The religious journal, Christianity Today, states in the March 3, 1958 issue that “the Adventists today are contending vigorously that they are truly evangelical. They want to appear to be so regarded.” Mentioning this book Questions on Doctrines, it says that this “is the Adventist answer to the question whether it ought to be thought of as a sect or a fellow evangelical denomination.” It states further that “the book” is published in an effort to convince the religious world that we are evangelical and one of them.
This is a most interesting and dangerous situation. As one official who was not in favor of what was being done stated to me: “We are being sold down the river.” What a sight for heaven and earth! The church of the living God, which has been given the commission to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven and call men to come out of Babylon, is now standing at the door of these churches asking permission to enter and become one of them. How are the mighty fallen! Had their plans succeeded, we might now be a member of some evangelical association and no longer a distinctive Seventh-day Adventist Church, in secrecy “sold down the river.” This is more than apostasy. This is giving up Adventism. It is the rape of a whole people. It is denying God’s leading in the past. It is the fulfillment of what the Spirit of Prophecy said years ago: “The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. . . . Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement.” Selected Messages, book 1, 204.
“’Be not deceived; many shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.’ We have now before us the alpha of this danger. The omega will be of a most startling nature.” Ibid., 197.
“When men standing in the position of leaders and teachers work under the power of spiritualistic ideas and sophistries, shall we keep silent, for fear of injuring their influence, while souls are being beguiled? . . . Those who feel so very peaceable in regard to the works of the men, who are spoiling the faith of the people of God, are guided by a delusive sentiment.” Series B, no. 2, 9, 11.
“Renewed energy is now needed. Vigilant action is called for. Indifference and sloth will result in the loss of personal religion and of heaven. . . . My message to you is: No longer consent to listen without protest to the perversion of truth. . . . We must firmly refuse to be drawn away from the platform of eternal truth, which since 1844 has stood the test.” Selected Messages, book 1, 195, 196, 199, 200.
“I hesitated and delayed about the sending out of that which the Spirit of the Lord impelled me to write. I did not want to be compelled to present the misleading influence of these sophistries. But in the providence of God, the errors that have been coming in must be met.” Ibid., 205.
“What influence is it that would lead men at this stage of our history to work in an underhanded, powerful way to tear down the foundation of our faith—the foundation that was laid at the beginning of our work by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation? Upon this foundation we have been building for the past fifty years. Do you wonder that when I see the beginning of a work that would remove some of the pillars of our faith, I have something to say? I must obey the command, ‘Meet it!’” Ibid., 207, 208.
All this was written to meet the apostasy in the alpha period. We are now in the omega period which Sister White said would come and would be of a “startling nature.” Her words are even more applicable now than then. It is time to stand up and be counted.
Christ’s death on the cross corresponded to the moment when on the Day of Atonement the high priest had just killed the Lord’s goat in the court. The death of the goat was necessary; for without its blood, there could be no atonement. But the death itself was not the atonement, though it was the first and necessary step. Sister White states that the “atonement commenced on earth.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 261. Says the Scripture: “It is the blood that maketh atonement.” Leviticus 17:11. And, of course, there could be no blood until after the death had taken place. Without a blood ministration, the people would be in the same position as those who on the Passover slew the lamb but failed to place the blood on the doorposts. “When I see the blood,” said God, “I will pass over you.” Exodus 12:13. The death was useless without the ministration of the blood. It was the blood that counted.
It is the blood that is to be applied, not “an act,” “a great act,” “a sacrificial act,” “an atoning act,” “the act of the cross,” “the benefits of the act of the cross,” “the benefits of the atonement,” all of which expressions are used in Questions on Doctrine, while any reference to the blood is carefully avoided. It is not an act of any kind that is to be applied. It is the blood. Yet in all of the one-hundred pages dealing with the atonement, in the book, not once is the blood spoken of as being applied or ministered.
Here are some expressions from the Spirit of Prophecy in regard to the blood atonement:
“Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, ‘My blood, Father, My blood, My blood, My blood.’” Early Writings, 38.
“He appears in the presence of God as our great High Priest, ready to accept the repentance, and to answer the prayers of His people, and through the merits of His own righteousness, to present them to the Father. He raises His wounded hands to God, and claims their blood-bought pardon. I have graven them on the palms of My hands, He pleads. Those memorial wounds of My humiliation and anguish secure to My church the best gifts of Omnipotence.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 261, 262.
“The ark that enshrines the tables of the Law is covered with the mercy seat, before which Christ pleads His blood in the sinner’s behalf.” The Great Controversy, 415.
“When in the typical service the high priest left the holy on the Day of Atonement, he went in before God to present the blood of the sin offering in behalf of all Israel who truly repented of their sins. So Christ had only completed one part of His work as our intercessor, to enter upon another portion of the work, and He still pleaded His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners.” Ibid., 429.
Christ is “now officiating before the ark of God, pleading His blood in behalf of sinners.” Ibid., 433.
“Christ, the great High Priest, pleading His blood before the Father in the sinner’s behalf, bears upon His heart the name of every repentant, believing soul.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 351.
“As Christ at His ascension appeared in the presence of God to plead His blood in behalf of penitent believers, so the priest in the daily ministration sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice in the holy place in the sinner’s behalf. The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the Law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement.” Ibid., 357.
The Final Atonement
“The Father ratified the covenant made with Christ, that He would receive repentant and obedient men, and would love them even as He loves His Son. Christ was to complete His work, and fulfill His pledge to ‘make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.’” The Desire of Ages, 790.
When Christ says in His High Priestly prayer, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:4), Sister White comments: “He had wrought out a righteous character on earth as an example for man to follow.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 260.
