The Sacrifice of Christ
..... the death of Christ was "to declare the righteousness of God" as the ground of the exercise of His forbearance. That is to say,
***God maintains His own righteousness and His own supremacy while forgiving us; and exacts the recognition of them and submission to them, as the condition of the exercise of His forbearance in the remission of our sins. ***
- The Blood of Christ, Brother Roberts
Resurrectional Responsibility Debate', - Brother Roberts answering questions :
Q "Is it not clear that Christ, as a necessity, must offer up himself for the purging of his own sin nature?".
A "As a son of Adam, a son of Abraham, a son of David, yes".
Q "First from the uncleanness of death, that having by his own blood obtained eternal life himself, he might be able to save others?".
Q "And he as the first one had to undergo purification through his shed blood and resurrection?".
A "Certainly, I have never called that in question in the least".
The Blood of Christ
Its Place in
THE DIVINE SCHEME OF RECONCILIATION
'Sin In The Flesh'
Some experience distress at the association of Jesus with sinful flesh in any sense. They seek relief in the expression of Rom. 8, that God sent His own Son "in the likeness of sinful flesh".
Let us consider this. What about this "likeness"? Moses informs us (Gen. 5:3) that Adam begat a son in his own image and likeness. You would not say the word "likeness" means that Seth was, in any wise, different from Adam. There is the word "image". Suppose the word "image" had been used in this remark of Paul's: "sent His Son in the image of the earthy nature". We should then have had this argument -- "Ah, you see it is only the image; it is not the nature itself". Whereas, Paul says concerning ourselves in 1 Cor. 15:49: "We have borne the image of the earthy, and shall also bear the image of the heavenly". Shall we say we have not borne the earthy? Do not we bear the earthy? Yes. Therefore in apostolic language "earthy" and "the image of the earthy" mean the same thing. Upon the same principle, sinful flesh and the likeness of sinful flesh mean the same thing. And we shall find that the same they are.
And now we have to consider in what sense did Christ come in sinful flesh. There are two things involved in these expressions that require carefully separating in order to understand their bearing on the questions that have been raised.
Sin, in the primary and completest sense, is disobedience. In this sense, there was no sin in Christ.
But there is the source of disobedience? In the inclinations that are inherent in the flesh. Without these, there would be no sin.
Hence it is (because they are the cause of sin) that they are sometimes spoken of as sin. As where Paul speaks in Rom. 7 of "Sin that dwelleth in me" and "The motions of sin in my members" etc.
These inclinations are so described in contrast to the Spirit nature in which there are no inclinations leading to sin. It is only in this sense that Christ "was made sin", which Paul states (2 Cor. 5:21). He was made in all points like to his brethren, and therefore of a nature experiencing the infirmities leading to temptation: "Tempted in all points like them but without sin". All this is testified (Heb. 2:17; 4:15).
He has also come under the dominion of sin in coming under the hereditary power of death which is the wages of sin. He was in this sense made part of the sin-constitution of things, deriving from his mother both the propensities that lead to sin and the sentence of death that was passed because of sin.
He was himself absolutely sinless as to disobedience, while subject to the impulses and the consequences of sin.
The object was to open a way out of this state, both for himself and his brethren, by death and resurrection after trial. It pleased God to require the ceremonial condemnation of this sin-nature in crucifixion in the person of a righteous possessor of it, as the basis of our forgiveness.
There are those who, without intending it, place themselves in antagonism to the testimony in affirming that, while Jesus came in the flesh, it was not in flesh "sinful in its tendency as ours". The testimony is that he was "tempted in all points" as ourselves, which could not have been the case in the absence of the susceptibilities which our correspondent denies. The very essence of temptation is susceptibility to wrong suggestion. The victory lies in the opposing considerations brought to bear. The truth of the matter does not depend upon the word "likeness" or any other single term, but upon the combination of statements made --
which are all in language plain enough to be free from obscurity.
At the same time, it has to be pointed out that the word "likeness" in the Greek has the force of resemblance so complete as to be sameness. This is illustrated in the statement that Jesus was made in "the likeness of men" (Phil. 2:7). The extent of the likeness is defined as extending to "all points" and "all things" (Paul's words -- Heb. 2:17; 4:15). What can we say but that he was a man, and not the mere likeness of a man?
But then, it is said, "Surely he was made superior to man in some respects". Unquestionably. He was not a mere man -- not a mere Jew -- not mere flesh. He was the flesh of Abraham in a special form. Objectors well say that "a mere ordinary man would have failed". True, but wherein did the extra-ordinariness consist? It is here where they get on to the wrong line. They make Christ of different stuff -"flesh not sinful in its tendency". They should rather realise that he was the same stuff specially organised and specially used, having the same inherent qualities tending to temptation and death; but qualified to overcome both by the superior power derived from his paternity. Much of the difficulty in the understanding of this subject arises from a wrong assumption on what we may call the natural history side of human nature.
It seems to be imagined that all human beings are necessarily on the same level of moral imbecility. This is far from the case, as we know from experience. All human beings would be equally incapable on all points if all were equally left untended from the cradle. They would all be speechless idiots without exception if suckled and cradled up by beasts, as has happened in rare instances. But the difference made by instruction and training makes all the difference in the world between two men both equally human: one shall be a stolid brute, and the other verging upon the grace and intelligence of angel-hood.
But this is not the only difference. Though all men are equally human on certain main points, there are fundamental differences arising from parentage. Two boys -- one an Indian cross-bred, and the other a European -- may be brought up in the same family, sent to the same school, and will turn out totally different men -- one stupid and barren and intractable, and the other bright and fertile and docile. They are both human, but they both differ radically. How fallacious it would be to reason from one to the other on the ground of both possessing a common human nature. They are both human truly, but human of very different qualities.
To say that Christ was a man partaking of our sinful nature does not mean to say that he was the same sort of man as other men. His parentage and education were both Divine; and as it was said,
"Never man spake like this man",so it has to be said that never man thought as this man, or loved as this man, or felt as this man. He was a special man altogether, though as to nature the same; just as a special vase, got up and gilt for a royal table, is a different article from a common mug, though made, it may be, of the same china clay.
It is impossible not to respect the spirit and intent of many who do not share these views. There are men with almost agonizing sincerity of purpose who cannot see through the fogs that envelop the truth in an age when there is no living voice of authoritative guidance, and when the power of correctly interpreting the written Word is the only rule of conviction. It is natural to wish to think that in such a situation of divine truth on the earth, the same consideration will at the last be shown towards those who earnestly do their best in the dimness, that was shown, on the intercession of Hezekiah, towards the multitude in Israel who "had not cleansed themselves, and yet did eat the Passover otherwise than it was written" (2 Chron. 30:18).
God is not unrighteous or unreasonable. At the same time, in such a situation, when the truth can with difficulty be kept alive at all, it is not for those who know the truth to work by a may be. We must be governed by what is revealed, leaving the Lord to revoke the present rule of probation, or make His own allowances in its application.
Did Christ Have To Offer For Himself First?
By Brother Gilbert V. Growcott
Did he have to offer for himself FIRST for HIS cleansing from the "Diabolos," "Sin's Flesh," "the Flesh of Sin," the "Exceeding great sinner Sin," "The Law of Sin and Death," the "Law in the members warring against the law of the mind" - and THEN offer his own accomplished salvation to all who become part of him?
DENIAL of this is the very nub and essence of the Strickler error, as the Los Angeles ecclesia saw so clearly when it compiled the Ten Point Statement in 1940, particularly No. 5 of the Points of Truth to be upheld in fellowship -
"It was necessary that Jesus should offer FOR HIMSELF for the PURGING of his own nature, first, from the uncleanness of death, that having by his own blood obtained eternal redemption FOR HIMSELF, he might be able AFTERWARD to save to the uttermost those that come to God by him."
