Inspiration – Christ’s Lifework and Ours

We read of One Who walked this earth in meekness and lowliness, Who went about “doing good” (Acts 10:38), Who spent His life in loving service, comforting the sorrowing, ministering to the needy, lifting up the bowed down. He had no home in this world, only as the kindness of His friends provided it for Him as a wayfarer. Yet it was heaven to be in His presence. Day by day He met trials and temptations, yet He did not fail or become discouraged. He was surrounded by transgression, yet He kept His Father’s commandments. He was always patient and cheerful, and the afflicted hailed Him as a messenger of life and peace and health. He saw the needs of men and women, and to all He gives the invitation, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

What an example Christ has left us in His lifework! Who of His children are living as He did, for the glory of God? He is the light of the world, and he who works successfully for the Master must kindle his taper from His divine life.

To His disciples Christ said, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, … it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matthew 5:13). How careful then we should be to follow the example of Christ in our lifework. Unless we do this, we are worthless to the world—salt which has lost its savor. …

God uses a diversity of talents in His cause. He carries on His work for the church by a variety of instruments. No man who desires to make of himself the only teacher in the church is working for God. No one who says, “I want my influence only to tell in the church over which I preside,” is letting his light shine for God. Those who are uncourteous to their fellow workers must reckon with God. By their influence they keep out of the church the light which God desires His people to have. They manifest a spirit which God does not endorse.

Christ the Pattern

Christ was sent to the world to look after His Father’s interests. He is our pattern in all things. The variety of His teaching is a lesson we need to study.

All workers are not alike in their understanding and experience or in their administration of the Word. Some are constantly partaking of Christ’s flesh and blood. They eat the leaves of the tree of life. They are constant learners in the school of Christ. They make daily progress in goodness, and gain an experience which fits them to labor for the Master. Their influence is a savor of life unto life. So spiritual minded are they that they readily discern spiritual things. The Bible is their study. Magazines, newspapers, and books which treat of nothing heavenly or divine have no attraction for them. But the word of God grows constantly more precious to them. God draws near and speaks to them in language which cannot be misunderstood.

There are others who have not learned how to fix their minds so intently upon the Scriptures that they draw from them each day a fresh supply of grace.

Some men have a special message from heaven. They are to be sent forth to waken the people, not to hover over the churches to their own detriment and the hindrance of the work of God. It does a church no good to have two or three ministers waiting upon it. Were these ministers to go forth to labor for those in darkness, their work would show some results. Let the experienced men take the young men who are preparing for the ministry and go forth into new territory to proclaim the message of warning.

Those who believe the truth will be greatly blessed as they impart the blessings God has given them, letting their light shine forth in good works. As they let their light shine by personal piety, by revealing sound principles in all business transactions, they will magnify the principles of God’s law. God calls upon His workers to annex new territory for Him. With intense earnestness we are to work for those who are without hope and without God in the world. There are rich fields of toil waiting for the faithful worker.

The laborers in God’s cause should bow before Him in humble, earnest prayer, and then go forth, Bible in hand, to arouse the benumbed senses of those represented in the Word as dead in trespasses and sins. Those who do this work will be greatly blessed. Those who know the truth are to strengthen one another, saying to the ministers, “Go forth into the harvest field in the name of the Lord, and our prayers shall go with you as sharp sickles.” Thus our churches should bear decided witness for God, and they should also bring Him their gifts and offerings, that those who go forth into the field may have wherewith to labor for souls.

Who is working faithfully for the Master in this age of the world, when the corruption of the earth is even as the corruption of Sodom and Gomorrah? Who is helping those around him to win eternal life? Are we cleansed and sanctified, fit to be used by the Lord as vessels unto honor? Will every church member now remember that deformity is not from God? The Divine Being is to be worshiped in the beauty of holiness; for He is excellent in majesty and power. …

God desires His people to show by their lives the advantage of Christianity over worldliness. We are to live so that God can use us in His work of converting men and women and leading them to wash their garments of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. We are His workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10). Through us God desires to reveal His manifold wisdom. Therefore He bids us let our light shine forth in good works.

Selected Messages, Book 2, 154–156.

Keys to the Storehouse – Immature Wheat

Many of the people we may think to be tares in the church are really just immature wheat. Another word for immature is undeveloped. The Lord may still be working on that person and this is one reason that Jesus asks us not to “gather up the tares, ye may root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:29, 30.

“The Lord Jesus made clear that there are tares among the wheat, meaning that there will be unworthy ones in the church. It does not change the fact, however, that the field in which the wheat is growing is God’s field. The wheat is still God’s wheat. But He makes it clear in this parable that there will always be the insincere and the sincere, the hypocrite and the genuine, the thoughtless and the thoughtful. They will be going to church together.

“Some whom we think in our humanness to be tares are only immature wheat. They need to ‘grow in grace’ (2 Peter 3:18). Our Lord makes very clear also that no man is to judge which are tares and which are immature wheat. Mistakes and sins are committed. But He said, ‘Let both grow together until the harvest …’ (Matthew 13:30).

“If someone were to ask, How could a person who deals dishonestly be anything but a tare? Let us not forget that even if he is a tare at the moment, there is the possibility of his yet receiving the new birth.” Lovely Lord of the Lord’s Day, Glenn and Ethel Coon, 59, 60.

An example of the difficulty of determining whether or not a professed Christian is genuine is that of Judas.

“Judas, had he died before the last journey to Jerusalem, would have probably gone down in history as a great church leader, a spiritual giant for God. Yet all the while he was at heart a traitor. His real character did not surface until the last night before the crucifixion of Christ. Jesus did not expose him, however, during those three years. Yet Jesus knew, as He said, ‘Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil’ (John 6:70)?

“On the other hand, Peter, who denied his Master with cursing and swearing, came through like pure gold and preached the sermon on the Day of Pentecost. Aren’t you glad that the responsibility for judging character is not left with us?” Ibid., 119.

“Christ has plainly taught that those who persist in open sin must be separated from the church, but He has not committed to us the work of judging character and motive.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 71.

