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 2000 Jul - Sep
2000 Jul XXXIII 7(00) -- THE FINAL ATONEMENT -- Part 3 -- Editor's Preface -- With this issue we close the series of three studies on "The Final Atonement. " The Final Atonement encompasses all that is understood under the terminology of "the Investigative Judgment," and the more recent designation of "Pre-Advent Judgment." The main thrust in these studies has been to seek an interpretation of the "investigative judgment" in harmony with the fact that Jesus declared that the Father had committed all judgment into His hands inasmuch as He had become a Son of man. It must be remembered that only those whose names are found in the Lamb's Book of Life receive the gift of life eternal; not those whose records are preserved in the books opened before the Ancient of days.
We must understand the issues when the great controversy began and the objective God had in the creation of man in His own image. (See Supplement #1) Then realizing that the judgment must begin where sin began, the prophetic scene in Daniel 7:9-10 becomes pregnant with new meaning and significance. Add to this the factor of God's omniscience, as well as the fact that God will never place a creature in double jeopardy, but will honor the Judgment of the Son of man. Light and truth break forth to be considered.
At the time we were preparing this issue of WWN, the court case in Miami involving the use of the name, Seventh-day Adventist, was being concluded. The decision of the Federal Judge is now known with the possible fall out as the hierarchy of the Church seeks to extend the advantage secured by that decision. It is time to assess the reality of the present and act as did the apostolic Church with the issue of its relationship with "The House of Israel." Some close parallels with the present as recorded in the book of Acts and the solutions suggested are most interesting. The very difference between the words, Sunagwgh (Synagogue) and Ekklhsia (Church) is not without significance. See the Editorial, "Let's Talk It Over."
p 2 --
" Review, and then Review again, and Review all that you've Reviewed"
This indicates a controversy in the universe of God between Himself and one designated as Azazel. Further, the services as outlined for the Day of Atonement indicate that God resolves this conflict through: (1) a sacrifice representing Him; (2) by the ministration of the high priest; and (3) the sacrifice provided by the high priest in conjunction with the sacrifice on His behalf; in other words, Jesus the Messiah.
This controversy is the theme of the Scriptures in the unfolding of salvation history, and can well be designated as the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan. The issues involved and their resolution are basic to understanding the judgment in all of its aspects as revealed in the prophecies of both Daniel and Revelation.
Paul in his letter to the Ephesians speaks of "the eternal purpose" of God which was to be accomplished in Christ Jesus (3:11). Literally the text reads - "the purpose of the ages" (proqesin twn aiwnwn ). From "the counsel of peace . . . between the Two of Them" (Zech. 6:13 Heb.) came the determination, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). However, there was another being who said in his heart, "I will be like the Most High" (Isa. 14:14). The announcement of God's intent was the spark that ignited open rebellion at the very throne of God because Lucifer was one of the "covering cherub(s) that covereth" (Eze. 28:14). Of the conflict that followed Jesus could well say to the "seventy," "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" (Luke 10:18). After the creation of man in the image and likeness of God, this other being, Lucifer, Azazel, "the Devil, and Satan" whatever one calls him, disrupted the purpose of God through leading man to make a wrong choice.
In making man in His image and likeness, God created him to be only "a little while inferior" to the angels. (Heb. 2:7, margin) The Greek here is bracu ti and can be applied to either rank or time. The same words are used regarding Jesus in verse 9, where both rank and time blend together. For after the condescension, which was but a brief interlude against the backdrop of eternity, Christ was highly exalted (Phil 2:8-9). In Christ is the hope of man. Condescending to man's level, He "taste(d) death for every man" (Heb. 2:9). Resurrected and returning to the courts of heaven, He sits "in heavenly places" as a Man, for man (Eph. 2:6). In Him, we perceive "the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" is to be (1:18).
Inasmuch as the issue which ignited the rebellion was God's creation of man and His objective for man, on that point the judgment must begin. (See Supplement #1) An angel dissatisfied with his position, and desiring to be "like the most High," challenged God. Not being included in the "counsel of peace" his jealousy overwhelmed him. His enmity caused him to focus on man and he succeeded in the depravation of man. Two alternate questions face us: 1) is God going to forget His "purpose of the ages"? or 2) Does God intend to carry it through to realization? Other considerations are also involved. "Affliction shall not rise up the second time" (Nahum 1:9). Will the angelic host accept this plan under the new circumstances? The man whom God planned to exalt has fallen far below the level that was his at creation. Though forgiven, he is still a sinner saved by grace. Will the angels be satisfied with such a creature being so enthroned; using the words of Jesus, "to sit with Me in my throne, even as I ... am sat down with my Father in His throne"? They rejoiced at the exaltation and enthronement of Jesus as He returned to the Courts of heaven (Ps. 24:7-10). With the full picture of time before them, they must confirm the decision of God's intent. (This is not conjecture in the light of
p 3 -- the revelation the book of Daniel gives as to how God operates His heavenly government. See Daniel 4:17.)
