XXXI - 6 (98)
what of the night?”
"The hour has come, the
hour is striking and striking at you,
the hour and the end!" Eze. 7:6 (Moffatt)
An Alonzo T. Jones Letter
issue of WWN we conclude the series on the Eternal Verities. The discussion of
the Atonement centers on the unique perception in Adventism of the significance
of the typical Day of Atonement as assigned by God in the Hebrew sacrificial
system. The reason why the pioneers of Adventism believed that the atonement on
the tenth day of the seventh month was the only atonement, and that no
atonement was involved with
We had intended to continue our discussion of the break-a-way churches of a liberal hue from the main Seventh-day Adventist body, as well as begin a discussion of further developments in the dialogue involving Evangelicals and Roman Catholics. Hopefully with the next issue we can realize our intentions. During this past week, as our Librarian was cataloging various manuscripts and letters from an acquisition we had received previously, she discovered a letter written by Alonzo T. Jones which we have reproduced in its entirety in this issue. Inasmuch as the letter gives Jones' perception of events both prior to and following 1888, extending to the crisis involving Kellogg, any abridgment of the letter was out of the question. It was the whole letter or none at all. Jones was not hesitant to name names, and this is what gives this letter its importance. The two personal testimonies which he describes as to how both he and E. J. Waggoner thought and how they arrived at their positions independently of the other, gives pause for thought and evaluation of the message they brought as "messengers of the Lord."
THE ATONEMENT 2
The concept of a final atonement is based in the typology of the sanctuary services associated with the tenth day of the seventh month - Yom Kippur. In the Old Testament this day is noted as the Day of Atonements, plural. Leviticus reads - "On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonements." Actually, only one atonement was made on this day, an atonement for cleansing (Lev. ).
The Septuagint in translating Leviticus 23:27 uses the singular, exilasomoV, for the Hebrew plural, which adds support to the position that the majestic plural was used to designate the typical Day of Atonement. This being the case, then the atonement of the tenth day of the seventh month was considered of greater significance than the atonement ministered by the common priests in the daily sin ofterings brought to the sanctuary.
background also helps one to understand why our pioneers in their writings
placed the emphasis as they did on the antitypical Day of Atonement, even
denying that an atonement was ever made on
we have perceived that the High Priest went only once into the
we have pictured the ministry of Jesus in the
we have literalized the offering of the bullock as an atonement made by the
High Priest for his immediate family, failing to consider that the High Priest
typified the coming great High Priest in all aspects of the services on
the typical day. In fact, the introduction in the book of Hebrews to the
sanctuary typology is based on this concept of the house of Moses, of which
Aaron was High Priest, and the house of Christ, of which He Himself is the High
Priest. (See Heb. 3:1-6) The contrast of the two houses is prefaced with the
admonition - "Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession,
Christ Jesus" (v.1). As the bullock was provided by the High Priest, so
Christ offered Himself, as well as being the "Lord's goat" taken from
the congregation (Deut, 18:15, 18), as the offering of God. For the bullock no
confession was made, and its blood was taken first into the most holy
place following the pouring of the incense upon the coals of fire. While in the
Old Testament, the ministry of the sanctuary was limited to the tribe of Levi,
and the priesthood to the house of Aaron, the New Testament pictures the ones
who believe in Jesus "as lively stones" "being built up a
spiritual house, an holy priesthood" even "a royal priesthood, an
holy nation, a peculiar people" (I Peter 2:5, 9). In its entirety, the new
we have limited the ministry of Jesus as High Priest on the antitypical Day of
Atonement and restricted it to the
outline of the typical service of the Day of Atonement, it is stated that the
atonement was necessary for two reasons: 1) "the uncleanness of the children of
bullock and the blood of the Lord's goat were mingled (v. 18). This gives some suggestion of how Heaven views the final atonement, and the magnitude of what God purposes to accomplish through the "Surety" of the better covenant.
