The Great Feasts of the Bible — The Passover

The precious atonement of Jesus, as portrayed by the Passover, was not an afterthought or something that came by chance. The sacrifice of God’s Son was foreseen by Deity long before the world came into existence. The atonement was planned in every detail to the very moment. The life of Christ on earth was laid out from birth to the cross, before He ever came to this world.

But more than this was entailed in the atonement. God chose to schedule events from Eden to the cross. This leaves no possible room for doubt as to its divine purpose. Christ had a schedule to meet. Not only a time to be born in Bethlehem, and a time to die on the cross of Calvary, but also an exact time for His second coming and an exact time for His third coming at the close of the millennium. Yes, Christ had a schedule to meet. “Jesus said unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.” John 2:4.

Jesus’ words, “Mine hour is not yet come,” point to the fact that every act of Christ’s life on earth was in fulfillment of the plan that had existed from the days of eternity. Before He came to earth, the plan lay out before Him perfect in all its details. His last Passover supper spent on this earth was scheduled to the exact day. “And He said, Go into the city to such a man, and say to him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with My disciples.” Matthew 26:18.

The reason Christ went to the Garden after spending the Passover with His disciples was that this, too, had been scheduled. For it was here that He was to be betrayed. “Then cometh He to His disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” Matthew 26:45.

Jesus knew the time had come. Just as the Passover commemorated the deliverance from Egypt, so Christ understood the Passover lamb pointed to His coming sacrifice. Even the Passover in Egypt was scheduled in the time frame of God, for it took place exactly on the day that it was planned.

Abraham was told that his children would go into Egypt for four hundred and thirty years as slaves. (See Genesis 15.) “Now the sojourning of the Children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:40, 41.

It required some drastic judgments from God, such as the world had never seen before, to bring it to pass on the exact day. Water was turned to blood, there were plagues of frogs, lice and hail, darkness and finally a never-to-be-forgotten night. For in the land of Goshen the first Passover was held. Each family met together to kill a lamb and sprinkle its blood on their doorposts. The lamb was to be roasted and eaten just as the angel of death passed over each home at midnight.

While in the land of Egypt the same angel of death struck in every home including the king’s palace. Every firstborn of man and beast was slain. Never was there such a cry of death that struck every family of a whole nation at the same moment. The Israelites were commanded to leave immediately—and it all happened at the precise time God had predicted.

Israel was commanded to keep the Passover when they should reach the Promised Land of Canaan, as a memorial of this mighty deliverance by the hand of God. The Passover was kept in the day of Christ. Jesus was twelve years old when He went to Jerusalem to keep His first Passover. As He watches the priest carrying out the Passover activities, Jesus suddenly discovers a sublime truth; for He understands that every act of His life is bound up in what the priest has done with the little lamb.

New impulses awaken within Him. God is His Teacher. Like a sudden clap of thunder His mission in life opens up before Him. Silently, absorbed in divine thoughts, He studies the sin problem as never before. Finally the moment arrives. He sees Himself as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world.

Immediately there is a change in this boy of twelve. His meekness as a willing child has changed to an awareness of a higher responsibility. He addresses His parents, Joseph and Mary, in a remarkable new manner. “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2:49. Divine inspiration tells us that as He spoke these words, He pointed heavenward, to the astonishment of His earthly parents. At this young age, he was aware of His divine Father.

His purpose in life has now become clear as crystal. Just as God delivered His people from the slavery of Egypt, so Jesus is to deliver His people from the slavery of sin. He, the Son of God, is to become the Passover Lamb by giving His own life as a sacrifice for our sins. Every moment of His life from then on was dedicated to preparation for the moment of sacrifice.

This demanded total surrender to God’s will and a full commitment to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Every day of His life was a twenty-four hour battle with Satan. “Satan was unwearied in his efforts to overcome the Child of Nazareth. From His earliest years Jesus was guarded by heavenly angels, yet His life was one long struggle against the powers of darkness. That there should be upon the earth one life free from defilement of evil was an offense and a perplexity to the Prince of Darkness. He left no means untried to ensnare Jesus. No child of humanity will ever be called to live a holy life amidst so fierce a conflict with temptation as was our Saviour.” The Desire of Ages, 71.


