XXXIII - 7 (00)
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)
Let’s Talk It Over Page 6
With this issue we close the series of three studies on "The Final Atonement. " The Final Atonement encompasses all that is understood under the terminology of "the Investigative Judgment," and the more recent designation of "Pre-Advent Judgment." The main thrust in these studies has been to seek an interpretation of the "investigative judgment" in harmony with the fact that Jesus declared that the Father had committed all judgment into His hands inasmuch as He had become a Son of man. It must be remembered that only those whose names are found in the Lamb's Book of Life receive the gift of life eternal; not those whose records are preserved in the books opened before the Ancient of days.
We must understand the issues when the great controversy began and the objective God had in the creation of man in His own image. (See Supplement #1) Then realizing that the judgment must begin where sin began, the prophetic scene in Daniel 7:9-10 becomes pregnant with new meaning and significance. Add to this the factor of God's omniscience, as well as the fact that God will never place a creature in double jeopardy, but will honor the Judgment of the Son of man. Light and truth break forth to be considered.
At the time we were preparing this
issue of WWN, the court case in
"The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing
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The Final Atonement - 3
In concluding the previous essay on the Final Atonement, we quoted the observation of Keil & Delitzsch in regard to the two lots cast over the goats presented for sacrifice on the typical Day of Atonement. They stated:
The words, one lot for Jehovah, and one for Azazel, require unconditionally that Azazel should be regarded as a personal being in opposition to Jehovah (Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 1, p. 398).
This indicates a controversy in the universe of God between Himself and one designated as Azazel. Further, the services as outlined for the Day of Atonement indicate that God resolves this conflict through: (1) a sacrifice representing Him; (2) by the ministration of the high priest; and (3) the sacrifice provided by the high priest in conjunction with the sacrifice on His behalf; in other words, Jesus the Messiah.
This controversy is the theme of the Scriptures in the unfolding of salvation history, and can well be designated as the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan. The issues involved and their resolution are basic to understanding the judgment in all of its aspects as revealed in the prophecies of both Daniel and Revelation.
Paul in his letter to the Ephesians speaks of "the eternal purpose" of God which was to be accomplished in Christ Jesus ().Literally the text reads - "the purpose of the ages" (προθεσιν των αιωνων). From "the counsel of peace . . . between the Two of Them" (Zech. Heb.) came the determination, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). However, there was another being who said in his heart, "I will be like the Most High" (Isa. ). The announcement of God's intent was the spark that ignited open rebellion at the very throne of God because Lucifer was one of the "covering cherub(s) that covereth" (Eze. 28:14). Of the conflict that followed Jesus could well say to the "seventy," "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" (Luke ). After the creation of man in the image and likeness of God, this other being, Lucifer, Azazel, "the Devil, and Satan" whatever one calls him, disrupted the purpose of God through leading man to make a wrong choice.
In making man in His image and likeness, God created him to be only "a little while inferior" to the angels. (Heb. 2:7, margin) The Greek here is bracu ti and can be applied to either rank or time. The same words are used regarding Jesus in verse 9, where both rank and time blend together. For after the condescension, which was but a brief interlude against the backdrop of eternity, Christ was highly exalted (Phil 2:8-9). In Christ is the hope of man. Condescending to man's level, He "taste(d) death for every man" (Heb. 2:9). Resurrected and returning to the courts of heaven, He sits "in heavenly places" as a Man, for man (Eph. 2:6). In Him, we perceive "the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" is to be ().
Inasmuch as the issue which ignited the rebellion was God's creation of man and His objective for man, on that point the judgment must begin. (See Supplement #1) An angel dissatisfied with his position, and desiring to be "like the most High," challenged God. Not being included in the "counsel of peace" his jealousy overwhelmed him. His enmity caused him to focus on man and he succeeded in the depravation of man. Two alternate questions face us: 1) is God going to forget His "purpose of the ages"? or 2) Does God intend to carry it through to realization? Other considerations are also involved. "Affliction shall not rise up the second time" (Nahum 1:9). Will the angelic host accept this plan under the new circumstances? The man whom God planned to exalt has fallen far below the level that was his at creation. Though forgiven, he is still a sinner saved by grace. Will the angels be satisfied with such a creature being so enthroned; using the words of Jesus, "to sit with Me in my throne, even as I ... am sat down with my Father in His throne"? They rejoiced at the exaltation and enthronement of Jesus as He returned to the Courts of heaven (Ps. 24:7-10). With the full picture of time before them, they must confirm the decision of God's intent. (This is not conjecture in the light of
the revelation the book of Daniel gives as to how God operates His heavenly government. See Daniel 4:17.)
