In this issue:
Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. Psalm 25:14
Vol. 25, No.2 Straight and Narrow February 2016
In this issue:
The Day of Atonement
The Bible teaches that God is an individual of love and peace. John writes that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). “Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen” (Romans 15:33). However, we live in an age of unprecedented turmoil and hatred. Sin is rampant in the lives of most people on the earth, including many of God’s professed followers. (See 1 Timothy 3:1–5.) Before sin entered the universe with the fall of Satan, followed by the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden, the universe was in total harmony. All creatures worshiped and loved God, fully accepting his love and offering him their service of love, but today the history of humanity paints a dim picture of the results of a life apart from God and his love. Every tragedy of human devising can be traced to rebellion against God and his way of love.
To transgress His law, physical, mental, or moral, is to place one’s self out of harmony with the universe, to introduce discord, anarchy, ruin. (Ellen White, Education, p. 100)
It has been said that God could have easily destroyed Satan and all his rebellious followers in an instant, and as far as God’s power and ability are concerned, that is surely correct. Mankind and even angels are as nothing compared to the power of God. But God is not simply the unlimited source of power in the universe, he is also the unlimited source of love, and what power could easily do love prohibited, until all sinners were given a chance to see God’s love and make a decision for or against it.
Sin had brought disharmony into the universe, but God wanted to bring all of his creation back into harmony with himself. Sin was the problem; the solution was in the sanctuary. Psalm 77:13 declares: “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: Who is so great a God as our God?” Through the earthly tabernacle and its services, God would teach salvation to humanity on a primer level, so that mankind might understand the sanctuary in heaven, where his Son would minister in our behalf to remove all sin and rebellion from our lives and collectively from all the universe. We are told:
The significance of the Jewish economy is not yet fully comprehended. Truths vast and profound are shadowed forth in its rites and symbols. The gospel is the key that unlocks its mysteries. Through a knowledge of the plan of redemption, its truths are opened to the understanding. (Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 133)
“Truths vast and profound are shadowed forth in its rites and symbols.” Two key words to consider in relationship to this statement are shadows and symbols. When one sees a shadow, one is seeing a dark shape or area caused by rays of light being disturbed by something, but the shadow is not that thing, and it has no substance of itself. Shadows can show the outline about something, but they are not the reality of that which casts the shadow. If I see a shadow moving down my hallway at night and the figure has the form of a man with an uplifted arm, holding a knife, there is no need to fear the shadow; but the shadow does tell me that danger may be very near! Therefore, we can say with a certainty that shadows can be instructional. We can grasp the form of something from a shadow, but the shadow is not the reality and has no power to hurt or to change something. The same is true with a symbol. A symbol, by its definition, is a thing that represents, or stands, for something else. It is not the reality but merely something that represents the real thing. A model car may look a lot like a real car, but it is merely a representation of the real car.
When Israel brought their sacrifices to the tabernacle, there was no virtue in those sacrifices, but they could outline or symbolize the true “lamb of God,” which would take away the sin of the world. Today there are people who teach that the shadows and symbols have saving power and are to be kept today as special channels for God blessings, but these things can no more answer the needs of the soul than plastic models of food can answer our physical hunger and satisfy the body’s needs.
While we generally use the symbol to teach us about the reality, we are told in the previous quotation that the gospel is the key to opening up mysteries from the Jewish economy. Ellen White continues:
Far more than we do, it is our privilege to understand these wonderful themes. We are to comprehend the deep things of God. Angels desire to look into the truths that are revealed to the people who with contrite hearts are searching the word of God, and praying for greater lengths and breadths and depths and heights of the knowledge which He alone can give. (Ibid.)
The study of the gospel is a lesson into which the angels desire to look and a study which we are privileged to not only understand but to experience! At the center of the gospel in both type and antitype is the Son of God.
Jesus Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. He established the sacrificial offerings which typified himself. The whole system of types and symbols was one compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation of Christianity. (Ellen White, The Review and Herald, March 21, 1893)
The book of Leviticus outlines the services of the Jewish system. It begins with the burnt offering, then moves to the meal offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, the trespass offering, and many other services, as well as to the feast days of Passover, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, etc. While all of these services had important meaning, Paul says that this system is summed up in two main services. Writing in Hebrews 9, Paul says:
Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people. (Hebrews 9:1–7)
These verses mention two main services, one where the priests went always (daily) into the first tabernacle (the holy place) and another that was done once a year by the high priest in the most holy place. These services were the daily sin offerings and the Day of Atonement service.
The ministration of the earthly sanctuary consisted of two divisions; the priests ministered daily in the holy place, while once a year the high priest performed a special work of atonement in the most holy, for the cleansing of the sanctuary. (Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 418)
Thus two great services were at the center of the redemption of humanity, one representing justification (forgiveness) and the other culminating in sanctification (cleansing).
The sin offering
The sin offering is detailed in Leviticus 4. There we read of four categories: there was a procedure for the high priest, one for the whole congregation, one for the rulers, and then the offering for the common people. The procedure for the common person was:
And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty; Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering. And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar. And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour unto the Lord; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. (Leviticus 4:27–31)
The result of this offering was that the priest made an atonement for the sinner. This service, held in the courtyard representing the earth, was typical of Jesus dying on Calvary for our sins. This death, the Bible says, resulted in an atonement. Through the cross we are made at-one with God, so that he can look upon us as if we had never sinned. We need not deny this atonement! However, it does not mean that all was finished upon the cross. We are told:
In the sin offerings presented during the year, a substitute had been accepted in the sinner’s stead; but the blood of the victim had not made full atonement for the sin. It had only provided a means by which the sin was transferred to the sanctuary. (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 355, 356)
By the offering of blood, the sinner acknowledged the authority of the law, confessed the guilt of his transgression, and expressed his faith in Him who was to take away the sin of the world; but he was not entirely released from the condemnation of the law. (Ibid., p. 356)
Here we see that there was a provisional atonement and that there was something more that must happen for total and full redemption for the sinner. The solution to this would come through the heavenly sanctuary and the yearly service.
At the heart of Adventism is the truth that through the sanctuary God would make “a man more precious than . . . the golden wedge of Ophir” (Isaiah 13:12). The subject of the sanctuary is the subject of Adventism.
The scripture which above all others had been both the foundation and the central pillar of the advent faith was the declaration: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Daniel 8:14. (White, The Great Controversy, p. 409)
While the foundation of Christianity is the truth that Jesus is the Son of God (Matthew 16:13–18), the sanctuary is the center of Adventism and is its central pillar. The understanding of the sanctuary is not an option but a requirement for Adventists to know.
As a people we should be earnest students of prophecy; we should not rest until we become intelligent in regard to the subject of the sanctuary, which is brought out in the visions of Daniel and John. This subject sheds great light on our present position and work, and gives us unmistakable proof that God has led us in our past experience. It explains our disappointment in 1844, showing us that the sanctuary to be cleansed was not the earth, as we had supposed, but that Christ then entered into the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and is there performing the closing work of His priestly office, in fulfillment of the words of the angel to the prophet Daniel, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Daniel 8:14. (Ellen White, Life Sketches, p. 278)
God has, through his servant, warned his people that a falling away concerning the sanctuary doctrine would happen.
In the future, deception of every kind is to arise, and we want solid ground for our feet. We want solid pillars for the building. Not one pin is to be removed from that which the Lord has established. The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a departing from the faith. Where shall we find safety unless it be in the truths that the Lord has been giving for the last fifty years? (Ellen White, The Review and Herald, May 25, 1905)
We can compare this attitude of sureness of doctrine to that of Peter’s attitude to the truth that the early church had, when he wrote: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). While the sanctuary doctrine is attacked from without and within, it stands on a more sure word of prophecy and is not simply a cunningly devised fable which was to be a face-saving teaching to explain the 1844 disappointment.
Writing in 1881, Ellen White could emphatically state:
It is as certain that we have the truth as that God lives; and Satan, with all his arts and hellish power, cannot change the truth of God into a lie. While the great adversary will try his utmost to make of none effect the word of God, truth must go forth as a lamp that burneth. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 595; published in 1881)
What were some of the truths that were believed and taught by Seventh-day Adventists in 1881 that are called into question today? We could list, for starters:
Some might argue with all of these points, and some Adventists who believe in our history might agree with the list, except the last point on the doctrine of God. But notice in the 1881 statement, Ellen White did not say, I have the truth but, rather, we have the truth. This directly contradicts the idea that all the brethren were wrong on the doctrine of God and that Ellen White believed something else and was slowly bringing the brethren into line. Furthermore, concerning the sanctuary doctrine, the false view of Jesus taught today that he is the second person of the trinity destroys his ability to be a mediator for humanity. An individual cannot be a mediator between himself and others; there must be another. A mediator must be able to perfectly understand both sides between which he mediates. Jesus, as the Son of God and the Son of Man, can be our mediator between us and God because he is the only begotten Son of God, but if Jesus is a part of the one God, then he is mediating between himself and humanity.
The sacred day
The Day of Atonement was the most solemn of the ceremonial sabbaths. In Leviticus 23:27–32, we read:
Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement(s): it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement(s), to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. (Leviticus 23:27, 28).
In almost all translations we see atonement as singular in number, but in the Hebrew it is a plural twice. The Hebrew word for atonement is kaphar, the plural is kippur. No doubt we all have heard of the phrase, Yom Kippur. Yom is the Hebrew word for day, thus we have the day of atonements. The plural form is used in verses 27 and 28 to show its superior nature. This is called the royal plural, or the plural of majesty, where a plural form is used to denote the superior nature of what is being spoken of or about. When a burnt offering was made, the Bible says it resulted in an atonement (Leviticus 1:4). When the sin offering was made, the Bible says it resulted in an atonement (Leviticus 4:31). This was also true for the trespass offering (Leviticus 5:6) and others, but now in the Day of Atonement, we have the atonement of all atonements, the final atonement!
On the Day of Atonement, the people were to afflict their souls. While there is no direct command explaining this, almost all Jewish commentators teach that meant that all were to fast, and, indeed, there is biblical evidence that this is what was meant. In Acts 27:9, Luke wrote:
Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them. (Acts 27:9)
The fast here spoken of was the Day of Atonement. We also read in Psalm 69:10 that fasting is associated with affliction of soul:
When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, That was to my reproach. (Psalm 69:10)
The Day of Atonement was also a day in which no work was to be done. It was the only feast day with work prohibition equal to the seventh-day Sabbath. Those who worked were to be cut off from the camp.
The high priest
Furthermore, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest alone officiated in the service.
And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the Lord. (Exodus 30:10)
But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people. (Hebrews 9:7)
This was to teach that there was only to be one mediator who would intercede for humanity. That mediator would be the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Paul writes:
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:4, 5)
What is the one great truth of which God wants us to come into a knowledge? It is that there is one God, the Father (1 Corinthians 8:6), and one mediator, Jesus Christ. We have been told:
Thus the great Intercessor presents His petition to the Father. No middle-man comes between the sinner and Christ. No dead prophet, no buried saint is seen. Christ Himself is our Advocate. All that the Father is to His Son He is to those whom His Son in humanity represented. In every line of His work Christ acted as a representative of the Father. (Ellen White, The Signs of the Times, June 28, 1899)
What a wonderful promise this is to us. All that God is to Jesus, he is to us who have Jesus as an advocate. Furthermore, there is no dead prophet or buried saint barring our way to God, and neither does any living saint or prophet, do so, as well. The December 2015 issue of National Geographic magazine has Mary, the mother of Jesus, on the cover, with the caption, “The Most Powerful Woman in the World.” Within are maps with numerous points locating places were Mary is supposed to have appeared, given visions, and performed miracles. According to the Catholic Church, Mary is a mediatrix through which Jesus mediates. While we can be sure that God chose a holy and dedicated woman to be the mother of Jesus, she was a sinner, like all other people, and in need of a mediator herself.
