We have seen from scripture that the ceremonies on the Day of Atonement symbolized the removal of sins that had accumulated in the sanctuary. It was a day of judgment. "For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people" Leviticus 23:29, 30.
There was great relief on the part of the congregation when the priest returned from the Most Holy Place. This was an indication of God's favor – the acceptance of the atoning sacrifice. They were free from sin. "For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD" Leviticus 16:30. It was like starting with a clean slate.
There remained another important activity of the day. The priest now placed his hands on the head of the scapegoat transferring all the sins to him, "and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness" Leviticus 16:21, 22.
Notice that the scapegoat was not slain. He had nothing to do with the work of atoning for sin. Only the Lord's goat, symbolic of Christ, bears the penalty for sin. The scapegoat, representing Satan, was responsible for all sin. As his banishment to the wilderness followed the work of judgment in the yearly Day of Atonement, so Satan's final banishment and ultimate destruction will follow the judgment.
In summary, we have found in the sanctuary services God's plan for our redemption from sin. The sad fact of the many sacrifices made should only add to our appreciation of the cost of sin – its terribleness. The sanctuary illustrated three phases in the ministry of Christ – His sacrifice on the cross as the Lamb, His intercession which began at His ascension to the right hand of God, and His final work of judgment or cleansing as our High Priest.
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" Hebrews 4:14-16.