Battle with Satan


You and I may think we have a hard time in this battle with Satan, but we in our struggle with evil do not commence to meet the battle as He did. The Son of God experienced temptation one thousand times greater that you and I. “You have not a difficulty that did not press with equal weight upon Him nor a sorrow that His heart has not experienced. His feelings could be hurt with neglect, with indifference of professed friends, as easily as yours could. Is your path thorny? Christ’s was so in a tenfold sense. Are you distressed? So was He. How well fitted was Christ to be an example.” Our High Calling, 59.

Will we ever be tempted in a way Christ was not? “If we had to bear anything which Jesus did not endure, then upon this point Satan would represent the power of God as insufficient for us. Therefore, Jesus was ‘in all points tempted like as we are.’ Hebrews 4:15.” The Desire of Ages, 24.

He endured every trial to which we are subject and He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us. As a man, He met temptation and overcame in the strength given Him from God. And so it can be with you and me. “To Jesus, Who emptied Himself for the salvation of lost humanity, the Holy Spirit was given without measure. So it will be given to every follower of Christ when the whole heart is surrendered for His indwelling. Our Lord Himself has given the command, ‘Be filled with the Spirit.’ Ephesians 5:18.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 21.

This is what Paul tells us. “For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily and you have come to fullness of life in Him.” Colossians 2:9, 10. Again Peter admonishes us with the same encouragement. “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:3, 4. How we should praise God for what He has made possible for us.

After the baptism of Jesus, three years of public ministry was scheduled in which Jesus was to reveal God’s love by miracles and by teachings. This accomplished, He knew His time had finally come to attend the last Passover of His life here on this earth. He said, “Go into the city to such a man and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with My disciples.” Matthew 26:18.

The final crisis had arrived. The destiny of the whole universe was at stake. This is so serious that Christ felt He must find a place to be alone with His Father. For as a man, He can do nothing without God’s help. He chooses the Garden of Gethsemane. As He enters the Garden, He becomes sad and silent. His form begins to sway as if He is about to fall. Every step is labored. He groans aloud, for He is under a terrible burden. The sins of the entire world are being placed upon Him.

Twice His companions prevent Him from falling to the ground. He cries, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death. His frame convulses with anguish as He falls prostrate to the cold ground. He was overpowered with fear as God removes His presence from Him, and He is alone with the pressure of the sins of the whole world weighing down on Him.

The gulf of sin becomes so wide, black and deep that His spirit shudders before it. He clings convulsively to the ground as if to prevent Himself from being drawn still further from God. His convulsed lips wail that bitter cry, “Oh, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me. Nevertheless, not as I will but as Thou wilt.”

If you are in tune with God, these thoughts will break your heart and bring tears to your eyes. The undeniable fact is this, that sin and God cannot dwell together. In the struggle, eternal separation from God was possible. “Everything was at stake with him (Satan). If he failed here, his hope of mastery was lost; the kingdoms of the world would become Christ’s; he himself would be overthrown and cast out. But if Christ could be overcome, the earth would become Satan’s kingdom, and the human race would be forever in his power. With the issues of the conflict before Him, Christ’s soul was filled with the dread of separation from God. Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan’s kingdom and would nevermore be one with God.” The Desire of Ages, 687.

What a struggle! Satan painted a picture that would discourage the strongest heart. He points to the ingratitude of man, to God’s people who will reject Him and His very own church who will seek to destroy Him. Even His disciples will forsake Him and one of them will betray Him. “Christ’s whole being abhorred the thought. That those whom He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the plots of Satan, this pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible. Its measure was the guilt of His nation, of His accusers and betrayer, the guilt of a world lying in wickedness. The sins of men weighed heavily upon Christ, and the sense of God’s wrath against sin was crushing out His life.” Ibid.

It was like a compressor forcing air into a tank, pumping away until it explodes. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world’s Redeemer. “He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish under the Father’s displeasure. He sees the power of sin, and the utter helplessness of man to save himself. The woes and the lamentations of a doomed world arise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that perishing millions through Him may gain everlasting life. He left the courts of heaven, where all was purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that had fallen by transgression, and He will not turn from the mission He has chosen. He will reach to the very depths of misery to rescue a lost and ruined race.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 99, 100.

