It struck me like never before. It was the first two talks at Light Bearers Convocation this past July. The first by Ty, was titled, “One Subject Will Prevail,” adapted from this quote from 1890: “One interest will prevail, one subject will swallow up every other—Christ our righteousness” (Review and Herald, December 23, 1890). What a glorious and positive prediction! But Ty’s presentation focused on another part of the article that was anything but positive. He even apologized for it because the article started with the words, “The Lord has seen our backslidings, and He has a controversy with His people.” Ouch! With that, Ty painfully laid out our history.
Does Light Bearers’ mission include shining a light on the failures of the past? That brings us to the second talk, by David, titled, “The Righteousness of God.” I will summarize it in three sentences: God made a covenant with the human race. He was faithful to that covenant (thus His righteousness), and humans were unfaithful, especially the descendants of Abraham. When Daniel came on the scene and encountered a vision (Daniel 8) that seemed inconsistent with God’s righteousness, he was led to pray an amazing prayer (Daniel 9). And this is what struck me. Daniel confessed the unfaithfulness of his own people, the Jews of his day, just like Ty had confessed the unfaithfulness of his people, the Seventh-day Adventists. Wow! What connections!
God has told us repeatedly that we have caused a delay in the task committed to us.
But is that really a part of Light Bearers’ mission, even of your mission, and mine? I have realized for some time that Daniel was born and raised during king Josiah’s revival and reformation. Psalm 1:2 describes what Daniel was like—”His delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” I believe Daniel exactly knew the law in Leviticus 26. When God’s people were unfaithful, He said, “I will scatter you among the heathen” (verse 33). Daniel was in a group scattered to Babylon. He knew what verse 38 said, “Ye shall perish among the heathen.” And many of them had. But he also knew what the prophet he had grown up under had prophesied. “After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place” (Jeremiah 29:10; see also 2 Chronicles 36:21).
But the vision Daniel had received spoke of 2300 years. How did that fit with 70? And so Daniel must have remembered what Leviticus 26:40-42 said:
“If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: then will I remember my covenant…”
Light Bearers has been led by God to focus much on Daniel and Revelation. Through the years we have learned how to show Christ as the center of those books. In Jesus’ own words, they “testify of Me” (John 5:39). But Adventism’s Advent mission has been impacted by the unfaithfulness of modern, spiritual Israel. God has told us repeatedly that we have caused a delay in the task committed to us. And the conviction is increasing that Light Bearers’ mission includes helping to encourage many Daniels today to do exactly what Daniel did—confess their unfaithfulness and God’s faithfulness as we face a delay in “the speedy fulfillment” of the prophecies for our time (Daniel 9:19; Prophets and Kings, p. 554.)
And so Light Bearers reprinted the 22-paragraph article Ty quoted from, “Be Zealous and Repent” in a small booklet titled, “God’s Grieving Heart.” That’s from the second sentence, which says the results of our unfaithfulness “grieve His heart of love.” Does this remind you of another message from Jesus? The one in the last part of Revelation 3? The article goes on to say, “The road to paradise is not one of self-exaltation, but of repentance, confession, humiliation, of faith and obedience. The message to the Laodicean Church is appropriate to the church at this time….”
So our Mission Update for this month contains this reminder that part of our mission is to call God’s people to repentance, by exalting God’s goodness. Only then can we know fully how to call end-time Babylon to repentance, because they will witness it in us. You can expect more from Light Bearers and the Adventist Pioneer Library, shining a light on God’s faithfulness, and our unfaithfulness on this “road to paradise.” For now, read “God’s Grieving Heart.”