How can this be related to the prophetic picture of Daniel 7? First, one must recognize a basic premise. Sin began with a covering cherub in the very presence of God (Eze. 28:14-15). The first point of reference for the final eradication of sin must be where sin began and the issue involved which sparked the rebellion. At this point, the statements of Scripture and the revelation found in the Writings must be combined. Man, created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), was to be only "a little while inferior to the angels" (Heb. 2:7, margin).
[The Greek of this verse is bracu ti. Thayer observes that here Paul "transfers to time what the LXX in Ps. 8:6 says of rank" (p.105.) In the context of this verse, the same wording is used of Jesus (2:9). In His condescension, time not rank was the factor. (See Heb. 1:4; Phil. 2:9)]
Writings we learn that "human beings were a new and distinct order" (Review & Herald,
It is with
the angelic host that the scene of judgment in Daniel 7 begins. All are
assembled. God who changes not desires that His original plan be activated.
Will the angels of heaven accept the exaltation of the redeemed? The picture is
far different now than when first suggested. The books are opened, and there is
recorded the dark history of man's continual transgression and uncleanness.
Will the angels consent that these who have sinned be placed above themselves
who have never sinned? What plea can God make? Here the significance of the
service of the Day of Atonement enters. First, Jesus who gave Himself, typified
as the high priest who provided his own bullock, asks, "Did I give enough?"
Across the minds of the angelic hosts races the recall of the agonies of
Three angels go forth with the final call of the Everlasting Gospel, announcing first the setting in which it is being given - "The hour of the judgment of Him is come" (Lit.). Worship Him; "Be ye reconciled to God." Cease in rebellion; keep His commandments. The man "clothed in linen" completes His work, and returns to the Throne, declaring, "I have done as thou has commanded me" (Eze. ). This is the second time He has uttered these words. Once before He prayed - "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do" (John 17:4). But this time instead of from the cross the cry, "It is finished," there will come from the temple of heaven, from the throne "a great voice" declaring, "It is done" (Rev. 16:17). In the symbolism of Daniel, the Son of man comes to the Ancient of days to receive His kingdom - His "house" for which He has given so much. The at-one-ment is completed. "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ" (Rev. 11:15).
While the "house" is not limited to the last generation, but includes all who have availed themselves of "the redemption in Christ Jesus" (Rom. ), there is a uniqueness in regard to the last generation which one dares not overlook. This distinction is clearly defined in Paul's discussion of the resurrection in I Corinthians 15. All the redeemed "shall be changed" (v.51). While those who have been corrupted by death, are raised to incorruption (afqarsia), those alive at the event put on immortality (aqanasia) (v.53). It is this latter word, which emphasizes the uniqueness of the final generation. It is used three times in the New Testament, all in the writings of Paul; twice in I Corinthians 15:53, and once in I Timothy 6:16. In this latter reference, it declares that "the King of kings and Lord of lords ... only hath immortality." It is evident that to the victors who do not taste death, God shares a unique part of Himself, they in reality become a "counterpart of God."
This then raises the question of when the commission of sin ceases. Those who go to the grave can by faith in the Surety, who is still interceding in the sanctuary above, claim the promise of victory (I Cor. ). But what about those who are alive when the intercession of the One "clothed in linen" ceases? Sin will also have had to cease in their lives. When and how will this be realized?
[The book of Revelation is clear that there is a period of time between the cessation of the priestly ministry of Jesus Christ, and His coming as King of kings and Lord of lords. (15:8, )]
Seeking the answer to this question has been the basis of various aberrant movements within Adventism as well as divisions of thought resulting from the introduction of what is called "the new theology." One movement at the turn of the last century received encouragement from the preaching of A. F. Ballenger at the campmeetings of 1898.