To serve as the mediator, the high priest was to be holy. On the Day of Atonement, the services began with the high priest making an offering for himself (see Leviticus 16:3, 4, 6). If there is a place in the typology of the sanctuary that cannot perfectly mirror, or reflect, the reality, it is in the priesthood, for the priests are taken from sinful men, while the high priest in the antitype has not sin.
But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. (Hebrews 7:24–26)
This holiness of Jesus is not for him alone, and that is the point of the Day of Atonement. We are to be holy, as he is holy.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. (1 Peter 2:21, 22)
Soul-searching, confession, and repentance
As we noted earlier, every person was to afflict his or her soul on the Day of Atonement. It was to be a day of soul-searching and repentance.
Every man was to afflict his soul while the work of atonement was going forward. All business was laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel spent the day in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer, fasting, and deep searching of heart. (White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 355)
Included in the soul-searching was the fact that no work of any kind was to be done that day. This represented that the sinner is to do no work in order to earn his or her salvation. No work of ours will earn us one point with God or merit us any degree of righteousness. The Bible is plain that we are saved by grace through faith:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. (Galatians 3:11)
The Greek has no article for the word law in either of these verses. It is not just “the law” or the Ten Commandments by which we cannot be saved, but no law of any kind can save mankind. The Bible is emphatic on this issue:
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. (2 Timothy 1:9)
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. (Titus 3:5)
Jesus said that without him we can do nothing (John 15:5).
Yet, if we are saved by grace through faith, how is our loyalty proven? How can it be demonstrated that a man has truly been saved by grace through faith and that his salvation is so secure that he or she is safe to save? James says that it is by our works that we demonstrate our salvation:
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18)
A person’s faith is not the criteria in the judgment, for it is not demonstrable by simply a declaration. The wise man said:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14)
Very simply, it will be our works only that are considered in the judgment, for they alone can demonstrate our faith. Ellen White has noted:
The only question asked in the judgment will be, “Have they been obedient to My commandments?” (Ellen White, Gospel Workers, 1915 edition, p. 315)
There are only two classes in the world today, and only two classes will be recognized in the judgment—those who violate God’s law and those who obey it. (White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 283)
Jesus said that if we love him we will keep his commandments (John 14:15). We cannot walk righteously of ourselves; however, through the empowering grace of Jesus Christ, man can keep every desire of God. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). All means all!
The blood of atonement
The depths of sin can only be understood by the remedy that was necessary for its removal. While man’s works can demonstrate his salvation, redemption can come through the precious blood of Jesus Christ alone. God had told Israel, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Paul, writing in Hebrews, notes:
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (Hebrews 9:22, 23)
While the patterns, the earthly sanctuaries, were purged with the blood of animals, the heavenly was purified with the precious blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:19).
The cleansing, both in the typical and in the real service, must be accomplished with blood: in the former, with the blood of animals; in the latter, with the blood of Christ. Paul states, as the reason why this cleansing must be performed with blood, that without shedding of blood is no remission. Remission, or putting away of sin, is the work to be accomplished. (White, The Great Controversy, pp. 417, 418)
Of the two goats chosen on the day of Atonement, one was for the LORD:
And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. (Leviticus 16:7–9)
Now carefully follow the account, realizing that the context explains the location of the atonements:
And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not. And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat. And he shall make an atonement for the holy place [commonly called the most holy place], because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation [commonly called the holy place], that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. And he shall go out unto the [brazen] altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.(Leviticus 16:9–18)
On the Day of Atonement the high priest, having taken an offering for the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, above the tables of the law. Thus the claims of the law, which demanded the life of the sinner, were satisfied.” (White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 355)
Sins removed from the camp and from the universe forever
At this point the atonement had been made. The priest had been made the atonement for the sanctuary and for the people. The cleansing had been accomplished, but there was one more thing to be done.
And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. . . . But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:20, 10)
Then in his character of mediator the priest took the sins upon himself, and, leaving the sanctuary, he bore with him the burden of Israel’s guilt. At the door of the tabernacle he laid his hands upon the head of the scapegoat and confessed over him “all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat.” And as the goat bearing these sins was sent away, they were, with him, regarded as forever separated from the people. Such was the service performed “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.” Hebrews 8:5. (White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 355)
This represents the time when Satan will be confined to this earth during the one thousand years of Revelation 20 and then later his final destruction.
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (Revelation 20:1–3)
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
The time of verse 10 is clarified in verse 9 by stating that Satan and his followers are devoured, or consumed. This is even seen by some in the name of the goat. The Hebrew for scapegoat is azalel. It is from two words, one that means goat and the other meaning to go away or to be sent. Thus the scapegoat is the goat sent; however, there is another thought that may indeed parallel the sent goat. The New English Bible translates azalel as the precipice. Some have argued that azalel could mean:
. . . “rocky precipice” (or some similar place), from which the goat was pushed over backward to kill it; . . . (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, vol. 1, p. 198)
Thus the taking away of the scapegoat was not simply to take the goat to a far off desolate place, but it also included the destruction of the scapegoat.
According to Talmudical interpretation, the term “Azazel”designated a rugged mountain or precipice in the wilderness from which the goat was thrown down, using for it as an alternative the word “Ẓoḳ” (Yoma vi. 4). (Jewish Encyclopedia.com, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/2203-azalea; accessed January 28, 2015)
This would certainly parallel Revelation 20:9; however, there is one more twist we must consider. Many Christians have interpreted the scapegoat as another symbol of Christ. This is done because azazel is said to have sins laid upon it and also because it makes an atonement with God. But notice that the atonement is not for my sins nor for your sins. The atonement, or at-one-ment, the harmony, is between the scapegoat and God. More on this in a moment.
The blotting out of sin
Before we continue, though, we want to be sure that the case is made crystal clear that Jesus is the one who blots out our sin and carries the burden for them. In Leviticus 16:30, we read: “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.” It is the priest, who represents Christ, who makes the atonement. Furthermore, we read in Isaiah:
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, And will not remember thy sins. (Isaiah 43:25)
I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, And, as a cloud, thy sins: Return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. (Isaiah 44:22)
Jesus is our sin bearer. Notice the following texts:
Surely he hath borne our griefs, And carried our sorrows: Yet we did esteem him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon him; And with his stripes we are healed. . . . He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, Yet he opened not his mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, So he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: And who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: For the transgression of my people was he stricken. . . . Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:4, 5, 7, 8, 10)
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. (Romans 3:24, 25)
And in the masterpiece by Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, we read:
It is for thee that the Son of God consents to bear this burden of guilt; for thee He spoils the domain of death, and opens the gates of Paradise. He who stilled the angry waves and walked the foam-capped billows, who made devils tremble and disease flee, who opened blind eyes and called forth the dead to life,—offers Himself upon the cross as a sacrifice, and this from love to thee. He, the Sin Bearer, endures the wrath of divine justice, and for thy sake becomes sin itself. (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 755, 756)
Satan acknowledges the righteousness of God
Now let us return to the issue of Satan and the atonement, mentioned in Leviticus 16:10:
But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
This atonement cannot be for our sins, for that atonement had already been made when azalel became involved. But notice that the text does not say that azalel makes an atonement for anyone, but rather with someone, the LORD (Yahweh or Jehovah). This service acts as a prophecy, saying that at some point after the atonement for God’s people has been made, there will be an at-one-ment between Satan and God. How can that be? The Bible says that there is a time when all of creation will bow to God and acknowledge his righteousness. Paul writes of this in Philippians:
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9–11)
Quoting from Isaiah 45:23, Paul also notes:
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (Romans 14:11)
When will this happen? At the end of the millennium, just before the destruction of the wicked.
Writing about Satan, under the symbol of the Prince of Tyrus, Ezekiel writes:
Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. . . .
By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. (Ezekiel 28:6–8; 16–19)
Ellen White lays out these events with a detail and clarity that helps us to see the picture in sharp focus:
As if entranced, the wicked have looked upon the coronation of the Son of God. They see in His hands the tables of the divine law, the statutes which they have despised and transgressed. They witness the outburst of wonder, rapture, and adoration from the saved; and as the wave of melody sweeps over the multitudes without the city, all with one voice exclaim, “Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3); and, falling prostrate, they worship the Prince of life.
Satan seems paralyzed as he beholds the glory and majesty of Christ. He who was once a covering cherub remembers whence he has fallen. A shining seraph, “son of the morning;” how changed, how degraded! From the council where once he was honored, he is forever excluded. He sees another now standing near to the Father, veiling His glory. He has seen the crown placed upon the head of Christ by an angel of lofty stature and majestic presence, and he knows that the exalted position of this angel might have been his. . . .
Satan sees that his voluntary rebellion has unfitted him for heaven. He has trained his powers to war against God; the purity, peace, and harmony of heaven would be to him supreme torture. His accusations against the mercy and justice of God are now silenced. The reproach which he has endeavored to cast upon Jehovah rests wholly upon himself. And now Satan bows down and confesses the justice of his sentence. . . .
Notwithstanding that Satan has been constrained to acknowledge God’s justice and to bow to the supremacy of Christ, his character remains unchanged. The spirit of rebellion, like a mighty torrent, again bursts forth. Filled with frenzy, he determines not to yield the great controversy. The time has come for a last desperate struggle against the King of heaven. He rushes into the midst of his subjects and endeavors to inspire them with his own fury and arouse them to instant battle. But of all the countless millions whom he has allured into rebellion, there are none now to acknowledge his supremacy. His power is at an end. The wicked are filled with the same hatred of God that inspires Satan; but they see that their case is hopeless, that they cannot prevail against Jehovah. Their rage is kindled against Satan and those who have been his agents in deception, and with the fury of demons they turn upon them. (White, The Great Controversy, pp. 668–672)
Thus the Day of Atonement finally, completely ends. Sin is destroyed forever and just as importantly, through the plan of salvation, the love of sin is forever gone. “What do ye imagine against the Lord? He will make an utter end: Affliction shall not rise up the second time” (Nahum 1:9). While many prophecies, especially in Revelation, point to the coming of Jesus, and this is certainly a great and wonderful event that we may look forward to, it is the end of sin that finally brings peace and harmony to the universe forever.
At the end of the millennium all humanity who have ever lived will be alive. We will either be inside or outside the New Jerusalem. All will finally acknowledge the truth of God’s goodness, but for the vast majority it will be too late. Their characters have not changed, and they are unfit for heaven. The last words recorded in Volume 4 of the Testimonies carries a lesson and a challenge for those of us living at the end of this earth’s history:
God has given us our intellectual and moral powers, but to a great extent every person is the architect of his own character. Every day the structure is going up. The word of God warns us to take heed how we build, to see that our building is founded upon the eternal Rock. The time is coming when our work will stand revealed just as it is. Now is the time for all to cultivate the powers which God has given them, that they may form characters for usefulness here and for a higher life hereafter.
