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Good News about Judgment

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Some Christians face the idea of God's judgment with a deep sense of fear, as though God has been keeping track of each sin with the sole purpose of ensuring that only the absolute best people receive the reward of eternity with God. Yet the Bible describes God's judgment from an entirely different perspective. Instead of the judgment being against God's people, the judgment is on behalf of God's people. This sermon explores the roots of judgment in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Notes
Transcript
[next—title slide]

Introduction

[next - wrongly convicted]
In 1992, Juan Rivera was accused of a crime he didn’t commit. There was blood on his shoes that matched the poor girl who had been killed, and that evidence sent him to jail. A DNA test some time later proved that Juan wasn’t the killer, but he was convicted a second, and then a third time on retrial. He was finally exonerated and it was found that his shoes were not sold in the US until two years after the crime, and that there was both the blood of the victim and DNA samples from the true criminal who committed the crime. The Police had created the evidence that convicted Juan by placing the victim’s blood on his shoes after the crime had been committed.
There’s something about a wrongful conviction that really makes me mad. I want justice to be done. When people who are in power intentionally deceive others and wrongfully accuse some and cover the crimes of others it makes me realize why God said, “don’t bear false witness against your neighbor.” When justice is unjust we face a hopeless situation.
[next - fear of judgment]
But what if the accusation was accurate, the evidence was true, and the sentence for the crime was just? Is there any hope then?
I grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. My parents were pathfinder leaders, my dad was a deacon. We attended church every time they had something going on. We cleaned the church, mowed the lawn, and prepped the baptistry when needed. I did homeschool on my fellowship hall tables, and played tag with my friends in the church yard after potluck. But there came a time when I had to grapple with my faith and ask myself, is this really in the Bible?
[next - fear of judgment]
I grew up in Kentucky where my family were active members of a small Adventist church. Many of my fellow church members and friends lived with a constant background fear. We feared that our name might come up in the investigative judgment. We feared that we might be found without a mediator at the close of probation. We feared the final judgment on the world. We hesitated when someone asked us if we were saved or if we were going to heaven—not wanting to answer something we were not fully confident in. We were a church in fear of God and his judgment.
When I was seventeen I went from business to business selling custom printed products and design services—business cards, letterhead, and specialty forms. One day I walked through the door of a Christian school and found myself pitching the pastor of the Baptist church. Before long we were involved in a discussion about the Bible. This man began to hammer the foundations of my beliefs about judgment and salvation and what happens when someone dies with text after text that seemingly contradicted all that I had been taught. I left that school and went home with an eager desire to make sure I believed the Bible’s doctrine, not just a church teaching. I was determined to find my doctrine in the Bible. I read the 27 fundamental beliefs book. I read books on the sanctuary by M L Andreason and Uriah Smith and several others. I read books about Daniel and Revelation from Maxwell to Smith to Paulien and many others. I studied whether or not the day for a year thing was just made up by some creative theologian, or if it was actually in the Bible. I explored the history behind the dates. I went to school to study these subjects more and learned Greek and exegesis and hermeneutics. — I wanted to know what the Bible taught.
We weren’t afraid that we would be wrongfully accused. We were afraid that we would be known for who we really were and found wanting in the sight of God.
Through the years I’ve realized that the church of my youth was a church in fear. Fear of the judgment. We feared that our name might come up in the investigative judgment. We feared that we might be found without a mediator at the close of probation. We feared the final judgment on the world. We hesitated when someone asked us if we were saved or if we were going to heaven—not wanting to answer something we were not fully confident in. We were a church in fear of God and his judgment.
Some Christians get around this worry by saying that God only judges the wicked. But that’s not the case in Scriptures—judgment is said to begin at the house of God.
Other Christians get around it by saying that God chooses some to be saved and some to be lost. We can be confident in our salvation because if we’re in the church, and our life bears the marks of a christian, we must have been called to salvation and therefore we have a guaranteed ticket to eternal life. But the Bible repeatedly talks about the possibility of apostacy and falling away from God. Certainly God wants everyone to be saved, but He provides us with the choice to love Him and follow Him or else pursue our own interests.
Today we’re going to look at the story of a priest named Joshua and explore the idea of God’s end-time judgment. I think you’ll find that this story is at the very heart of the gospel.
