The Feast of Atonement is the last of the 10 days of awe. This year, it begins Sept. 29 at sunset. It is also called Yom Kippur, or the Day of the Covering. In ancient times, the sins of the nation of Israel were covered by sacrifices on this day. This is described in Leviticus 16.
Two goats in particular were of special focus in this chapter. The first goat was called the Lord's goat. It was sacrificed for the sins and uncleanness of the nation. The second goat was called the azazel goat. It had all the sins of the nation confessed over it and was then chased into the desert. In latter times, they chased this goat off a cliff. These goats have prophetic meanings, one of which has yet to come to pass.
The first goat represents the sacrifice of Jesus to pay for our sins. This goat had its blood put on the ark of the covenant and the altar of incense in the Temple. Jesus took His blood into heaven to apply it to the heavenly ark of the covenant and altar of incense. His blood makes a way for us to receive salvation and reconciliation to the Father. The book of Hebrews, especially chapters 9 and 10, explains this.
It was therefore necessary that the replicas of heavenly things be cleansed with these sacrifices, but that the heavenly things themselves be cleansed with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter holy places made with hands, which are patterned after the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. ... but now He has appeared once at the end of the ages to put away sin by sacrificing Himself (Heb. 9:23-24, 26b).
While Jesus has already come and been sacrificed as our "goat for the Lord", the prophetic fulfillment of the second goat has yet to occur. This second goat represents Satan, the devil. While each of us has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), Satan is the tempter of mankind (Mark 1:13). In other words, Satan has a share in the sin of humanity because he tempts us to sin. This means he is guilty as well. This is why the sins of the people were placed upon the azazel goat and then chased away.
Just after the prophetic fulfillment of trumpets at Jesus' public return, Satan will be bound and placed in the abyss for 1,000 years. This is the fulfillment of the second goat from atonement.
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season (Rev 20:1-3).
The Feast of Atonement is honored by a complete fast and abstaining from work. On this day, we worship God in sincere appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus to pay the price for our sins. Furthermore, we look forward to our tempter being removed from earth just before the 1,000-year reign of Jesus begins.
Kelly McDonald Jr. is an ordained evangelist at Hungry Hearts Ministries in Jackson, Tennessee. He has written over 40 books and booklets on pursing Christ, Hebrew roots and end-times prophecy. He is currently president of the Bible Sabbath Association (BSA). You can follow him at kellymcdonaldjr.com.