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Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary

Ten Commandments - as Compared in the New International Version & the King James Version & the Hebrew Interlinear

OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:

Additional Various Studies --
"Saving Faith" - Dr. E. J. Waggoner
"What is Man" The Gospel in Creation - "The Gospel in Creation"
"A Convicting Jewish Witness", study on the Godhead - David L. Cooper D.D.

Bible As History - Werner Keller

Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts

Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith

Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson

Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones

"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson

Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen

Place of the Bible In Education, The - Alonzo T. Jones

Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen

Sanctuary Service, The
- M. L. Andreasen

So Much In Common - WCC/SDA

Spiritual Gifts. The Great Controversy, between Christ and His Angels, and Satan and his Angels - Ellen G. White

Under Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy

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WWN 2001 Jul - Sep

 

2001 Jul -- XXXIV 7(01) -- A Search for Identity -- 7 -Editor's Preface -- Before Dr. Knight asked the question. "What does all this mean?" he discussed "Adventism in Theological Tension" from 1950 to close of the century. It remains in tension into the third millennium. Knight discusses various causes for this tension, and no doubt these have been contributing factors, but the one key event which plunged the Church into discord was the Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956. The identity of the Church was lost as a result of these conferences and has not been recovered. The way the compromises were forced upon the Church only added to the self-inflicted wound. Nothing was allowed to stand in the way of this new movement. M. L. Andreasen who stood up against it suffered sever abuse at the hands of the Church's leadership at its highest level . Knight rightly observes that the actions of the General Conference "created a martyr." Even though prior to his death, they tried to rectify their action; but as Knight concluded, "the damage had been done." (p. 171). There are aspects of the SDA-Evangelical Conferences which Knight fails to discuss. Either he did not know, or knowing was forbidden to reveal the full deception practiced upon the Church. We discuss that aspect as fully as possible in this issue.

We return again to a discussion of the prophecy in Revelation 12 to 14. However, we devote special emphasis to the 13th chapter where the "two-horned" beast and his activities are defined in prophetic symbolism. There a reference to the history of ancient Israel is interjected. What is its significance when the prophecy given in the last book of the Old Testament is factored in? The whole prophetic picture, and current events which are moving in that direction declare loud and clear, it is the end time of human history.

p 2 -- The Search for Identity - Part 7 -- Knight described the final period of Adventism's search for identity as "Adventism in Theological Crisis." Selecting 1950 as the beginning date, he listed no final date. He did well, for Adventism is still in crisis, and there is no end in sight as the Church enters the Third Millennium. This period has been marked by apostasy which is "increasing and waxing stronger, and will continue to do so until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout" (Series B, #7, p.56).

Changes both in the religious and political world were in plare as time entered the last half of the 20th century. In 1948, the World Council of Churches began functioning, and Israel became an independent nation once again. This latter event forced the Church to reassess some of its prophetic interpretations. By 1950, some theological changes were also in place in the publications of the Church. Bible Readings for the Home Circle had been revised in the crucial area of the Incarnation. The year 1950 witnessed changes in the leadership of two of its three top executive positions, president and treasurer.

Looking back with 20/20 vision, one must recognize that the most important event to occur in the Church in 1950 was the challenge brought by two youthful missionaries from Africa calling the leadership of the Church to account for what happened near the close of the previous century in 1888, the rejection of the message of righteousness by faith. The reverberations of this challenge continue to echo in the corridors of Adventism.

The new administration was not slow to respond to this challenge. In two years a world-wide Bible Conference was convened in the Sligo Park, Seventh-day Adventist Church. The doctrine which had been revised in Bible Readings was not even discussed. Knight mentions this conference only by a brief passing reference. He wrote:      The year 1952 ... saw ...the first denomination-wide Bible Conference since 1919. The conference, as the General Conference president saw it, was not to deal with "side issues that have no direct bearing on the plan of salvation" but to explore the central theological concerns of the Adventist Church (Our Firm Foundation vol. 1, p. 47). The discussions do not seem to have anything very revolutionary about them, but the list of speakers represent to some extent a younger generation of theologians. One shift of significance is that recently-retired M. L. Andreasen is missing from the roster while a younger man by the name of Edward Heppenstall is on it. Participants expounded Andreasen's theology, but also Heppenstall's understanding of the new covenant experience. (p. 162)

Knight, though a professed historian, failed to research sufficiently into this Bible Conference to grasp the flow of events which would occur in the decades to follow. First, it was a controlled conference. There was no time given for open discussion of the studies presented. Heppenstall's presentation did not go over smoothly. I saw a veteran Evangelist stomp his feet and walk out of the presentation as he had no other way to question or register his opposition to what was being presented.

Having responded to a survey made prior by one of the speakers in gathering data for his presentation, I was anxious to hear the results. These were given but did not reveal a result which the Church leadership wanted to hear. The delegates had been promised a full publication of all the presentations, but when the two volumes were published, this survey was missing. I wrote to the editor and asked him why, and if I could have a copy of the results of his survey. He told me that he could not give me a copy as he had been ordered to put the survey in deep freeze. To my knowledge, it has never been thawed.

Another respected retired Bible teacher was missing from the roster of speakers. The reaction was acute among a segment of delegates to what was presented in the area of eschatology. Since the Bible teacher had taught in the College adjacent to the Sligo Park Church arrangements were for a special meeting to be held in an auditorium on the campus of the college where the teacher could challenge the views being presented at the Bible Conference. I did not personally hold to the position taken by the retired Bible teacher. To me the one speaking at the Bible Conference was more in line with the Word of God. It was evident, however, that the control mechanism in place did not permit the discussion of any view at variance with a predetermined agenda. The fact was not recognized that in the presentation of truth, if the Spirit of truth is present, there is liberty. (II Cor. 3:17). And how can truth be presented if the Spirit of truth is absent?

Knight in his presentation of the data on the 1952 Bible Conference missed its real objective. One of the

p 3 -- last presentations to be given was by the General Conference President himself who had convened the conference. His topic was "The Lord our Righteousness." As he neared the close of his presentation he stated:       To a large degree the church failed to build on the foundation laid at the 1888 General Conference. Much has been lost as a result. We are years behind where we should have been in spiritual growth. Long ere this we should have been in the Promised Land.

But the message of righteousness by faith given in the 1888 Conference has been repeated here. Practically every speaker from the first day onward has laid stress upon this all-important doctrine (?), and there was no prearranged plan that he should do so. It was spontaneous on the part of the speakers. No doubt they were impelled by the Spirit of God to do so. Truly this one subject has, in this conference "swallowed up every other."

And this great truth has been given here in this 1952 Bible Conference with far greater power than it was given in the 1888 Conference because those who have spoken here have had the advantage of much added light shining forth from hundreds of pronouncements on this subject in the Spirit of prophecy which those who spoke back there did not have. The light of justification and righteousness by faith shines upon us today more clearly than it ever shone before upon any people.

No longer will the question be, "What was the attitude of our workers and people toward the message of righteousness by faith that was given in 1888? What did they do about it?" From now on the great question must be, "What did we do with the light on righteousness by faith as proclaimed in the 1952 Bible Conference?" (Our Firm Foundation, Vol.II, pp.616-617)

Clearly this was a reference to the challenge which Wieland and Short had lodged with the General Conference officers in 1950; but few in attendance were aware of their manuscript, 1888 Re-Examined. However, in the second question asked by Branson is the embryo of what would take place three years later. If the message of 1888 had been preached "with far greater power" at the 1952 Bible Conference, and if what actually happened in 1888 had been clearly perceived, the debacle of 1955-56 would not have occurred.

Knight summarizes the presentations by stating, "The discussions do not seem to have anything very revolutionary about them" (p. 162). This was to a large extent true, and the conclusion which Branson drew cannot be substantiated by an analysis of the studies given.

We turn our attention next to "the debacle of 1955-56." If there was one single event which above all others produced the theological tension in Adventism, the Seventh-day Adventist - Evangelical Conferences was that event. The catalyst for this series of conferences was a letter written by T. E. Unruh, then president of the East Pennsylvania Conference, to Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse, editor of Eternity magazine, commending him on his radio sermons on righteousness by faith from the book of Romans. Herein is the same faulty understanding, as voiced by Knight, of what the message of 1888 was all about. Knight perceives the messages of Jones and Waggoner as "the same as that taught by the evangelicals" (p. 106). Barnhouse responded to Unruh's letter expressing "astonishment that an Adventist clergyman would commend him for preaching righteousness by faith." The exchange continued until Barnhouse openly attacked the book, Steps to Christ, which Unruh sent him.

