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SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
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Interpretative History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, An
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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:

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 2002 Jul - Sep

 

2002 Jul -- XXXV 7(02) -- The "Heart" of Justification -- Editor's Preface -- Many believe Paul's answer to the question of the Phillipian Jailer too simple, and incomplete. The terrified Jailer had asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Paul responded - "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:30-31). The humanity of the Jailer, and the humanity of the Jews of Capernaum, evidence the same thinking. At Capernaum, Jesus was asked "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" (John 6:28). And the answer Jesus gave was no different than Paul's decades later. He declared "This is the work of God that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent" (v. 29). On the part of the sinner is the thinking that he must do something to gain the favor of God. From the viewpoint of God, it is the simple desire that the sinner place his faith only in Jesus Christ. When Jairus received word that his daughter had died before Jesus could get there, his heart sank: but Jesus assured him - "Fear not, believe only, and she shall be made whole" (Luke 8:50). The clause, "she shall be made whole" is one word in the Greek text, swqhsetai future passive of swzw. "I save." In this one experience is the whole of salvation. It comes from outside of man, provided by One who asks for but one thing, a living faith - the noun for the Greek verb, to believe. "Without faith it is impossible to please" God. (Heb. 11:6).

In this issue of WWN, this one topic "justification by faith" prevails, plus some of the current thinking in Adventism, inasmuch as the controversy of 1888 still continues. We seem not to realize that the controversy over righteousness by faith began in the early Church with Paul's pronouncement - "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3:28). This was the core teaching of the Reformation; this was the doctrine at which Rome hurled its anathemas at the Council of Trent. Yet strangely, today there are those in the ranks of Adventism who believe that the Roman "gospel" of Trent is the true Gospel. Why? Perhaps because of the "heart" of the problem.

p 2 -- The "Heart" of Justification -- "God left him, to try him that [Hezekiah] might know all that was in his heart." (II Chronicles 32:31) King Hezekiah ranks among the kings of Judah between David and Zedekiah as the most spiritual of them all. The record reads:     He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it ... He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses. (II Kings 18:3-6)

Soon after the annihilation of the Assyrian army by the angel of the Lord, he became grievously ill, and was informed by the prophet Isaiah that he should set his house in order as he would die. To this, he prayed and cried unto the Lord to be healed. Observe carefully his petition:       I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight. (20:3).

His prayer was heard, and Isaiah returned with a message that his life would be lengthened fifteen years. He asked for a sign. Isaiah responded with a choice of two ways an astronomical sign could work. He chose, and it occurred. Babylonian astrologers took note, and a deputation came from the King of Babylon with letters and a present. (20:12) The Scripture reveals how Hezekiah responded to what the Lord had done for him, and why:   "Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up" (II Chronicles 32:25). In his reception of the Babylonian ambassadors, the pride of his heart led to a display of self exaltation. What testimony was given these men? - the power of God to heal, or his personal wealth accumulated because of God's favor without God being mentioned as the Bestower? During the visit of these ambassadors, God stepped aside, and Hezekiah was on his own with his "perfect heart" as he had prayed. God revealed to him "all that was in his heart" - pride. (I John 2:16) This revelation of man's "heart" is the key to the controversy which involves justification, sanctification, and perfection.

In recent weeks, we received a packet of documents, as well as a cassette tape from a friend on the West Coast which involves several authors and differing viewpoints on justification. The cassette tape was a recording of a study given by Elder Dennis Priebe March 16, this year, in the Seventh-day Adventist Church at Mentone, California. He used some of the documents in the packet as the basis for his presentation. In his concluding observations he involved two others and their positions on justification by faith, one with which he concurred. It is our objective to analyze some of these documents and Elder Priebe's presentation.

The packet of documents included the following, as well as the cassette recording of Priebe's study
captioned, "Protestant or Catholic?"
1)  Two articles from the Adventist Review (Sept. 23, 1999 and June 22, 2000) by Clifford Goldstein.
2)  An article from the Adventist Review (May 25, 2000) by Dr. Woodrow Whidden of Andrews University.
3)  An essay on "Which View of Salvation is Correct?" by Dr. Erwin R. Gane.
4)  A page of quotations from the Writings.

Gane's Position -- We shall note first Dr. Gane's question and the answer he gave. He was Clifford Goldstein's predecessor as editor of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. The first thing evident is that there is a 180 degree difference in the theology of the two men. This is not saying that one is 100% correct, and the other equally as wrong. It does mean that there needs to be careful study and evaluation of where each stands in relationship to truth. Some positions of Gane are reflected in the position taken by Priebe. In the overall picture, it should be noted that Gane connects his answer with the Doctrine of the Trinity as taught by Rome, which Rome in turn declares is the basis of "all the other teachings of the Church." (Handhook of Today's Catholic, p.11)

p 3 -- Dr Gane seeks to show that there is no difference between what he perceives Christ's teaching to be on justificaton, and what the Apostle Paul taught on the same subject. There should be none, if we understand justification correctly. Paul clearly declared that the Gospel he taught was received by him as a direct revelation by Jesus Christ. He wrote to the Galatians:       I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1:11-12).

Gane perceives the night conversation of Jesus with Nicodemus as reflective of what Christ taught on justification and uses it as the basis for comparison between Jesus' teaching on salvation and what Paul taught. He wrote:   "In His interview with Nicodemus, Jesus presented five principles of salvation." These are:
1)  The Cross is central to our salvation.
2)  The Cross makes forgiveness possible.
3)  The Cross makes it possible for Christ's righteousness to be counted for the believer.
4)  The Cross makes it possible for Christ's righteousness to be bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit.
5)  The Cross makes it possible for Christ to give us the power to obey His law.

Is there anything wrong with these principles? Absolutely not. The Cross is made central as it should be. So likewise did Paul make it central in his teaching. To the Corinthians, Paul wrote:  "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures." (1:15:3)

What is the problem? Gane groups all five principles as the basis for, and explanation of justification. Jesus did not once use the term, justification, in talking to Nicodemus. He was trying to get Nicodemus to see "all" that was in his heart. He used terms - "water" and "the Spirit" - borrowed from Creation (Gen. 1:2). Unless man was willing to consent to become nothing, just clay once more in the Hands of the Potter, there was no hope. Why could this be demanded as the condition of salvation? Paul explained that He who was Somebody, "emptied Himself, ... becoming obedient even unto death, yea the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:7-8 ARV). He became "nothing" facing eternal annihilation by tasting the second death for every man, that those who would but accept could be justified.

Further, in choosing the wilderness experience of the uplifted serpent Jesus illustrated not only the death He would die, but also the simplicity of redemption. All bitten by the "fiery serpents" needed but to look to live (Num. 21:8-9).

Jesus did speak specifically about justification in a parable. In the parable He made a comparison involving a Pharisee, even as Nicodemus was, and the one justified, a sinner. He compared "two men [who] went up into the temple to pray" (Luke 18:10). The publican, who "would not so much as liff up his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner," alone was "justified" (v. 14). The answer is the "heart" of the matter, and our willingness to recognize "all" that is in that "heart." Those who do so and plead for mercy only are justified. The "new birth", a new creation in Christ Jesus, follows.

Priebe vs. Goldstein -- The first article by Clifford Goldstein in September, 1999 on "Testing Truths" had a test made up of six antithetical couplets by which the reader was suppose to be able to deterinine if he lined up with "the Protestant point of view" or "was inclined toward the teaching that Roman Catholicism embraced since the Council of Trent," the Tridentine Gospel. Though couplets, they were numbered 1 - 12. If one chose all the odd numbered, he was Protestant, but if the even numbered, he tended toward the Catholic teaching. It was the conclusions drawn by this test which were questioned by Elder Priebe in his presentation at Mentone. Priebe maintained that what Goldstein called Protestant was really Evangelical, and what Goldstein held as giving evidence of Roman Catholicism was in reality the true perception of justification.

Priebe insists that some form of righteousness must take place within a sinner before he is justified. He cites certain Scriptures and references from the Writings which would seem to verify his conclusion. To arrive at truth will require more than a mere surface analysis. As noted above, Jesus did not use the word "justified" in any of its forms in discussing with Nicodemus the "new birth." However, He did in the parable cited (Luke 18:14). The word used by Jesus in this parable, as translated by Luke, is dedikaiwemoV, a perfect passive participle of the word, dikaiow. Two facts are established by this word:  1)  Being in the perfect tense, it indicates a completed

p 4 -- action, and  2)   Being in the passive form, it indicates a state pronounced upon him, and not something done by him. The publican was a justified sinner, the transformation was to follow by growth in grace. Or as Luther put it - simul justus et peccator.

