Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Marco Belmonte on 1844 Made Simple Part 2

Yesterday I dealt with the body of Marco Belmonte's article on Today I will deal with his concluding paragraph.
"As many of my fellow team members have written previously during this quarter's lesson study, this whole thing is about a great cosmic battle over the character of God. Unfortunately, as much as I whole-heartedly believe that 1844 marked the date of a very special event, I'm saddened that even those who would agree with my interpretation of Daniel 7 to 9 would explain it to others in a way that makes God look fearful, selfish and quite frankly, Satanic."
"This whole thing" being...1844 or the Investigative Judgment or is it the gospel? So far the lesson has really only focused on how we get to 1844. The idea that 1844 is about the "cosmic battle" over the character of God seems quite a stretch. Even if you consider this concept of the Great Controversy as the vindication of God it really has no connection to 1844. What special event took place in 1844? Using the lesson studies title it was either the Investigative Judgment or the Gospel. As the Gospel has been around since the time of Christ we are left with only the Investigative Judgment as the special event.

But as Marco concludes that event is portrayed in the most anti-gospel way imaginable. J.N Andrews writes in his chapter on the Investigative Judgment in his 1890 book THE JUDGMENT ITS EVENTS AND THEIR ORDER page 7-8
The time of blotting out names from the book of life precedes the deliverance of the saints. For at the time of that event everyone shall be delivered "that shall be found written in the book." Daniel 12:1. Thus the fearful threatening of Exodus 32:32,33; Psalm 69:28; Revelation 22:19, is executed in the removal of names from this book before the coming of Christ. Those who overcome are the ones who have their sins blotted out. But those who fail to overcome have their names stricken from the book of life. The examination of their record must, therefore, precede both these acts of blotting out, for the express purpose of determining whether they shall have their sins blotted out, or have their names removed from the book of life. We have seen that it is at this very point that the righteous give account of their sins through their High Priest, who, from the book of God's remembrance, shows that they have repented, confessed, forsaken, and overcome, their sinful course; also that they are thus acquitted and justified in order that they may have a part in the resurrection to immortality. Here is also the very act of the Savior in confessing the names of his people before his Father and the holy angels, that shall close our Lord's priesthood and place his people where they shall be forever free from all their sins. For when the book of God's remembrance is found to prove that the person under examination is an overcomer, it is then the part of the Savior to confess his name before his Father and the holy angels, and the part of the Father to give judgment that that person's sins be blotted from the record. Surely it is of some account to us that we have part in the fulfillment of the promise, "I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." Revelation 3:5; Matthew 10:32; Luke 12:8.

It is no wonder that this type of delayed reconciliation with God is viewed as an attack on the Gospel. No Christian group looks at Our Investigative Judgment as a display of the Gospel. Even our great SDA leaders have realized just how anti-gospel the Investigative Judgment is. Consider what E.J. Waggoner said just before his death.[By the way Jones and Waggoner and Kellogg etc were never Pantheists, each continued on as Christians going to different denomination]
Seventh-day Adventist teaching concerning the sanctuary, with its "Investigative Judgment" to precede the blotting out of sins, is virtually a denial of the atonement. True, much is made of the "antitypical day of atonement" beginning in 1844; but that very thing minimizes, if it does not nullify, the value of the blood of Christ, in that it teaches that a man may receive the blood- the life- and not receive the atonement. The Gospel has been turned into ceremonialism....

But to come to the really serious indictment, I have said that the teaching that atonement for sins was deferred until 1844, and that no sins were blotted out till then, the sins of the living not being blotted out even yet, minimizes or even nullifies the value of the blood of Christ. It makes a distinction between things that do not differ, and teaches that the blood- the life- of Christ received by a person exercises only a portion of its virtue at the time of its reception,-that is divided in its action. Seventh-day Adventists do believe in the forgiveness of sins. At least it is taught in the denomination, and is believed by many. But forgiveness is obtained only by the reception, consciously, of the life of Christ, which is given freely on the cross for all men. We are "justified (made righteous) freely by His grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus." This forgiveness is reconciliation to God, for it was our "wicked works" that constituted our enmity to God, and Christ has reconciled us in the body of His flesh, through death. Col. 1:21, 22. Justified by His blood is the same as reconciled by His death (Rom. 5: 9,10), and this is the atonement. By Christ "we have now received the atonement." I know that there is an attempt to evade this truth, by using the word "reconciliation," which is given in the margin; but the fact remains that reconciliation and atonement are identical. Reconciliation implies previous enmity. In this case the enmity was all on our side; we were enemies of God, who is the Friend of sinners. It is we who are reconciled to God, by destruction of the enmity that was in us. Once we hated His ways; now we love and yield to them, and are at one with Him. We have received the atonement, namely, the life of God in Christ.
Later he says:
I think there is no disagreement as to the fact that the blotting out of sins is the atonement. What I object to is the denominational teaching that this is only a book transaction. That makes the atonement not a personal matter at all, but something which can take place without in the least affecting the individual concerned...
Again Andrews says later on page 8:
When our Lord has thus finished his work as priest, his people are prepared to stand in the sight of God without an atoning sacrifice...
A few lines later:
When these prophetic declarations are accomplished, we shall no longer need an Advocate, Intercessor, Mediator, or High Priest. Our sins will never after that exist even in the record of the court of heaven. Our lost innocence will then have been recovered, and we shall then be like to the angels of God, who walk in their original uprightness.
7. The accomplishment of this work of blotting out the sins of those who overcome is marked by a declaration of awful solemnity:- "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." Revelation 22:11,12. These words virtually announce the close of our Lord's work as High Priest. They cannot be uttered till he, as our Advocate, has secured the blotting out of the sins of his people at his Father's tribunal.
Yet we have seen that this work of blotting out is accomplished before he comes the second time without sin unto salvation.
Andrews presents the views of those who developed their theology from the doctrine of 1844 and the Heavenly Sanctuary. Here I have to agree with Marco that the IJ teaches concepts of God which oppose the nature of God, God here will not forgive unless you have overcome, thus the believer lives in fear of the tribunal of the Father. Then at some future point God will actually do what He promised to do and blot out our sins and then we can live without an Advocate, Intercessor, Mediator or High Priest in a sinless state awaiting the Second Coming. From Uriah Smith to Ellen White this is the doctrine which the SDA church has developed and embraced around 1844 and the IJ. If you fight for 1844 what are you really fighting to show the world?

1 comment:

L.V. formerly L.B. said...

Truth and Accuracy If vitally significant I suppose could be many peoples answers. I personally feel confused bout this topic at hand. L.V. formerly L.B.