1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
1975 Apr-Jun VIII 4(75) - VIII 6(75)
1975 Jul-Sep VIII 7(75) - VIII 9(75)
1975 Oct-Dec VIII 10(75) - VIII 12(75)
1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)
1976 Apr-Jun IX 4(76) - IX 6(76)
1976 Jul-Sep IX 7(76) - IX 9(76)
1976 Oct-Dec IX 10(76) - IX 12(76)
1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
1977 Apr-Jun X 4(77) - X 6(77)
1977 Jul-Sep X 7(77) - X 9(77)
1977 Oct-DecX 10(77) - X 12(77)
1978 Jan-Mar XI 1(78) - XI 3(78)
1978 Apr-Jun XI 4(78) - XI 6(78)
1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)
1978 Oct-Dec XI 10(78) - XI 12(78)
1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)
1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)
1979 Jul-Sep XI 7(79) - XI 9(79)
1979 Oct-DecXI 10(79) - XI 12(79)
Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
last of WWN published
ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)
SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation
- Legal Documents
Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer
Hour and the End is Striking at You, The - William H. Grotheer
the Form of a Slave
In Bible Prophecy
Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer
Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer
of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
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:
Various Studies --
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
So Much In Common - WCC/SDA
Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy
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WWN 2003 Jan - Mar
2003 Jan XXXVI 1(03) -- The Hand of God - Part 1 -- Editor's Preface -- One of the most critical and sensitive issues facing the Adventist Community at the present is the religiopolitical agenda of the Religious Right. Already a committee has been formed to be chaired by a Jesuit priest for the purpose of formulating legislation to create a National Day of Rest. The committee will also include an Adventist minister. It was back in March of last year that an Action Alert was sent from the Christian Coalition indicating that they planned to make such a law a part of their legislative agenda for 2002. Then, there was a turn around; and when inquiry was made about this planned agenda, the announcement was denied and they charged an unidentified individual with fraud and forgery. Note carefully the article - "They Lied." Observe, the legislation will be termed simply, "A National Day of Rest." It will be promoted as a "Family" day; however, the Alert emphasized the religious thinking behind the proposed legislation. Further, the connection between the Coalition and Orthodox Jewry is not without significance.
In this issue we note the dialogue which has been taking place between the Adventist Biblical Research Institute scholars and Papal theologians for the past several years. The Adventist News Network indicated that "in the most recent meeting, (May, 2002), several other topics for possible conversations were identified," This means more dialogue. While papers on the Sabbath and the 27 Fundamental Statements of Beliefs have already been presented - we comment in this issue on a bemusing observation made in the paper on the Fundamental Beliefs. - There is more that can be said and, as space permits, will be said regarding the Statements of Belief paper.
p 2 -- The Hand of God -- Part 1 -- When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush at Mt. Horeb on "the backside of the desert," He announced His intention, declaring: "I have come down to deliver (my peopie) out of the hand of the Egyptians" (Ex. 3:8). He warned Moses that He was "sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go," but that He would "stretch out [His] hand, and smite Egypt with all [His] wonders which [He would] do in the midst thereof; and after that he will let you go" (vs. 19-20). True to Divine foresight, Pharaoh refused to let Israel go. The plagues began - streams, ponds, and pools of water turned to blood; frogs, and lice followed in quick succession. Unable to duplicate the lice, the magicians informed the king, "This is the finger of God" (8:19).
Centuries later, another king defied the God of heaven. Making a great feast "to a thousand of his lords," he brought forth "the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem." The record reads: The king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. (Dan. 5:3-4).
In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. (v. 5).
The probation of another nation was closing. The seventy years, which Jeremiah prophesied would be the duration of the servitude of Judah to the empire of Babylon, was nearing its end (Jer. 29:10); and on the horizon was the king who would permit the return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem (Isa. 44:28). Again the hand of God intervened in the affairs of earth for the accomplishment of His purposes. The fateful judgment on Babylon was written "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting" (Dan. 5:27).
Again after the passing of centuries, the One who came down to deliver Israel out of Egypt, the One whose hand had written the words on the palace wall, stood in the Temple precincts. In scathing rebukes He denounced the religious leadership of Israel and declared, "Behold your house is left unto you desolate" (Matt. 23:38). Within three years, the destiny of a nation had been sealed. From "my Father's house" (John 2:16) it had become, "your house" and was to become a desolation. Another nation was reaching its end times, a nation that as "My people" He had brought out of Egypt.
As Jesus left the Temple precincts, one of His disciples called His attention to the massive stones used in the construction (Mk. 13:1). To this Jesus replied: "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matt. 24:2). When they reached Olivet, four of the disciples questioned Jesus, asking: "When shall these things be? And what shalt be the sign of Thy coming, and the end of the world?" (v. 3). The first question involved the destruction of the Temple; the second the end of the age. In this study, we shall consider the first question and its fulfillment.
Both Matthew and Mark report Jesus' reference to the prophecy of Daniel: When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, . . . then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains (Mt. 24:15-16; Mk. 13:14).
Luke interprets, for his patron Theophilus, these words of Jesus referring to the prophecy of Daniel, writing, "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh" (21:20). Those in Judea were to flee, and those "which are in the midst of it depart out" (v. 21). It is this last aspect of the prophecy - instruction to leave the surrounded city - which introduces some factors, the significance of which we have not considered fully.
In the summer of AD 66, the Jews revolted against the Roman rule. They captured from the Romans the fortress of Masada. This meant war. After repeated massacres by Jews of Gentiles, and Gentiles of Jews in the areas of Samaria and
p 3 -- Galilee, the Roman governor of Syria, Cestius took a hand. At the head of a large force of Roman soldiers, he marched down the Mediterranean coast in pursuit of the Jewish insurrectionists who fled before him. He arrived at Jerusalem in the Fall of the Year at the time of the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. "Although it was Sabbath, the Jews abandoned their religious rites, and rushed out to attack Cestius' troops. To the amazement of both Romans and Jews, they broke the Roman ranks. " At this, an attempt at negotiation followed and failed. Because of the Jewish reaction, and having received a promise from the royalist party in Jerusalem to open to him the gates of the city, Cestius resumed his attack on the city. Then an astounding thing happened. Josephus tells us that "he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world" (Wars of the Jews, Bk. II, Chap. XIX, #7; emphasis supplied). Was this the "hand of God," a Divine intervention? For what purpose?
The Jewish forces followed and fell upon the retreating Romans to the point of producing a near rout. This defeat and withdrawal of Cestius permitted the Christians in the city to flee and find refuge at Pella in Peraea. (See SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, pp. 73-75.) There are questions which arise. Why did not the Christians leave before this time? True, Jesus had given a specific sign which had not occurred prior to Cestius' siege. Yet, "before the war began," according to Eusebius, prophets had warned them that they should leave the doomed city (ibid). Why didn't they heed the warning?
To note a probable answer, we will need to observe certain facts given in Scripture and history for the years immediately prior to AD 66. When Paul completed his third missionary tour, a decade earlier, he reported to the elders at Jerusalem. (Acts 21:18-19) They replied to him, "Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law" (ver. 20). This implies more than the mere observance of the Ten Commandments. Their suggestion to Paul involved taking part in a purification ceremony in the Temple so that he could show that he also "watkest orderly, and keepest the law" (v. 24). Keep in mind that this "Temple" was the house which Jesus said was "desolate." This is the "Church" which with its leadership had cried out to Pilate with a deafening roar, "Crucify Him!" (Mark. 15:14). This position they never retracted. The "thousands of Jews" who professed to believe the truth were still mingling with the apostates in their Temple rites and services. This was in direct contrast to Paul who "separated the disciples" from the Jews who "believed not" (Acts 19:9).