Not the church in fear that I grew up in—they didn’t grasp this. But they could have. This good news comes out of
This good news is about the judgment—something you might know as the Investigative Judgment.
“Deism is knowledge of God based on the application of our reason on the designs/laws found throughout Nature. The designs presuppose a Designer. Deism is therefore a natural religion and is not a "revealed" religion.”
Will was a deist, but Will couldn’t shake the feeling that He was a sinner and that he needed a savior. He decided that he would read the Bible that he grew up with in the Baptist church and that he would not proceed any faster than he could rationally comprehend each passage with its context. As he read the Bible he found what he was looking for—a savior—and so he became a follower of Christ.
He proceeded slowly through the Bible because of his careful comparison of texts, but finally he came to the book of Daniel.
[advance slide]
He read “And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”” A careful study led to the conclusion that the earth was the sanctuary and that it must be cleansed by fire. And what other event than the 2nd coming of Christ would lead to the purification of the world by fire?
So, we face a God who says, “I will put you on trial. I am eager to witness against all the sorcerers and adulterers and liars. I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, who oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the foreigners living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” (, NLT)
The big question was when did this time period start and end? More study of the Bible, review of history, and lots of sincere prayer led Will to conclude that the end of this 2,300 year period was to be 1844 AD. It took a couple of years more of review before he was willing to share his conclusions with others, but soon he was preaching all over the country and his pamphlets were shared around the world.
[advance slide]
William Miller wasn’t the only one to come to this conclusion. In fact, around the 1830’s there were laymen and preachers all over the world who came to this same conclusion. A relatively large number of Christians began to be aware of the teaching about the second coming and many believed. History records this period of time as the 2nd great awakening. It also records what happened next as “the Great Disappointment” because despite their expectations, Jesus did not come.
Is there any good news when we face judgment?
Were William Miller and all those other people entirely wrong about their conclusions from ? If so, what does it really mean when it says the sanctuary would be cleansed?
The books of Daniel and Revelation are full of courtroom scenes. “The books were opened”, “the court was seated”, and several other similar statements pepper these prophetic books. What is this judgment that they describe? As we piece together the meaning of and other related passages we’ll answer these questions about the judgment, and find some very hopeful news for our lives today.

The Day of Atonement

“prophecy again”
[advance slide]
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
The running to and fro and knowledge increasing that this verse suggests has little to do with transportation or scientific knowledge. To understand this verse you need only look at the very beginning where it says, “seal up the book until…” Until when? Until the time of the end, when many will begin to understand the book. Back in Daniel’s time they wrote on vellum and parchment that were knit together into scrolls. They would lay these scrolls on long tables and open them up and the reader would run back and forth to compare scripture with scripture. predicts that in the end of time people would be searching to know what Daniel meant, and their knowledge would increase.
[advance slide]
portrays an angel coming down from heaven with a little book open in his hand. And as if to reveal its prophetic contents the angel set one foot in the water and one foot on the land—just like the beasts in came up out of the water and one beast from Revelation came up from the land. The angel raised his voice and swore by “Him who lives forever” that there should be “delay no longer”. John approached the angel and He gave John the little book and said, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” (), and then after John ate the book and found it to be sweet in his mouth and bitter in his stomach, the angel said, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” ().
What was this little book? It must be the book of Daniel, the only book prior to Revelation that was specifically sealed—the only book that had a time period connected to it related to the end (delay/time no longer).
But what would happen when he read the book? It would be sweet in his mouth. That’s certainly the experience of William Miller and all those who believed Jesus was coming again. But when they realized their error they experienced a bitter disappointment just like the bitterness when John ate the book. Were they to give up entirely? No, they were to go back and reconsider it, and then “prophecy again”.
The Day of Atonement
[next - miller]
The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
In the early history of our church there was a group of Christians who believed the world would be cleansed by fire at Jesus’ second coming in 1844. They got it wrong, of course, because they failed to understand what was really going on in where they read, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” They believed the sanctuary was the world and that the cleansing would be by fire at Jesus’ 2nd coming. They got that wrong, but they read the angel’s command to John in to “prophecy again...” So they went back and re-evaluated every aspect of and 8 and they discovered that there was a sanctuary in Heaven, from which the earthly sanctuary was copied, and that there was a special ceremony every year, called the day of Atonement, during which the earthly sanctuary was cleansed. They reasoned that if the earthly sanctuary was cleansed on the Day of Atonement, then the prophetic message of applied to a cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary; a work, which they concluded, began in 1844.
