Questions Answered

The following are two timely questions that brother Houteff addressed, may you be blessed and enlightened.

QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Artaxerxes’ Decree

The question as to which decree of the Medo-Persian kings is to be accredited for the commencement of the 2300 days of Dan. 8:14 is herein answered :

The Great Controversy, page 328, gives 457 B.C. as the date of Artaxerxes’ issuing the decree. From this, also page 326 with Ezra 9:9, is by some understood to be the decree which was to build the temple at Jerusalem. But a more careful reading of the above mentioned pages and the Bible will reveal the fact that the first three decrees which completed the building of the temple (Ezra 6:14, 15), prepared the way for the proclamation to rebuild the city and the walls is the event which must establish the date of the beginning of the 2300 prophetic years of Dan. 8:14, for the fact that the angel said to Daniel. “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem….The streets shall be built again and the wall, even in troublous times” (Dan. 9:25), and not from the commandment to build the temple.

Moreover, Artaxerxes’ decree, participating in the building of the temple (Ezra 6:14), is not the same, for the temple building was finished in the reign of Darius (Ezra 7:15), and Ezra states that “after these things” (Ezra 7:1); that is, after the finishing of the temple, the king proclaimed: “I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily. (Ezra 7:21.)

Therefore, the decree in 457 B.C., in the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes the king, which was not issued for the building of the temple, but rather for the city and the wall, also to beautify the house of God which had been finished some years before the above decree, and before the expeditions of Ezra and Nehemiah, who executed the king’s commandment, is the date of the beginning of the 2300 days of Dan. 8:14. See diagram in tract #4, page 20; also “The Symbolic Code” of August, 1934 issue, page 5.

Christ In The Sanctuary Above And Also In The Church Upon Earth

In reference to the question as to how can the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary and the chariot of Ezekiel’s vision, according to our tract #1, be harmonized; that is, how can Christ be in the heavenly sanctuary and at the same time be upon the earth also is answered as follows:

It is understood that Christ’s work will continue in the heavenly sanctuary up to the close of probation. But Inspiration also declares that He will be in the midst of His people — in the church on earth — during the time of the Loud Cry of the Third Angel’s Message, for, saith the Lord, “I will dwell in the midst of thee,” and many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day.” (Zech. 2:11) “Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.” (Isa. 12:6.)

The Spirit of Prophecy describes in the following quotation the time of His coming to dwell in the midst of His people:

“They will question and criticize the work and position of others, criticize every branch of the work in which they have not themselves a part. They will feed upon the errors and mistakes and faults of others, ‘until,’ said the angel, ‘the Lord Jesus shall rise up from His mediatorial work in the heavenly sanctuary, and shall clothe Himself with the garments of vengeance, and surprise them at their unholy feast; and they will find themselves unprepared for the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” — “Testimonies for the Church,” vol 5. p. 690.

Volume 5, page 80, shows that He takes charge of the flock at the time of the purification of the church, and “Testimonies to Ministers,” p. 300 states: “God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness.” Therefore, whether we can with our mortal minds fully comprehend God’s ways or not, His Word is true, which in the above shows that though He will carry on His mediatorial work in the heavenly sanctuary up to the close of probation, He will also be, during the time of the Loud Cry, upon earth in the midst of His people — the church.

In the following, we shall try to give a meager illustration of how it can be possible with Him. Let us remember that He is omnipresent as described by the prophet, saying, “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool.” (Isa. 66:1.)

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If it was possible for Him to be in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary after His resurrection, and at the same time be upon the throne of God away from the sanctuary (Rev. 22:1; E.W. 55; see tract #3, pp. 21-23), then why would it be impossible for Him to be in the heavenly sanctuary as well as upon the earth, seeing that He is omnipresent? We mortal beings are sometimes apt to draw very narrow conclusions regarding God and His work, and limit His mysteries by comparing Him to our mortal beings.

If an angel can make the trip from heaven to earth in less than fifteen minutes (Dan. 9:23), then is it not reasonable that Christ also can do likewise? His answer to Mary, after His resurrection, “touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you (John 20:17, 19), proves the fact that Christ went to heaven and returned on the same day.

Hence, if it is possible for our General Conference president to attend his business in Washington, D.C., and at the same time make a trip to some distant country, which will take him months to accomplish, is it not much more possible for Christ to attend both places while He can travel back and forth by an incomprehensibly greater speed than lightning?

This fact is again attested by the words of Ezekiel, saying, “The cherubims lifted up their wings, and moved up from the earth in my sight.” (Ezek. 10:19.) And afterwards in chapter 11, verse 24 shows that they again returned. Let no one suppose that Christ is like a prisoner in the sanctuary and that He must stay there, but let us rather remember that His work only is there and at His will He can come and go more conveniently than a business man can attend his business in his office and at the same time live at home.

Christ has further illustrated this incident in the parable of Mark 13:34: “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left His house, and gave authority to His servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.” “After a long time [from His ascension to the purification of the church] the Lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.” (Matt. 25:19.) Consequently, the period of His absence ends at the purification of the church at which time He reckons with His servants and, Himself, taketh charge of His flock.” (1 Symbolic Code, no.3, p.4)

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