Saturday, December 07, 2013

“The Eschatological Day of Atonement”

Eschatology is that branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world and the final destiny of mankind. This involves beliefs concerning death, the end of the world and the ultimate destiny of mankind. This includes the doctrines concerning the Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the Judgment.  In our lesson for this week the vision of the 2300 days is referred to as being fulfilled “many days in the future” (Dan 8:26) from the time of Daniel. The vision was sealed until the distant future.
So, the title of our lesson is referring to a day of atonement in the final days of earth’s history.   Since, atonement is the process of becoming one or reconciliation, it means that something is happening to remove what separated man from God?  What separates man from God?   What separated Eve from God?  Ellen White states,

“Eve believed the words of Satan, and the belief of that falsehood in regard to God's  character, changed the condition and character of both herself and husband. They were changed from good and obedient children into transgressors...” (RH, January 5, 1886 par. 8).

Ellen White elaborates on the danger of believing lies about God,

In rejecting the truth, men reject its Author. In trampling upon the law of God, they deny the authority of the Law-giver. It is as easy to make an idol of false doctrines and theories as to fashion an idol of wood or stone. By misrepresenting the attributes of God, Satan leads men to conceive of Him in a false character. With many, a philosophical idol is enthroned in the place of Jehovah; while the living God, as He is revealed in His word, in Christ, and in the works of creation, is worshiped by but few. Thousands deify nature while they deny the God of nature. Though in a different form, idolatry exists in the Christian world today as verily as it existed among ancient Israel in the days of Elijah. The god of many professedly wise men, of philosophers, poets, politicians, journalists--the god of polished fashionable circles, of many colleges and universities, even of some theological institutions--is little better than Baal, the sun-god of Phoenicia. {GC 583.1}

Here is one more quote from Ellen White where she again talk about lies about God,

In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned. Every sin must meet its punishment, urged Satan; and if God should remit the punishment of sin, He would not be a God of truth and justice. When men broke the law of God, and defied His will, Satan exulted. It was proved, he declared, that the law could not be obeyed; man could not be forgiven. Because he, after his rebellion, had been banished from heaven, Satan claimed that the human race must be forever shut out from God's favor. God could not be just, he urged, and yet show mercy to the sinner. {DA 761.4}
You will notice that Satan’s claim is part of the creed of many Christian denominations.  So, these lies have infected Christianity.  Therefore, these lies have to be removed out of Christians, primarily.  How do these lies translate into our lives?  We believe we must be afraid of God or we see God as a sort of Santa Claus.  This then translates on how we treat each other. 

For the most part we are unaware of how much we distrust God.  The judgment is to show us what is truly in our hearts.  As God told Laodicea,

Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

The judgment is to reveal it as a patient is revealed his condition, and once the patient knows his condition the doctor can prescribe a form of intervention.  Spiritually, the intervention is,

 “Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
 “Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” 

Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

Ezekiel 18:31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

It is the indwelling Holy Spirit which reveals Sin to us and at the same time impresses Jesus in our minds (john 14: 16 -17; 15: 26; 16: 8, 14).   Because He indwells us, we are His sanctuary (1 Corinthian 16: 9).  In the Day of Atonement the cleansing of Sin from the Sanctuary was complete.  In the eschatological day of atonement the cleansing of Sin in us, must be complete also.  How clean should it be?

Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.  {COL 69.1} 

If the records in Heaven are a perfect reflection of us, then when we are cleansed so are the records in Heaven.  According to Daniel 8, when does the cleansing start?  It has to be after all those empires spoken of in the prophecies either no longer exist or no longer have the power they held before.  This would take us to the year 1798. 
The little horn of Daniel 7, which is also the beast in Revelation 13, is in power for 1260 years.  This is based on the time prophecy, in which the beast persecutes for 1260 days:  “time, times, half a time”, or 42 months, which all prophetically are interpreted to mean 1260 years.  The time frame for this is historically said to be from 538 AD, when Justinian’s general, Belisarius defeated the last of the Arian nations, the Ostrogoths, drove them out of Rome and turned over the city to the Bishop of Rome.  1260 years later, would be 1798, and that year, the French general Berthier, enters Rome, declares it a Republic, takes the pope captive, exiles him to France where the pope dies a prisoner.

With the Pope removed and the papacy no longer exerting the influence it once had, men felt at liberty to study and preach the Word of God without any adverse repercussions: it was no longer illegal.  The book of Daniel was opened to the mind of many men, including William Miller.  William Miller’s message was the cleansing of the Sanctuary.  Although, the right interpretation escaped Miller, it set the foundation for further understanding: The cleansing of the sanctuary in Heaven is dependent on the cleansing of Sin from us.