If we were to apply what James wrote, and which is cited in the actions of the Council of Trent, prior to the Canons on Justification (Chapter 10), Nicodemus was a justified man, and did not need to be justified. James wrote - "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (2:24). But Nicodemus was a Laodicean, as are also those pursuing this doctrinal position today, modern Pharisees. As I was rereading the preface chapters to the Canons on Justification as set down by the Council of Trent, I thought I was listening to the tape by Priebe. This is what I read:       If they were not born again in Christ, they would never be justified; seeing that, in the new birth, there is bestowed upon them, through the merit of (Christ's) passion, the grace whereby they are made just. (Chapter III).

Clearly the Catholic teaching is that one must be born again before he can be justified. In other words, justification follows the new birth. This, too, was the basic premise in Priebe's presentation. While he did not accept, the Catholic teaching on "how" the new birth imparts righteousness for justification; he merely modified the Tridentine gospel of Rome and labeled it the true gospel.

If we wish to know how Rome understood the Gospel proclaimed by the Reformers, all we need to do is consider the anathemas proclaimed at the Council of Trent against them. Canon XII reads:     
If anyone saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified: let him be anathema.

The "Heart" of the Matter -- The whole issue returns to the "heart" of the justification question, the core of man's nature because of sin. Well did Jeremiah write:       The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (17:9).

This was Hezekiah's problem. He actually believed that he walked before God "in truth and with a perfect heart" (II Kings 20:3). That was his intent, and God responded to his request, not because Hezekiah was so righteous, but for his enlightenment that, when leff on his own, he might see his "heart" as it really was, "lifted up" with pride. (II Chron. 32:25). We do not need our "ego" massaged, we need it crucified.

This was also the same problem which Nicodemus faced. He was a teacher in Israel, not a sinner in deed. He could with others of his fellow Pharisees evaluate Jesus, "We know that thou art a teacher (only a "teacher," not a Saviour) come from God" (John 3:2). He could not comprehend the necessity to return to the nothingness of the first creation, so God could start anew. He sensed no need to be justified, because by his works he was not as other men were sinners.

This is Priebe's problem as well as the one he quoted so approvingly to climax his presentation. If justification follows the "new birth," all then that justification is, is God's vindication of a "born again" man, and not a merciful pardon for a confessing sinner whereby his sins are remitted. If so understood, the publican prayed amiss, and "the Teacher come from God" taught amiss. Jesus came not "to call the righteous but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32). Those who perceive of themselves as righteous, indeed need to be "born again" so that they can see themselves as they really are.

Well was the question asked - "What is justification by faith?" The answer is clear:  "It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ" (Manuscript Release, Vol.20, p. 117). To see that one in himself is "nothing," and admit it, is the most difficult of confessions to make in sincerity.

After one so recognizes himself, then regeneration can begin. "What is regeneration? It is revealing to man what is his own real nature, that in himself he is worthless" (ibid). Not only being "nothing," he is "worthless." Something has to give. His worthless ego must go so "the work of God" which he cannot do for himself, can not only begin, but continue.

We are to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18). Jesus Christ was not only the Lamb of God "which is

p 5 -- bearing away the sin of the world" (John 1:29, margin), but He "ever liveth to make intercession" for those who sense their constant worthlessness, and thus their dependency on a power they do not have to do for them what they cannot do for themselves. The "heart" of justification is our heart, so desperately wicked, we cannot clean it up. It is ours to cry, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit in me" Ps. 51:10). This is the "new birth," going back to "creation" so that God can begin again. However, we fail to notice the beginning words of this Psalm of David:      Have mercy upon me, 0 God, according to thy loving kindness: according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

This is justification, then follows a new creature in Christ Jesus, a new conception, "being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever" (I Peter 1:23). It is the same creative "word" that formed man in the beginning. Then having become as "new born babes" we should "desire the sincere milk of the word, that (we) may grow thereby" (II Peter 2:2).

We profess as Adventists to have the light and truth on the doctrine of the sanctuary. We may be able to find in every facet of the sanctuary which Moses was instructed to build some symbolic representation, and there are many to find. In so doing many have missed "the weightier matters" of the sanctuary, the service performed by the priests. Consider, what the text says when the individual sinner came confessing and bringing the prescribed offering:
1)  And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and
2)  He shall slay the sin offering. (Lev. 4:29)

Now follow through the balance of the reconciliation:
1)  The priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering,
2)  And [the priest] shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar.
3)  And [the priest] shall take away all the fat thereof, ... and shall burn it on the altar for a sweet savour unto the Lord;
4) And the priest shall make an atonement for him.

Then what?       It shall be forgiven him. (Lev. 4:30-31)

What did the sinner do? Confessed and presented another life in place of his own for sin. But who accomplished the at-one-ment? Another outside of himself.

Coming to the Day of Atonement and its cleansing ritual, the emphasis is clearly stated - "There shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when [the High Priest] goeth in to make an atonement for the [most] holy" (Lev. 16:17). Why? "For on that day shall [the high priest] make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean of all your sins before the Lord" (16:30). One only could make the cleansing, and that one stood as a type of Him who "is able to save to the uttermost ... seeing He ever liveth to make intercession" for us (Heb. 7:25). Well did Job ask - "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" - and his answer, "Not one," emphatically states man's total inability of himself to accomplish the objective. But He who can justify a sinner, can also cleanse the sinner if his ego doesn't prevent him from seeing himself as he is, "that in himself he is worthless." We must become once again as worthless mud - clay - in the hands of the Master Potter so that He can form anew His image. (Isa. 64:8).

The Pauline Concept -- We really do not need to concern ourselves with modifications made in Luther's teachings by Melanchthon. We have access to the same writings of Paul they had. We know his certification to the Church in Galatia that the gospel he proclaimed was not of man but that he was taught it "by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1:11-12). In his letter to the Church at Rome, he set forth the two basic elements of the Gospel - the incarnation and the resurrection (1:1, 3- 4) - and declared that Gospel to be "the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth" (1:16). Then in Romans 3, he wrote - "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (v. 28). This riled the religious leadership in his day (James 2:24), and has been a part of the controversy from that day to this. The aversion to righteousness by faith did not begin in 1888. It surfaced then, and is still continued by those who prefer a modified Tridentine Gospel from Rome.

p 6 -- In our analysis of the Pauline Gospel, we too often begin with his conclusion, and fail to note carefully his preface, except perhaps in a general way. The need to be justified hinges on the fact that "all have sinned, and have come short of the glory of God" (3:23). This we can accept, but we have trouble with how bad we, as sinners, really are. When Paul set forth the premise that all are "under sin" (3:9), he defined what "under sin" meant by Scriptural quotations from the Old Testament. The texts used by Paul (3:10-18) can be summarized by two words: "nothingness" and "worthlessness." Only the imputation of the righteousness of Christ can meet the requirements of the Law. I have nothing and am nothing. It is by the grace of God, and His grace alone, that I am justified.

Is this where it ends? "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" The answer, "God forbid. How shall we who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (6:1-2). One has to die before he can live again. It is then that the "abounding grace" of God comes into play. Of this Paul wrote to Titus. After advising him of how he was to instruct the Cretian believers in their relationship to their neighbors, Paul states that the "kindness and love of God our Saviour was manifested "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved ( eswsen ) us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit ... in order that ('ina) having been justified (dikaiwqenteV) by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (3:4-7) The KJV translates an aorist (past) participle as a present - "that being justified" - thus making it appear that the "washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit" is the justification, when the "washing" and "renewing" is that which follows justification so that we may be made heirs to the hope of eternal life. God not only "imputes," but to him that is accounted righteous, He grants grace to live according to the imputation.

This is the same teaching that is reflected in Paul's letter to the Ephesians. There he wrote:     For by grace ye have been saved (seswsmenoi) through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (2:8-10)

Here the KJV translates a perfect passive participle, as a past participle - "are ye saved." God has provided; it is His free gift. We receive it by faith, not by works. But God does not intend that we should continue in sin. The provision of grace also includes that "in Christ Jesus" we should "walk" in the works which He ordained from the beginning.

