Dual Atonement vs Single Atonement Theology
We’re gonna look at the dual atonement. This may be a new phrase for you. It may not be a new phrase for you. But there’s a dual atonement versus a single atonement theology out there and I want to try to draw out the difference between the single atonement and the dual atonement theology, and what it is that the Bible teaches.
True or False Test
Now, I’m gonna read a couple of quotes to you but I’m going to ask you if these quotes are true or false, but I’m not going to tell you right off who wrote them, because once you know who wrote them, many of you will know instantly whether they’re true or false. And I don’t want you to judge the truth or falsity of these statements, these quotes based upon who wrote them. I want you to judge it based upon the information that’s there.
So with that being said don’t blurt out whether their true or false but just kind of answer quietly in your head. So here’s the first statement:
“This sacrifice referring to Calvary was completely efficacious. It provided complete atonement for all mankind.”
So the question is, did that which happened on the cross, the sacrifice that happened on the cross, was it completely efficacious? In other words, did it provide complete atonement for all mankind upon the cross?
So statement number two, as you’re thinking about that, I’m going to give you another statement saying basically the same thing from another angle. Statement number two:
“Jesus, our surety entered the holy places, and appeared in the presence of God for us. But it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No, He had already obtained it for us on the cross.”
So when Jesus entered the holy place, or the most holy place, was He doing anything to obtain something for us? Or had He already obtained it as this quote says? Had He already obtained it all on the cross? Or was he hoping to obtain something for us when he enters before the Father? What do you think? I’m now going to tell you and show you where these quotes came from.
Questions on Doctrine – Le Roy Froom
The first one came from Questions on Doctrine, page 357. And the second one came from Questions on Doctrine, page 381. Brothers and sisters, what was just taught there was actually a single atonement with an application. So in other words, Jesus died on the cross, that is the atonement and the only atonement. What he is doing now is not an atonement, it’s simply applying what he did on the cross. Now that may sound tricky. That may sound like a two part atonement, but it is not. It is a single atonement with an application. That is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches two atonements very distinctly, very clearly, a dual atonement.
And so I want to clarify, by showing a statement from Barnhouse, just in case what Froom said in the QOD or Questions on Doctrine was not clear enough. I want to read a statement to you from Barnhouse that is ultra clear. Article is entitled “Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?” and it’s found in Eternity Magazine, September 1956. Speaking of the Adventist leaders that he met with he says “Further, they do not believe as some of their earlier teachers taught that Jesus’s atoning work was not complete on Calvary.” He had a double negative there so I want to interpret that. What he is saying is that the leaders that they met with which included L.E. Froom, taught that everything was complete on Calvary. Totally and completely done on Calvary. Continuing on, “but instead that he was still carrying on a second ministering work since 1844. This idea is also totally repudiated.” So again, what he is saying is that the leaders that they met with believed that everything was done and complete at the cross and what Jesus is doing now is not carrying on any kind of ministering work since 1844. He says this idea that he is carrying on any kind of second ministering work since 1844 is totally repudiated.
Wow, that should be pretty clear. That should be a problem for you. I know it is for me because it’s a problem from the Word of God. Another statement from Froom, Questions on Doctrine, page 354-355: “When, therefore, one hears an Adventist say, or reads in Adventist literature—even in the writings of Ellen G, White” So now Froom is going to interpret or redefine the spirit of prophecy to you. He is going to redefine what Jesus said through Ellen White. That is the definition of a cult. Anyways, let’s keep going. He says “—even in the writings of Ellen White, that Christ is making atonement now. So when one hears that Christ is making atonement now, even in the writings of Ellen White, it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement he made on the cross.”
He just reinterpreted the writings of Ellen White to say when she says he’s making atonement for us now, that’s really not what she said. She’s really trying to say she just didn’t do it very well. She’s really trying to say that He’s making an application of the benefits of the atonement. In other words, there is a single atonement, and that was done at the Cross. What he is doing now, it’s nothing, He’s just making application of that atonement, not a dual atonement.