About six years later, Unruh received a letter from Walter Martin, a Southern Baptist clergyman, on the staff of Eternity as consulting editor, and a member of the Evangelical Foundation. He had been commissioned to write a book against Seventh-day Adventists, but wanted to have first hand contact so as to write fairly about them. Unruh contacted R. Allan Anderson and LeRoy E. Froom whom Martin requested to meet, and W. F. Read, a Field-Secretary of the General Conference. These Adventist conferees met with Martin and George F. Cannon, professor of theology on the staff of Nyack Missionary College in New York. Unruh served as chairman for all the sessions.

Four areas of disagreement became the focal points in the discussions of the conferences: "1)   that the atonement of Christ was not completed on the cross; 2)   that salvation is the result of grace plus works of the law; 3)   that the Lord Jesus Christ was a created being, not from all eternity; 4)   and that He partook of man's sinful nature at the incarnation." (Quoted by Knight (p. 165) from Our Hope, November 1956). Commenting on these issues and the answers given by the Adventist conferees, Knight wrote accurately:      It appears that Froom, Anderson, and their colleagues were not completely candid when they gave Martin and

p 4 -- Barnhouse the opinion that "the overwhelming majority never held to those divergent views." Or as Barnhouse put it in relation to the information that the Adventist leaders had provided on the human nature of Christ:   "The majority of the denomination has always held to the sinless, holy, and perfect (human nature) despite the fact that certain of the their writers have occasionally gotten into print with contrary views completely repugnant to the Church at large." ... Historical investigation, however, indicates that just the opposite was true on the issue of the human nature of Christ and even such beliefs as the completed atonement and the eternal existence of Christ. (pp. 165-166)

Knight uses the more genteel descriptive language - "not completely candid" when the stronger word would better convey the truth - the Adventist conferees, Froom, Anderson, Unruh and Read, lied to the Evangelicals. Once one lie was spoken, more lies followed. Martin prepared a list of questions which covered most of the beliefs of Adventism. To these questions, the Adventist conferees responded in writings, and which in turn became the basis for the book,Questions on Doctrine. Here came the second lie. The answers which the Adventist conferees supplied to the Evangelicals are not the same in all detail as the answers as published in Questions on Doctrine. In other words, the book as given to the ministry and laity of the Church is itself a revision. The original answers are still unknown to the rank and file of both the ministry and laity of the Church. The question is, was there a conspiracy to cover the original answers when the conferences finally became known to the Church?

In the second of three articles written by Walter Martin in Eternity, (Nov. 1956) he quoted from the answers given him which he assumed would go into the book, Questions on Doctrine, unaltered. He quoted the entire answer to Question 3 (pp.29-32). The alteration, though but one word, was crucial and would in the opinion of the Adventist conferees help allay the deep concern of those who alleged compromise of truth. The text from which Martin copied, read "But with the passage of years the earlier diversity of view on certain doctrines gradually gave way to unity of view ... on the death of Christ as the complete atonement for sin. ... All this has made it desirable and necessary for us to declare our position anew upon the great fundamental teachings of the Christian faith, and to deny every statement or implication ... that His death on the cross was not a full and complete atonement."

In both of the underscored phrases in the copy from which Martin quoted, the published book added one word: "complete sacrificial atonement" and "a full and complete sacrificial atonement." This one word, "sacrificial" permits the concept of a "final" atonement to be made by Jesus Christ as High Priest. How many more changes are to be found between the answers given to the Evangelicals and the book published for the entire Church to read can never be known until the copy of the original answers are released. Knight, if he had done his historical research as a reputable historian would have done, would have revealed the full extent of this duplicity and thus helped to dispel "the refuge of lies" which has created the tension in Adventism. Well did Isaiah describe the current problem as he spoke forthrightly concerning such a duplicity in his day:      Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we in agreement: when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come to us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves. (28:14-15)

When Barnhouse's first article, giving the Evangelical perspective of the conferences, appeared in Eternity - "Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?" - Andreasen noted some of the statements the Adventist conferees made as alleged by Barnhouse. Bambouse had written:      They (the Adventist leaders) do not believe, as some of their earlier leaders taught, that Jesus' atoning work was not completed on Calvary but instead that He was still carrying on a second ministering work since 1844. This idea is also totally repudiated. They believe that since His ascension Christ has been ministering the benefits of the atonement which He completed on Calvary. (Sept., 1956)

To this Andreasen responded:       To me, to repudiate Christ's ministry in the second apartment, now, is to repudiate Adventism. That is one of the foundation pillars of Adventism. If we reject the atonement in the sanctuary now, we may as well repudiate all Adventism. For this God's people are not ready. They will not follow the leaders in apostasy (Letters to the Churches, p.53).

But they did follow the leaders into apostasy, and this is what produced the crisis in Adventism which to this

p 5 -- day remains unresolved.

With the publication of the book, Questions on Doctrine, the apostasy was confirmed. It stated:      Adventists do not hold any theory of a dual atonement (Entire sentence is in emphasis.) "Christ hath redeemed us" (Gal. 313) "once for all" (Heb. 10;10). (p. 390)

[In the above relating of Biblical texts, is one of the greatest perversions of the analogy of Scripture to ever appear in an Adventist publication and ranks with the illustration of such perversion: Judas "went and hanged himself" (Matt. 27:5); go "do (thou) likewise" (Luke 3:11).]

Again, under a section captioned, "Redemption Absolute by the Victory of Jesus," it reads:      
How glorious is the thought that the King, who occupies the throne, is also our representative at the court of heaven! This becomes all the more meaningful when we realize that 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. And now as our High Priest He ministers the virtues of His atoning sacrifice for us. (p.381)

This book, Questions on Doctrine, was first published in 1957, and was never reprinted in a second revised edition. In the "Introduction" it was plainly stated that "No statement of Seventh-day Adventist belief can be considered official unless it is adopted by the General Conference in ... session." However, it did claim for the book that "this volume can be viewed as truly representative of the faith and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church" (p.9). Since 1957, the 1980 General Conference session in Dallas, Texas, voted a new Statement of Beliefs. Did its wording annul the positions set forth in the book, Questions on Doctrine?

Walter Martin was also concerned about this question. In a revised and updated edition of his Kingdom of the Cults, Martin noted the turmoil in Adventism writing that "during the last ten years (since the early 1970s) the Seventh-day Adventist denomination has seen turbulence, both administratively and doctrinally, that is more extensive than any turmoil in the organization's history" (p.410). This accords with Knight's evaluation that since 1950 Adventism has been in "theological tension."

Martin went one step further. On February 16,1983, he wrote the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists asking for a "public and official statement reaffirming or denying the authority of the Adventist book, Questions on Doctrine." As one can see this was after the 1980 session at which a new Statement of Beliefs had been voted. He received an answer from W. Richard Lesher, then a vice-president of the General Conference and to become president of Andrews University and the Theological Seminary. It read:       You asked first if Seventh-day Adventists still stand behind the answers in Questions on Doctrine as they did in 1957. The answer is yes. You have noted in your letter that some opposed the answers given then, and, to some extent, the same situation exists today. But certainly the great majority of the Seventh-day Adventists are in harmony with the views expressed in Questions on Doctrine. (ibid.)

Where then does this leave the individual Adventist, whether he is still a member of the church who has continued to "follow the leaders in apostasy" which Andreasen thought they would not do, or whether he is a member of the Adventist Community seeking to maintain the truths which he believes was committed to the Church? While Knight has cited the fact that the Adventist conferees lied to the Evangelicals, he also observed that the leadership in the production of the book lied to the laity and ministry. This latter illustration is the more serious inasmuch as it reflects on the problem as to the authority of the Writings of Ellen G. White. In the back of the book, Questions on Doctrine, compilations from the Writings are added as Appendixes. Subheadings are supplied to give the intent that the leadership wishes the reader to see. A case in point is found in Appendix B. Knight comments, "On page 650, for example, we read that Christ 'took sinless human nature.' Not only did Ellen White not say that, but she stated just the opposite - that Christ 'took upon Him our sinful nature."' (p.169)

A true "identity" cannot be based in falsehood, nor in an attempt to deceive. Therefore Adventism continues in a crisis of identity as well as in theology, and will continue in such a crisis until the guidelines which guided the pioneers in their search for truth are revived and pursued by the main body (which is a doubtful possibility), or by a segment of the Adventist community who truly wish an identity with which

p 6 -- Heaven can identify. This would produce the long looked for "remnant of her seed" (Rev. 12:17).