Jesus' Illustration -- Jesus told a story about a "servant" who had been working hard all day. He asked a question as to whether when the servant came in from the field he would be told to sit down and eat. The answer Jesus gave was, No; but that rather he would be told to prepare supper for his master, and then he could eat. Jesus followed with another question:   "Would the master than thank the servant because of his sacrifice and service?" The answer was again, "No," with this advice:    So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do" (Luke 17:7-10).

Our worthlessness ("unprofitable servants") is but dimly perceived. The magnitude of the investment of God in man, leaves even our willing desire to serve and the result of that service - doing "that which was our duty to do" - as nothing. If an affluent man were asked to finance a business adventure and told that he would receive only a .01% return on his investment, he would ignore the request as insulting to his business judgment. "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners (0 %) Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). Then He imputes the magnitude of that sacrifice to anyone who in sincerity prays - "God be merciful to me a sinner."

It would seem that we rarely read the preceding verses to Paul's dictum - "For by grace ye have been saved ( seswmenoi) through faith" (Eph. 2:8 Gr.). It reads:        But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye have been saved [seswmenoi];) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (2:4-7)

p 7 -- Where then is boasting? "It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3:27-28). "God forbid that I should boast (kaucasqai) save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal. 6:14).

The Man of Romans 7 -- During his presentation at Mentone, Elder Priebe charged that many ministers in Adventism were preaching a mixed gospel, a compromise between the "everlasting gospel" and the evangelical gospel. He cited, as one example of this compromise, the exegesis of Romans 7 as teaching that Paul was citing his own experience as an Apostle, rather than an unconverted Pharisee. There is no question, a correct understanding of whose experience Paul was describing, that of a converted, or an unconverted man, be it he or another is a vital factor in understanding the redemption that is "in Christ Jesus."

Let us take note of a few key statements so that we can perceive the setting of the whole defined experience. There is the "inward man." Of this inward man, Paul says, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (7:22). In the very first Psalm, it declares that "Blessed is the man [whose] delight is in the law of the Lord" (vs. 1-2). "The ungodly are not so." They shall not stand in the judgment, nor in the congregation of the righteous. The ungodly shall perish. (vs. 4-6). This "man" of the Romans 7 is not an ungodly man!

But Paul perceived another law in his "members," working against the law which he had accepted in his mind. (Rom. 7:23). There is no question that the law in which he delights is God's law of the Ten Commandments. The context makes this very clear (7:7). However, the law in his members he calls, "the law of sin and death" (8:2). And the question asked contains the key word, "O wretched man that I am who shall deliver me from this body of death?" (7:24; margin) That which follows defines not only, "Who" but "when." The struggle is between the "mind" and the "body" of flesh (7:25). This struggle continues until "the redemption of our body" even in those who have "the first fruits of the Spirit" (8:23). There are concepts stated by Paul in Romans 8:18-23 to which little attention has been given but there is a relationship between them and the "man" of Romans 7 in which Paul is describing his own struggle.

If as maintained by those who proclaim the modified Tridentine Gospel of Rome, the description of the struggle in Romans 7 is the conflict of an unconverted man, then the conclusion is inescapable that a converted man no longer has the "body of this death" (7:25) with which to contend, but has obtained "holy flesh." But Jesus told Nicodemus plainly that if he could be born again in the flesh, it would still be flesh, meaning all that that flesh is (John 3:6). It must be rebirth by the Spirit, then "as new born babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile that ye may grow thereby unto salvation" (I Peter 2:2, ARV).

The whole problem is the "heart" - all that is in thine heart. The human ego resists the concept of its utter worthlessness, its total dependency. It is the Pharisee, whether in the temple of Christ's day, or in the pulpit of conservative Adventism today, who is thankful that he is not as other men are. It is the contrite sinner who pleads only for mercy that goes down to his house justified. God is not looking today for 144,000 filled with their own righteousness, but 144,000 sinners who will let God complete His work for them and in them.

At every advance step in our Christian Experience,
our repentance will deepen.
We shall know that our sufficiency is in Christ alone,
and shall make the apostle's confession our own: "I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing."
"God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world was crucified unto me,
and I unto the world."
Acts of the Apostles, p. 561.

--- (2002 Jul) --- END --- TOP

2002 Aug -- XXXV 8(02) -- The "Sanctuary Doctrine" --Asset or Liability? -- Editor's Preface -- The first issues of WWN for this year carried articles on the Sanctuary doctrine written from the viewpoint of the counsel given to the Church in 1892 which indicated that "we have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed." In February, the San Diego Chapter of the AAF featured the reading of a paper by Dr. Raymond Cottrell attacking a very foundational text of the "sanctuary doctrine" - Daniel 8:14. While it needs to be admitted that there are things to learn, and things to unlearn in regard to this basic doctrine of Adventism, one does not tear up the foundation to correct errors in the edifice structured on that foundation.

There is, however, more involved than merely the doctrine itself. The question of hermeneutics the proper method by which to interpret the Scriptures - is introduced by Cottrell. Cottrell's "adversary", the late Dr. Gerhard F. Hasel in his book, Biblical Interpretation Today. wrote: "The history of any church body is ... the history of its interpretation of Scripture. By implication a shift or change in the method used for the interpretation of Scripture by a church, its scholars, or others within it, inevitably would be accompanied by a shift or change in its course, doctrines, self-understanding, purpose, and mission." (p.1).

There is no question - this Cottrell made very clear - he has approached a key text of the sanctuary doctrine from a different hermeneutic than did the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This led him to his conclusion that the doctrine is a "liability." Is it?

p 2 -- The "Sanctuary Doctrine" -- Asset or Liability? -- This is a borrowed title from a paper presented at the meeting of the San Diego Chapter of the Association of Adventist Forums, February 2, 2002, in the Tierrasanta Seventh-day Adventist Church. It had been written by Dr. Raymond F. Cottrell, but an abbreviated form was read by Larry Christoffel, associate pastor of the Loma Linda Campus Hill Church. This paper and presentation were highlighted in an editorial in the Spring edition of Spectrum (p.79). From the San Diego Chapter, we received a copy.

As to be expected, the answer, given by Cottrell and the writer of the editorial, Gordon M. Rick, AAF vice president, was, Yes, the "Sanctuary Doctrine" is a liability to Adventism. This was based on two factors, not only the interpretation of certain key texts which are used to support the Sanctuary teaching, but also the methodology used in the interpretation of those texts. It is useless to argue the force and meaning of certain texts of Scripture if those disputing the meaning of the verses each use a different method of interpretation.

In his presentation, Dr. Cottrell lists three methods of Bible Study: 1)  The prooftext method, 2)  the historical method, and  3)  "a hybrid of these two methods known as the historical-grammatical method" (p.17, Cottrell's paper). Concerning the "proof text" method, Cottrell claims that it is followed "by a majority of untutored Bible readers" and that from its beginning "most Adventists have followed this method;" but he concluded that "no reputable Bible scholar follows it today" (p.17). Evidently, the Spirit of God, when sent forth on the Day of Pentecost, was unaware of how untutored He would make the early Christians appear in their use of the Sacred Scriptures available to them.

To the first Christians, who were Jews, the Law and the Prophets were already sacred. Their national sacred writings were to them the oracles of God, though they could no longer be regarded as containing the whole truth of God. The coming of the Messiah had revealed God with a completeness that had not been discovered in the Old Testament.

The word of the Lord was authoritative as even Moses and the prophets were. Yet since all the hopes of the Old Testament seemed to these Jewish Christians to be fulfilled in Jesus Christ, they more than ever were convinced that their national sacred books were divinely inspired. From this source they drew, if not the articles of their creed, at least proofs and supports of their doctrines. Christ died and arose again, according to the scriptures.

All the writings of the Old Testament spoke of Christ to them. Legal enactments, prophetic utterances, simple historic record, and more emotional psalm, - all alike could be covered by the phrase, "the scripture says," all were treated as of one piece, and by diligent use of type and allegory single passages torn from any context could be used as proof-texts to
commend or defend belief in Christ. (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol.3, p.499, col. 2; 1958 edition)

These early Christian Jews, spearheaded by the Apostle Paul, "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6), and in one generation established the Christian faith as a world religion. Anyone with only an elementary knowledge of the New Testament, knows how Paul interpreted and applied references from the Old Testament. (For an example, see I Cor. 9:8-10.)

