A common feature of many false cults is that the founders of them are women. Ann Lee was the founder of the Shakers. Mary Eddy was the founder of Christian Science. Theosophy was cast upon the world by Madame Blavatsky and Annie Besant. Spiritism in this country goes back to the Fox sisters, Margaret and Kate. Astrology enshrines its Evangeline Adams, Myrna Kingsley and Nella Webb. Baha’ism “is a ladies’ cult like Christian Science.” And Seventh-Day Adventism has its leader and prophetess in Ellen G. White.
Although their material is presented in rather attractive format, one must sift through bales of glorified rubble to find anything of even passing interest. in SDA literature. But the following is of momentary amusement. “Sickness, suffering and death are work of an antagonistic power” (M.M. 11, SDA tract, “Health Reform”) i.e., a power antagonistic not only to man, but also to God. The Lord Himself puts it differently. These afflictions come forth not from the dust, nor from the ground, but He makes sore, and He heals; He wounds, and His hands restore (Job 5:6, 18). “Not an ounce of flesh meat should enter our stomachs.” (ibid.) How shall this stand in the face of, “Let no man judge you in meat or. . . drink,” (Col. 2:16) or of this, “In the latter times some shall apostatize from the faith . . . forbidding . . . meats which God created to be received with thanksgiving by them that believe and know the truth,” (I Tim. 4:1-3) or this, “He that is weak eateth herbs,” (Rom. 14:2) or this, “These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth, Whatsoever parteth the hoof and is cloven-footed and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that shall ye eat?” (Lev. 11:2, 3) Again, “We bear positive testimony against . . . liquors . . . tea, coffee, flesh-meats, spices, rich cakes, mince pies . . . .” (ibid.) And “eggs should not be placed upon your table. They are an injury to your children.” (ibid.) But, “if a son shall ask for an egg of any of you that is a father, will he offer him a scorpion?” (Luke 11:11f) Then: “The only safe course is to touch not, taste not, handle not, tea, coffee, wines . . .” (ibid.) Here they quote Scripture against themselves. “Why are ye subject to ordinances after the commandments and doctrines of men, ‘Touch not, taste not, handle not,’ which all are to perish with the using; which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body,” (Col. 2:20-23) Further, “No drink is needed with meals.” (ibid.) “The Son of Man came eating and drinking.” (Matt. 11:19) See also, Gen. 18:6-8; Gen. 24:54; Gen. 26:30. Another gem of wisdom has it: “It is not well to eat fruit and vegetables at the same meal.” (ibid.). But “one man hath faith that he may eat all things. Let not him who eats not, judge him who eats.” (Rom. 14:2, 3) See also Deuteronomy 23:24, 25.
Empty-headed, empty-hearted, vacuous people may have a natural desire to fill their aching void. That in part may explain why, the untrained would care to wade through the dull, complicated trivia that is Seventh Day Adventism. Even if it were possible, it would not be the way to treat a friend, to subject the reader at length to all the vagaries of SDA heresies. Their basic errors are: 1. That Christ never made full atonement on the cross, waiting to complete the same in heaven: only after 1844, in fact, only in the day of judgment. 2. That since then, when Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary, its door of mercy was closed to all the unsaved of the day. 3. That Satan is the scapegoat to bear away the sins of God’s people. 4. The teaching of, soul-sleep and the annihilation of the wicked. 5. That the biblical Sabbath is the seventh day of theweek, not the first day, nor merely the seventh day after six working days.
It must be immediately apparent to the historic, orthodox Protestant, the Reformed believer, that of these non-entities, not the last mentioned is the most serious error, Nor is it their paralogical interpretation of prophecy, nor is it their deviation in reference to the second advent of our Lord. It is neither Adventism, seventh dayism, soul-sleep, nor annihilation. (Trying the Spirits, Destructionism). It is their pitiful rigmarole on the atonement. We shall therefore limit ourselves to the examination of SDA’s root error.
It is most strange, both to the Gospel and to the constituency of the true church, that the devil should be dragged into the center of the plan of redemption and be given a place of prominence in its realization. This is what SDA doctrine does. From a very strange interpretation of Lev. 16, Satan is made the scapegoat to bear away the sins of God’s people. In verse 8, the word azazel, in our English version translatedscapegoat, is said to be a proper name for the devil. “The scapegoat typified Satan . . . upon whom the sins of the truly penitent will finally be placed . . . The sins of His people . . . He will place upon Satan, who . . . must bear the final penalty,” when then he will be annihilated (Mrs. White).
Two goats were presented to the Lord on the day of atonement. But are both goats to represent two persons of opposite character? How could Satan be represented by an animal worthy and fit for sacrifice? The two birds of Lev. 14:1-7 represent not two antithetical persons, but both represent Christ in His work of redemption, one representing Him in death, and the other Christ in resurrection, or the truth that He was delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification (Rom. 4:25).