Father: I am so thankful that You have asked me to keep my eyes stayed upon Thee and not on others. I pray for Thy wisdom and light to shine in and through me so that any immature wheat may have the opportunity to receive that light and to grow, or develop and ripen into wheat ready to be gathered into Thy barn. Amen.

Current Events – Pope Opens Holy Year of Mercy

On December 8, 2015 Pope Francis pushed open the great bronze doors of St. Peter’s Basilica to commence his Holy Year of Mercy.

Francis stood in prayer on the threshold of the basilica’s Holy Door, then walked through followed by the 88-year old Benedict with the help of an assistant. They were “the first of an estimated 10 million who will pass through over the course of the next year in a rite of pilgrimage dating back centuries. …

“The Vatican’s Holy Door, located to the right of the basilica’s main entrance, is decorated with 16 bronze panels depicting the redemption of man’s sin through mercy. Passing through it is meant to symbolize the pilgrimage of life’s journey and the sacrifices endured.

“Holy years are generally celebrated every 25–50 years, and over the centuries they have been used to encourage the faithful to make pilgrimages to Rome to obtain an “indulgence”—the ancient church tradition related to the forgiveness of sins that roughly amounts to a “get out of Purgatory free” card.

“Unlike in Martin Luther’s time, these Holy Year indulgences are free and available to those who pass through the Holy Door.” The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, December 9, 2015.

To keep a low key during this Holy Year, the pope has instructed all cathedrals world-wide to open their Holy Doors to encourage the pilgrims to mark the jubilee at home rather than have to travel to Rome.

“We come to God by special invitation, and He waits to welcome us to His audience chamber. The first disciples who followed Jesus were not satisfied with a hurried conversation with Him by the way; they said, ‘Rabbi, … where dwellest Thou? … they came and saw where He dwelt and abode with Him that day’ (John 1:38, 39). So we may be admitted into closest intimacy and communion with God. … Let those who desire the blessing of God knock and wait at the door of mercy with firm assurance, saying, For Thou, O Lord, hast said, ‘Everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 131.

“He answered and said to them, ‘Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” ’ ” Mark 7:6, 7.

The Pathway to Holiness

Inspiration brings out the fact that the burden of sin is the cause of the maladies from which many people are suffering. “There are today thousands suffering from physical disease who, like the paralytic, are longing for the message, ‘Thy sins are forgiven’ (Luke 5:20). The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, is the foundation of their maladies. They can find no relief until they come to the Healer of the soul. The peace which He alone can impart would restore vigor to the mind and health to the body.” The Ministry of Healing, 77.

2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” There is a judgment coming, and each and every soul has a case pending at the bar of God and must appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Christ wants His people to appear before Him spotless, without stain, with a humble and contrite heart. Song of Solomon 4:7 says, “Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee.” This conveys a similar concept as the proclamation that Jesus said He would make, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

We want to order our lives in such a manner as to be found without a single spot in our character before the judgment seat of Christ. We want to understand this pathway to holiness. In Hebrews 12:12, it says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” It is a matter of life or death that we gain that holiness.

“No man receives holiness as a birthright, or as a gift from any other human being. Holiness is the gift of God through Christ.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1117. Accepting Christ as a personal Saviour and following His example of self-denial is the secret of holiness. The majority of the Christian world profess to accept Him as their personal Saviour, but they stumble at following His example of self-denial, and thereby fail to inherit that holiness.

There are steps to holiness. In Acts 2:37 Peter says, “Now when they heard this (the gospel truth) they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

The first step on the path of holiness is conviction. The Great Controversy, 467, says, “The first step in reconciliation to God is the conviction of sin.” There is also something that must be mingled with the conviction of sin. Psalm 51:1–3 says, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness, according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me.” After the conviction comes acknowledgment of our sin. Why is it important for us to acknowledge our sins? Steps to Christ, 37 and 38 says, “Those who have not humbled their souls before God in acknowledging their guilt, have not yet fulfilled the first condition of acceptance.” God gives grace to the humble.

There is a fatal mistake that we do not want to make on the pathway to holiness when it comes to the conviction of sin. Genesis 3:12,13 says, “And the man said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

Adam and Eve both cast the blame and guilt of their sin on others. Instead of acknowledging their own guilt they argued that the blame be on others. In this way they attempted to justify themselves. Self-justification is a fatal mistake when it comes to being convicted of sin. Do not cast the blame on someone else.

In Steps to Christ, 40 and 41 we are told: “The spirit of self-justification originated in the father of lies and has been exhibited by all the sons and daughters of Adam.” At some time in our lives we have all tried to justify our actions, whether it was by casting the guilt or the blame on others, or by any other method. Remember that self-justification originated with the father of lies. “True repentance will lead a man to bear his guilt himself and acknowledge it without deception or hypocrisy.” Ibid. Only that is true repentance.

There is another fatal mistake that can be made. Hebrews 3:7 says, “Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.”

Repeated rejection of warnings will harden your heart to conviction and cause you to resist the Spirit until He no longer pleads with you. Patriarchs and Prophets 268, says, “He who has once yielded to temptation will yield more readily the second time. Every repetition of the sin lessens his power of resistance, blinds his eyes, and stifles conviction.” Your heart has been hardened and you are resisting the voice of God and not doing what He is asking you.

“Therefore by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in His sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20. It is the Law of God that convinces, convicts, reproves, or brings to light sin. “That which makes manifest is light.” Ephesians 5:14. Compare that with Proverbs 6:23, which says that the Law of God is light; it is the Law of God that exposes or makes known to us what sin is. “It is through the law men are convicted of sin; and they must feel themselves sinners.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 219.

Many people do not know what sin is and think they are okay. Before they realize the need of a Saviour, they must feel themselves sinners, and they can’t do that without being convicted by the law. The sinner must see himself or herself as being exposed to the wrath of God before he or she can realize the need of a Saviour.