Besides the Temple with its services, there were synagogues in the city of Jerusalem, some dedicated to accommodate various groups of Jews with differing nationalities. See Acts 6:9. It is even possible that there could have been a Synagogue of the Nazarenes. Tertullus in his accusation of Paul before Felix, referred to "the sect of the Nazarenes" (Acts 2:5). James, who advised Paul to take part in the Temple rites with Jewish Christians, in his Epistle advised those to whom he was writing, "For if there come unto your synagogue (sunagwghn)" (2:2 margin). He did not say, "church" (ekklhsia ), as Paul did in directing his Epistles. See, for example, I Cor. 1:2. While (sunagwghn) means a gathering together with others, an assembly, (ekklhsia ) means a called out group. The first Jewish Christians did not perceive this separation but continued to worship in the temple with smaller gatherings "from house to house." (Acts 2:46) A crisis was inevitable as the gospel would be preached beyond the confines of Jerusalem and Judea. A summary of the situation reads: It was inevitable that, as soon, as the church engaged in worldwide missionary work, a serious difficulty and misunderstanding should arise within its membership. The first Christians were Jews. They knew the Jewish faith as the only true faith, and the God it worshiped as the only true God. They believed thoroughly in the inspiration and spiritual authority of the Scriptures that had come down to them from their fathers. They knew of proselyting, but that meant bringing Gentiles into the Jewish church, with the understanding that such converts should observe all things required of the Jews.
Jesus had based His program and teachings upon the Scriptures. While He had criticized the traditional
p 4 -- accretions, formalities, externalities, and hypocrisies of the religious leaders He met, Jesus insisted that He had not come to change the Law or the Prophets, but rather to make their teachings successful as a spiritual fact in the experience of the people. The Jews who followed Christ mistakenly concluded that those who were brought in line with Jesus' teachings would also follow the practices of the Jewish church. If they were to become members of the Christian sect, they must also become members of the great body of Judaism. (SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, pp. 30-31).
The sign that Jesus
gave - Jerusalem surrounded by Roman armies produced a "shaking time"
in Jewish Christian community. That which could have been done in times
of peace and prosperity had to be done under the most trying of circumstances.
See Luke 21:22-23. The professed Christians in Jerusalem had to chose
between their "Temple," their "synagogue," and the
fulfilled prophecy of Jesus. They had to accept a previously rejected
fact that the Temple was "desolate." If they did not leave,
they would demonstrate that they did not truly believe in the words of
Jesus. They were not Christians. ~~~~~~~
They Lied -- In the September issue of WWN last year, we carried an article captioned, "A National Day of Rest?" Earlier in the year we had received from several sources a copy of an "action alert," dated March 26, 2002, allegedly sent out by the Christian Coalition of America. In the "alert," it indicated that "many of us here at Christian coalition believe that it is time to legislate a National Day of Rest" stating that "The observance of Sunday is essential to the welfare of the Nation." The intent of the "Alert" was to inform the members of the Coalition that it was to be a part of the legislative Agenda which would be presented at the meeting scheduled for Washington DC in October.
While preparing the September issue for publication, we received from a reader in Tennessee a copy of an E-Mail communication he had received from the Christian Coalition as the result of an inquiry he made concerning the "Alert." The letter was sent by Robert Deason who declared the March 26 letter "fraudulent" and that Michael Brown's signature had been "forged on the document." Then a few days prior to the October meeting, we received a call from a retired minister who is a member of the Christian Coalition telling us that indeed he had received the letter via Fax (dated 03/26/02) from the office of the president of the Coatition, Roberta Combs, noting Pastor Mike Brown as the author. The "Alert" was valid; however, there was no signed signature. Thus the accusation of a forged signature as indicated in the E-mail letter of denial as well as the denial itself was a lie.
During the week-end meeting of October 11-13 in Washington DC, Deason was asked why there was the denial of what was originally sent out in regard to the legislative agenda that had been anticipated. His reply was - "the Jews." Friday was marked by a pro-Israel rally as welt as a videotaped message from President Bush assuring the delegates that his administration would advocate the Coalition's key agenda items. The mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert spoke saluting "the great believers and lovers of Zion. " He received several standing ovations from the coalition members waving Israeli flags. Pat Robertson, president emeritus, of the Coatition declared that "we should not ask Israel to withdraw from the so called occupied territories, we should stand with them and fight. Jerusalem is the eternal and indivisible capital of the State of Israel, and it must not be divided. "
The Coalition press release from which the above data was taken, also focused on the issue of separation of church and state calling the policies advocated to assure such a separation, "a deception of Satan." One who attended the conference as an observer was impressed with the emphasis on the Ten Commandments. This is interesting in the light of the commandment which says, "Thou shalt not bear false witness," and the denial of the "Action Alert" sent by a member of the staff of the Coalition calling for a National Sunday Law.
Truth does not need to garb itself in a cloak of falsehood. To promote the Ten Commandments and then to advocate a National Sunday Law is incongruous. To seek to promote a pro-Israel
p 5 -- stand so as to receive the accolade as a "lover of Zion," and then to lie to cover one of their real legislative objectives tells one, who is not blind, what power is behind the Christian Coalition of America. Jesus would say, "Ye are of your father the devil," who "abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44).
Tragically, this is not limited to the Christian Coalition of America. There are those who advocate following the so-called old paths of Adventism who stoop to the same level to promote their deceptions. We need to remember the counsel that has been given. "The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will loose anything by close investigation" (R&H, Dec. 20, 1892). ~~~~~~~
Divine Intervention -- In the December issue of WWN, giving an historical review of the doctrine of the Incarnation as has been taught in Adventism, we observed that the leaders of the Holy Flesh Movement in Indiana based their aberrant view on an interpretation of Hebrews 2:11: "For both He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." R. S. Donnell, president of the Indiana Conference and titular head of what has been dubbed, the Holy Flesh Movement, in a series of articles in the Indiana Reporter, wrote: Now, Christ stood where Adam stood, and Adam stood without a taint of sin. So Christ must have stood where Adam stood before his fall - that is, without a taint of sin. This must be so, for Paul continues the subject, and in verse 11 he says: "For both He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified (not those He is going to sanctify, but they who are sanctified) are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." Notice that it is the sanctified who He is not ashamed to call brethren. Further, it is the sanctified ones of whose flesh He partakes. "Forasmuch, then, as the children (or brethren, sanctified ones) are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise (just as the sanctified ones are partakers) took part of the same: that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil." Heb. 2:14. (What I Taught in Indiana, art. 1, pp. 4, 5)
In his second article, Donnell returns to these verses. He wrote: When we closed [the first article] we were considering the fact that Christ Himself took part of flesh and blood, just as the children did. That is, He took part of the same flesh that the children possessed. We found, also, that the children are the sanctified ones. Now the sanctified ones are surely those upon whom the truth of God and power of His Holy Spirit has wrought - the ones who are new creatures in Christ Jesus, those who have been created unto good works, the same which God hath before ordained that they should walk in. (ibid.,p. 5)
Simply stated, the advocates of the Holy Flesh teaching believed that Christ partook of the flesh of those who have been "born again." The question would follow, wherein then does the flesh of a "born again" person differ from the flesh of a "sinner"? This would lead to a discussion beyond the scope of this study.
Observe that Donnell bases his concept of the Incarnation squarely on Hebrews 2. In spite of the fact that Ellen G. White told the constituency meeting of the Indiana Conference at the time of its restructuring in 1901 that "none are to pick up any points of this doctrine and call it truth," yet in 1979, Thomas A. Davis, serving in the book department of the Review and Herald Publishing Association, authored a book which questioned, Was Jesus Really Like Us? Citing a reference which reads - "The incarnation of Christ has ever been, and ever will remain a mystery. That which is revealed, is for us and for our children. . ." - Davis asks, "Now, what has been revealed?" and suggests, "Let us turn to the book of Hebrews." (p. 21). He directs the reader to the same chapter and verses that Donnell used giving them the same identical interpretation.