This is the real issue at stake. Let us keep bringing the consideration back to this. "Andrewism" is a side issue. What happens at baptism is a side issue. Let us get this central point of the Gospel of God clear first. Get this straight, and all the rest falls into place harmoniously.
Christ cleansed himself first, in the God-appointed way. His sacrifice cleanses and redeems US only as we become PART OF HIM. -See Law of Moses, chapter 18, page 173
This is the emphatic teaching of brethren Thomas and Roberts over and over and over. This is the heart of the Sacrifice of Christ. This is the central issue that distinguishes the Truth from the Apostacy on this subject. This is the heart of the problem with those who cannot clearly see the scriptural picture of the Sacrifice of Christ.
Did he offer as one of those needing the sacrifice, as a REPRESENTATIVE; or did he offer merely on behalf of others, himself NOT needing it, that is, as a SUBSTITUTE? Brethren Thomas and Roberts are emphatic that the former is the truth, and the very heart of the truth concerning his sacrifice.
All animal sacrifices typified what needed to be done. He was not just another type. He actually DID in himself and for himself what needed to be done: overcome and destroy the Diabolos; offer the cleansing bloodshed sacrifice that God's wisdom had appointed for the cleansing of Sin's Flesh; and break out of the Law of Sin and Death that held all mankind, including himself, in bondage.
THEN he, and God through him, freely offered this victory and escape to all who completely deny themselves, and become part of him, enter INTO him, and to the fullest of their ability conform to his pattern and character. Where they fall short of his perfect victory, his blood continuously cleanses them through repentance and prayer and Divine loving forgiveness in mercy - IF they are giving their all and utmost to the service of God in thankful love.
Where do you stand on this vital, pivotal truth? The following are the word-for-word, scriptural teachings of brethren Thomas and Roberts, cast into question form, with where to find them. Check every one carefully. Ponder each. Make sure you understand each. Take the time to look them up and check the context. Can you wholeheartedly answer YES to every one? Do those whom you fellowship understand and accept these truths? If not, you are losing, or have lost, the essential key to the knowledge of the Sacrifice of Christ - the vital Truth as so beautifully expounded by brethren Thomas and Roberts in their lifelong, faithful labors.
(All from the Christadelphian are by brother Roberts himself, except the one by brother Thomas).
- Did Christ offer "first for his own sins, and then for the people's" (Heb. 7:26-27)?
- Did Christ obtain eternal redemption and enter the Holy Place by his own blood (Heb. 9:12)?
- Was it necessary for the heavenly things themselves (Christ) to be purified with better sacrifices - his own blood (Heb. 9:23)?
- Did God bring Jesus from the dead through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant (Heb. 13:20)?
- Will Christ in the Kingdom offer (memorial) sacrifices for himself (Ezek. 45:22)?
- Was it necessary that Jesus should offer for himself for the purging of his own nature? -Christadelphian, 1873, page 468
- Was Christ's sacrifice operative on himself first of all? -Law of Moses, chapter 10, page 90
- Did Christ offer for himself first, and only "for us" as we may become part of him? -Law of Moses, chapter 18, page 173 (All Law of Moses quotes from 1946 edition).
- Was Christ's flesh purified by the sprinkling of its own blood? - Catechesis, page 12
- 1 Did Christ require purging from the Law of Sin and Death by his own sacrifice? -Christadelphian, 1873, page 468
- Was the Altar-Body on the tree sanctified by its shed blood? - Eureka II, page 224
- Was Jesus the "heavenly things" purified by his sacrifice? - Christadelphian, 1873, page 407
- Was the Jesus-Altar purified by being sprinkled with sacrificial blood, and did Jesus enter the True through his own blood? -Catechesis, page 14
- If one denies the need of Christ being purified by his own sacrifice, does this displace him from his position, destroy the reason for his being partaker of our common nature, and substitute the confusion the consequence of Adam's violation of the Eden law? -Elpis Israel, page 128 of the sectarian atonement? -Christadelphian, 1877, page 376
- Was his sacrifice "for himself that it might be for us?" -Law of Moses, chapter 18, page 177
- Is it true that God could not have condemned sin IN the flesh of Jesus if there were no sin there? -Elpis Israel, page 127
- Is the Diabolos that Jesus destroyed the "exceeding great sinner SIN" in the sense of the Law of Sin and Death within ALL the posterity of Adam without exception? -Eureka I, page 249
- Was the flesh of Christ the "filthy garments" with which the Spirit-Word was clothed - the "iniquity of us all" that was laid on him? -Eureka I, page 108
- Does "Sin" in Paul's argument stand for human nature with its affections and desires; and is to be "made sin" for others to become flesh and blood? - Eureka I, page 247
- Were our iniquities "laid on him" by his being made of our nature? -Christadelphian, 1873, page 400
- Was the real "putting of sin" on the Lamb of God the bestowal of a prepared sin-body wherein to die? - Christadelphian, 1873, page 462
- Is the offering "for himself" by the Prince (Christ) in the Millennial Temple (Ezek. 45:22) a memorial of Christ's offering for himself? -Christadelphian, 1873, page 466
- Is the word "sin" used in two principal acceptations in the Scripture: first, the transgression of the law, and second, the physical principle of the animal nature which is the cause of all its diseases, death, and resolution into dust? -Elpis Israel, page 1-26
- Was it necessary that Christ should first of all be purified with better sacrifices than the Mosaic? -Law of Moses, chapter 10, page 91
- Was the flesh of Christ cleansed by the blood of that flesh when poured out unto death on the tree? -Eureka II, page 224
- Does an evil principle pervade every part of human flesh, so that the animal nature is styled in Scripture "sinful flesh," that is, "flesh full of sin?" -Elpis Israel, page 127
- Was Christ's own shed blood required for his exaltation to the Divine nature? -Christadelphian, 1897, page 63
- Did Christ take part of human nature that through death he might destroy the diabolos, or elements of corruption in our nature inciting it to transgression, and therefore called "SIN working death in us?" -Eureka I, page 106
- Did Christ have to offer for himself? - Christadelphian, 1873, page 405
- Is sin in the flesh hereditary; and did it entail upon mankind as
- Was Christ's flesh "flesh of sin" in which "dwells no good thing?" -Eureka 1, page 106
- When God made Jesus "to be sin" (2 Cor. 5:21), does that mean He made him to be sinful flesh? -Elpis Israel, page 134
- Did Christ offer for himself, first, by reason of his participation in Adamic mortality? - Christadelphian, 1873, page 555
- Did the Spirit clothe Himself with weakness and corruption - in other words, "Sin's flesh's identity" - that He might destroy the Diabolos? - Eureka I, page 246
- Is it true that the Devil was not destroyed out of Christ: he was destroyed in him. We have to get into Christ to get the benefit. In him we obtain the deliverance accomplished IN HIM? -Christadelphian, 1875, page 375
- Is Diabolos a very fit and proper word to designate the Law of Sin and Death, or Sin's Flesh? - Eureka I, page 249
- Did Christ "through the shedding of his blood enter into the spiritual state?" -Christadelphian, 1895, page 139
- Is the Law of Sin and Death hereditary... and does the Law of Sin pervade every particle of the flesh? -Elpis Israel, page 137
- Is it true that if Christ had not first obtained eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12), there would have been no hope for us, for we attain salvation only through what he has accomplished in himself, of which we become heirs by union with him? - Christadelphian, 1875, page 375
- Was sinful flesh laid on Christ that through death he might destroy him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil, or sin in the flesh ? -Elpis Israel, page 99
- Was Jesus himself as the firstborn necessarily comprised in the sacrificial work he accomplished for his brethren? -Christadelphian, 1884, page 469
- Is it true that these things (became sin for us, sin condemned in the flesh, our sins borne in his body on the tree) could not have been accomplished in a nature destitute of that physical principle styled "Sin in the flesh?" -brother Thomas, Christadelphian, 1873, page 361
- Did Christ "offer for himself"... Did he obtain eternal redemption in and for himself, as the middle voice of the verb implies (Heb. 9:12) ... Was he brought from the dead through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant? -Christadelphian, 1875, page 139
- Was Christ purged by the blood of his own sacrifice? -Law of Moses, chapter 18, page 170
- Is it true that "as a sufferer from the effects of sin, Jesus had himself to be delivered from those effects: and as the mode of deliverance was by death on the cross, that death was for himself FIRST?" Christadelphian, 1875, page 375
- Is it true that condemnation has passed upon ALL men through Adam, and it cannot be annulled without sacrifice? Christadelphian, September cover, 1893
- When it is testified that Christ was "made sin for us" (2 Cor. 5:21), can this only apply to his physical nature, which, drawn from the veins of Mary, was "made sin?" -Christadelphian, 1869, page 83
- Was Jesus, though personally sinless, by constitution condemned, and had he therefore to offer for himself AND his brethren? Christadelphian, 1873, page 405
The Scriptures and brethren Thomas and Roberts resoundingly answer YES! to all these questions, without reservation or evasion. Ask them of yourself: ask them of others. Test them by the Word and the sound teaching of the Pioneers.
