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On this day that marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenburg, Germany, that sparked what has come to be known as the Protestant Reformation, I wish to point to Seventh-day Adventism as the Reformation Movement of the last days. In pointing to Seventh-day Adventism, I ask the question: If one accepts Jesus as the Messiah, on what basis does anyone reject 1844 and Adventism? In referring to anyone, this includes the over one billion Catholics and the millions of Protestants in the world today.
To understand the question, one needs to know that there is a link between Jesus, 1844 and Adventism. That link is Daniel. Did you know that Jesus referred to Daniel as a prophet? Yes, He did – in Mark 13:14! And did you know that the same prophecy of Daniel that Jesus referred to in Mark 13:14 identifies 1844 as the time that God would start a special activity called the cleansing of the sanctuary and only Adventism recognizes the fulfilment of that prophecy and the carrying out of that activity? You’ll discover that Jesus, 1844 and Adventism are inextricably linked and that there can be no basis for accepting the one without accepting the others.
In posing the question, I will make two (2) points:
Daniel was a prophet and he pointed to the cleansing of the sanctuary in 1844.
In Mark 13:14 Jesus reinforced Daniel’s prophecy regarding what both Daniel and Jesus called the “abomination of desolation”. Jesus said: “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains.” – Mark 13:14. This was a reference to the Roman power that would destroy Jerusalem in the year AD 70. The same warning is given in Matt. 24:15 and Luke 21:20. In Luke, the warning is given even more explicitly. It says: “when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” (Luke 21:20).
Some people confuse themselves with Daniel’s prophecy regarding the “abomination of desolation” by saying that it referred to some obscure Syrian king called Antiochus Epiphanes who lived way back, many centuries before the time of Christ. But it is obvious that the “abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet” was not something of the past as Jesus said that it had not happened yet. It was something in the future to Jesus’s time and people in His time would live to see it. So, there is no need for any confusion. Now, you’ll see that this same prophecy that foretold the destruction of Jerusalem also identified the exact time that Messiah would have come and it also identifies 1844.
So, how does it identify the time that Messiah would come and 1844? It does it in answer to a question that was asked in Dan. 8:13. The question was: “How long shall be the vision concerning the daily [sacrifice], and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?” The answer is given in verse 14 as follows: “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
Daniel did not fully understand the answer that was given and he fainted (Dan. 8:27). But some time after, the same angel Gabriel that had appeared to Daniel and was explaining the vision to him, but was unable to finish because Daniel fainted, came back to him. The account in Daniel 9:21-23 says: “Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore, understand the matter, and consider the vision.” (Dan. 9:21-23).
The angel Gabriel picked up from where he left off and started to explain the time period by telling Daniel when it would start. He said: “Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks” (verse 25). That is, seven weeks plus sixty-two weeks, which is sixty-nine (69) weeks. The command to restore and build Jerusalem was issued in 457 BC by the king Artaxerxes. This is recorded in Ezra 7:7 as the seventh year of the king, in the fifth month (verse 8).
From that date, counting 69 weeks, taking a day for a year, we have 483 years from the decree of Artaxerxes unto Messiah the Prince – that is, 69 weeks times 7 days per week, which equals 483 days, where one day in the prophecy equals one literal year (a principle mentioned in Numbers 13:34). Did Messiah come at the time predicted by the angel? Yes, He did!
Exactly 483 years from the time that King Artaxerxes issued the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (that is, from the year 457 BC), Jesus Christ was anointed Messiah at His baptism, in the year AD 27. This prophecy of Daniel is the only prophecy in the Bible that tells the exact time when Messiah would appear, and it was fulfilled just as predicted.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was anointed at His baptism (Acts 10:38). The word Messiah means anointed. So Jesus appeared as Messiah at His baptism in AD 27. Accordingly, He began to preach, saying: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mark 1:15). The time being fulfilled was obviously the time spoken of by Daniel the prophet as there is no other time prophecy that identifies the time when Messiah would come.