He said - "You and I can afford to resist unto blood, striving against sin; but we cannot afford to sin. It is too late to sin in thought, word, or action; for it is time to receive the Holy Ghost in all of its fullness, - time to receive the seal of God." (Review & Herald, October 18,1898, p.671; emphasis his) He couched his message in the motif of the typical Day of Atonement. In another report on a campmeet-
When I am conscious that I am not clean,
I cannot preach with power, neither can I preach with "unwonted
power" when I know my people are not clean. Cleanse the
year the Holy Flesh Movement began in
In the 1960s another Movement began in Adventism led by Robert Brinsmead. In his "constitutional" publication, God's Eternal Purpose, he sets forth his perceptions and the basis for them, as well as the objective which he believed was the purpose of the final atonement. He wrote:
Through Christ's ministry in the holy of holies, humanity is to be fully united (married) to divinity. Hence the significance of the final atonement - at-one-ment. ... When his faith reaches to the last supreme act of the atonement, he will be fully united (married) to divinity for eternity. Then he will be as sinless in the flesh as Christ was sinless in the flesh.
[A diagram of the relationship between Christ and the Christian is inserted at this point]
Christ's perfect humanity is the standard which His true followers must possess to pass through the last scenes of earth's history. God must have, and will have a people to reveal the full stature of Christ. All those who work in harmony with Christ in the cleansing of the sanctuary will reach this standard. (p.199)
Brinsmead was simply trying to answer the same question which concerned the men
Actually, the position of Brinsmead as noted above is basically the position of most of those who perceive of themselves as "historic" Adventists. The fact remains; we are still here and the evidences of fulfilling prophecy tells us that God is not going to delay the end much longer. The answer must be found. The answers being set forth focus on "the latter rain." This is a nebulous concept from the Judean harvest but with significance in the light of Peter's call to repentance to those assembled on Solomon's porch of the Temple area (Acts 3:19). [This text, Brinsmead used with emphasis]
Writings indicate that the objective of "the latter rain" is to bring
"the seed to perfection" (Testimonies
to Ministers, p.506). In the same chapter, "Pray for the Latter
Rain," is found the suggestion that this experience is involved with the
reception of the advancing light of truth: - "Only those who are living up
to the light they have, will receive greater light" (p.507). The result is
clearly written - "We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of
Christ" (p.506.) The "how" is also defined - "It is God who
began the work, and He will finish His work, making man complete in Jesus
Christ" (p.507). Paul wrote that in Christ "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in
Him" (Col. 2:9-10). This returns us again to the "in Him"
concept of the Pauline epistles, and that Christ is the "Surety of a
better covenant." We are His "house," the new house of
With all the failures of the past century to find the answer which the typical service of the Day of Atonement demands, one hesitates to even offer a suggestion as to what the answer might be. However, we would do well to consider a suggestion found in the Writings which reads - "Zechariah's vision of Joshua and the Angel [Chapter 3] applies with peculiar force to the experience of God's people in the closing of the great day of atonement" (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. V, p.472).
In analyzing this vision, the first revelation is that Satan will resist every effort not only to understand the final atonement, but also its realization. Joshua, the ministering high priest in the days of Zechariah, is seen standing before the Lord, and "Satan standing at his right hand to resist Him" (v.1). Satan is just as envious and just as set in his opposition to the plan of God for man as when God first suggested it in the beginning. He seeks to set himself at "the right hand" for power and control. In the vision the Lord first rebukes Satan before turning His attention to Joshua. "Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire," He asks. Joshua has no means to escape - his clothes are flammable - "filthy garments" ripe for the fire. Then the Lord commands those who stood before Him - those who have assented for God to carry out His original intent for man - "Take away the filthy garments from him" (v.4).
Here is the first test to those who would be cleansed. They can either yield their "filthy" garments, and become naked before whom they stand, or they can hold to them so as to cover their nakedness. This is the critical test –
self is involved. It is embarrassing to have to admit that all the "righteousnesses" which sustain our egos are nothing but "filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6). But unless we are willing for this to happen, the next step cannot be taken. The Lord will not put His righteousness over our righteousnesses. He alone is righteous and He does not intend to share that righteousness in which there is not a thread of human devising with the fig-leaf devisings of men.