In the next chapter of his book, "Light from the Book of Hebrews," Davis summarizes: The point that presents itself so forcefully here is that
p 6 -- Jesus was not incarnated with a nature common to all men. He did not come to this world to be in all respects like all men. The human nature He was endowed with was not like that of unregenerate sinners. His human nature was common only with those who have experienced a spiritual rebirth. (Emphasis his)
Let us express this another way: Of Mary, Jesus was born "born again." (p. 30).
As noted in the previous issue of WWN, another added his voice to this teaching. In 1981, Ron Spear published a 2nd Edition of his Waymarks of Adventism in which he wrote - Christ "was born with the nature that becomes ours when we are born again." (p. 39). This position demands, on the part of God, a divine intervention. Either Mary was so vitalized that she could pass on to Christ what no other mother can convey to her offspring, or Christ was preserved free from any element of the fallen nature of Adam which is the common heritage of all the other sons and daughters of the human race.
At the evening meeting of the 1901 General Conference Session prior to the break-up of the Holy Flesh movement, E. J. Wagonner addressed the issue of the Incarnation. He asked: Was Christ, that holy thing which was born of the virgin Mary, born in sinful flesh? Did you ever hear of the Roman Catholic doctrine of the immaculate conception? And do you know what it is? Some of you possibly have supposed in hearing of it, that it meant that Jesus Christ was born sinless. That is not the Catholic dogma at all. The doctrine of the immaculate conception is that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born sinless . . .
We need to settle, everyone of us, whether we are out of the church of Rome or not. There are a great many that have got the marks yet . . .
Do you not see that the idea that the flesh of Jesus was not like ours (because we know ours is sinful) necessarily involves the idea of the immaculate conception of the virgin Mary? Mind you, in Him was no sin, but the mystery of God manifest in the flesh, the marvel of the ages, the wonder of the angels, that thing which even now they desire to understand, and which they can form no just idea of, only as they are taught it by the church, is the perfect manifestation of the life of God in its spotless purity in the midst of sinful flesh. 0 that is a marvel, is it not? (1901 GC Bulletin, p. 404)
How then are we to understand Hebrews 2:11?
Back in 1986, a group of "leading lights" in the community of Adventism assembled at Hartland Institute in Virginia with the objective of arriving at a consensus on certain key doctrines, one of which was the Incarnation. The one chosen to lead the presentation on the Incarnation was Thomas Davis. I was given a list of those invited, one of whom was Dr. Ralph Larson. In writing up Davis' position in the 1987 February issue of WWN, I listed those in attendance from information given to me. I received a letter from Dr. Larson. In it he stated that while he had been invited, he deciined the invitation, and gave his reason for so doing: My reason for not attending the conference was that I had received an advance copy of Tom Davis' paper and did not feel comfortable with all of the views expressed in it. (Letter dated, March 1, 1987)
With a request asking that I correct my factual error, he enclosed a copy of his written response to Davis' position. From that response, we shall answer the question, How shall we understand Hebrews 2:11?
The text reads - "For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one." One what? Davis and the "holy flesh" men of Indiana respond - "one flesh." The Greek text does not so state, but rather ex 'enoV panteV (out of one all). Now if the text had read only "all of one" ('enoV panteV), Davis' position could be validated. But it doesn't. Paul added the Greek preposition, ek(ex - before a vowel), which means, "out of," changing the thought. Instead of being "all of one" it becomes "all out of one. "
In line with the Greek construction, there are two possible answers. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary supplied the word, "Father," making it read "all out of one Father," meaning Father-God. This would be in line with the context of verse 10 - "many sons" and the "Captain of their salvation;" however,
p 7 -- there is another name that can be supplied, which is also within the context of verses 14 and 17 of chapter two. A. T. Jones at the 1895 GC Session introduced his 13th study on "The Three Angel's Messages" with Hebrew 2:11. He commented: In His human nature, Christ came from the man whom we all have come; so that the expression in this verse, "all of one," is the same as "all from one," - as all coming forth from one. And the genealogy of Christ, as one of us, runs to Adam. Luke 3:38. (p. 231).
Dr. Larson summarized his response to Thomas Davis as well as to the others - Colin Standish and Ron Spear - who have adopted the teaching of "Holy Flesh" men of Indiana as follows: These two views, that the one is a reference to the Father-God; or that the one is a reference to the common ancestor, Adam, are equally possible and legitimate insofar as the Greek text is concerned. The context, however, would incline me to the opinion that Jones' view is the more correct.
But it must be emphasized that both these views are faithful to the Greek text, which states that the sanctifier and the sanctified are all out of one (Father-God or father Adam). I see no way that we can be faithful to the text and read it all of one (nature). That is not what the writer [of Hebrews] stated.
And it would be equally difficult to interpret all out of one to indicate a similarity between the nature of Christ and the natures of His brethren. If the two entities are described as having a common source and origin, then surely neither of these two entities can be that source or origin. This would be like requiring a son to be the father of himself. (Emphasis his).
Dialogue with Rome -- According to the Adventist News Network, in a release dated, July 30, 2002, Adventist theologians connected with the Biblical Research Institute have had three informal conversations with Roman Catholic theologians at the request of the papal scholars. The discussions began in 2000, and the third one was in May of last year. Two of the topics involved an in-depth presentation of the Sabbath and the 27 Fundamental Beliefs of the Adventist Church.
Some of the observations made by Dr. George W. Reid in his presentation of the Fundamental Beliefs are interesting and a bit bemusing. In discussing #23, Christ's Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary, Reid stated: "It is possible this statement articulates the single doctrine most nearly unique to Adventists." This is true. Then, after giving a brief historical background in the historical development of this doctrine, he told the Catholic theologians that "the complexity of this teaching, which requires knowledge of both historical events and the prescribed ritual of the Hebrew sanctuary, makes it difficult to grasp without considerable study." The doctrine which marks Seventh-day Adventism's uniqueness so complex that it is difficult to grasp! Or was this Reid's cover so as to avoid the current controversy in Adventism over this teaching?
We have known since 1890 one problem, and have done nothing about it. Or would the necessary changes to conform the type and antitype be too traumatic? But is not pure unadulterated truth basic to the righteousness of Christ? See TM, p. 65.
--- ( 2003 Jan) --- END --- TOP
2003 Feb XXXVI 2(03) -- The Hand of God - Part 2 -- Editor's Preface -- Not only did Ellen G. White warn the Church that it would be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary as to how it kept the trust committed to it (Testinioniesfor the Church, Vol. 8, p. 247), but counsel was given as to what book and chapter to read which applied in particular "to this generation of the end." In 1906, in the Australian Union Conference Record (October 1) she advised: "Read Luke 21. This is the message for this time, and it is written to this generation of the end." Previous to 1906, in a letter to Dr. Kellogg, she wrote: "In the twenty-first chapter of Luke Christ foretold what was to come upon Jerusalem, and with it He connected the scenes which were to take place in the history of the world just prior to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Letter 20, 1901). The fact is self evident that the synoptic gospels of Matthew and Mark were not named, and the single significant difference in Luke from the other two is verse 24.
The ancient prophet, Amos, revealed God's commitment in His dealing with men. He wrote: "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets" (3:7; emphasis supplied). If God committed to a people a sacred trust, and told them that they would be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary as to how they handled that trust, warning them that failure would bring the pronouncement, "Found wanting," would He not also reveal the time when the decision was made? When that "trust" involved a message "to every nation" would not a prophecy indicating the end of the probationary time of the nations be significant?
In this issue, we discuss this question and evidences which would involve the decision of heaven. We close the final "postscript" with a warning of a "signal" that was or is to be given. It has significance and needs to be carefully considered. What does it mean, "Go ye out to meet Him"?
p 2 -- The Hand of God -- Part 2 -- During the final week of Christ's lif e in our humanity, His disciples asked Him two questions about the future. One was in response to Jesus' declaration that not one of the massive stones where they were walking would "be left here one stone upon another" (Matt. 24:2). To them that had to be the end of the world, and so to the question, "When shall these things be?" they added a second, "What shall be the sign of thy coming and the end of the world?" (verse 3).