Every act of life, however unimportant, has its influence in forming the character. A good character is more precious than worldly possessions, and the work of forming it is the noblest in which men can engage.
Characters formed by circumstance are changeable and discordant—a mass of contraries. Their possessors have no high aim or purpose in life. They have no ennobling influence upon the characters of others. They are purposeless and powerless.
The little span of life allotted us here should be wisely improved. God would have His church a living, devoted, working church. But our people, as a body, are far from this now. God calls for strong, brave souls, for active, living Christians, who are following the true Pattern, and who will exert a decided influence for God and the right. The Lord has committed to us, as a sacred trust, most important and solemn truths, and we should show their influence upon our lives and characters. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 657)
If you received this copy of Old Paths as part of a regular subscription, there is included a DVD with a presentation of this study. This presentation is also available at our YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WP6241L6zVg.
Escape from Siberia
(This installment is the first part of Chapter 8 of Escape from Siberian Exile by John Godfrey Jacques, published by Pacific Press in 1921.)
THE “ARRESTED” TESTAMENT
SOON after our arrival in Siberia, we sent home for a Bible; but because of the interruption of traffic at the time of the breaking up of the ice, we had to wait a long time for a response. In the meantime, we learned that there was in the village one Bible, the property of the church. It was in the care of the school-teacher. We asked her to lend it to us; and she did so, on condition that we keep the transaction strictly secret. We had also the Testament that was given us by the warden of the prison at Kursk.
When news spread relative to the unusual character of some of the exiles who had arrived in the village, much wonderment was excited. Many of the people, from curiosity, came to see us, and some became interested in the Bible. Among these latter was a young Polish war prisoner. He ceased to associate with the criminal exiles, and gave evidence of a real desire to become acquainted with the Scriptures.
In those times, we felt assured that the things we had undergone were not without benign purpose, and that God had something for us to do on that outer rim of civilization.
The eldest son of our host was the first person to whom our attention was turned as one we might help. He was married, but lived in the home of his parents, in accordance with Russian custom. In the evening, after the rest of the family had gone to sleep, he would slip quietly into our room, which adjoined his own, and listen while we read aloud. He was amazed as he learned of the teachings of Jesus, which he perceived were very unlike those of the priests.
This young man—called Alexander—had forgotten the little he had learned in his boyhood about reading; and we offered to teach him anew. We also gave him our Testament. He was delighted to possess such treasure; and thereafter, early in the morning and late at night, we could hear him reading aloud in his own room.
The parents were grateful for our efforts in behalf of their son; and they were proud of his ability to read, even stumblingly. They once invited us to their part of the house, to read the Bible to neighbors who were present. Thus our missionary activities seemed to proceed smoothly; yet we knew, from former experience, that a conflict with the priest was sure to follow.
Our earnest young pupil was often with us at worship time; and he wondered that we did not bow before the pictures of the saints nor make the sign of the cross. One evening, we read Acts 17:25, which says that God does not require to be “worshiped with men’s hands.” From that day, Alexander would not make the sign of the cross.
We had not expected such prompt and decided action on his part; and we were fearful that the opposition his course would create, might discourage him. A few mornings later, he told us that his wife had been grieving all night, because she had discovered that he had ceased to wear a crucifix.
Persons unfamiliar with the religious spirit of imperial Russia, will not readily comprehend how seriously this young man’s conduct was regarded. That some of the exiles did not show reverence to the symbols of worship of the state church was not considered particularly shocking; but for a member of that church to refuse to do so, caused great excitement.
The idea of force in religion prevailed there; and the general sentiment was, that all must be compelled to conform to the usages of the church. The priest was king and god.
We counseled our young pupil to act cautiously, on his wife’s account; but he asked, in consternation, if we meant that he should do contrary to the Bible teaching. This certainly we did not advise; yet we knew that he was not thoroughly instructed, and we feared that the trial he would surely meet, might be more than he could bear.
The parents, though hitherto they had been friendly toward us, now became quite the reverse, and the father ordered us to leave the premises. We were not obliged to obey this order, as it was not given through the guard.
The son was treated very harshly by his parents. They agreed with the people of the village, that both he and we should be exiled to a more remote part of the country, unless he resumed his former religious observances. Still the young man declared, “Never again will I bow before the icons, or kiss the hand of the priest, since I have learned from the Bible how to pray.” Frequently he found opportunity to come to our room for instruction.
When he sought to explain, to those who tried to dissuade him from his course, why he did as he did, they would not listen.
Some urged the father to beat him. Indeed, as the climax of an altercation between the two, the father did strike his son in the face. Alexander had been a person of passionate temper, yet he was calm under this provocation. He said to his father, that in the past, he had not been a good son; he had been so ill-natured to his younger brother as to make it necessary sometimes for the boy to stay away from home. Yet his behavior had not been severely censured; but now that he had turned from his wrong ways, he was denounced and beaten.
One Sunday morning about that time, the priest of the parish visited our little village. In the course of the church services, he made extravagant and groundless accusations against sectarians; and after this tirade, he remarked the presence of some of the proscribed class in the settlement, and charged the people not to allow us in their houses.
As a result of this speech, we doubtless should have met with violence, had we not been under police protection.
That afternoon, as we sat at our frugal dinner, the priest and his assistant, with a crowd of the men of the village, came storming into our room. We greeted them courteously, and invited the priest to be seated; but he indignantly declined, and demanded to see the New Testament we had given to Alexander. He asserted that it was not the same as was used by the Russian church, and he had come to “arrest” it, that it might be sent to the district police, to ascertain whether it was orthodox.
Alexander had gone away some days before on a fishing trip, and had not yet come back. As he always kept his Testament with him, the priest could not get it then; but the father was commanded to go and bring it to him. Although the distance was considerable, the father obediently set out by canoe to secure the offending Testament.
The Bible that we had borrowed from the school-teacher lay on our table when the priest was in the room; but fortunately he did not recognize it, else he might have made trouble for the teacher.
Gorelic opened the Bible, and read there from refutations of statements the priest had made in the church. The people present were astounded at Gorelic’s boldness in presuming to contradict the assertions of their priest.
Alexander’s father, on reaching the place where the son was, told him we had sent for the Testament. Only by such trickery could he have obtained it. The young man, though deeply regretting that we should ask for the return of the treasured gift, yielded it up ; but when he came back home, he learned of the deception that had been practiced on him.
We cannot say that this father was not prompted by love for his son. Presumably he believed that the only hope for the young man’s salvation lay in his giving up what he had learned from the sacred Scriptures.
A brother-in-law of Alexander’s, named Paul, a man of some education, was at their home during this time ; and he also studied the Scriptures with us, and became convinced that many of the teachings of the Greek Catholic Church were erroneous. He likewise adapted his mode of worship to his new convictions, and thus incurred the disapproval of his relatives and others; but they did not take such rigorous measures to dissuade him as they had employed with Alexander.
Paul was superintendent of a company of carpenters, and he traveled from place to place, overseeing their work. Wherever he went that season, he spread the story of the strange exiles and their strange religion. Afterwards, as we passed over the same route, we found that a knowledge of our faith had preceded us to every settlement, notwithstanding the limited means for conveying news.
As the parents of Alexander made it impracticable for us to remain in their house, we sought a room elsewhere ; but not many of the people of the village dared let us so much as cross their thresholds.
One man agreed to let us share a room in his house with an exile who already occupied it, if the latter was willing. Later, when we called to inquire as to this exile’s decision, the owner of the house had changed his mind. Possibly he had learned of our identity. Thus we were disappointed in our expectations. One of the exiles at this station was a wealthy manufacturer, who had obtained permission for his wife to join him there. We were on sociable terms with him; and when he heard of our having thought to take a room with the exile before mentioned, he told us the following story: Before his wife’s arrival, he had lived in a house with this other exile and two or three more; and one night, they extorted from him, by threats and force, a large sum of money. Then they warned him that no mercy would be shown him if he should report what they had done. ?
Part 1—Background Information
“In my corner of the world there has not been the slightest interest for decades in” the topic of Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, so states Milton Hook, the author of Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist and a member of the board of directors for Good News Unlimited, “a platform for the ongoing ministry of Desmond Ford . . .”. Dr. Hook then listed seven problems he has with the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary:
1. 1844 is still linked to the end of the 2,300 period [sic].
2. 1844 is still used as the demarcation line between two phases of Christ’s ministry.
3. The very idea of phases in Christ’s ministry is perpetuated.
4. The idea remains of an unfinished atonement at the Cross.
5. The true function of blood in the earthly sanctuary is left unresolved.
6. The Judean understanding of the Day of Atonement is still ignored (as the Millerites did).
7. The theory remains a theory, undemonstrated by any objective evidence of what has been going on in heaven. (Hook, comment to “What Do the Proposed Changes in the Sanctuary Doctrine Mean?” by Ranald McLeish, H. Ross Cole and Mel Trevena, Adventist Today, July 1, 2015)
On several occasions we have written in Old Paths about the prophecy of the 2300 days, about the final atonement, about the theological errors on the atonement found in Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine (QOD), and about perfection; but we have not addressed the function of blood in the earthly sanctuary or examined the Judean understanding of the Day of Atonement (points 5 and 6 above), so we will briefly consider them now as an introduction to our study on the scapegoat of Leviticus 16.
Hook was asked to explain the Judean understanding of the Day of Atonement, to which he responded, in part:
. . . I can only summarise what a few rabbis have said to me and what I have read in Jewish commentaries on Leviticus such as that of rabbis Nosson Scherman and Hersh Goldwurm in the Artscroll Tanach Series (1995). (Ibid.)
Hebrew understanding of the Day of Atonement
We cannot assess what “a few rabbis have said” to him, but we can examine in a small way part of what Rabbi Nosson Scherman and Rabbi Hersh Goldwurm have written on the Day of Atonement. Let us consider Rabbi Scherman’s overview of the Day of Atonement:
Rambam (Hil. Teshuvah 3:1–3) writes that on Rosh Hashanah [the Jewish New Year] everyone’s deeds are weighed in the heavenly scales of judgment. Those with a preponderance of good deeds are inscribed for life [emphasis added]; those with a preponderance of sins are inscribed for death [emphasis added]. The key factor in this is not the numbers of virtues or sins, but their relative worth. Sometimes a particular good deed is so important that it outweighs many sins, and vice versa. This explains many stories from Rabbinic literature where it is told that seemingly undistinguished people—or even some who were generally considered to be evil—were assigned to high places in God’s order because of relatively few especially outstanding deeds.
At first one might think that Rambam means the names of the people who were judged are recorded in the Book of Life or in a book of death or that the judgment determined is recorded beside each person’s name, since Rambam uses the term inscribed, but this is not so. Scherman explains:
But there is a third category of people [in addition to those who are inscribed for life and those who are inscribed for death] facing the judgment of Rosh Hashanah: Those who are evenly balanced between virtues and sins. Of such people Rambam (Ibid.) writes: As for one who is evenly balanced [between good and bad deeds], his fate is suspended until Yom Kippur. If he repents, he is sealed for life, and if not he is sealed for death. (Ibid., p. 17; emphasis and second set of brackets in original)
What occurred on the typical Day of Atonement (and occurs annually today), according to Jewish theology, is (and was) a sealing, not a sealing for one’s entire future life, as it may sound, but a sealing of life or of death that lasts for the coming year, until the next Yom Kippur, when one is judged and sealed again.