Moses describes the yearly feasts related to the sanctuary in
If you’ve been studying the Sabbath School lesson on the book of Daniel, you’ll know about the day for a year principle in biblical time prophecies, and the connection between the judgment scene in Daniel 7 and the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8, and the beginning of the 2,300 day/year timeline in 457 B.C. from Daniel 9. If you don’t fully understand that prophecy, come talk to me and we can walk through it together. This prophecy is one of the most compelling evidences of the divine origin of the Bible, and it’s worth understanding.
Instead of going through all those details I want to take you on a brief sketch of the yearly ceremonies of the earthly sanctuary and spend a little time explaining the Day of Atonement. We’ll end with a story about a priest named Joshua and his time before the judgment seat of God.
I think that you’ll discover the very heart of the gospel in this message about Judgment.
[next - feast of ]
In Israel, when they confessed their sins the sins were passed from the sinner to the lamb and then metaphorically taken into the sanctuary through the blood of the lamb. But the processes and purposes of salvation that were described in the daily activity of the sanctuary don’t tell the whole story. They don’t tell the story of what God does to eliminate sin from the universe. That story is told through the 7 feasts that outlines.
outlines 7 feasts that would fill every year of the Jewish calendar.
Passover 23:4
The first feast of the year was the passover. It reminded Israel of the lamb who’s blood protected them from destruction in the last plague in Egypt. This feast was connected to the altar of burnt offering in the courtyard of the sanctuary, but it also pointed forward to the promise of the Messiah. Paul tells us in that “Christ [is] our passover.”
— Remembrance of God’s deliverance from Egypt, promise of the messiah. Correlates to the altar of burnt offering. — “Christ our passover.”
Unleavened Bread 23:6
The next feast was the feast of unleavened bread. This feast was tied to the grain offering in the sanctuary and the unleavened bread on the table of shewbread, but it was also pointing forward to the bread that Jesus broke during the Lord’s Supper, and Jesus’ body that was broken for us on the Cross. Jesus said in , “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” Jesus is our perfect, unleavened bread.
Firstfruits 23:9
The third feast was the feast of firstfruits which was intended as a joyful praise for the harvest that God provides each year, but it was also a promise of the resurrection. It was celebrated the first day of the week following passover. Paul tells us in that “...now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Jesus is our firstfruits.
———-
Notice that so far everything that has happened has nicely echoed the work of Jesus on earth—the last supper, his death as our sacrificial lamb, his resurrection. These first three ceremonies and feasts were symbols of what Jesus would do when He came to earth.
———-
Pentecost 23:15
The next feast is named after it’s timing. It was a celebration that occured 7 weeks plus one day—or 50 days—after the firstfruit feast. This feast is closely tied to the candelabra inside the holy place of the sanctuary, but it was also a promise that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on God’s people. Every year God had people coming together for spiritual renewal and then, 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection, the Holy Spirit was poured out, making the gospel message spread to the farthest reaches of Judah in one single day.
describes the actual event; 120 followers of Jesus were in a large room praying and waiting for the promise that Jesus had made when the Holy Spirit descended on them like fire from heaven. The Holy Spirit came because Jesus had gone to heaven. He brought with Him the gifts necessary for the church to reach the world with the Gospel.
If you’d like to explore the events that led up to , read and 5 and you’ll find the story of Jesus entering the Holy Place in Heaven and accepting his authority as High Priest by taking the scroll and opening the seals. The angels sang out that He is worthy because he is the lamb that was killed and is alive again.
Trumpets 23:23
The feast of trumpets was a call to “solemn rest” for the 10 days prior to the Day of Atonement. This was a time for reverence and solemn soul searching and confession. The feast of trumpets is closely connected with the work of the altar of burnt offering that represents the prayers of God’s people ascending to God, and Jesus who ever lives to make intercession for us. It also pointed forward to the time when Christians would discover the prophecies of Daniel in the early 1800’s and begin to announce Christ’s work as our High Priest in Heaven. This began in earnest in the 1830’s.