This is the setting of the prophetic portrayal of the judgment in Daniel 7:9-10. The angelic host is gathered, and the books are opened, the books which they helped to write (Eccl. 5:6). Well do they know its contents. But now comes the moment of final angelic decision - a decision by creatures with a free will. "The hour of the judgment of Him is come." What is God's plea? Here enters the meaning of the services of the typical Day of Atonement - a day of At-one-ment. But this at-one-ment will not only involve man and God, but also the angels and God, for in the final execution of the plan, they will see annihilated forever, their comrades from "days of old." The final execution of judgment will be traumatic for all rational beings who have been involved.
First on that typical day, after the incense was brought into the most holy place, the blood of the bullock followed. This the high priest provided for himself and his house. As the great antitypical session begins, the great High Priest steps forward, and before the angelic hosts shows anew the scars of His hands and His pierced side. (Hab. 3:4, margin) Well do they remember the scenes of Gethsemane and of Calvary. He asks, "Have I given enough so that those who accept me can be with Me where I am?" (See John 17:24).
Then the Ancient of days asks - "Have I given enough?" Again the darkness of Calvary comes to those angelic minds, when in that darkness, the Father gave the Son that bitter cup. There was a sundering of the Divine powers. Into outer darkness, Jesus went bearing the sins of the world. The "heart" of God was also rent as He was "in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself" (II Cor. 5:19).
In the silence of that moment, and in the answer given to the questions asked, the second great eternity is secured. (Only one condition appears to have been attached; those exalted must accept the terms of the Gospel. The First Angel who announces "the hour of His judgment is come" brings with him, "the everlasting gospel" (Rev. 14:6-7). When Christ returns after the completion of the judgment, He takes vengeance on those "that obey not the gospel." (II Thess. 1:8) From the books, names are transferred to the one book, and those already entered are retained in "the book of life of the Lamb" (Rev. 13:8). Their records in the "books" are blotted out. The decision rests with Him unto whom all judgment is committed. The chosen ones pass from death unto life; they do not come into judgment nor do they come under the condemnation that awaits those whose works remain recorded "in the books" (John 5:24; Rev. 20:12).
The final work can now commence. It must be kept in mind that the prophecy of Daniel 7 is based on a continuum, events following in succession. It was not until after hearing "the voice of the great words" (v. 11) that Daniel saw "one like unto the Son of man" come before the Ancient of days to receive "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom" (v. 13). It is not by accident that Christ is pictured as "the Son of man" because He was to announce that His authority to execute judgment would be based on the fact that "He is the Son of man" (John 5:27). In Daniel 7 He is portrayed as having completed His work, and is brought before the Ancient of days to receive power, glory and the kingdom.
The parenthesis in the prophecy of Daniel is filled by the details of the typical service as given in Leviticus 16. The final judgment is no more a stationary scene than was the services of the typical Day of Atonement. On that day, there was movement from the Most Holy apartment to the Court, where the final cleansing took place, and the scapegoat sent to a land uninhabited.
Another prophecy conveys the same picture of movement. Ezekiel 9, pictures a man "clothed in linen," and this designation is emphasized throughout the chapter, verses 2, 3, 11. Keep in mind that the high priest on the typical day of atonement can be identified as "a man clothed in linen" (Lev. 16:4). In Ezekiel, the man clothed in linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side, receives a commission from One who being in the Most Holy Place arises from the cherub and goes to the "threshold of the house." After the completion of His work, the angel clothed in linen reports back to the "God of Israel," saying, "I have done as Thou has commanded me" (v. 11). The work accomplished was the placing of a "tau" upon the foreheads of all those who sighed over the declension of Jerusalem (9:4 Heb.). In
p 4 -- script, the Hebrew "tau" resembles the form of a cross. Those so marked identify with their Lord even as He wept over a doomed city. They choose to follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth.
The book of Revelation presents in prophetic symbolism the same three steps taken by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. At the time of the hour of God's judgment, three mighty angels are dispatched, the first carrying the everlasting gospel combined with a message of what was taking place in the heavenly sanctuary, and calling man to true worship. The second followed with a corporate announcement - Babylon is fallen. (It was in the first apartment where the confession of the corporate sins of Israel were recorded through the year, and where the second act on the typical Day of Atonement occurred. See Lev. 4:13-18; Ex. 30:10; 16:16b) The third angel follows with an individual message, "if any man worship the beast and his image" (14:9). It is this worship which is the defining test as to whether one's name is placed in the Lamb's book of life (13:8).
A further factor emerges in the book of Revelation. Resulting from these final messages of the Three Angels is a people of which it can be said - "Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (14:12). It does not say, "'trying to keep" or that they " believe they should be kept" but they "keep" not only the commandments of God, but also the faith of Jesus. It is this latter ingredient that is missing in the teachings and the experience of "historic" Adventism today. The picture becomes critical when the fact is conveyed in the book of Revelation that prior to the coming of Jesus Christ in the clouds of heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords, His High Priestly intercession has ceased, and the final wrath of God is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation. (15:8). This means in simplest terms, that sinning has ceased in the lives of those sealed, and whose names are retained in the Lamb's book of life.