Having made this decision He falls in a dying condition to the earth. Had it not been for an angel, who was sent from heaven to support Him, He would have died then and there. But the angel enabled our Saviour to drink the cup. Christ now stands in the sinner’s place, forsaken by God and forsaken by man.

“The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish, which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” The Desire of Ages, 753. What a cost for our salvation!

Christ knew that His hour had come. He knew that the Passover lamb would be offered in the temple at the moment that He would die on Calvary’s cross. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit He sees it all. As the priest lifts the knife to slay the lamb on the altar, suddenly there is a rending noise as the veil of the temple is torn open from top to bottom. Thus opening the way into the heavenly sanctuary in which the true Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, will mediate for us before God the Father.

“All is terror and confusion. The priest is about to slay the victim; but the knife drops from his nerveless hand, and the lamb escapes. Type has met antitype in the death of God’s Son. The great sacrifice has been made. The way into the Holiest is laid open. A new and living way is prepared for all. No longer need sinful, sorrowing humanity await the coming of the High Priest. Henceforth the Saviour was to officiate as Priest and Advocate in the heaven of heavens.” Ibid., 757.

What an atonement Jesus made on Calvary for our sin! “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7. It is one thing to believe this happened for us, but in reality, more than belief is necessary. There are actions of response required by each of us.

“It is not enough that the Pascal lamb be slain; its blood must be sprinkled upon the door posts; so the merits of Christ’s blood must be applied to the soul. We must believe not only that He died for the world, but that He died for us individually. We must appropriate to ourselves the virtue of the atoning sacrifice.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 277.

That is why we must come to the place where we know of a surety that Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. Hyssop, used to sprinkle the blood (symbol of purification), was used by the priests to cleanse the leper, and those defiled by contact with the dead. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7.

The lamb was to be prepared whole, for not a bone was to be broken in the Lamb of God. This represented the completeness of Christ’s sacrifice. A full ransom was to be paid.

After the sacrifice, the flesh of the Pascal lamb was to be eaten. “It is not enough even that we believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sin; we must by faith be constantly receiving spiritual strength and nourishment from Him through His Word. Said Christ, ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life.’ John 6:53, 54.” Ibid.

To explain what He meant, He said, The words that I speak unto you they are spirit, and they are life. What does this mean? “The followers for Christ must be partakers of His experience. They must receive and assimilate the word of God so that it shall become the motive power of life and action. By the power of Christ we must be changed into His likeness, and reflect the divine attributes.” Ibid., 278.

And there was another lesson we would do well to recognize. “The lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs, as pointing back to the bitterness of the bondage in Egypt. So when we feed upon Christ, it should be with contrition of heart, because of our sins.” Ibid.

“The use of unleavened bread also was significant. It was expressly enjoined in the law of the Passover . . . that no leaven should be found in their houses during the feast. In like manner the leaven of sin must be put away from all who would receive life and nourishment from Christ.” Ibid.

Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “Purge out therefore the old leaven that ye may be a new lump . . . For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7. We have ministers today who are teaching us that we may sin until Jesus comes. God forbid!

Consider the blood that was sprinkled on the doorposts. This was a sign to show that the family was completely separated from Egypt. They must show their faith in the deliverance to be accomplished. They must separate themselves and their family from the Egyptians and gather within their own dwelling. This is the same message that has been given to the Remnant today. Come out from among them and be ye separate.

“Had the Israelites disregarded in any particular the directions given them, had they neglected to separate their children from the Egyptians, had they slain the lamb but failed to strike the door posts with the blood, or had any gone out of their houses, they would not have been secure. They might have honestly believed that they had done all that was necessary, but their sincerity could not have saved them. All who failed to heed the Lord’s directions would lose their first-born by the hand of the destroyer.” Ibid.

The atonement Christ provided for each of us on the cross of Calvary demands not only belief but also obedience. “By obedience the people were to give evidence of their faith. So all who hoped to be saved by the merits of the blood of Christ should realize that they themselves have something to do in securing their salvation. While it is Christ only that can redeem us from the penalty of transgression, we are to turn from sin to obedience. Man is to be saved by faith, not by works; yet his faith must be shown by his works. God has given His Son to die as a propitiation for sin, he has manifested the light of truth, the way of life, He has given facilities, ordinances, and privileges; and now man must cooperate with these saving agencies; he must appreciate and use the help that God has provided—believe and obey all the divine requirements.” Ibid., 279.


