|THE GOSPEL DESTROYS CONFUSION
We must be amazed at the faith of the Creator that He should offer to place in the hands of man "the power of God." Yet this is His promise: "The gospel of Christ ... is the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16). As if this were not stunning enough, consider the next verse which tells us that in the gospel "is the righteousness of God revealed." These scriptures reveal to us God's character and His plan for mankind
When this is put into an equation it looks like this: The gospel = the power of God = the righteousness of God. What He wants to give us, and the potential development He has in mind for us is beyond explanation. (Why should God worry with rebels? Better to exterminate them!)
Paul enhances his equation in 1 Corinthians 1:18: "The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." Two things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. This sets up an axiom for the gospel more powerful than a nuclear bomb or any other force that remains to be invented. The equation then becomes: The gospel = the power of God = the righteousness of God = the cross.
This means that anyone who accepts the gospel is offered the same power that went into the creation of the universe, the power of God Himself. If the mind can comprehend this, it should tell us that God has held nothing in reserve when it comes to helping His family.
Clearly then, the gospel is infinitely more than merely "good news." The gospel is the very righteousness of God that overcomes sin because the power of God is in it. The gospel contained in the cross is more than a visual image, an emblem, a sign, a logo, anything that can be portrayed graphically. Consequently anyone who accepts the gospel truly, of necessity also accepts the cross. Those who know and understand the cross are in the audience chamber of God, in the most holy place of the Creator. There is only one conclusion: Paul was talking about things that deal with the atonement, which obviously is not yet complete because sin is not yet eradicated.
When we understand the atonement fully, we will understand the machinery of the human heart and its slavery to sin. Then we will be able to help humanity in a way that we have not yet dreamed of. The "power of God" will be manifest. Each church member will have an empathy for the rest of humanity that will crystallize in what the Bible calls "agape." Then the church will experience corporate repentance as Christ did.
Sabbathkeepers will know that each member is a cell in the body of Christ. As surely as He took human nature and became one with the race so each believer will perceive his or her place in the web of humanity. A compunction will prevail among members that echoes the plea of Christ, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Church members will sense the sins of others as though they were their own, which they would be but for the grace of Christ. They will know that the worst sins of the human race lie hidden in their own hearts as a liability waiting only to blaze forth in actual commitment
Every believer will appreciate that "the body is not one member, but many." They will esteem Paul's message as they are convicted that the "eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you … God hath tempered the body together ... that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another" (1 Corinthians 12:14, 21, 24, 25).
When God's people hear His voice and open their heart's door they will no longer need "departments," and "programs" and erudite psychology to reach hearts. We will not be "selling a product" that must be packaged to arouse the buyer's egocentric desires. There will be no bumper sticker appeal. The final atonement is not an event to be superimposed on a catalog of doctrines as the ultimate achievement. Neither can it be imposed on all the ceremonies and dogmas man has produced over the centuries, for although it may appear to be an event, it is instead an issue.
In the atonement is the final revelation of the mystery of godliness that has been hid from ages past and remains to be comprehended, for it is the revelation of God's character. To keep that character misunderstood is the supreme work of Satan. But it will be revealed and "made manifest to his saints." The ultimate display will be seen by the whole universe when God's people by faith appreciate His righteousness and His cross. In this is the power that conquers sin and confirms the hope of glory "which is Christ in you" (Colossians 1:26, 27).
With patience Christ sought to have His disciples understand but they could not. Because Jesus "knew what was in man" (John 2:25). He can help the aching hearts of humanity. He learned "through suffering," and His ultimate lesson was in the cross and this is the lesson awaiting all students enrolled in the school of Christ. They too will "know."
The final atonement confirms that there has never been any magic in the gospel. It provides no exceptions, no exemptions, and confronts sin without equivocation. No one graduates from this school without having the veil of the heart rent in twain and all secrets exposed. The ultimate secret of the human heart is the will to kill God (Romans 8:7; 1 John 3:15), and this was demonstrated at the cross. This hidden motive is not known clearly, and until it is revealed completely, the atonement cannot be finished. This is because it is impossible for God's people to live and act in harmony with heaven until they see and understand sin as heaven does.