An Adventist view of fixed justification
Let us now consider a Seventh-day Adventist theologian’s view of the Day of Atonement. Dr. Martin Pröbstle is the principal author of The Sanctuary, the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide (ASSBSG) for the fourth quarter of 2013, and was professor of Hebrew Bible at the Seventh-day Adventist Schloss Bogenhofen Seminary in Austria at the time of writing. In addition to writing the ASSBSG and its companion book, he recorded video introductions for each lesson of this ASSBSG. In the video introduction for the lesson on the Day of Atonement (Lesson 6), he stated:
So, there are four aspects of the Day of Atonement. #1—The forgiven sinner who received forgiveness during the year and who is loyal on the Day of Atonement, he will be justified. In fact, his justification will be fixed and secured for eternity. #2—The forgiven sinner who has received forgiveness during the year but who is not loyal on the Day of Atonement, he will be cut off from the people. #3—The originator of sin will receive the sin and he will be punished forever. And #4—God himself will be justified in all of his dealings he does during the second phase of that atonement process. The rituals at the Day of Atonement foreshadow what God will do at the end of time, and this we will study in week number 9 and 10.
There is no question that Pröbstle is referring to the typical Day of Atonement in this quotation and not to the antitypical day. This is clear by the context of the video, and it is clear by the use of the phrases during the year and the rituals at the Day of Atonement, but how can it be that an Adventist theologian would think that on the typical Day of Atonement a person’s justification was to be fixed and secured for eternity? Such a doctrine denies the freedom that one has to walk away from God at any time in the future, in which case all the sins previously confessed by that person and justified for him or her will return to the person’s own shoulders to bear in the judgment.
But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. (Ezekiel 18:24)
Pardon was written against the names of those who made thorough work, but if they again fall into a like snare and pursue an evil course, all their past evil is remembered against them. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, p. 373)
Aaron was told to take a young bullock on the Day of Atonement for a sin offering (Leviticus 16:3), to make an atonement for himself and for his house (v. 6). He was also told to offer the LORD’s goat for a sin offering (v. 9) for the people, but Dr. Pröbstle, as well as Dr. Richard Davidson, who wrote the teacher’s components for the lesson, both agree that the offering of the LORD’s goat was not in actuality a sin offering:
Because there was neither confession of sin nor laying on of hands involved with the goat for the Lord, its blood was not a carrier of sin. Thus, it did not defile; rather, it cleansed. (Martin Pröbstle, ASSBSG, Fourth Quarter, 2013, Teacher’s Edition, p. 66)
No hands were laid on the head of the Lord’s goat (vss. 9, 15), and hence, no sin was transferred to it; its blood was “sin-free.” As “sin-free” blood, its function when applied to the sanctuary was not to defile but to cleanse it. (Richard Davidson, Ibid., p. 74)
No hands were laid on Aaron’s bullock either, and no confession was made over it, yet it was a sin offering. Either Aaron’s bullock and the LORD’s goat for the people were not sin offerings (even though the Bible says they were) and were offerings only to cleanse the sanctuary, or they both were actual sin offerings, which resulted in cleansing. One cannot have it both ways—one offering cannot be distinguished as a sin offering and the other as a different kind of offering, when they are both called by the same title—sin offerings—and when both are accomplished and utilized in the same way. A question to be asked is—Was any offering in the sacrificial service ever called a cleansing offering? The answer, of course, is no. All offerings in which blood was transferred to the sanctuary, either by sprinkling or through the priest ingesting part of the offering, were sin offerings. Blood from the burnt offering, for example, was never taken into the sanctuary, for it was not a sin offering. All sin offerings afforded cleansing, it is true, but no offerings were ever instituted solely for the purpose of cleansing. It is eisegesis to say it is so in Leviticus 16. You would not bring a sacrifice to the altar for the sole purpose of cleansing but because you acknowledged your sin, first and foremost, and pleaded for forgiveness. A sin offering is a sin offering, the result of which is forgiveness and, finally, cleansing, but it is always begins as a sin offering. Why Davidson and Pröbstle seek to reframe the sin offering of Leviticus 16, I do not know, except that doing so is one of the main ways to biblically tie the LORD’s goat (the type) with Christ’s death on the cross (the antitype), a tying together with which we agree, for the LORD’s goat is representative of Jesus. We are only saying that the fact that hands were not laid on the goat and the fact that no confession was made over the goat is not proof that the goat is not a sin offering because Aaron’s bullock was treated in the same way.
The excerpts from Scherman illustrate in a very brief and in a very simple way one historical Hebrew understanding of the typical Day of Atonement—it was a sealing based on the preponderance of good or of evil works—and Hook believes our historical understanding of the typical Day of Atonement—that it is a type which illustrates the work of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary from October 22, 1844, onward—is wrong; and he may believe, with others, that since sanctification was not stressed in the Jewish observance of the typical Day of Atonement, there should be no emphasis on it in the antitypical Day of Atonement. Instead, we should focus on our relationship with Christ, without feeling the need to emphasize the law, because Jesus has promised to save us if we only believe in him.
Our justification is vital, it is salvational, we are indebted beyond measure for this great gift of God, and it is for eternity, unless we walk away from God. We will thank and praise him for our justification throughout the ages, but if we do not choose to allow God to also sanctify us, if we are not willing to deny self to the point that we would rather be hungry, thirsty, and in need before sinning,  then we make a mockery of justification and of the God who provides it. Pröbstle has taught the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, through his introductory video to Lesson 6 of the ASSBSG of fourth quarter 2013, that a sealing for eternity was received on the typical Day of Atonement. You might not think this is important because, since we no longer observe typical days of atonement, such a teaching really does not impact us today, but it does, for with it comes the implication that, as is taught both by Jewish theology and by Pröbstle, on the typical Day of Atonement justification (and sealing) were granted, while the sanctuary was symbolically cleansed of confessed and forgiven sins, all without mention of sanctification. The conclusion is, therefore, that we should not claim or expect any individual cleansing of the soul from sin (i.e., perfection) during the antitypical Day of Atonement, only a cleansing of our records.
One concluding thought to consider whenever we seek to apply Hebrew history and its theology to Seventh-day Adventist theology, as Hook wants to do—neither Hebrew history nor Hebrew theology, outside of the biblical record, is inspired. Secular history can offer insights, yes, but if we build our doctrine upon Hebrew history or its theology, we are building upon sand. The sure word of prophecy is to be our firm foundation.
The function of blood in the sanctuary
Let us now consider “the true function of blood in the earthly sanctuary,” point # 5 in Hook’s list. Since Dr. Hook does not tell us what he considers the true function of blood to be and since his view is not available on the Internet, at least to our extensive searching, we will have to consider this issue from the viewpoint of others who have voiced disagreement with the standard understanding of Seventh-day Adventists concerning the use of blood in the sanctuary, and perhaps it will be similar to his viewpoint. The issue is encapsulated in the following quotation from The Great Controversy:
Important truths concerning the atonement are taught by the typical service. A substitute was accepted in the sinner’s stead; but the sin was not canceled by the blood of the victim. A means was thus provided by which it was transferred to the sanctuary. By the offering of blood the sinner acknowledged the authority of the law, confessed his guilt in transgression, and expressed his desire for pardon through faith in a Redeemer to come; but he was not yet entirely released from the condemnation of the law. On the Day of Atonement the high priest, having taken an offering from the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood of this offering, and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, directly over the law, to make satisfaction for its claims. Then, in his character of mediator, he took the sins upon himself and bore them from the sanctuary. Placing his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, he confessed over him all these sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the goat. The goat then bore them away, and they were regarded as forever separated from the people. (Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 420)
That the sanctuary was symbolically defiled with sin by the sprinkling of blood from the various offerings and thus was in need of cleansing is what is controverted, for many who disagree with the historical and even with the current Adventist doctrine of the sanctuary believe that sin was symbolically washed away by the blood of the sacrificial animal (which represented Christ) and this, of course, occurred in the courtyard. Since the sin was washed away in the courtyard service, it was gone, and could not be symbolically brought into the sanctuary. The sprinkling of the blood within the sanctuary, therefore, did not, and could not, symbolize anything that defiled the sanctuary—but Hook wants us to consider what the sprinkled blood did do, for we know blood was taken into the holy and the most holy places. If it had nothing to do with the symbolic transference of sin, with what did it have to do? Many of those in disagreement with Adventist doctrine on this topic say the sacrificial blood always, and only, cleansed, or washed, away sin. It purified; it justified, and this is what the sacrificial ceremony was all about. In this line of thinking, the symbolic, pure blood of Jesus was then brought into the sanctuary as evidence, or as proof, that the sinner had been justified and that the sin had been washed away, all of which happened in the courtyard. The process was completed in the courtyard and nothing further was needed. Hook would, at least, partly agree with this, for he said in his comments:
The rabbis were horrified to learn from me that SDAs teach the sacrificial blood carried some sort of defilement that, in turn, defiled the sanctuary to the point that it needed a second or final atonement on Yom Kippur. Instead, they regard the sacrificial blood as bringing about cleansing and forgiveness in the daily service. They don’t believe forgiveness is delayed or conditional until Yom Kippur. (Hook, Ibid.; emphasis in original)
The belief that the sacrificial blood brought about cleansing and forgiveness in the daily services leads to the belief that the antitypical atonement was completed at the cross. No final cleansing (a final atonement) is to be had or is needed, and here is where the problem lies with Judaism. Although the Hebrew people do no accept the death of Christ as an atonement, they do take seriously Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, for they believe their sealing is completed and finalized for the coming year at that time. Here also is where the problem may lie with Hook. Although he is a Seventh-day Adventist and has been a pastor, a mission director, and a teacher of religion within the denomination, he does not accept 1844 as an important date, nor does he accept the cleansing of the sanctuary (as the organized church understands it) and the investigative judgment as bibically-based doctrines. There also is no need of them, since all was accomplished at the cross. And here also lies the problem with Pröbstle, who teaches, as we saw earlier, that justification was fixed and sealed for eternity for the individual on the typical Day of Atonement. Such Adventists are left with only the theology of QOD—the theology that what Jesus is doing for us now in the heavenly sanctuary is applying the benefits of the atonement accomplished at the cross, i.e., a ministry of justification and not one of cleansing us from sin and of perfecting us as the gold of Ophir.
With this background in mind, we will turn our attention more fully to the Day of Atonement and to the scapegoat in particular in Part 2 of this study.
Part 2—The Atonement Is Complete!
The Day of Atonement
And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. (Leviticus 16:2, 3)
Protocol for the Day of Atonement
The Hebrew word translated scapegoat is azazel (לזאזע), and azazel is only used in Leviticus 16. The concept of the scapegoat is found nowhere else in the Bible. Azazel is composed of two smaller Hebrew words—aze, which means goat, and azal, which means gone. Azazel is literally the gone goat—the goat taken into the wilderness.