Dr. Cottrell chooses to use "the historical method" because of its "objectivity." He writes that "this method requires either special training in biblical languages and the history and milieu of antiquity, or reliance on source material prepared by persons with such training," adding that "since about 1940 most Adventist scholars have followed this method" (p.17). Where then is the Spirit of God? Does not the New Testament teach that "holy men of God" in Old Testament times spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, and that "the Spirit of Christ which was in them" testified "beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow"? (II Peter 1:21; I Peter 1:11).

There is no question that the prophets of the Old Testament served as God's voice to convey His
attitude toward Israel's apostasy from Him, and the judgments to come if they did not repent. True then, in an historical sense, these messages must be considered, yet studded in the midst of these
prophecies are gems of truth which describe events which were to come in the life of the promised
Messiah. Consider for example Zechariah 9. As one reads the chapter, there is little which speaks to him apart from the times in which it was written, yet in its midst is the prophecy of the triumphal entry of Jesus

p 3 -- into Jerusalem - verse 9. This is noted by both Matthew and John in their gospels. (Matt. 21:4 -5; John 12:14 -16). In fact, the Gospel of Matthew would appear to be a ledger tabulating the record of prophecy and its fulfilment in the life of Jesus. In the first three chapters of his gospel, there are six incidents recorded with the notation that "it might be fulfilled that which was written by the prophets." The first such entry - Matt. 1:23 - has been the basis for much discussion because Matthew did not follow the "historical" method advocated by Cottrell.

Another position taken by Cottrell in his prepared paper is that Bible prophecy, "even apocalyptic prophecy, is always conditional" (ibid). While this possibility appears in a comparison between what was revealed to Daniel by Gabriel, and what was shown to John on the Isle of Patmos, this cannot be made a conclusive dictum. It is true, and needs to be noted that the book of Revelation does not mention the 1290, and 1335 days of Daniel 12. It does, however, carry through the 1260 days of Daniel 7 - "a time, and times, and half a time" (Rev. 12:14). The preface to Revelation is specific. The revelation which God gave to Christ which was conveyed to John by "His angel" concerned things "which must (dei ) shortly come to pass" (1:1). This Greek word carries the force of "it is binding, it is necessary, . . . it is inevitable." Within the revelation itself, the reason is given - the conquering power of the Messiah restored "the kingdom of our God" (12:10).

There are close parallels between the two books, which leads to the reasonable conclusion that even as the prophesies in Revelation are binding, necessary and inevitable, those prophecies in Daniel which are parallel are likewise to be binding and inevitable. Consider the base prophecy given to Daniel as found in Chapter 7 - the four beasts: the lion, bear, leopard, and non-descript. While the first three beast symbols loose their dominion, "yet their lives are prolonged for a season and a time" (v.12). Revelation tells us that its non-descript beast (13:2) was like unto a leopard, with the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion - the same three symbols of Daniel in exact reverse order.

In Daniel 7, the objective of the prophecy focuses on the judgment that is to sit (vs. 9-10). The prophetic context in Revelation of the non-descript beast also calls attention to a judgment. The first angel proclaims, "the hour of [God's] judgment is come" (14:7). Considering that the symbols of Daniel 8 are placed in the same historical sequence as were the symbols of Chapter 7 - Media-Persia followed by Greece (vs. 20-21) - should not the power which follows Greece, - "a king of fierce countenance" (v.23) - also represent the power which followed the leopard of Daniel 7? Does not Revelation reveal from whence the "mighty" power, exercised by this king, comes? (Compare Daniel 8:24 with Rev. 13:2)

Further, does not Daniel 8 introduce a sanctuary term, tamid, besides introducing the very sanctuary itself in verse 14? What justification can be cited for introducing a different sequence in Daniel 8 when Revelation combines all the symbols of Daniel 7 into one beast, which is clearly the papal phase of Rome and giving it the same prophetic time of operation, as given for the little horn in Daniel 7? There is revealed in Daniel a point of prophetic revelation that dare not be overlooked. The "little horn" of Daniel 7 is never removed from the non-descript beast. It is ever nourished by the beast. When judgment is given against the horn, it is the "beast" that is "given to the burning flame" (7:11; Rev. 19:20). The revelation in Daniel 8 - the little horn - is both pagan and papal Rome in one continuum. One cannot limit his interpretation of a prophecy to a linguistic analysis of a specific passage and impose those conclusions on the whole, but must consider the whole in the broad relationship of what has been revealed by the God in whose power are the times and seasons. (See Acts 1:7).

In the book of Daniel is to be found the descriptive phrase, "the abomination of desolation" in several forms (9:27; 11:31; 12:11). Jesus in His prophetic outline of history stated plainly that this "abomination of desolation" would stand "where it ought not" just prior to the overthrow of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. (Mark 13:14; Matt. 24:15). In other words, "the abomination that maketh desolate" as noted by Christ is Rome in its pagan phase, not some previous power! In the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the papal phase is symbolized in the non-descript beast which directed its blasphemies against God and "His tabernacle, and them that dwell
in heaven" (13:6). In Daniel 8, the "little horn" is one continuous power; even as in Chapter 7, the non-descript beast and the little horn are continuous even until the beast is destroyed (7:11). Thus there is prefigured in the prophetic outline of Daniel 8 a transition between the destruction of the earthly type, and the blasphemy against the heavenly antitype. The "little horn" of Daniel 8 "cast down" the place of His sanctuary (v.11), causing the tamid to cease. It was to continue its desolating warfare casting "the truth to the ground" (v. 12). From the physical, under pagan

p 4 -- Rome, it moved to the spiritual under papal Rome. Daniel then heard a conversation between "holy ones" obviously in heaven. A compound question was asked - "How long the vision, the tamid, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?" (v.13).

Cottrell argues heavily that the 2300 "evening-mornings" represent not only literal time, but also half days. He says that the Hebrew word for day - yom - is not used, yet in verse 26, speaking of the same "vision" (chazon) [second use of the word, "vision"], Daniel was instructed to close "up the vision; for it shall be for many days (yamim)." In Daniel 8 and 9, there are two different words used for "vision" - ma'reh and chazon. The latter word is used in reference to the vision as a whole (8:2), while the first word is applied to "the vision of the evening and the morning" (8:26, first use). After receiving the vision (chazon), Daniel sought for a meaning (v.15). To his request one with the appearance of a man stood before him, and a voice was heard saying, "Gabriel, make this man to understand the mar'eh" (v. 16). The first thing in explanation that Gabriel said was, "Understand, 0 son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the chazon" (v.17).

The explanation begins with a clear identification of the ram and he-goat Daniel had seen (vs. 20-22). Neither Medo-Persia, nor Greece with its divided dominions extend even close to the Biblical time of the end. Then Gabriel explains the "little horn as a king of fierce countenance" with mighty power, who stands up against "the Prince of princes" (vs. 23-25). This was to be followed by the explanation of the 2300 evening-mornings; but Daniel "fainted, and was sick certain days" (v. 27). However, when Gabriel returned after eleven years in response to Daniel's prayer, the first thing Gabriel advised Daniel was to "understand the matter, and consider the mar'eh" (9:23). That part of the vision - the evening-mornings - included "weeks" of prophetic years (9:24-26). There is no way that one can condense these "weeks" of years into 1150 literal days.

"Justified" or "Cleansed" - Which Word? -- The KJV gives the answer of the "wonderful numberer" as "unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" (8:13-14). The word translated "cleansed" is nitsdaq, a passive form of tsadaq (justified), which can be translated, as in the RSV, "shall be restored to its rightful state." If "shall be cleansed" had been meant, the Hebrew word would have been, taher. While the RSV follows the Hebrew Massoretic Text, the KJV reflects the LXX and the Vulgate. It is also of interest to note that the NKJV still retains the translation, "shall be cleansed."

The ancient Hebrew alphabet was composed of only consonants. It was in this form that the part of the Old Testament in Hebrew was written. The form in which the Hebrew text of the Old Testament is now presented to us is, in all manuscripts that of the Massoretic text, "the date of which is placed somewhere between the 6th and 8th centuries. It is probable that the present text became fixed as early as the 2nd century A.D., but even this earlier date leaves long intervals between the original autographs of the Old Testament writers and our present text."

"The Massoretic text was the work of a special guild of trained scholars whose objective was to not only preserve and transmit the consonantal text which had been handed down to them, but also to ensure its proper pronunciation. To this end they provided the text with a complete system of vowel points and accents."