The Gospel Is a Living Way
Our perception of Christ either upholds or destroys our sense of fairness and justice. All questions regarding God's dealings with mankind revolve around this Man and who He was. Jesus tried to explain when He said: "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9). Our knowing who He was, and who He is, constitutes our knowledge of God and everything pertaining to our salvation and our rejection of sin. The enmity against the serpent and sin which God placed in our hearts as a gift urges us on to life and godliness.
Freedom from sin and being "partakers of the divine nature" are not dependent on feelings, emotions, zeal or earnestness, but upon "the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord." This knowledge provides clarity of spiritual vision and purifies wrong motives. This will supply Laodicea with the "eyesalve" of spiritual discernment and the faith that works by "agape". Strategic planning will not herald the "everlasting gospel" and "finish the work." This achievement is only possible as we are captivated by His glory and this will be the result of seeing His glory which is His righteousness. To be transformed, each of us must have our eyes opened where we, "beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18).
But what is this glory that changes us into the same image? The disciples walked with Jesus day after day but they did not really see Him; they were blind. They could see Him as an army general with fantastic power to feed and clothe the troops that would overcome Rome. They could see Him as a physician who could keep the nation well. They could see Him as the king to take David's throne, but they could not see Him as He really was.
What nearly overwhelmed them was seeing God dwelling in human flesh. "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary" (Mark 6:3)? This is the root of the confusion today regarding Jesus our Saviour. If He took unfallen human nature, where does it leave us who are fallen? What hope do we have? We are loathe to believe that God would bring Himself down to our level that we might be changed and brought up to His level, "changed into the same image from glory to glory."
The need of the disciples and our need today is the same, to see and know "the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). Nowhere in heaven or earth is salvation available except in Him. He has something to give us and the value of that gift is determined by our great need and the gift is available from only one source.
The priceless attributes that designate and confirm Jesus as the Saviour, we dare not consider exclusively His. The choices that He made in the "flesh" to deny "self" and take up His cross daily, we dare not think exceed our abilities to appropriate and use, else we have no hope.
Perhaps this can be explained in the way the family automobile functions. If it breaks down it remains broken unless the new components are manufactured to fit the year and model of the car. There is no substitute for the genuine. The Component that came down from heaven to repair the human race fits every earthly model. The two parts are made for each other from the same pattern. What He can supply is suitable to repair every model on the face of the earth. In that repairing there will be an appreciation of the Master Designer that defies worldly appraisal. It will be evidenced in the honor given to the Repairman and the solemn realization that, except for Him, there is no hope of being remade.
Christ traversed the entire terrain of our depravity and conquered it—not without pain and terrible risk, but without defilement. The risk that God took in the creation of this world and in sending Christ in human flesh to redeem it must be understood and appreciated. The peril and risk that a tightrope walker takes can be seen by anyone, whether he falls or not. The path that Jesus trod had such a risk but He did not fall. This was not an appeasement to compensate an angry God. It was the practical solution that struck at the root of the problem. "He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The Gospel Conquers Sin
We do not have the option of deciding whether or not Christ came "in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3). We need to be concerned with how this victory came about.
The usual means of dealing with this problem is to ignore it. Our dim understanding of a spiritual need for reconciliation forces from us at least a conciliatory admission of Christ's involvement with our sin and selfishness. Primarily our concern is so we can escape torment. We are inclined to separate the punishment of sin from the experience of sin. This is something the Bible refuses to endorse.
The real suffering that Christ experienced was sin itself, not just chastisement. The text does not say the punishment of sin is death but that the "wages of sin is death." This is recompense proportionate to the work performed (Romans 6:23). In the realm of our overcoming sin the cross must be seen not as an instrument of torture but as a probe of God to reach the depths of the human heart and to show the potential and hope there is for human beings.
The only way to reconcile the ability of Christ to bridge the abyss between man's sin and God's righteousness is to understand the corporate nature of redemption. There is no mystical trick in this which transfers sins to Christ like depositing funds in a bank account. The truth of the experience began at the baptism of Christ. The confrontation between man's sinfulness and Christ's freedom from sin though in man's nature, was represented by the symbol and the experience of Christ being submerged beneath the waters in baptism.
The whore of Revelation 17:1 sits on top of the waters, ruling the world like wine rules the drunkard. In contrast, Christ in His humility by baptism and in His daily life goes completely beneath the waters that throughout Scripture stand for people. The sins of the whole world were laid on Him, and bore Him down. This was not a vicarious make-believe show, but was real in His experience through birth into the human family. "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham." He was "made of a woman, made under the law" (Hebrews 2:16; Galatians 4:4).