The Divine Intercessor has committed Himself to the accomplishment of this objective. In a prophecy of Isaiah it is foretold, in the context of the then current historical events, that in "the day (that) the Lord cometh" He would "make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir" (13:12). A careful look at this prophecy reveals that this commitment is promised between the fulfilment of "the sun (being) darkened in its going forth" (ver. 10); and "the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger" (ver. 13).
Another prophetic representation to be found in the visions of Zachariah places, as it were, a capsheaf on the whole. It is a picture of a controversy between Christ and Satan. Joshua the high priest stands before the angel of the Lord "clothed with filthy garments" (3:3), and "Satan standing at his right hand to resist him" (3:1). The objectives that were realized as given in the symbolism associates this prophecy with the final work of the Day of Atonement. There is a cleansing - "take away the filthy garments" (3:4). There is a removal of iniquity - "I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day" (3:9). The results are astonishing - "for they are men wondered at" (3:8). The Hebrew also translates - "men of wonder" (See margin).
On the typical Day of Atonement, the command was specific - "Ye shall do no work in that same day" (Lev. 23:28). The symbolic representation in Zechariah conveys the same factor in the reclothing of Joshua the high priest. The action both of taking away the filthy garments, and placing upor him "a change of raiment" was done by the "Angel of the Lord" himself, and those associated with Him (Zech. 3:4-5). The only action on the part of Joshua was recognition that his garments needed changing, and surrendering himself for its accomplishment. Accepting the resulting nakedness, he also accepted the clothing provided by "the angel of the Lord" who promised, "I will clothe thee with change of raiment" (3:4). Both - the removal of his iniquity, and the covering of the shame of his nakedness was done by the command of only One - "the Angel of the Lord" - to whom all judgment is committed.
This is the same emphasis as is found in the typicaL services for the Day of Atonement. The High Priest alone accomplished the atonement with the blood of both the bullock and the Lord's goat. The instruction is specific. It stated - "There shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make atonement" (Lev. 16:17). How brazen and Pharisaical to think that we can clothe ourselves in a righteousness which will merit the acceptance of the Judgment. Ours is but to afflict our
p 5 -- souls. If we would, we could better see the "fig leaf" garb with which we have attempted to clothe ourselves and how utterly useless it is in which to face the record the "books" contain. Then we would truly sing - "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." We would pray most earnestly that the record be blotted out and we would be content to have our names alone retained in the Lamb's Book of Life.
In this vision of Zechariah is to be found a suggestion of the "how" of the final atonement. Prefacing the announcement, that the removal of the iniquity will be done in one day, was the placing of a stone before Joshua which had "seven eyes" (3:9). This same designation for the Spirit Of God is given in Revelation 5:6. This same fullness, completeness, was given to the One, who is to complete as our great High Priest, the final atonement (John 3:34). We are to overcome as He overcame, so as to sit with Him in His throne and have the "fair mitre" placed on our heads (Rev. 3:21; Zech. 3:5). Jesus said, as He was about to finish the work given Him to do - "the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works" (John 14:10). Likewise, it is the Father "which worketh in us to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).
However, there is another aspect implicit in the vision given to Zechariah. Joshua could have resisted the attempt of the attendants of the Angel of the Lord to unclothe him; but if he had, he would have remained clothed in filthy garments. Heaven does not force us to accept Christ's righteousness which is freely offered. It is our choice to do the one work required of God, and that is to "believe on Him whom He hath sent" (John 6:29). The stigma and resulting coldness of such nakedness may cause us to hesitate; but the warmth of Christ's righteousness will cause us to rest in God. There is no other way that Heaven has devised. God will not cover our filthy garments with the robe He has provided - instead they must go!
This removal of iniquity is stated to be "in one day." It will be done by "the Lord of hosts" who declares - "I will remove the iniquity" (Zech. 3:9). In the book of Revelation is found a determinate decree that fixes human character and destiny, followed immediately by the assertion - "And, behold, I come quickly." It reads: He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still (22:11).
This decree fits well into the picture of the close of all human probation, when "no man (is) able to enter into the temple" and the plagues of God's wrath are poured out to be followed by the coming of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 15:8; 1 Tim. 2:5; Rev. 19:11-16).