That the scapegoat had nothing to do with man’s atonement and was not a representative of Christ is clear from the fact that the sanctuary and the altar were cleansed before the scapegoat was brought to the high priest (Leviticus 16:18, 20) and because the atonement had already been made for the holy sanctuary, for the tabernacle of the congregation, for the altar, for the priests, and for the congregation. The scapegoat had nothing to do with providing atonement for man or with providing his cleansing. Instead of doing the work of Christ and instead of representing him, the scapegoat represents Satan:
Some have mistakenly concluded that if the sins of Israel are finally placed on Satan, he must have some part in the atonement. This is a great error. Satan has no part whatever in the vicarious atonement; the saints are in no way indebted to him; his bearing of sin is in no way related to salvation; his work is evil and only evil.
As the Lamb of God, Christ bore the sin of the world. (John 3:16.) All the accumulated sins of men were placed upon Him. He is “the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”1 Tim. 4:10” (M. L. Andreasen, The Sanctuary Service, p. 195; 2006 edition)
The scapegoat is symbolic of Satan
As the earthly high priest placed the sins from the sanctuary upon the scapegoat, so Jesus, the heavenly high priest, will remove the sins from the heavenly sanctuary and place them upon Satan:
As the priest, in removing the sins from the sanctuary, confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will place all these sins upon Satan, the originator and instigator of sin. The scapegoat, bearing the sins of Israel, was sent away “unto a land not inhabited” ( Leviticus 16:22); so Satan, bearing the guilt of all the sins which he has caused God’s people to commit, will be for a thousand years confined to the earth, which will then be desolate, without inhabitant, and he will at last suffer the full penalty of sin in the fires that shall destroy all the wicked. (Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 485)
. . . while the sin offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice, and the high priest represented Christ as a mediator, the scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom the sins of the truly penitent will finally be placed. When the high priest . . . removed the sins from the sanctuary, he placed them upon the scapegoat. When Christ . . . removes the sins of His people from the heavenly sanctuary at the close of His ministration, He will place them upon Satan, who, in the execution of the judgment, must bear the final penalty. The scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, never to come again into the congregation of Israel. So will Satan be forever banished from the presence of God and His people, and he will be blotted from existence in the final destruction of sin and sinners. (Ibid., p. 422)
Then I saw that Jesus’ work in the sanctuary will soon be finished. And after His work there is finished, He will come to the door of the first apartment, and confess the sins of Israel upon the head of the Scape Goat. Then He will put on the garments of vengeance. (Ellen White, Spalding and Megan Collection, p. 2.1)
The scapegoat has been considered to be the climax of the ceremonies in the plan of salvation:
In this ritual of the two goats, the completion, the climax of all the ceremonies of the plan of salvation, was reached. Azazel is a symbol of the devil. When the whole work had been completed in type, the guilt was laid upon him. (Leslie Hardinge, Shadows of His Sacrifice: Studies in the Sanctuary, p. 72)
We use the word “bear” to describe Azazel’s part. He was to “bear” the guilt into the wilderness. We say too, “Christ bore our sins.” The words are used accurately. But the connotation we place on each is different. Unless he is careful, the superficial reader may think that we Adventists make Azazel our sin-bearer. But that is silly! Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Azazel never died in the ritual! “The wages of sin is death.”Azazel did not die. In the wilderness he was to adumbrate [represent] Satan during the millennium. For a thousand years Satan will be in a land not inhabited. The universe will look down and say, “Is this the man that made the earth to tremble?” (Isaiah 14:16). (Ibid., pp. 72, 73)
Iniquities, transgressions, and sins
That which was placed on the scapegoat was comprehensive—everything connected with sin—the evil itself, the breach it caused, and the penalty it incurred.
. . . in the presence of the congregation the high priest confessed over him [the scapegoat] “all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat.” Leviticus 16:21. (White, The Great Controversy, p. 658)
The Hebrew word translated iniquities is ‘avon (ןוע) and means a perversity or a moral evil. The word translated transgressions is pesha (עשׁפ) and means a breach between two parties, and the Hebrew word for sin is khat-tawth´ (האטח) and can mean an offense and its penalty. For example, Judah agreed to be khat-tawth´ if he did not return Benjamin to his father after Benjamin’s trip to Egypt; in other words, Judah would be responsible for the offense of not returning him and would bear the penalty (Genesis 43:9; 44:32).
Land not inhabited
The scapegoat was sent into a land uninhabited, and likewise Satan will be bound in a land uninhabited for one thousand years, after which he will be completely and fully destroyed. We know this from the following verses:
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (Revelation 20:1–3)
The revelator foretells the banishment of Satan and the condition of chaos and desolation to which the earth is to be reduced, and he declares that this condition will exist for a thousand years. After presenting the scenes of the Lord’s second coming and the destruction of the wicked, the prophecy continues [and Revelation 20:1–3 is quoted]. (White, The Great Controversy, p. 658)
Genesis 1:2 and Jeremiah 4:23–26
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2)
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger. (Jeremiah 4:23–26)
That the expression “bottomless pit” represents the earth in a state of confusion and darkness is evident from other scriptures. Concerning the condition of the earth “in the beginning,” the Bible record says that it “was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Genesis 1:2. Prophecy teaches that it will be brought back, partially at least, to this condition. Looking forward to the great day of God, the prophet Jeremiah declares: “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down.” Jeremiah 4:23–26. (White, The Great Controversy p. 658)
Here is to be the home of Satan with his evil angels for a thousand years. Limited to the earth, he will not have access to other worlds to tempt and annoy those who have never fallen. It is in this sense that he is bound: there are none remaining, upon whom he can exercise his power. He is wholly cut off from the work of deception and ruin which for so many centuries has been his sole delight. (Ibid., p. 659)
For six thousand years, Satan’s work of rebellion has “made the earth to tremble.” He had “made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof.” And he “opened not the house of his prisoners.” For six thousand years his prison house has received God’s people, and he would have held them captive forever; but Christ had broken his bonds and set the prisoners free. (Ibid.)
All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. (Isaiah 14:18–20)
Even the wicked are now placed beyond the power of Satan, and alone with his evil angels he remains to realize the effect of the curse which sin has brought. “The kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, everyone in his own house [the grave]. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch. . . . Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people.” Isaiah 14:18–20. (White, The Great Controversy, p. 660)
For a thousand years, Satan will wander to and fro in the desolate earth to behold the results of his rebellion against the law of God. During this time his sufferings are intense. Since his fall his life of unceasing activity has banished reflection; but he is now deprived of his power and left to contemplate the part which he has acted since first he rebelled against the government of heaven, and to look forward with trembling and terror to the dreadful future when he must suffer for all the evil that he has done and be punished for the sins that he has caused to be committed. (Ibid.)
During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrections, the judgment of the wicked takes place:
During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrection the judgment of the wicked takes place. The apostle Paul points to this judgment as an event that follows the second advent. “Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.” 1 Corinthians 4:5. Daniel declares that when the Ancient of Days came, “judgment was given to the saints of the Most High.” Daniel 7:22. At this time the righteous reign as kings and priests unto God. John in the Revelation says: “I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.” “They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4, 6. It is at this time that, as foretold by Paul, “the saints shall judge the world.” 1 Corinthians 6:2. In union with Christ they judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is recorded against their names in the book of death. (Ibid.)
Only one question is asked in this judgment!
The only question asked in the judgment will be, “Are they obedient to My commandments?” [Ellen White, Ms12a-1901 (February 12, 1901); see also Ellen White, Gospel Workers, p. 325]
Satan and his evil angels are judged by Christ and his people:
Satan also and evil angels are judged by Christ and His people. Says Paul: “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” Verse 3 [1 Corinthians 6:3]. And Jude declares that “the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Jude 6. (White, The Great Controversy., p. 661)
At the close of the thousand years the second resurrection will take place. Then the wicked will be raised from the dead and appear before God for the execution of “the judgment written.” (Ibid.)
Three phases of judgment
Investigative Phase of Judgment—This takes place prior to the one thousand years and determines who are saved and who are lost. (The Father presides in this judgment, but he has committed all judgment to the Son—Daniel 7:9, 10; John 5:22.)
Judicial Phase of Judgment—This takes place during the millennium and determines the punishment of the lost, including that of Satan and his angels. (Man does this, in union with Christ—1 Corinthians 6:2, 3)
Executive Phase of Judgment—This takes place after the millennium and is the execution of the punishment determined by man in union with Christ. (The Father bears this responsibility—Revelation 20:9.)
The punishment of Satan
The sins of the righteous are cast into the proverbial depths of the sea and are remembered no more—they will cease to exist at the bar of justice, when their cases are sealed for eternal life, but Satan will bear a partial punishment for all sin, for he led each person into committing each sin. He bears a responsibility in every fall from grace, moment by moment and day by day.
No Christian wishes to sin. He abhors it. But Satan tempts him. A thousand times the man resists, and a thousand times Satan comes back. At last the man yields; he sins. But he soon repents; he asks forgiveness. The sin has been recorded in heaven. Now forgiveness is placed against it. The man is happy. He is forgiven. He has placed his sin upon the great Sin Bearer, who willingly takes it upon Himself, pays the penalty, and suffers the punishment due the sinner.
Then comes the final judgment. The sin is blotted out. The man’s record is clear. But what about Satan’s part in causing him to fall? Has that been atoned for? It has not. Satan must pay for it himself with his life. (Andreasen, The Sanctuary Service, p. 193; 2006 edition)
Satan will be judged worthy of a partial punishment for every sin of every wicked person. The wicked will bear the responsibility of their own sins, it is true, for they did the sinning, but Satan snared them into sin—he enticed them; he deceived them—and he will be held responsible for his influence on them. He will be punished for his part in causing the performance of every wicked deed ever performed by them, and this includes all the sins of the fallen angels.
Satan will also bear full punishment for his own sins. Upon no one else can a partial responsibility be placed. He is totally and completely responsible for his sins. No one led him into sin, no one enticed him, and no one deceived him; and the amazing thing is, he will bow before the King of Kings and confess that his sentence is just.
In other words, Satan will suffer for his own sins and for his influence in causing others to sin. It is important to understand that we also have an influence on others for which we are responsible and for which we will be held accountable (1 Corinthians 8:12).
The punishment of the sinner will be measured by the extent to which he has influenced others in impenitence. (Ellen White, The Youth’s Instructor, May 9, 1901)
Just as Satan is punished for his own sins and partially for the sins he has influenced others to perform, so the unrepentant sinner will suffer for his own sins and partially for the sins his influence persuaded others to commit.
An illustration from Andreasen
A sinner repents, seeks God earnestly, and receives forgiveness. In the day of judgment, the sin is blotted out, and even the record is no more. The sinner stands before God as if he had never sinned, clad in a robe pure and white, a new creature. His sin is washed away.
What has happened? The death penalty which hung over the sinner has been removed. Christ has died for the sinner, died in his place. He has taken upon himself the punishment which was due the sinner. He has suffered for the sinner’s sake, and by his stripes the sinner is healed. Christ has taken his sin with him into the grave; there he paid the penalty; there he made “an end of sin.”
What did become of the sinner’s sin? It simply ceased to exist. When he, by the grace of God, gave up his sin, when he received forgiveness and cleansing, when he heeded the admonition, “Go and sin no more,” sin came to an end. There was no more sin, no more uncleanness, no more transgression. It had all vanished. Christ had done a complete work. At the conclusion of the judgment, even the record is blotted out, and the sin can no more come to mind.
