Jesus Our High Priest
October 24, 2020
The noon sun was bright but the air crisp on that autumn day in Port Gibson, New York. Hiram Edson paused a moment from his slow pacing and looked out his window toward the east. No cloud yet, he thought. Joy filled the air as people contemplated the glorious thought: Jesus is coming today! Hiram Edson, along with his family, were waiting for Jesus to return on that very day, October 22, 1844. They, along with thousands of other believers, had listened to William Miller preach about Jesus’ second advent. They had studied the 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8:14. They had prayed earnestly for guidance. Everything perfectly pointed to this day when they expected the fulfillment of their cherished hopes—Jesus’ second coming!
As the afternoon hours passed slowly, people continued their prayer vigils.
Then the shadows of an early-autumn sunset began to stretch across the farmyard.
Were they going to have to eat dinner, too? Food was shared as people pondered the delay. The clock continued to tick: 9:00 p.m. Children began to yawn, yet they wanted to be awake when Jesus came. Ten o’clock brought a few heavy sighs. The dark night sky shone with millions of stars. Then the clock struck 12:00 midnight.
Looks of questions passed between faces. Tears began to well in eyes. Sobs of crying were heard. Edson later wrote, “Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before. It seemed that the loss of all earthly friends could have been no comparison. We wept and wept, till the day dawn” (in A. L. White, Ellen G. White, vol. 1, p. 53). It was a trial of their faith, as they did not see the fulfillment of their fondest hope realized. What went wrong? The next morning Hiram Edson, along with some friends, gathered in his barn to pray. They knelt to ask God to give them guidance and understanding about what had happened. Then Edson and a friend set out to visit and encourage other local believers. As they walked across a cornfield, Edson was given insight. He said, “I saw distinctly, and clearly, that instead of our High Priest coming out of the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth . . . at the end of the 2,300 days, . . . He for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of that sanctuary and . . . had a work to perform in the Most Holy before coming to this earth. . . . While I was thus standing in the midst of the field, my comrade passed on almost beyond speaking distance before missing me. He inquired why I was stopping so long. I replied, ‘The Lord was answering our morning prayer, by giving light with regard to our disappointment’ ” (James Nix, “The Life and Work of Hiram Edson,” pp. 18-20).
So that was what had happened on October 22, 1844! In the Old Testament times the high priest entered the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement. That was the day the sanctuary and the people were cleansed of sin.
Jesus, our high priest, had entered the real sanctuary in heaven to begin this work on October 22, 1844. The investigative judgment had begun. Since that time every name written in the book of life is being reviewed. Confessed sins are being blotted out. Jesus is doing His closing work in heaven, finishing the atonement and preparing His people for His coming.
Hiram Edson and William Miller and others continued their prophetic studies. Ellen White was a teenager in 1844, one of those waiting for Jesus. In December 1844 God called her to be His special messenger. Under inspiration from God, Ellen wrote numerous books that deal with topics that are essential for the life of faith as well as for good overall health. Translated into numerous foreign languages, her books are sought after by readers around the world as they bring light to the grand principles of God’s Word.
Since 1844 the good news of Jesus’ soon return continue to be preached worldwide. Jesus is in the last phase of His work in heaven, and He really is coming soon!
Memory Text: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15, 16, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 24, Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary: “In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, [Jesus] entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry, which was typified by the work of the high priest in the most holy place of the earthly sanctuary.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 116-119
Read 2 Peter 3:9.
Lauren’s church is planning a Bible prophecy seminar in two weeks. Her Sabbath School teacher has encouraged students to invite their friends. Lauren wants to reach out to someone but feels uncertain. Have you ever felt like that? What would you do? One day at the public school she attends Lauren gets up the courage to talk during lunchtime to her friend Jasmine and invite her to the seminar. Jasmine bursts into laughter and exclaims, “No. I’m definitely not interested!” and then quickly changes the conversation to last night’s episode of the TV show she watched. Lauren feels her face blush and is embarrassed. What would you have done? How do you share Jesus when you are being ridiculed?
Lauren has decided to avoid embarrassment and not invite anyone else to the seminar. Just then she finds her friend Katie in the library studying. Katie mentions how sad and confused she feels about the disasters and violence around the world. Lauren feels prompted to invite her to the Bible prophecy seminar, as it could help her understand what’s going on in the world in light of the great controversy between good and evil. Katie says that she is interested and accepts the invitation. Imagine Lauren’s joy! She is thrilled that she had the courage to invite someone else to the seminar. Has something like this ever happened to you? Think about how those who lived through the Great Disappointment must have felt. They did not give up telling others about Jesus’ coming. The advent message did not die after their disappointment. It spread worldwide.