In the Greek text, the verbs in Revelation 22:11 are in the third person imperative, of which there is no equivalent in the English, and thus the helping verb, "let" is used. (See Machen's New Testament Greek for Beginners, p. 180) As is easily recognized in the KJV, the verse is made up of couplets: "unjust" and "filthy" as well as "righteous" and "holy." In the Greek Text (Textus Receptus) underlying the KJV, the two couplets stand in contrasting relationship to each other. The verbs associated with "unjust" and "filthy" are in the active voice, while the verbs connected with"'righteous" and "holy" are in the passive voice. (See Supplement #2) Simply stated, the unjust and the filthy continue in their course of wickedness, while the righteous and the holy are acted upon in order to be continued righteous and holy. In other words, their righteousness or holiness is not of themselves. Either they have died in "the hope of righteousness by faith" (Gal. 5:5); or they have been cleansed in the final atonement. (For those interested in further study, the same contrast can be seen in Paul's discussion of the Second Coming in I Cor. 15:51-54)
Supplement - #1 -- The Lord has shown me that, Satan was once an honored angel in heaven, next to Jesus Christ, ... And I saw that when God said to His Son, Let us make man in our image, Satan was jealous of Jesus. He wished to be consulred concerning the formation of man. ... He wished to be highest in heaven, next, to God, and receive the highest honors. Until this time all heaven was in order, harmony and perfect, subjection to the government of God. (Spiritual Gifts Vol. I, p.17)
All heaven took a deep and Joyful interest, in the creation of man. Human beings were a new and
p 6 -- distinct order. (R&H Feb. 11, 1902)
God created man a superior being; he alone is formed in the image of God, and is capable of partaking of the divine nature; of co-operating with his Creator and executing His plans. (R&H, April 21,1885)
Man was the crowning act of the creation of God, made in the image of God, and designed to be a counterpart of God; ... (R&H, June 18, 1895)
Supplement #2 -- Interlinear Greek-English New Testament by George R. Berry based on the Textus Receptus (Rev. 22:11).
* -- aorist active imperative. The "unrighteous" are continuing in their unrighteousness by their own volition, and the filthy are getting filthier by their own choice. They have passed the point of no return.
** -- aorist passive imperative. The righteous and the sanctified have been acted upon. It is not their righteousness, but that which has been provided through the redemption in Christ Jesus, and their sanctification is likewise of Him whom God has "made unto us ... sanctification and redemption" (I Cor. 1:30).
The clause - " He that is righteous let him be righteous still" - could read, "He that is justified, let him be justified still." The same Greek word is used as in the parable where Jesus said of the publican, "This man went down to his house justified" (Luke 18:14). Paul used the same term in Romans 3:24, "Being justified freely by His grace."
"Sanctify" ('agiazw) is used 29x in the NT, and except in the KJV in Rev. 22:11 where it is translated "holy" and in the two recordings of the Lord's Prayer where it is rendered, "hallowed," it consistently is translated by some form of the word, "sanctify." Thus the author of the interlinear used above is being consistent with the rest of the NT in his use of "sanctified" for 'agiasqhtw. -- (Concluded)
Let's Talk It Over -- A few days ago (This is being written May 1), a message was left on our answering service, by a friend, stating that the Federal Judge in Miami, who heard the case which the General Conference Corporation had brought against Raphael Perez ruled in favor of the Corporation. Where does this leave all those who are using the name Seventh-day Adventist, or who are professing themselves as either "reformed" or "historic" Seventh-day Adventists? One would hope now that some degree of sanity could be restored among those manifesting a zeal without knowledge.
While it is true that the name "Seventh-day Adventists" received the endorsement of Ellen G. White as it would represent the uniqueness of two key teachings of Adventism, one must ask today, are these two doctrines still unique to Adventism? And the answer is clearly, no. There are other Sabbatarians than Seventh-day Adventist as well as other church groups who believe in and teach the near return of our Lord albeit not exactly as is taught in Adventism. Furthermore, it is not that the Church has ceased to recognize the seventh day Sabbath, or the historic teaching of the second coming of Jesus Christ, even though it appears to be planning and doing as if the Lord had delayed His coming.
The very issues which have brought contention within the community of Adventism - the lowering of standards in their lifestyle, and deviation from, and mitigation of, the sanctuary teaching involving the atonement of the Cross and the High Priestly ministry of Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary are not covered by the name Seventh-day Adventists. Add to this, the continued contention over Justifica-
p 7 -- tion and/or Righteousness by Faith, plus the conviction on the part of many that the Papacy needs to be exposed for what it is, the antichrist of Bible prophecy. On the other hand, the hierarchy of the Church rejects not only the message of 1888 but seeks to improve its relations with Rome and participate in the ecumenical movement. The basic issues involved in the apostasy within Adventism do not come under the original significance of the name - Seventh-day Adventists.
A comparison can be made with ancient Israel. There is no question that God chose the House of Israel to be His people to witness to the world a faith in the true God. The name "Israel" signified one who "as a prince" had "power with God and with men" (Gen. 32:28). It was not a name to be lightly esteemed or disregarded. Though Israel, through its hierarchy, rejected God in the Person of Jesus Christ, and thus forfeited its right to the name, House of Israel, and while the apostolic Christians were noted as the new "Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16), they did not call themselves, "The House of Israel." They called themselves simply, "Followers of the Way" (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4). In fact, Paul observed that as a "follower of the way" which the hierarchy of the "House of Israel" termed heresy, he held to the orthodox position "believing all things which are written in the law and the prophets" (24:14). It is not the name; it is what you stand for, believe, and practice that is the criterion.
