Thursday, June 26, 2008

What moved the Millerites

What moved the Millerites

In 1844, William Miller and his followers eagerly awaited for the emergence of the Heavenly High Priest. Because of their misunderstanding of what the sanctuary was, they expected this emergence in the second coming of Christ. We know Christ did not return. We know of their disappointment. We also now what truly happened that day. What moved this group to go through with their plan to prepare for Christ’s return? What helped them endure the ridicule of others before and after the disappointment?

One answer would be hope. The kind of hope of Hebrews 11:1. To them there was a certainty and an assurance that Christ would return for them on October 22, 1844.

Another answer is trust. They trusted God’s word to be true. They did not need external evidence to believe Christ return. They believed that anything the Word of God said would happen because God said so.

The story of Noah shows this type of trust. We read in Genesis 6:8 that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” God wanted to spare Noah of the impending destruction. We read in Genesis 6:11 – 13,

Genesis 6:11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
Genesis 6:12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
Genesis 6:13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
Genesis 6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood …

God told Noah what He was about to do. So He ordered Noah to build an ark. In verse 22 we read that, “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” Noah listened to God. Noah believed God and trusted God. Noah did not need evidence that it would rain, nor that the ark could float. God’s word was sufficient to him.

Another example is the Roman centurion. Let us read in Matthew 8:5 – 13,

Matthew 8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
Matthew 8:6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
Matthew 8:7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
Matthew 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
Matthew 8:9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
Matthew 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Matthew 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

The Centurion needed no evidence that Jesus, at His word, could heal the servant. He trusted God’s word to be enough.

Another answer to what moved the Millerites to follow through on their quest is Love. They loved Him above all else so they loved His return above all else. Those who love the things of this world above God will not love His return either.

Some people ask the question, “Would you love God even if there was no tomorrow?” In other words, would you love God even if there was no Second Advent and eternal life? The basis for the question is that you should not love Jesus because you want a reward. However, I do not think this is the right question. Let us use the example of marriage to explain. Why did you marry your spouse? Did you marry him/her because you wanted the rewards of married life? Or was it because you love him/her so much you wanted to be as one with him/her for the rest of your life? Let’s apply the same question to God. Do you love God so much now that you would like to spend the rest of your life with Him? The Millerites did. And, those who love Him like that in the end will be saved.

Friday, June 20, 2008

All things point to Jesus.

I was traveling back to Chicago, when I saw a sign that said, “Chicago 300 miles.” This sign said to me that Chicago was 300 miles away, and that I was going in the right direction. As I got closer to Chicago I saw more signs, with less distance. The signs told me I was closer to Chicago and am going in the right direction. None of the signs said, “I was in Chicago, yet.” All the signs did was point me to Chicago. Of course, when you arrived to Chicago you no longer need signs to point you there.

The earthly sanctuary is similar. As all things inside were symbols representing Jesus, they were mere signs, pointing to Jesus. When Jesus came to earth, type met antitype. The real thing had arrived. No longer do we need symbols pointing us to Him. As the quarterly says, “Jesus and His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary replaced the earthly
tabernacle, the earthly priesthood, the animal sacrifices, and the daily and yearly ceremonies.”

It all pointed to Jesus. For example, it points to his earthly ministry: His birth, life, death and resurrection. God offered His Son as a lamb that takes away the Sin of the World, as the Israelites offered a lamb as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of their Sins. Every utensil in the building represented something about Jesus. With the candles, it pointed to Jesus as Light of the world (John 8:12). With the shewbread, it shows Jesus as the bread of life (John 6:35).

Not only the sanctuary itself pointed to Jesus, but the ministration of the priests, was to "serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." Hebrews 8:5. Thus it was of great importance; and the Lord, through Moses, gave the most definite and explicit instruction concerning every point of this typical service. The ministration of the sanctuary consisted of two divisions, a daily and a yearly service. The daily service was performed at the altar of burnt offering in the court of the tabernacle and in the holy place; while the yearly service was in the most holy. Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon the altar, with its appropriate meat offering, thus symbolizing the daily consecration of the nation to Jehovah, and their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ. God expressly directed that every offering presented for the service of the sanctuary should be "without blemish." Exodus 12:5. The Passover sacrifice pointed to Jesus on the cross.