Several centuries earlier than the Massoretic Text was the Septuagint (LXX) which evidently had access to earlier manuscripts for Daniel than used by the Massoretic scholars. The LXX reads for Daniel 8:14 - "shall be cleansed" - kaqarisqhsetai  - the same word as is used in Leviticus 16:30 in stating the ceremonial objective of the typical Day of Atonement. Jerome, centuries later, appears to have followed the LXX in the Vulgate translation of the Old Testament rather than the Hebrew text, using the Latin word, mundabitur- "shall be cleansed."

There are Jewish scholars of the past century who maintain that the Hebrew portions of Daniel are translations from the Aramaic originals. (Aramaic was the official language of the Persian Empire, and was widely used in the Babylonian period.) Based on that assumption, H. Louis Ginsberg, Sabato Morais Professor of Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America cites evidences of faulty translations from the Aramaic to the Hebrew including Daniel 8:14. He holds the Aramaic would have read - "the sanctuary will become cleansed." (Studies in Daniel pp.41-42). Thus in three languages - the Aramaic, Greek, and the Ecclesiastical Latin, the word in Daniel 8:14 is "cleansed" and when properly associated with tamid, can only be linked to the symbolical services of the sanctuary.

p 5 -- [The factual data on the Massoretic Text quoted and summarized above is taken from the Encyclopaedia Britannnica, article, "BibIe."]

537 BC or 457 BC? -- When Gabriel returns to fulfil his commission, to "make this man to understand the vision (mar'eh)" (8:15), he notes as the beginning date for the 2300 prophetic days, "the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem" (9:25). Cottrell comments:      
It is of crucial importance to note that Gabriel explicitly identifies the "word" that "went out to restore and build Jerusalem" at the commencement of the seventy weeks of years as "the word" that "went out" - in heaven - while Daniel was praying. That "word" was obviously one that only God Himself (and not an earthly monarch) could possibly have issued! On the authority of no less a person than the angel Gabriel, the "seventy weeks" of years thus began in 537 BC, not eighty years later in 457 BC! (pp.18-19).

Cottrell identifies, the "first year of Darius" (9:1), the time Daniel was praying as exactly 70 years from the destruction of Jerusalem, which would be the exact time that Jeremiah had prophesied to be the period of Judab's captivity (1er 25:11). With this there is no question, but is Cottrell's conclusion justified in the light of other Scriptures on this same "commandment to restore and build Jerusalem"? The Bible does teach a comparative approach to the interpretation of the Word of God. (This we will note later.) In Ezra, the same "commandment of the God of Israel" as Gabriel revealed to Daniel is noted; however, there is an "and" added. The text reads:      And the elders of the Jews ... builded and finished (the city of Jerusalem), according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. (6:14; emphasis supplied)

Ezra clearly understood that while the God of heaven gave the "word," to accomplish the objective, the decrees of three Persian kings were required to accomplish the Divine intent. It is also of interest to note that the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 BC is copied in full in the sacred text. (7:11-26). This decree restored complete judicial power to be exercised by Ezra with authority to appoint judges and magistrates. Ezra also received the power of taxation to sustain the restored priestly state of Israel "according to the law of God" as interpreted and ministered by him. With the date of this decree, in 457 BC, the "seventy weeks" of the word given to Daniel by Gabriel begin.

Biblical Hermeneutics -- Peter tells us that we should first know, "that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (II.1:20). We dare not impose on the Word of God our own concepts of how they are to be interpreted. The Bible itself contains instructions as to its interpretation. Paul told the church at Corinth that he did not speak "in words taught by human reason, but in the words taught by the Holy Spirit, with spiritual things spiritual things comparing" (I. 2:13, Young's Literal Translation). This hermeneutical tool could be called the Comparison Method. Any book on the Harmony of the Gospels follows this method. The simplest of illustrations can be noted by comparing Luke 21:5-7; Matthew 24:3-4, and Mark 13:3-4. Luke tells us that "some" called Jesus' attention to the adornment of the temple building, to which Jesus replied that not one stone would be left upon another in its destruction. "They" then asked Him when these things would occur. Who were the "they"? Mathew tells us the "they" were "the disciples." But which ones? Mark says that Peter, James, John, and Andrew were the questioners.

By following this same Biblical method, Cottrell would not have blundered by suggesting a different date for the beginning of the 70 weeks in the place of the established 457 BC. When we seek to impose our own interpretative method on the Word of God instead of what the "Spirit of Christ" intended in giving the revelation, we wander far from truth.

It was God's objective for the priests to be instruments through which He could teach the laity of Israel, His will and purposes. Malachi stated it well, when he wrote:      For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at His mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. (2:7).

In the days of Isaiah, the priests and prophets had corrupted the services of the Lord. Because of

p 6 -- unrestrained drunkenness, they erred "in vision and stumble(d) in judgment." The prophet described the filthiness of their debauchery, and then asked a question: "Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall He make to understand doctrine?" In the answer given, it is clear that God would choose mature persons who are capable of understanding more than elementary concepts. (28:7-9) This same concept between "milk" and "strong meat" is found in the book of Hebrews (5:12-14). In giving the "strong meat" God outlines to Isaiah the methodology. He writes:      For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little. (28:10)

Paul used this interpretative method in proving the doctrine that all men are under sin (Rom. 3:9). He gathers together eight verses in six different chapters from three books of the Old Testament (3:10-18). One can check the location for each reference by using the marginal notations on these verses. I find no evidence where Paul in quoting from the Old Testament, which he did frequently, used the "historical" method in interpreting the Scripture as advocated by Dr. Cottrell. One example of Paul's interpretation of Scripture, cited on page 2, col. 2, reveals some of his methodology. He lifted from "the law of Moses" a regulation, and gave it a spiritual application. He used the experiences from the wilderness wanderings of Israel as types "for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Cor. 10:11).

Paul, in writing to Timothy, advised him to show himself "approved unto God," by "rightly dividing the word of truth" (II. 2:15). This careful interpreting of the Word of God by recognizing the time element within a given text, is well illustrated in the way Jesus Christ Himself used the Old Testament as He taught the people. Being given the scroll of the prophet Isaiah one Sabbath morning in Nazareth, He selected what is now identified as 61:1-2. What He did not say is as important as what He did say. He did not give the "historical" setting of the text that He read, but singled out the verses and declared, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4:21). He lifted this passage of Scripture direct from its context and declared that at that very moment it had significance and meaning. Was the context of these verses also in fulfilment? No, Jesus divided the word of truth. The present format of our Bibles indicates that He stopped reading in the middle of verse 2. And rightly so, as the remainder reads - "and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn."

These Biblical methods - comparing one text with another; compiling, bringing texts of kindred thought together for a determination of truth; dividing rightly within a single text that which is meaningful in its application for a given time - makes the Bible a living book, and not just a dead letter as the Old Testament had become to the scribes of Christ's day. See Matt. 7:28-29.

Obscurantism aud Historicism -- Cottrell, after quoting a dictionary definition of obscurantism gives, his use of the word in relationship to the "sanctuary doctrine." He alleges that men in high places have made "presumably authoritative decisions" regarding the doctrine "without first weighing all the available evidence on the basis of sound, recognized principles of exegesis, and basing conclusions exclusively" on that evidence. (p.31). He names three of them, and charges that they led the church into a Decade of Obscurantism from 1969-1979. He maintains that it is still alive today. Intermingled with his review of recent church history and men connected with it, is his insistence on the application of the sola Scriptura principle to all Biblical exegesis. This is as it should be in determining doctrinal truth, but his inference that it is not being done is not clearly defined.

The "sanctuary doctrine" rests on a firm Biblical foundation. God asked Moses to make a sanctuary "after [the] pattern, which was shewed [him] in the mount" (Ex. 25:40). The book of Hebrews declares that the priests who ministered in this sanctuary, "serve(d) unto the example and shadow of heavenly things" (Heb. 8:5), and then the verse from Exodus is quoted. It is simply a type and antitype exegesis.