It is significant that while the Jewish houses of worship were referred to as "synagogues," a word meaning places of assembly, the New Testament notes the places of worship for "the followers of the way" as churches (ekklhsiai), the word meaning "called out" ones. Indeed the Christian churches were composed of those who had been called out not only from the worship in pagan temples but also from the fallen House of Israel.
Even the early Christians meeting in homes were referred to as a part of the ecclesia. Paul speaks of the "church that is in their house" in sending greetings to Priscilla and Aquila (Rom. 16:3-5; I Cor. 16:19). The same greeting is given to Philemon and "to the church in (his) house" (1:1-2). They did not take the name of the body from which they were called, even though God had given the descriptive name originally.
Two incidents recorded in the book of Acts need to be considered. When Paul began his ministry in Corinth, he did as was his customary evangelistic approach. He entered the synagogue on Sabbath and reasoned with the worshipers, both, Jews and Greeks. It created quite a dissension. Paul took those who wanted to follow the Way into a house next door to the synagogue. Even the first elder of the Jewish synagogue, Crispus, began worshipping with the new ecciesia. A new elder, Sosthenes, was appointed, and he entered a court case against Paul, but it was not over the name, "House of Israel" but over Paul's teachings. These were kept distinct. (Read the record in Acts 18:4-17. Interesting!)
The next incident is found in Acts 19. Paul had come to Ephesus, and following his usual approach went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. Speaking the truth concerning the kingdom of God created a division, and when the orthodox Jews spoke "evil of the Way," Paul "separated the disciples" and gathered the "called out" ones into a school room for their worship in spirit and in truth (vs. 8-9).
If we would be not only Followers of the Way, but also Bible believing Adventists, the guise of upholding "historic" Adventism would be revealed for what it is, a deception. --- (2000 Jul) --- END --- TOP
XXXIII 8(00) -- LAW and GRACE -- Editor's
Preface -- This past Sabbath (May 27; this is being written
on Memorial Day), we used as the basis for our Sabbath School Lesson,
II Corinthians 3. The first question asked was, "What is 'the ministration
of death?'" By noting the descriptive words, "tables of stone"
and "a vail" used by Moses to cover his face, it was evident
that Paul was using Exodus 34 as the basis for chapter 3; and the only
answer was the Law of Ten Commandments. This evoked concerned reaction,
for Paul stated that it was to be "done away" (v. 11). Later
Paul would write to the Romans, clearly referring to the ten Commandments,
"the cornmandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto
death" (7:10). Our tradition too often gets in our way. In the same
chapter of his letter to the Corinthians is the setting forth of "the
ministration of the Spirit" which was to be more glorious. While
the Law is declared to be "the way of truth" (Ps. 119:30), is
not the Spirit, "the Spirit of truth" to "guide... into
all truth"? (John 16:13). While the Law is the "letter,"
grace is the enabling. What are you under? Law? or Grace?
For some time now the term "historic" Adventist has been promoted,
along with the idea of "home" churches. The latter is not difficult
to understand as there is Biblical reference for this mode of worship.
The second article seeks to go to the root of what is meant by "historic"
Adventists, which is foggy even in the minds of many who so describe themselves.
For those who might wish a position paper on "Spiritual Gifts," you may obtain a copy of one worked out in study conferences by sending a self-addressed stamped #10 envelope to the Foundation. Mark the request - "Position Paper". P. O.Box 69, Ozone, AR 72854.
p 2 -- The
Review Continues: LAW
and GRACE --
not have dominion over you for ye are not under rhe Law but under grace."
The obvious meaning of what Paul wrote here in the book of Romans is
that to be under law (no article in the Greek text) is to be under the
dominion of sin, and that to be under grace is to be free from the dominion
of sin. To the Church at Corinth, he had written that "the strength
of sin is the law" (I Cor. 15:56). Yet twice in the context of this
verse in Romans, he asked, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace
may abound?" (6:1); and "shall we sin, because we are not under
law (again no article in Greek text), but under grace?" (6:15). To
both questions, he replied, "God forbid."
Law has a specific purpose: "For by law (no article) is the knowledge
of sin" (Rom. 3:20). It cannot save us, but grace does. "For
by grace are ye saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8). Faith is involved
both with grace and with sin and thus with law. "Whatsoever is not
of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). In the classical Biblical definition
of sin as "the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4), there
is a single word which is too frequently overlooked, and that word is
"also." Observe the whole verse: Whosoever
committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression
of the law.
In the commission of sin, there is something which precedes the act.
Simply stated, it is the failure to exercise faith. This can be illustrated
in the experience of Eve, Adam's response, and all that has followed in
In the very heart of the garden, the home of our first parents, were
placed two trees, designated as "the tree of life" and "the
tree of knowledge of good and evil" (Gen. 2:9). Of this latter tree,
man was forbidden to eat (2:16-17). It was not a part of the Ten Commandments,
because that code had not been codified at that time. (This we shall discuss
further on.) The issue revolved around one thing and one thing only -
faith, belief in God's word. This failure to exercise faith led to the
act of transgression, which in turn was followed by the reign of sin and
death. For "by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom.
