Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 9, Qtr 3-06

Special Insights No. 9

Third Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Gospel, 1844, and Judgment”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“Day-Year Principle”

Our Lesson Author/Editor has done a very thoughtful job of explicating the “day-year principle.” There is no need for us to say it all over again. Thank God that the Seventh-day Adventist Church in our third century (1844 until now) has been blessed so that today those who are studying our current Sabbath School lessons are a major denomination around the world.

So far as this writer is aware, we are the only sizable denomination in existence that holds to the principle of understanding the time prophecies of Daniel and Revelation as a “day for a year.” Yet reverent-minded scholars for centuries have recognized the truth of the principle. Their modern descendants have abandoned the truth their forefathers saw!

The significance of the “day-year principle” tells us several things:

(a) The Lord, the God of eternity, the Ancient of Days, has humbled Himself to come within “time” and share it with us.

(b) Time has been set apart for the express purpose of dealing with the problem of sin which has taken root in human hearts.

(c) God intends that the problem of sin in the “great controversy between Christ and Satan” shall be resolved within a foreseen period of time. It is not heaven’s intention that the problem go on like a running sore, throughout centuries more, or for an eternity.

(d) The commencement of the cosmic Day of Atonement is the beginning of that final period of time during which that great controversy shall be finished in victory for “the Lamb.”

(e) Wars and rumors of wars and multitudinous troubles are not to divert the attention of God’s people from the work which the world’s great High Priest has set Himself to accomplish in the hearts of His people.

(f) This special period just “before the great and dreadful day of the Lord” is when Heaven has promised to send us “Elijah the prophet,” who will “turn hearts.” It’s in those hearts that the great High Priest is performing His final work of at-one-ment, or reconciliation with God and also with us as one another.

(g) This work is going forward, even as we write and read.

(h) It may be progressing in “hearts all around us” and we may not be aware of it. This is another way of speaking of the “shaking” experience which is also going on at the same time.

(i) God’s time prophecies in Daniel and Revelation are not pre-ordained designations of when this or that must happen by divine fiat; they represent God’s infinite foreknowledge that humanity needs this length of time to be able to learn the various lessons that become “present truth” in these last days.

(j) Now at last, after 6000 years, the time has come when humanity can grasp what the great High Priest wants to do in preparing a people of all races, languages, cultures, for translation at the coming of Jesus.

(k) In God’s providence He “sent” to His people in 1888 a message which if accepted and appreciated would have accomplished that work in that generation (cf. 1893 General Conference Bulletin, p. 419).

Thus, the time for the great “Day” of Atonement that God designated (1844, at the end of the 2300 year prophecy) is when humanity (that is, people whose hearts are alert to divine revelation) should be ready to appreciate truths associated with the end of time. (They could not have been comprehended in earlier times!) Hence, the raising up of William Miller and the 1844 movement. The great mass of those who at first accepted the “first” and “second angel’s messages” abandoned their faith when the Great Disappointment came; but the Lord at last had a “remnant” ready to endure through it all and emerge to follow the great High Priest by faith as He left the first apartment and began His second apartment ministry (cf. Early Writings, p. 254.

Luther, Calvin, the Wesleys, could not have been ready for this in their day. This is why the great “doctrine of justification by faith” that Luther understood so “clearly” in his day could not have been clear enough for the post-1844 era.

Post-1844, it is the Lord’s intention that the truth of justification by faith prepare a people not only for death, but for translation at the coming of the Savior. Ample time following the end of the 2300 years has been given.

“Elijah” will do for modern Israel what he did for ancient Israel: cut through red tape and confusions that have perplexed the world church, and summon everyone to a great modern “Mt. Carmel” that no one can prevent coming. “Halting between two opinions” in helpless indecision will come to an end (cf. Mal. 4:5, 6; 1 Kings 18). “The powers of heaven will be shaken.” The weak will become strong, transformations in character and personality will be seen everywhere as the full truth of justification by faith penetrates to hearts world-wide (cf. Zech. 12: 8).

The coming of the Messiah within the “70 weeks” prophecy “sealed up the vision” (mareh) of the 2300 days/years. Nothing but determined, sinful unbelief can now deflect the conviction that the truth of the 2300 days/years imparts. The reason is that the apparently cold, mechanical math that cloaks the truths of the New Covenant, the nearness of the Savior, His justifying power, His closing High Priestly ministry, lie within like a sweet kernel in a hard-to-crack nut; he who rejects the “present truth” of justification by faith rejects the last gospel appeal God can send. Let’s receive it gladly!

Robert J. Wieland


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