The process of probing the depths of our selfishness, our depravity, was inaugurated when Christ was baptized. It was climaxed at the cross when with a "loud voice," He cried, "It is finished." Here was victory over sin in human "flesh." Here was deliverance from the power of the law of heredity. At that point the whole world was ushered into the presence of God to see His glory as the veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom. That which had been hid from the people was now open to the gaze of humanity.
Man and God could begin a new experience. As man was reconciled to God he would again be able to behold Him face to face. We who were "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world ... far off" were now in the blood of Jesus "made nigh." The "middle wall of partition" was broken down, for He "abolished in his flesh the enmity ... so making peace" (Ephesians 2:12-15).
This "loud cry" of Jesus waits to be echoed to the whole world. This proclamation will realign all the crooked thinking of man and "shake" the heavens and the earth. At last, after 6000 years, the power of God displayed in the gospel by Christ and reflected in His people will cut the work short "in righteousness" among all nations when the pronouncement can be made, "It is finished."
The Downward Path Leads Upward
The path that Christ referred to when He said, "If any man will come after me let him deny himself," eventually leads into heaven, but first it entails a descent. Each step downward into the dark cave of our own hidden deformity also opens to us the light shed from the cross until we like Him fathom the horror of sin engulfing the whole world. To taste the depths of His despair and yet cling to the hand of mercy is to walk as He walked and overcome as He overcame. No external threatening of judgment or promise of reward can cleanse the deep recesses of the human soul like this insight will do. To see our hidden motives laid bare is as startling as was Peter's denial of the One whom he claimed to love. But just as a true realization of his weakness and liabilities was a stepping stone to Peter's complete restoration, so also is the unveiling of our own hearts.
This is the essence of the cleansing of the sanctuary and the blotting out of sin. This was the real purpose of Christ's birth as the seed of Abraham. This was to give eternal weight to the prophecy: "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against . . . that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34, 35). The "fall" is the realization of sin in our hearts; the "rising" is the resurrection to newness of life found in the power of the gospel.
After Peter's denial he experienced a threefold confrontation with Christ. The end of this was the command, "Feed my sheep." After he had struggled through the deep waters of his soul anguish, buried in despair, he was fitted to minister to the erring and the lost. Unlike the proud Pharisees, now he had seen the depths of his weakness to such an extent that he could identify with all men. The corporate nature of his repentance opened the door that qualified him to take up the work for those who thought they could see. There was not a taint of self-exaltation. The pain and despair that raged in Peter's soul produced a compassion that forever crucified the pride that once allowed him to justify for himself a position ahead of anyone else.
It is not by chance that Catholicism chose Peter as the figurehead of popery. In his usurping, proud and unconverted state he was a perfect example of that prophetic "harlot." She blindly and presumptuously seats herself on the waters of sinfulness engulfing the human race. Here she boldly attests her infallibility as she dispenses her wine of false doctrine and rules over the hearts of mankind. Such condescension as that of Jesus in taking upon Himself the full liabilities of mankind, "flesh and blood," "the seed of Abraham," "made like unto his brethren," is anathema to the arrogant spirit of the antichrist. "Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist" (1 John 4:3).
When John wrote that, there were still eyewitnesses alive to attest that Jesus was physically here as a man. There is no need to argue gnosticism, as some writers urge, in order to avert the implications of this passage. He was a real man, not just a spiritual idea. His life was that of a living person, "flesh and blood." Flesh pertains to all the liabilities of sin and man's moral depravity. It is easier to search for some magic intervention in the life of Christ rather than believe He did truly travel the road of the human race, triumphing over all its moral degeneracy.
Carried to its logical end, a lack of faith in His having "suffered being tempted" makes the Gethsemane experience a sham. His travail of soul on the cross becomes theatrics. Without understanding that His was a real flesh and blood experience, there is no way to believe the prophecy that declares: "Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). He could save His people from their sins only by their seeing what sin is and fleeing from it. His travail of soul on the cross as He faced the second death, the ultimate separation from God, was the result of unveiling the human heart.