But the time of Messiah’s appearance was only a part of Daniel’s prophecy. The prophecy pointed to Messiah appearing after 69 weeks (obviously, based on a day in the prophecy being equal to a literal year – otherwise, it would not have pointed to Jesus as the Messiah, but by that reckoning, it fits exactly). So, 69 weeks takes us to Messiah, but Daniel said that something else would happen at the end of 2300 days. 69 weeks is 483 days. The remaining days to the end of 2300 days would be 2300 minus 483, which gives 1817 days.
So, if 483 days (a day being taken as one year) takes us to AD 27, then an additional 1817 days (a day for a year) will be 27 plus 1817, which takes us to 1844.
There is no escaping it. Daniel’s 2300 days ends in 1844. This is based on the same prophecy that identified AD 27 as the time when Messiah would arrive. Jesus Christ, the Messiah arrived just as Daniel prophesied and Jesus confirmed that Daniel was a prophet.
So, back to my question: If you accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, on what basis do you reject 1844 as the date for the fulfilment of the remainder of the same prophecy?
It is clear! If you accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, you must accept Daniel as a prophet and 1844 as the fulfilment of the time specified in Daniel’s prophecy. That’s my first point.
The cleansing of the sanctuary included the raising up of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement.
Now, how does the Advent Movement come into the picture? The Advent Movement was the only voice in the world that recognized the fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy in 1844. Some people will say that the Millerites were wrong; but we are not talking about the Millerites. We are talking about those who followed after 1844 with a message that the cleansing of the sanctuary had started. Prior to October 22, 1844, for the most part, people thought that the event that Daniel’s prophecy pointed to was the second coming of Christ. But Daniel did not say that. Daniel said that after 2300 days then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. He did not say which sanctuary and he did not say how long the cleansing would take.
Those who remained faithful to the truth that 1844 marked the time pointed to by Daniel, studied the matter from the Bible and saw that the sanctuary that would be cleansed was the sanctuary in heaven where Christ ministers. The Bible is clear that Christ is in heaven as “A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” (Heb. 8:2).
So, one might ask: What is the cleansing of the sanctuary? It is what the Bible calls the blotting out of sins.
Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost and said to the people: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19). So, at a specific time that was yet future to Peter’s time, that Peter called the times of refreshing, the sins of people who have repented of their sins would be blotted out. Blotted out from where? Obviously, the sins would be blotted out from the record in heaven and also from the lives of the people.
This is what the cleansing of the sanctuary on earth was all about. On the Day of Atonement, the record of sins was removed from the sanctuary and there would remain no basis for anyone who had repented of those sins to be accused. This is fully described in Leviticus 16. A present-day parallel might be the efforts that are being made to clear Jamaica’s National Heroes, such as Marcus Garvey, of all criminal records.
As it was, in the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary, when you repent and confess your sins to Christ and Christ, as your Advocate and Intercessor, takes up your case, He has to convince the angels in heaven in the presence of God, the Father, that you are sincere. Jesus says: “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Rev. 3:5). From this it is clear that a part of the work of cleansing the sanctuary is also purging its records of the names of insincere or fake believers.
If you keep repeating the same sinful behaviour and do not accept the help Christ offers to you to do better, then your sins will not be blotted out and your name, instead, will be blotted out. That is clear from Peter’s message: repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. That is what the cleansing of the sanctuary is all about – cleansing it of the record of confessed sins and also cleansing it of the names of insincere or fake Christians.
The only set of people who understood this and brought it to the attention of the world at the time when this special work of blotting out of sins or cleansing of the sanctuary began in 1844 was the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. It was seen that the characteristics of God’s people in the last days would be that they keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. The Bible says: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12). Obviously, our sins will not be blotted out if we are breaking the commandments of God. So the final message pointed to a need for repentance so that our sins might be blotted out.