Does it really matter? Are "Eureka and Elpis Israel back numbers"? Do we now just need a "few simple facts" (like the churches)? How sad that such questions should have to be asked! Christadelphians used to believe that this central foundation truth that distinguishes the Gospel of God on this subject from the Apostacy matters very, very much. What do YOU think?
was He really born the same as us with sinful flesh or flesh full of sin, do we have any proof of this in the Bible? I think this is why we have been given the TYPES, it is recorded,
Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John4v14-15).
Does salvation depend on all that? It does! The Lord found it needful to draw the attention of Nicodemus to the incident in order to lead him to salvation. It can help us in the same direction if you choose.
"Make a fiery serpent of brass and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live" (Num21v8).
Why should God forgive because of a serpent of brass? Because in scripture, both the serpent and brass, are used as symbols of sinful flesh and in this case the believer saw the serpent rendered powerless and inactive, with no venom in it's fangs, with the brass purified by having passed through the fire and polished by friction. The serpent hung lifeless, impaled on a pole or stake (the word "cross" in the NT is translated from a Greek word signifying "stake"), symbolic of sacrifice. Upon the condition of the believer understanding the symbol, acknowledging his sins and pleading for forgiveness, God, in mercy, was pleased to grant this unto him. The serpent on the pole taught that flesh must be crucified and it was this serpent to which Jesus made reference in his conversation with Nicodemus. In this enactment God was shown to be both righteous, by requiring the death of that which is evil; and merciful, by providing the means by which He can forgive and save.
Now carefully note the principle involved in this incident which Christ used to illustrate his mission to Nicodemus.
Death is as much a reality to us today as it was to those Israelites in the wilderness; and we, too, need God's help if we would live. Moreover, God has provided a way.
Jesus told Nicodemus, that as the serpent was lifted up, so also must he be, that "whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John3v14-15).
What does this mean?
First the principle and then the proof. All mankind, without exception, is under sentence of death because of inherited mortality. As well as that, through weakness of the flesh, all people sin and the sentence of death is justified.
There is only one man who has never sinned: the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet he died and by Divine appointment (Acts2v23). Was his death justified? It was, because the righteousness that he exhibited in life, came not from flesh, but in spite of it; not from obedience to it's will, but by "crucifying" (denying) it in order to perform the will of God (John5v19).
From whence did Jesus derive the strength to accomplish such sinlessness and perfect obedience unto God that which no other person has done?
He received it from God who dwelt in him by His spirit (2Cor5v19). He was "born from above" (Luke1v32-35), was anointed with The Holy Spirit without measure (John3v34), and was thus strengthened to conquer the flesh (Psalm80v17; Isa11v2-5 see also John14v10).
This, of course, was not sufficient in itself. The denial of the flesh had to be accompanied with a desire in Jesus to perform the will of God (Heb10v7-10), and to declare that God was righteous in all that he decreed (Rom3v25-26).
Therefore, without minimizing Jesus' own efforts in this grand victory over flesh, scripture emphasizes that it was only possible by the joint labours of the Father and the Son. Jesus put no confidence in the flesh (John6v63) and drew heavily upon the resources that the Father placed at his disposal (John5v30; 16v32).
At the end of life of perfect obedience, his flesh was crucified and publicly exhibited on the pole (or cross) as a final demonstration that "the flesh profiteth nothing." It was set forth that all might see and ponder and recognize that victory is only possible by following this example (see Gal5v24).
Jesus' nature was the same as our own. He came in death doomed, sin's flesh. But, triumphing over it, even unto the death of the cross, he was raised to life eternal and led the way for others to do likewise "in him" through the forgiveness of their sins.
By Brother Darren Sutcliffe
An answer to the Nazarene position (clean flesh)
I thought it appropriate, however, to answer the question you mention on Romans 8:3.
It is true that the Diaglott has "flesh of sin," whilst other translators try "sin's flesh," or "sin-influenced flesh." It describes the common nature of mankind, which was shared by the Lord Jesus Christ, as this verse teaches. It was flesh in which naturally Sin reigns (Romans 6:12), and which produces fruits consistent with that (verse 1...9). The term relates to flesh that is weak and prone to sin because of the inherent characteristics derived from sinning parents. The nature of Jesus was identical with that of our own, being "made of a woman" (Galatians 4:4), and had he followed the natural will of the flesh, he would have sinned like every other individual has: a law which is proven by very demonstration in every person. But this he did not do, being uniquely strengthened by the power of the Highest (John 1:14).
The word "sinful" is the Greek harmartia in its genitive form, indicating a relationship of ownership, by virtue of its origin (the transgression of Adam). Thus the flesh is constitutionally owned by Sin; and is under the dominion of Sin. Thus it is both belonging to Sin and is influenced ("sinful") by it.
I do not really see much difference between the two terms, but I suspect that depends upon how one reads the phrases. It is clearly describing a nature which is dominated by the sin-influence, and has the "law of sin" in its members, and consequently is the arena in which sin is supreme.
But obviously you are reading two different definitions into the phrases. Since you do not clarify what these are, I cannot comment further, but trust the above is helpful.
With kind regards,
Brother Greaham Mansfield
An answer to the Nazarenes (clean flesh)
- from Brother Richard Lister, dated 31.8.2000
Dear Helen, In reply to your July/August C.L. I am enclosing two articles by Brother John Thomas from "Eureka" and "Elpis Israel."
The problem is that the doctrines you promulgate are not new with Edward Turney but in fact a turning back to the old Apostasy of the Churches (Papal and Protestant) which brother Thomas early on came to realize were false, unscriptural and to represent an awful falling away, or apostasy, from the original apostolic faith.
The apostle John fought against clean flesh heresy in his own day which he styled the doctrine of antichrist (1 John 4:1-6, 2 John 7:11). Whilst the possession of the Holy Spirit could be proved by the apostles (and those they passed on to [a gift] to make up the star elderships of the ecclesias) by their powers and gifts, that they received on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).
Otherwise where is the proof? Except a person's feeling. To wrest scripture in this service is to misunderstand. The Word of God is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and able to make a person wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:16). Nothing else.
Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 13 that the Holy Spirit gifts would die away when that which was incomplete was complete (i.e. the revealed Word of God) (with John on the Isle of Patmos AD96).