The conviction that gripped His soul will have the same result in His church once we see sin as He saw it—eternal death, everlasting treason against the Creator. God can free us from all our hidden deformities only in proportion to our internal conviction of them. The depth of this conviction is the depth of our repentance. The path of repentance that may appear to be downward is actually the path that leads upward to the throne of God. Christ has led the way.
Is the Power of the Gospel "On Hold"?
If the work of the gospel could be shown on a graph, it would be a ragged peak-and-valley diagram. Beginning at the gate of Eden, extending to the cross, on to the end of time, victories and defeats would have to be displayed as they have multiplied repeatedly. When will the graph level off to a steady climb?
The prophecies indicate that the end of this visual record is to be a line ascending to a peak surpassing all previous attainments, ending at the throne of God. But in this our day it is only a prophecy, and the graph remains to be plotted. How much longer can earth wait?
Perhaps more relevant, how much longer can heaven wait? Ultimately the question is: How much longer can the cosmos bear the weight of sin and support the total destruction that it produces? If the gospel is the same in all ages, why could not that ascending line on the graph have been drawn long ago? If the light of truth has been the same in all past centuries, why must the universe tolerate the ravages of sin, millennium after millennium?
If the promise given in the Garden was ever true, it is still true today. But who can argue that the head of the serpent has been bruised? To smite a snake on the head is to kill it. The destruction caused by sin and the woes it brings upon the world are all too evident to suggest that the snake is now dead. The full power and authority of the gospel must be manifest before the end can come.
This can only mean that the gospel in its ultimate mandate is "on hold." Even more seriously, if the proof of this authority and power of the gospel is to be found only in an ever larger number of baptized adherents, then the full proof will never be evident. There will always be more human beings born into this world waiting to hear the message.
Under such circumstances, there is no room in the Adventist church for a variety of conflicting opinions on topics that postpone the destiny of the world in the balance. The four angels' messages are to bring the world to a decision. We have reached the critical point of meltdown. A global Chernobyl is pending!
What Power Does Truth Hold?
Our calling is not merely to embrace the truth as it is in Jesus who became "flesh," but to proclaim it. We must not only study to know the content of the message and accept it, we must bear the stigma of making it known. It is this testimony of Jesus that ignites the wrath of the dragon against the remnant of her seed that keep the commandments of God and have the witness of Jesus (Revelation 12:17).
The message for all mankind is, "The hour of his judgment is come." The universe will have to decide if God is just; if He can lawfully justify human beings. Truly His hour of judgment has come. What witness will His people give in that hour?
There is an adage among religion historians that says, "History overwhelms apocalyptic." This is saying that the hopes and aspirations of a prophetic movement dwindle and die in the face of delay. The more time that passes, the more arrogant and disillusioned the hopes and aspirations appear to be as the divine commission seems to fade away. Sadly, this is the case with Seventh-day Adventists.
The birth of our movement occurred in the throes of embarrassment. This gives insight to the oft-quoted phrase, "We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history."1 To understand God's leading and "teaching in our past history" provides the discernment to know truth from error among the many voices now proclaiming different directions for the church to go.
Our frustration grows out of trying to retain our sense of a special denominational mission while divorcing ourselves from the pioneers' embarrassing apocalyptic expectations. This is like trying to defy gravity. We can no more separate our church's mission from humiliation and embarrassment, than Jesus can save mankind without the humiliation of Calvary.
We cannot go before the world with a logo of three angels and deny the catastrophic content of their message. We face the extremely difficult task of pronouncing the judgment of apostate Protestantism, Catholicism, and the rest of the world, while we are little if any different in moral character.
How can we conscientiously say that those who do not accept our teachings are Babylon? Dare we proclaim that they are caught in "the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird"? Our own divorce-rate and our lawsuits and pastimes are nearly the same as theirs, which all the world follows.
Could this be the reason our members seldom hear the sermons which distinguished us as a people a few decades ago? Could this be the reason we have almost redefined our church's mission into an activity program? We build huge medical institutions with newsworthy equipment, universities with the finest facilities, and Third World programs of renown. We collect tons of cast-off clothing that become the legal tender for community services. Could all these genuinely good works include a "woe" for having "omitted the weightier matters of the law"?
"To do" commendable things that the world counts worthwhile is the easiest possible course to follow. This alone may be subtle old covenant religion in the finest tradition. But "to be" what the gospel is supposed to produce and call sin by its right name and sense its ultimate decree, is the last thing the human heart desires. We cringe before the penetrating awesome glory of the new covenant. Like the shekinah in the most holy place, it reveals God and discerns the thoughts and intents of the human heart. But it brings "rest" from man's "own works" of pride. (Hebrews 4:9-12).
