Wednesday, December 04, 2013

This week's lesson: the Eschatological Day of Atonement

So what do you do with the 2300 days?

Our church has been remarkably consistent in our interpretation of Daniel 8:14 -- we haven't changed much on what it meant . . . 


But when it comes to our application of that text (i.e. not just what it meant, but what it means for our lives today), then we've been more than happy to change and adapt -- and you can sum up these changes and adaptations with three words: sieve, spur, and shibboleth. 


Sieve

  • The problem: hypocrisy in the church.
  • Message: during the Investigative Judgment, Jesus separates the the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats, the true Christians from those who only claim to be such.
  • Consequences: we should "practice what we preach" -- that is the only way to make it through the Judgment.
  • Criticism: this approach can easily turn into "salvation by works.".
Spur
  • The problem: complacency in the church
  • Message: the names of some will come up in judgment while they are still alive -- and if there is still some taint of sin in their lives when this happens, then they will be lost.
  • Consequences: we must "press on to perfection" while there is still time.
  • Criticism: this approach can leave us with the belief that we've committed the unpardonable sin.
Shibboleth
  • The problem: disloyalty in the church.
  • Message: our view of Daniel 8:14 draws together a wide body of highly technical material -- material in which few people may claim expertise on their own.
  • Consequences: the highly technical nature of this doctrine makes it an easy way to distinguish those who trust the judgment of the Church and its leaders from those who "lean on their own understanding." 
  • Critique: reason has its limits -- but as Ellen White said:
It is important that in defending the doctrines which we consider fundamental articles of faith we should never allow ourselves to employ arguments that are not wholly sound. These may avail to silence an opposer, but they do not honor the truth. We should present sound arguments, that will not only silence our opponents, but will bear the closest and most searching scrutiny. (Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, page 708).

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