In working out this righteous character, Christ demonstrated that it could be done. But could others do the same? That needed to be demonstrated also.
Character is not created, it is developed through manifold tests, temptations, and trials. God at first gives a light test, then a little stronger one until, little by little, resistance to temptations grows stronger. After a time, certain temptations cease to be temptations.
Holiness is not attained in a day. “Redemption is that process by which the soul is trained for heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 330. A man may gain victories every day but still may not have attained. Even Paul had to admit, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.” Undaunted he exclaims, “But I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12.
Christ had pledged to make men overcomers. It was no easy task, but the work of atonement was not finished until and unless He did it. Out of the last generation, out of the weakest of the weak, Christ selects a group with which to make the demonstration that man can overcome as He overcame. In the 144,000, Christ will stand justified and glorified. They prove that it is possible for man to live a life pleasing to God until all conditions and that man can at last stand “in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor.” The Great Controversy, 614. As a husband and wife are one, so now are Christ and the church. The at-one-ment, the true atonement, the final atonement, the complete atonement has been made. “The family of heaven and the family of earth are one.” The Desire of Ages, 835.
Practically all Adventists have read the last few chapters in The Great Controversy which describe the fearful struggle through which God’s people will pass before the end. As Christ was tried to the utmost in the temptations in the wilderness and in the garden of Gethsemane, so the 144,000 will likewise be tried. They will apparently be left to perish, as their prayers remain unanswered as were Christ’s in Gethsemane when His petitions were denied. But their faith will not fail. With Job they exclaim, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” Job 13:15.
The final demonstration of what God can do in humanity is made in the last generation who bear all of the infirmities and weaknesses which the race has acquired through six thousand years of sin and transgression. In the words of Sister White, they bore “the results of the working of the great law of heredity.” The Desire of Ages, 49. The weakest of mankind are to be subjected to the strongest of Satan’s temptations, that the power of God might be abundantly shown. “It was an hour of fearful, terrible agony to the saints. Day and night they cried unto God for deliverance. To outward appearance, there was no possibility of their escape.” Early Writings, 283.
According to the new theology which our leaders have accepted and are now teaching, the 144,000 will be subjected to a temptation immeasurably stronger than any that Christ ever experienced. For while the last generation will bear the weaknesses and passions of their forefathers, they claim that Christ was exempt from all of these. Christ, we are told, did not inherit any of the passions “that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam.” Questions on Doctrine, 383. He was, therefore, functioning on a higher and altogether different level from men who have to battle with inherited passions; hence, He does not know and has not experienced the real power of sin. But this is not the kind of Saviour that I need. I need One who was “in all points tempted like as we are.” Hebrews 4:15. The “substitute Christ” which our leaders present to us, I must reject and do reject. Thank God that “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.” Ibid.
Indictment Against God
But more than even this is involved in the new theology; it places an indictment against God as the Author of a scheme to deceive both men and Satan. Here is the situation:
Satan has consistently maintained that God is unjust in requiring men to obey His Law, which he claims is impossible to do. God has maintained that it can be done; and to substantiate His claim, offered to send His Son to this world to prove His contention. The Son did come, kept the Law, and challenged men to convince Him of sin. He was found to be sinless, holy, and without blame. He proved that the Law could be kept and God stood vindicated; His requirement that men keep His commandments was found to be just. God had won, and Satan was defeated.
But there was a hitch in this; for Satan claimed that God had not played fair, He had favored His Son and had exempted Christ “from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam.” Questions on Doctrine, 383. He had not only exempted mankind in general, but Christ only. That, of course, invalidated Christ’s work on earth. He was no longer one of us who had demonstrated the power of God to keep men from sinning. He was a deceiver of whom God had given preferred treatment and was not afflicted with inherited passions as men are.
Satan had little difficulty in having men accept this view; the Catholic Church accepted it; in due time, the Evangelicals gave their consent; and in 1956, the leaders of the Adventist Church also adopted this view. It was the matter of “exemption” that caused Peter to take Christ aside and say, “Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall not be unto Thee,” which so raised the wrath of Christ that He told Peter, “Get thee behind Me, Satan.” Matthew 16:22, 23. Christ did not want to be exempt. He told Peter, “Thou savourest not the things that be of God.” Ibid. So some today savor not the things of God. They think it merely a matter of semantics. God pity such and open their eyes to the things that be of God. With the surrender of the Adventist leaders to the monstrous doctrine of an “exempt” Christ, Satan’s last opposition has surrendered. We pray again, may God save His people.
The Bible is mostly a record of the protest of God’s witnesses against the prevailing sins of the church and also of their apparent failure. Practically all protesters sealed their testimony with their blood, and the church went on until God intervened. All Paul hoped was that he might “save some.” I Corinthians 9:22. Practically all of the apostles died martyrs, and Christ they hanged on a tree. It took forty years before the destruction came; but when God intervened, He did thorough work.
This denomination needs to go back to the instruction given in 1888, which was scorned. We need a reform in organization that will not permit a few men to direct every move made everywhere in the world. We need a reform that will not permit a few men to handle finances as is not being done. We need a reform that will not permit men to spend millions on institutions not authorized by the vote of the constituency, while mission fields are suffering for want of the barest necessities. We need a change in the emphasis that is given to promotion, finances, and statistics. We need to restore the Sabbath School to it rightful place in the work of God. We need to put a stop to the entertainments and suppers that are creeping in under the guise of raising money for good purposes. We need to put a stop to the weekly announcements in church that are merely disguised advertisements. This list could be greatly enlarged.
But all of these, while important, are, after all, only minor things. We need a reformation and revival most of all. If our leaders will not lead in this, “then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place.” Esther 4:14. I am of good cheer, praying for the peace of Israel.