It is important while on this pathway to holiness to study the word of God in order to reach the condition that God has set before us. “Study God’s word prayerfully. That word presents before you, in the law of God and the life of Christ, the great principles of holiness, without which ‘no man shall see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). It convinces of sin; it plainly reveals the way of salvation. Give heed to it as the voice of God speaking to your soul. As you see the enormity of sin, as you see yourself as you really are, do not give up to despair. It was sinners that Christ came to save.” Steps to Christ, 35.

Conviction of sin is the first step and we want to avoid those fatal mistakes of justifying ourselves or hardening our heart. When we receive the conviction we must acknowledge our sins. After we have been convicted of sin and have acknowledged our guilt, the next thing is to repent. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13. David says, “I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” Psalm 32:5.

David acknowledged his sin and confessed it. “David was pardoned of his transgression because he humbled his heart before God in repentance and contrition of soul and believed that God’s promise to forgive would be fulfilled. He confessed his sin, repented, and was reconverted.” Our High Calling, 83.

That promise is given to us if we should confess our sins. “He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9.

One fatal mistake is that we fail to confess and then attempt to cover our sins. “How mistaken are those who imagine that confession of sin will detract from their dignity, and lessen their influence among their fellow men. Clinging to this erroneous idea, though seeing their faults, many fail to confess them, but rather pass by the wrongs they have done others, so embittering their own lives, and shadowing the lives of others. It will not hurt your dignity to confess your sins. Away with this false dignity! Fall on the Rock and be broken, and Christ will give you the true and heavenly dignity.

“Let not pride, self-esteem, or self-righteousness keep anyone from confessing his sin that he may claim the promise. ‘He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy’ (Proverbs 28:13). Keep nothing back from God, and neglect not the confession of your faults to your brethren. ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed’ (James 5:16). Many a sin is left unconfessed to confront the sinner in the day of final account; better far to confront your sins now, to confess them and put them away, while the atoning Sacrifice pleads in your behalf.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 326, 327.

Those who make the mistake of attempting to cover up their sins fail to recognize that one day all of those sins will be revealed. Jesus says, “For nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” Luke 8:17.

With God there is no such thing as secrets. “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” Luke 12:2. We make a fatal mistake by refusing to confess sins.

Achan made a fatal mistake by confessing too late. “And Achan answered Joshua, and said, indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them, and behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.” Joshua 7:20.

“Achan acknowledged his guilt, but when it was too late for the confession to benefit himself. … How often are similar confessions made. There is a vast difference between admitting the facts after they have been proved, and confessing sins known only to ourselves and to God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 497. Achan uttered no confession until the finger of God was placed upon him. Only then, when his sin could no longer be concealed, did he admit to the truth. He made a fatal mistake.

Let’s compare that with the following: “The day is coming when all who have committed sin will make confession, even though it is too late for them to receive pardon. God waits long for the sinner to repent. He manifests a wonderful forbearance. But He must at last call the transgressor of His law to account.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1147.

In Numbers 32:23, it says, “… be sure that your sin will find you out.” There is no running and hiding from our sins. It is better now to confess them.

To whom should we confess our private sins? Psalm 32:5 says, “I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” David was the example of confessing his sins to the Lord. We are to confess our private sins to God, and not to man. “Prayer and confession are to be offered only to Him Who has entered once for all into the holy place [the sanctuary].” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 913.

“It is no degradation for man to bow down before his Maker and confess his sins and plead for forgiveness through the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. … But he who kneels before fallen man and opens in confession the secret thoughts and imaginations of his heart is dishonoring himself by debasing his manhood and degrading every noble instinct of his soul.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 638.

There are millions who are doing this and dishonoring themselves, debasing themselves, and degrading themselves by opening up the secrets from the recesses of their soul to a mere man. We are not to confess our sins to man, hoping for forgiveness or a release of guilt. Many do that hoping for some kind of forgiveness, freedom of conscience, or some kind of freedom from their guilt. But no man can forgive sins or free a sinner from guilt.

“God will be better glorified if we confess the secret, inbred corruption of the heart to Jesus alone than if we open its recesses to finite, erring man, who cannot judge righteously unless his heart is constantly imbued with the Spirit of God. God knows the heart, even every secret of the soul; then do not pour into human ears the story which God alone should hear.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 645.

There are confessions that should be made to man. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16. These are confession of faults to those we have injured or wronged. This is difficult for many humans to do and there are many reasons why we may not take this step. One of these reasons may be pride. Many people find it very uncomfortable to humble themselves and admit that they are wrong, for fear that they would be exposed and their reputation be brought to disrepute.

Nevertheless, we are commanded to confess our wrongs and confess our faults to our brethren. “Confess your sins to God, who only can forgive them, and your faults to one another. If you have given offense to your friend or neighbor you are to acknowledge your wrong, and it is his duty freely to forgive you.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 639. If we have given an offense to a friend or neighbor, to a brother or sister, we must acknowledge our wrong. In refusing to do that we are failing in our pathway to holiness.

“Keep nothing back from God, and neglect not the confession of your faults to the brethren when they have a connection with them.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 239. If we have done something that has somehow offended or wronged a brother or sister, then we are told again to confess our faults to them.

Another reason why this is important is found in Matthew 5:23. Jesus says, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”

Based on this Scripture there is a connection between one’s relation between his brother or his sister and one’s relation with God and worship. Our worship could be hindered if we are at variance with a brother or sister. Jesus says, if you there remember that your brother has ought against you, first go be reconciled to him. Then come and worship Me. When we come to worship God, we must be one with our brother and our sister.

“Then there are confessions that the Lord has bidden us make to one another. If you have wronged your brother by word or deed you are first to be reconciled to him before your worship will be acceptable to heaven. Confess to those whom you have injured, and make restitution, bringing forth fruit meet for repentance. If anyone has feelings of bitterness, wrath, or malice toward a brother, let him go to him personally, confess his sin, and seek forgiveness.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 646. Don’t let this be an hindrance to you on your pathway to holiness. Confession is so essential in this pathway.

Should our confession be general or specific? Notice what the Bible says in Leviticus 5:5: “And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing.”