Atonement – Forgiveness
And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. Leviticus 4:20
But let’s check out Leviticus 4:20. And we’re gonna see what the Word of God has to say here in Leviticus 4:20. And the Spirit of Prophecy through the Bible says: “And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be for given them.” So what we see here from the Word of God is an atonement that is being made for the people and forgiveness is the result. And what is going on? It’s the sacrifice. The sacrifice is an atonement for the people and this is the forgiveness. This is where forgiveness takes place. This is justification. This is the cross. Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. This is Jesus upon the cross. This is that type that is being clearly referenced here.
The Red Spray Paint Illustration
Now, when I was young, I want to try to illustrate this. When I was young, my brother and sister got into a bit of a feud. Now my brother is eight years older, and my sister is seven years older. So they were probably around 12-13, I’m not sure exactly. But they got into a feud and my brother wasn’t happy with the results of that feud. He was disciplined by my mother for their argument and he didn’t get mad, he got even. And he was actually very deep thinker on these kinds of things. He had some very intriguing revenge tactics. What he did this time, was he took some red spray paint, and he went out to the outside of the house. And my sister’s name is Evi. And so he spray painted on the side of the house “Evi is beautiful.”
So when my father comes out, he sees this red spray paint across the side of his house that says Evi is beautiful. What do you think he’s gonna do? Evi! He yells for her. She comes out and he says, did you do this? And she says no. Now my sister was very notorious for denying things even when she was caught red handed. She would deny things. Even when she was being whipped she would deny it to the bitter end. So when she said no, my father was like, he just didn’t believe her. So she says Matthew must have done it, my brother. And so my father calls Matt, my brother out and he says, “did you do this?” And my brother’s like, “no, of course not. Why would I write Evi is beautiful on the side of the house? This was so ingenious. So my father commenced to disciplining my sister and as things typically went she yelled, “I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it, it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t hurt.” So he didn’t believe her. It wasn’t until my brother was almost 50. So this is just a couple of years ago that he finally fessed up to this, that he did this. Of course, I knew that he did it. But he did this. He wrote Evi is beautiful on the side of the house.
Forgiveness and Cleansing
Now, this isn’t a biblical example. So what I want to do is, I want to change this example into a biblical example. And then you’ll be able to see quite clearly forgiveness, justification and sanctification. Forgiveness and cleansing and the difference between these two things. So let’s say that my sister did spray paint on the side of the house, “Evi is beautiful” and when my father comes out and yells for her, and she comes up and he says, did you do this? She lowers her head, and she says, “yes I did. Please father, will you forgive me?” And my father says, “yes, you are forgiven.” Now, let’s stop there for just a moment. Does the fact that she’s forgiven, cleanse her sin off the side of her father’s house? No, it does not cleanse that spray paint off the side of her father’s house. So every time we would drive in the driveway, we’re going to see my sister’s sins, marring her father’s house. Every time. She’s forgiven, but her sin needs to be cleansed off the side of her father’s house.
So let’s continue this concept with a biblical understanding. So now at this point, her brother, her elder brother, would step up and say father, I will cleanse the house. That would be a biblical example of justification and sanctification. Forgiveness and cleansing. Forgiveness – she’s forgiven when my father said, “you are forgiven” but it’s not cleansed, that sin is not eradicated, it still marrs her father’s house until that sin is cleansed off the side of her father’s house. Her sin is still marring the house of her father. Atonement means at-one-ment. Can we be at one with a holy God if we have sin on our record? No. Our sin must be cleansed from the record. Our sin cannot marr our father’s house, and us still be cleansed from the sin. So in order for us to be cleansed of the sin, that sin needs to be cleaned off of our Father’s house. That does not happen in Leviticus 4:20. Leviticus 4:20 is forgiveness.