The figurative typical application of the former and latter rains also makes it clear that there is a long dry period in between the two outpourings of the Spirit (Joel 2:23, Acts 2:12-21).
Present possession of the Holy Spirit is also an apostate doctrine of the churches opposed by Brother Thomas.
The two witnesses of Revelation 11 make it clear that the Truth would be extinguished or the witnessing thereof (Revelation 11:7); but that it would be revived, so that there would be a living witness at the return of Christ. The extinction of the witness was accomplished by the massacre of Bartholomew and the Revocation of Nantes. After 3/2 lunar days it would revive. The political witness for liberty revived at the French Revolution exactly 105 years (31/2 lunar days later) (1685 - 1790). The true witness was revived thereafter through the instrumentality of Brother Thomas.
Failure to grasp this is the reason for all the diverse doctrines that now plague Christadelphia and its many schisms. The Truth was revived in its entirety by Brother Thomas and his indefatigable labours.
This presents a bench mark for measuring and identifying apostasy which started with the Dowieites and then Edward Turney as soon as Brother Thomas deceased. Then Robert Ashcroft and partial inspiration heresy opening the flood gates for subversive opinion in Christadelphia ever since 1885 and rampant in the Central body today since John Carter brought about reunion (1958), between Suffolk Street and Temperance Hall.
I urge you to wake up to the true foundations of the apostolic faith as revived in this last age before it is too late. For heresy will save no one.
Yours Truly, Richard Lister.
Another answer to the Nazarene position (clean flesh)
Dear Russell, Greetings in Elpis. If we have not the vision of the prophets of Israel (and the understanding of the visions) then we have not Israel's hope!
This exposition (Eureka) shows the interrelation of doctrine and prophecy in harmony with the promises made to Abraham, and gives the correct understanding for the saints of the last days. The apocalyptic blessing furthermore is to those who "read and hear" (understand, observe narrowly) the words of this prophecy. It (the Apocalypse) is in fact not a book that is difficult to understand by those whose minds are attuned to the things of the spirit and understand ("the wise shall understand" - Daniel 12:10) the words of God's Holy Prophets (2 Peter 3:2), in particular Daniel's visions.
My stand is alongside Brother Thomas. "The Pioneer" was dedicated to showing how the Truth was revived by Brother Thomas by his indefatigable labours in Virginia and the Eastern States of the U.S.A., 1832 - 1871. "The Pioneer" publication commenced with his conflicts with Alexander Campbell and finished with his death in 1871, where it has at least temporarily been suspended. The whole point is that after the slaying of the two witnesses, Revelations 11:7, following the massacre of Bartholomew, 1572 and the Revocation of the Edict Nantes 1685, apocalyptic prophecy required their revival after 31/2 lunar days when their bodies lay dead in the streets of Babylon the Great, i.e. after 105 years. This revival sprang from the French Revolution and its great awakening of peoples and nations, Revelation 11:11, "The spirit of life entered into the witnesses" i.e. the political and religious witness were revived.
They had to be revived after the long epoch of Papal down-treading and death of the witnesses that their might be a living witness and a people (remnant of the woman's seed) prepared for the Lord at His return. Now this revival of the Truth was undoubtedly accomplished through the instrumentality of Dr. Thomas. Failure to perceive that he was or represented the revival of the two witnesses in its religious connotation will lead a person into avenues of apostasy.
In God's providence and apocalyptic plan, the Truth had to be revived and he was the means whereby this was accomplished. His visit to the U.K. in that eventful year 1848 and publication of the book "Elpis Israel" (The Hope of Israel) led to the revival of the Truth on these shores. This is fundamental.
The books Elpis Israel and Eureka together represent the revived Truth, doctrinally and prophetically. Any departure from this constitutes Apostasy. The Truth once revived had then to be kept.
Sadly, as soon as Brother Thomas passed off the scene, the troubles started, although the Dowieites had already introduced apostate thinking, and were finally withdrawn from by Robert Roberts at the prompting of Brother Thomas.
Edward Turney: The irony is that Edward Turney was one of the most loyal supporters of Brother Thomas and wrote many articles for the Ambassador/Christadelphian upholding the fundamentals of the faith and paid great tribute to Brother Thomas on his death in 1871, published in the Ambassador; his views on the Atonement (Renunciationism) therefore represent a monumental act of treachery and betrayal.
The true understanding on this fundamental doctrine on the nature of man, Christ's sacrifice, sin etc., redemption is set forth in Elpis Israel Part I... This represents the Truth and any departure from this revived Truth is Apostasy.
How could Christ condemn sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3) if He was not sin's flesh Himself by physical constitution? To deny that Christ, born of woman, was not as unclean as the bodies He died for is to propound the doctrinal heresy of Antichrist or clean-flesh rampant even in Apostolic Times and resisted by the Apostles (1 John 2). Speculation on Christ's nature has plagued the Apostles teaching ever since and admixed with Gnostic heresy resulted in the doctrine of the Trinity, Unitarianism (mere man), Immaculate Conception, etc. as well as wrong apprehension of the emblems ('Catholic Mass - Transubstantiation).
The apostate teaching of Original Sin was never propounded by Brother Thomas and it is a gross misrepresentation and misunderstanding to imply as such. We the descendants of Adam do not inherit his original sin nor do we stand condemned by original sin of Adam.
Rather as Brother Thomas points out, which as he says is our misfortune, not our fault, we inherit the consequences of his sin, a defiled sin stricken nature, mortality. As Brother Thomas points out two ways were open to Adam represented by the two trees. He wasn't immortal otherwise he would not have needed to eat of the Tree of Life . But then neither was he mortal in the sense you and I are. Otherwise their would have been no need for the Edenic Law and its consequence. "Dying thou shalt die" if breached. This is simple logic. If he had been obedient instead of disobedient he would not have lived to infinity since he was as your articles point out, of a lower estate, earthy or animal nature, not Elohistic but then nor not mortal (subject to sin, disease and death) in the sense of his posterity.
The sentence was not merely judicial although this was what Edward Turney's entire case hangs on. Adam was in a very good state as a piece of God's creative handiwork. Subsequent to transgression and as a consequence thereof, sin became implanted in his very physical nature. Paul refers to these as the "motions of sin," i.e. lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, pride of life, or the law in his members warring against the law of his mind (Romans 7).
Christ Himself took part of the same, that through death He might destroy him which hath the power of death, even the Diabolos. By a process of logic therefore Diabolos = flesh, sin's flesh, human nature is synonymous with the Devil, Diabolos, that which cuts across God's Laws. Human nature is the embodiment of Sin
The process of decay became active after transgression resulting in the sin/death stricken state of Adam thereafter and of his progeny i.e. the human race, who ever since have had to contend with their cursed, sindefiled, disease riddled body of corruption ("vile body").
Christ overcame this source of all evil and nailed it to a stake. Thus was God glorified through obedience unto death, even the death of the Cross and the way to the Tree of Life was opened again by the second Adam.
The animal sacrifices under the law were not substitutes but representative. God teaches by representative, symbolic, metaphoric, figurative or hieroglyphic form. The animals, lamb, etc., represented the believer, represented Christ. Atonement was afforded through the Aaronic Priesthood on this basis alone, hence the placing of hands upon the head, at the act of death. He was to see himself as worthy of death due to his transgression. The animal didn't substitute for him, it represented him. As soon as he thought it was a ritual substitute that he had paid his ransom unaccompanied by personal reformation then the sacrifice became abomination.
This is what happened, which is why God finally removed the Law (AD 70).