Notice these passages about the trumpet of warning:
And notice the message that gives as it begins the first of three clarion calls to follow God around the time of the Day of Atonement:
“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
[next]
Revelation 14:6–7 NKJV
6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
Solemn soul searching and judgment don’t usually sound like a pleasant experience, especially if you know that your soul searching will lead you to recognize the sinful person you are, and how worthy of judgment you really are.
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
[next - feasts of Lev 23]
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
Day of Atonement 23:26
The Day of Atonement is the second-to-last feast of Israel’s year, and it was a very special time in the religious life of Israel. It was a day when any unknown sin of the congregation was placed in the sanctuary, and then all sins were symbolically removed from the sanctuary. This was the only time in the whole year when the High Priest was permitted to go into the Most Holy Place. This feast is connected with the final piece of furniture in the sanctuary, the Ark of the Covenant, that contains both the ten commandments—the standard by which all will be judged—and the mercy seat—the symbol of Christ’s righteousness and sacrifice that provides us the opportunity of grace. This feast also pointed forward to a work that Christ would do near the end of time to “cleanse” the heavenly sanctuary from all that pollutes it.
What is polluting the sanctuary?
The sin of all the people who have confessed their sin and allowed Jesus to be their sacrifice and savior.
The false and blasphemous teachings of Satan through the Little Horn introduced in .
In and then you’ll notice a connection between this work of the High Preist on the day of Atonement and judgment:
Hebrews 9:7–8 ESV
7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Hebrews 9:11–12 ESV
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
[next x 2]
,
“But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; 8 the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. …But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”
We could explore the fascinating connection between the day of atonement and the prophecy of and 8 in great detail, but for time’s sake we’re going to have to keep it short.
introduces a little horn that has both religious and political power. It tears down other kingdoms, but most importantly it speaks blasphemy against the most high God.
In something significant happens immediately following the little horn:
Daniel 7:9–10 NKJV
9 “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; 10 A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.
Daniel 7:9 ESV
9 “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.
Daniel 7:9-
The court is sitting in judgment on the little horn which has spoken these pompous words.
Daniel 7:21–22 ESV
21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.
Danil 7:
But it wasn’t just pompous words against God, the little horn did other things too.
[next]
Daniel 7:21–22 NKJV
21 “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.
This little horn blasphemed God, AND persecuted God’s people.
Judgment is made on the little horn power, and on the saints.
continues to describe the little horn and it helps us understand the blasphemous words:
v11 “…by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.”
v 12 “…an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground.”
v13 “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?”
v14 “And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.””
The clear meaning here is that the sanctuary is being polluted by the little horn—it’s being “trampled down”—and that, as a result, the Heavenly Sanctuary would need to be cleansed of the lies and blasphemies of this little horn power.
From Daniel we get a picture of what this cleansing work is doing.
It is a process of removing the stain of “sin” from the heavenly sanctuary, and
It is clarifying God’s true plan of salvation from the false teachings of the little horn that have “trampled” the sanctuary—the true message of salvation by God’s grace.
Revelation 14:7 ESV
7 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
The feast of trumpets was when William Miller and other Christians raised awareness that the judgment was coming from . The first trumpet blast was this message that “the hour of his judgment has come.”
saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
Some people are worried about this judgment—and they should be worried if they are seriously considering being on the side of Satan and the little horn. But look again at what says to those who choose Christ—judgment is made in favor of the saints.
The feast of trumpets brought the message to the people, the meaning of the message was that the judgment of the little horn had begun. I love how brings clarity to this judgment issue. Some people feel like they should be worried about this judgment—and I would agree with them if they are seriously considering being on the wrong side of it. But look at what says to those who choose Christ:
Daniel 7:21 ESV
21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them,
Daniel 7:21–22 NKJV
21 “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.
“I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High…”
This is not a judgment to be feared by God’s people, this is a judgment on the little horn who has been tearing apart the sanctuary and all the amazing truths about God’s plan to deal with the problem of sin. This judgment cleanses God’s people, it doesn’t condemn them.