Sanctuary terms are used in Daniel 8. Three times the word, "sanctuary" occurs. Once in verse 11, the word is miqdash, the same word as is used in Exodus 25:8. The other two times, Daniel 8:13,14 the word is qadesh, the root of miqdash. The question then is:   Do these words refer to the same sanctuary, or are two different sanctuaries referred to in the vision, the heavenly as well as the earthly? Another sanctuary word is tamid, which is used either as an adjective, or an adverb, but in the book of Daniel it is used as a substantive. The first use of this word as an adjective in the Bible is in connection with the services of the sanctuary. (Ex. 29:42). The question is: Does this

p 7 -- word relate to the sanctuary in Daniel as it is used in Exodus and Leviticus, referring to the daily ministration? Then there is the word, "cleansed" in verse 14, which is definitely sanctuary related "then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." In the translation of verse 14, both the KJV and NKJV stand on good textual authority in choosing the word, "cleansed" over, "justified," or "restored to its rightful state."

Cottrell in writing of the method of prophetic interpretation used by the Church, - the historicist principle - quotes a source which states that "Seventh-day Adventists stand virtually alone as exponents" of this principle today (p. 39). The reason for this is clearly given by Dr. Kai Arasola in his doctoral dissertation at the University of Uppsala - The End of Historicism. The failure of the Millerite prediction does not invalidate the hermeneutic. The error was not in the method of interpretation, but in the misunderstanding of the meaning of the sanctuary itself. Until Dr. Desmond Ford projected his apoteles-matic principle of interpretation - multiple fulfilment's of the same prophecy - there were three other schools of interpretation beside the historicist method, two by Jesuits, Alcazar and Ribera, the preteristic and futuristic, and an allegorical approach used by Origen one of the Church Fathers.

Following the Glacier View confrontation with Dr. Ford, the General Conference appointed a Daniel and Revelation Committee which functioned under the Biblical Research Institute during the 1980s. In the conclusions of this committee they reaffirmed the historicist principle of prophetic interpretation. Cottrell forthrightly confesses that this "is the crux of the issue to which [his] paper is addressed" (p.39). This leaves us with but one basic issue - the issue of what method of interpretation is to be used in understanding the Bible - in this instance, the prophecies of the Bible, and the specific prophecy of Daniel 8:14. I choose the time proven principle of historicism in the study of Bible prophecy. For my part, I confess the Biblically based "Sanctuary Doctrine" confirmed by Hebrews 8:5 KJV to be an asset!

Historical Footnote - In the January 1967, issue of the Ecurnerncal Review, official organ of the World Council of Churches, was an article on "The Seventh-day Adventist Church." To this article, Raymond F. Cottrell, then an associate editor of the Review & Herald, responded in three editorials, March 23, 30, & April 6. In the last editorial, Cottrell concluded:      It is no small measure of regret that SDA's do not find it possible, as an organization, to be more closely associated with others who profess the name of Christ. On the other hand, if the Secretariat of Faith and Order, for instance, were to invite SDA's to appoint some one competent in that area to meet with their group from time to time and represent the SDA point of view, we could accept such an invitation with a clear conscience.

The invitation was not long in coming. The Central Committee of the WCC, with the approval of the General Conference, appointed Dr. Earle Hilgert of Andrews University to the Commission, and he was able to attend the triennial meeting of the Commission in Bristol, England, July 30 to August 8 of that year.

The stated aim of this Commission is "to proclaim the oneness of the Church of Jesus Christ and to call the churches to the goal of visible unity in one faith, and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, in order that the world might believe." (By-Laws) [Paper # 111, p. viii].

(2002 Aug) --- End --- TOP

2002 Sep -- XXXV 9(02) -- The Coming of Christ, Off Schedule?-- Editor's Preface -- The hope of the Christian is the fulfiliment of the promise of Jesus to the Eleven, just prior to His crucifixion, that He would come again and they would be with Him where He was. It is called the "Blessed Hope." The bond of attachment which developed between Him and His followers was such that they longed for that fellowship to be restored quickly. This is echoed in the Episites and letters of the New Testament. Even Paul, whose contacts with the risen Lord were minimal compared to the other Eleven, proclaimed with enthusiasm the return of Jesus, so much so, that he had to write a second letter to inform the believers in Thessalonica that certain things must take place before Jesus would return. John's last communication with Jesus are the final words of the New Testament. The promise is reiterated - "Surely, I come quickly" and the longing of the beloved disciple's heart is voiced "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

All time is covered in three dimensions - past, present, and future. The past is called history. We may be students of history and enjoy reading about past events. The depth of our reaction might include a mental decision of what we think we would have done had we been them. The Jewish leaders of Christ's day believed that they would not have done what their fore fathers did to the prophets, but they committed a more heinous crime because they would not face honestly their present. By not doing so, they sealed their future. We face the same problem today. Prophecies being fulfilled before our very eyes - yes in our own life time - we seek to relegate to the past, or say they have not yet been fulfilled. And - tragically, we are sealing our own future.

One of the lost two brief articles in this issue reveals a bogus letter which has been panned off on Adventists who, instead of facing the present have outlined in their minds how the future has to be. It may well be, but let us deal with the present honestly and accurately, then we will be ready for the future, whatever it may be, and however it will come. We have difficulty with "present truth." See quotation, pp. 5, also found in Counsels Writers and Editors, pp. 23-25.

p 2 -- Is The Coming of Christ, Off Schedule?-- Not only does Dr. Raymond Cottrell hold that the Adventist "Sanctuary Doctrine" is a liability to the faith, but the very essence of Adventism itself, the return of Jesus a second time, is open to question. He wrote in his paper prepared for the San Diego Adventist Forum (See previous issue of WWN):      
There is not the slightest suggestion or hint anywhere in the Old or the New Testament that Jesus' return would be postponed more or less indefinitely beyond Bible times. The Bible evidence is all explicitly to the contrary. The Bible itself knows nothing whatever about the historicist !interpretation of its prophecies, a concept that is gratuitously imposed upon them. (The Sanctuary Doctrine---Asset or Liability?, P. 30; emphasis his)

Cottrell maintains that when the disciples asked Jesus about "the destruction of the Temple, to which He had just referred, the 'sign' of His promised return and 'the end of the age' was, 'When you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place spoken of by Daniel . . .know that He is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not peas away until all these things [specifically including His coming in the clouds of heaven to gather His elect] have taken place." (ibid., p. 29) By checking the reference in Matthew, to which the footnote refers, the ellipsis marks a jump from Matt. 24:15 to Matt. 24:33, a break of 17 verses! Can such exegesis be justified? No!

At issue here are two things: 1)  The New Testament emphasis on the soon return of Jesus, and  2)  The meaning of what Jesus meant by, this generation shall not paw away until all these things be fulfilled."

There can be no question, Jesus did promise the disciples just prior to His crucifixion that He would come again. The sole condition was: "If I go ... I will come again" (John 14:3). He did go, and as He went two angels reiterated the promise: "This same Jesus - shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). But He has not come, yet in the Book of Revelation. Jesus plainly declared, "Behold, I come quickly" (22:12) and his final words to John were, "Surely I come quickly" (22:20).

The first Christians believed - and hoped - it would be in their lifetime. Paul proclaimed the return of Jesus so vividly that many of the churchs he raised up in Thessalonica were troubled over what to them seemed like a delay. He had to follow his first letter with a second in which he wrote plainly:      Now I beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or he troubled, neither in spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (II Thess. 2:1-2).

Paul then stated that certain things needed to transpire before Jesus would or could return a second time. The return of Jesus would be preceded by "a failing away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" ( v. 3). The brief summary given by Paul to the Church in Thessalonica, was enlarged in the visions given to John on Patmos. The controversy between good and evil which Jesus capitalized with the Cross was to continue until He would return as King of kings, and Lord of lords. (Rev. 19:11-16) At issue, is the method of interpretation to be used in understanding "the things which must shortly come to pass" as revealed to John on Patrims.

In other words, if history is truly the response to the voice of prophecy, the historistic methodology is to be used, which Cottrell abhors. Or is some other format to be imposed upon what God has declared would be? From whose perspective and viewpoint is the "revelation" given? In the very first "unveiling" of Jesus Christ to John, He declared of Himself:      "I am he that liveth, and was dead: and behold, I am alive forevermore .... and have the keys. .. " (1:18).

What is Jesus saying? He is "alive forevermore." No longer is He operating in the time frame of earth. He died in time, but lives forevermore in eternity. When He stated to John, "I come quickly," it was from His perspective. Man can only watch the unfolding of events as prophesied, to perceive how "soon" from the perspective of time. And the methodology which permits this approach is the historistic.