“True confession is always of a specific character and acknowledges particular sins. They may be of such a nature as to be brought before God only; they may be wrongs that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public character, and should then be as publicly confessed. But all confession should be definite and to the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty.” Steps to Christ, 38.

It is clear that our confession must be specific to the sin committed. There is no covering or trying to give a general statement to cover everything just by saying, “Lord, forgive me for all my sins.” I recognize that as I am specific in communion with God about those sins, I am keener to discern when He works in my life to help me on that particular point. If I had been more general, the chances are that I would not recognize it when something comes my way. If I am more specific and praying about that, I will be more in tune with God working in my life. Be specific, not only in a confession of sin, but be specific in your requests also as long as they are in accordance with God’s will.

After confessing sins and faults the next step is to forsake those sins by putting them away. “Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right, If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he hath robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity, he shall surely live, he shall not die.” Ezekiel 33:14.

An example of that is found in Luke 19:8: “And Zacchaeus stood and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

“Every converted soul will, like Zacchaeus, signalize the entrance of Christ into his heart by an abandonment of the unrighteous practices that have marked his life. Like the chief publican, he will give proof of his sincerity by making restitution” Conflict and Courage, 302. Zacchaeus proved his sincerity by repaying what he had stolen four times to make restitution.

“If we have injured others through any unjust business transaction, if we have overreached in trade, or defrauded any man, even though it be within the pale [or protection] of the law, we should confess our wrong, and make restitution as far as lies in our power. It is right for us to restore not only that which we have taken, but all that it would have accumulated if put to a right and wise use during the time it has been in our possession. If we have in any manner defrauded or injured our brother, we should make restitution.” The Faith I Live By, 132.

Involved in confession is making restitution on the pathway to holiness.

“Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation. There must be decided changes in the life; everything offensive to God must be put away. This will be the result of genuine sorrow for sin.” Steps to Christ, 39.

Are you ordering your life to be found without a spot in your character before the judgment seat of Christ? The work of repentance and reformation is a lifetime action. It is not a one-time altar call prayer to salvation. It is a daily experience. Paul says in I Corinthians 15:31, “I die daily.”

“Wrongs cannot be righted, nor can reformations in character be made, by a few feeble, intermittent efforts. Sanctification is the work, not of a day, or of a year, but of a lifetime. The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle. Without continual effort and constant activity there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor’s crown.

“The strongest evidence of man’s fall from a higher state is the fact that it costs so much to return. The way of return can be gained only by hard fighting, inch by inch, every hour. By a momentary act of will, one may place himself in the power of evil; but it requires more than a momentary act of will to break these fetters and attain to a higher, holier life. The purpose may be formed, the work begun; but its accomplishment will require toil, time, and perseverance, patience and sacrifice.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 312, 313.

“The next day, John sees Jesus coming unto Him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. The blood of Jesus is the sinner’s only cure. It is our only hope for freedom, the only pathway to holiness.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” I Peter 1:18, 19.

Are you willing to confess all of your sins, and not only confess, but turn away from sin and to truly repent, and where necessary, make restitution?

“God calls for faith in Christ as our atoning sacrifice. His blood is the only remedy for sin.” The Faith I Live By, 102.

“It is not God’s will that you should be distrustful, and torture your soul with the fear that God will not accept you because you are sinful and unworthy. … You can say: ‘I know I am a sinner, and that is the reason I need a Saviour. … I have no merit or goodness whereby I may claim salvation, but I present before God the all-atoning blood of the spotless Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is my only plea.’ ” Ibid.

Nobody will want to hear Jesus saying: “Depart from Me, I never knew You.” Follow the pathway to holiness and gain the victory through Jesus today before it is too late.

Demario Carter is a former Steps to Life employee and has been a speaker at previous camp meetings.

Deception and Prophecy

We are living in solemn times and we need to take our relationship with the Lord seriously. In Matthew 24:2–14, Jesus answered the question His disciples asked about the building of the temple and He gave them signs of the end. Particularly look at verse 15 when Jesus said: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).”

Right before this startling statement Jesus said that the gospel will be preached in all the world. Christ admonishes those who are living in the last days to study the book of Daniel, and specifically, the abomination of desolation.

This article will touch on the phrases Christ is referring to in Daniel 12:11 which says, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” Here it makes mention of an abomination that makes desolate and that it is in connection with the phrase that says, “sacrifice being taken away”—the daily sacrifice.

Notice Daniel 11:31: “And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” There it is again: “abomination that maketh desolate?” In connection with that phrase, it makes mention of taking away a “daily sacrifice.” Daniel 8:11, 12 says, “Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the [His] sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground, and it practiced, and prospered.”

Here the phrase talking about daily sacrifice also mentions sanctuary and truth being cast down. What Jesus spoke is found in the book of Daniel. If you are a familiar with this book you know that the word sacrifice is a supplied word, meaning that it is not in the original text. Whatever this power represents it casts down truth to the ground.

A question is then asked in verse 13: “Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, ‘How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?’ ”

The words abomination and transgression are in the same family. Notice how they are linked to daily sacrifice. The other chapters say specifically “abomination of desolation,” but here it says “transgression of desolation.” I believe they are one and the same.

The answer to the question asked in verse 13, “How long” is given in verse 14. “And He said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Christ wanted us to understand what was happening in Daniel chapter 8, that “unto two thousand and three hundred days” there would be a cleansing of the sanctuary. This was a phrase that was used to denote a specific day and also a specific service that transpired for the Jews throughout the year.

Leviticus 16:16 says, “And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgression in all their sins; and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.” We see here that some atonement needs to be made because of the uncleanness of the people. This service was for the purpose of cleansing the people because they were in a state of uncleanliness based on the sins in their lives.

Verse 19 says, “… he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.” And verse 33 says, “And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.”

The cleansing of the sanctuary is linked with the Day of Atonement, the day of cleansing. All those who refused to participate in that service were condemned. The Day of Atonement was the only day in the whole year that the high priest was to enter into the most holy place of the sanctuary.

There were three compartments to that sanctuary. In the outer court was an altar of sacrifice and a laver. This is where the Jews washed before entering into the first compartment called the holy place. Within this compartment was the table of showbread, the altar of incense, and the minora, a candlestick holding seven candles.