The Key to Salvation

“Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a High Priest, Who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and Who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.”

Hebrews 8:1, 2.

The book of Hebrews is going to be the basis of this study. Reading this book with a new and stirring understanding of the “everlasting covenant” made by God the Father and Jesus “from the foundation of the world,” the book has taken on intense new life, as if rather than seeing through a mirror darkly, I am seeing and understanding the message, “face to face” (Hebrews 13:20; The Desire of Ages, 637; I Corinthians 13:12). The historical background to the book of Hebrews is very interesting. This book was written by Saul of Tarsus, a Greek Jew, a very Jew of Jews, by his own admission and statement, and blameless when it came to Pharisaical laws. Saul was young. He was a brilliant student. He was thoroughly educated in the Old Testament scripture and had a strict upbringing in the Jewish Pharisaical traditions of the day. He was also a fierce persecutor of the followers of Jesus … until …

In union with the rest of the Jewish leaders, (Saul) “Paul had vainly looked for a Messiah to deliver the nation from the bondage of foreign kings.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 257.

“In common with his nation, Saul had cherished the hope of a Messiah who should reign as a temporal prince, to break from the neck of Israel the Roman yoke, and exalt her to the throne of universal empire. He had no personal knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth or of His mission, but he readily imbibed the scorn and hatred of the rabbis toward one who was so far from fulfilling their ambitious hopes; and after the death of Christ, he eagerly joined with priests and rulers in the persecution of His followers as a proscribed and hated sect.” Ibid., 10.

But then came a day, a momentous, earth-shattering day in Saul’s life. He met Jesus, the Jesus he had been persecuting in the form of His followers. And in that moment Paul learned the lesson of a lifetime.

For 4,000 years, ever since the entrance of sin into this world, people had lived with a promise of hope, a promise of reconciliation with God. This promise, this plan, was given many different names, including the covenant and the plan of redemption.

From the fall of Adam when mankind was given “the first intimation of redemption … in the sentence pronounced upon Satan in the garden” (Patriarchs and Prophets, 371), God sought to communicate this plan, this covenant, with His beloved creation. The angels taught Adam and Eve, and the patriarchs and prophets of this plan. God illustrated the covenant through the sacrificial system of the patriarchs, and then later through the earthly sanctuary. Those early men and women who understood this plan accepted it, as Hebrews 9 says, by faith. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” Hebrews 11:1, 2.

In order for this plan, this covenant, to be fulfilled, to be effective, to work for these ancients, the one true sacrifice must be made. Until the moment that it was made, the covenant was not secure. The ancients understood this situation. Yet, by faith, they believed.

If we take the Bible at its word as the infallible word of God as they did, Jesus could have failed in His mission. If He had failed in the smallest particular, then where would this covenant, this plan of redemption, be? These men of old understood this situation, and by faith, accepted the promise of a Redeemer. For 4,000 years, the patriarchal sacrifices, and later the earthly sanctuary, pointed to this one great event in history, not only in our world but in the entire universe. For 4,000 years men of faith looked forward to the securing of this great covenant, through the offering of the One true sacrifice. These great men of old understood the covenant. They understood that Jesus had to leave the heavenly courts. They knew that He had to live and die as a man and as God. Until He did, this promised remedy to the grim problem of sin, this covenant, was not secure. It would take nothing less than Jesus’ death to ratify it and make it forever unfailing.

When Paul met Jesus of Nazareth on that momentous day, he, in those moments, was taught of God, and through tracing down the history of the Jewish prophecies realized that the moment of final, total, irrevocable victory, the securing of the promised covenant, came when Jesus cried, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The promise of redemption was now irrevocable. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, Paul now recognizes the fulfillment of the hopes, the faith, the anticipation of the prophets of old. In this revelation, Paul is electrified. The promise, the covenant, the plan of redemption is secure.

