“Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.” Leviticus 23:27-29
On October 22, 1844, Christ’s ministry in the heavenly temple moved from the holy place to the most holy place. “The coming of Christ as our high priest to the most holy place, for the cleansing of the sanctuary, brought to view in Daniel 8:14; the coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days, as presented in Daniel 7:13; and the coming of the Lord to His temple, foretold by Malachi, are descriptions of the same event; and this is also represented by the coming of the bridegroom to the marriage, described by Christ in the parable of the ten virgins, of Matthew 25.”1The Great Controversy, p. 426 All those who have a knowledge of the truth through humbly searching the scriptures also have the Holy Spirit and the grace of God. Those and only those who are searching for clearer light in the word of God are able to see the truth concerning the heavenly sanctuary and the change in the Saviour’s ministration. Consequently, it is by faith that they follow Him in His work in the sanctuary which the Lord pitched and not man. “The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise, it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time, or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill.”2The Great Controversy, 1888, pp. 488-489
“We are now living in the great day of atonement. In the typical service, while the high priest was making the atonement for Israel, all were required to afflict their souls by repentance of sin and humiliation before the Lord, lest they be cut off from among the people. In like manner, all who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. The work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another. Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Everyone must be tested and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
“Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. For many years this work has been in progress. Soon–none know how soon–it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behooves every soul to heed the Saviour’s admonition: “Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” Mark 13:33. ‘If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.’ Revelation 3:3.”3The Great Controversy, pp. 489, 490
“The true fasting which should be recommended to all, is abstinence from every stimulating kind of food, and the proper use of wholesome, simple food, which God has provided in abundance. Men need to think less about what they shall eat and drink of temporal food, and much more in regard to the food from heaven, that will give tone and vitality to the whole religious experience.”4Medical Ministry, 283 For the prophet Isaiah has challenged our interpretation of the true fast we should be involved with in the judgment hour. “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” Isaiah 58:5-7.
“Now and onward till the close of time the people of God should be more earnest, more wide-awake, not trusting in their own wisdom, but in the wisdom of their Leader. They should set aside days for fasting and prayer. Entire abstinence from food may not be required, but they should eat sparingly of the most simple food.”5Review and Herald, February 11, 1904 Close to the end of the prophetic seventy years of captivity in Babylon, Daniel had been grieved at heart as he despairingly anticipated return to Jerusalem. Having studied “by books the number of years” the Lord determined upon the Jewish nation spoken to Jeremiah by the Lord God, Daniel solemnly set his face to God in prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. He was in the midst of confessing his sins, as well as those of Jerusalem when his actions were met with a swift response from the angel Gabriel, who in turn compounded Daniel’s grief with an additional prophecy that was even longer. More confused than ever, Daniel went into mourning for three full weeks. During that three weeks he also fasted in order to have clarity of mind to discern the truths that were just revealed to him. Notice the type of fast he entered into: “In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” Daniel 10:2-3. As a result of his diligence, Christ Himself graced Daniel with His own presence and gave him divine understanding.
Oh what a wonderful example for us! In the Day of Atonement, when we are duty bound to afflict our souls, entering into a fast unto the Lord that will bring us into the very presence of God and also give us a keener sense of our own sinful condition. Like Daniel, who was at the end of his prophetic period, we should humbly be led of the Spirit into deep repentance just before the close of human probation. “All the fasting in the world will not take the place of simple trust in the word of God. “Ask,” He says, “and ye shall receive.” … You are not called upon to fast forty days. The Lord bore that fast for you in the wilderness of temptation. There would be no virtue in such a fast; but there is virtue in the blood of Christ.”6Letter 206, 1908 “The spirit of true fasting and prayer is the spirit which yields mind, heart, and will to God.”7MS 28, 1900
The prophet Daniel is a prototype of what the final generation should be, albeit Christ is the Perfect Pattern. I submit to you that in the anti-typical Day of Atonement, our work on earth should both correspond to Christ’s work in the Most Holy Place in heaven and also mirror His earthly service. “The true fast is no mere formal service. The Scripture describes the fast that God has chosen,–“to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke;” to “draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul.” Isaiah 58:6, 10. Here is set forth the very spirit and character of the work of Christ. His whole life was a sacrifice of Himself for the saving of the world. Whether fasting in the wilderness of temptation or eating with the publicans at Matthew’s feast, He was giving His life for the redemption of the lost. Not in idle mourning, in mere bodily humiliation and multitudinous sacrifices, is the true spirit of devotion manifested, but it is shown in the surrender of self in willing service to God and man.”8The Desire of Ages, p. 278
As you are reading this, I pray that you are hearing the beckoning of the the Holy Spirit to arouse you from your slumber. Right now, Christ is blotting out the sins of His faithfully, watchful saints. Are you doing His will on earth as it is in heaven? “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:34. “He who is truly converted stands as a representative of Christ. Let our brethren and sisters remember that we are living on the verge of the eternal world. The cases of all are being tried in the heavenly courts, and it is high time to put away sin, and to work earnestly to save as many as possible.”9The Review and Herald, January 3, 1907
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||The Great Controversy, p. 426|
|2.||↑||The Great Controversy, 1888, pp. 488-489|
|3.||↑||The Great Controversy, pp. 489, 490|
|4.||↑||Medical Ministry, 283|
|5.||↑||Review and Herald, February 11, 1904|
|6.||↑||Letter 206, 1908|
|7.||↑||MS 28, 1900|
|8.||↑||The Desire of Ages, p. 278|
|9.||↑||The Review and Herald, January 3, 1907|