Within the most holy place, the last compartment behind the second veil was the ark of the covenant which contained the Law of God. Once a year the high priest would go into this compartment. Leviticus 23:27, 28 says, “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God.”

Notice verses 29 and 30: “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.” Because of this cutting off from the people, it became known to the Jews as a Day of Judgment. On that day it was decided who would remain in the congregation for the following year with the Jews and who was to be cut off from the people. So, the Day of Atonement was also the Day of Judgment for the Jewish economy.

As you study the abomination of desolation, you will come across the question that was asked in Daniel 8, “How long shall these things be” and as you study that time prophecy, you will come to an understanding that there must be a cleansing of the tabernacle. In Hebrews 8:1, 2 it says, “Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum: We have such an high priest, Who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”

The tabernacle on earth was something that Moses and the Israelites were commanded to make. The tabernacle in heaven is the true tabernacle, the one the Lord pitched. Christ is in the most holy place right now making an atonement for the people. Many teach that everything concerning the atonement was over at the cross. But that is not true according to the plan of salvation, which was preached unto Abraham (Galatians 3:8). God attempted to teach the gospel through symbols, service, and type. As the people understood this gospel, the sinner could go from the outside of the sanctuary by faith into the innermost part of the sanctuary.

The word sanctified means to make holy. It has the same root as the word sanctuary. The sanctuary was the place where the process occurred by which a sinner could be made holy. It was through the blood of the lamb from the court all the way to the mercy seat in the most holy place where atonement could be made. That being the case, it is impossible that a complete atonement was finished at the cross. The lamb was slain in the court and the blood was taken all the way into the sanctuary. When Christ ascended up into heaven, the Bible teaches that He became the high priest, offering His blood on behalf of our sins in the heavenly sanctuary.

The Bible says in Psalm 1:1–4: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but they are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.” Notice, the ungodly are like the chaff that the wind drives away and then it says in verse 5, “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment.”

Daniel 2 describes Nebuchadnezzar’s dream where he saw an image with a head of gold, arms and chest of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet a mixture of iron and clay, representing the world powers from the Babylonian era to the end of time. Then, it says a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, which came and smote the image upon the feet. “Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away.” Daniel 2:35. Compare this with Psalm 1:4, 5. God revealed to King Nebuchadnezzar, through His servant, Daniel, the importance of recognizing the power that God has to set rulers on the throne. God showed him the basic outline of the powers of the world represented by the metals in the statue. Babylon – the head of gold; the Medes and the Persians – the arms and chest of silver; Greece – the belly and thighs of brass; Roman dominion – the legs of iron; the division of nations – iron mixed with clay, which we have to this day. The stone that smashed the feet causing the destruction of the entire statue represented the everlasting kingdom to be set up at the return of Christ.

The Bible encourages us to study and meditate on God’s Law and its precepts. If we study the life of Jesus we shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water and will bring forth His fruit. However, those who neglect this will not be prepared for that coming Stone and will be like the chaff blown away with all kinds of winds of doctrines and worldly theories.

When Jesus came to the fig tree looking for fruit there was none. God is looking for us to bear the fruits of His character, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, in and out of season.

Ezekiel 37 talks about dry bones. “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And He said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again He said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:1–6.

In Luke 24, two men were walking to Emmaus when Christ began to draw near to them. They did not know it was Jesus, even when He expounded to them, beginning at Moses and all the prophets, the things concerning Himself. The end of that story reads that “as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them” (verse 30 NKJV). Then their eyes were opened and they began to know Him and understand the events of the past days, His crucifixion and resurrection. Likewise, Ezekiel was told to prophecy to a valley of dry bones. Why? So “… ye shall know that I am the Lord.”

Ezekiel continues in verses 7–10: “So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said He unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God, Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”

The word of the Lord caused those dead and dry bones to have life. Often our spiritual experience languishes and we feel like a bunch of dry bones, but if you want a spiritual revival in your life, then as Christ said to the two men at Emmaus, and as Christ commanded Ezekiel, study Bible prophecy. See how the Lord’s word is sure to come to pass as He has spoken it and you will begin to have a revival in your life. Read Daniel, read Revelation, and take more earnest heed to the things that are being taught there. This is sure to bring revival in your spiritual walk with the Lord.

King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to utilize the great image he saw in his dream to bring glory to himself. So he had a statue built, not just with the head of gold but with the entire statue of gold. When it was completed, he commanded that all people bow to it, thus giving him homage. This tower of Nebuchadnezzar’s image did not appear overnight and was built over time in the view of all. Thus the people had time to think and to pray about it, including Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These three who had previously determined with Daniel not to defile themselves with the king’s food stood firm in their worship of the only true God, refusing to bow before the image. This caused them to be cast into the fire. (See Daniel 3.)

Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful king of the most powerful dynasty ruling the world at that time. He made other nations to tremble. All the nations feared before him and yet these three young men humbly, yet firmly told the king there was no need to give them another chance to bow. Daniel 3:16–18 states: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

The boldness these men had is amazing. Something about the presence of authority can really shake a man, but these young men had holy boldness because they knew that with them was the presence of a greater authority. They believed themselves always to be in the presence of God. The Psalmist says in Psalm 16:8: “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” They were unflinching in the face of such great authority, much like Christ, Daniel, Paul, and many of these others.

Boldness does not mean aggression or forcing the truth down people’s throats. It means being confident in what you believe. We should not be ashamed of the principles that lead to eternal life. These three Hebrew men had faith in the promises of God, and as a result they stood boldly obedient to His word.

Daniel 1:3, 4 gives us some background of Daniel and his three friends. “And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of the eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; children in whom was not blemish, but well-favored, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.” So Daniel and his three friends were all eunuchs in their Babylonian captivity.

In Isaiah 38 we are told that Hezekiah was “sick unto death” and Isaiah the prophet said unto him, “Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord … And Hezekiah wept sore.” Then the Lord told him, “I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city. And this shall be a sign unto thee from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that He hath spoken; Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down” (verses 1–8).