We still have the second question to consider. What did Jesus mean when He responded to the inquiring disciples about the end time. "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be fulfilled"? And He confirmed it as it were with an "oath" - "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:34-35). The other synoptic gospels - Mark and Luke - state the same thing, placing it seemingly as a summary on the whole as if one generation alone is

p 3 -- involved, and that generation being theirs to whom Jesus was speaking. This cannot be for the context, in which the first major sign Jesus gave was placed, clearly points to another event and not His second coming.

We need to remember that the question asked by the disciples was two-fold:  1.)  "These things" referring to the destruction of Jerusalem; and   2)  "The sign of Thy coming and the end of the world." (Matt. 24:3) The sign Jesus gave regarding "the abomination of desolation" is clearly focused as an answer to the first part of the two-fold question that was asked. After stating the"sign" Jesus adds, "Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains" (24:15-16)

This was to be followed by a period of "great tribulation" which unless shortened "there should no flesh be saved" (24:21,22). But time would continue on - "Immediately after the tribulation of those days" there were to be major celestial signs, and then the return of "the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (24:29-30). There is no way that a single generation - let alone the generation represented by the twelve disciples before Him - could experience all that Jesus defined would take place between that hour and His return again a second time. How are we to understand what Jesus meant?

Consider the first question asked by the disciples - the destruction of the temple. To this question, Jesus gave the specific sign of "the abomination of desolation" standing in the holy place. There was a brief time lapse between the sign and the overthrow of Jerusalem. Luke, taking the sign out of the prophetic symbolism used in Mark and Matthew, stated, "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the destruction thereof is nigh." (21:20). This occurred in 66 AD, and in 70 AD, the same Roman armies returned and took the city. The question of "generation" can be answered from this prophecy and events. Did the "generation" which saw the sign, live to see what that sign predicated, fulfilled? The answer is "Yes!"

During His eschatologtical discourse Jesus gave other specific signs - signs to be in the sun, moon and stars, as well as the "times of the nations" being fulfilled. Can the axiom established in the fulfilment of the first sign be applied to each major sign Jesus gave? In other words: The "generation" which sees the specific sign, does not pass away until the event to which that sign points is fulfilled, or begins to be fulfilled.

After giving the counsel as how to relate to the fulfilment of the first sign - "the abomination of desolation ... standing where it ought not" (Mk 13:14) Jesus declared: "Then shall be great tributation" (Matt 24:21). This tribulation was to be numbered in "days." Before relating the next set of signs in the heavens, Jesus stated, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days" (24:29). Having established His answer to their questions in the book of Daniel the prophet (24:15), Jesus continues to refer to the book. "Days" and "the Abomination of Desolation" are connected. What is designated, "the Abomination of Desolation" in Daniel 8, is in Daniel 7, "the little horn" who would "wear out the saints of the Most" for "a time and times, and a dividing of times" (v. 25), or 1260 days. (See Rev. 11:3 &12:6),

Further, "the transgression of desolation" is involved in the question asked in Dan. 8:13, and the answer given in verse 14 involves "evenings and mornings" ("many days" - 8:26).

One problem remains. How do we harmonize Luke's reporting of Jesus' answer to the disciples questions with Matthew and Mark?

The idea that Jesus taught that He would return to the generation compassed in the life span of the Twelve who sat before Him that night on Olivet was not original with Cottrell. In the Journal of the Adventist Theological Society [11/11-2 (2000), pp. 295-306] Dr. John T Baldwin on the staff of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, discusses the question. Citing the positions of the English theologian, Matthew Tyndall, and the German theologian, Herman S. Reimarus of Hamburg, Baldwin notes the challenge these men made to the integrity of Jesus over the "generation" statement. Reimarus went so far as to call the premise of Jesus' return a "clear falsity."

In his answer to justify Jesus promise, Baldwin restructures a "harmony" of the synoptic Gospels seeking to bring Luke 21 into line with Matthew 24 and Mark 13. This ultimately leads to a mixing of the literal words of Jesus and His symbolic revelations given in vision to John on Patmos. You cannot put "apples and oranges" together and call them one fruit.

It is difficult to determine whether Baldwin is challenging Cottrell's position, or whether he is seeking to negate the application of the prophecy, found only in Luke, to this present time. Perhaps both, like "killing two birds with one stone."

Baldwin sets forth his premise that - The Olivet Discourse as presented in Matthew 24, in which Jesus outlines the signs of His second coming

p 4 -- in some detail, needs to be augmented with crucial information from the parallel account given in Luke 21. An initial important task is to compare the listing of the major signs as presented in each chapter which show, at first reading, an important omission in Luke's list as compared with that as given by Matthew and Mark (p. 298).

He then lists the major signs as given in Matthew and Mark: 1)  The destruction of earthly Jerusalem, 2)  A period of tribulation, 3)  Signs in the sun and moon, and  4)  The powers of heaven are shaken. Baldwin observes: "In stinking contrast to the four signs listed in Matthew and Mark, Luke apparently presents only three distinct, sequential signs which are to transpire before the coming of the Son of man. ... The apparent missing sign in Luke's account is the second sign given by Matthew and Mark, namely, the period of tribulation sign." He then asks the question - "Is the thbulatiori sign truly missing in Luke's account?" In the answer given, Baldwin seeks to define the Jerusalem of Luke 21:20 as the literal city destroyed in 70 AD, and the Jerusalem of verse 24 as the Heavenly Jerusalem. He then concludes that the "tribulation" period stated in Matthew and Mark is "the times of the Gentiles" as given in Luke.

The first problem is that there is no evidence within the text - Luke 21:20-24 - that Jesus shifted meanings for "Jerusalem" from the earthly to the heavenly. To so conclude is merely an assumption. It would contribute to a clearer understanding of Luke 21:24 if the word,eqnh were consistently translated "nations" as sense so requires in its first use in the verse. The verse would then read:      And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations (eqnh): and Jerusalem shall he trodden down of the nations (eqnwn - genitive), until the times of the nations (eqnwn) be fulfilled.

This translates this verse consistent with the verse which follows -"upon earth distress of nations (eqnhn)" [ver. 25]. Further, Luke discusses the destruction of Jerusalem prior to the Olivet discourse which finds no parallel in either Matthew or Mark. In recording the words of Jesus, he uses the word, kairoV - the "time of thy visitation" meaning proloationary time (Luke 19:41-44). Now in Luke 21:24, he chooses the same word, and applies it to the "nations." The probation for the Jewish nation as the chosen people of God ended in 34 AD; the "times of the nations" would end when Jerusalem was restored to the control of a Jewish state. Dr. J R. Zurcher has well stated it. He wrote in his book, Christ of the Revelation:      I believe that the times of the Gentiles began in 34 AD when the prophetic seventy weeks that God set aside for the people of Israel ended. The baptism of the first "heathens" - the Ethiopian eunuch and the centurion Cornelius - as well as the conversion of Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles mark the beginning of these new times when the gospel would be preached to the nations. And if I have understood the prediction of Jesus properly, this time will be "fulfilled" when Jerusalem will cease "to be trodden down of the Gentiles." The fact that since 1967 Gentiles no longer occupied Jerusalem means, therefore, that we are now living at the end of "the times of the Gentiles."(p. 72).

The text by which Baldwin seeks to equate the prophecy of Jesus concerning "the times of the Gentiles" in Luke with the "tribulation" period noted in the other two Synoptics is Revelation 11:1-2. It reads:      And there was given me a reed like a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that wonship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two mouths.

This is symbolic language and connects with other symbolic language in the book of Revelation. -The temple of God" and "the forty two months" connect it with the *beast" of Revelation 13 who opens "his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blasipheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven (13:5-6). There is no question but that this association of texts places them parallel with the "tribulation" period as noted in both Matthew and Mark. The missing link is the justirfication of equating "Jerusalem" in Luke 21:24 with the "holy city" of Revelation 11:2. The "holy city" in Revelation is defined as "the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven" (21:2).

There is no question that the "abomination of desolation" in Daniel "cast down the truth to the ground, and it practised, and prospered" (8:12). This does connect the prophetic description of Revelation 11, and words in "Daniel the prophet" with the "days" of tribulation, Jesus spoke about on Olivet. However, it is equally beyond question, that there is no evidence to recognize the

p 5 -- "Jerusalem" in Luke 21:20, as the literal city, and the "Jerusalem" of Luke21:24 as "the holy city" in Heaven.

