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First Quarter 2018 December 30–March 30)
COMMENTARY—STEWARDSHIP: MOTIVES OF THE HEART
Week 10: March 3–9
COMMENTARY ON "THE ROLE OF STEWARDSHIP"
Following is a combined commentary on the material included in the Bible Study Guide with references as necessary to the supplemental passages included in the E. G. White Notes for the Sabbath School Lessons.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all biblical quotes are from the English Standard Version (ESV).
This week’s lesson attempts to show that stewardship is inking with the “sanctuary doctrine” and the three angels’ messages. This fundamental position is untrue; the sanctuary doctrine of Adventism is unbiblical, and all the other unbiblical doctrines flow from it.
Perhaps the clearest place to begin addressing this problem of the “sanctuary doctrine foundation” is in the book of Hebrews. Adventism has used Hebrews to attempt to support this doctrine, yet in fact, Hebrews utterly decimates the Adventist sanctuary doctrine.
Hebrews 7 presents the core of the confusion. Hebrews 7:11–12 says this:
Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be disunited according to the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.
Adventism describes and pictures, in its artwork, Jesus dressed as a high priest in the heavenly sanctuary. He is moving around in front of the mercy seat and the cherubim, and he is wearing high priestly robes just like Aaron: he has a breastplate with twelve stones, a Urim and Thumim, a blue, purple, and scarlet ephod, a blue cloak a sash, a turban, and he’s working in front of a physical ark interceding for the prayers of believers.
Yet Hebrews 7 is absolutely clear: Jesus is NOT a priest according to the order of Levi but of Melchizedek. Melchizedek was not a levitical priest; he pre-existed Levi and was a contemporary of Abraham. He appears in Genesis 14 where, after Abraham won the slaughter of the kings when he defended his nephew Lot, Melchizedek, both a priest and the king of Salem, met Abraham and blessed him. He gave Abraham bread and wine, and Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe of the spoils.
Hebrews 7, however, explains that the greater blesses the lesser…and Abraham, the one who received the promises, was nevertheless blessed by the greater—Melchizedek. Moreover, Levi, still in the loins of Abraham, paid tithe to Melchizedek through Abraham. In other words, Melchizedek was greater than Abraham and great than Levi.
Jesus, the author tells us, is greater than the levitical priesthood. He is both a king and a priest, and he is a priest of a different order. In fact, where there is a change of the priesthood, as their is when Jesus became our High Priest, there is a change of the law.
The Mosaic law, including the Ten Commandments, was built around the levitical priesthood. Every single detail and shadow of the Law depended upon and derived from the shadow of the levitical priesthood. In fact, Hebrews 10:1 states that the law is only a shadow of the good things to come. Thus the Law is a shadow law with shadow priests and shadow sacrifices. The reality is in Christ alone, and the law must change. We are now under the law of Christ.
Jesus, in the order of Melchizedek, is NOT dressed in levitical garments. Jesus is NOT an old testament high priest. Melchizedek did not wear levitical garments; in fact, he was a priest before God had commanded how the Levites would dress.
Adventism, however, pictures Jesus wearing the garb of a levitical high priest. He is NOT. He is a finished High Priest who sits at His Father’s right hand. God the Son has absolutely NO need for a Urim or a Thumim. He is GOD, and He knows God’s will. he is not working in front of a mercy seat between golden cherubim. He is DONE. He IS the mercy seat.
By portraying Jesus as a Levitical high priest, it perpetuates the deep assumption that the “sanctuary service” is correct. After all, Levitical Priest Jesus is doing the “antitypical Day of Atonement” rituals in a heavenly sanctuary.
But this assumption is false. Jesus is a King and Priest, and His work is DONE. He is not in the order of Aaron, and He is not dressed like Aaron. He is God the Son at the Father’s right hand!
To link stewardship to the sanctuary service and to say, as the lesson does, that Adventism is “sola scripture” and its doctrines are all from Scripture alone is utterly wrong. In fact, it is clearly a lie.
Jesus’ work is not that of an “antitypical levitical priest”. It is the work of a UNIQUE priest, and He is not like the shadows.
When people trust Jesus alone, they live in submission to Him. Everything they have is from Him, and they know they own nothing. What they have belongs to Him.
Deciding to give one’s good to “the church” is not a biblical mandate. Rather, the Bible asks us to trust Him and to live in submission and obedience to Him. We present ourselves and what He has given us to Him for His service.
There is no “sanctuary service”. Those shadows were fulfilled in Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection. He is finished and seated, and we live under a new law: the law of Christ!