Sunday, September 7, 2008

Introduction


Are these the numbers of your faith? Are these the formulas that have led you to Truth? Do these equations explain the end of all things?

483 - 457 =27 AD
69 - 7 = 62 (27 AD - 34AD)
34 AD - 3.5 = 31 AD
69 x (1 x 7) + (1 x 7) = 490; 2300 - 490 = 1810; 1810 + 490 = 2300
Final calculation: 457 - (69 x 7) = 27; 27 + (7 x .5) = 31; 31 + (7 x .5) = 34; 2300 - 490 = 1810; 34 + 1810 = 1844.

Lord, yesterday a non-Adventist asked me if I am saved. I had my usual internal dialogue that assured me that he was misinformed and ignorant about the process of salvation. I didn't want to offend him so I answered something about Jesus going to the cross for my salvation. But today, his question is bugging me. Am I saved? Will I be saved? What if I change my mind just when you decide it's time to come back? I believe in salvation by faith. So why can't I bring myself to say, "I am saved"? It just sounds wrong, foreign.

My child, do you remember these words? "We are never to rest in a satisfied condition, and cease to make advancement, saying, 'I am saved.' When this idea is entertained, the motives for watchfulness, for prayers, for earnest endeavor to press onward to higher attainments, cease to exist. No sanctified tongue will be found uttering these words till Christ shall come, and we enter in through the gates into the city of God. Then, with the utmost propriety, we may give glory to God and to the Lamb for eternal deliverance. As long as man is full of weakness--for of himself he cannot save his soul--he should never dare to say, 'I am saved.'" {1SM 314.2}

Yes. I do. I've always been told that it's arrogant to say that you are saved.

Who told you that?

My parents, Sabbath School teachers, school teachers. I think You told Ellen White that, didn't you?

You must have me confused with someone else. This is what I have always told everyone, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24 (NIV)

But what about the judgment? We can't know if we are saved until the very end - at the judgment. I remember learning in school that we would have to stand in the end-times in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. You're not helping me out much here.

Those aren't my words either. These are: "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." Heb 7:25 (NIV)

Hey, I know I'm on really shaky ground here, but, I think you're a little confused. This guy I was talking to thinks the Sabbath is old news and he believes that he's going to float to Heaven right after he dies - before you even come again. That can't be right.

Why not? Do you remember what Paul said? "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." 2 Cor 5:8 (NIV) He also said, "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." Col 2:16-17 (NIV)

Now you're really messing with my head. Is this the God who made that big scene on Mt. Sinai with all the thunder and lightening and stuff to deliver the Ten Commandments? Did I get the wrong number?

My dear child, you were given a lot of wrong numbers. Those equations and formulas up there never did equal truth. I AM the Truth. I AM the Sabbath. I AM the resurrection, and I AM Life. In order to come to me you will have to leave behind all of your old formulas and come learn from me. I will give you my Spirit and together we will find the right path to truth.

I'm not sure I can. Those equations are the foundations of my faith. If You take them away from me I don't know who I will be. This is where my family and friends belong and I belong with them. I never expected to hear you talk like this. It really scares me. I'm not even sure it's YOU!

What if they aren't with me? Do you still belong with them? Look at my hands. Listen to my words. Look in my eyes. Have I said anything to you that is not in the scriptures?

I'm not sure. Maybe. It just doesn't sound right. But can I ask you a straight question? I want a straight answer - like, yes or no.

OK. Shoot.

Was that guy right? Is it possible to know if you are saved - now? Is it OK with you for people to go around saying "I am saved"? Was that guy right?




Yes.

Ramone Romero painted the picture for the introduction to this chapter. He prayed about what to portray, how to do it and for a revelation of God's heart. As he turned off his computer and went to bed he was in a quandry as to how to best catch the essence of the problems presented in the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment. As he continued to pray he says:

"...it was like I saw all the calculations -- the mess of Miller's calculations. In the midst of all the math, I saw a man at the cross. He's trying to let go of what he knows to be, at least, incomplete. But he is struggling to let it all go. His hands are wanting to embrace the cross... while still questioning, still holding out the fruit offering of numbers saying, 'God, what about this? Isn't there something of value here? Something worth keeping? It couldn't have all been wrong Lord? It was so close Lord! It fit so well, made so much sense...'

"He's facing the fear of no longer pleasing God. He's trying to calculate Jesus' return (or the events prior to His return) and thus 'be ready.' It is an effort to earn God's approval, to earn His pleasure and thereby be saved. He thinks that if he believes all of it, he can 'be ready' to be saved when Jesus comes. The difficulty of letting go of the IJ formulas belies the deep, underlying feeling that unless he holds on to the old beliefs, he will not be saved. He's just not completely sure. He has been told all his life that making these calculations, knowing what's coming (and when), is necessary for salvation.

"Jesus says to Him, thru His blood, 'You don't have to calculate it! See the cross? I love you! I have saved you! You are safe in Me! You are sealed in Me, by My Holy Spirit! And while you are safe in Me, you can rest until one day I come to get you, and take you home to a new world!'

"In a film entitled 'Pi,' a man uses his super-computer to calculate the Kabbalah's mythical 216 digits of the name of God, and nearly kills himself in the process. Film critic, Roger Ebert, noted that the closer he got to finding something that did not exist, the closer to insanity he came. The closer he got to solving the riddle, the more validated he felt in the journey. It became virtually impossible to realize that the goal, itself, was a mistaken impossibility. Letting go of it was no longer an option. This describes the process Adventists face in letting go of the Investigative Judgement.

"After thinking thru this dynamic and sketching this picture, I was convicted that God is bringing Adventists back to the root. He is giving them the opportunity to repent as Miller, himself, had done. I realized that the picture shows the 'meeting' which the SDA offshoots from Millerism needed to keep, but ran from instead. The humbling process they avoided - the run-in with the cross - awaits them still. Ignoring the infathomable muddle of the Investigative Judgment and Sanctuary beliefs, God is offering the Adventist Church a do-over. He sets before them two choices: The ill-conceived, face-saving gesture of the Investigative Judgment on the one hand, the cross on the other.


"As I was copying down the 'equation' numbers (and now, as I write and weep in the Spirit), I note that the Cross plays a very minor part in the calculations. The 'Messianic week' is a parenthetical by-the-way in Miller's calculations. It's just a brief stop - a supporting evidence - a footnote on the way to 1844. The Cross became a numerical proof for 1844. Miller's calculations did not point to the Cross or to Christ. Instead, he made the Cross to point to the Second Coming in 1844. The message of the Gospel was set aside. Grace was supplanted by efforts to be ready for His Second Coming. 'Even the Cross pointed to 1844' is the message trumpetted by Miller's calculations.

"'Letting Go' is the picture of Adventists in our age (in any age), being overwhelmed at the foot of the cross as Christ calls them to surrender the fabrication of the Investigative Judgment. If they will let Him, Jesus will reveal to each one the magnitude of His salvation. The Cross will outshine all of the substitutes they have clung to for salvation. He is calling them to fall on their knees, surrendering all to Him, trusting all to Him. The Rock of Ages will break them of these frail and faulty beliefs - if they will just come in humility. But letting go, itself, is a work of grace."




The Next Chapter: The Central Pillar
This is the story of the foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. You may think you already know this story, but what you find here may be quite new to you.


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