[next - feasts of lev 23]
Tabernacles 23:33
There is one last feast in Israel’s yearly calendar, and it’s a feast of celebration and friendship that is appropriate for people who have won a victory. There is no symbol in the earthly sanctuary that connects with this feast because this feast is pointing to a time when there will be no more sin and therefore no more need of the sanctuary.
Jesus was looking forward to the real fulfillment of this feast when he made this promise in
[next]
John 14:1–3 ESV
1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions (dwellings); if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
The goal of the sanctuary is to bring us back into face-to-face fellowship with God. The feast of tabernacles was a promise that one day we will be with God, living in His own house.
Revelation points to this feast of booths experience when it talks about the millenium—a thousand years of dwelling with God in heaven—in .
“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
Revelation 20:4 ESV
4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
What the Israelites experienced during the feast of tabernacles was just a taste of what’s really going to happen when the day of atonement is over and Jesus comes to take us to our heavenly dwelling for a “feast” in His presence.
What the Israelites experienced during the feast of tabernacles was just a taste of what’s really going to happen when the day of atonement in heaven is over and Jesus comes to take us to our heavenly dwelling for a “feast” in His presence.
Now we have a better context for the sanctuary services, we need to understand the time period. Like the 490 years pointing to the Messiah, or the 1260 identifying the deadly wound of the Little Horn, this 2,300 year prophecy will pinpoint the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary which we have identified as the fulfillment of the day of atonement.
In Daniel says that he was “seeking the meaning” and an angel came to him and said, “understand…” And proceeded to describe the meaning of the Ram, the Goat and some more details about the little horn. But about the 2300 days the angel only said that it was “true” (). The last verse of the chapter records that…
[advance slide]
“I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the king’s business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it.” ()
What did he not understand? When Daniel heard about the 2,300 days he may have wondered if God had extended the power of their enemies over God’s people for 2,300 years. After he got over his sickness he began to search for an answer. According to the first few verses of he was studying the prophecies of Jeremiah and found that God had promised that Israel’s captivity in Babylon would only be 70 years. Daniel knew that the 70 years was almost up, but he also had this nagging feeling that the 2,300 years superseded this initial 70. So Daniel began to pray and confess the sins of his people and plead with God for deliverance.
“O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”
“…while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.”
What was Daniel needing skill and understanding about? The 2,300 days/years. That’s what he had been studying and that was the only part of the vision of that hadn’t been clearly interpreted by the angel.
[advance slide]
“consider the matter, and understand the vision: Seventy weeks are determined (חתך / chathak) for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
The word translated in as “determined” is the Hebrew word “chathak” which more literally means divided or cut.
The angel is giving Daniel his answer to his question about the 2,300 years.
The answer? 70 weeks or 490 years are divided or cut from the 2,300 as a probationary period for Israel, and in the last week of the 70 weeks the Messiah will come.
[advance slide]
We’ve already established that the 490 year prophecy begins in 457 BC, and I pointed out that this date can be verified by celestial events (lunar eclipse) that were described in historical documents outside of the Bible. Since the 490 years are taken from the 2,300 then this gives us the starting date for the 2,300 year prophecy as well.
Keep in mind that there is no 0 year in the calendar—it goes from 1BC to 1AD, so 2,300 years from 457 BC comes to 1844. This is exactly the date that William Millar came to in his research.
We also know that the day of atonement followed the feast of trumpets where the people had a solemn period of 10 days to prepare for the day of atonement. It’s fascinating that William Miller began to preach in the early 1830’s but the demands for his message were so great that he published a 64 page paper to support his views.
[advance slide]
“In 1834, unable to personally comply with many of the urgent requests for information and the invitations to travel and preach that he received, Miller published a synopsis of his teachings in a 64-page tract with the lengthy title:Evidence from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ, about the Year 1844: Exhibited in a Course of Lectures.” (Wikipedia)
From 1834 on many voices across the united states and in Europe took up Miller’s teachings and began to preach them in their own territories. From the “sounding” of these “trumpets”, so-to-speak, to the beginning of the day of atonement and the end of the 2,300 year prophecy was 10 years. The Bible doesn’t give us a clear indication that the 10 days between of the feast of trumpets and the day of atonement should be considered prophetic, but I don’t think that it’s a coincidence—rather it’s evidence piled on top of evidence to help us believe the truth of God’s word and it’s fulfillment in actual historical events.