5:12). It was God's word that our first parents rejected, but it was the
same God whose word provided grace through "the redemption in Christ
Jesus" (Rom. 3:24-26).
God is the author of both law and grace, and that is why they cannot
be separated but are linked in the exercise of faith. Without faith, I
sin; without faith, I cannot please God; without faith, I cannot have
victory. Without faith, I live under law; but by faith, I live under grace.
"Do we then make void the law through faith?" Paul asks; and
responds: "God forbid: yea, we establish the law" (Rom. 3:31).
Faith accepts the Word of God in law and/or commandment. But in the experiences
of life, we soon recognize "another law in (our) members, warring
against the law of (our) mind, and bringing (us) into captivity to the
law of sin which is in (our) members" (Rom. 7:23). Overwhelmed by
the power of the law of sin, we by faith reach out to accept the justification
freely given "by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus" (Rom. 3:24). And he who is justified must continue to live
by faith (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17), so that the dominion of sin strengthened
by the law shall not reign over him.
We need to consider the use of the term, law, in the New Testament and
the continuing provision of grace. First -
The Use of "Law" (nomoV) in the NT -- The Hebrew Old Testament was divided into three sections - the Torah (torah), the Prophets (nebi'im), and the Writings (kethavim). The Torah consisted of the five books of Moses, and was called the Law. This needs to be kept in mind when considering the use of nomoV in the New Testament. Jesus even used the term "law" to cover the entire Old Testament. He asked the Jews, "Is it not written in your law (nomoV ), I said, Ye are gods?" and quoted from Psalms 82:6, the first book of the third section of the Hebrew canon. Then Luke in recording the conversation which Jesus had with the two disciples on the way to Emmaus wrote that Jesus, "beginning at Moses (Torah) and all the
p 3 -- prophets, expounded unto them in all the Scriptures (grafaiV
- writings) the things concerning Himself"
(24:27). In a report of what Jesus said to the disciples when He appeared
to them, where they had assembled after the resurrection, Luke records
Jesus as saying, "All things must be fulfilled, which were written
in the law of Moses (Torah), and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning
Me" (24:44). The conclusion is obvious that the term, "law"
can not be used to mean exclusively, "the Ten Commandments,"
nor can the phrase, "law of Moses" be limited to the ceremonial
code in Exodus and Leviticus. It is used in the New Testament to mean
the first section of the Hebrew Scriptures - the Torah.
Paul's use of the term, "law, is even broader in its scope than
is found in the Gospels. While he uses the term in conjunction with "prophets"
- "the law and the prophets" - to refer to the Old Testament
(Rom. 3:21); he also uses the single expression - "law" to designate
the entire Old Testament (I Cor. 14:21). He definitely uses "law"
to refer to the Ten Commandments. He wrote, "I had not known sin,
but by the law," and then quotes one of the Ten (Rom. 7:7).
However, in this Epistle to the Romans is to be found Paul's broader
application of the term, "law." He perceives of "another
law in (his) members, warring against the law of (his)mind" (7:23).
He designates this law as "the law of sin" in distinct contrast
to "the Law of God" (v.25). He then points to another law, "the
law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus wnicn frees him "from the
law of sin and death" (8:2). In his previous epistle to the Galatians,
he had written: For
the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:
for these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the
things that ye would (Gal. 5:17).
Then he added - "But if ye are led of the Spirit, ye are not under
law" (v. 19; no article). Paul here presents a higher jurisdiction
for the Christian than the letter of the Law, and thus he could write
in his letter to the Romans: We
are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that
we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in oldness of the letter
This brings us to the critical point: for what purpose does the law serve?
In the letter to the Galatians, Paul had asked - "Wherefore serveth
the law?" - and answered - "It was added because of transgressions"
(3:19). He also in this same context set the time when it was added -
"four hundred and thirty years after" the promise made to Abraham
(3:16-17), or at Mt. Sinai.
It is this Pauline concept, that Adventism has had difficulty accepting.
To avoid the inevitable conclusion which Paul drew, we have said that
the "law" in Galatians is the ceremonial law. This was echoed
in the debate which marked the 1888 General Conference Session over righteousness
by faith. Paul was just as specific on this point in Romans as he was
to the Galatians. He wrote, "Until the law, sin was in the world"
(5:13), and he noted the time of the law as the time of Moses (v.14).
This demands that we take a very careful look at the inception of sin,
and the record of sin that followed.
The test given in Eden was verily as much a law as the Ten Commandments
proclaimed from Mt. Sinai. God told Adam - "thou shalt not eat of
it" - the tree which came to be designated as the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil (Gen. 2:17). There is no such law in the Ten. Yet the
principle of that Edenic Law is stated in the Ten Commandments - "Thou
shalt have no other gods before Me" (Ex. 20:3). There is no record
of any other "Thou-shalt-not" commandments given to our first
Parents. They could not have understood the meanings of stealing, murder,
or adultery; neither lying nor covetousness. All of this was foreign to
Eden; there was no need for such prohibitions.