Luke's Gospel indicates that Christ answered the questions by forecasting two events which were to occur in the history of Jerusalem. To the first, which we discussed last month, He foretold the surrounding of the city by alien armies (Luke 21:20) as a sign to flee the city. To the second question, Jesus' answer was, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the nations, until the times of the nations be fulfilled" (21:24).
Both answers had to do with probationary time. The first was the judgment on Jerusalem because she had crossed the unseen line. Luke had previously written about Christ's declaration that there would not be left "one stone upon another" when alien armies would besiege and destroy the city. He quoted Christ's words as to why "Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation" (19:43-44). The second answer focused on the probationary time of all nations. Both references - Luke 19:44 & 21:24 - use the word,kairoV, for "time" rather than cronoV chronological time.
First an explanation of the translation we used for Luke 21:24 -- "nations" instead of "Gentiles." The Greek word Luke used was eqnh which can be translated either way. It is used four times in verses 24 and 25, two times translated "nations," and two times translated "Gentiles" in the KJV. There is no way that its first use in verse 24 could be translated "Gentiles" and the sentence make sense: - "led captive into all Gentiles (ta eqnh)." The same is true of its use in verse 25 - "and upon earth distress of Gentiles"(eqnwn). Jews escape? Luke is focusing on corporate bodies, "the nations," and uses the same time concept as he used in reporting the words of Jesus concerning Jerusalem in Luke 19:44 - kairoV - "the time of thy visitation" - probationary time.
Another observation is in order. Nowhere in the prophetic discourse of Jesus is the focus directed to Israel, but solely on Jerusalem. It was Jerusalem which killed the prophets and stoned those who were sent to it (Matt. 23:37); it was Jerusalem to which Jesus set His face for His final witness giving as His reason, "It cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem (Luke 13:33); it was Jerusalem that was to be surrounded by alien armies; it was Jerusalem that was to be trodden down by the nations till the probationary time of all nations was completed.
Not so is the picture of Israel in the New Testament. It is symbolized as a "holy" root into which wild olive branches may be grafted "so that all Israel shall be saved" (Rom. 11:17, 26). Those who are Christ's are considered Abraham's seed and a part of the new "Israel of God" (Gal. 3:29; 6:16). Their city, the new Jerusalem, is not earthly but heavenly (Heb. 12:22).
There is a contrast
in the application of the kairoV in the two
signs which Jesus gave. The first sign drawn from the history of Jerusalem
pertained to the destructive judgment upon the city. The probationary
time allotted to Israel as a nation of God ended in A.D. 34 with the stoning
of Stephen. (Dan. 9:24). But the event cited by Jesus, in answer to the
first question asked by the disciples, heralded the judgment upon the
city for "all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood
of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias" slain "between
the temple and the altar" (Matt. 23:35). The "times
(kairoi) of the nations," however, signals that time which
corresponds to what A.D. 34 was for the Jewish nation. The retributive
judgment of God falls on the nations when gathered together by "the
spirits of devils" for "the battle of the great day of God Almighty"
(Rev. 16:14). 1
What then could the taking of Jerusalem in 1967 by the State
of Israel, and its annexation by the Knesset in 1980 signal for those
who wish to understand the answer which Jesus gave to the second question
asked by His disciples? James Edson White in his book, The Coming King
(1900 ed.) commented:
p 3 -- We also read that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Luke 21:24. Jerusalem has never again come into the possession of the Jews, and will not until the "the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." This will be when the work of the gospel is finished. (p.98).
The next year in a letter to Dr. J. H. Kellogg, Ellen White would write: The time is right upon us when there will be sorrow in the world that no human balm can heal. The flattering monuments of men's greatness will be crumbled in the dust, even before the last destruction comes upon the world. . . .
God has given His object lesson. If the world will not heed, will not the people of God take heed? In the twenty-first chapter of Luke, Christ foretold what was to come upon Jerusalem; with it He connected the scenes which are to take place in the history of this world just prior to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (MR # 1102, pp. 148-149)
The question as to the meaning of Luke 21:24 was again addressed at the 1952 Bible Conference. Arthur S. Maxwell speaking on the "Imminence of Christ's Second Coming" observed that "there is one prophecy concerning Palestine that we should be watching with special care" and quoted Luke 21:24. He then commented on the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948: Victorious as were the forces of Israel in every other part of Palestine, they failed to take the most dazzling objective of all. Mysteriously they were held back from achieving this most cherished goal, this culminating triumph, as by an unseen hand. (Our Firm Foundation, Vol. 2, p. 230).
Then Maxwell asked - "What could be the reason?" and answered, "Only that the times of the Gentiles are not yet fulfilled." Citing what God told Abraham in regard to the Amorites, Maxwell observed: It may well be that the same principle applies today, on a wider scale. If so, then Jerusalem is to remain trodden down by Gentiles till the probationary time of all Gentiles has run out. (ibid., pp. 230-231).
That was in 1952, and today, 1967 and 1980 are now history. Jerusalem is now under Israeli control. It should be noted that both Edson White and Maxwell used -ta eqnh in the individual sense, "the Gentiles," rather than its corporate sense, "the nations." This must be given due consideration. In the events connected with the fulfillment of the answer Jesus gave to the first question that He was asked, there was a time difference between the close of probation for Israel as the chosen nation of God, and the destruction of Jerusalem as a city. Between 34 and 70 AD, the Jews of Jerusalem, and those in the Diaspora were confronted with a decision.
On his very first missionary tour, Paul set before the Jews in the synagogues a choice - either Jesus was the Messiah whom "they that dwell at Jerusalem and their rulers" desired Pilate to kill (Acts 13:27-28), or to approve the Sanhedrin's decision and action for having done so. Those who chose to disapprove of what their Sanhedrin (Read, "General Conference") had done, were organized into churches with elders appointed to minister to their needs (14:21-23). This procedure was followed throughout his ministry. See Acts 18:4-8; 19:8-10. Paul not only "as his manner was" (17:2) observed the Sabbath in worship in the synagogue, but also followed the same basic format in the presentation of truth in each synagogue: Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah whom the religious leadership of Israel caused to be crucified. A choice had to be made; either the Truth or the Sanhedrin.
A similar situation confronts us today with "the times of the nations fulfilled." Both Edson White and Arthur Maxwell recognized that this prophecy was related to the giving of the gospel. The Church was commissioned with the responsibility of giving "the everlasting gospel" to "every nation" (Rev. 14:6). (Read carefully Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 19, paragraphs 1 & 2.) The first angel's message carried two corollaries: 1) "Fear God" and 2) "Worship Him who made." We are to fear God "because the hour of His judgment is come." This concept cannot be separated from the vision given to Daniel that "the judgment was set, and the books were opened" (7:10). The worship of God as the Creator is associated with the Sabbath.
p 4 -- The commandment enjoins such worship because God not only "made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water," but He also himself rested on that day, blessed and hallowed it. (Ex. 20:8-11). The two concepts, to "fear God because" and to "worship Him who made," are set on a par as a part of "the Everlasting Gospel" committed in sacred trust for a Chosen people to proclaim. You cannot proclaim the one and crucify the other. 2
Now let us turn our attention to some historical data. In 1952, a Bible Conference was held in the Sligo Park church with the avowed purpose "of reaffirming those great and fundamental truths that have most certainly been believed among us throughout our history." (Our Firm Foundation, Vol. 1, p. 45). Of the twenty doctrinal presentations three were devoted to aspects of the sanctuary teaching - the sacrificial and mediatorial ministry of Jesus Christ. In these studies it was plainly stated: The sanctuary and the Sabbath are the two foundation pillars upon which this Advent message rests. (ibid., p. 336)
Further: The atoning sacrifice was made certain upon the Cross, when Christ uttered the words, "It is finished." This sacrifice became effectual for individual sinners by the priestly ministry of Christ in heaven. (p. 334).