What happened in this supposed case happens in the case of every truly converted person: Christ takes entire charge. He takes the sin and its punishment, he forgives and cleanses, he creates a new heart and mind, and the sinner becomes an entirely new creature. (Andreasen, The Sanctuary Service, pp. 203, 204; 2006 edition; with slight edits)
Why is it that the guilt is put upon Azazel or Satan? The reason may be simply illustrated something like this: This auditorium may grow very warm. I ask one of the ushers to open a window. He takes a pole to push it up. As he is passing a foot darts out, a mischievous foot, and he is tripped. He plunges the end of the rod through the window and it is broken! Who broke the window? Why, we all saw that the usher broke the window, of course! But we did not see that darting foot. So, with the sinner, we see him sin, but we do not always see the foot that has tripped him. The tempter must be exposed to the universe, when all his work is completed. Oh, yes, we’ve all sinned! We must die! But Christ died for us, for everyone. He does not only bear the sins of the righteous, Christ has borne every sin of every man that ever came into the world. The purpose of the ceremony with Azazel is to point out to the universe that Satan is the instigator of all sin. (Hardinge, p. 73)
But, how does the ritual of Azazel illustrate to the universe that Satan is the instigator of all sin? It is illustrated when the high priest lays his hands on the head of the scapegoat and confesses all the iniquities of the Israelites and all their transgressions in all their sins. This is a complete package of all sins—everything—but confession is not made to gain atonement for sin because atonement had already been made for them by the blood of the bullock and by the blood of the LORD’s goat.
What the high priest placed on the head of the scapegoat included the burden of the guilt for all the iniquities, for all the transgressions, and for all the sins:
On the Day of Atonement the high priest, having taken an offering for the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, above the tables of the law. Thus the claims of the law, which demanded the life of the sinner, were satisfied. Then in his character of mediator the priest took the sins upon himself, and, leaving the sanctuary, he bore with him the burden of Israel’s guilt. At the door of the tabernacle he laid his hands upon the head of the scapegoat and confessed over him “all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat.” (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 355)
Satan is the instigator of it all! “We see in these services of cleansing the complete method by which God proposes to remove guilt” and it “is the profoundest transaction, the most thrilling event, in the history of the universe” (Hardinge, p. 73.).
The method of cleansing the sanctuary and placing all the sins on the scapegoat is a profound transaction, and we can only praise God for the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), who makes it all possible!
The atonement of the scapegoat
The Bible is clear that the scapegoat makes an atonement:
But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:10)
How can this be, for the blood of the scapegoat was not shed and “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22) of sin. It is so because the atonement made by the scapegoat is of a different nature than that made for the remission of sins, even though the same Hebrew word for atonement (kaphar רפכ) is used.
We know the bullock and the LORD’s goat were offered as sin offerings—to effect kaphar—and Leviticus 16:20 tells us an end was made of reconciling (kaphar, again) before the scapegoat was called to the high priest.
The difference in the atonements is that the one made by the scapegoat was made with the LORD [Yahweh]; whereas, the atonement procured by the sin offerings was for the people:
And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses. (Leviticus 16:34)
Even though the same Hebrew preposition is used in verses 10 and 34 which is translated with and for, the translators of the King James version of the Bible realized there is a difference in the atonements depicted, and we agree. The scapegoat represents Satan, and in no way can he offer an atonement for our sins, but he will make an at-one-ment with God when his knee is bowed before the Lord and when his voice confesses that just and true are God’s ways:
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (Romans 4:11)
With all the facts of the great controversy in view, the whole universe, both loyal and rebellious, with one accord declare: “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3). (White, The Great Controversy, p. 670)
Demons acknowledge the deity of Christ and tremble before His power, while men are supplicating for mercy and groveling in abject terror [this is at the second coming, not the third]. (Ibid., p. 637)
As if entranced, the wicked have looked upon the coronation of the Son of God. They see in His hands the tables of the divine law, the statutes which they have despised and transgressed. They witness the outburst of wonder, rapture, and adoration from the saved; and as the wave of melody sweeps over the multitudes without the city, all with one voice exclaim, “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3); and, falling prostrate, they worship the Prince of life. (Ibid., p. 668)
At his second coming, the scene is changed. He is acknowledged by all as the King of glory. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth, to the glory of God the Father. The angels bow in adoration before him. His enemies see the mistake they have made, and every tongue confesses his divinity. (White, The Youth’s Instructor, July 25, 1901)
Satan sees that his voluntary rebellion has unfitted him for heaven. He has trained his powers to war against God; the purity, peace, and harmony of heaven would be to him supreme torture. His accusations against the mercy and justice of God are now silenced. The reproach which he has endeavored to cast upon Jehovah rests wholly upon himself. And now Satan bows down and confesses the justice of his sentence.(Ibid., p. 670)
Every living creature throughout the universe is now in agreement with God!
Peace and harmony are restored.
The atonement is complete!
This study is available on our YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU5SZIOcV_A. It is also available on DVD by request.
. Comment made by Milton Hook in response to “What Do the Proposed Changes in the Sanctuary Doctrine Mean?” by Ranald McLeish, H. Ross Cole and Mel Trevena, Adventist Today, July 1, 2015; http://atoday.org/what-do-the-proposed-changes-in-the-sanctuary-doctrine-mean.html
. Moshe ben Maimon (1135–1204), also known as Maimonides and as Rambam, an acronym for Rabbeinu Moshe Ben Maimon, which means Our Rabbi/Teacher Moses Son of Maimon
. Rabbi Nosson Scherman, Rabbi Hersh Goldwurm, Rabbi Avie Gold, Yom Kippur: Its Significance, Laws, and Prayers, p, 16; all emphasis in this article supplied unless otherwise noted
. Martin Pröbstle, introductory video for Lesson 6 of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide for fourth quarter 2013; minute 05:47; accessed 1–24–16 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBzU54-52co&index=4&list=PLjmTs4btwCjLyH085cQJ5KWxsS1HFjta8
. Pröbstle never states or even hints that he is speaking of a symbolic act that in reality occurs in the antitypical Day of Atonement.
 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9:27)
 “It is better to die than to sin; better to want than to defraud; better to hunger than to lie” (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 495).
. The quotation continues: “Then the plagues will come upon the wicked, and they do not come till Jesus puts on that garment, and takes His place upon the great white cloud. Then while the plagues are falling, the Scape Goat is being led away. He makes a mighty struggle to escape, but he is held fast by the hand that leads him. If he should effect his escape, Israel would lose their lives. I saw that it would take time to lead away the Scape Goat into the land of forgetfulness after the sins were put on his head.” (Ellen White, Spalding and Megan Collection, p. 2.1)
The 60th General Conference Session: Report 6
When the General Conference session began in San Antonio last year, the delegates were introduced to an electronic voting system, with the hopes that it could speed up voting and provide for secret ballots. After several tries the system had to be given up; however, there were repeated announcements from the leadership that any vote that needed to be done by secret ballot could be accommodated. Yet, though many issues seemed very sensitive, only one secret ballot was taken the whole session. After over one and a half hours were spent voting and counting the votes, I could see why this procedure was avoided until the vital vote on women’s ordination.
If the number of seated delegates was an indicator, the apex of the 60th General Conference came on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, when the issue of allowing divisions the option to ordain women as ministers was discussed and voted upon. As we have reported and as all must know by now, the proposal was voted down, specifically 977 yes, 1,381 no, with 5 abstaining of the 2,363 total ballots cast.
When the General Conference last voted on the issue in 1995 at the session in Utrecht, Netherlands, the vote count was 673 in favor of allowing the divisions to ordain women and 1,481 against. Thus, of the 2,154 votes cast in 1995, 31.2 percent favored the issue, compared to 41.3 percent in 2015. While falling short again, the movement had gained 10 percent in the twenty years. The movement only needs a little more time, and it will certainly gain even more support.
July 8 (Wednesday morning and afternoon—eleventh and twelfth business sessions)
The morning session began with great anticipation and with the delegates ready to debate the issue, but that was going to have to wait. The protocol for the morning called for so many preliminaries that there was less than twelve minutes of actual discussion time on the issue before the lunch break!
Elder Michael Ryan was the chairman of both the morning and afternoon sessions, and it may have been the most challenging time to be in the chair. Ryan explained that this issue was not new but, rather, one that had been around for several years. He noted that, in accordance with the bylaws of the General Conference, 51 percent of the delegates were lay people and might not be as familiar with the processes as the others, and so time was taken to carefully give the background to what the issue was and how it had come to where it was at that time. He then asked Elder Ted Wilson to speak.
Elder Wilson called for patience with the process and asked that there be no early question called to stop the debate on the matter but, rather, to allow as much discussion upon the matter as possible. Wilson spoke of the importance of each delegate voting his or her conscience, based upon “studying the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, various materials, and listening to the impressions of the Holy Spirit” (GC Archive Transcript of Eleventh Business Meeting, July 8, 2015, p. 6). To help provide for that, they would use a secret ballot.
Elder Wilson stated that the subject of women’s ordination had been discussed by the church since the 1970s or even before. He noted that the 1989 Annual Council asked the 1990 GC Session to deal with the issue. “The 1990 General Conference session delegates voted and agreed with that recommendation, and the current position that we have was maintained” (Ibid., p. 7). Wilson further stated:
In 1995 the issue was again addressed at the General Conference session in Utrecht in the Netherlands. On July 5, 1995, the General Conference session received a request from the North American Division that was passed on to the session.
Now, here is a nuance that needs to be understood. There was no recommendation from the 1994 Annual Council to the General Conference session. It was simply to pass on a request from one of the divisions, the North American Division, that the General Conference invest in each division the right to authorize ordination of individuals without regard to gender. The 1995 General Conference session decided not to accept the request and to maintain the current position of the world church.
Then at the most recent General Conference session, in 2010 in Atlanta—and many of you were there—a delegate raised the question about our lack of a theology of ordination. It was not a motion that was made. It was simply a question raised on the floor.
We never voted anything in the 2010 session of the General Conference, but we heard the plea of that delegate. We took that item and took it to our Steering Committee, and then we indicated that we would take that request and would come back with a response.
After the Steering Committee had considered, we indicated the next day that there would be an attempt to bring about an understanding of what our theology of ordination was. Earlier in this quinquennium the Theology of Ordination Study Committee, known as TOSC, was composed of individuals who have convictions on both sides of the question, most of whom were not administrators. There were a few administrators on TOSC who were nominated or suggested by their divisions, and the three executive officers of the General Conference were also members.
Many of the individuals on TOSC came from the North American Division. There were also two representatives from each of the divisions. In addition, there were biblical research committees of each division involved and entered their comments and thoughts into the process.
TOSC met two times in 2013 and two times in 2014, with many papers presented and discussions taking place. We thank the members of TOSC who took so much of their time to listen, to study, to present, and to pray. And we will spend time praying today, as you have seen in our agenda. We want to allow God to influence our minds as to what He wants us to do.
Prior to the 2014 Annual Council of the Executive Committee, reports from TOSC were well circulated so that every member of the Executive Committee and invitees would receive appropriate reports and information. It was not a hidden document, and we encouraged members all over the world to access this information and to study and pray about this subject. (Ibid., pp. 7, 8)
Wilson then explained how TOSC had met at various times and had presented papers for discussion. TOSC ended up with three different positions or groups, each with a position paper.