[The documentation for the above references to the SDA-Evangelical Conferences can be found in the manuscript by that title, and the study, "Betrayal of the Sacred Trust."]

The Divine Viewpoint in Meaningful Symbols -- Prophecy is given from the viewpoint of God. When God describes a power as a "little horn" with "the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things" (Dan. 7:8), i.e., "great words against the most High" (v. 25); when He depicts the same power as a "beast" with "a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies" (Rev. 13:5); when He defines this power as "that Wicked (One)" [ 'o anomoV - "he in whom all iniquity has fixed its abode" - Thayer] (II Thess. 2:8), he is not speaking of a saintly character regardless of how Billy Graham, James Dobson, or as the secular press reports him to be. If indeed, we would truly accept the significance of God's symbolization of earthly powers, we could keep our thinking straight in regard to events taking place before our very eyes and not be deceived.

The same forthright divine viewpoint is stated concerning the second beast of Revelation 13. It comes "up out of the earth" (ver. 11), while the first beast arose "out of the sea" (ver. 1). Its center of activity then will be the area (nation) represented symbolically by "the earth." It presents a conflicting contrast in its symbolism: it "had two horns like a lamb," but "spake as a dragon" (ibid.). In the symbolism of Revelation, the "dragon" is used as a symbol of the "Devil" or "Satan" (12:9); while the "lamb" is used to define Him as He "had been slain" (5:6) but Who is "alive for evermore" (1:18). It is safe to conclude that within the confines of, and period of existence of, this second beast there will be enacted the final scenes of that great controversy which had been vividly symbolized in Revelation 12:7-9, 11 (cmp. with 13:15).

This second beast was to exercise "all the power of the first beast before him" (13:12). The first beast's power has been extensive, and was received from "the dragon" (13:2). There is noted a reciprocity between the two. One of the heads of the first beast "was slain to death" (13:3); but the second beast "causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast" after an event occurs - "the deadly wound was healed" (13:12), in other words, the wound to the particular head. It should also be observed that the clause in the KJV which reads - "and all the world wondered after the beast" (13:3) - in the Greek text reads - "and wondered all the earth (symbolic?) after the beast."

Verse 13 is a pivotal verse. It reads:      And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.

Is this something that will be literally fulfilled, or is it a reference directing the "one who reads" to a specific experience delineated in history and the final prophecy of the Old Testament so that he may determine its meaning? The incident is clear as to emphasis and purpose. Elijah had summoned the nation of Israel to Mt. Carmel along with the prophets of Baal. To the people, gathered in answer to the summons of Ahab, Elijah challenged, "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord is God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him" (I Kings 18:21). Then Elijah made a proposition:   "The God that answereth by fire, let Him be God" (ver. 24). In the very prophetic description of the events leading to the final confrontation in the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the reader is directed to the confrontation on Mt. Carmel. Who is to be worshipped - "the first beast" (Rev.13:12), or "Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water"? (14:7).

Into this final picture is projected another factor. The final prophecy of the Old Testament reads:      Behold, I will send Eljiah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6)

Nowhere can one find in the confrontation on Mt. Carmel, or in its national context any reference to an issue involving "family values." It is, however, interjected into the final picture by the prophecy in Malachi, as well as by prophetic symbolism in Revelation. A staff writer for The Washington Post began a series of articles in the Sunday edition, April 15, 2001, noting that the Bush administration believes that "government can and should play a large role in mold-

p 7 -- ing the private behavior of the citizenry." The article continues:      The Bush administration is devising proposals to strengthen American families, using grants to promote "responsible fatherhood," marriage counseling to prevent divorce, character education for children and tax credits to promote two parent homes and adoption. (p. A01)

Wade Horn, who has been nominated as the assistant secretary of health and human services for family support, "views the administration's efforts as four-pronged:  strengthening fatherhood, strengthening marriage, strengthening community organizations that help families, and seeking a role for religious organizations in building communities." Prior to his appointment, Horn headed the National Fatherhood Initiative, whose core objective "is to change the idea we have of culture" (ibid.)

Two things need to be kept in mind as we seek to evaluate this from the Divine viewpoint: 1)   Malachi's prophecy indicates that if the voice of "Elijah" is not heeded, the earth will be smitten with "a curse." Revelation reveals that this will happen. (Rev. 15:1). Further, the "beast" which "maketh fire come down" is, in reality, the "false prophet" who with the beast seeks to make war with the "King of kings, and Lord of lords" (19:19-20; see also 16:13-14). We need to understand the view of God on human events, and knowing, accept by faith, that which may not so appear in our evaluation as God reveals it to be.

Another factor of prophecy is that this second beast will cause "the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast" (Rev. 13:12). Another staff writer for The Washington Post wrote a day later that "since taking over the White House, President Bush and top advisors have been insidiously cultivating Catholic voters in an attempt to realign a once-Democratic constituency in much the same way that the Republican Party in the 1 970s and 1980s won over southern evangelical Protestants" (p. A02).

Citing Bush's actions in this attempt, the staff writer notes that he has met with the Archbishop of St. Louis, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, and Cardinal McCarrick of Washington.      "His staff has created an informal advisory group that includes Crisis [a conservative RC magazine] publisher Deal Hudson and Princeton University political scientist Robert George. Perhaps most important, Bush has incorporated language familiar to Catholics - what strategists call Catholic 'buzzwords' - into speeches". ...

"The effort to recruit Catholic voters has led to a striking change in the political climate in Washington. George noted in an interview last week that 'in 1960, John Kennedy went from Washington to Texas to assure Protestant preachers that he would not obey the pope. In 2001, George Bush came from Texas up to Washington to assure a group of Catholic bishops that he would." (ibid.)

Bush's attempt to woo conservative Catholic voters has already led to the support of Paul Weyrich, head of the Free Congress Foundation. "Weyrich wrote that he recently asked senior Bush advisor Karl Rove to tell the president 'that he has mastered the art of Catholic governance.' Rove, according to Weyrich, replied, 'That's pretty good for a Methodist."' (ibid.)

If we cannot see in the turn of events, the fulfilling of the prophecy of Revelation 13, we have lost our spiritual perception. If we cannot understand how heaven views these events, then we have lost our faith. Faith to be genuine must be based in the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), accepting current events as God sees them to really be.

Note: Rome never changes, although its face may. Today a former "stage actor" wears the Triple Crown. The Biblical word for "stage actor" in the Greek is 'upokrithV. Jesus used the word to describe religious leaders of His day. (Matt. 23:27-28) --- (2001Jul) --- END --- TOP

2001 Aug -- XXXIV 8(01) -- In Retrospect --Editors Preface -- In this issue we conclude our analysis of the book by Dr. George Knight, A Search for Identity. (I presume some of our readers will say when reading this last sentence, "It's about time") In retrospect, we again review some of the theological tension from 1950 to the present for two reasons:   1)  Knight reviews the theological tension in Adventism during this period from a view point that serves as a justification for the status quo; while we who have lived through this tension from its very beginning see the same history from an entirely different viewpoint.   2)  There are those who profess to be voices in "historic" Adventism who ignore the beginnings of the crisis in the SDA-Evangelical Conferences and begin their recitation with Dr. Desmond Ford's attack on the Sanctuary teaching in 1979. These seem not to understand that Ford was "merely a chicken come home to roost," and that he would have had no impact on Adventism had the compromises of 1955-1956 not occurred.

