October 24, 2013

Cliff's Edge

When i was 21 years old, it hit me: Truth, as in the truth, had to exist. Of course, the reality of the premise that the truth had to exist didn’t deductively lead to the conclusion that I could know it. My only issue was that, if humanly possible, I wanted to know it, no matter the cost.

Two years later, and at a “great” personal cost, I became a Seventh-day Adventist.

I joined the church at a time of intense theological controversy swirling around Desmond Ford’s challenges to 1844 and the pre-Advent judgment. Yours truly, who six months before had been “floating” about in the astral plane, suddenly found myself immersed into a new dimension: Adventism in the 1980s.

Amid the tumult, I saw early on that if Ford’s challenges to the day-year principle, the identity of the little horn, the supposed “context” problem of Daniel 8, and so forth were valid, then the theological foundations of Adventism were false, and, were I to remain intellectually honest, I’d have to bolt.

Fortunately, over time and with great help from new material from the Biblical Research Institute at the General Conference and older material (such as Edward Heppenstall’s book Our High Priest), I got firmly grounded in the 1844 teaching in ways I probably wouldn’t have, had the controversy never arisen.

Excited about what I had learned, I wanted to share it with others, especially because I saw so much confusion and misinformation among members about it. I eventually wrote a book, 1844 Made Simple; and through the late 1980s I used to give a seminar at camp meetings and churches under that same title. After a few years I got bored with preaching the same thing, and though still interested in the heavenly sanctuary, I moved on.

Last year, realizing the potential offered by the digital age, I made a proposal to the General Conference about redoing the seminar and putting it online. The proposal was approved, and a few months later it’s up: 1844madesimple.org.

The bulk is a video presentation, much like what I gave decades ago. It basically shows the parallels between Daniel 2, 7, and 8, and how the great pre-Advent judgment in Daniel 7, which leads to God’s eternal kingdom, is the same thing as the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8, and that it must occur after the 1,260 years of Daniel 7. After that I show how Daniel 9 narrows that date down to 1844.

Mostly important, though, I show how the gospel is central to the judgment. I contend that the only way to fully appreciate the gospel is to understand it in light of judgment. For instance, in Daniel 7 judgment is given in “favor of the saints of the Most High” (verse 22, KJV). Why? How can anyone stand when God will “bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Eccl. 12:14)? The key is found in Daniel 8:14, the cleansing of the sanctuary, when the blood shed on the Day of Atonement covers their sins. “He will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been” (Lev. 16:16).

Atonement is made because of His people’s uncleanliness, their sins, and their transgressions. What? The saints weren’t perfect? No, which is why they needed the shed blood that dominates the ritual. It’s the Day of Atonement, and atonement is what God has done to save them. The Day of Atonement is about blood, the symbol of the perfect life of Christ sacrificed in their behalf, which alone got the Israelites through the earthly type of the judgment, and which alone gets us through the antitype, the pre-Advent judgment, which began in 1844.

At the site you can watch the video online or download it, either as a whole or in sections. Besides the video, we have podcasts and resources for those who want to go deeper. Because the site is brand-new, the podcasts and resources are scant, but we’re going to add more.

The Web site is there, and it’s yours.

Truth exists, and 1844madesimple.org is one attempt to give expression to a crucial aspect of it, the pre-Advent judgment.