With the coming of sin, the scene abruptly changes. There is the first murder. With this murder, God confronted Cain in judgment (Gen. 4:9-15). But what was its cause? Cain was "very wroth" (4:5); he hated his brother. Well could Paul write - "All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Gal. 5:14). But how could man hidden from the face of God (Gen. 4:14) know love? He couldn't, hence the protecting wall of' law - "thou shalt not" and in so doing, the letter of the law would be kept. "Before (righteousness by) faith came, they were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed" (Gal. 3:23). But now Jesus has come, and
p 4 -- we have become "the children of God by faith in Jesus
Christ" (v.26). In Him was revealed the love that man needs to be
freed from the law of sin and death. "Greater love hath no man than
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
This constraining love of Christ frees us from the law of sin and death,
so that we are no longer under the law but under grace. At Mt. Sinai,
the negatives against sin were codified; at Mt. Calvary was manifest the
love to which all law and the prophets pointed (Matt. 22:40).
Paul also had something else to say about the Law. In his first letter
to Timothy (1:5-11),
he wrote: Now
the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good
conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have
turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding
neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law
is good if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law was not made
for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly
and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of mothers, for
manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind,
for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any
other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious
gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
As Paul is nearing the end of his ministry, and soon to seal his life's
testimony with his own blood, he summarized his convictions in regard
to the law and the gospel. The law is good if a man use it lawfully, but
that law was not made for a righteous man, but for those who are walking
contrary to the gospel.
Justified by Faith -- The very heart of the gospel proclaimed by Paul was that a man was "justified freely by (God's) grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24). Therefore he could conclude "that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (3:28). Being declared righteous - justified - a man is no longer under the law of works, but under the "law of faith" (3:27). He no longer concentrates on the negatives, but on "the purpose of the commandment" which "is love" (agaph) (I Tim. 1:5 NKJV). Being no longer under the constraints of the law, there is a higher constraint - "the love of Christ" constrains him (I Cor. 5:14). From a selfish motivation to keep the law to be saved, he beholds a selflessness in the death of the Lamb of God which causes him "to love not (his) life unto the death" (Rev. 12:11).
This "treasure" of the agape
love of Christ, the "righteous man" still carries in an "earthen"
vessel. And this for a purpose, that he might ever recognize that "the
excellency of the power may be of God and not of " himself (II Cor.
4:7). The failures and missteps along the way does not drive him to penitential
"works" but to deep repentance at the throne of the divine Advocate
(Heb. 4:16; I John 2:1). There he finds the renewed experience of that
leper who came to Jesus in faith saying - "If thou wilt, Thou canst
make me clean." He, too, wilI hear that voice, "I will; be thou
clean" (Mark 1:40-41). He finds that the excellency of the power
of deliverance is of God.
The grace of God is not a one time gift, but a continual endowment. Again
in one of his final pastoral letters, Paul tells
Titus that "the grace of God that brings salvation"
(2:11, NKJV) ("For by grace you have been saved through faith ...
it is the gift of God" Eph. 2:8 NKJV) is only the beginning of the
outpouring of that grace. There is a teaching ministry which follows - Teaching
us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly,
righteously and godly, in this present world; looking for the blessed
hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus
Christ: Who gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from
all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good
Not only is the Lamb "as it had been slain" (Rev. 5:6) pleading His merits that we might be accounted righteous and thus freed from the curse of the law, but there is sent the Spirit of truth to "redeem us from all iniquity" - from the very bondage of sin itself. "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Not only constrained by the love of Christ "who gave Himself for us," but we will bear "about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body" (II Cor. 4:10).
p 5 -- "H
i s t o r i c s" --
(Written May 28,2000) -- During the third week in May, a group
of "independent" Seventh-day Adventists representing "home
churches" from California to Maine gathered at the Pinecrest Campsite
of the Christian and Missionary Alliance just south of Salus, Arkansas.
We had used these same facilities a decade ago for Silver Lake East. Much
improved, they provided a very desirable setting for a campmeeting. Living
but six miles south of the camp site, a brother from St. Lucia and I attended
several of the meetings.
From the very first sentence spoken by the song leader and throughout
the meetings, the emphasis was on the fact that those sponsoring and attending
the Campmeeting were "historic" Adventists. That is good, but
what is an "historic" Adventist? It had been my impression that
the definition had been determined by the only theologian among them,
Dr. Ralph Larson.