The positions some of these "voices" project in their attack on Ford's teaching resonates a finality which fails to consider that "the truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light." Each one of us would do well to ponder and apply the parting counsel John Robinson gave to the separatists as they embarked from Holland for the New World. (See page 4) It is inexcusable to take the position "that all of our positions of Scripture are without error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation." Every gem of truth will shine more brightly with even a little polishing.

p 2 -- In Retrospect -- From the first issue of this year to the July issue of WWN we have critiqued the book by Dr. George R. Knight, A Search for Identity. In his final brief chapter asking, "What Does All This Mean?" he indicates that he "has presented the history of Adventist theology as a progressive search for identity" (p. 198). There is no question that Adventist theology has not been static during its history; however, to claim that there has been a progressive advance in truth to the present Statement of Fundamental Beliefs is open to serious question. There may be what appears to be an advanced understanding of truth, when it is only an advance after one has veered from the truth. Thus it would be apostasy.

Two historians could write the history of Adventist theology from 1950 to the present and arrive at two different conclusions:   1)  That the Church followed increasing light which was brought to it through Evangelical contacts; or   2)  That the Church by its compromises with the Evangelicals apostatized from the truth. Knight, after admitting to the lies told the Evangelical conferees (p. 165) as well as the deception in the publication of the book, Questions on Doctrine (p. 1 69), still opted for conclusion Number 1. Progression in truth is not paved with an asphalt of lies and deception.

Knight suggests, following the lead of another church researcher, that truth has more than one side. I may not understand all truth, but I dare not place myself in a position that what I don't understand is another side of truth. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and I have never found any record of Him talking out of both sides of His mouth. His gospel is: white is white; and black is black, and there are no gray areas. He went to the cross because there could be no compromise of truth. Those who overcome by the blood of the Lamb will likewise bear an uncompromising testimony, and love "not their lives unto the death" (Rev. 12:11).

Let us illustrate:   Through the various periods into which Knight chose to divide Adventist theological history, the question of what nature Christ took upon Himself in entering humanity was an issue. It was held by some that He took the nature of Adam before the Fall, and by many that he took the nature of Adam after the Fall. These positions are not two facets of the same truth. They are poles apart! The compromise position of the Anglican divine, Henry Melvill, which was declared to be "the orthodox" position is in "the gray area." This is the current position of the
Church. (See Seventh-day Adventists Belleve.... pp 47, 57) It is true that I do not know how God could become man, but I accept the Biblical pronouncement that "the Word was made flesh" (John 1:14) Neither can I explain fully the fact that He who was "made... to be sin for us" did no sin; but I accept the Biblical record that He who came "in the likeness of sinful flesh,.. condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3).

During the decade prior to the 1952 Bible Conference, there is evidence of a change toward a concept of the incarnation which differed from that which was formulated in the Statements of Belief from 1872 to 1914. The first statement in 1872 declared Christ "took on Him the nature of Abraham for the redemption of the fallen race" ( II ). This concept was in all published statements till 1914. The next statement, placed in the 1931 Yearbook, read - "While retaining His divine nature, He took upon Himself the nature of the human family." In 1949, the standard Adventist work, Bible Readings for the Home Circle was altered and no longer reflected the original teaching on the Incarnation. In 1952 a book by the editor of the Review & Herald, official organ of the Church, expressed Adventist belief of the Incarnation similar to the Melvill position which was cited in 1988 in Seventh-day Adventists Belleve. . . . as the "orthodox" position. (See F. D. Nichol, Answers to Objections, p.393. The editor was also a member of the planning committee of the 1952 Bible Conference which excluded any presentation of the doctrine)

The doctrine of the Atonement which was completely compromised by the Adventist conferees at the 1955-1956 SDA-Evangelical Conference was discussed at the 1952 Bible Conference. H. L. Rudy, a vice president of the General Conference was assigned the topic, "The Mediatorial Ministry of Jesus Christ." He plainly stated:      The message concerning the mediatorial ministry of Christ is God's answer to the apostasy of the last days. It is the heart of Christianity. It is to keep and inspire God's people in the great and final conflict between truth and error, righteousness and sin. (Our Firm Foundation, II, p. 11).

If this concept had motivated the Adventist conferees three years later, what a different history could have been written. But it wasn't. Instead of seeing it as an answer to apostasy, and as "the heart of Christianity,"

p 3 -- it was rejected, and the apostate position adopted.

Rudy continued:      The cross cannot be separated from the life and teaching that preceded it and of which it was the crown. Neither can the cross be separated from his subsequent ministry at the right hand of God in the temple in heaven. (p. 23)

At the beginning of the investigative judgment in 1844, Christ was seen to enter into a new phase of His mediatonal ministry ... Christ entered the most holy to perform the work of atonement.... Now, another portion of His mediatorial work had to be taken up, this time in the most holy. (p.65)

There is no way that one can relate the position of the Church as voiced by Elder Rudy at the 1952 Bible Conference, and the stance taken in the book, Questions on Doctrine as evidence of the dynamic character of present truth. Compare the above statements by Elder Rudy with the statements found in Questions on Doctrine as noted in the previous issue of WWN, p. 5, col. 1. The compromised position, as published in the book, is apostasy pure and simple. It was forced on the Church, and nothing, and no one, was allowed to stand in its way.

This is not saying that in regard to the teachings on the atonement, both the sacrificial atonement on the Cross, and the final atonement in the Heavenly Sanctuary, there are not lessons still to learn as well as many, many, to unlearn. This approach was not taken at the Bible Conference of 1952 as it should have been; however, a claim is made by Froom that during the years from 1930 to 1935, "a group of leaders at the General Conference headquarters" began Sabbath afternoon meetings "for intimate Bible study followed by informal round-table exchange." While no minutes were kept, "copious notes.. were taken by some individuals" (Movement of Destiny, p. 429). It was "a search for identity" left unnoted by Knight. The question remains, what did these studies focus on, and what influence did they exert? Were these informal studies related to the altering of the Incarnation teaching in the 1940s? Evidently little study was done in the area of the atonement and the vulnerability of the Adventist understanding was revealed in the confrontation with the Evangelicals.

When T. E. Unruh, who chaired the SDA-Evangelical Conferences, became president of the Indiana Conference where I was doing evangelism, it was inevitable that there would be a confrontation. There was. At the first campmeeting after his assumption of the presidency, the primary guest speaker was R. Allan Anderson. The controversy raised by Anderson resulted in a called meeting of all the workers to discuss the questions raised. This session followed an evening meeting and lasted till 1 a.m. The last text that Anderson threw at me was Hebrews 9:11-12: Jesus "entered in once into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us" (KJV). If language means anything, this verse in the KJV is saying that prior to Christ's entry into the High Priesthood of the order of Melchisedec, He obtained "eternal redemption for us." Thus the atonement would be completed on the cross. However, the ARV reads - "He entered once for all into the Holy Place... thus securing an eternal redemption." There is a difference, and this difference is supported by the Greek text, but that I had not studied in reference to this verse. At this point Unruh closed the session, even though Anderson protested that he was willing to go all night if necessary.

Some interesting sidelights later surfaced. The minister who sat directly behind me at the night session had opened to the verses in Hebrews in the ARV which he was using. He remained quiet, saying not a word, and did not pass up to me his Bible so that I could use it. Later he was elevated to a Union presidency. A few years after, I met R. Allan Anderson in the book store at Loma Linda. We visited briefly, and he told me that this text - Heb. 9:11-12 - was the text thrown at the Adventist conferees by the Evangelicals which caused their capitulation. As in my case at the night session, the Adventist conferees had not done their home work as they ought to have. I did not rest until I found the answer for the difference between the KJV and ARV, which in these verses, the Greek text gives support to the ARV.

Are there still "many lessons to learn" as well as "many, many to unlearn"? The answer is yes. Consider the concept of the judgment before the Ancient of days (Dan. 7:9-10). Standard perception of this judgment has pictured Jesus as High Priest standing now for over one hundred and fifty years before the heavenly Ark of the Covenant in an investigation of the records to see who will make up His kingdom. Further our perception has been circumscribed by the size of the type of the earthly most holy place - a ten cubit cube. The revelation in this vision given to Daniel has a Heavenly Most Holy Place large enough to accommodate the Angelic host. Read those verses again. Does this lesson to which we must re-adjust

p 4 -- our thinking, negate a judgment before the Ancient of days in 1844? No!

