It was recently brought to our attention that some troubling teachings are being promoted within our conference regarding the “fit man” who leads the scapegoat into the wilderness at the end of the prophetic Day of Atonement.

Elder Dean Coridan and I are greatly concerned by reports of these teachings, which are apparently being presented both via sermons and in a book that is being circulated. I feel convicted to address it in hopes that we will stay focused and reliant on Christ and not on ourselves during these trying times and throughout these final days of earth’s history.

It is being taught that the “fit man” is a final generation of humans who will lead Satan into the wilderness at the end of time by living a life of perfect obedience to God’s law. Make no mistake, if this were true then this group—not Christ—becomes the final factor or redeemer in the plan of salvation. Friends, this is as anti-Christ as a human priesthood that takes the place of our Savior in His mediatory work of redemption.

In the biblical narrative, Christ Himself is depicted as both the Lamb and Priest in the Sanctuary imagery, symbols and services. Therefore, He alone can be the Fit Man in this final phase of ministry in the plan of salvation. Christ is the only “human” (God made flesh for the sake of redeeming mankind) involved in this redemptive work. Our only role in this heaven-born effort is to accept and trust in Jesus to save us by grace through faith in Him alone. Never does our obedience play a part in reconciling us back to God. Christ alone has reconciled us back to God, and He alone will put away Satan and sin forever. Man’s obedience can never accomplish what Christ’s perfect obedience has already accomplished for us through His life, death, resurrection and mediation. He is the only Fit Man.

As the righteous person Who is one with God the Father, He stepped down into a fallen humanity tainted by 4,000 years of sin and became sin for us that we might receive the righteousness of God through Him—resulting in eternal life through His grace alone. At the end of time only this sinless person, Jesus, who took our sin and the guilt of a fallen planet upon Himself, can deal with the fallen angel, Lucifer or Satan, the one who is responsible for the great rebellion, and extinguish this evil for eternity. Only Christ our Redeemer, the only “Fit Man,” can do such for fallen humanity.

The issue in the great controversy over God’s law began in heaven before man was created. So, in actuality, the issue of sin and rebellion is not between us and Satan. It involves us only in our relation to God and our choice to disobey Him as did our first parents. Humankind is rather a victim of Satan’s warfare against Christ and the government of heaven. But God has provided a way through Christ to remedy the issues of our part in this rebellion. When Christ died on the cross, it was all that could be done for or by humankind. Christ was the Second Adam, fulfilling the law that was broken by Adam and Eve’s choice, as well as our own. We can’t add to that; it is finished!

Christ’s work in the Sanctuary today, while seated at the right hand of the Father, is to be inviting and pleading with us with outstretched arms to come to Him/Them in surrender and faith. That’s the real battle we fight. It’s the fight of faith. To keep our eyes and faith on the Lamb (The Fit Man, the Second Adam) and not ourselves.

In summation, the final resolution of the issue of sin and rebellion against God in the great controversy is intrinsically connected to the sacrifice of Christ and His ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary, which was symbolized by both the daily and Day of Atonement rituals in the earthly tabernacle. His role as both the Substitute Sacrifice and Priest on behalf of all who believe in Him as their Savior is primary in the work of the atonement. The final act in the great drama of the redemptive work of Christ is when He leads the scapegoat—Satan, the miserable instigator of sin—into the wilderness, resulting in putting an end to rebellion and evil forever. There is only One who can perform this final role. It is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). This will complete God’s plan to redeem His people and this fallen world to Himself for eternity.

This is part 1 of a 2-part series. Read part 2.