The first group took a position against women’s ordination in the Adventist Church.
The second group took a position for women’s ordination in the Adventist Church.
The third group took a position that said each division should have the option to ordain women, if they so desired.
Each group prepared a summary paper of their positions, which were read verbatim to the delegates.
The position of the first group included the eight following points:
The second group summary position had seven main points and four points about misunderstood passages from the Bible and Ellen White. It had three concluding points. The main points were:
Some Scriptures examined were 1 Timothy 2:11–15; 3:1–12; and 1 Corinthians 11:2–7.
Group Two reached its opinion based on the understanding that there is no command opposing women’s ordination in the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy. Furthermore, since, according to those of Group Two, the issue is not a fundamental belief and does not violate any biblical teaching or mandate, women’s ordination should be approved.
The third group’s summary position attempted to bridge the two other positions and noted that male headship in the home and the church was the norm but that there could be exceptions by women being ministers. This position closed its statement by declaring:
In light of the priority of mission, the need for church unity, and the principle of respect for Christian liberty, we propose that Divisions be authorized to decide, based on prayerful considerations of biblical teachings, whether to extend the ministerial ordination to both men and women in their regions or sub-regions. In doing so, however, they must protect the religious liberty of conferences, churches, and employees that hold other convictions. (Group Three Ordination Statement for GC Session July 2015)
The document “Theology and Practice of Ministerial Ordination” was read to the delegates, which gave some of the background to the issue and formally presented the following question for the delegates to consider:
Is it acceptable for division executive committees, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry? Yes or No (2015 GC Agenda Book, p. 69)
Leading up to the discussion, Henry Moncur (IAD) asked about the two minute rule again.
Just a quick observation, and you can correct me if I’m wrong. But I do not recall us voting today time in regard to the speeches. Now, I know we voted on Monday dealing with those specific issues on Monday, but I do not recall us voting it to be for the entire session. And so if there is a motion that needs to be in order for that, I would like to make that, but I do not recall us voting time today. (GC Archive Transcript of Eleventh Business Meeting, July 8, 2015, p. 21)
To this, Elder Ryan responded:
I thank you for that comment. I think it’s the understanding of the chair and the parliamentarian that the action that we took was actually an action for two minutes for the whole time. Now, if it’s not the understanding of the body, we can review that. But I think that’s the understanding we’re going with. (Ibid.)
However, Moncur’s memory, though not exact, was better than Ryan’s, for he responded:
I believe that the action I saw that was taken on Monday said, “specifically for today,” which was Monday. So you can check the minutes, but I believe it said “for today,” which was Monday, when we voted that. (Ibid.)
The actual motion was made by Lee-Roy Chacon (NAD):
In order to move matters quickly and expedite matters today, I move that we limit conversation to two minutes per individual. (General Conference Bulletin 5, July 8, 2015, p. 35)
Ryan, however, did not remember correctly and stated:
We will check that. And if you are correct, then we certainly would encourage someone to make that motion, because we need to move through this as quickly as we can. (GC Archive Transcript of Eleventh Business Meeting, July 8, 2015, p. 21)
Nothing more was said, and the two-minute rule (three minutes with translation) was to be enforced. As the rest of the day showed, it was difficult to allow all the discussion that was desired even with the limit. However, great time was expended upon much less important things and could have been used for more discussion time.
One vital point that was brought up earlier came from Delmar Navallo Caro (SAD). After approaching the microphone with a point of order request, he stated:
Good morning, Mr. Chair. In order to speed up, I am kind of confused, because I asked yesterday a question regarding whether the GC session as we have today is the highest level of authority to make decisions, and the answer was yes.
Because of that, I recall that Pastor Wilson just told us that two times the motion to vote on women’s ordination was turned down at this highest level.
My question is: As we heard the reports from some divisions, women have been ordained already. That means disobedience. Did they break . . .(Ibid., pp. 12, 13)
And at this point he was cut off by the chair, stating that this was not a point of order. However, if not a point of order, and that is debatable, it certainly is an important point but one not deemed politically correct to bring up at that time.
After several points of order and other concerns were expressed, the discussion was about to begin. Elder Ryan explained that when each delegate registered to speak they would be asked if they were speaking in favor of the motion or against it because they were going to alternate back and forth between the two positions so that each could be equally heard. The process of getting to this point had taken almost two hours! In the morning session there were only eight who addressed the delegates. In the afternoon session there were thirty-two more who would come before the body to speak for or against the motion.
Of the forty total speakers, two were past or present General Conference presidents. The breakdown of divisions and General Conference is as follows:
YES: North American Division 10, General Conference 5; Inter-European Division 2, South Pacific Division 2; Trans-European Division 1
NO: General Conference 4, West-Central Africa Division 3, North American Division 3, Inter-American Division 3, South American Division 2, Euro-Asia Division 2, Southern-Africa and Indian Ocean Division 2, Inter-European Division 1
It is interesting to note that not a single person from Africa, Asia or South America spoke in favor of the motion, while those against the motion were much more representative of the world field, with only the eastern part of Asia not represented.
The majority of those speaking were from the NAD, with thirteen, of which ten were in favor of the motion. So, though, women’s ordination was perceived as a North American idea, it did not have total support in that division.
Both sides claimed to believe that they had inspiration upon their side. For example, the first to speak for the motion was Ray Hartwell (NAD), who stated:
I respectfully ask all of us in God’s world church how we should relate to the following questions. If, in 1911 in the Spirit of Prophecy, Ellen White, in Review and Herald, May 18, wrote, “In the city of Portland the Lord ordained me as His messenger, and here my first labors were given to the cause of truth”; and if in Testimonies, volume 6, page 322, Ellen White wrote, “It is the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit of God that prepares workers, both men and women, to become pastors to the flock of God”; and if in The Acts of the Apostles, pages 161 and 162, Ellen White wrote, “Both Paul and Barnabas had already received their commission from God Himself, and the ceremony of the laying on of hands added no new grace or virtual qualification,” it was an acknowledged form of designation to an appointive office and a recognition of one’s authority in that office, “by it the seal of the church was set upon the work of God” [p. 162]; and if in Joel 2:22 and Joel 2:28 and 29 God’s word states, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions, and also upon the servants and upon the handmaidens in those days will I pour out my spirit”; then we must ask ourselves, Is it possible God would have us recognize He is working through the daughters of the Adventist Church?
If our Adventist daughters are being called by the Holy Spirit in these last days to serve the cause of God through the gospel ministry, is it possible we are not honoring God by refusing to recognize the calling of God to the daughters of the Adventist Church and permit divisions to ordain? (GC Archive Transcript of Eleventh Business Meeting, July 8, 2015, pp. 24, 25)
This was countered later in the afternoon session by Michigan Conference President Jay Gallimore, who noted that inspiration makes a difference between pastoral work and the work of the fully ordained minister. He stated:
I ask the delegates to vote no, not because our sisters are inferior. God loves His daughters as much as He loves His sons. We believe and need our sisters involved in ministry. We love to see them exercising their gifts in all kinds of gospel work. But vote no because God created a divine order of function at Creation with special roles for both. Sin did not change the fact of childbirth, agriculture, or Adam’s headship role. Sin injected pain into all three.
It is to that divine order that the apostle Paul appealed when he reserved the office of the elder for a man. He was directing the church into the same order established at Creation, the sanctuary, and Jesus’ 12 apostles.
The gifts of the Spirit, of which pastoring is one, are given to everyone, including children. Children may have the gift of the spiritual nurture, as well as men and women, but the office of overseeing the church and the family was reserved for men.
Voting no will be the best route to restore and preserve the unity of the church. As a church, we are not held together by diversity, as much as we enjoy it, nor culture, as much as we like it. We are held together by the Bible. Allowing everyone to do their own thing on something as crucial as the ordaining of our ministers is to court division and pluralism. . . .
I plead with the world church to stand firm on this issue. Vote no.
A large portion of North America will bless you. (GC Archive Transcript of Twelfth Business Meeting, July 8, 2015, pp. 23, 24)
Later Jim Howard echoed this idea, with Ellen White quotations to sustain the position. He stated:
I would first like to address some of the comments made about Ellen White. Ellen White uses the words “pastor” and “pastoral laborer” to refer to anyone who exercises the spiritual gift of pastoring, nurturing the flock through visitation and personal ministry. She describes pastors’ wives and even church members doing pastoral labor.
But when speaking of the office of minister, Ellen White writes, “The primary object of our college was to afford young men an opportunity to study for the ministry and to prepare young persons of both sexes to become workers in the various branches of the cause” [Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 60]. Young men she specifically identifies for the ministry and those of both sexes for the various branches of the cause.
Testimony Treasures, volume 2, page 239, says: “Those who enter the missionary field should be men and women and walk and talk with God. Those who stand as ministers in the sacred desk should be men of blameless reputation.” Ellen White was making a distinction in both of those places.
Furthermore, the question before us, allowing each division to decide whether or not to ordain women in their region, assumes that there are differences between divisions but that there is unity within our divisions. It assumes North America believes one thing, West Africa something else, etc.
But this is simply not the case. In the North American Division there is a sharp divide over this issue, and voting yes would be disastrous to our division. Rather than allowing us to focus on mission, it would . . . simply pass the battle to divisions, unions, conferences, and local churches. In North America there is a large portion, if not a majority, of church members who are not in favor of ordaining women, even where conference leadership is in favor of doing so. I believe that every church in the North American Division . . . will be put in an awkward situation if this is passed. (Ibid., pp. 44, 45)
Some in favor of the motion to allow divisions to choose to ordain or not stated that this matter was not a fundamental belief, and as such it should be up to the different divisions to deal with as they saw best. For example, Marc Woodson (NAD) said:
I fear we have placed way too much emphasis on this issue on not ordaining women pastors and have elevated to a level of attesting [sic] truth. It is not attesting [sic] truth. May I remind my brothers and sisters that this issue is nowhere found in our 28 fundamental beliefs, it is nowhere found in our Church Manual, it is nowhere found in GC Working Policy or GC Constitution and Bylaws. It is not even found in our official church statements. It can’t be a moral issue. Great Adventist Christian theologians and Bible students are on both sides of this issue. (Ibid. p. 5)
Roger Robertsen (GC) agreed, being emphatic that the issue was not a pillar of our faith:
We’re running into rough waters, and this is on an issue that is not based on our fundamental beliefs, it’s not part of the pillars of faith that the early pioneers lifted up and preached. (Ibid., p. 22)
James Standish (SPD) also echoed the not-a-fundamental argument. However, Jay Gallimore also noted in his two minutes:
Some will say this is not a biblical issue, but it is. Some will say it’s not part of the 28 fundamental beliefs. Neither is the mark of the beast. (Ibid. p. 24)
Larry Geraty was willing to concede, for himself, even more, when he stated that we do not follow the Bible on men’s ordination, so why should we on the issue of women’s ordination?
Those of you in the global south know, I’m sure, that if you have ordained men, you have already accommodated to modern custom without biblical authority, because there is no biblical basis for ordination as we practice it.