It was this understanding that led them to the seventh-day Sabbath. In calling people to repentance, it became obvious that almost the entire world was breaking one of the commandments of God – the fourth of the Ten Commandments that require us to keep the seventh-day Sabbath. Since then, starting with the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers, the Third Angel’s message of Revelation 14:9-12 has been going out to the world pointing people to the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus and calling people to repentance, especially in relation to the fourth commandment.
God confirmed His raising up of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement by giving the gift of prophecy to a member of the group, Ellen G. White. Through Ellen G. White, many visions were given by God to confirm the beliefs that were hammered out through Bible study. Ellen G. White did not introduce any new doctrine, but when her husband, James White, and the other pioneers studied the scriptures and arrived at an understanding of the truth, God gave confirmation through visions given to Ellen G. White.
So, back to my original question: If you accept Jesus, what is your basis for rejecting 1844 and the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers? I am not even speaking about Seventh-day Adventism as it is now, per se – and neither am I saying that they are not legitimate. But I am speaking specifically about the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement. It is clear that God raised them up at a specific point in time, in 1844, in fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy, and they pointed the world to the special work of the blotting out of sins or cleansing of the sanctuary that Christ would be doing and called the world to repentance, especially in relation to the fourth commandment that most people were breaking, perhaps ignorantly.
In this regard, the Seventh-day Adventist Movement, fulfilling the work of the Third Angel of Revelation 14:9-12 is a part of God’s work to remove sins from people’s lives by calling them to repentance so that their sins might be blotted out. Thus, the raising up of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement is a part of God’s work of cleansing the sanctuary. That is my second point.
Reformation Movement of the last days
The message on which the Seventh-day Adventist Movement was established was the cleansing of the sanctuary or the blotting out of sins, which is a message of repentance. The work of reformation is a work of calling people to repent. This was Jesus’s message – “repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). It was John the Baptist’s message – “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). It was Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost – “Repent ye therefore, and be converted” (Acts 3:19).
Reinforcement of this work of reformation that started in 1844 is very timely, at this time, marking the 500th anniversary of what is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation by Martin Luther. Luther’s ninety-five theses protested the idea of salvation without repentance. Today, the popular gospel is one that seems to ignore repentance. It says believe only and you are saved. Jesus said: Repent and believe (Mark 1:15). The message of the cleansing of the sanctuary is the message for this time that calls upon all to repent so that our sins might be blotted out. It is a message of reformation that, like Martin Luther’s ninety-five theses rejects the idea of salvation without repentance.
So, my question remains: If Jesus, why not 1844 and Seventh-day Adventism – since Jesus points to Daniel and Daniel points to 1844 and Adventism? And by Adventism, I am referring specifically to the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers that God raised up in 1844. The same prophecy that identified AD 27 as the time when Messiah would arrive also speaks of 2300 prophetic days ending in 1844. Jesus Christ, the Messiah arrived just as Daniel prophesied and Jesus confirmed that Daniel was a prophet. The Advent Movement was the only voice in the world that recognized the fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy in 1844.
The question raised is a matter of Bible truth and is intended for the entire world – to the over one billion Catholics, the millions of Protestants and even the many professed Seventh-day Adventists who think that the pioneers were misled.
The call is to repent and join in the proclamation of this final message for this time. Will you repent and believe the message for this time so that your sins can be blotted out or will you refuse to repent and have your name blotted out from the Book of Life? Whether or not we repent, the sanctuary will be cleansed. It is a question of where we will be. In the last days, a command is given to “measure the temple of God, and the altar and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” (Rev. 11:1, 2). Will you be one of the worshippers in God’s temple or will you remain in the outer court with the Gentiles? The choice is yours. Repent and be saved.
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).
