabernacles teach? A related video sermon is titled Christian Pilgrims.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2033, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.

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