What is God’s message to you in Matthew 10:32, 33?
Read Leviticus 16:30; Hebrews 2:17; 8:1-5; 9:23, 24; 1 John: 1, 2.
In 1844 Jesus entered the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary. He is now pleading before the Father for the forgiveness of all who believe in Him and accept His sacrifice for their salvation.
We know from Bible prophecy that the investigative judgment began in 1844. To understand symbolic prophecy, you must remember that a prophetic day symbolizes (or equals) a year (see Ezekiel 4:6). A prophetic week would then add up to seven years (seven prophetic days in a week).
Read Daniel 8:14. What does it mean that the sanctuary would be cleansed after 2300 days (or years)?
Based on Daniel 9:25, Jerusalem would be rebuilt and restored in accordance with the decree that began the period of 70 weeks of years. This decree was issued in 457 B.C. (see Ezra 7), which is the starting date of the 2300-day prophecy.
The mathematical calculations of this prophetic period are based on the Jewish calendar having months of about 30 days throughout the year. As a result, the length of a year when interpreting prophecy is 360 days, about five days shorter than the calendar year that we are familiar with.
According to Daniel 9:24, 25, there are 69 weeks until Jesus’ work as Messiah began. The prophetic interpretation of the 69 weeks of years (where the seven days of each week represent seven years) adds up to 483 years: 69 x 7 = 483. This period began in 457 B.C., when the decree for the restoration of Jerusalem was issued, and ended in A.D. 27, when Jesus was baptized by John and began His public ministry. The prophecy also says that the Messiah (Jesus) would be “cut off” (crucified) in the midst of the seventieth week—A.D. 31, when Jesus died.
■■B.C. 457—2300 days and 70 weeks begin.
■■A.D. 34—the end of the 70 weeks, when the gospel would be proclaimed/given to the world, not just to the Jews.
■■A.D. 1844—the end of the 2300 prophetic days or historic years. This date marked the beginning of the investigative judgment that Christ has begun as our high priest in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary.
Read the following Bible passages and fill in the blanks. All texts are taken from the New King James Verision.
“For on that dayshall make atonement for you, to you, that you may be from your before the Lord” (Leviticus 16:30).
“Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things should be with these, but the heavenly things themselves with than these” (Hebrews 9:23).
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that. And if anyone sins, we have an with the Father, Jesus Christ the. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also” (1 John 2:1, 2).
“For if when we were enemies we were to God through the of His, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received” (Romans 5:10, 11).
“But anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those Lamb’s of Life” (Revelation 21:27).
Read 2 Peter 3:11, 12 and Revelation 3:5.
“We were disappointed, but not disheartened. We resolved to submit patiently to the process of purifying that God deemed needful for us, and to wait with patient hope for the Savior to redeem His tried and faithful ones” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 56).
How do you think the feelings of people after the Great Disappointment compare with those of the disciples after Jesus’ death? Read Luke 24:13-26. How did Jesus encourage the two travelers on the road to Emmaus? How has Jesus helped you overcome disappointments?
Ellen White was a 16-year-old teenager on October 22, 1844. She wrote about the bitter disappointment of that day, but also how that year was the happiest of her life. She describes people praying with one another and really caring for each other, being so focused on Jesus that it was the main concern of their lives: “Every morning we felt that it was our first work to secure the evidence that our lives were right before God. Our interest for one another increased; we prayed much with and for one another. . . . The joys of salvation were more necessary to us than our food and drink” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 55).
It sounds like the early Christian church in Acts 2:42-47. How can we be more like these examples of Christian love? What could you do to make a difference for others?
How much time in your day do you spend with Jesus? How often do you think about Jesus’ coming? If you knew it were next week, how much more attention would you give Him?
Read Mark 13:32-37.
Write down your thoughts to the following questions:
Read Ephesians 4:1, 2, 29, 31, 32. How should we live our lives, knowing that Jesus is coming very soon?
Read 2 Peter 3:3, 4, 8, 9. According to these passages we can expect that people will ridicule the message of Jesus’ return before His coming. What encouragement do you find listed in Peter’s message? What promise is listed in one of these verses that affirms your hope in Jesus’ soon return?
Read 2 Peter 3:11, 12, 14. What can we do as we wait for Jesus’ second coming?
Read Matthew 28:19, 20. Before Jesus returned to heaven after His death, He gave us a “Great Commission.” What did Jesus ask us to do? What promise did He give us? Read Matthew 24:14.