Atonement – Cleansing
And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. Leviticus 16:19
29 And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: 30 For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. Leviticus 16:29-30
Let’s go now to Leviticus chapter 16:19, 29-30 and we will now see the cleansing aspect. Leviticus 16, starting in verse 19. Verse 19, says: “And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.” So this is on the horns of the altar. This is where the sins are recorded and now in the Day of Atonement, the typical day of atonement, which we also understand is fulfilled in the anti typical day of atonement. In the typical day of atonement, the blood is brought in and is sprinkled seven times upon the horns of the altar, to cleanse it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. Now let’s go to verse 29 and 30. And hear the word of God tells us: “And this shall be a statute for ever unto you” by the way, that “statute for ever” – what that word means is it doesn’t mean without beginning and without end. It means for a very long period of time.”that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month,” this is the Day of Atonement, the typical day of atonement. “You shall afflict your souls and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you. Verse 30, “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.”
Brothers and sisters, Leviticus 4:20 is an atonement for forgiveness and Leviticus 16 is an atonement for cleansing. There is a dual atonement. The cross, and then what Jesus is doing ever since October 22nd, 1844. That is a dual atonement. The cross, the forgiveness and the cleansing, the justification and the sanctification.
Patriarchs and Prophets 357.5 “The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement;”
I want you to notice that word final atonement.
Manuscript 21, 1895. “Today He (thats Christ) is making an atonement for us before the Father. ‘if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
When is He making atonement for us before the Father? Today He is making atonement for us before the Father. He made an atonement on the cross and He is making an atonement today for us, because we are living in the anti typical day of atonement.
Testimonies Volume 5, page 575. “All need to become more intelligent in regard to the work of the atonement,” brothers and sisters, that word all includes me and it includes you. We all need to become more intelligent in regard to the work of the atonement which is going on in the sanctuary above. “When this grand truth is seen and understood, those who hold it will work in harmony with Christ, to prepare a people to stand in the great day of God, and their efforts will be successful.” Do you want your efforts to be successful? I know I do. Well, in order for our efforts to be successful, then we need to stand in harmony with Christ, preparing a people to stand before the great day of God. Now how do we do that? It’s when we understand this grand truth of the dual atonement. This grand truth is seen and understood. And those who hold it will work in harmony with Christ, to prepare a people to stand in the great day of God. Brothers and sisters, this understanding of what is going on right now the second atonement, the dual atonement that is going on right now, it is a vital importance. Because if we don’t understand it, and hold it and see it, then we will not be working in harmony with Christ, which means we will not really be preparing a people to stand before the great day of God, and our efforts will not be successful. This is important.
Great Controversy, p623. “Now,” When? Now. “while our High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ, not even by a thought could our Savior be brought to yield to temptation.” Wow, not even by a thought. “He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.” How are we to be found when we stand in the time of trouble? Not even sinning by thought. I don’t know about you brothers and sisters but I need help here. This is not something I can do on my own. She continues: “It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith in the atoning blood of Christ. Our precious Savior invites us to join ourselves to Him, to unite our weakness, to His strength, our ignorance to His wisdom, our unworthiness to His merits.”
Resolve to be the Lord’s
I have an appeal. I want to make an appeal to you. And this appeal comes directly from Testimonies Volume 5, page 353 and 354 and I want to read it to you as the appeal. So, I want you to hear Jesus speaking directly to you as I read this.
“From this hour resolve to be the Lord’s, doing your whole duty, trusting implicitly in the great atonement. Do this and you will have nothing to fear. The remainder of your life journey will be tranquil and happy. And you will secure to yourself that life which shall continue as long as God shall live.”
Do you want to live the remainder of your life tranquil and happy? Well, the way that’s going to happen, brothers and sisters, is if we trust implicitly, in the great atonement, and Jesus is asking you now, will you resolve to be the Lord’s, doing your whole duty and trusting implicitly in the great atonement? If so, I would ask that you would kneel with me in closing prayer where possible.
This transcript has been lightly edited for readability. Additional images have been added for improved readability