This is the setting of the prophetic portrayal of the judgment in Daniel 7:9-10. The angelic host is gathered, and the books are opened, the books which they helped to write (Eccl. 5:6). Well do they know its contents. But now comes the moment of final angelic decision - a decision by creatures with a free will. "The hour of the judgment of Him is come." What is God's plea? Here enters the meaning of the services of the typical Day of Atonement - a day of At-one-ment. But this at-one-ment will not only involve man and God, but also the angels and God, for in the final execution of the plan, they will see annihilated forever, their comrades from "days of old." The final execution of judgment will be traumatic for all rational beings who have been involved.
First on that typical day, after the
incense was brought into the most holy place, the blood of the bullock
followed. This the high priest provided for himself and his house. As the great
antitypical session begins, the great High Priest steps forward, and before the
angelic hosts shows anew the scars of His hands and His pierced side. (Hab. 3:4, margin) Well do they remember the scenes of
Then the Ancient of days asks -
"Have I given enough?" Again the darkness of
In the silence of that moment, and in the answer given to the questions asked, the second great eternity is secured. (Only one condition appears to have been attached; those exalted must accept the terms of the Gospel. The First Angel who announces "the hour of His judgment is come" brings with him, "the everlasting gospel" (Rev. 14:6-7). When Christ returns after the completion of the judgment, He takes vengeance on those "that obey not the gospel." (II Thess. 1:8) From the books, names are transferred to the one book, and those already entered are retained in "the book of life of the Lamb" (Rev. 13:8). Their records in the "books" are blotted out. The decision rests with Him unto whom all judgment is committed. The chosen ones pass from death unto life; they do not come into judgment nor do they come under the condemnation that awaits those whose works remain recorded "in the books" (John ; Rev. 20:12).
The final work can now commence. It must be kept in mind that the prophecy of Daniel 7 is based on a continuum, events following in succession. It was not until after hearing "the voice of the great words" (v. 11) that Daniel saw "one like unto the Son of man" come before the Ancient of days to receive "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom" (v. 13). It is not by accident that Christ is pictured as "the Son of man" because He was to announce that His authority to execute judgment would be based on the fact that "He is the Son of man" (John ). In Daniel 7 He is portrayed as having completed His work, and is brought before the Ancient of days to receive power, glory and the kingdom.
The parenthesis in the prophecy of Daniel is filled by the details of the typical service as given in Leviticus 16. The final judgment is no more a stationary scene than was the services of the typical Day of Atonement. On that day, there was movement from the Most Holy apartment to the Court, where the final cleansing took place, and the scapegoat sent to a land uninhabited.
Another prophecy conveys the same
picture of movement. Ezekiel 9, pictures a man "clothed in linen,"
and this designation is emphasized throughout the chapter, verses 2, 3, 11.
Keep in mind that the high priest on the typical day of atonement
can be identified as "a man clothed in linen" (Lev. 16:4). In
Ezekiel, the man clothed in linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side,
receives a commission from One who being in the
script, the Hebrew "tau" resembles the form of a cross. Those so marked identify with their Lord even as He wept over a doomed city. They choose to follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth.
The book of Revelation presents in
prophetic symbolism the same three steps taken by the High Priest on the Day of
Atonement. At the time of the hour of God's judgment, three mighty angels are
dispatched, the first carrying the everlasting gospel combined with a message
of what was taking place in the heavenly sanctuary, and calling man to true
worship. The second followed with a corporate announcement -
A further factor emerges in the book of Revelation. Resulting from these final messages of the Three Angels is a people of which it can be said - "Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (). It does not say, "'trying to keep" or that they “believe they should be kept" but they "keep" not only the commandments of God, but also the faith of Jesus. It is this latter ingredient that is missing in the teachings and the experience of "historic" Adventism today. The picture becomes critical when the fact is conveyed in the book of Revelation that prior to the coming of Jesus Christ in the clouds of heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords, His High Priestly intercession has ceased, and the final wrath of God is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation. (15:8). This means in simplest terms, that sinning has ceased in the lives of those sealed, and whose names are retained in the Lamb's book of life.
The Divine Intercessor has committed Himself to the accomplishment of this objective. In a prophecy of Isaiah it is foretold, in the context of the then current historical events, that in "the day (that) the Lord cometh" He would "make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir" (). A careful look at this prophecy reveals that this commitment is promised between the fulfilment of "the sun (being) darkened in its going forth" (ver. 10); and "the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger" (ver. 13).