The concept of Ransom is obviously figurative and metaphorical rooted in the silver shekel of the sanctuary illustrating the principle that Israel were a "Purchased people," purchased from bondage in Egypt. They were "purchased" by God to Himself, the "purchase price" as it were being the Passover Lamb. So we are purchased by God to Himself from the bondage of sin and death through the atoning provision or propitiation of Christ the Passover Lamb. We are thus a redeemed people, as Israel, but redeemed (bought back) only in prospect based on the personal implementation of the Passover principles of Sacrifice and God manifestation in our own lives, recognizing that "in the flesh there is no good thing," "the flesh profiteth nothing," "My words are spirit, they are life."
To push self-justifying theories and specious arguments of substitution and judicial sentences is to be guilty of Judaism and ritualistic sacramentalism as practised in its fullness by the Catholic Church in its judicial forms and ritualism of the Mass, where substitution theory reaches its full development in the bread and wine substitution of the Mass. Sale of indulgences and purgatory.
Speculation on whether Christ had to die for Himself, for His own redemption is commonplace but naive. For a start the sealing of the Covenant necessitated the cutting off of Messiah the Prince to bring in Aeonian righteousness (Daniel 9), to confirm the covenants of Promise to Abraham (Romans 5). These could only be sealed, as a blood covenant, by the blood of the Covenant. Man (Testator - Hebrews 10) of the New (Abrahamic) Covenant.
Secondly, Christ's worthiness of the High Office of High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec and Mediator, could only be proven by a life of obedience even unto death. Thereby was God glorified and therefore did He glorify the Son. Anything short of a sinless life unto death would have left a question on Christ's own worthiness, i.e. His overcoming of sin in the flesh, or slaying of the Diabolos. - Hebrews 2. I urge you to think again on the Atonement issues and reread both Elpis Israel and Eureka before it is too late, as the Hour is at hand.
Yours truly contending for the Faith, Richard Lister
The Sacrifice of Christ has accomplished two things
1 Sin has been condemned
2 The promises have been confirmed
Romans 8v3 & 15v8
THEREFORE WE CAN GAIN ETERNAL LIFE
AND INHERIT THE PROMISES WHEN JESUS
CHRIST RETURNS TO SET UP THE KINGDOM
When sin entered the world and death by sin, there was no way by which man could redeem himself. God however has revealed a plan whereby sin will be taken away and righteousness established, so that the human race will ultimately be restored to the Divine favour. This involves providing His own Son, made of a woman by His holy spirit power. Jesus would be able to live a sinless life and become a sacrifice for sin. Because He did no sin,
He was raised from the dead on the third day. God accepts those who identify themselves with this representative man by a belief of the Truth and baptism into Him (i.e. Jesus Christ). Only in this way can we share in what God in Christ has achieved.
Now that the way to eternal life has been made open, the promises, which involve an eternal inheritance, can be fulfilled. Jesus Christ, as the promised "seed" in all 3 promises, has, by His sacrifice, made their fulfilment sure. When He returns from heaven, He will select His co-inheritors. They will comprise all who have committed themselves totally to God in Christ, and who have remained faithful to their calling, whatever the cost.
The Truth is made up of various facets, and the basic fundamentals that we highlight on this site are all inter-related. It is impossible to reject any of these truths without undermining the whole. It is similar to a building where one or more of the foundations may be missing, or otherwise is shown to be inadequate. The integrity of the whole structure is compromised. In our examination of various false ideas on the Sacrifice of Christ this will be found to be the case. Should we find that the word of God teaches something opposed to what may have been previously learnt by tradition, let us accept the words of the prophet- "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there
is no light in them"- Isaiah 8v20.
The Apostle Paul wrote- "the holy scriptures..ARE ABLE to make us WISE UNTO SALVATION through faith
which is in Christ Jesus"- 2nd Timothy 3v15.
It is our intention to examine in more detail some of the false ideas extant concerning the Sacrifice of Christ. As an introduction to this examination we look briefly here at what effect the false idea of "the trinity" would have upon the truth of that sacrifice.
Let us ask the question, should we believe in a non-existent Jesus, a person self-evidently NOT a representative man, but a superior being, can this possibly be acceptable? Indeed, how could such an imaginary being fit the description of Jesus in Hebrews 4v15 - "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin"? And when we realise that this horrible caricature of the Divine plan of salvation has its origin in paganism, surely the sooner we consign it to the dustbin of history, the sooner we individually can have hope of the sanctification for which Jesus prayed - "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth"- John 17v17.
Part of that truth is contained in v3- "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" i.e. "sent from God", as was John the Baptist, John 1v6, or Isaiah the prophet, Isaiah 6v5-10.
See also the words of Paul re "another Jesus", 2nd Corinthians 11v1-4.
Below, we shall examine other false teachings re the Sacrifice of Christ, which also totally negate & destroy the truth of this vital subject.
The Sacrifice of Christ
TRUTH VERSUS ERROR ON THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
The hallmark of all heretical teachings is that in some way they present the Lord's sacrificial death as substitutionary, and not representative.
The truth is that Jesus needed saving from the results of sin at the beginning, because He was born of a woman. His sin-cursed nature, equally with the nature of those whom He came to save, needed to be condemned by a sinless sacrifice.
It is however equally important to realise that no-one is accounted as "guilty" in a moral or legal sense because of the sin in Eden - (the "church" teaching of 'original sin'). Contrast Ezekiel 18v20 'The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father,..'
These two extremes are alike error.
Because He was the Son of God, Jesus committed no sin, something which no-one born of two human parents could achieve.
God therefore raised Him from the dead and He now is an immortal man, and a mediator through whom we can approach God.
Romans 8v3; 2nd Corinthians 5v21; Colossians 2v15mg; Hebrews 2v14, 7v27, 9v11, 12, 22-28, 13v20; 1st Peter 2v24; Acts 2v22-36; Romans 3v19-28, 5v6-21; 1st Corinthians 15v20-28; Hebrews 4v15; 1st Timothy 2v5.
We shall now examine in more detail some erroneous teachings.
These are additional to the "trinitarian" heresy above.
1. 'The Sacrifice of Christ was a ransom, whereby the innocent was punished, allowing the guilty to go free'. THIS IS ERROR.
The only way this could be true would be if Jesus remained in the grave, so that others could live. We know that is not true, &
not what has happened! Every one's justice would baulk at such an unrighteous idea - and Divine justice condemns it.
The original words translated "ransom" carry the meanings of 'a covering', 'a redemption price', and 'to loosen, or destroy'. It is not difficult to see how Jesus Christ as "the lamb of God" has provided that covering for sin; He has figuratively paid the price of redemption for His people, including Himself (but in reality we are "justified freely"), and He has loosed the bonds of sin and death.
One writer (Robert Roberts) has summed it up thus-
"(Christ's sacrifice) was righteously so done because of his physical participation in the results of Edenic transgression. His resurrection was in righteousness also; for "he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth". Forgiveness on this basis is by grace (favour) and not of debt; for the death of Christ is not the payment of our debt but the declaration of God's righteousness, on our recognition and submission to which, He is pleased to pass by our sins of His own kindness and forbearance."
It is vital that all legalistic/mechanical reasoning be discarded-
only then is it possible to fully comprehend salvation in Christ.
By a brother in the Pioneer Christadelphian fellowship
"Sin was destroyed in Christ's crucifixion": -
THAT burnt offering should be required in the absence of particular offense shows that our unclean state as the death-doomed children of Adam itself unfits us for approach to the Deity apart from the recognition and acknowledgement of which the burnt offering was the form required and supplied. It was "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel," as well as "because of their transgressions in all their sins," that atonement was required for even the Tabernacle (Lev. 16:16).
The type involved in complete burning is self- manifest: it is consumption of sin-nature. This is the great promise, prophecy and requirement of every form of the Truth: the destruction of the body of sin (Rom. 6:6).