Proceeding further into the context, we learn that both goats were taken for a sin-offering (Lev. 16:5). Both were presented to the Lord in sacrifice (v. 10). This means that the scapegoat, as well as the other goat, was presented to God to make atonement! Then neither goat could possibly represent the devil!
That “azazel” means “the devil” is an assumption without conclusive exegetical and grammatical proof. The text does not mean that one lot was for the Lord, and the other lot for the devil. “The goat . . . to be the scapegoat” (v. 10) can not mean “the goat to be the devil.” Nor can the remainder of the text, “let it go for a scapegoat into the wilderness,” mean “let it go for (to) the devil into the wilderness.” The clauses so read do not carry sense.
It should be realized that the rendering of the word “azazel” will not be easily, determined. Therefore great care must be given in arriving at its meaning. Usually, four different meanings are discussed. 1. One goat for a Person (Jehovah), and the other for, a place (far removed). 2. One goat for the Person (Jehovah) and the other for another person (the devil). 3. One goat for the Person. (Jehovah) and the other for the scapegoat. 4. One goat for the Person (Jehovah) and the other for a purpose, or an action (removal). The first understanding is a possible one, and some hold it. The third is suggested by the King James Version, but has this disadvantage, that one goat is for Jehovah and the other goat is for the (scape) goat, which makes no sense. The second view is that favored by SDA, but it seriously detracts from Christ’s finished redemptive work. With the devil in the day of judgment being forced to make the final doing away of sin, insult is done to Christ, making His “It is finished” a lie! That the word “azazel” means the devil is more than inconclusive. For why does there appear here a new name for Satan? Why, if he be in view, is not one of’ his already familiar names used? Since both goats were sacrificial, why was one for Satan? Was the one goat to be delivered up to the devil? Or was one goat sent to mock the devil, possibly with the taunt of the sins of God’s people taken away? This is all not only far-fetched and offensive, but also a stunning blow at the heart of the Gospel. The fourth interpretation is the most harmonious with Scripture, and especially with the immediate context, having nothing of a devil sin-bearer. The first goat represents Christ satisfying divine justice with full, once-for-all atonement. The second goat also represents Christ removing the conscience of sin because full atonement has been made.
The SDA perversion of the atonement has it that Christ’s redemptive work is done in installments, with first a down payment made, and the balance postponed to the day of judgment, when the remainder will be tendered. But the Word of God knows only an atonement which actually atones, and which has been fully effected. It knows nothing of a postponed atonement.
SDA doctrine centers around its odd interpretation of the true tabernacle above. It speaks not merely of defilement of the heavenly sanctuary because sinners are brought there (Heb. 9:23f), but of sins laid on the heavenly sanctuary. Therefore atonement is necessary for the sanctuary. From this it would seem that SDA’s think bearing sins and making atonement are two different things. The sanctuary needs atonement because it bears sin! Then-Christ needed atonement, because He bore sins! But how does the heavenly sanctuary become a sin-bearer? First, at the brazen altar, the sins of. the repentant were taken by the priest, then laid on the sanctuary. Afterward, these sins were taken off the sanctuary and laid on the scapegoat. Christ has yet to fulfill this last remaining aspect of His atonement, and to lay those sins now on the heavenly sanctuary on the devil who will take them off into oblivion. Sin is not yet atoned. Christ is not yet king. Atonement was not made on the cross. “The atonement was not finished on the cross.” (Mrs. White) At Calvary, the blood of Christ did not cancel sin. The sins of God’s people “still remained upon the books of record” in heaven. (ibid.) Christ is busy making atonement, and one of these days He will finally complete it, when the devil will be apprehended and forced to be our sin-bearer.
All this the Gospel utterly denies. The Gospel emphasizes the tense of once-for-all finished accomplishment. “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He (not Satan) shall bear their iniquities. He (not the devil) bare the sin of many.” (Is. 53:6, 11, 12). “Christ our passover hath been sacrificed.” (I Cor. 5:7, ASV) By Him “we have now received the atonement” (Rom. 5:11). For “Christ hath redeemed us.” (Gal. 3:13) “He had by Himself purged our sins. This He did once when He offered up Himself. Christ by His own blood obtained eternal redemption. Christ entered into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us. Once for all at the end of the ages (cf. Heb. 1:l) he hath been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Christ having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time. Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many. We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Heb. 1:3; Heb. 7:27; Heb. 9:12, 24, 26, 28; Heb. 10:10, 12, 14). “Who His own self carried up our sins in His body to the tree . . . by whose stripes ye were healed.” (I Pet. 2:24, ASVm) On this Word of God we are prepared to stake our souls’ destiny. When Seventh Dayists come up with a correct doctrine of the atonement we will be glad to answer them on the Sabbath question. Until then, they have nothing.