Another prophetic representation to be found in the visions of Zachariah places, as it were, a capsheaf on the whole. It is a picture of a controversy between Christ and Satan. Joshua the high priest stands before the angel of the Lord "clothed with filthy garments" (3:3), and "Satan standing at his right hand to resist him" (3:1). The objectives that were realized as given in the symbolism associates this prophecy with the final work of the Day of Atonement. There is a cleansing - "take away the filthy garments" (3:4). There is a removal of iniquity - "I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day" (3:9). The results are astonishing - "for they are men wondered at" (3:8). The Hebrew also translates - "men of wonder" (See margin).
On the typical Day of Atonement, the command was specific - "Ye shall do no work in that same day" (Lev. ). The symbolic representation in Zechariah conveys the same factor in the reclothing of Joshua the high priest. The action both of taking away the filthy garments, and placing upon him "a change of raiment" was done by the "Angel of the Lord" himself, and those associated with Him (Zech. 3:4-5). The only action on the part of Joshua was recognition that his garments needed changing, and surrendering himself for its accomplishment. Accepting the resulting nakedness, he also accepted the clothing provided by "the angel of the Lord" who promised, "I will clothe thee with change of raiment" (3:4). Both - the removal of his iniquity, and the covering of the shame of his nakedness was done by the command of only One - "the Angel of the Lord" - to whom all judgment is committed.
This is the same emphasis as is found in the typical services for the Day of Atonement. The High Priest alone accomplished the atonement with the blood of both the bullock and the Lord's goat. The instruction is specific. It stated - "There shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make atonement" (Lev. ). How brazen and Pharisaical to think that we can clothe ourselves in a righteousness which will merit the acceptance of the Judgment. Ours is but to afflict our
souls. If we would, we could better see the "fig leaf" garb with which we have attempted to clothe ourselves and how utterly useless it is in which to face the record the "books" contain. Then we would truly sing - "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." We would pray most earnestly that the record be blotted out and we would be content to have our names alone retained in the Lamb's Book of Life.
In this vision of Zechariah is to be found a suggestion of the "how" of the final atonement. Prefacing the announcement, that the removal of the iniquity will be done in one day, was the placing of a stone before Joshua which had "seven eyes" (3:9). This same designation for the Spirit of God is given in Revelation 5:6. This same fullness, completeness, was given to the One, who is to complete as our great High Priest, the final atonement (John ). We are to overcome as He overcame, so as to sit with Him in His throne and have the "fair mitre" placed on our heads (Rev. 3:21; Zech. 3:5). Jesus said, as He was about to finish the work given Him to do - "the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works" (John ). Likewise, it is the Father "which worketh in us to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. ).
However, there is another aspect implicit in the vision given to Zechariah. Joshua could have resisted the attempt of the attendants of the Angel of the Lord to unclothe him; but if he had, he would have remained clothed in filthy garments. Heaven does not force us to accept Christ's righteousness which is freely offered. It is our choice to do the one work required of God, and that is to "believe on Him whom He hath sent" (John ). The stigma and resulting coldness of such nakedness may cause us to hesitate; but the warmth of Christ's righteousness will cause us to rest in God. There is no other way that Heaven has devised. God will not cover our filthy garments with the robe He has provided - instead they must go!
This removal of iniquity is stated to be "in one day." It will be done by "the Lord of hosts" who declares - "I will remove the iniquity" (Zech. 3:9). In the book of Revelation is found a determinate decree that fixes human character and destiny, followed immediately by the assertion - "And, behold, I come quickly." It reads:
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still ().
This decree fits well into the picture of the close of all human probation, when "no man (is) able to enter into the temple" and the plagues of God's wrath are poured out to be followed by the coming of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 15:8; 1 Tim. 2:5; Rev. 19:11-16).