When Joshua yielded up his filthy garments - the angels of the Lord will remove them if we permit - the Lord declares - "Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with a change of raiment" (v.4). The emphasis is on what God can and will do, not on what man can do, for his is only to surrender so that it can be done for him. On the typical Day of Atonement, it was the high priest alone who accomplished the atonement. The recipients were to afflict their souls and do no work (Ex. 23; 29-30). Soul affliction - how few understand what this is all about. Self denial - and this does not mean in material things of life - but the actual emptying of self even as He did, whose mind we are suppose to accept (Phil. 2:5-7 RSV). How painful to those who profess they can keep the commandments of God, and tell the Lord, "All these have I kept from my youth up, what lack I yet?"
After being clothed with the garments provided and a fair mitre being set on his head, the messenger of the Lord solemnly affirmed the intent of the Lord of hosts - "Thus saith the Lord of hosts: If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by" (v.7).
The result - "Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at" (Heb. "men of wonder"). Through the bestowal of the final outpouring of God's grace,* human beings still clothed in flesh of sin, will fully reflect the image of Christ, for God will bring forth His servant, the BRANCH in each - "Christ in you the hope of glory." The final atonement will have been accomplished. "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith" (Gal. 5:5).
* "Divine grace is needed at the beginning, divine grace at every step of advance, and divine grace alone can complete the work." (Testimonies to Ministers, p.508)
In cataloguing an acquisition of a group of manuscripts, letters, etc., we discovered a letter written by A. T. Jones which gave his perspective on details both prior to, and following the 1888 General Conference session. We believe that the contents of this letter will be enlightening to our readers and to all those who are deeply interested In the 1888 Message. The letter is being reproduced just as written by Jones.
An A. T. Jones Letter:
ALONZO T. JONES
Dear Brother ----------,
to your letter of inquiry of April 12 has been delayed by many things. And now
I do not think that I can do justice to it in the time that I have. That
to 1888 Bro. Waggoner and I both worked on the "Signs of the Times"
and the "American Sentinel" at
was the way all the time. Oh! yes, another illustration proves this. Bro.
Prescott and his wife went to
General Conference of 1887 in
tification by faith." As I remember it, his pamphlet was entitled, "The Law in Galatians."
By their known agreement of Bro. Waggoner and me in the Gospel of Righteousness by Faith, which included of course both Galatians and Romans; and that did not agree at all with the views of Butler and the other General Conference heads; Butler and the others had framed in their imagination that "these two young men" - Bro. Waggoner and me - had concocted a scheme to revolutionize the doctrine of the denomination and to carry the denomination into new, and of course "heretical" fields. For along with the truth and "heresy" of righteousness by faith for which Bro. Waggoner was held as the leader, I had carried through the Signs of the Times a study of the four beasts and the ten kingdoms as in Daniel 7. In tracing the ten kingdoms to know exactly what they were in the history, I found that the old traditional list of those kingdoms as held by the denomination, was not correct. When I began the study Bro. Uriah Smith wrote to me that he was glad that I was going to search that out, for it had never been done: but that the list that was used in the 1844 movement had been simply carried along by the denomination without any attempt having been made to verify it. But when I brought out the truth that that list was not correct, Bro. Smith was not a bit glad; and opposed it, and defended the old list. This made me the head of that new "heresy" as Bro. Waggoner was of the other; and this was a double proof to the other men that Bro. Waggoner and I had got up a new doctrine for the denomination which at the Minneapolis Conference we were going to have settled as the orthodox denominational doctrine. But neither Bro. Waggoner nor I alone or together ever in our lives thought of any such thing. All that we were doing any of the time was studying the Scripture to know the truth.
institute of three or four weeks duration had been appointed to precede the
actual General Conference that was to come at
institute opened I was invited or appointed to lead out in the study of the
prophecies, and this brought in the ten kingdoms of course. But there was
nobody to give any historical studies in opposition to this for none of them
knew the history well enough; so all that they could do on that was to appeal
to tradition. And Eld.