The sun not only shines in the Palestine area but all around the globe. Many astrologers and magicians saw this. When King Nebuchadnezzar could not figure out his dream, he called the magicians and the astrologers who were students of the skies. Because the Babylonians were students of the skies, they saw what had happened to the sun. Word had spread that Hezekiah had something to do with this and that His God had done some miracle for him and men were sent to enquire. Hezekiah was glad of them, and showed them “all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all of his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not. Then came Isaiah the prophet unto Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon.

“Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them. Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 39:2–6).

God had performed a mighty miracle for Hezekiah. He was given the greatest opportunity to present the gospel story and to present the power and mighty working of the Creator God to the Babylonians. Instead, he bragged by showing them his riches and neglected to give the glory to God. As a result, Isaiah prophesied that everything in his house would be taken to Babylon. Isaiah 39:7 says, “And of thy sons that shall issue from thee … shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Daniel and his three friends were part of the fulfillment of that prophecy to Hezekiah.

Isaiah 40:28–31 says, “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is not searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youth shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

We can find comfort in Scriptures like Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” What a promise! We don’t have to fear.

Look at Isaiah 42:1, 6: “Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon him … I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.”

Isaiah 43:10, 11 says, “Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Saviour.”

Daniel and his three friends knew the Scriptures; so we can be sure that they understood that there was no other God besides Christ and God the Father. In verses 14 and 15 it says: “Thus saith the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your king.” He reminded them that He is the Creator.

We worship God because He is the Creator. Many times in the Bible when you read about worship, it will mention the fact that He is our Creator. We worship Him because He created us.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego would have been familiar of the writings of Isaiah, including chapters 38 through 43 and there learned the promises that they could claim. They knew that they were to be the eunuchs prophesied about and that they were the witnesses that were sent to Babylon as representatives of God. So because of Bible prophecy, which Isaiah had spoken, they were able to stand with boldness before King Nebuchadnezzar, refusing to bow down. Our God is able to deliver us as stated in Isaiah 43:2. But they said in Daniel 3:17, “If it be so, our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

However, if He decides not to, that is also okay because He is still the Creator God. He has redeemed us and we will not bow down to the image. Brethren, praise God!

Matthew 24:14 says, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” It was followed by the abomination of desolation, which has something to do with the connection of the cleansing of the sanctuary and the Day of Atonement, or the judgment.

Where else in the Bible do you know of where a gospel is going to the world, and then the very next statement makes mention of judgment? In Revelation 14:6, 7 the first of the three angels’ messages says, “I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him.”

There is a warning today of an image of the beast being formed. Do you see it being constructed? Are you watching the progress while the pieces are being put together? God is giving us time now to study the prophecies so that when the time comes and the decree is announced that all should bow before the image and worship it, you can also be unafraid and bold just like Daniel and his three friends when they met their trials.

Bible verses are from the KJV version.

Jose Riviera delivered this message as a guest speaker at Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. Previously he has helped out with the youth at Steps to Life camp meetings.

Ready for His Appearing

Even though, in the Millerite movement of 1844, there was a spirit of love that we have never seen since, Ellen White said that they were not yet ready for the Lord to come. They had unreserved consecration. They had received the Holy Spirit and were born-again Christians. They were ready to die and to come up again in the first resurrection. They sought the Saviour’s approval every day and they were serving Jesus with an undivided heart. They were without question the saints of God in their generation. They were perfect in the same sense that Noah and the other Bible characters were described in the Bible as being perfect. Yet, they were not ready for Christ’s return.

To answer the question, “What was it they lacked and needed to be ready?” we need to first study the atonement. Even though the investigative judgment and the atonement take place at the same time in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, they are not the same thing. Ellen White wrote, “Attended by heavenly angels, our great High Priest enters the holy of holies [in 1844] and there appears in the presence of God to engage in the last acts of His ministration in behalf of man—to perform the work of investigative judgment and to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits.” The Great Controversy, 480.

In 1977 an Anglican clergyman by the name of Geoffrey Paxton wrote a book called The Shaking of Adventism. In his book he states that we are in a life and death struggle as to the nature of the gospel. A friend of mine said, “Laodicea has been a long time in a life and death struggle as to the nature of the gospel and she has lost.” The reason he said that is because of what we have in recent years published in our official writings concerning the atonement.

The atonement is an exceedingly important subject. Ellen White wrote in 1906: “The sanctuary question is the foundation of our faith.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, 248. She also said, “We are in the great day of atonement, and the sacred work of Christ for the people of God that is going on at the present time in the heavenly sanctuary should be our constant study.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 520.

The word atonement has more than one meaning in Inspired writings and the failure to distinguish between the different ways this word is used is one of the reasons for the confusion of voices in Adventism today about this subject. The three meanings of the word atonement I have found in the Inspired writings are as follows:

  1. A sacrifice, or an attainment of a penalty, or reparation, or compensation, or payment of a debt, or paying a price, or giving a ransom.

If you are a Christian, then you know that Jesus accomplished all of these things on the cross. When we use the word atonement in that sense we understand that Jesus made a full, complete and perfect atonement on the cross. So the first meaning of atonement is connected with the cross and the death of Jesus.

Several statements about this are as follows:

“Christ made a full and complete sacrifice, a sacrifice sufficient to save every son and daughter of Adam who should show repentance toward God for having transgressed His law, and manifest faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 664.

“On the cross of Christ, the Saviour made an atonement for the fallen race.” The Signs of the Times, December 17, 1902.

“He planted the cross between heaven and earth, and when the Father beheld the sacrifice of His Son, He bowed before it in recognition of its perfection. ‘It is enough,’ He said. ‘The atonement is complete.’ ” The Review and Herald, September 24, 1901.

“Type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb slain for the sins of the world. Our great High Priest has made the only sacrifice that is of any value in our salvation. When He offered Himself on the cross, a perfect atonement was made for the sins of the people.” Lift Him Up, 319.

That is the first meaning of atonement: a sacrifice, a ransom to pay a debt and Jesus fully paid the debt on the cross of Calvary.