The Good News
[next - good news about judgment]
When my case comes up before the heavenly courtroom there will be no doubt that I am a sinner and that I deserve separation from God. The evidence is clear in my case, and in yours. So how can the judgment be good news for me and you?
We don’t have time to explore the 2,300 days and how they are really years and how they connect to ’s story of a 490 year period of probation for Israel at the end of which the Messiah would give his life. The short version is that the 2,300 year time period begins in 457 AD and ends in 1844, just when William Miller and somewhere between 50 and 100,000 Christians around the world taught.
Let’s spend a minute thinking about the idea of an investigative judgment—this judgment that my church family feared when I was a child. The thought was that when Jesus went into the Most Holy Place in heaven in 1844, He began to review the cases of anyone who claimed to follow Christ. He started with the dead and at some point moved onto the living. There was a belief that at any time Jesus could bring your case up and make a decision for or against you and your fate would be sealed for either eternal reward or damnation.
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First of all, the judgment is good news because I am not the only one in the courtroom. Satan is my accuser because he’s on the defensive. He and all the people and powers he has used through the centuries to act on me and on you to deceive and coerce and damage us are all in that courtroom being accused as well. You and I may be guilty, but Satan and his agents are guilty too, and the judgment comes down against them. The judgment is God’s solution to the problem of evil in this world.
Some people call this the “anti-typical” day of atonement. The word antitypical simply points out that it's the real event that was pointed to by the type or symbol in the Bible.
The judgment is also the solution to the problem of sin in my heart.
For example: If the earthly sanctuary had a sacrificial lamb, then Jesus was the antitypical sacrificial lamb. If the earthly sanctuary had a laver to wash in, then the baptism of water and the holy spirit are the antitypical washing. If the earthly sanctuary had a day of atonement and cleansing of the sanctuary from sin then what began in 1844 is the antitypical day of atonement which our High Priest, Jesus, is doing for us in heaven.
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In the prophet is shown a vision of the High Priest, Joshua, who was serving God in Jerusalem at that time. It says that Joshua was standing before Jesus, described as The Angel of the Lord in this passage, and that the Accuser, Satan, was there too, making accusations against Joshua. And we know that Joshua was guilty because the prophet said,
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Zechariah 3:3 ESV
3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments.
Zech 3:3
Isaiah says that even our righteous works are filthy rags in the face of the righteousness of God. We are sinners, polluted through and through with sin.
It’s the next verse that reveals the good news.
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Zechariah 3:4–5 ESV
4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.
Zech 3:4
The symbol of removing the clothes and putting on God’s own garments is illustrating the removal of sin and then covering with garments of righteousness that are made in heaven by God’s own hands.
In a church that is full of pride because they think they are righteous and spiritually knowledgable is told that they are really naked (not even righteous rags) and spiritually poor and blind. In verse 18 they are given the solution:
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Revelation 3:18 ESV
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
tells us to come and buy from God “without money and without price” because God himself has paid the price for our salvation. These white robes are the robes of Christ’ righteousness.
God’s solution to the problem of my sin in the judgment is that Christ himself stands up on my behalf as the true accusations are called out against me, and in the most eloquent words He point to his own righteousness that He’s clothed me in and his own sacrifice on my behalf. As He does, the record of my life is covered with the blood of Christ and my sin is cleansed.
What do I need to do in order to receive this special treatment in the judgment? What must I do to be saved?
In The Bible tells us that when we confess our sins, Christ forgives us, and “cleanses us.”
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Conclusion
Revelation 20 ESV
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. 4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. 7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:12–15 ESV
12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Conclusion
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1 John 1:9 ESV
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Conclusion
Reading that passage makes this whole judgment thing seem ominous. What if I’m in that group of people not written in the book of life? What if I don’t make it?
That’s not something we need to be afraid of. Judgment is made in FAVOR of the saints. The result of the judgment is the feast of booths where we get to spend 1,000 years in heaven with God after which God will bring the New Jerusalem to this earth and make His home with us forever.
The question that remains is, how can I have my name in the lamb’s book of life?
Knowing these nuances about God’s work in Heaven is kind of fun, but it should also have a very real impact on how we live our lives as Christians.