Our situation, though "wretched," is neither unique or hopeless. We are children of Abraham and must claim the same promises given to him.
Like us, Israel faced a confrontation between her divine commission and her moral inadequacy. They like us were to lift up and proclaim God's downtrodden law. What they failed to accomplish in a literal way, we, as spiritual Israel, inherit as our commission. But our disbelief and blindness have resulted thus far in the same failure and embarrassment.
The truth that Paul tried to impress on his Jewish brethren makes sense for us today. Simply belonging to the Jewish nation, as they did, was no benefit. More was required. "He is a Jew, which is one inwardly" (Romans 2:29). For us this means knowing the truths that are landmarks in the remnant church, to understand the three angels' messages and the total warning included in them. We will have to realize that Babylon is what the record clearly states, and we will have to make the world know about it.
Paul's concern is doubly important for "Abraham's seed" in the end-time: "What advantage then hath the Jew [Adventist]? … Much every way: chiefly because that unto them [us] were committed the oracles of God" (Romans 3:1, 2). Being an Adventist carries an advantage and a responsibility—we have the responsibility of being the mouthpiece of heaven, verily an oracle that speaks for God.
For the Jewish nation their sanctuary held the central place. It was there that God communicated with His people. The tabernacle was the meeting place in all their journeys in the wilderness. Even the heathen nations sensed that the Hebrews had something majestic in it and to disregard its fixtures brought calamity upon them. But more than all this, the sanctuary itself spoke, for each article of furniture and each vessel was a reservoir of truth.
We should be humbled to realize that what sets us apart from all other movements on earth is that we too have been given a sanctuary. The single most important truth that emerged from the Great Disappointment and that remains our hallmark today, is that Jesus has begun a final atoning work in the heavenly sanctuary. Our moral quagmire, our instability before the Evangelical world, grows out of our unbelief of the oracles given to us. In this we are just like the Jews for it was the blindness of unbelief that nagged their entire sojourn and prevented them from filling their divine mandate.
But their failure and our failure cannot alter God's purposes. "What if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect "(Romans 3:3)?
What they did not believe and what we do not believe perpetuates the sin of all ages. It was unbelief, love of self, that crucified Christ. We have yet to understand how embarrassing this was for God. He had entrusted Israel with His oracles, but they betrayed His faith when they rejected Jesus. God's Son who became "flesh" embodied all that their oracles proclaimed. He was the true Lamb they offered morning and evening. He was the High Priest; He was the Shewbread, the Bread of life. The fragrance of His righteousness was the incense that filled both apartments. He was the Light to illuminate the sanctuary and the world. God placed in the hands of His people these precious revelations, the essence of truth and righteousness in symbol. He expected that the universe looking on would receive a demonstration of His character.
But what humiliation awaited His confidence! The people took the glory to themselves as evidence that they were "rich and increased with goods." They were in need of nothing—especially they did not need this Carpenter. All that heaven could supply was entrusted to them but they did not recognize it. The oracles in type and the oracles in "flesh" that were to dispel the accusations Satan leveled against God, they took and squandered.
Although Paul saw through the insult they rendered to God, he said that there is hope. Though they failed, someday the oracles will speak; the message will be heard. All the lies and misrepresentations heaped upon God will vaporize. The message of the three angels, the oracles placed in the hands of His remnant people, will bear fruit.
The remnant will know that the supreme matter before the universe is the trial of truth and righteousness—God's character. Their concern for a reward of sitting by the river of life or walking on the street of gold leading to a heavenly mansion will fade into the background. The Creator will be judged righteous and Babylon with all her abominations will be "thrown down, and shall be found no more at all" (Revelation 18:21). God's faith will be rewarded and justified when He is judged (Romans 3:4).
How long will God's people be obsessed with their selfish desire for their own salvation? He has made our security easy. He has compromised His standing before the universe to assure us of His commitment to truth and of our salvation from sin. The infinite heart of God is longing for some recognition from His children. Could they sense a little of sacrifice? Could they see what is pending? Could they understand that God also has feelings? How long will it take them to understand the magnitude of the plan of salvation? Is 6000 years long enough?