However, in Inspired writings, that is not the only meaning or the main meaning of the word atonement.

  1. A second meaning of the word atonement: mainly to receive forgiveness of sins. Very clearly in Bible and Spirit of Prophecy writings, atonement refers to receiving forgiveness of sins or pardon. In Leviticus 4:27–31: “If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not to be done and is guilty, or if his sin which he has sinned comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has sinned. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering. Then the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour all the remaining blood at the base of the altar. He shall remove all its fat, as fat is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma to the Lord. So the priest shall make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.”

Notice that once the sacrifice has been made, a priest is involved who, with the blood or flesh of the sacrifice, makes an atonement for you and then you are forgiven. However, before this forgiveness could be given there was an important step. “And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing.” Leviticus 5:5.

A person had to make specific confession, and then it says, “He shall offer the second as a burnt offering according to the prescribed manner. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin which he has committed, and it shall be forgiven him.” Leviticus 5:10.

Over and over again the Bible says that the priest will make atonement, and when the priest makes atonement you will be pardoned or forgiven. Once forgiven there is no more guilt. Many people in our world suffer various damaging sicknesses as a result of their guilt. It was not God’s will for the Israelites to wait until the end of the year. The people could come any day to confess their sins and receive atonement, but they had to have the services of a priest in order to have forgiveness.

  1. A more profound meaning of the word atonement, a third meaning, is found in Leviticus 16:29, 30. “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.”

This was not the same atonement that they received during the year. On this Day of Atonement they would be cleansed and their sins would be removed and they would no longer be sinners.

“In the typical system, which was a shadow of the sacrifice and priesthood of Christ, the cleansing of the sanctuary was the last service performed by the high priest in the yearly round of ministration. It was the closing work of the atonement—a removal or putting away of sin from Israel. It prefigured the closing work in the ministration of our High Priest in heaven, in the removal or blotting out of the sins of His people, which are registered in the heavenly records.” The Great Controversy, 352.

Ellen White wrote in 1846: “I believe the Sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days is the New Jerusalem Temple, of which Christ is a minister. The Lord shew me in vision, more than one year ago, that Brother Crosier had the true light, on the cleansing of the Sanctuary.” A Word to the Little Flock, 12.

In 1846 the other churches were saying to Crosier that the atonement was all done at the cross. He says, “But again, they say that the atonement was made and finished on Calvary, when the Lamb of God expired. So men have taught us, and so the churches and world believe; but it is none the more true or sacred on that account, if unsupported by Divine authority. Perhaps few or none who hold that opinion have ever tested the foundation on which it rests.” The Law of Moses, 41.

All of the Adventist pioneers understood the same thing. James White described it in about 1872 or 1874. He said concerning Jesus, “He dwelt among men full of grace and truth, lived our example, died our sacrifice, was raised for our justification, ascended on high to be our only Mediator in the sanctuary in Heaven where, with His own blood, He makes atonement for our sins, which atonement so far from being made on the cross, which was but the offering of the sacrifice, is the very last portion of His work as priest, according to the example of the Levitical priesthood.” Fundamental Principles of Seventh-day Adventists, 4. Crosier, James White and all of the Adventist pioneers believed this.

In 1889 it was written this way: “Christ was raised for our justification and ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in heaven where, through the merits of His shed blood He procures pardon and forgiveness.” It sounds just about the same but is not quite the same.” Adventist Year Book of Statistics, 1889, 147.

In 1894 we describe it like this: “Where, through the atoning merits of His shed blood He secures pardon and forgiveness.” Fundamental Principles of Seventh-day Adventists, 147. This does not sound too bad but it is not the same—we had changed it.

In the 1931 Seventh-day Adventist Year Book the definition was really changed. In fact neither the word atonement nor anything like it ever appears. It states: “He died for our sins on the cross, was raised from the dead, and ascended to the Father where He ever lives to make intercession for us.” Intercession does have to do with the investigative judgment but the intercession is not the atonement. Atonement is not even mentioned.

All four of these statements were unofficial, but the General Conference Committee in 1950 passed a resolution that no change be made in the 1931 statement except by the General Conference in session when adequate notice of such intention had been published. So to summarize this was how it was changed:

  1. In 1872 we said, With His own blood He makes atonement.
  2. In 1889 we said, Through the merit of His blood He secures pardon.
  3. In 1894 we said, Through the atoning merits of His blood He secures pardon.
  4. In 1931 we said, He ever lives to make intersession for us.

Things got worse. In 1957 a book was published called Questions on Doctrines, and on page 354 it stated: “When, therefore, one hears an Adventist say, or reads in Adventist literature—even in the writings of Ellen G. White—that Christ is making atonement now, it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application of the benefits of His sacrificial atonement He made on the cross.”

According to that, Christ is not even making atonement for us up in heaven anymore. It was all done at the cross and He is just applying benefits. This is a 180 degree turn from where our pioneers stood. Adventists were called a cult and one reason was because the other churches said that the atonement was all over at the cross and our pioneers said “No, it was not.” The atonement has not been completed yet. It is being conducted in the sanctuary in heaven right now. Some of our leaders thought we ought to make peace with these people; so they tried to state our beliefs in a way that would be acceptable to them.

The following is what appeared in Ministry Magazine, in February, 1957. You need to know before you read this statement that this is a lie. It said, “The sacrificial act on the cross is a complete and final atonement for man’s sin.” That is a lie!

What does God say about this? “The ministration of the priest throughout the year in the first apartment of the sanctuary, ‘within the veil’ (Hebrews 6:19) which formed the door and separated the holy place from the outer court, represents the work of ministration upon which Christ entered at His ascension. It was the work of the priest in the daily ministration to present before God the blood of the sin offering, also the incense which ascended with the prayers of Israel. So did Christ plead His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners, and present before Him also, with the precious fragrance of His own righteousness, the prayers of penitent believers. Such was the work of ministration in the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven.” The Great Controversy, 420, 421.

