Sabbath, July 28, 2012
“Even He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” Zechariah 6:13.
The gospel promise
1. If, as Satan claimed, it is impossible for one who breaks God’s law to be pardoned, how could Adam be saved?
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Genesis 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Job 33:24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
“In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 761.
“The instant man accepted the temptations of Satan, and did the very things God had said he should not do, Christ, the Son of God, stood between the living and the dead, saying, ‘Let the punishment fall on Me. I will stand in man’s place. He shall have another chance.’ (Letter 22, February 13, 1900) …
“God forbears, for a time, the full execution of the sentence of death pronounced upon man. Satan flattered himself that he had forever broken the link between heaven and earth. But in this he was greatly mistaken and disappointed. The Father had given the world into the hands of His Son for Him to redeem from the curse and the disgrace of Adam’s failure and fall.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1085.
2. Although everyone is responsible for his actions, what principle has the Lord applied for our redemption? Why was it not possible for an angel to die in Adam’s place and thus pay the penalty for his sin?
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Isaiah 53:4-6 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
“The angels prostrated themselves at the feet of their Commander and offered to become a sacrifice for man. But an angel’s life could not pay the debt; only He who created man had power to redeem him.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 64, 65.
“Angels were so interested for man’s salvation that there could be found among them those who would yield their glory and give their life for perishing man. ‘But,’ said my accompanying angel, ‘that would avail nothing.’ The transgression was so great that an angel’s life would not pay the debt. Nothing but the death and intercession of God’s Son would pay the debt and save lost man from hopeless sorrow and misery.” –Early Writings, p. 127.
“The broken law of God demanded the life of the sinner. In all the universe there was but one who could, in behalf of man, satisfy its claims. Since the divine law is as sacred as God Himself, only one equal with God could make atonement for its transgression.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 63.
The counsel of peace
3. What meeting was held in heaven after Adam transgressed?
Zechariah 6:13, last part … And he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
“Before the Father He pleaded in the sinner’s behalf, while the host of heaven awaited the result with an intensity of interest that words cannot express. Long continued was that mysterious communing–‘the counsel of peace’ (Zechariah 6:13) for the fallen sons of men. The plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the earth; for Christ is ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world’ (Revelation 13:8); yet it was a struggle, even with the King of the universe, to yield up His Son to die for the guilty race…. Oh, the mystery of redemption! the love of God for a world that did not love Him! Who can know the depths of that love which ‘passeth knowledge’? Through endless ages immortal minds, seeking to comprehend the mystery of that incomprehensible love, will wonder and adore.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 63, 64.
4. How does man’s pain compare with that endured by God because of sin? Read Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 and meditate on them.
“Said the angel, ‘Think ye that the Father yielded up His dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, no. It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give His beloved Son to die for him.’ ” –Early Writings, p. 151.
“But it was not the spear thrust, it was not the pain of the cross, that caused the death of Jesus. That cry, uttered ‘with a loud voice’ (Matthew 27:50; Luke 23:46), at the moment of death, the stream of blood and water that flowed from His side, declared that He died of a broken heart. His heart was broken by mental anguish. He was slain by the sin of the world.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 772.
God’s grace revealed
5. Sin cannot be cleansed without the shedding of the blood of Christ. What did Adam realize after his fall?
Leviticus 17:11, last part … The blood maketh an atonement for the soul.
Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
“Heavenly angels more fully opened to our first parents the plan that had been devised for their salvation. Adam and his companion were assured that notwithstanding their great sin, they were not to be abandoned to the control of Satan. The Son of God had offered to atone, with His own life, for their transgression. A period of probation would be granted them, and through repentance and faith in Christ they might again become the children of God.
“The sacrifice demanded by their transgression revealed to Adam and Eve the sacred character of the law of God; and they saw, as they had never seen before, the guilt of sin and its dire results. In their remorse and anguish they pleaded that the penalty might not fall upon Him whose love had been the source of all their joy; rather let it descend upon them and their posterity.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 66.
“In the plan of redemption there must be the shedding of blood, for death must come in consequence of man’s sin. The beasts for sacrificial offerings were to prefigure Christ…. And the flowing of the blood from the victim would also signify an atonement. There was no virtue in the blood of animals; but the shedding of the blood of beasts was to point forward to a Redeemer who would one day come to the world and die for the sins of men….
“Adam’s repentance, evidenced by his sorrow for his transgression and his hope of salvation through Christ, shown by his works in the sacrifices offered, were a disappointment to Satan.” –(Review and Herald, March 3, 1874) Confrontation, p. 22.
6. Why did Adam not die on the day he ate the forbidden fruit, as God had said would happen?
Genesis 2:16, 17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Genesis 3:17-19 … Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
“Adam listened to the words of the tempter, and yielding to his insinuations, fell into sin. Why was not the death penalty at once enforced in his case? Because a ransom was found. God’s only begotten Son volunteered to take the sin of man upon Himself, and to make an atonement for the fallen race. There could have been no pardon for sin had this atonement not been made. Had God pardoned Adam’s sin without an atonement, sin would have been immortalized, and would have been perpetuated with a boldness that would have been without restraint….
“As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. Christ knew that He would have to suffer, yet He became man’s substitute. As soon as Adam sinned, the Son of God presented Himself as surety for the human race, with just as much power to avert the doom pronounced upon the guilty as when He died upon the cross of Calvary.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, pp. 1082, 1084.
Righteousness by faith
7. What did the Lord do to cover Adam and his wife? Witnessing the death of an innocent creature, what was impressed on Adam?
Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
“The sacrificial offerings were ordained by God to be to man a perpetual reminder and a penitential acknowledgment of his sin and a confession of his faith in the promised Redeemer. They were intended to impress upon the fallen race the solemn truth that it was sin that caused death. To Adam, the offering of the first sacrifice was a most painful ceremony. His hand must be raised to take life, which only God could give. It was the first time he had ever witnessed death, and he knew that had he been obedient to God, there would have been no death of man or beast. As he slew the innocent victim, he trembled at the thought that his sin must shed the blood of the spotless Lamb of God. This scene gave him a deeper and more vivid sense of the greatness of his transgression, which nothing but the death of God’s dear Son could expiate.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 68.
8. How can we harmonize the fact that a lamb was slain after Adam sinned, while today under the gospel we are saved freely by faith?
John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
“Should faith and works purchase the gift of salvation for anyone, then the Creator is under obligation to the creature. Here is an opportunity for falsehood to be accepted as truth. If any man can merit salvation by anything he may do, then he is in the same position as the Catholic to do penance for his sins. Salvation, then, is partly of debt, that may be earned as wages. If man cannot, by any of his good works, merit salvation, then it must be wholly of grace, received by man as a sinner because he receives and believes in Jesus. It is wholly a free gift. Justification by faith is placed beyond controversy. And all this controversy is ended, as soon as the matter is settled that the merits of fallen man in his good works can never procure eternal life for him.” –Faith and Works, p. 20.
For review and meditation
• After Adam’s transgression, what meeting was held in heaven?
• Compare the pain of man with that of God because of sin.
• Why did Adam not die on the day he transgressed?