No longer is it to be accepted by faith as something in the future. The True Sacrifice has been made. The covenant is secure. Paul cannot contain himself. The book of Hebrews is a pouring out of joyous celebration, and a powerful exhortation to the Jews that the man they condemned and crucified as a criminal was indeed the “Lamb of God,” verily “God in the flesh” (The Desire of Ages, 385, 311), the Messiah to which they had looked with eager anticipation, and even further, their only hope of salvation and eternal life.

Paul iterates and reiterates throughout the book that now Jesus is in the true sanctuary in heaven. No longer need they look to the future through the symbols of the sacrificial services. No longer need they go through the earthly priest as mediator for their sins. The one true mediator has made the ultimate sacrifice and is now, in person, in reality in the heavenly sanctuary, pleading their case before the Father in heaven.

I think it is difficult for us to realize the import of what Paul experienced, and the intensity of interest that he has in gaining the understanding of his countrymen, his friends and colleagues of this vital truth. Over and over he speaks of Jesus, the true High Priest, the true mediator, the One “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:3). This theme recurs throughout the book.

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Hebrews 1:1–3.

“For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:17, 18. Just a note here, it says “that He might make atonement.” It was not done at the cross; it was still future.

“Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14–16. “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain [into the Most Holy Place], where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a High Priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:16–20.

“Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—One who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself.” Hebrews 7:23–27.

“Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a High Priest, Who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and Who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being. Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this One also to have something to offer. If He were on earth, He would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. … But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which He is Mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.” Hebrews 8:1–6. And there are so many more.

But from these few, you can understand the fervency and intensity of Paul’s words. Paul “got it”; like the quote shared at the beginning, he knew that, “The central theme of the Bible, the theme about which every other in the whole book clusters, is the redemption plan, the restoration in the human soul of the image of God.” Education, 125. And Paul wants his friends to understand. Over and over he presents Jesus as the way to salvation, the One and only true High Priest, the One true sacrifice. Over and over he states that no longer need people offer earthly sacrifices for their sins. Jesus is in heaven and now they can go directly to Him. Now, says Paul, is the reality. Now everything that has been promised for 4,000 years is certain, is secure. The true sacrifice has been made, and the covenant has been ratified. It is secure. Can you imagine the import of that message to Paul and to the Jews of his time?

At one time Paul exhorts his fellow believers saying, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” Hebrews 5:11, 12. We do not want that message to be true also of us.

We need to grasp the depth of this message. Oh, how I believe if we grasped how truly profound this message really is, if we lived it, breathed it, believed it as Paul did, this message would, as Acts 17:6 KJV, says, turn “the world upside down.” For as surely as the Bible says it, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 KJV.

“The central theme of the Bible, the theme about which every other in the whole book clusters, is the redemption plan, the restoration in the human soul of the image of God. From the first intimation of hope in the sentence pronounced in Eden to that last glorious promise of the Revelation, ‘They shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads’ (Revelation 22:4), the burden of every book and every passage of the Bible is the unfolding of this wondrous theme—man’s uplifting—the power of God, ‘which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ I Corinthians 15:57.

“He who grasps this thought has before him an infinite field for study. He has the key that will unlock to him the whole treasure house of God’s word.” Education, 125, 126.

I entreat you today to learn this message and to share it with this sin-sick world that is steeped in misery and woe without the knowledge of a Saviour. Because indeed, “We do have such a High Priest, Who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and Who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.”

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

Brenda Douay is a staff member of Steps to Life. She may be contacted by email at:

Bible Study Guides – Knowing God’s Plan

December 30, 2012 – January 5, 2013

The Healthy Reformer

Key Text

“My son, attend to My words; incline thine ear unto My sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” Proverbs 4:20–22.

Study Help: God’s Amazing Grace, 202; The Faith I Live By, 296.


“All who will come to the Word of God for guidance, with humble, inquiring minds, determined to know the terms of salvation, will understand what saith the Scriptures. … The Lord will not speak to a mind that is unconcerned.” The Review and Herald, December 15, 1896.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23.