The typical ministry in the earthly sanctuary, which served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things" (Heb. 8:5), clearly indicates a movement on the part of the High Priest from the most holy to the court itself where the atonement is completed (see Lev. 16). The prophecy in Daniel indicates that "the Son of man" (7:13) is not brought before the Ancient of days to receive His kingdom until certain "great words" are spoken by the "little horn" (v. 11). Have we factored this into our understanding of the sanctuary truth? No, not to my knowledge. To do so, would it destroy that truth? Absolutely not. It would broaden our perception. True it would cause some serious study, some unlearning, yes; but also some in-depth learning.

The prophetic portrayal in Daniel 7 is the Ancient of days sitting on a "throne of judgment" - "the judgment was set." In the book of Hebrews, Christ as High Priest is pictured as ministering at "the throne of grace" (4:14-16). He is also stated to have been seated "on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (1:3). To change ministration from a "throne of grace" to a "throne of judgment" requires a movement, and this is pictured in both Daniel (7:9) and Revelation. In Revelation, the scene of the Throne moves from the symbolism found in the first apartment of the earthly type (4:2,5), to the symbolism found in the second apartment (11:19;15:5, 8). In this movement, we can read the changing objectives of God as the problem of sin is being resolved. While the authority of God was firmly established by the Cross (Rev. 12:10), the original design of God in the creation of man was not realized, except in Him who stabalized the Throne of the Universe (Eph. 1:18-20; 2:4-6). But it will be realized! This divine objective has not been factored into our concepts of the "investigative judgment" and will not be until we are willing to rethink our understanding of Daniel 7:9-10. We still have things to learn and many, many to unlearn.

There is a sector of the community of Adventism who perceive of themselves as "historic" Adventists. These have put a "period" to their theological thinking. While this sector profess great reverence for the Writings, they refuse to heed the counsel given, which clearly advised - "The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light" (R&H, March 25, 1890) But to heed this counsel, they could no longer call themselves, "historic" Adventists. They would have to reveal what they have learned, and the many, many things they have unlearned. This they cannot do because they have not taken a single step forward "in the increasing light" which has come from the study of God's word.

These "historic" Adventists would do well to note another time in Protestant history when the Puritans were "first constrained to separate from the English Church." These "joined themselves together by a solemn covenant, as the Lord's free people, 'to walk together in all His ways made known or to be made known to them.'"Commenting on this covenant, the messenger of the Lord wrote - "Here was the true spirit of reform, the vital principle of Protestantism" (The Great Controversy, p. 291). It would do each one much good, if they would take time to read and heed the message given to these separatists by their pastor, John Robinson, as they departed for the New World. (ibid., p.292).

Two points need to be especially noted from Robinson's farewell message:   1)  He said, "I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the reformed churches, who are come to a period in religion, and will go at present no farther than the instruments of the reformation." And   2)  "Withal, take heed, I beseech you, what you receive for truth, and compare it and weigh it with other scriptures of truth before you accept it." Here is the challenge to advance with the dynamic nature of "present truth," but also the brakes to keep one from the danger of fanaticism, or deception.

Knight in his book, A Search for Identity, started off well by enunciating the "dynamic nature" of truth but then got off base by seeking to interpret the events from 1950 to the present as evidence of continued advancement in that truth. And this for two reasons:  1)   He did inadequate research and thus did not bring to light all the data known to exist for this period, and other related documents which led up to the events of the 1950s. And   2)   He did not accept what the evidence he did consider was saying about the so-called advancement. His bias against Andreasen, whose teachings he admitted impacted heavily on twentieth century Adventist theology, was the same as his antipathy toward A. T. Jones that surfaced in his previous work, From 1888 to Apostasy. This is not writing history objectively, but rather history written with an agenda with a view of justifying the status quo.

p 5 -- An Illustration -- The advancing light of truth must meet certain criteria. It is must harmonize with past truth. Truth does not set aside truth. But to make a valid determination, that which may be perceived as truth must be freed from error that has become a part of it. In other words, all truth must be pure and unadulterated, both the past and the present. To arrive at this point requires prayer and study, study that will let the Word of God speak for, and interpret, itself.
In the concluding discussion of Dr. Knight's book, A Search for Identity, we noted in illustrating a point, a key text in Adventism, Daniel 7:9-10. Let us note these same verses again for an illustration of the criteria suggested in the paragraph above. They read:      I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like a fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set and the books were opened.

All of the two verses are but preliminary to the final pronouncement - "The judgment was set and the books were opened." First, the judgment:   From the context it indicates that this judgment precedes "the Son of man" receiving His kingdom (7:13-14). Jesus himself declared that "when the Son of man shall come in His glory,...then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory" (Matt. 25:31). This judgment must then be a pre-Advent judgment. This is further attested by His own comment in Revelation 22:12 - "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with Me, to give to every man as his work shall be." This indicates that a determinate review had been made prior to His return.

Now to the books:   In the book of Daniel, there is no reference to a fact that they were ever closed. If we should assume that the books were at some point closed, that would be an assumption, and an assumption is not truth. There is evidence, however, that they are again to be opened before the Ancient of days, when seated on "a great white throne" (Rev. 20:11). "The books were opened" (v. 12); and a judgment is associated with this opening also - "the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." There is no indication in the text in either Daniel or Revelation that anything has been altered or blotted out in these books of record. All the text states is that "another book was opened, which is the book of life." In Daniel, this book is likewise noted: there is deliverance "for every one that shall be found written in the book" (12:1).

To this picture must be added a promise of Jesus in a message to the Church of Sardis: "He that overcometh... I will not blot out his name out of the book of life" (3:5). Further this book is called "the book of life of the Lamb" (13:8). At this point our study could veer toward the significance of the "Lamb" in connection with this book; but we shall pass by this momentarily. There is developed in the Scriptures noted, a contrast between the one book, and the many books. One contains only names, the others a record of "works." When those who are judged out of the books stand before the Ancient of days seated on the great white throne, they are noted as "the dead" (Rev. 20:12). They have no life in them. As noted by John, "ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him" (I John 3:15). Only those whose names are in the book of life, have life, and the source of that life is the Lamb "as it had been slain" in "the midst of the throne" (Rev. 5:6). This gives meaning to other Scriptures. Consider:       This is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life (I John 5:11-12).

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:3-4).

In the Scriptures noted, the only suggested "blotting out" is in regard to the "Book of Life" which belongs to the Son of God. It is as Jesus declared - "The Father . . . hath committed all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22). We do well to ponder the words of Jesus which followed this pronouncement:       He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him who sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment (krisiV); but is passed from death unto life (v.24).

This now brings us to some questions and considerations. To be saved, I must have a relationship with Jesus Christ. My record in the "books" is no different than any other person's record except, perhaps, in degree, which could mean, either worse or better. For it

p 6 -- is written, "There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10, 12). My hope is not in an examination and/or investigation of "the books," for then it would be hopeless. My hope can be built on nothing else but Jesus' blood and righteousness - "the Lamb as it had been slain." It needs to be realized that it is in name only that I am listed in the Lamb's Book of Life. There is no resume recorded there of my deeds of valour in conflict with the enemy of all righteousness. There are no summations of all the good things I have done, for in doing such, I was but doing "that which was (my) duty to do" (Luke 17:10).

This then leaves us with the question as to why the books were opened when the judgment was set. We must consider also why the first picture in the prophecy of Daniel 7:9-10 is the convocation of the Angelic host in the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary? This should cause us to broaden our perception of the type inasmuch as the size of the typical Most Holy cannot compare with the revealed size of the antitypical Heavenly. Here is where the "dynamic nature of present truth" should enter the picture. There should be no jettisoning of the sanctuary truth, but there should be a careful re-study of the whole in the light of Biblical revelation.

A Much Needed Review -- There is no question but that the first Seventh-day Adventists had been a part of the Millerite Movement of the 1830s and 40s. Their prophetic perceptions were derived from that Movement. These need to be reviewed. Why? Consider:

The Millerites believed that Jesus was going to return to earth in 1844, concurring finally on the date October 22. This meant that all prophecies which foretold things that were to occur prior to the Second Advent had to find fulfilment in time prior to October 22, 1844. The Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14:6-14 was one such prophecy. Therefore, the Millerites perceived of themselves as proclaiming that "the hour of His judgment is come" (14:6), and interpreted it as meaning the coming of Christ in judgment to cleanse this earth. They understood the Second Angel's Message - "Babylon is fallen" - as referring to the Protestant bodies who rejected the coming of Christ in 1844. These interpretations were carried over into Adventist prophetic thinking without making the adjustment for the error of such interpretation due to the misunderstanding of the meaning of what was to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 day prophetic period. One of the first corrections was made after the disappointment by Crosier who set forth with Biblical documentation that the "sanctuary" of Daniel 8:14 was not this earth, but the Heavenly Sanctuary. If this "true light" had been applied across the board, a different perception of the Three Angels' Messages would have followed.

