Where’s the Zeal?
Preface: As a report of the early church’s missionary endeavors, the book of Acts is filled with lessons for us today.
From the beginning, the Day of Atonement was a holy and sacred time of repentance. In those earliest days, people fasted and prayed as they searched their hearts, knowing they had only until sundown to be forgiven and cleansed as the high priest did his work in the sanctuary (Lev. 16:29–31).
The same was true for the people living during the eschatological Day of Atonement, which began in 1844 when Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary as our High Priest.
“The Millerites saw themselves as the virgins in the tarrying time. . . . They clung to the promises, studied the prophecies, distributed their publications, continued their prayer services, tabernacle rallies, . . . camp meetings—and prayer.”*
The early Adventists came to understand that the Cross was only the beginning of our salvation. Through this most loving act, Jesus became our atoning sacrifice. His blood covers our sins, but a record of those sins remains in the heavenly sanctuary. This is why Christ is in the Most Holy Place right now, sprinkling His own blood on the mercy seat on our behalf (Heb. 9:24).
And not only that, as in the days of old when the high priest bore the sins of the people until placing them on the scapegoat (Satan), so Jesus—our High Priest—bears our sins while cleansing the heavenly sanctuary. Then, when probation closes and all the sins ever confessed are erased from the sanctuary, Christ will finish His work and free Himself from the burden of our sins by transferring them to Satan—the father of all lies and the origin of sin (John 8:44).
The pioneers of the Christian church in Acts and the early Adventist Church had a zealous love for Jesus and a great burden to finish the work of spreading the gospel. They were driven by the blessed assurance of salvation and the knowledge that soon they would see Christ’s face.
How much closer are we to that glorious day? How much more zealous should we be for the cause? But, are we?
*Mervyn Maxwell, Tell It to the World (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Publishing Association®, 1976), p. 27.