So for the sake of our evangelism and nurture in North America, Europe, and Australia, we appeal to you to allow us in our divisions to recognize by ordination our women too who have been called by God and are serving effectively in ministry. (GC Archive Transcript of Eleventh Business Meeting, July 8, 2015, pp. 29, 30)
Some who did not agree with Geraty gave other biblical views concerning ordination. Carlos Steger (SAD) noted:
We all are very interested in the unity of the church. Christ prayed for the unity of the church in John 17. But I also find in John 17:17 that Jesus said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” And we cannot have unity if we are not united in truth.
The proposal that has been presented, if voted, would disunite the church, and we would not be united by the church. As I understand, the Bible is clear for me. To approve the ordination of women is not according to the Bible, and we will not abide by the truth as it is in God’s Word. (Ibid., p. 27)
And Louis Torres noted:
The silence in the Bible is not an argument for women’s ordination. It is an argument that Sundaykeepers use to keep Sunday. If we use an argument of silence, then we have to say that it’s OK to keep Sunday. There are many other things that the Bible doesn’t say you have to do, but it means that you shouldn’t do it because God doesn’t. (GC Archive Transcript of Twelfth Business Meeting, July 8, 2015, p. 29)
The last delegate to speak was Leslie Gillett, who noted:
I must not support this motion, because when I read the Bible, I realize that at the foundation of what we believe as Seventh-day Adventists is the instruction that comes from God to His people. When I look at the sanctuary message, God told Moses that His people was to make for Him a sanctuary and He was to follow the pattern that was seen in heaven.
It is clear to me, then, that what Moses did was what God showed him. When I look at the ministry of Jesus and of Paul, and, in fact, when I look throughout Scripture, I do not see Scripture disagreeing with itself. It is, therefore, clear to me that if it was God’s will, we would have had a clear “Thus saith the Lord” on this matter. (Ibid., p. 55)
Mario Veloso and Doug Batchelor from the General Conference might have been figured to be heavy weights in the discussion but neither gave a strong biblical appeal. Veloso did, however, bring up a valid point, when he stated that we were all using the same Bible with the same texts. Clearly here was a call for some unity on the hermeneutics used to interpret the Bible. Since this issue has been around for decades now and all the basic arguments are still the same, using the same texts, there must be a difference in the methods of study used to arrive at the conclusions found.
Batchelor stated that women’s ordination would cause confusion and bring disunity. He closed by saying, “I do believe it’s a biblical issue” (Ibid., p. 7), though he never quoted from or made reference to a text.
Acceptance of cultural ideas was voiced in favor of the motion. Roscoe Howard, who proclaimed that he was once “a right-wing, ultraconservative Seventh-day Adventist, Bible-quoting, Ellen G. White-quoting member, going around crucifying every woman who was in ministry” (Ibid., p. 25), stated:
Culture is so pervasive that we cannot get away from it. So to people trying to say, “Let’s not talk about culture”: culture invades everything.
I had a literal hermeneutic that I used, and I’ve heard these arguments throughout today. Until I had an epiphany and I was studying one day, and God gave me a text. And He said, “Rosco, have you considered your hermeneutic on this text?” And I’ll read it to you. Ephesians 6:5: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ” (ESV).
For 200 years preachers and slave owners in this country used this text to enslave Africans in this country, a misappropriation and a misunderstanding . . . of the biblical text. And God told me “Rosco, you might want to change your hermeneutic.”
Someone has asked, why do we keep bringing this up? You remember the woman in Scripture who begged Christ over and over. . . . She said, “Even the dogs get crumbs from the master’s table.” (Ibid., pp. 25, 26)
The culture issue was also championed by Marvin Wray (NAD). There was no direct rebuttal on the culture issue from those opposed to the motion, but those from TOSC who took position 1 noted that God’s word applies to all cultures. Where God’s word is silent, culture may be fine, if it does not violate the Bible, but when it violates the word of God, culture must be surrendered.
Another point against the motion was made by Nwakike Uchechukwu, who stated:
The Bible tells us that God does not change. The Bible tells us that God is omniscient. He knows the beginning from the end, and He knows the end from the beginning. He also knows that this church would come to this point at this time in our history, and God can never lead us away from the truth.
And so Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life. If Jesus is the truth, He practiced the truth, He did the truth, He told us the truth. And so if Jesus is the truth and did not ordain any woman to the gospel ministry and that is the truth, we should follow the truth, and it shall be well with the church. (GC Archive Transcript of Eleventh Business Meeting, July 8, 2015, pp. 30, 31)
Some of the other points made in favor of the motion were that we have been using women successfully as pastors, and they should be ordained, and to not ordain them is to discriminate against them. Some argued that to deny women the right to be ordained would rupture the church and cause disunity. Interestingly, those opposed to the motion gave the same two reasons as part of their argument.
Some of the other arguments against the motion were that we were not living in the times of the judges, when each could do right in their own eyes. Our system has worked well so far, we should not change it. There were no examples of women ordained in the Bible by Jesus or an apostle.
Perhaps the two most important representatives for each position were former General Conference President Jan Paulsen, for the motion, and current General Conference President Ted Wilson. Elder Wilson had asked the chair for time, at the chair’s convenience, to allow both himself and Elder Paulsen time to speak. To help substantiate his position, Elder Paulsen stated:
And just for the record, let me say that the Spirit that guided me during the years I provided leadership for the church did not leave me when I left office. (Ibid., p. 30)
That may be true. What we wonder is, what spirit was controlling Elder Paulsen at that time?!
Paulsen positively stated that he knew the church and knew it well, as if to say he knew and understood the answers to our biggest problems. Paulsen then tried to boil the whole issue down to one of trust. He stated:
I say to you, my brothers and sisters from South America: Do you trust your elected leaders to provide reliable, good, Spirit-driven, Spirit-inspired leadership to the life and witness of our church in South America? Then vote yes.
The same applies to North America and to Europe. We need to trust each other to get together and to vote yes on this motion.
Voting no will do damage to our church. I am fearful of what will happen if we do not allow the church to go forward on this. So I say to you, please, with compassion in your hearts, please do not let delegates from major segments of our church return to their fields bruised and bleeding and confused and disenfranchised because they are being driven by this community to live a life somehow judged by this community not to be worthy of the responsibility that they have. (Ibid., p. 32)
Paulsen later noted:
We are bleeding in many ways. We’ve got to stop this. We are losing so many of our youth and young professionals. They have problems with the moral integrity of the church, and they say, “Why is the church having problems with this matter? The public does not. It’s not a problem to the public. Why should it be to the church?”
And as we say, there is no biblical injunction that stops us. We have to fix this one.
Please, brothers and sisters, I believe that it is the will of God that we should enable the church in every part of the world to make the decisions that are best applicable in the part where they live without being a violation of the will of God. (Ibid., p. 33)
Here Paulsen compares the church with the public world, implying that the general public no longer discriminates against women, that they do not have this problem. He says that we lose our moral integrity when we discriminate. But what is moral and who or what decides moral and morality? It is certainly not defined by the public or the majority in the world, but by the Bible, and, of course, there were hundreds of delegates in the Alamodome who disagreed with Elder Paulsen when he said that there is no biblical injunction that stops us. Paulsen spoke for three and a half minutes.
Elder Wilson spoke near the end of the discussion, and he requested the two minute clock be started when he began. Instead of discussing the pros or cons of the motion, he simply stated:
Most of you know already where I stand on this issue, [Editors: against the motion] and I humbly submit that my views are rather well known and, I believe, very biblically based, plainly said. But I will not refer to them after this. (Ibid., p. 54)
Wilson then used his remaining time to call for unity in the body, regardless of which way the vote were to go. He called for the church to reunite in its mission to give the message and to go forward.
After Elder Wilson spoke there was only one more speaker discussing the motion, and then several points of order were made, taking up the remaining time allotted for the discussion, which was scheduled to end at 4:30 pm local time.
During the sessions on Wednesday, the chair had repeatedly asked for those in the Alamodome to not share applause. He said that was not the kind of spirit that they wanted there. There would be no winners and losers. All were honestly seeking truth, and God’s will was what was wanted; nevertheless, when the vote count was announced applause went out through the dome again, bringing rebuke from Elder Ryan, who noted:
Let’s have no applause. We came here to do business, talk together, listen to each other, ask the Holy Spirit to be here. There’s nothing triumphal about this. (Ibid., p. 73)
Elder Wilson then thanked the chair and all who had had a part in the meetings and stated:
I’m sorry that we did not have more time for those who wished to speak, but we have studied this item for decades, papers and materials have been available worldwide for a long time, and we have placed it in God’s hands. (Ibid.)
Will this really be the end of the ordination controversy? Time will soon show how many of the delegates believe that the voice of God has spoken with authority, but the fact that the issue had been dealt with twice before in duly-called General Conference sessions and that it was brought up a third time does not give hope that the supporters of women’s ordination are done. The mathematicians of the group realize that, at current or accelerated rates, the church will be ripe for change within a score of years, time that surely we do not have but time that the evil servant may be counting upon (Matthew 24:48).
. This is an important point, for Ellen White has written:
At times, when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have, in the name of the General Conference, sought to carry out unwise plans and to restrict God’s work, I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference, represented by these few men, as the voice of God. But this is not saying that the decisions of a General Conference composed of an assembly of duly appointed, representative men from all parts of the field should not be respected. God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. The error that some are in danger of committing is in giving to the mind and judgment of one man, or of a small group of men, the full measure of authority and influence that God has vested in His church in the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and advancement of His work. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 260, 261; emphasis supplied)
Clearly Ellen White thought that if the General Conference were duly-called and not led by a small group, it was to be the voice of God and have authority. What perplexed Delmar Navallo Caro was that he considered the General Conference Sessions of 1990 and 1995, when ordination was rejected, to be the voice of God with authority and that its rejection of women’s ordination then should not change, as God changes not. Therefore, the conferences, divisions, and churches who had already ordained some women as ministers were disobedient to the voice of God on earth.
What Delmar Navallo Caro perhaps could not understand and few at the session could envision was that only if the church had become apostate would she stray from God with her decisions.
. Howard actually referenced from 5T, p. 598
. Whether the implications of this were even known by the speaker we were not to find out, for nothing more was said concerning the mark of the beast. All should know, however, that until 1931 the issue of the mark of the beast was a part of our fundamentals but has been missing as a fundamental for the last eighty-five years!
2016 West Virginia Camp Meeting
We are pleased to announce that the 2016 West Virginia camp meeting will be held at Smyrna Sabbath Chapel in West Virginia on Tuesday, June 14, through Sabbath, June 18. The theme of the camp meeting is The Final Atonement. No subject is dearer to the heart of the Adventist cause then the atonement, especially as it relates to what is going on in heaven now and, correspondingly, in our lives on earth. We have been told:
The scripture which above all others had been both the foundation and the central pillar of the advent faith was the declaration: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Daniel 8:14. (Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 409)
The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill. (Ibid., p. 488)
We certainly encourage you to come and to share the blessing with us. We will have details in the coming months, but please check your calendars now and block off the time.
As always, we eagerly look forward to this special time of study, prayer, and fellowship, and we are very eager to see all of you once again. We are also very desirous to meet new friends and family. Please do not let anything prevent your attendance this June because time is short, and, more than ever, we need to draw closer to one another and closer to our Redeemer.