A closer study of the Biblical text would have revealed that in the first two messages the tense of the verbs used are in the Greek aorist or past tense, often translated by the English perfect - "is come." Thus the sounding of this angel's message would coincide with the time of the judgment by announcing its commencement. The second part followed, but the memorial day of Creation was never accepted by Miller. It is the rejection of the Sanctuary truth and the Sabbath which has caused Babylon's fall.

When we come to the Third Message in the Greek text it is in the present tense - "if any man is worshipping the beast and his image, and is receiving a mark in his forehead, or his hand" (14:9). Not only is it stated in the present tense, but it is the "now" time of that tense when it can be said, the "image" has been formed, and therefore, can be worshipped. The giving of the Third Angel's Message must coincide with the fulfilment of Revelation 13:14-15. It is a bit ridiculous to preach against the worship of the image if one doesn't know what the image really is. How can one warn against its worship if it has not been set up? You can read the text in Revelation 14:9 and warn that something "trying" is coming, but you cannot give the message as indicated by the text until it takes place, and becomes the "now" time of the prophecy.

We do well in seeking to find the meaning of the fulfilment of Revelation 13:14-15. The close connection between the "beast" and the "image" cannot be overlooked. There is a contrast within these angelic messages. The first is a call to "worship Him who made;" the third is a warning of the consequences of the worship of a power arrayed against God. To give this warning is going to require a spiritual preparation not seen today, nor echoed among those making profession of believing in "historic Adventism." When will this occur? Only when we decide we need to honestly review our perception of truth to conform it to the Word of God.

p 7 -- Let's Talk It Over -- It has been some time since we talked over some of the material which we have discussed in the essays in WWN. However, this time in discussing the judgment committed "unto the Son," we omitted a verse that defined a Biblical "why." Let's talk this verse over a bit. But first let us place it in its full context:      For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that (Gr. ' ina - in order that) all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent Him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation (Gr. krisiV - judgment); but is passed from death unto life (John 5:22-23).

The judgment committed to the Son involves more than just passing sentence, or investigating records. The appointment is a sign of recognized equality. As the Father is to be honored, so likewise the Son; and to dishonor the Son is to dishonor also the Father. This leaves the neo-antiTrinitarians in a very unenviable position. To place the Son in a secondary position is to dishonor God Himself. Paul indicates that because of the condescension, "God hath highly exalted (Jesus) and given Him a name above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. . . and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11).

Another aspect of what Jesus stated to which little thought has been given is the fact that the one who "heareth His word, and believer on Him who sent Him" has everlasting life, and does "not come into judgment but is passed from death unto life." To bring harmony between what Jesus said, and how the Judgment scene of Daniel 7:9-10 has been taught, will require an in-depth review. Those whose names are in the Lamb's book of life, and those who must face the record of their life's deeds, face a judgment in two different ways. One is passed from death unto life through the Son, for "he that hath the Son hath life" (I John 5:12). But he who faces the judgment of the Great White Throne is "dead" not having life. He must face the record of his life which He cannot do and live.

All of this brings us face to face with the fact that we must restudy carefully how we have viewed the judgment of Daniel 7:10. There are questions we can ask, and for which we must find more complete answers. Does the judgment scene of Daniel 7:10 coincide with the First Angel's Message? The answer is, yes. Could the judgment then be understood to be as the Greek text reads - "is come the hour of the judgment of Him"? If such an answer should prove to be valid, what then is the significance of the gathering of the whole Angelic host at the beginning of the judgment? Indeed, we have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. It is well stated that "the truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light."

Those who think they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have an occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed. (R&H, July 26, 1892)

There is no excuse for anyone to take the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation. (R&H, Dec.20, 1892) ---(2001 Aug) ---End---- TOP

2001 Sep -- XXXIV 9(01) -- "Take Heed that Ye Be Not Deceived"-- Editor's Preface -- This year, the same as last year, we did not have the regular Annual Fellowship; however, due to the persistent requests of several, we did conduct, in August, what we called a "Mini" Fellowship. No announcements were made in WWN, although invitations were sent to those whose persistence was rewarded as well as to some others whom we believed might be interested. There were no recordings of any of the studies presented. It had been suggested that we make the First Epistle of John the basis for the Seminar sessions. Limited as the time was, it was possible to cover only briefly the major polemical topics in the Epistle.

This issue gives, in summary, some of the subjects presented. other than from I John, as well as two of the main doctrinal issues raised by John - the Eternal Deityship of Jesus Christ, and His coming "in the flesh." We need to confront in our own Christian walk the full significance of the fact that to "abide in the doctrine of Christ" is to have "both the Father and the Son" which means eternal life. The converse is then true, that not to have "the doctrine of Christ" is to walk in darkness and "do not have the truth."

The imperative warning by Jesus, "Take heed that ye be not deceived," is so apropos at this present time when every wind of doctrine is blowing not only in the religious world in general, but is also echoing in the corridors of Adventism by "many voices" each proclaiming themselves to be speaking the truth as it is in Jesus. How can one keep from being deceived?

A second part to this primary injunction by Jesus is also the question which He asked, "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" With the "numbers" game emphasized at every turn, and the success of every endeavor judged by the numbers generated, we do well to consider the success of Noah judged by this criterion. Jesus said, as it was in Noah's day, so also will be the last days. Then we should remind ourselves of what Jesus said on the Mount relative to the gate that leads to life - "few there be that find it."

p 2 -- "Take Heed that Ye Be Not Deceived" -- While Jesus' eschatological message is reported with variations in the three synoptic gospels, all, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, begin our Lord's prophetic utterances with the same solemn injunction. In response to the question, "Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world?," Jesus warned:
Take heed that no man deceive you - Matt. 24:4
Take heed lest any man deceive you - Mark 13:5
Take heed that ye be not deceived. - Luke 21:8

Deception is paramount in the formation of "the image to the beast." Masquerading as the fulfilment of the prophecy of the coming of the prophet Elijah, the "false prophet" deceiveth those "that dwell on the earth" to "make an image to the beast, which had the wound by the sword, and did live" (Rev. 13:14). The deception does not end there. He further deceived them to receive "the mark of the beast" and to worship the image he caused them to create (19:20).

Deception was the means by which sin was introduced to this earth. Paul, writing to Timothy, stated that "Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression" (I Tim. 2:13-14). [See also II Cor. 11:3] The text in Genesis merely states: "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made" (Gen. 3:1). The word, "subtil," (Heb. gahroom), an adjective, has a dual meaning. In Genesis 3, it means crafty and cunning; but it also has a good meaning - prudent and wise. (See Prov. 14:8). This deceptive voice is rightly described as "subtil" for he was once "full of wisdom" (Eze. 28:12) but perverted that wisdom into cunning craftiness. His first, question to Eve reveals the very core of deception - "Yea hath God said?" Over this one factor is the whole of the great controversy between Christ and Satan; our salvation or our eternal loss.

John in his first Epistle declares that "the victory that overcomes the world" is "our faith" (5:4) And that "faith" comes by "hearing the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). The preferred Greek text reads literally - "then faith out of hearing [comes], and the hearing through (the) word of Christ." We seldom look at this verse in context, merely taking it as definitive. Observe the context:      They have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias (Isaiah) saith, Lord who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

One Greek word [ akoh ] dominates these verses, used as a noun three times, and translated, twice as "hearing" (v. 17), and once as "report" (v. 16). The compound verb [ ' upakouw ] is translated "obeyed" in verse 16, and means simply, "come under what you hear." In other words, bring your conduct and thinking into harmony with the word of God. While the Greek text of the KJV uses the word QeoV (God), there is both Old and New Testament justification for the preferred, CristoV (Christ). In the prophecy of the coming Prophet given to Moses, God declared that "whosoever will not hearken unto my words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him" (Deut. 18:19). This is serious language. On the mount of Transfiguration, the only words of recorded injunction from God are - "Hear ye Him" (Matt. 17:5).