In the Greek text, the verbs in Revelation 22:11 are in the third person imperative, of which there is no equivalent in the English, and thus the helping verb, "let" is used. (See Machen's New Testament Greek for Beginners, p. 180) As is easily recognized in the KJV, the verse is made up of couplets: "unjust" and "filthy" as well as "righteous" and "holy." In the Greek Text (Textus Receptus) underlying the KJV, the two couplets stand in contrasting relationship to each other. The verbs associated with "unjust" and "filthy" are in the active voice, while the verbs connected with “righteous" and "holy" are in the passive voice. (See Supplement #2) Simply stated, the unjust and the filthy continue in their course of wickedness, while the righteous and the holy are acted upon in order to be continued righteous and holy. In other words, their righteousness or holiness is not of themselves. Either they have died in "the hope of righteousness by faith" (Gal. 5:5); or they have been cleansed in the final atonement. (For those interested in further study, the same contrast can be seen in Paul's discussion of the Second Coming in I Cor. 15:51-54)
Supplement - #1
The Lord has shown me that, Satan was once an honored angel in heaven, next to Jesus Christ, ... And I saw that when God said to His Son, Let us make man in our image, Satan was jealous of Jesus. He wished to be consulted concerning the formation of man. ... He wished to be highest in heaven, next, to God, and receive the highest honors. Until this time all heaven was in order, harmony and perfect, subjection to the government of God. (Spiritual Gifts Vol. I, p.17)
All heaven took a deep and Joyful interest, in the creation of man. Human beings were a new and
created man a superior being; he alone is formed in the image of God, and is
capable of partaking of the divine nature; of co-operating with his Creator and
executing His plans.
was the crowning act of the creation of God, made in the image of God, and
designed to be a counterpart of God; ...
Interlinear Greek-English New Testament by George R. Berry based on the Textus Receptus (Rev. 22:11).
*aorist active imperative. The "unrighteous" are continuing in their unrighteousness by their own volition, and the filthy are getting filthier by their own choice. They have passed the point of no return.
**aorist passive imperative. The righteous and the sanctified have been acted upon. It is not their righteousness, but that which has been provided through the redemption in Christ Jesus, and their sanctification is likewise of Him whom God has "made unto us ... sanctification and redemption" (I Cor. ).
The clause - " He that is righteous let him be righteous still" - could read, "He that is justified, let him be justified still." The same Greek word is used as in the parable where Jesus said of the publican, "This man went down to his house justified" (Luke ). Paul used the same term in Romans 3:24, "Being justified freely by His grace."
"Sanctify" (αγιαζω) is used 29x in the NT, and except in the KJV in Rev. 22:11 where it is translated "holy" and in the two recordings of the Lord's Prayer where it is rendered, "hallowed," it consistently is translated by some form of the word, "sanctify." Thus the author of the interlinear used above is being consistent with the rest of the NT in his use of "sanctified" for αγιασθητω.
Let's Talk It Over
A few days ago (This is being written May 1), a message was left on our answering service, by a friend, stating that the Federal Judge in Miami, who heard the case which the General Conference Corporation had brought against Raphael Perez ruled in favor of the Corporation. Where does this leave all those who are using the name Seventh-day Adventist, or who are professing themselves as either "reformed" or "historic" Seventh-day Adventists? One would hope now that some degree of sanity could be restored among those manifesting a zeal without knowledge.
While it is true that the name "Seventh-day Adventists" received the endorsement of Ellen G. White as it would represent the uniqueness of two key teachings of Adventism, one must ask today, are these two doctrines still unique to Adventism? And the answer is clearly, no. There are other Sabbatarians than Seventh-day Adventist as well as other church groups who believe in and teach the near return of our Lord albeit not exactly as is taught in Adventism. Furthermore, it is not that the Church has ceased to recognize the seventh day Sabbath, or the historic teaching of the second coming of Jesus Christ, even though it appears to be planning and doing as if the Lord had delayed His coming.
The very issues which have brought contention within the community of Adventism - the lowering of standards in their lifestyle, and deviation from, and mitigation of, the sanctuary teaching involving the atonement of the Cross and the High Priestly ministry of Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary are not covered by the name Seventh-day Adventists. Add to this, the continued contention over Justifica-
tion and/or Righteousness by Faith, plus
the conviction on the part of many that the Papacy needs to be exposed for what
it is, the antichrist of Bible prophecy. On the other hand, the hierarchy of
the Church rejects not only the message of 1888 but seeks to improve its
A comparison can be made with
It is significant that while the Jewish houses of worship were referred to as "synagogues," a word meaning places of assembly, the New Testament notes the places of worship for "the followers of the way" as churches (ekklhsiai), the word meaning "called out" ones. Indeed the Christian churches were composed of those who had been called out not only from the worship in pagan temples but also from the fallen House of Israel.
Even the early Christians meeting in
homes were referred to as a part of the ecclesia. Paul speaks of the
"church that is in their house" in sending greetings to Priscilla and
Two incidents recorded in the book
of Acts need to be considered. When Paul began his ministry in
The next incident is found in Acts
19. Paul had come to
If we would be not only Followers of the Way, but also Bible believing Adventists, the guise of upholding "historic" Adventism would be revealed for what it is, a deception.