It was destroyed in Christ's crucifixion - the "one great offering." We ceremonially share it in our baptism: "crucified with Christ," "baptized into his death." We morally participate in it in putting the old man to death in "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts." And the hope before us is the prospect of becoming subject to such a physical change as will consume mortal nature, and change it into the glorious nature of the Spirit.
It was a beautiful requirement of the wisdom of God in the beginning of things that He should require an act of worship that typified the repudiation of sinful nature as the basis of divine fellowship and acceptability.
Those who deny Christ's participation thereof DENY ITS REMOVAL BY SACRIFICE, and thereby deny the fundamental testimony of the Gospel that he is "the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world." -
Law of Moses, chapter 25, page, 237.
Updated Version 3 March 29th 2015 -
Review of 'The Divine Balance'
A new claim to understand the Divine Balance of the Atonement Within the last 12 months another contemporary publication on the Atonement has surfaced using the Australian Unity Agreement as a backbone for the manuscript. It has received a mixed reception both locally and internationally from those who have examined the publication. There is no doubt in the present writer's mind that the author undertook this effort to simplify the Atonement with the best of motives, but the finished work demonstrates a partial understanding of the atonement in its details and equally a partial understanding of the enormous body of historical work in our Magazines which deals with the same matters precisely and competently. As this is an Australian publication based upon the Australian Unity Agreement, it will be helpful to compare what is recorded in the Australian Unity Booklet (AUB) where the unity agreement is found. The AUB (published in 1963) provides the background to unity in Australia and covers the doctrinal errors that were plaguing some sections of the brotherhood. A comparison between the AUB teachings and this new publication "The Atonement The Divine Balance" will prove profitable and may explain why confusion is apparent in sections of Australia today. Bro Luke (the author of The Atonement The Divine Balance) is correct; historically those who publish "controversial" views have been challenged. Many of these views are often held up to the litmus test of the teachings in the AUB because this is the agreed to and common understanding of the Atonement across Australia. Sadly the present generation does not give the same attention to these teachings as they should, which was demonstrated by the Australian Christadelphian Central Standing Committee preface when republishing the AUB in 1999. They noted with concern - "The Australian Christadelphian Committee notes with concern, however, that some individuals and ecclesias appear to dismiss the importance of the Unity Agreement." Perhaps an easy way to understand the clarity of teaching on the Atonement is to employ the formulae recorded in the AUB on pg 21. "The confusion arises when we isolate him (Christ) from his work." This is what every publication or discussion upon the Atoning work of the Lord should be held to that we might know for a surety that we are not embracing cunningly devised fables. The scriptures are the final arbitrator and some will employ this as the bench mark for what is true and what is wrong. It is my intention to build upon that framework of proof and carefully analyse The Atonement The Divine Balance by contrasting it also with the Australian Unity Booklet. 1 ' P a g e The Atonement - The Divine Balance Bro Brian Luke This booklet contains 68 pages upon a subject which Bro Luke says is a subject of the most significance and interest for us. They are a record of the views which Bro Luke holds and teaches whenever he covers the subject of the Atonement at home or abroad. I heard Bro Luke mention similar matters when he visited Detroit several years ago (where I was living for a period of time) and I have read a number of his similar comments elsewhere. Having now gone through the book a number of times I have to conclude I do not share Bro Luke's enthusiasm in his choice of title The Atonement The Divine Balance. The Atonement The Divine Balance pg 14: "We must accept what is written concerning his (Christ) benefit from his own work, while on the other hand we keep clearly in mind that the purpose of it all was that we might be saved through him. (John Carter, pg21 Unity Book). "He was sent to save his people from their sins. This is the prime feature of the language at his birth." Comment - This is quite true if we accept the "prime feature" is not the ONLY feature or reason how Christ benefitted from his sacrifice. Bro Carter (AUB) says "He needed redemption, he needed salvation from death. The confusion arises when we separate him from his work." I am cautious of Bro Luke's comment because it is not clear if Bro Luke believes Christ personally needed redemption from the effects of SIN described in the BASF clause 5, or, if he believes Christ's sacrifice only involves actual transgressors thus separating out Christ from his sacrifice? The Atonement The Divine Balance pg 15 "Whenever the atonement features in apostolic writings there is emphasis that he (Christ) was born of a woman, among men, tempted in all points like they, yet without sin." Comment - Christ is never described as being simply "among men" but he is described as part of mankind, and often as the son of man, this is quite a different idea. For example, the Lord dwelt among transgressors but we would dare not make him a transgressor. Thus these words on pg 15 do not illustrate the divine balance. In this same chapter Bro Luke cites a number of scripture references, but for some reason none of these quotes were cited: Job_15:14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Job_25:4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? 2 ' P a g e Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; The Atonement The Divine Balance pg 16: "Yet in all the New Testament accounts and letters there is care about the terminology used of the Lord. Nowhere is he described as unclean, nowhere is there the sense of disunity with his father, or a need of change of nature before acceptable to his father." Pg 16 Comment - Here we find the common problem of past generations concerning the nature of Christ. Do we describe human nature as clean or unclean? Does Bro Luke's answer equate with the explanation in the AUB? Contrast the AUB pg 73-78 "These being the characteristics of the flesh it can be described as unclean. Besides having the inherited tendencies to sin we all do one or other of the things which Jesus said defiles a man." Pg 73 "Why is it we are mortal, then? ...Well, we are Adam's organisation. It is the organisation that the law of mortality resides. It is the physical substance that the principle of death is at work. Hence the phrase 'this corruptible'. If the substance were not corruptible 'life' would be ours forever." pg 74 "All mankind are born of corruptible parents into a state of sin. By this natural birth they become members of this sinful and evil state, and heirs of its disabilities. By virtue of this birth they are constituted sinners" pg 76. "The word of God teaches that we need forgiving our own sins and redeeming from our vile bodies (both of which are traceable to Adam's offence, but which is a different thing from our being held guilty of that offence)." pg 76 "Christ was undefiled in mind, absolutely pure, therefore he required no cleansing as pertaining to the conscience at baptism, for there never was a moment in his life where when God was displeased with him; he always did and said what pleased the Father. He only required cleansing in nature which was done after resurrection." pg 78 The problems circling Australia today are clearly seen when compared to the AUB teaching. If we accept Christ's nature was not unclean in condition, we are left with the only other option to us, that Christ's nature was "clean". Is this The Divine Balance being taught to others? How should we describe the sentence which defiled and became a physical law of man's being, which those of us who hold to the BASF and Unity Booklet believe and fellowship upon? When we come to definitions and understanding about certain errors that have plagued our community over the last 150 years we find a misunderstanding of terms revealed. One of the first references to the "clean flesh error" appears on pg 21. The writer sets about to define the clean flesh error as follows. 