Let us return to the Garden of Eden encounter. In his question, "Yea, hath God said?" the "serpent" singled out the one restriction placed by God on our first parents - "Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden." To Eve's reply noting the consequences of so doing - "Ye shall surely die" - the serpent negated it - "Ye shall not surely die" (3:4). The line was clearly drawn between truth and error; however, another factor was introduced in the controversy. The serpent suggested, that in eating, the eyes of Adam and Eve would be opened. In other words, they were in "blindness" to be in harmony with God's word. But on the side with that harmony is faith, "the evidence of things not seen." This is not all - they would be "as gods knowing good and evil" (v.5). Here was an appeal which perverted their very "ego" but contained an element of truth. After the deception, the Lord God, declared, "Because the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil" (v. 22). They knew what was good; all they gained was a knowledge of evil. But the desire to become "gods" united them in Satan's rebellion and violated the very first commandment.

Here we have all the elements that produce deception:   a denial of the word of God,   a mingling of truth and error which perverts truth, and   an introduction of an egotism which marks not only the deceiver, but deceives the ones hearing him. These elements of de-

p 3 -- ception first played out in Eden are intensified as we come to the final hour when with great wrath the devil reaches what he knows is his approaching last hour (Rev. 12:12).

The issue of the word of God involves truth for as Jesus prayed to God, "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). This again places in direct conflict Christ, who is the Truth (14:6) and the enemy who "abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him" (8:44). However, the devil does no hesitate to mingle truth with error but a mixture is still deception. It must be pure and unadulterated truth. This then requires a diligent and sensitive study of the Sacred Scriptures.

Paul counselled Timothy:      Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II, 2:15).

This fine line, Jesus Himself exhibited in His teaching from the Old Testament writings. Returning to Nazareth where He had been brought up, Jesus attended the Sabbath services in the synagogue as was His custom. He was asked to read the Scripture lesson for the day and make comments. From the book of Isaiah He read what is now designated as Chapter 61:1-2. After reading these verses, He returned the scroll to the minister of the synagogue with the comment, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4:16-21). Turning to Isaiah 61, we can note that Jesus stopped in the middle of the second verse, not even finishing the sentence. The whole verse reads:      To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

If He had read the whole sentence, He could not have made the comment that He did. His first Advent was not to be a day of vengeance; that would be at His second coming (II Thess. 1:8). He rightly divided "the word of truth."

Today, the enemy who deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden is seeking to thwart the advancing light of truth through deception. He is causing men to reject the plain prophetic words of Jesus concerning last day events, not only asking, "Yea hath Jesus said?," but also darkening the mind so that the words of Jesus cannot be rightly associated together, in other words dividing when there is no division. This is deception compounded and reversed.

With the initial warning of Jesus in our minds - "Take heed that ye be not deceived" (Luke 21:8) - let us carefully read a complete section of His prophecy concerning Jerusalem:      And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things that are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (21:20-24).

First, observe that this whole paragraph is about one city - Jerusalem, not Israel as a nation. Most of this paragraph concerns conditions as well as a warning about events which actually occurred in the history of Jerusalem during the years 66-70 AD. This was more than thirty years after 34 AD. Israel was no longer the people of God, nor was Jerusalem the "holy city." The designation of "Israel" as the people of God had passed to a new "Israel of God" (Gal. 6:15-16); and the term "holy city" applied to another city (Rev. 21:2). Yet Jesus said, events in the history of Jerusalem would be signs to the people of God, the new Israel. God had said - "Hear ye Him." The early Christians in Judea and Jerusalem did, and not one of them was killed or led away captive in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Secondly, in the Greek text of verse 24, there is one word translated two different ways in the KJV. The word is eqnh, and translated "nations," or "Gentiles." The same word is also used in verse 25 and there is translated, "nations." The concept is Gentile nations as corporate entities, and not Gentiles as individuals.

The same city, which when surrounded by alien armies in 66 AD served as a sign to Christians, is the same city which by events in 1967 and 1980 told those who had eyes to see and ears to hear, that the probationary time of the nations of earth was fulfilled.

What does this mean? Again we must rightly divide "the word of truth." The seven final plagues wherein

p 4 -- "the wrath of God is (poured) upon the earth" (Rev. 16:1) is but God's answer to what man has done in probationary time, with one exception, plague three. For example, Plague #1, which comes after the close of probation is on those who receive "the mark of the beast" prior to its close (16:2; cmp with 14:9-10). In this light consider the justification for the sixth plague:      And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. And (they) gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (16:13-44, 16).

A correct understanding of what Jesus, that "Prophet" sent by God, said will help us to perceive the time when "the spirits of devils were given control so as to begin gathering the nations to the final conflict in the great controversy between Christ and Satan. We have reached that day. "Take heed that ye be not deceived." "Hear ye Him"!

PART TWO: "In an Hour that Ye Think Not" -- Not only did Jesus as the Prophet set forth events in the history of Jerusalem which were to be signs to God's people, but He also uttered warnings concerning His return which should give us deep concern. After citing what a "goodman" would do had he known that a thief was going to enter his house, Jesus said:      Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh (Matt. 24:44; Luke 12:40).

Mark, recording another illustration Jesus used to emphasize the need for watchfulness, notes that He warned, "Lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping" (Mark 13:36). Jesus is not talking about those who declare in their hearts, "My lord delayeth his coming," and thus are "unaware" of how near the end is. (Matt. 24:48-50) Jesus is speaking to those who believe in His second advent, and that events declare without question to the nearness of the end of all things human. Citing an illustration from nature, Jesus stated, "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors" (Matt. 24:33). A careful analysis of what Jesus said concerning the suddenness of His return, implies that He was conveying a warning about the close of all human probation as the distinctive "hour that ye think not." Comparing the days before His coming to the days before the Flood, Jesus declared:      But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matt. 24:38-39).

The description of life before Noah entered the ark is that of normal existence. Then came the day when Noah and his family entered the ark, and "the Lord shut him in" (Gen. 7:16). But the flood did not come that day! The rain began seven days later. (7:4). The inhabitants "knew not" - did not sense the reality - until the day the rain started. It was too late. "So shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Before Jesus comes as "King of kings, and Lord of lords ""in righteousness to judge and make war" (Rev. 19:11), His work as High Priest is concluded (15:5, 8). Probation has closed. In an hour that ye think not, Jesus' divine ministry changes.

There is also another aspect to the unexpected nature of the Second Advent. Jesus asked a question - "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8). In this question is found an untranslatable Greek particle which suggests the expected answer. The word, ara, can indicate "an inferential question to which a negative answer is expected." Thayer cites Luke 18:8 as the example of this use of the word (p. 71). Souter in his lexicon states the same for ara (p.36).

This factor should give us concern, concern not only for others, but also for our own souls. A careful appraisal of the Sermon on the Mount confirms this question of Jesus. He counselled:      Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:       Because - - - -

That is the way they want to go? No!

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (7:13-14)

p 5 -- Jesus also spoke of the many who go into the broad way while thinking they are in the narrow way. He stated:      Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

His response is clear "Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you" (7:22-23). They were deceived - preachers, exorcists, and laymen whose lives were full of good works. There is but one criterion for entrance into "the kingdom of heaven" and that is, "he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (7:21). What is the will of the Father? Again, recall the Mount of Transfiguration. That Voice from the excellent glory declared, "This is my beloved Son; in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him" (Matt. 17:5).

Observe closely another scene from the gospel of Luke (14:25-27). "Great multitudes" were with Him. He turned, and said to those multitudes:      Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple (v.27).

Where were the multitudes when Jesus was bearing His cross to Golgotha? What did they say when Pilate brought Jesus forth and said, "Behold your King!" (John 19:14). Dare we think that if we are permitted to sit with Him on His throne, we will escape the terror of loneliness that tortured His soul? To the "great multitudes" He said, "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33). What is a disciple? Is it not one walks with Him? If we are to "follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth" (Rev. 14:4), we will follow Him now in the "narrow way" He walked. Should we wonder why He said, "Few there be that find it"?