On Calvary, Christ is the substitute accepted in the sinner's stead. In the holy place in the heavenly sanctuary Christ ministers His blood on behalf of the penitent believers. In the most holy place the sins of all the truly penitent are blotted from the books of heaven. Then the sanctuary is cleansed from the record of all sin (p. 347).
The death of Christ on the cross paid the redemption price, but His blood must be applied to the repentant sinner through His own mediation, in order that the atonement or reconciliation may be complete (p. 373).
Three years later the SDA-Evangelical Conferences began. The compromises which the Adventist conferees made with the Evangelicals are set forth in the book, Questions on Doctrine. We will note only those which apply to the Sanctuary teaching of the Church. On page 390 we read an emphasized statement: Adventists do not hold any theory of a dual atonement. "Christ hath redeemed us" (Gal. 3:13) "once for all" (Heb. 10:10).
On a prior page in the same chapter, under a section captioned, "The Redemption Absolute by the Victory of Christ," it is stated: 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 for us on the cross. (p. 381; emphasis theirs).
A comparison between these quotations from the book, Questions on Doctrine, and the statements made at the 1952 Bible Conference reveal that they are not in agreement. The position set forth at the Bible Conference has been denied. Instead of a dual atonement - first at the cross by Jesus as the Lamb of God, and then a completed atonement as High Priest after the Order of Melchizedec in the Heavenly Sanctuary - there is emphasized a single atonement completed at the Cross. It was a crucifixion of the truth committed to the Church in sacred trust.
In fact, Donald Grey Barnhouse, the editor of Eternity in reporting the conferences, declared that he and Mr. Martin "heard the Adventist leaders say, flatly, that they repudiate all such extremes" that Christ "had a work to perform in the Most Holy before coming to this earth." Also, Barnhouse reported that the Adventist conferees "do not believe, as some of their earlier teachers 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." (Eternity, September 1956).
Further, it must be kept in mind that the book, Questions on Doctrine, as published in 1957 for
p 5 -- the laity of the Church, was a revision of the answers which the Adventist leaders gave the Evangelicals to the questions they asked at the Conference. 3 One revision can be checked by comparing a statement quoted by Walter Martin in his article, "What Seventh-day Adventists Really Believe" (Eternity, November, 1956) with the same statement as given in Questions on Doctrine. The answers as given to the Evangelicals read "the death of Christ (was) the complete atonement for sin;" the revision read: "the death of Christ (was) the complete sacrificial atonement for sin" (QonD, p. 30, par. 2; also page 31, par. 4).
There was opposition to the book. The most notable was that of M. L. Andreasen who wrote in response to the apostasy, Letters to the Churches. The hierarchy of the Church waged "war" against those who opposed the publication. In Andreasen's case he was "defrocked" and his sustentation cut off. Others were fired. It was a decade of turmoil in the Church, but God spoke in warning in 1967. Jerusalem was once more under the control of Israel in a Six Day War that again revealed His hand as in the Roman siege in 66 AD. 4 In 1980, at the General Conference Session in Dallas, Texas, a new Statement of Beliefs was voted by the Church in session. The date was April 25. On July 30, the Knesset of Israel annexed Jerusalem as a part of Israel, voting "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel." The second phase of Jesus' prophecy had met fulfilment. One step more was to follow.
In1985, Walter Martin published a revised and updated edition of his book, The Kingdom of the Cults, with an appendix section discussing Seventh-day Adventism. He wrote: 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 denomination's history. . . .
Since I have always stressed the importance of doctrinal integrity in my evaluation of religious movements, the doctrinal upheaval in Adventism is of special concern. Consequently, on February 18, 1983, I wrote the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (Washington, D.C.), calling for the Conference's public and official statement reaffirming or denying the authority of the Adventist book, Questions on Doctrine, which was the representative Adventist publication on which I based my earlier evaluation and book. (p. 410).
Two and half months later, Martin received a reply from W. Richard Lesher, who at the time was serving as a General Conference vice-president, and who would the next year become president of Andrews University. Lesher stated in his reply: You ask first if the Seventh-day Adventists still stand behind the answers given to your questions in Questions on Doctrine as they did in 1957. The answer is yes. You 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 Seventh-day Adventists are in harmony with the views expressed in Questions on Doctrine. (ibid.).
Here we have an interesting parallel which must receive due consideration. The Sanhedrin, the Jewish General Conference of 31 A.D., never repented nor changed their decision in the crucifixion of Him who is the Truth (John 14:6). Today, the General Conference of the Church to which God in sacred trust committed the "Everlasting Gospel" will not repent and change their decision in their crucifixion of the Truth regarding the High Priestly ministry of the One who is the truth. They will not seek the blessings of the final atonement, because they have concurred with the Evangelicals that it was all completed at the cross, and that He receives nothing for us as High Priest after the Order of Melchizedec. There is no difference between the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life, and crucifying the truth as it is in Jesus.
In 1903, when the
progressive steps taken in 1901 were reversed, Ellen White warned:
In the balances
of the sanctuary, the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She
will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her
spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ,
at infinite cost, has bestowed upon her, if the blessings conferred have
not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on
p 6 -- her will be pronounced the sentence, "Found wanting." By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 247; emphasis supplied).
Note the emphasized word - "entrusted" - and compare this with the sentence in Vol. 9, p. 19 "The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world." The single truth which made Seventh-day Adventism unique, and placed on a par with the Sabbath truth in the First Angel's Message was crucified in the SDA-Evangelical conferences. We must face the fact that in the fulfilled sign Jesus gave regarding the nations, not only was signalled the close of their probation, but also the withdrawal of the commission entrusted to the Church which indicated that it had been weighed in the balances of the heavenly sanctuary and f ound to be wanting of that trust. 4
1 -- To correctly understand the 16 th chapter of Revelation, one must separate between the plague and the reason for the plague. For example, the 1st plague - "a noisome and grievous sore" - fell upon those "which had the mark of the beast, and upon them that worshiped his image" (ver. 2). But both the reception of the mark, and the worship of the image occurred during probationary time. The plague - the "sore," God's judgment - followed the close of probation. This is the same relationship in all the plagues, except the third. Thus the gathering together for the final confrontation by the "the spirits of devils" to the place called in the Hebrew tongue - Har-Mo'ed - comes before the close of probation, and God's response, "the drying up of the great river Euphrates" (16:12), follows. We need to carefully consider what place is meant by Har-Mo'ed.
2 -- The Bible Sabbath Association's Directory indicates that there are 400 different Sabbath observing groups. In other words, the keeping of the Sabbath is no longer a unique mark of Seventh-day Adventists; however, only those in the community of Adventism teach, or give lip service to, the sanctuary doctrine which would reflect the meaning of "Fear God and give glory to Him because the hour of His judgment is come." The uniqueness of the sacred trust rests in the Sanctuary truth rather than the Sabbath.
In a recent report of the dialogue between the BRI and Roman Catholic theologians, one of the justifications for such a conference emphasized the fact that the Adventist theologians were able to present the Sabbath truth to the Papists. Dr. Manuel Rodriguez gave a thorough defence of the Sabbath almost to the point of an "over-kill." But when Dr. George W. Reid presented a review of the 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs, he muted #23 which covers the Ministry of Christ as High Priest after the Order of Melchizedec. See January issue of WWN, page 7, "Dialogue with Rome."
3 -- On one occasion in passing through Takoma Park, I made contact with Elder R. J. Wieland who was also there at that time. He had an appointment with one of the associate editors of the Review and Herald and invited me to go with him. After a lengthy discussion of the manuscript, 1888 ReExamined, the conversation turned to the book, Questions on Doctrine. The editor said, "You know that it is a revised edition of the actual answers?" We didn't. He had a copy of the original answers in his desk that morning. I pled with him at that time and later by letter to release those answers so that we might know in fact the full extent of the compromise. He responded: "I still feel it would be unethical to make available copies of those original answers sent to Martin and Barnhouse. I received them in confidence and would have to have "the permission of the people involved before I could make them available to others. I hope you do not mind."