The Priest clothes had a specific meaning. Over the ephod was the breastplate, the most sacred of the priestly vestments. This was of the same material as the ephod. It was in the form of a square, measuring a span, and was suspended from the shoulders by a cord of blue from golden rings. The border was formed of a variety of precious stones, the same that form the twelve foundations of the City of God. Within the border were twelve stones set in gold, arranged in rows of four, and, like those in the shoulder pieces, engraved with the names of the tribes. The Lord's direction was, "Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually." Exodus 28:29. So 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. Says the psalmist, "I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me." Psalm 40:17.

At the right and left of the breastplate were two large stones of great brilliancy. These were known as the Urim and Thummim. By them the will of God was made known through the high priest. When questions were brought for decision before the Lord, a halo of light encircling the precious stone at the right was a token of the divine consent or approval, while a cloud shadowing the stone at the left was an evidence of denial or disapprobation. The miter of the high priest consisted of the white linen turban, having attached to it by a lace of blue, a gold plate bearing the inscription, "Holiness to Jehovah." Everything connected with the apparel and deportment of the priests was to be such as to impress the beholder with a sense of the holiness of God, the sacredness of His worship, and the purity required of those who came into His presence.

The Priests represented Christ as intercessor. The Day of Atonement pointed to Jesus heavenly ministry in the holiest of Holies chamber of the sanctuary on Heaven. The High Priest not only interceding for people, but as the sanctuary was cleansed from the yearly Sins of the people. This cleansing takes even more significance when Jesus passes from the Holy Place to the Holiest of Holies. Christ cleanses His sanctuary from Sin. However, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” 1 Corinthians 6:19. . As He cleanses the heavenly Sanctuary from Sin, so are our hearts are cleansed from Sin, if we let Him abide in us.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


The teachers comments of this week’s lesson asks this question, “What barriers do we raise to our own insight into God’s truth, and that of those with whom we should be sharing the gospel because of our own misconception of God’s plans? What would it take for us to be more open to the truth?” We could reword this question as “what objection or excuses do we have in rejecting or avoid making a choice for the truth? The Bible has several examples of people giving excuses. In the Parable of soils is cares of the world, tribulation and persecution, or lack of understanding (Matthew 13). Those who refuse to go to the wedding banquet: Marriage, land, and other. The man that gets kicked out refuses to wear the apparel provided by the King (Matthew 22: 1-14).

This reminds me of the message to the Laodicean Church. Let us read in Revelation 3: 14, where John writes,

Revelation 3: 14 22

Rev3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Rev3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

Rev3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Rev3:17 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:

Rev3:18 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.

Rev3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Rev3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Rev3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Rev3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Since we love the stupor and comfort of our spiritual lukewarmness, we resist and reject anything that will take us away from it. We raise barriers that will prevent us from both leaving our spiritual lukewarmness and anything external from removing us. In other words we find ways to deceive ourselves about our true condition. As Nebuchadnezzer we praise ourselves for our accomplishments. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Or as Adam and Eve we find reasons to blame others.

God tells us the real problem and offers a solution. Buy – acquire - from Him eye salve that we may see things as He sees them. We are sinners – and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked - in need of redemption. Christ is our Redeemer. His life , death and resurrection accomplishes our salvation from the punishment and penalty of Sin, from the power of Sin and finally from the presence of Sin. Our righteousness’ is as filthy rags. But, Christ offers us His righteousness - “white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.” He also offers us “Gold tried in the fire,” a faith that is unmovable no matter what trials beset us. In other words, we can have His Faith (Galatians 2:16; Hebrews 2:12; Revelation 14:12). We therefore have no excuse. Everything has been provided. We just have to accept it, take it and keep it. What keeps us from doing this? It is our love for our self-righteousness. Jesus’ invitation is that we should let go of ours and take His.