A comparison of the "books" of Heaven may help us to understand the ratio between the saved and the unsaved. Consider Revelation 20:8 - the number gathered for the battle against "the beloved city" is "as the sand of the sea." These will be judged from the same books which Daniel beheld opened in his vision of the judgment (7:10; Rev. 20:12). How many volumes must there be? Or is the record all on computer discs? There is, however, another book, just one volume - "the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 20:12, 13:8; Dan. 12:1). In it are only names, no resumes, and no recorded eulogies. These have but one song to sing. They join the angelic host in singing, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power,... and glory" (Rev. 11-12), for they had "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (7:14). Those whose number is as the sand of the sea had echoed in their lives the multitude who responded to Pilate, "Crucify Him" for sin is the will to kill God.

Keep in mind that a part of that number, who are as the sands on the sea shore, are those who prophesied in Christ's name and did many wonderful works for which at death they had been eulogized. Why had they failed to find the narrow gate, and why could they now join in the attack on "the beloved city"? One word: "deceived" (Rev. 20:8, 10).

Note carefully Jesus' words of the deception in earth's final hour:      There shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matt. 24:24)

Observe closely His next words - "Behold I have told you before" (ver. 25). We are left without excuse.

John's First Epistle -- "This letter is plainly polemical. Dangerous heresy called it forth. In this letter the writer emphasizes the deity of Christ and pronounces a severe verdict on those who deny the deity" (R.C.H. Lenski, Commentary on the New Testament, Vol. 11, p.364). The word "deity" means simply, "the state of being a god." Paul had written to the Church at Colosse that in Christ "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (2:9). The Greek word translated, "Godhead" ( qeothV )can also be translated, "deity." The Apostle John late in the first century faced this heresy in Ephesus, the Church to which this Epistle is addressed. We face the same heresy today in the community of Adventism in a revived form.

This Epistle has no introduction as the Epistles of Paul and Peter. There is no preface or preamble, but a basic statement about Jesus Christ upon which the whole letter rests. It begins - "That which was from the beginning" The words - ap ' archV - need no article. "This is the same 'beginning' as that mentioned in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. In Genesis 1:1 ' in beginning ' marks the moment when time began for the acts of creation that followed; in John 1:1 ' in the beginning ' marks the same moment but in order to tell us

p 6 -- that already at that time the Logos was. 'From the beginning' looks forward from that moment to all time that follows; but the verb hn (it is not 'became' egeneto, and not 'has been') leaves all eternity open to 'that which' already then 'was.'" (Lenski, op.cit., p. 371)

There are five neuter clauses in this basic statement:   1)   That which was; 2)   That which we have heard; 3)  That which we have seen; 4)    That we have looked upon; and 5)   In the third verse, seen and heard are restated. All of this is "concerning the Word of life." Why the five neuters, when the Word ( LogoV ) is used referring to the Person, Jesus Christ? Lenski explains:          
Jesus Christ cannot be separated from what he was and is for us. Both belong together like the sun and its glorious light. The same theme of this letter is the same as that of the Gospel: the eternal Son incarnate for our life and salvation to the confounding of all antichrists. (p. 370-371).

The parenthetical second verse needs to be carefully considered. It reads:     For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.

Observe carefully. In verse one, John specifies that the One of Whom he is speaking, which he had seen, heard, and handled is the Logos - the Word of life. This life - "that eternal life" - was not derived from the Father but was "with the Father" from all eternity. The same preposition,proV, "with" is used here as is used in John 1:1 - "the Word was with God." This is a clear declaration of the eternal Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is these pronouncements concerning the Deity of our Saviour Jesus Christ that need to be made basic in any formulation of the doctrine of God, instead of ignoring them, and eisegetically interpreting other Scriptures in the light of our human experience. In other words, the relegating of Jesus Christ to the status of a lesser Being is one of the deceptions of these last days, and many "are going in thereat." The matter of "position" is one thing, the matter of "Being" is another.

Another heresy on which John makes pronouncement is whether Christ came in the flesh. He specifically warns:      Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: for this is that spirit of antichirst, whereof ye heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (I John 4:1-3)

Of so great importance was this doctrine that John returns to it in his second Epistle, writing:      Many deceivers are entered in the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichirst (ver. 7)

Then John adds a basic concept which is too often overlooked:      Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son (ver. 9).

In Ephesus at the time John was writing was one by the name of Cerinthus. He taught that Jesus was the physical son of Joseph; that the "eon Christ" was united with Jesus at his baptism but left Jesus before His passion and His death. He was a former Jew from Egypt and combined Jewish ideas with what can be called the beginnings of Christian Gnosticism. He sought to produce a spiritualized Mosaism, which was to be a universal religion. In his variant from truth, Cerinthus retained circumcision and the keeping of the Sabbath.

The issue today in regard to the Incarnation is not that Christ came in the flesh but what "flesh" did He assume in becoming human. There is no denial that the Word was manifest in the flesh per se, but was there a divine intervention so as to control the nature of the flesh that the Word took upon Himself? While we cannot define certain aspects of the mystery of godliness - the manifestation of God in the flesh, - the Scripture clearly states that the nature Christ took was the fallen nature of Adam. He "condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). He was "made... to be sin for us" (II Cor. 5:21). He was "made of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Rom. 1:3). "He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on him the seed of Abraham" (Heb. 2:16). Emptying Himself, He "took upon Him the form of a slave" (Phil. 2:7, Gr.). This then is "the doctrine of Christ" and to have this doctrine is to have both the Father and Son. This is life eternal (John 17:3)

p 7 -- Let's Talk It Over -- Have you ever, in your contemplation of the revelation of prophecy, placed yourself in the picture given? Consider for a few moments the picture in Revelation 20. The "camp of the saints" has come down to earth. The description of this city is given in the final chapters of Revelation. It has crystal clear walls as well as many other features of dazzling brilliance.

There is a great resurrection. The population of earth becomes in number "as the sand of the sea." Dare you place yourself, in contemplation, in that resurrection. You are outside of the city. You know what awaits you. You make a pilgrimage to see the city at closer range. You will have time as great preparations will be made to take the city. You know who the commander-in-chief really is. When you arrive at the city walls, you recognize certain ones inside. How will you react to them? The same as when on earth prior to the millennium? Will you bring yourself to join in the final attempted assault on the city?

The answer to these questions is that you will. Satan will deceive you. In the contemplation, you reject the idea with abhorrence. The fact remains, that with all the warning not to be deceived in the earthly spiritual conflict, you were, or you would not be where you will find yourself.

In your return trip to the small plot on earth which is yours, you meet others whom you know - some are the very ones used by Satan which caused you to be where you now find yourself. How will you address them? What will you attempt to do to them?

When you arrive back to your small plot of earth, you decide, you will not join the forces that Satan is preparing to take the city. But you will! The prophecy indicates that all went up and compassed the city. Why will you do this? You will again be deceived.

We have on record the greatest deception of all time which led Israel to reject the Messiah. How could a person reject One who had resurrected a man who had been dead four days? Yet it was done, and some of the very ones who had witnessed the event would later join the religious leaders in shouting, "Crucify Him!" In John 7 we find a record of the reaction of the populace to the evidence of truth. Conversing among themselves, the throng who had gathered at Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of tabernacles concluded that when the Messiah came, no man would know from where he had come (ver. 27). They said that they knew from where Jesus had come. It is evident that some of the people perceived of Him as coming from Galilee. They asked the question, "Shall the Messiah come out of Galilee?" These knew the Scriptures for they cited Micah 5:2 as evidence to where the Messiah was to be born (vs 41-42).

What was the source of this misconception concerning Jesus? A dispute in the Sanhedrin in which Nicodemus was involved, the Pharisees threw at him this same distortion of fact as to the origin of Jesus (v.52). The fact of his birth, and place of birth was a matter of record right there in the temple (Luke 2:21-24). With the record available, the Pharisees had ignored the place of His birth in Bethlehem; and circulated instead the idea that Jesus was a Galilean. This was either done in ignorance, or with purposeful intent. The same holds true today. The voices seeking to guide the "historic" dissidents are either ignorant - and many of them are - or they are purposefully covering truth so as to escape its implications. The price to be paid for such deception is too high. Think again, what it will be like to be outside, "the camp of the saints"!

"The Christian life is a battle and a march. But the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The field of conflict is the domain of the heart. The battle which we have to fight - the greatest battle that was ever fought by man - Is the surrender of self to the will of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love." ---(2001 Sep) ---End----

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