3 ' P a g e The Atonement The Divine Balance Pg 21 "This theory (i.e. Clean Flesh) proposed that there was no inherited proneness to sin in Adam's descendants and most certainly not in Jesus Christ'". Comment - This is not what clean flesh advocates teach. In fact they accept mankind have impulses to sin which are often described as a proneness to sin. Consider Bro E. Turney's view: "I have uniformly taught that the nature of Jesus was precisely like our own, necessarily so, because it was that flesh which had all the impulses to sin, but which, unlike us, did not lead him to sin." The Sacrifice of Christ pg 35 1873 Bro CCW the Editor of the Christadelphian wrote about Bro Bell (a clean flesh teacher around the early part of the 20th Century in Australia), as follows: "He (Bro Bell) printed and published the statement that Jesus in the days of his flesh was (quoting Bro Bell) 'holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners in every sense of the term'. This was and is error." At the end of Chapter 3 Bro Luke examines the quote "Yet Without Sin" (taken from Heb 4:15), this is what we read: The Atonement The Divine Balance pg 22 "Yet he was without sin despite this genuine humanity. So it was not the temptation that is counted for sin, nor obviously the nature that he bore." Comment - It is unknown if the writer uses sin in each of these references for "transgression", if so, then the statement is correct. But if sin in this instance is applied to the substance of man and nature, then the above statement is manifesting a wrong viewpoint. The substance and nature of man can be correctly described as full of sin when sin is used in a secondary acceptation. The Lord in common with all men shared in our sin nature and put sin to death in his own body where it resided. Contrast the AUB pg 75 "Inasmuch as this evil principle pervades every part of the flesh, the animal nature is styled 'sinful flesh', that is, flesh full of sin; so that sin, in the sacred style, came to stand for the substance called man. In human flesh dwelleth no good thing." In Chapter 4 Bro Luke discusses "Sin and the figure of Metonymy - its importance." There is a footnote included with an extensive citation from the AUB pg 19, 20, 32, 33 and 81. However within these passages from the AUB there is an important omission. Bro Luke has decided to leave out a portion of Bro Carter's comment taken from the AUB pg 33. If we continue reading Bro Carter's discussion 'Metonymy Applied to Sin' in the AUB we find he cautions the brethren against the wrong view that teaches sin is always understood as lawlessness or transgression in scripture. 4 ' P a g e Contrast the AUB pg 33 "We mustn't preach sin that dwells in us; which is a word used metonymically for the impulses within us, as being sin in that sense of lawlessness of which the Apostle speaks" Another omission in the footnote on pg 27 of Bro Luke's manuscript is found in his selective quotation from pg 81 of the AUB. The missing section of the AUB (copied below) speaks of the physical principle at work within us causing our bodies to decay, bringing us all ultimately to the grave. This is how "sin" is also used in scripture. Here is the missing paragraph: Contrast the AUB pg 81 "There is a principle, element, or peculiarity in our constitution (it matters not how you word it) which leads to decay of the strongest or the healthiest. Its implantation came by sin, for death came by sin; and the infliction of death and the implantation of this peculiarity are synonymous things." Consider what the known clean flesh advocates claim. Bro A.D. Strickler said: "Christ's sinful flesh, alias human nature never defiled him nor made him unclean..." Out of Darkness into light pg 54 Bro J. Bell said: "We would dearly like to organise a crusade against fastening of such a slur upon the bible as to say that it teaches or allows for an unclean or defiled Christ" This was a reprint of his statement which can be found in the Christadelphian 1921 pg 415 Moving on through Bro Luke's manuscript we are find the following question asked Chapter 6. The Atonement The Divine Balance pg 35. "Why would we resort to the shadow institution to elucidate important aspects of the Redeemers work? Would there likely be a better, a clearer outline amidst the mass of legal details than in the direct, plain statements of the Apostles as they write of the Lord of life in the Gospels and letters?" Comment - The index of the AUB reveals how wide an expanse of scripture has been considered in the Australian Unity Booklet. Two major addresses of Bro Carter to the Australian brethren and sisters are recorded as important means of educating and explaining the background to the addendum submitted to the Australian ecclesias. The first address was held in Melbourne, and concentrated on Christ in the New Testament (pg 25-41); the second address was held in Sydney, entitled "Isa 53", concentrated upon Christ in the Old Testament (pg 42-58). We find our understanding of the Atonement greatly enhanced by considering both Testaments of Scripture. It is a tell-tale sign of a partial 5 ' P a g e Atonement understanding, when the shadow institution, types and shadows in the Law are avoided. We must never lose sight of Paul's exhortation in 1 Cor 10:11 and Peter's exhortation in 1 Pet 1:11. An important question may arise in the inquiring mind - What method did our Lord employ to expound and instruct the disciples about the Atonement? Luke 24:44-46 "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:" What is Clean Flesh? In Chapter 8 the 'The Doctrine of Clean Flesh' is discussed. As we have noted earlier Clean Flesh teachers like Bro E. Turney did not teach there was no inherited proneness to sin in Adam's descendants... Bro E Turney clearly taught this - "I have uniformly taught that the nature of Jesus was precisely like our own, necessarily so, because it was that flesh which had all the impulses to sin, but which, unlike us, did not lead him to sin." The Sacrifice of Christ pg 35 1873. In Chapter 8 the following view is expressed about John 8:44: The Atonement The Divine Balance pg 44 '...the Lord is linking the mind of the serpent, the carnal mind that had no moral boundaries, with the mind of Cain who slew his brother. That mind, Jesus implies, is the root of evil that inspired his enemies to plot his own murder...." Comment - This is not what Bro Thomas teaches in the Herald of the Kingdom 1851 pg 201. Bro Thomas translates John 8:44 "Ye are of the father, sin, and the lusts of your father (the lusts of sinful flesh ye will do)..." It was sinful flesh which gave rise to the thoughts that inspired the Lords enemies. Christ kept the thinking of the flesh in check all his life, even so, he continued to die and follow the course of all humanity to the grave. How then can it be said the Lord's victory over "the mind" destroyed the devil? Was there not a daily victory over the mind from his youth, and yet the devil or sin's flesh (not the mind) continued to hold its power over Christ right up until he breathed his last breath? The key to understanding the Atonement is bound up in a correct understanding of the Lord's victory over the Devil in Heb 2:14. Note it is not "the mind of Adam" that we or Christ inherit. When brethren use sin as a metonymy for the fleshly impulses and only see one acceptation of sin and overlook the corporeal defilement that also came, which acts as a physical law of our nature bringing us to the grave, they illustrate a partial understanding of the Atonement. 6 ' P a g e Contrast the AUB pg 80 "It was the physical man that sustained such changes as brought shame and fear and a defiled conscience, a defilement which then became, in Dr Thomas' word 'corporeal'. But the opposite error is now being taught. 'Sin' used by metonymy for the fleshly impulses, is now being separated from the individual and is being made of itself a reason for alienation and estrangement." Notice how carefully and clearly Bro Carter addresses this. Today there is confusion about sin the cause of death in man. Bro Carter used a quotation from Bro Roberts which is just as appropriate today. Contrast the AUB pg 80 "Now what is this element called uncleanness', 'sin', iniquity', etc.? The difficulty experienced by some in the solution of the question, arises from a disregard of the secondary use of terms. Knowing that sin is the act of transgression, they read 'act of transgression' every time they see the term sin, ignoring the fact that there is a metonymy in the use of all words which apply to sin." Contrast the AUB pg 54 "It was because, Son of God as he was, that the Lord's body was a body belonging to the Adamic race, dying because of sin, Adams sin." Historically some commenting upon the heresy of Andrewism have gone to the other extreme and embraced elements of clean flesh teaching. Bro Luke is obviously aware of this and reflects upon this at the end of Chapter 8 on pg 48 with this comment: "Yet such reaction does not justify the assertions of 'Clean Flesh' doctrine." This may be true in some cases but there are many more examples of well known brethren in our community whose writings demonstrate clean flesh leanings. Generally these leanings are known by their reluctance to accept clause 5 of the BASF and will either omit this or avoid discussing this teaching in their commentaries. BASF clause 5 "That Adam broke this law, and was adjudged unworthy of immortality, and sentenced to return to the ground from whence he was taken - a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity." It is a shame this clause is never discussed in Bro Luke's 68 page booklet. Bro Carter certainly held all the BASF as a touchstone of belief, and recommended it to the Australian ecclesias as the key to obtaining a lasting unity here. Contrast the AUB pg 9 7 ' P a g e "We understand