First of all, knowing that there is a period of judgment and cleansing going on should make us consider our own heart experience with God. The Israelites were told to see the day of atonement as a special day. It uses phrases like “you shall afflict your own souls” and a day of “solemn rest”.
1 John 1:9 ESV
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
That’s the beginning of our salvation.
James describes the same scenario this way:
James 4:8 ESV
8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
“This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. 30 For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. 31 It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever.”
While this heavenly day of atonement can’t cause us to take every day from 1844 until now as a Sabbath day, there is an appropriate introspection and life correction that we should be doing. Is there anything that we haven’t taken to God in the sanctuary?
Surrender your heart to God. Let Him be your Lord and teacher. Follow His leading in your life.
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Paul said that he was “certain that God, who began the good work in you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (, NLT)
Jesus said it like this:
John 10:28 ESV
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Isaiah 49:16 NLT
16 See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
And what if we sin again after we have confessed and repented? The reality is that even after we have confessed our sins, we will sin again. This is the nature of our human existence—no matter how much effort we put into righteousness, we will still fall short of the Glory of God; our righteousness will still be filthy rags. So, what if we sin, again?
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1 John 2:1 ESV
1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
In the great courtroom of heaven, before the throne of God, when your case is called and you are accused of sin, Jesus Himself stands up as your advocate and your redeemer, and your righteousness.
Listen to this song that describes the beauty of this good news about judgment.
If you know the song, sing along with me.
Sing “Before the Throne of God Above”
Before the throne of God above I have a strong and perfect Plea A great High Priest whose name is Love Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands My name is written on His heart I know that while in Heaven He stands No tongue can bid me thence depart No tongue can bid me thence depart
When Satan tempts me to despair And tells me of the guilt within Upwards I look and see Him there Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died My sinful soul is counted free For God the Just is satisfied To look on Him and pardon me To look on Him and pardon me
Behold Him there, the risen Lamb My perfect spotless Righteousness The great unchangeable I Am The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself, I cannot die My soul is purchased by His blood My life is hid with Christ on high With Christ, my Savior and my God With Christ, my Savior and my God
One with Himself, I cannot die My soul is purchased by His blood My life is hid with Christ on high With Christ, my Savior and my God With Christ, my Savior and my God
The second personal application that we can make is regarding the feast of trumpets. This will take a moment of looking at in order to understand the implications. The first five verses of describe a people who have been doing just what James counsels us to do—and the result is that they have the character of God inscribed in their minds, and they follow Jesus wherever He leads. Then it turns to the focal point of the feast of trumpets, the trumpet calls, you might say.
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Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” 8 And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” 9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” 12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
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The greek word for “angel” means “messenger”. “Angel” is used many times in the Bible to refer to heavenly beings because the nature of their work is to be ministering spirits sent from God to this world trapped in sin. Not all angels, or messengers, in the Bible are angelic, though. In the symbolic context of we can see that these messengers are God’s means of carrying a specific message to the whole world, not necessarily a heavenly being.
The first message is calling us to go back to the creator God because the hour of judgment has come (that’s the day of atonement), the second warns of the dangers in staying involved with false worship, and the third warning of the utter destruction of the little horn power and it’s supporters.
This is a 1, 2, 3 knockout punch to our spiritual lives. The first is a call to us to focus our lives on God. Is that a decision that you’ve made recently? Being at these Bible studies is evidence that you have, but have you given him your heart? Have you given your sins to the only redeemer who can cleanse your heart?
The second angel’s message is a call to separate ourselves from false worship. Whether that’s a false gospel or other things in your life that you know are dabbling in the devil’s playground, will you choose today to worship God and God alone? Will you say to Jesus, I give you everything?
The third angel’s message is really an invitation for us to help call everyone in our lives away from the false worship that is signified is Revelation as Babylon. When we know these messages to be true then it is our duty and privilege to share them with the world and if enough of us are sharing it, then the Bible prophecy can be fulfilled and it will be a message that is seen around the world, lifted up so high that it’s as though it’s flying over the earth and shouting with a loud voice so everyone can hear it.
Decision: 1) I want to draw near to God during this special time before the second coming, and 2) join with others who are giving the message of hope and warning to the world.
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