I did mind, and still do mind. Somebody needs to do so, so that the whole truth and all the truth about the compromises may be made known.
4 --We look in total dismay upon the fact that a group of religious leaders could lead a crowd of professed believers to shout in unison, "Crucify Him," - the very God they professed to worship there in flesh before them. But they did. They denied that the "Word who came to be flesh" was divine. They justified and maintained their judgment against Him to the very destruction of their Temple, and beyond, and the city which housed it. But how can one separate Him who is the Truth from the Truth as it is in Him? Is there any difference between rejecting the atonement of the Cross, and the final atonement that the same Lamb of God will provide as High Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedec?
Postscripts -- Part 1 -- The dual prophecy which Jesus gave involving Jerusalem presents some problems of application. The city was to be trodden down by the - ta eqnh (the nations) until the probationary time of those nations would be fulfilled. There are two
p 7 -- perspectives from which to view these words of Jesus: 1) from the view point of the disciples to whom Jesus was speaking, and 2) from our viewpoint as we see things today.
First, let us note the disciple's viewpoint. To them, the world was composed of but two groups of people, Israel and the Goyim (the Gentile nations). It was very simple to understand what Jesus meant. Jerusalem would be trodden down of the Goyim until their probationary time was fulfilled. From our perspective, because Israel was set aside as God's nation, we perceive it as a part of the Goyim, and thus have difficulty with the interpretation. It can be said simply from our time in history that Jesus' prophecy is saying that the same people who controlled it when Jesus gave the prophecy would be the same people who would regain control of that city when the time of the nations was fulfilled. That did occur in 1967, and was confirmed in 1980.
Then there is another factor that can be introduced. The sign foretold in the answer Jesus gave to the disciple's first question was for the new Israel of God. Can the same be true for the sign given in answer to the second question asked? If so, the question is, what is the fulfillment of Luke 21:24 saying to the spiritual Israel of God today? This requires that we face squarely the trust committed and the betrayal of that trust.
Postscript -- Part 2 -- A similar military order marked the answers to both questions which the disciples asked Jesus. When the first prophecy was being fulfilled, Josephus tells us that Cestius "retired from the city, without any reason in the world" (Wars of the Jews, Bk. 11, Chap. XIX, # 7). This permitted the Jews to open the gates of the city, and the Christians who had remained in Jerusalem to flee.
In a book published last year, Six Days of War, the author, Michael B. Oren, a recognized Hebrew scholar and historian, after noting the destruction inflicted on the Egyptian air force by the Israeli pre-emptive strike, wrote: Yet, for all this destruction, the Egyptian army in Sinai was far from vanquished. Over half of Nasser's forces were still intact, and important elements - the 3 rd and 6 th Divisions, and the Shazli Force - had yet to fire a shot (p. 113).
Then Dr. Oren notes "Egypt's leaders ordered a wholesale and wildly disorganized retreat" (p. 214). This was only Day Two of the war; however it freed up Israeli troops, and permitted action on the Jordanian front which resulted in the old city of Jerusalem being brought again, after 19 centuries, under Jewish control on Day Three. On that day General Gur would radio General Narkiss "three words - seven in English - that would resonate for decades afterward, 'Har ba-Bayit be-Yadenu' - 'The Temple Mount is in our hands"' (p. 242). "Eshkol, the prime minister wasted no time in placing the Holy Places under the jurisdiction of their relevant clergy" while General Narkiss worked to achieve "the security needed to establish Israeli governance of the city" (p. 246) Luke 21:24 was fulfilled!
The Divine Intervention which caused Cestius to call a retreat was not for the sake of Jerusalem, nor for the Temple, but for the Christians still in Jerusalem. The Divine Intervention which permitted Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, to come again under the control of Israel was not for the sake of Israel, but was signalling something to God's spiritual Israel. Could it be connected with the message given in 1896: My mind was carried into the future, when the signal will be given, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him." (R&H, Feb. 11, 1896). --- (2003 Feb) --- END --- TOP
2003 Mar XXXVI 3(03) -- The Messenger of the Lord -- Editor's Preface -- When we are told something of spiritual import the first evaluation is not usually, "Is it truth?" but rather we want to know what is the status of the one who said it. When John the Baptist began preaching in the wilderness, and the news spread to Jerusalem, a delegation was dispatched with only one over-all question - "Who art thou?" (John 1:19). When a negative reply was given to their unspoken thinking, a series of questions followed as to his identity. When all received a negative response, he was asked, "What sayest thou of thyself"? (ver. 22). Forthrightly he replied, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord as said the prophet Isaiah" (ver. 23). The people who heard him, believed him to be a prophet (Matt. 21:26). Jesus declared John to be "more than a prophet" and in the next breath designated him as the messenger" to come as prophesied by Malachi (Matt. 11:9-10). Is this saying the work of a messenger is superior to the office of a prophet?
The Apostolic Church had prophets. One such prophet was Agabus who brought a personal warning to one whose writings would form a major part of the New Testament canon, yet that person chose to ignore the warning the prophet gave him. (Acts 21:11-13). Among the major gifts of the Spirit listed in the New Testament, the gift of prophetic insight ranks second. (Eph. 4:11).
In this issue we note the designation assigned to the ministry of Ellen G. White. We also note several messages given which relate to this specific hour, with which we must reckon.
p 2 --The Messenger of the Lord -- The first decade of the 20th Century was a decade of crisis for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. At midpoint of that decade, a conflict ensued between the General Conference leadership and Elder A. T. Jones. In a 96-page Statement, they purposed to refute charges made by Jones against the Spirit of Prophecy. One question revolved around whether she claimed to be a prophet or not. On this point Jones wrote: Bear in mind that I did not say that she was not a prophet. I simply said that she said, "I am not a prophet;" and that I heard her say it. (A Final Word and a Confession, p. 6; emphasis his)
As evidence Jones cited a "verbatim stenographic" report of what she said on Sunday afternoon, October 2, 1904, in Battle Creek. Her words were: I am not, as I said yesterday, a prophet. I do not claim to be a leader. I claim to be simply a messenger of God. And that is all I have ever claimed. (ibid., p. 8; emphasis his)
Then Jones quoted a signed communication from St. Helena, dated November 17,1903, which read: From the year 1846 until the present time, I have received messages from the Lord, and have communicated them to His people. This is my work - to give to the people the light that God gives to me. I am commissioned to receive and communicate His messages. I am not to appear before the people as holding any other position than that of a messenger with a message. (ibid., p. 10; emphasis his)
During the first half of that decade of controversy, she did give several important messages which reflect upon our own time. At the 1901 General Conference Session in Battle Creek, the president, George A. Irwin, had just finished his presidential address to the delegates, and the Chair declared the Conference open for business, when Ellen White arose and came to the podium. She declared: I feel a special interest in the movements and decisions that shall be made at this Conference regarding the things that should have been done years ago, and especially ten years ago, when we were assembled in Conference, and the Spirit and power of God came into our meeting, testifying that God was ready to work for this people if they would come into working order. The brethren assented to the light God had given, but there were those connected with our institutions, especially the Review and Herald Office and the Conference, who brought in elements of unbelief, so that the light that was given was not acted upon. It was assented to, but no special change was made to bring about a condition of things that the power of God could be revealed among His people. . . .
That these men should stand in a sacred place, to be the voice of God to the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be, - that is past. What we want now is a reorganization. We want to begin at the foundation, and to build on a different principle. (1901 GC Bulletin, pp. 23, 25)
At this 1901 session a new and different organization was effected. The Church was to be governed by an Executive Committee of twenty five members with power to organize itself, appointing a rotating chairman annually (ibid., pp. 379, 206). It was hoped that the exercise of "kingly" power by any one man would be erased.