that most of the ecclesias in Australia do use the Birmingham Statement of Faith. As an indication of the unity of the Faith that is enjoined upon believers, is it not possible for all to use it as the definition that is best known and most widely accepted? May we commend this to your earnest attention." What is Andrewism? In Chapter 9 Bro Luke summarizes some of Bro JJ Andrew views, though none are presented as direct quotations, nor do we learn where these views are recorded. The 14 points listed on pages 49-50 are dismissed by Bro Luke as errors; however, we need to be careful not to throw overboard everything simply because Bro Andrew said it. Those familiar with subjects discussed in the Christadelphian Magazine from the 1870's period will know Bro JJA combated the errors of clean flesh and assisted Bro Roberts over an extended period of time, he contributed several excellent articles in the Christadelphian Magazine. When Bro Carter visited Australia in the 1950's he was astute enough to notice this when discussing the Atonement with the brethren. Some had embraced Bro JJA's wrong ideas but some of Bro Andrew's words were quite harmless. A portion of these appear on pg 70 of the AUB. Unfortunately Bro Carter's "astute observation" concerning many of Bro J.J. Andrew's views was omitted from the AUB when it went to print. Bro Carter's missing comments can be found in their complete form in the record which appeared in the Christadelphian 1958 pg 372-376. Turning to the AUB we find several comments from Bro JJA's pamphlet 'The Blood of Covenant' (an erroneous publication which Bro Roberts rebutted by immediately publishing of 'The Blood of Christ'). We have Bro Carters summary as follows. Bro Carter's comment as it appears in the AUB on pg 70 "Further citation is unnecessary....That these ideas were resisted at the time they were advanced is abundantly evident from the discussions in THE CHRISTADELPHIAN in the 1890's." However, Bro Carter did not say this quite as it appears in the AUB. Please note the insertion of "...." in the citation in the box above which is a clue that further words are missing. By reading the full quote of Bro Carter, in the official record in the Christadelphian report, we immediately realize how important it is to understand the context in which words were said. Here is the full quote which appeared in the Christadelphian report. Bro Carters full comment in the Christadelphian Magazine 1958 pg 376 "Further citation is unnecessary: the views advanced by bro. Barnard are in these respects the same as those taught by J.J Andrew. Of course, this correspondence in the writings of these brethren would not mean of itself that in these particulars the point of view advanced is wrong. That these ideas were resisted at the time they were advanced is abundantly evident from the discussions in THE CHRISTADELPHIAN in the 1890's." 8 ' P a g e A careful discrimination is required to sort the wheat from the chaff and unfortunately this is not always done. The Atonement The Divine Balance pg 53 "...John Andrew wrote in the Blood of the Covenant that 'Jesus required atonement for a like reason and for the same object as the Tabernacle. The reason was physical defilement, and the object, to provide a fit dwelling place for Jehovah'." Comment - This quotation from Bro Andrew is suspicious because of what we know goes before (see Bro Luke's booklet pg 52-53), where Bro JJA makes the bearer of Adam's race worthy of God's sentence of a violent death. This is an error and one that also makes the Lord worthy or guilty of a violent death through Adam. We repudiate this as does Bro Luke. However, the phrases and words of Bro Andrew can be used in their correct context and this subtle point is where many stumble in their rebuttals and claims of Andrewism. It is quite correct to state - Jesus required atonement for a like reason and for the same object as the Tabernacle. The reason was physical defilement, and the object, to provide a fit dwelling place for Jehovah (Yahweh). This is what lay behind one of the lessons of the Law, and why almost all things under the Law were purged by blood Heb 8:22. The tabernacle was physically defiled but certainly not morally defiled. The altar was purged by blood and an Atonement made for it, we know this has a relationship to Christ Heb 13:10. Those who hold a cursory understanding of Andrewism struggle to accept a defiled nature is a misfortune not a crime (a teaching clearly taught in the AUB on pg 75 in Bro Thomas quote from Elpis Israel.) Bro JJA was astray because he considered a defiled nature to be a cause of estrangement from God, but estrangement is the result of ignorance or wicked works not hereditary decent. This imbalance was counteracted by Bro Carter when travelling around Australia in the 1950's and is clearly put right in the Australian Unity Book. Contrast the AUB pg 62 "Estrangement arises from ignorance or wicked works...To talk of 'possession' of human nature causing estrangement misses the essential factors of separation from God and reconciliation to Him. Its fallacy is shown by the fact that Jesus possessed our nature, but he was never estranged from God." By overstating Andrewism some find themselves dispensing with elements of our first principles which state we have a defiled nature. Some even convince themselves that Bro Carter saw inaccuracies with the BASF and sought to correct and improve it when he and Bro Cooper drew up the Unity agreement. But there is no evidence of this in any of His writings that I can find. With this in mind the reader should read Bro Luke's 14 point list and consider carefully if all the views presented are erroneous. An example of what I mean is found in point 7. 9 ' P a g e The Atonement The Divine Balance pg 49 "7. Thus sin has two forms, moral and physical, and atonement by the blood of the everlasting covenant is required to take away the one as well as the other." Comment - But we can trace this standard teaching to Bro Thomas and find it in the AUB on pg 75 where a section from Elpis Israel is quoted concerning two acceptations of sin! The Atonement The Divine Balance pg 56 "When it is further taught that Christ also needed atonement because of the nature of Adam who sinned, then the folly is only multiplied." Comment - Bro Luke is following the same mistake others have made who attribute sin to transgression wherever they read 'sin'. The AUB is very clear - the nature of the Lord (in common with all mankind) is rightly described as sin due to the secondary way the term is understood. Here again is a citation from the AUB used earlier Contrast the AUB pg 80 "Now what is this element called uncleanness', 'sin', iniquity', etc.? The difficulty experienced by some in the solution of the question, arises from a disregard of the secondary use of terms. Knowing that sin is the act of transgression, they read 'act of transgression' every time they see the term sin, ignoring the fact that there is a metonymy in the use of all words which apply to sin." Throughout Ch 10 of 'The Atonement The Divine Balance' we find a misunderstanding of Andrewism discussed. Often this confusion blends true teaching with erroneous teaching. This is best illustrated by the following examples. The Atonement The Divine Balance pg 58 "This broad sketch helps us to see the wood from the trees lest, being ensnared in unhealthy legalism, we find ourselves distracted or confused by complex theories of three justifications for Christ, of two atonements, of partial forgiveness, delayed forgiveness, of 'physical sin' that has no guilt, of a reconciliation of Christ when in fact he had given no offence!" The Atonement The Divine Balance pg 61 "If his (Christ) nature was literally sin then he was a sinner and had need of forgiveness for the guilt of his nature...But if we are speaking of human nature as literal sin; and with sin there is guilt and for guilt there must be atonement and repentance and forgiveness." 10 ' P a g e Comment - These conclusions are incorrect because they fail to accept that there are a number of ways in which sin is used in scripture. The teaching of the BASF clause 5 is clear on this: "That Adam broke this law, and was adjudged unworthy of immortality, and sentenced to return to the ground from whence he was taken - a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity." Conclusion We should all agree that the doctrines to be believed and taught by us, without reservation, are the first principles of the One Faith as revealed in the Scriptures, of which the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith (with positive and negative clauses and the Commandments of Christ) gives a true definition. Our fellowship and practice in Australia is based on these truths. Here we find the divine balance of the Atonement sufficiently expressed together with the 1958 Unity Book. When further elaboration upon the Atonement is required, the two expositions of Bro Roberts in "The Slain Lamb" and "The Blood of Christ" express our understanding of the Atonement. If brethren and sisters made themselves familiar with these expositions, the divine balance would be seen and the righteousness of the Father manifested in the Son greatly appreciated by all.
Brother T.A.Snow Feb 2015 11