“For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their sins still remained upon the books of record. As in the typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, so before Christ’s work for the redemption of men is completed there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended.” Ibid., 421. (Emphasis added.)

Notice, the atonement involves not just applying benefits for something that was done 2000 years ago. It involves a continuing work of atonement, which is going on at this time to remove sin from God’s people.

Another statement on this: “As anciently the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin offering and through its blood transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded.” Ibid., 421, 422. [Emphasis added.]

Why is it so important that we understand sanctuary truths? There is a story about an argument in which two young men got into about whether or not they needed to keep the Sabbath. One argued that it didn’t matter, but the other one said, “If you are right and I am wrong, it doesn’t matter because I will be able to go to heaven anyway. But if I am right and you are wrong you won’t be going to heaven.”

Some people say that it does not matter what we are studying here. Well, if we are wrong, it doesn’t matter. We will be able to go to heaven anyway. If the Adventist pioneers were right, the people who have rejected this teaching are not going to make it because this teaching involves understanding how you can be ready for Jesus to come. This is the reason that the people in 1844 were not ready for Jesus to come. They were ready to die and to be raised in the first resurrection but they were not ready to be translated. Why? Because they had not received the atonement. If they were not ready to be translated because they had not received the atonement, will you be ready to be translated if you have not received the atonement?

There are three meanings to the atonement. It is described sometimes in the Spirit of Prophecy for the ransom that is paid—which Jesus paid on the cross. It is used other times to describe forgiveness of sins, the work of the daily or the first apartment of the sanctuary. It is also used to describe the work of the Day of Atonement when you are cleansed from all of your sins. Many times Ellen White and the pioneers used the atonement in the context of the removal of sins.

We are told that the sanctuary was the very center of Christ’s work on behalf of men and it concerns every soul living upon the earth. (The Great Controversy, 488.) It is in the sanctuary in heaven where the cases of all people are going to be decided.

The investigative judgment will determine whether you will be part of the atonement in which your sins are removed or blotted out.

In Revelation 3:17, last part, in the message to the Laodicean church, Jesus revealed to us our real problem: “You do not know that you are wretched.” The Bible tells us what makes a person wretched. In Romans 7:24, it says, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Paul recognizes that he is wretched and wants to be delivered from that state. He has sin within that he has never overcome. He is in bondage to it. Read the whole chapter of Romans 7 that describes the problem with Laodicea—you do not know that you are wretched. You think that everything is okay. However, you can never meet the Lord in peace and go to heaven while in a wretched condition.

Ellen White wrote, “The sanctuary question is the foundation of our faith.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, 248. We are in the great Day of Atonement. This should be our constant study.

The final atonement removes your sins from you. When the final atonement is over, those who receive of that atonement are no longer forgiven sinners anymore—they are no longer sinners. This final atonement removes sin from every person who is saved. The final atonement is made for the dead first and finally for the living.

The problem today is that God’s professed people are not at all ready to receive the final atonement. Let’s suppose that it is time for the final atonement, but I have a sin in my life that I don’t want to overcome. Will it do any good for Jesus to remove all my sins if I sin again the next day? In order to be ready to receive the final atonement, a person has to have quit sinning. This is described in the Old as well as in the New Testament.

You will want the following Scripture fulfilled in your life. “Behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving [inscription] thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.” Zechariah 3:9 KJV. That is the final atonement. Your sins will be taken away and blotted out. You will no longer be a sinner.

The plan of salvation involves a complete restoration from everything that has been ruined and lost by sin. It will not be complete for you until your sins are removed.

Ellen Write wrote about the fact of our self-deception. Many are being preached into heaven. You cannot live for the devil all of your life and then the last two minutes of your life ask the Lord to save you. That is not how the plan of salvation works. It did not even work that way for the thief on the cross. The thief on the cross was sanctified before he died. Ellen White said, “What is it that constitutes the wretchedness, the nakedness, of those who feel rich and increased with goods? It is the want of the righteousness of Christ. In their own righteousness they are represented as clothed with filthy rags, and yet in this condition they flatter themselves that they are clothed upon with Christ’s righteousness. …” Our High Calling, 349. Could any deception be greater than this?

Do not deceive yourself. In order to be ready for the final atonement, you must be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. God is preparing a people today that will be translated. Those people have to be ready and willing to have all of their sins removed.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church of Free Seventh-day Adventists in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Editorial – Purity

“For three hundred years Enoch had been seeking purity of soul, that he might be in harmony with Heaven.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 87.
Only the pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8).

“A great price has been paid for the redemption of man, and none who are untruthful, impure, or unrighteous can enter the kingdom of heaven. If men do not make Christ their personal Saviour, and become true and pure and holy, there is only one course for the Lord to pursue. He must destroy the sinner, for evil natures cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Thus it is that sin, if not destroyed, will destroy the sinner, just as Satan designed it should.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, 273.

The people who are finally saved at last will be people who have been seeking for purity as Enoch did. Here is an abbreviated prophetic description of their final struggle.

“The tempter stands by to accuse them, as he stood by to resist Joshua. He points to their filthy garments, their defective characters. He presents their weakness and folly, their sins of ingratitude, their unlikeness to Christ, which has dishonored their Redeemer. He endeavors to affright the soul with the thought that their case is hopeless, that the stain of their defilement will never be washed away. He hopes to so destroy their faith that they will yield to his temptations, turn from their allegiance to God, and receive the mark of the beast. …

“ ‘Are these,’ he says, ‘the people who are to take my place in heaven and the place of the angels who united with me? … Behold their selfishness, their malice, their hatred toward one another.’…

“The assaults of Satan are strong, his delusions are terrible; but the Lord’s eye is upon His people. Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem about to consume them; but Jesus will bring them forth as gold tried in the fire. Their earthliness must be removed that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected; unbelief must be overcome; faith, hope, and patience are to be developed.

“The people of God are sighing and crying for the abominations done in the land. … With unutterable sorrow they humble themselves before the Lord on account of their own transgressions. …

“The people of God afflict their souls before Him, pleading for purity of heart.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 473–475.

Will you be one of these people?