Thus the real fight in the institute and conference came over "Righteousness by Faith." Bro. Waggoner led in the studies on that. Eld. J.H. Morrison was chosen by the General Conference folks to lead the opposition. And he did it: and it was righteousness by anything and everything else than faith.
now name anyone who definitely and openly accepted there the truth of
righteousness by faith. But in the times following I could not name the numbers
who told that their true Christian experience in the Gospel began with the
study on righteousness by faith in that meeting. In that meeting and conference
the tide of things was indicated by what one of the
The opposers were Geo. I. Butler, J.H. Morrison and all who could be swung by General Conference influence.
But as you know Sr. White stood out openly and strongly all the way for righteousness by faith; and after the conference was over, the preaching of righteousness by faith was followed up by her and Bro. Waggoner and me through the winter following, and by her and me in Battle Creek direct, and it was given the greater force by the message of religious liberty that was endorsed in that General Conference, and which by resolution of the Conference, I was directed to carry to the Senate Committee in Washington in opposition to the Blair Sunday Bill. This went on through the winter and spring. Then when camp meeting time came we all three visited the camp meetings with the message of righteousness by faith and religious liberty; sometimes all three of us being in the same meeting. This turned the tide with the people, and apparently with most of the leading men. But this latter was only apparent: it was never real, for all the time in the General Conference Committee, and amongst others, there was a secret antagonism always carried on; and which finally in Daniells, Spicer and Co. gained the day in the denomination, and gave to the Minneapolis spirit and contention and men the supremacy as the accompanying leaflet will demonstrate to you.
Please read this leaflet through carefully, and when you get to the marked place on page 31, you will appreciate along with this letter what is there said. For as you will see, what is there said is a
synopsis of what I have here written.
And I personally know that if a testimony that was written in 1902 and was read to me by Sr. White herself, that was addressed to Daniells and Prescott, had ever been published as other testimonies were published, those two men with that gang never could have run the course that they did run. But so far as I know no copy of that testimony was ever allowed to get out of her house; and I know that for this W.C. White was in no small measure responsible. I do not know whether even Daniells or Prescott ever saw a copy. Even if copies of it ever did get out, I very seriously doubt that they ever got out as that testimony was originally written and read to me: for it is morally certain, and practically physically certain, that if it had been made public as important testimonies usually were, as it was originally written, it would have put a quietus on their campaign against Dr. Kellogg as they began it in Battle Creek in Nov. 1902.
returned from that meeting in
In justice to Bro. J. H. Morrison, he should be given credit by name for the truth and fact that some time after the Minneapolis Conference was all over, I cannot state definitely just what year, he cleared himself of all connection with that opposition, and put himself body, soul and spirit into the truth and blessing of righteousness by faith by one of the finest and noblest confessions that I ever heard.
Wishing you only all blessing always, I remain,
(Signed) Truly, Alonzo T. Jones
Let's Talk It Over
The letter written by A.T. Jones which we have reproduced in full, written as a result of an inquiry, merits more than a casual reading. In this brief editorial, we intend to call your attention to certain convictions of A.T. Jones for your further contemplation. He wrote - "That Minneapolis meeting and conference embraced much more and meant much more than what occurred in the meeting and conference." Could it be that the emphasis given which focuses primarily on the session and what the men taught has short changed us in understanding all that was involved?
Jones' testimony of how he and E.J. Waggoner studied needs thoughtful consideration. Note again - "Each of us pursued his own individual study of the Bible and teaching and preaching. Never in our lives did we spend an hour in study together on any subject or upon all subjects. Yet we were led in perfect agreement in the truths of the Bible all the way." After thinking the implication through again read the illustrations Jones gives. The conclusion is inescapable. Jones and Waggoner were men commissioned by God with a message regardless of what the detractors both in their life time and now have said and written.
A.T. Jones' comments on the opposition led by J.H. Morrison against the message of "Righteousness by Faith" is apropos for today - "it was righteousness by anything and everything else than faith.”
the letter one dare not overlook the implications and far reaching effect of
the charge Jones leveled at W.C. White. However, it is interesting, that one of
the men - Prescott - whom Willie's action sought to protect, actually wrote to
him - "The way your mother's writings have been handled ... have brought
great perplexity and trial to me." One is left to wonder if
It is our conviction that the past should speak, and we shall continue to share other letters that come to light.