Two years later at the 1903 General Conference Session in Oakland, California, the reform constitution of 1901 was set aside, and a new constitution was adopted, however, not without protests and warnings. A minority report of the Committee on Plans and Constitution challenged the proposed constitution as so "subversive of the principles of organization given to us at the General Conferences of 1897 and 1901" that they could "not possibly subscribe to it." (1903 GC Bulletin, p. 146). One member who signed the minority report, P. T. Magan, warned the delegates: It may be stated there is nothing in this new constitution which is not abundantly safeguarded by the provisions of it: but I want to say to you that any man who has ever read Neander's History of the Christian Church. Mosheim's, or any of the other of the great church historians - any man who has ever read those histories can come to no other conclusion but that the principles which are to be brought in
p 3 -- through this proposed constitution, and in the way in which they are brought in, are the same principles, and introduced in precisely the same way, as they were hundreds of years ago when the papacy was made (ibid., p. 150).
On April 13, the 1903 Session in Oakland was adjourned to meet again in Battle Creek, on April 22. On April 21 from St. Helena, California, Ellen White wrote: In the balances of the sanctuary, the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence, "Found wanting." By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 247).
The time setting in which this warning was given, and what it says dare not be overlooked. It does not say, "Perhaps the Seventh-day Adventist church will be weighed, but pointedly "is to be weighed." Further, if her "spiritual experience" does not reflect the infinite sacrifice of Christ and she fails "to do the work entrusted to her," the sentence "will be" -"Found wanting."
Whenever this "message" is read, we are confronted with the fact that the Church does not have "free" entrance to Heaven with no questions asked. Corporately it will have to give an account at the judgment bar of God even as the Jewish nation had to do. The Seventh-day Adventist Church does not have an unquestioned status with heaven even though it was given "the most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals . . . to proclaim to the world" (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 19). Further, a God who will call for a corporate accounting will also give ample evidence so that the individual member can know the decision rendered. This decision we have to face, even as the Jews individually had to face God's judgment on the decision of their Sanhedrin regarding Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
If we are willing to follow the counsel given for the study of the messages of the Messenger, we can properly relate them to the present. The counsel reads: "The testimonies themselves will be the key that will explain the messages given, as scripture is explained by scripture" (Selected Messages, bk. i, p. 42). What messages have been given which help us to know the decision which has been made "in the balances of the sanctuary"?
We closed "Postscript - 2" in the February issue of WWN with a message given in 1896. It read: My mind was carried into the future, when the signal will be given, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him" (R&H, Feb. 11).
This "message" is calling attention to the parable of the Ten Virgins which Jesus gave as a part of His eschatological presentation on the Mount of Olives. What other "messages" have been given which helps one to know what "go ye out to meet Him" might mean? There are two that come to mind:
1) "The state of the Church represented by the foolish virgins is also spoken of as the Laodicean state" (R&H, August 19,1890).
2) "Since the time of the Minneapolis meeting, I have seen the state of the Laodicean Church as never before" (R&H, August 26,1890)
In these "messages" there are mingled, three factors: a) the "foolish virgins;" b) the Laodicean church; and c) the 1888 message of righteousness by faith. By connecting the "foolish virgins" with the state of Laodicea, one can know better the meaning of the words of the True Witness, "I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Rev. 3:15-16). As the door was shut to "the foolish virgins" with the dictum, "I know you not" (Matt. 25:12), on Laodicea likewise is the door shut.
In regard to the "time" element - 1888 - the message given at Minneapolis by Jones and Waggoner - righteousness by faith - was declared to be "the third angel's message in verity" (R&H, April 1, 1890) In other words, the message was to accomplish a specific work. The work of that angel had already been defined as "the angel that
p 4 -- is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind, the wheat for the heavenly garner" (Early Writings, p. 118). Observe that it is not the tares that are taken from the wheat, but the wheat is removed from the tares. The "wise virgins" - the "wheat" - go out to meet the Bridegroom. The present agitation of the 1888 Message in Adventism today misses the whole objective of the work of the third angel. A message of righteousness by faith that does not separate the wheat from the tares is not the genuine message which harmonizes with the work of "the third angel."
There is another message from "the Messenger" which needs careful consideration given in the time frame of 1888. It reads: After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation, and minds will be confused by many voices crying, "Lo, here is Christ, lo he is there. This is the truth, I have a message from God, he has sent me with great light." Then there will be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to pull down the pillars of our faith. A more decided effort will be made to exalt the false Sabbath, and cast contempt upon God Himself by supplanting the day He has blessed and sanctified. This false Sabbath is to be enforced by an oppressive law. Satan and his angels are wide-awake and intensely active, working with energy and perseverance through human instrumentalities to bring about his purpose of obliterating from the minds of men the knowledge of God. But while Satan works with his lying wonders, the time will be fulfilled foretold in the Revelation, and the mighty angel that shall lighten the earth with his glory, will proclaim the fall of Babylon, and call upon God's people to forsake her (R&H, Dec. 13, 1892; emphasis supplied).
This editor does not profess to understand fully all that is written in the above statement, especially the last time element introduced by, "but while." However, if one is willing to accept the hermeneutic given by the "Messenger" so as to properly understand her messages - comparing one statement with another, even as in the study of the Bible - comparing one verse with another (See p. 3, col. 2) - the following dare not be ignored: The world must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will indeed become corrupt, and, as stated in Revelation, "a cage of every unclean and hateful bird" (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 265).
In the December 2002 issue of "Reflections" a newsletter for beneficiaries of the NAD Retirement Plans of the SDA church, the contributing editor, Elder Jack Harris, resubmitted for thoughtful consideration an article he had written for the North Pacific Union Recorder twenty years previously in 1982. In part it read: When I began my ministry [in 1950], a much respected pastor said to me, "Just wait twenty years, and you will see a vast change in the church." (Was he right or wrong?) True Sabbath keeping is becoming a less common practice. In some churches less than 10% of the members make an effort to study the SS lesson. Divorces and marital problems occupy a major portion of a pastor's time. With ever higher earnings, we are giving less and spending more on ourselves.
With almost calendar precision, fashions for men and women and our youth run the gamut from shock to sensibility, from the abhorrent to the acceptable. Today immodesty seems to be taken for granted but Bible standards have not changed. Some (many?) among us seem to have forgotten that we are to set an example and represent Christ.
"The world (has been) introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. "
Let us return to the 1892 "message" and note the other two conjunctive adverbs of time - "after" and "then."
"After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations . . . " Observe this does not say, "to all individuals," but rather "to all nations" - corporate entities. This reflects the words of Jesus in His eschatological discourse on Olivet -"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14). In the context of the "message" this would infer that the "end" was to be a period of time rather than a point of
p 5 -- time. Jesus said also -"Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the nations ('upo eqnwn), until the [probationary] times (kairoi) of the nations (eqnwn) be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). Simultaneously with the witness of the truth to all nations "every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation."
The mid-years of the 20th Century have been termed the Golden Age of Adventist evangelism. The cities of America, Canada, Australia, London and even Shanghai, heard the "loud cry." From that period come the names - J. L. Shuler, F. W. Detamore, R. Allan Anderson, George Burnside - to name a few of the voices which helped swell that "witness" to all nations. One has only to recall the decades following to note the accuracy of the prediction "that every power of evil" would operate with a new intensity.
"Then there will be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to pull down the pillars of our faith." This has been documented so completely that it stands verified beyond dispute. See WWN, XXXVI - 2(03). In the compromises of the SDA-Evangelical Conferences, the Sanctuary "pillar" was "pulled down," the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Godhead were altered. This requires a rethinking of our "witness." The order as indicated in the "message" of 1892 is, first the "truth" as a witness to all nations; and then secondly, the warning in regard to the tampering with the truth.
There are "many voices" in the community of Adventism - as the "message" indicated there would be - who while decrying the "apostasy" in Adventism are in the same breath calling for a missionary advance in Africa, the Baltics, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands featuring monthly "the Ministry of the Month." If these truly believe there is still a witness to the nations to be given, then they better unite forces once more with the Church, and tell to their deluded followers that the changes made in the truth during the previous decades was merely "advancing light" in which they should now walk.