As Abraham's seed, we have a responsibility to face the seeming contradiction of sacrificing our individual and corporate salvation for the sake of believing God's promises. Each person's own "Isaac" will be offered, forfeiting the future as the Word did when He became "flesh." We will never sing the song of Moses and the Lamb until we understand what it means and are willing to be blotted out of the Book. Like Moses, God's people will have a corporate love for truth and the honor of God's name that will not flinch in the face of death.
Our problem and Israel's is that we have seen the "oracles" as an end in themselves. The history of their sanctuary construction and their meticulous observance of its rituals will awaken us to our prophetic destiny. The real significance of the 2300-day prophecy concerns Messiah and blotting out of sin. He was to be cut off in the midst of the 70th week, to finish transgression, to make an end of sin and to bring in everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24). The symbology of their literal sanctuary can only foreshadow, but never equal, the spiritual attainments of the remnant church when the sanctuary is finally cleansed. Learning from Israel's experience will cause God's people to see their assignment to construct a temple of truth that withstands the final fires of purification. That "temple" will not be destroyed as was the one in old Jerusalem.
When the third decree of Artaxerxes went into effect in 457 B.C., construction finally began amidst delays and disappointments. As Nehemiah's workers swept back the rubble and debris, a group of ancient ones began to wail and lament. As they gazed upon the foundations of Solomon's temple, a terrible realization smote their hearts. The beauty and majesty of that first temple could never be matched. The wealth of Israel in its greatest glory had been lavished upon the former edifice. When Israel flourished at the economic crossroads of her peers, the temple was one of the notable structures of the ancient world. But while despair and heartache absorbed the ancient ones as they drew comparisons, an amazing message of hope came from the Lord through the prophet Haggai. "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts" (Haggai 2:9).
At the beginning of the 2300 years ancient Israel was called out of literal Babylon to restore the literal sanctuary. At the end of the 2300 years spiritual Israel is called out of spiritual Babylon to make plain the truth of the heavenly sanctuary. This involves recovering the full power and intent of the gospel "that there should be no schism in the body," for God's people will be truly "the body of Christ" when they become the "temple of the Holy Ghost" (1 Corinthians 12:25-27; 6:19). The glory of this "latter house shall be greater than of the former," for Christ will dwell in that body as surely as He walked in the temple at Jerusalem (Haggai 2:9). The glory of that latter day "temple" will amaze the universe as the earth is lightened by God's people who have experienced in their lives the practical work of cleansing the sanctuary. This will be a display of "glory" never seen before. It will be the light of life for some but the doom of eternal death for the majority.
And so was the "glory" in the days of ancient Israel. The prophecy of Haggai was lost upon them. They needed a radical change in the way they understood "glory." Their idea of "glory" was connected with power and prestige among the nations. But "glory" by God's definition could not be lowered to this carnal concept. The glory that would elevate the latter temple above the former would be in the realm of truth. The Word "made flesh" would walk in the courts of this temple. The Seed of Abraham would show forth the "glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," and from His lips would come words like no man ever spake before.
That "glory" was to foreshadow the early rain. But it is the latter rain that brings the harvest to fruition. All the types and shadows of the Hebrew nation were but a launching pad from which would rocket the revelation of Jesus Christ. Tragically, they saw only the launching pad and it became an end in itself. Because they were enamored with the routine of their organization they failed to see what it was ordained to accomplish. In their blindness they set about to crucify the truths that had in them the power to put the revelation into orbit.
Adventism has constructed its own launching platform. In its framework are any number of beams and braces, programs and commissions, executive actions and committee recommendations, fail-safe provisions and contingency escapes, energized by a global strategy. High on the tower is an emblem of three angels portrayed in fine detail. But like our spiritual forefathers, we fail to recognize the oracles for what they are and the message therein. We remain content with the launching pad. It is an amazing structure. But all the machinery on the site and all the drawings still on the board will never produce the light and blazing glory needed for an actual launching. All signals are "go." The countdown has begun. But everything depends upon correctly reading and understanding the launching directions. These directions are all contained in the message we have been given! The oracles of God are entrusted to us to be given to the world.
In God's plan, truth is powerful to the complete destruction of error. In the end we will either accept the truth, no matter how great the embarrassment and bitter the repentance, or else error will destroy us. The pending crisis is not in events but in issues.
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