“The Saviour comes very near to those who consecrate themselves to God. If there was ever a time when we needed the working of the Spirit of God upon our hearts and lives it is now. Christ is speaking to each of us individually saying, ‘I am He that holdeth thy right hand. I am He that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive forever more.’ There is a decided message to be borne to our people upon the question of health reform. Let us come into line that our prayers be not hindered. God cannot be glorified in the lives of ministers, who give up these principles of reform; but He will reveal Himself to every soul who will be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. We need now to arouse, and in all our schools follow closely the light that God has given on this question.” Backsliding in Health Reform, 4.


  • When seeking to know God’s will regarding any issue, what should we do? James 1:5, 6; John 5:39; Psalm 119:125.

Note: “Young men and young women will often be brought into positions where they are uncertain what to do. Their inclination leads them in one direction, and the Holy Spirit of God draws them in another direction. Satan presses his temptation upon them, and urges them to follow the inclinations of the natural heart. But those who desire to be true to Christ, will listen to the voice that says, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it’ [Isaiah 30:21]. They will decide to take the course of the righteous, although it is more difficult to pursue, more painful to follow, than the way of their own heart. … We need to receive divine wisdom in the daily concerns of life, in order that we may display sound judgment, and choose the safe path because it is the right one. He who acts upon his own judgment will follow the inclination of the natural heart; but he whose mind is opened to the word of God, will prayerfully consider every way of his feet, so that he may honor God and keep the way of the Lord. … He will realize that he belongs to God, soul, body, mind, and strength.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 19, 1895.

  • Through what other means does God speak to us besides His written word? Isaiah 30:21; Hebrews 3:7, 8; Revelation 3:20.

Note: “Through nature and revelation, through His providence, and by the influence of His Spirit, God speaks to us. But these are not enough; we need also to pour out our hearts to Him. … Our minds may be drawn out toward Him; we may meditate upon His works, His mercies, His blessings; but this is not, in the fullest sense, communing with Him. In order to commune with God, we must have something to say to Him concerning our actual life.” Steps to Christ, 93.


  • What has God given specifically to instruct us in the right way? II Timothy 3:16.

Note: “The Bible teaches the whole will of God concerning us. [11 Timothy 3:16 quoted.] The teaching of this Word is exactly that needed in all circumstances in which we may be placed. It is a sufficient rule of faith and practice; for it is the voice of God speaking to the soul, giving the members of His family directions for keeping the heart with all diligence. If this word is studied—not merely read, but studied—it furnishes us with a storehouse of knowledge which enables us to improve every God-given endowment. It teaches us our obligation to use the faculties given us. Guided by its precepts, we may render obedience to God’s requirements.” The Review and Herald, December 15, 1896.

  • What agencies has God established in the church to impart instructions to His people? Ephesians 4:11–14 (cf II Corinthians 6:7; Revelation 19:10).

Note: “We must follow the directions given through the spirit of prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions. God has spoken to us through His Word. He has spoken to us through the testimonies to the church and through the books that have helped to make plain our present duty and the position that we should now occupy.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 298.

  • How do we know that God has special light for each period of time in history? Proverbs 29:18; II Peter 1:12; Acts 2:17–20.

Note: “Those who today claim to have light, and who contradict the teaching of God’s ordained messengers who were working under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, those who get up new theories which remove the pillars of our faith, are not doing the will of God, but are bringing in fallacies of their own invention, which, if received, will cut the church away from the anchorage of truth, and set them drifting, drifting, to where they will receive any sophistries that may arise.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, 247.


  • What is the basis of the theme of redemption? Matthew 1:21; Psalm 130:7, 8.

Note: “The Lord would have us value our souls according to the estimate—as far as we can comprehend it—that Christ has placed upon them. … Jesus died that He might redeem man from eternal ruin. Then we are to hold ourselves as property purchased. [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 quoted.] All our powers of mind and soul and body are the Lord’s. Our time belongs to Him. We are to place ourselves in the very best possible condition to do His service, keeping constantly in connection with Christ, and considering daily the costly sacrifice made for us that we should be made the righteousness of God in Him.” In Heavenly Places, 60.

  • What does redemption include? Romans 6:22, 23; Ephesians 2:5, 6.