- Zerubbabel (Zech. 4:6)
Other presentations can be found at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/
It has now become a standard mantra across Christendom that Salvation is by Faith alone. So popular it has become that there is even a convergence between Catholics and Protestants around this concept to the point that it is even being said by many that the Protestant Reformation is over. But the question arises, where does Repentance fit into all of this? Certainly, within a context where the primary message that was carried by Jesus Christ, the Messiah Himself, was “repent ye, and believe the gospel”, it begs the question as to whether something is being missed. The Bible speaks of Messiah’s message as follows:
“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:14, 15)
Messiah’s message was clear: repent and believe! Today, people are saying, believe only! Not only was repentance a primary focus of Messiah’s message, it was specifically spoken of as “the gospel of the kingdom of God”. Not only Messiah, but also John the Baptist who was the forerunner who announced Messiah’s coming, preached repentance – “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 3:1, 2).
Repentance was the one thing that was specifically called for as preparation for the “kingdom of heaven”. Some may say that repentance was the message for that time because the kingdom of God was not yet established. But after Christ’s resurrection and ascension the disciples preached the very same message after receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost – “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38). Repentance was not only the one requirement as preparation for the kingdom of heaven but it was a condition for “the remission of sins”. Without repentance our sins will not be forgiven!
As if to reinforce the point, Peter, after healing the lame man who was at the temple door pointed out to the people their great sin in killing Jesus Christ, the Son of God and told them: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19). In both cases, Peter was very specific about the sin that the people were guilty of. They had killed Jesus, the innocent, sinless Son of God. The result was that “when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter’s answer was clear: Repent!
Repentance or despair
When one is pricked in the heart over the wrong that they have done, they can repent or despair. The story of two people who denied Jesus illustrates. Peter repented and wept bitterly – “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” (Matt. 26:75). Forced by his guilty conscience, Judas despaired and hung himself – “Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” (Matt. 27:4, 5). Peter was saved – saved by Jesus’ words to him that drove him to repentance. This is where faith comes in – after Repentance! After sorrow and regret, one can either look to Jesus in faith and be saved or reject Him, our only hope of being saved and despair like Judas and be lost.
After the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times, “lovest thou me?” (John 21:17). To this, Peter responded, twice, with great contrition, “Yea, Lord” and the third time, being grieved that Jesus asked him a third time, he humbly replied, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” (John 21:17). Jesus accepted Peter’s confession and gave him a commission in His cause to go and help others to be saved, likewise, telling him: “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17).
Message for us at this time
But that was Judas and Peter. What about us? Are we guilty of anything that heinous? The Bible says, yes! We too share the guilt of killing the innocent Son of God and all the innocents that have been killed upon the earth if we reject the prophets of God who are sent to call us to repentance – “ Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” (Matt. 23:34, 35).
Do we keep silent when we see injustice? We will be judged as accomplices if we do! One day, we will come face to face with all the deeds that we have done. We are told: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10). That is not the end of it, we are told: “As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Rom. 14:11).
No one will escape the judgement of God. Not even death will spare anyone. The wicked will be resurrected to face their day in God’s court – “ And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20:12).
At the Second Coming of Christ, there will be two classes of people. Of one set, it is said: “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17). Of the other set, it is said: “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isa. 25:9). Now is the time to choose which class we will be in – whether to repent now and look to Jesus Christ in faith and be saved or not to repent now but be forced by circumstances to repent later and despair, when it is too late, and be lost.
Need to repent
Hopefully, we can understand why the most important thing to do is to repent and do it now! We can choose to repent now and be saved, while there is hope or we can wait and be sorry later, when it is too late. One way or another, we all will face our wrong deeds and be sorry – either now or later. The choice is ours.
Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenburg, Germany, five hundred years ago to protest the sale of Indulgences – a guaranteed pardon for sins without the need for Repentance. These Indulgences would have guaranteed that many would go to their graves thinking that they were saved when they were not. Martin Luther was touched by the deception that would cause many to be lost. His concern sparked what has come to be known as the Protestant Reformation. Today, people are saying that the Protest is over. Just believe and you are saved. No repentance needed? Has the Devil gone to sleep, and the whole world is being saved – calling upon Jesus – while wickedness abounds? We had better think again. Is there need for another Protest against a new form of Indulgence – Salvation without Repentance? May the Good Lord help us!
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).
- Zerubbabel (Zech. 4:6)
Previous presentations can be found at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com