What should be the approach? Let us go back to the beginning of "the times of the Gentiles." The instruction was clearly given - "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). It was dual, first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. There was no question about the message to the Gentile nations; it was their time to hear the Gospel. What, however, was the message to Israel? "Your religious leaders crucified the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Do you concur, or do you accept the resurrected Lord? (Acts 13:26-30). Those who accepted Him became "followers of the Way" (Acts 9:2, margin; 19:9, 23).
We have come to the close of "the times of the nations." The witness to them corporately is to end, but what is the message to "spiritual Israel"? "Your religious hierarchy has crucified the truth as it is in Jesus." The question is simply: Is there any difference between crucifying Him who is the Truth, and the truth as it is Him? And for those who are seeking to promote "independent" missionary programs, the question is also simple: Do you really believe "the Messenger" which you so loudly boast that you do? If you do, then line up with the time sequence given through that Messenger, and cooperate with the "third angel" in his work.
How Do We Relate? -- In the November 2002 issue of WWN, I called attention to a paragraph in Patriarch & Prophets (pp 354, 355) with a footnote directing the reader to an appendix reference (p. 761). This reference in turn stated that the paragraph was not in line with the Biblical type. The issue had no more than hit the field in Australia, than I received a Fax urging me because of this "revelation" to denounce Ellen White as a liar and false prophet. This I refused to do. First, how could I declare her false of what she never claimed to be? (See article above). Secondly, the evidences are too well documented to deny that which verifies the fact she had been given a "spiritual gift."
Just at the time of this exchange of Faxes across the Pacific, the library received the Fall Issue of the Adventist Heritage Ministry Bulletin. The lead article told about the relocation of the pre-
p 6 -- civil war Seventh-day Adventist Church from Parkville, Michigan, to the Historic Adventist Village in Battle Creek. At the original dedication service of this church on January 12, 1861, Ellen White received a vision pertaining to the still future American Civil War. On coming out of vision, she sought to warn those in attendance what she had been shown was coming in the months ahead, stating that some present would loose sons in that war. J. N. Loughborough, who was present, recalled in the Pacific Union Recorder, March 14, 1912, this experience.
He stated: Near the stand sat Judge Nathan Osborne, whose wife was a Sabbath keeper. When Mrs White told what was coming, he looked at me and shook his head. Some time later I spoke in that same church. My subject was spiritual gifts. In illustration of the gift as manifest by Sister White, I referred to the vision of January 12, 1861. This time the judge did not shake his head, but instead his face was in his handkerchief, and he was sobbing bitter tears. Alas! His son Frank had been killed in action and his son George had spent time as a prisoner of war. The elder of the Parkville Church told me that he knew of six or seven of the others who had lost sons in the War.
(A complete report of this vision in historical context, can be found in Loughborough's book, The Prophetic Gift in the Gospel Church, pp. 93-96)
Where does this leave us in regard to the paragraph in Patriarch and Prophets? There is always the primary question, as I indicated in the November issue of WWN: Why did not the book committee make contact with Ellen White and let her bring into harmony the paragraph with the Bible before the book was first published? We do not have the answer to that question. As it stands, it leaves a stumbling block, and some perceive it as placing a question mark on all that has been written by the "messenger."
It appears that many box themselves into a corner by their own conceptions of inspiration and infallibility. Consider first infallibility. Ellen G. White affirmed, I never claimed it." She wrote, "God alone is infallible. His word is true, and in Him is no variableness, or shadow of turning" (Letter 10, 1895). At the 1919 Bible Conference this question surfaced. A. G. Daniells' response is helpful. He stated: Now on infallibility. I suppose Sister White used Paul's text, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels," as much as any other scripture. She used to repeat that often, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels," with the idea that she was a poor, feeble woman, a messenger of the Lord trying to do her duty and meet the mind of God in this work. When you take the position that she was not infallible, and that her writings were not verbally inspired, isn't there a chance for the manifestation of the human? If there isn't, then what is infallibility? And should we be surprised when we know that the instrument was fallible, and that the general truths, as she says, were revealed, then aren't we prepared to see mistakes? (p. 33).
As for "inspiration," we will have to determine whether we perceived those inspired of God as "pens" or "penmen." Perhaps, it could be a mix of both; thus, we need to pray for the spirit of discernment, which, by the way, is also a "spiritual gift" (I Cor. 12:10). Paul well wrote to the Corinthians: The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:14).
The basic reason that a problem arises over the controverted paragraph in Patriarch & Prophets is one's reluctance to accept the primacy of the Scriptures. At the very beginning of the decade of crisis, Ellen White spoke to a group of workers assembled in the Battle Creek College library at the time of 1901 General Conference session. She admonished them: Don't you quote Sister White. I don't want you ever to quote Sister White until you get your vantage ground where you know where you are. Quote the Bible. Talk the Bible. It is full of meat, full of fatness. Carry it out in your life, and you will know more Bible than you know now. (Spalding-Magan Collection, p. 174)
This counsel from 1901 is excellent counsel now, 100 years later. We have a problem. There is an evident difference; however, the solution is
p 7 --likewise evident. "Quote the Bible. Talk the Bible." If we are willing to do so, we will know more Bible than we know now.
Forthcoming Issues -- For the past several Sabbaths, we have devoted the hour of study at our Campus Sabbath School to the study of the history and development of the Sanctuary truth in Adventism. While there have been major challenges to the doctrine since the beginning of the 20th century, we began with the Biblical texts which are involved with the compromises made with the Evangelicals in the 1955-56 conferences. One, Hebrews 8:5 is translated differently in the NIV, the Evangelical translation, from the KJV. Another, Hebrews 9:11-12, which, R. Allan Anderson told me personally, threw the Adventist conferees a "curve," is translated differently in the KJV and the RSV. Each of these differences has a vital bearing on what we call the sanctuary truth.
There is also a historical background to be considered. William Miller focused attention on the dates 1843 and 1844 in relationship to "the cleansing of the sanctuary," and believing the earth to be that sanctuary, predicted the second coming of Christ to occur "sometime between March 21st, 1843, and March 21st, 1844." Thus the first question to be resolved by the small group who came from the Millerite Movement that would finally become the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1863 was to what "sanctuary" did Daniel 8:14 refer? Here enters Crosier's article, and the statement made regarding it by Ellen White as found in A Word to the "Little Flock."
Don F. Neufeld, an associate editor of the Adventist Review, wrote that "it required some thirteen years after the passing of the time in the autumn of 1844 before the subject of the investigative judgment was fully developed" (Feb. 14, 1980, p. 14). Then he cautioned, "One should not, therefore, equate the cleansing of the sanctuary with the investigative judgment," but continued: Some have not borne this distinction in mind and have made the judgment the major significance of 1844. The judgment is an important event, but the final atonement and the blotting out of sin were the items upon which the ritual on the Day of Atonement focused. (ibid., p. 15).
First, we shall analyze the texts in Hebrews noted above; then after noting some of the historical factors from the Millerite background of the Advent Movement, we shall turn to the Scriptures and carefully observe the type as set forth by God to Moses. Once the questions resident in the typical services, both the daily and the yearly, are studied, then we shall seek to harmonize the data with the prophecies which are involved. This will require prayer and careful study, but we invite your participation in and response to this objective. We are all "earthen vessels."
NOTE: Two years ago, we printed a "Special Issue" of WWN which asked the question, "The Forming of the Image to the Beast, Is It Now Accomplished?" The author, a retiree from the Legal profession, wished to remain anonymous under the pen name, Pro Libertas. He has now written another Brief in response to the dialogue between Seventh-day Adventist and Roman Church Theologians captioned, "The Church of Rome in Bible Prophecy." It may be requested through Adventist Laymen's Foundation, P.O. Box 69, Ozone AR 72854 with $1 for postage. -- (Mar 2003) --- END ---