Note: “Candidly and seriously we are to consider the question, Have we humbled ourselves before God, that the Holy Spirit may work through us with transforming power? As children of God, it is our privilege to be worked by His Spirit. When self is crucified, the Holy Spirit takes the brokenhearted ones, and makes them vessels unto honor. They are in His hands as clay in the hands of the potter. Jesus Christ will make such men and women superior in mental, physical, and moral power. The graces of the Spirit will give solidity to the character. They will exert an influence for good because Christ is abiding in the soul.” The Southern Review, December 5, 1899.

  • What transformation must take place in us if we want to be among the redeemed? I Thessalonians 5:23; II Peter 3:14.

Note: “ ‘Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price’ [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20]. Your physical and mental powers belong to God, and should be used in His service. There are souls to save; there is earnest work to be done for the Master; and half-hearted, indolent efforts will not be accepted.” The Signs of the Times, May 29, 1884.


  • How do we know that we are living in the last days? Matthew 24:3–14, 24–33. What is to take place in the heavenly sanctuary before the coming of Christ? Revelation 11:18, 19; I Peter 4:17.
  • What event in the history of Israel pointed to the Day of Judgment? Leviticus 16:30–34.
  • What instruction did God give His people for that day? Leviticus 23:28–32.
  • What specific instruction does God have for His people now? II Peter 3:11–14; Romans 13:11–14; James 4:7–10.

Note: “I [Ellen White] have been perplexed to know how we may help those who are doing their best to live and keep the commandments of God. God calls upon us to bind about our wants, to have a genuine experience in daily self-denial. Although we may not be compelled to restrict our appetites, we should show that we do not live to eat, but eat to live. God demands a complete consecration of ourselves, soul, body, and spirit, to His service. Time is precious; strength is precious; no member of the family should be overtaxed because of unnecessary labor, and thus be disqualified to serve God and to keep his or her soul in the love of God. The Lord demands that we shall live simply. Our diet is not to consist of expensive food, or of unnecessary dishes which require time and strength for preparation. It is profitable for us to consider the time in which we are living. We shall be called upon to engage in enterprises that will work for the salvation of the souls of men, women, and children. We must do this work in the spirit which Christ exercised in His mission, fulfilling the word, ‘Whosoever will come after me [follow in my footsteps], let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me’ [Mark 8:34]. So shall he be my disciple.” The Home Missionary, December 1, 1894.


  • God gave Israel light and instruction. What did they do with them? Hebrews 3:10; Ezekiel 20:6–8, 13.
  • What was the root of their rejection? Hebrews 3:19.

Note: “Although the Lord gave Israel the greatest evidences of His favor, and upon condition of obedience, the rich promise that they should be to Him a peculiar people, a royal nation, yet because of their unbelief and disobedience He could not fulfill the promise. …

“Some profess Christianity year after year, and in some things appear to serve God, and yet they are far from Him. They give loose rein to appetite and passion, and follow their own unsanctified inclinations, loving pleasure and the applause of men more than God or His truth. But God reads the secrets of the heart. …

“The character is revealed by the works, not by occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts.” The Signs of the Times, March 27, 1884.

  • What is the difference between faith and presumption? James 1:21–25; 2:14.

Note: “Faith is in no sense allied to presumption. … For presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequences of their sin.” The Desire of Ages, 126.

  • If we have true faith in God, what will we do with His instructions? John 14:15; Deuteronomy 11:1; 26:17.


1 How does God guide us to know His will? Do I know how to be guided?

2 When studying the Word of God, what attitude do I have? Am I seeking the truth, that I may do it?

3 Once I understand God’s will, what response should I give?

4 What is included in the work of redemption for each person?

5 How does the fact that we are living in the time of the judgment affect the way we should live?

Who are the Sanctified?

“There are thousands, yes, millions, who are making a mistake in their religious life. They make religion a thing independent of their life, of their thoughts and words, and daily actions. Their religion is a delusion of the senses. Their ideas and principles presented as sanctification are deceitful workings. Some speak of hearing voices and of seeing sights of a supernatural character; but there is no sign in their daily course of action that the Spirit of God has wrought a change in the natural heart, for they are carnal, at enmity with God’s law, and neither love God nor obey His commandments.” The Signs of the Times, February 28, 1895.

© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

The Final Generation, part 4

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.

Blood Atonement

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.

The 144,000

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.