By recognizing the obvious in what Jesus said, and applying the axiom confirmed by the first sign that Jesus
gave in regard to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Luke's unique difference from Matthew and Mark, speaks to us today. When Luke listed the sign which would mark the answer to the first part of the twofold question asked by the disciples, he quotes Jesus as saying, "When ye shall see ... then know the desolation is nigh" (v. 20). He again uses this same phraseology, when prefacing the statement, "This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled." Let us follow through progressively Luke's report of the words of Jesus. Follow carefully with your Blibles open to these verses (20-33). Noting "the days of vengeance" that would befall Jerusalem with the scattering of those who survived as captives "into all nations," Jesus is quoted as saying that "'Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the nations until the times of the nations be fulfilled" (v. 24). [We shall translate the one word, eqnh, used in verses 24 and 25 four times, as "nations." The KJV translates the word twice as "nations" and twice as "Gentiles."]

After covering the events involving the city of Jerusalem, Luke briefly notes that there "shall be signs in the sun, moon, and stars without giving any details as found in both Matthew and Mark, then quickly returns to "'the nations" - "upon earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the seas and the waves roaring" (v. 25). Here
"symbolism" is used, borrowed from the book of Daniel -"'the four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea"
(72). Then follows a series of designations - "those things," "these things" - all connected with "upon earth."
Observe carefully:      
Verse 26 - '"Men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking as those things which are coming on the earth.
Verse 28 - "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."

A parable from the fig tree is given, and then the admonition:    "So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand" (v. 31). Why?

"Verity I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled." (v. 32).

From Luke's analysis of what Jesus said on the Mount of Olives, a connection can be drawn between the sign of the close of the probation of the nations - Jerusalem returned to the control of Israel, and the "generation" that would not pass away till all be fulfilled.

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. Mark the words: "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

This is a warning to those who claim to be Christians. Those who have had light upon the important testing truths for this time, and yet are not making ready for the Son of man, are not taking heed. ...

Only by being clothed with the robe of Christ's righteousness can we escape the judgments coming upon the earth. Let all remember that these words were among the last that Christ gave His disciples. If this instruction were often repeated in our papers and publications, and less space were taken for matter which is not one hundreth part so important, it would be more appropriate. In these sacred, solemn warnings the danger signal is lifted. It is this instruction that the church members and the people of the world need; for it is present truth. (Letter 20, 1901)

A National Day of Rest? -- Via Fax and Postal Service, we received copies of an "Action Alert" dated March 26, 2002, allegedly written by

p 6 -- a "Pastor Mike Brown" on behalf of the Christian Coalition of America. It read as follows:

Dear Representatives,

The moral fabric of America is wearing thin. We must not go back to B. A. U. (Business As Usual). The terrorists attack on America September 11, 2001 sent a wake up call to many of us.

We not only need a day of prayer and unity but many of us here at Christian Coalition believe it is time to legislate a National Day of Rest. As Dr. James Dobson reminds us, families need time for rest and worship. The United Mine Workers (U.M.W.) of America support this agenda also.

*  "Christopher Columbus has given an inspiring example of respect for the Sanctity of Sunday under the most trying circumstances. It illustrates the Spirit of unfaltering trust in God."

Destroy the Sanctity of Sunday and you throw civilization back into the darkness and mire of Pagan materialism--- The observance of Sunday is essential to the welfare of the Nation.

We must make this part of our legislative agenda in 2002 and increase our trust in God to protect our Nation. See you in Washington D.C. in October.

Thank you and "God Bless America,"
Pastor Mike Brown,
National Church Liaison.
* -- The Faith of Millions, pg, 404


While preparing this issue of WWN, I received a copy of the following E-Mail from a reader in Tennessee who had made inquiry concerning the above letter, direct to the Christian Coalition of America. The response read in full: 

Dear Jack, [Walker]

Thank you for writing Christian Coalition of America. Please find below Pastor Mike Brown's statement re: National Day of Rest.

A document that has been widely circulated over the past several months implicating Christian Coalition of America's endorsement of a National Day of Rest is fraudulent. Michael A. Brown, who serves as Christian Coalition of America's National Church Liaison and whose name is forged on the document stated, "Christian Coalition of America has no legislative agenda sent from my office advocating this issue. It is fraud." Brown added, "Any information concerning the source of this document would be greatly appreciated. You may contact me at (202) 479-6900 Ext. 104."

Best regards,
Robert Deason
Christian Coalition of America

In seeking the identity of the author of the bogus letter, there is a footnoting in the letter that does not conform to the usual method. The asterisk (*) is placed at the beginning of the quotation rather than at the end. Another mark can be considered. The writer uses an abbreviation when none is required. He alludes to the United Mine Works of America, and places the initials "(U.M.W.)," not at the end of their name, but in the midst of it. There is no reason for this use. Further, the second sentence has some initials and then an explanation of their meaning. Both are redundant. It would also need to be considered as to why such a letter would want to be written. Did the author of the bogus letter want to see a "National Sunday Law" promoted? Then the question would need to be asked, What profit would accrue to him by forging such a letter?


A Further Word on: The Liberal Illusion -- When the Southern Publishing Association was still in existence and publishing The Watchman Magazine as an evangelistic journal, the editorial staff sent to the workers in the Southern and Southwestern Union Conferences, a four page "Jottings for Your Notebook." These jottings contained quotations from recognized and reliable sources on topics which could be used in evangelism. Many of the quotations cited evidences of the increasing power of Rome in world politics as well as Rome's objectives.

p 7 -- One such "jotting" was the quotation from The Liberal Illusion which read:      When the time comes and men realize that the social edifice must be rebuilt according to eternal standards, be it tomorrow, or be it centuries from now, the Catholics will arrange things to suit said standards. ... Thev will make obligatory the religious observance of Sunday on behalf of the whole of society and for its own good, revoking the permit for free-thinkers and Jews to celebrate, incogilito, Monday or Saturday on their own account. Those whom this may annoy, will have to put up with the annoyance. Respect will not be refused to the Creator nor repose denied to the creature simply for the sake of humoring certain maniacs, whose phrenetic condition causes them stupidly and insolently to block the will of the whole people. (p. 63).

At the time, I tried to obtain a copy of the book, but was unsuccessful. When, however, the Foundation Library acquired the library of the late B. T. Anderson, and his collection of materials from C. E. Holmes, a paperback copy of The Liberal Illusion was discovered with Holmes name in it. It was misplaced in the filing of the books and documents; but happily, it was only temporarily lost. In that interval of time, we wrote to the National Catholic Welfare Conference, since they were listed as the publishers of the English translation from the French, asking if they still had a copy available. To our amazement, they professed to have no knowledge of the book or any involvement in the publication of the English translation from the French, yet the front cover admitted to all these facts. Our copy even indicated that it was a "Second Printing," and the translator was a Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America. A copyright dated 1939 was held by the Catholic Welfare Conference. The question still remains, Why the denial of even a knowledge of the book?

The author, Louis Veuillot, was born in Boynes, France, on October 13, 1813. While in Rome in 1838, he dedicated himself to what was called "a holy cause" of defending "the Holy City and the Temple of God." His was the "apostolate of the pen which was to merit him the title of 'Lay Father of the Church' from Leo XIII; 'Model of them who fight for sacred causes' from Pius X; and from Jules Le Maitre the epithet, 'le grand catholique"' (Biographical Foreword).

The translator, Dr. George Barry O'Toole, in his preface wrote that in selecting Veuillot's L'illusion liberale, for translation he was guided by what seemed to him to be "a great need for our time." He stated that the Encyclical of Leo XIII, Libertas praestantis-simum naturae opus (May 20, 1888), "placed the seal of papal approval ... upon the contents of Louis Veuillot's The Liberal Illusion." Then he quoted at length from the Encyclical on Catholic "liberty," concluding, "It is clear, then, that no Catholic may positively and unconditionally approve of the policy of separation of Church and State." (p. 10; emphasis his). He had quoted Leo XIII as calling the separation of Church and State a "fatal theory."

As offered in WWN XXXV - 6(02), any one desiring a photocopy of the cover of the book, Liberal Illusion, and page 63 quoted above, may send a self addressed stamped #10 envelope to the Foundation office, and we will post back the same. Please mark your envelope, "Liberal Illusion" in the bottom left hand corner.

"A nation may loose its liberties in a day,
and not miss them in a century" --
Montesquieu

--- (2002 Sep) --- End ---

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