SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #8
"Christ Our Priest"
November 23, 2013
At the time of the writing of this article, many islands in the Philippines have been ravaged by a massive typhoon resulting in a tragic loss of life and desperate conditions for survivors. As our world desperately attempts to right itself between the ever-increasing storms, this warning comes to mind: “Transgression has almost reached its limit. Confusion fills the world, and a great terror is soon to come upon human beings. The end is very near. We who know the truth should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise.” 8T 28
What exactly that surprise will be we are not told, but what we do know is that now is the preparation time. As television images capture the stories of people securing their homes, boats, belongings and families prior to a forecasted storm, so we are to be doing all we can to be ready for the time when “everything is to be shaken that can be shaken.” CET 81
And for the storm that is coming, the preparation most needful will be a “settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so that they cannot be moved.” LDE 219
The sanctuary truth gave birth to the Adventist faith. Preached but not fully understood by William Miller and others in the 1830’s and 1840’s, “the pioneers of the [advent] movement saw the sanctuary truth as basic to the whole structure of Seventh-day Adventist doctrine. James White, in 1850, republished the essential portions of the first presentation of the subject by O. R. L. Crosier, and commented: ‘The subject of the sanctuary should be carefully examined, as it lies at the foundation of our faith and hope.’ ”—The Advent Review (special combined number). CIHS 8
The sanctuary service reveals Christ typified in His work as High Priest and Mediator. Many Adventists have long harbored fear of the troublesome times to come, stemming in part from these statements:
“I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful, and were looking to the time of ‘refreshing’ and ‘latter rain’ to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord, and to live in his sight. O, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation, therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God. Those who . . . do not purify their souls in obeying the whole truth, and are willing to believe that their condition is far better than it really is, will come up to the time of the falling of the plagues, and then see that they needed to be hewed and squared for the building. But there will be no time then to do it; and no Mediator to plead their cause before the Father.” ExV 58.
“Then the angel repeated these words, and said, ‘This is the time spoken of in Isaiah. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. He had no mediator between God and man, and these plagues could be withheld no longer, for Jesus had ceased to plead for Israel, and they were covered with the covering of the Almighty God, and then they could live in the sight of a holy God, and those who were not covered, the plagues fell upon them, . . . ’ ” Oct. 23, 1850, SpM 2
It has been Satan’s studied plan to usurp Christ’s position as Mediator, by sitting himself upon the throne of the Holy Place and pretending to act as the forgiver of sins. In this role as carried on by the man of sin, Satan perpetuates the notion that man can be saved in his sins. He calms us and tells us we are fine and need not worry. In this paradigm, sin is never overcome and mediation never ceases.
Christ’s true role as Mediator is temporary. As the final work of atonement is complete and all sin is expunged from the sacred precincts of the heavenly sanctuary, Christ ceases his mediation. The righteous living on earth when the plagues are poured out during the last hour of earth’s history will not need an intercessor or mediator because their sins have already been forgiven.
It was to prepare a people to stand in the sight of a Holy God without a mediator that the Lord in His mercy sent a most precious message of Christ’s righteousness to His people.
“Now to teach the gospel message of salvation from sin through faith in the righteousness of Jesus, the only Mediator and Saviour, and to preach it with these verses as the syllabus, is the work to be done to prepare the way of the Lord in this generation. And the very first thing to which we are introduced in the message, in the words, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come,” brings us face to face with that which sets forth in the fullest manner the whole provision of God for the salvation from sin. And that whole provision is wrapped up and revealed in the sanctuary question. And by the terms of this message, the first thing that we are brought to face when we are to preach salvation from sin through faith in Jesus Christ, is the whole question of God’s provision for the remission of sin as set forth in the sanctuary.” W. W. Prescott, GCB April 2, 1903, p. 51.10
“The highest angel in heaven had not the power to pay the ransom for one lost soul. Cherubim and seraphim have only the glory with which they are endowed by the Creator as His creatures, and the reconciliation of man to God could be accomplished only through a mediator who was equal with God, possessed of attributes that would dignify, and declare him worthy to treat with the infinite God in man’s behalf, and also represent God to a fallen world. Man’s substitute and surety must have man’s nature, a connection with the human family whom he was to represent, and, as God’s ambassador, he must partake of the divine nature, have a connection with the Infinite, in order to manifest God to the world, and be a mediator between God and man.
"Christ, the Son of God and Creator of the universe, humbled Himself beyond description to be joined together forever with the human race. As Adam was enjoined that in marriage a man would leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife, so Christ left His Father in heaven to become forever a part of the human family.
“Clothing His divinity with humanity, He came to earth to be called the Son of man and the Son of God. He was the surety for man, the ambassador for God—the surety for man to satisfy by His righteousness in man’s behalf the demands of the law, and the representative of God to make manifest His character to a fallen race.” 1SM 257
The good news of what Jesus did for the human race as revealed in the gospel alone has power to extinguish our love for sin and prepare us for entrance to our heavenly home.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb. 4:15, 16