He had written in "An Open Letter To the Church" published
by Steps to Life: My
theology is precisely and specifically the theology set forth in the book
Seventh-day Adventists Believe. If I am divisive, that book is
also divisive. (p.3)
The first problem to arise from this theological confession published
by Steps to Life, is that the book, Seventh-day Adventists Believe
is a confession of Faith based on the Statement of Beliefs voted at the
1980 Dallas General Conference Session. It was this statement of beliefs
which confirmed what is called the "new" theology. Further,
prior to this signed letter, I had perceived, in error, that Dr. Larson
drew the line between where the Church stood prior to the 1955-1956 conferences
with the Evangelicals, and the resultant changes coming out of the conferences
in the book, Questions on Doctrine. Here again, another problem
arises. T. E. Unruh, in his report on these conferences which he chaired,
Evangelical conferees were satisfied that we were presenting contemporary
Adventist doctrines, because we were supported by the 1931 statement of
fundamental beliefs. (See article by T. E. Unruh in Foundation Ms,
By "contemporary Adventist doctrines" is meant teachings in
contradistinction to positions affirmed in the Statements of Belief from
1872 to 1914. So then we are left with a possible definition of "historic"
Adventism as a faith founded on pioneer positions stated from 1872 to
1931. From visiting with some in attendance at the Campmeeting, this is
the concept which they held.
However, this is not the end of the problem raised by the use of the
designation, "historic" Adventists. In 1890, the "messenger"
of the Lord warned - "The truth is an advancing truth, we must
walk in the increasing light" (R&H, March 25; emphasis
supplied). Thus the static concept which the term "historic"
represents fails to convey the real meaning of what being an Adventist
should be - one "walk(ing) in the light" of "advancing
truth." The solemn covenant made by the Puritans when first constrained
to separate from the English Church was that as the Lord's free people,
they would "walk together in all His ways made known or to be made
known to them." The same "messenger" commented - "Here
was the true spirit of reform, the vital principle of Protestantism"
This "vital principle of Protestantism" requires another step.
In other conversations with attendees and some speakers, I perceived that
what is really meant by the designation of "historic" Adventist,
is that the term is applied to those who take what Ellen G. White says
on any Biblical text and life-style as the final authority. Thus her writings
are used as an Adventist magesterium,
or a third canon of Scripture by the "historic" Adventist. This,
even in the light of the fact that she wrote: God
will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible
only, as the standard of all doctrine, and the basis of all reforms. (GC,
And again in comment on the Reformation: The
experience of these noble Reformers contains a lesson for all succeeding
ages. Satan's manner of working against God has not changed; he is still
as much opposed to the Scriptures being made the guide of life as in the
sixteenth century. In our time there is a wide departure from their doctrines
and precepts, and there is a need of a return to the great Protestant
principle, - the Bible, and the Bible only, as the rule of faith and duty.
It was interesting to observe the round table
p 6 -- (question and answer) period at the campmeeting. One sincere
young man sat at the end of the benches placed on the rostrum, with his
computer loaded with the CD Rom on the Writings. For every question asked
he sought to find an E.G. White directive. In a pleasant contrast to this
emphasis was the only sermon that I heard Dr. John Grosboll present. He
went into the pulpit with his Bible only and gave a sermon based strictly
on Biblical exegesis. While one might question an exegetical point or
two, it was a Biblically based presentation.
Combined with this perception of what an "historic" Adventist
is, there was linked in some minds of those whom I questioned, the idea
that we should hold to the teachings of the pioneers. This, they really
would have had some trouble with, had the doctrine of God as taught by
our pioneers been discussed with them, for the first speaker was definitely
Trinitarian and made it plain to his listeners that he was. The problem
is twofold. Many "historic" Adventists do not know what was
taught in the days of our pioneers, neither are they willing to recognize
in their present study, the advancing light of truth. Probably a better
term would be to call themselves, "static" Adventists.
Let us recognize that our pioneers laid the foundation of our faith by the example of careful and thorough study of the Bible. While all their concepts were not free from error, they nevertheless based the true light which they did perceive on a solid foundation and declared what that foundation was.
In the 1872 Statement of
Beliefs, the first statement formulated, after a confession
in regard to God and Jesus Christ, read: The
Holy Scriptures, of the Old and New Testament, were given by inspiration
of God, contain a full revelation of His will to man, and are the only
infallible rule of faith and practice.
This statement remained unaltered in every statement of beliefs appearing
in an official publication of the church. It was to appear last in this
form in the 1914 Year Book. No official statement was again printed
till the 1931 Year Book.
In that year, the first statement of the Statements of Belief read: The
Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by the inspiration
of God, contain an all-sufficient revelation of His will to men, and are
the only unerring rule of faith and practice.
Certain words used in these two statements should be carefully considered.
Note "an all-sufficient
During the same period of time - 1872
- 1914 - the Statements of Belief read in regard to Spiritual
Spirit of God was promised to manifest itself in the church through certain
gifts, enumerated especially in I Cor. 12 and Eph. 4; that these gifts
are not designed to supersede, or to take the place of, the Bible, which
is sufficient to make us wise unto salvation, any more than the Bible
can take the place of the Holy Spirit; that in specifying the various
channels of its operation, that the Spirit has simply made provision for
its own existence and presence with the people of God to the end of time,
to lead to an understanding of that word which it had inspired, to convince
of sin, and work a transformation in the heart and life; and that those
who deny to the Spirit its place and operation, do plainly deny that part
of the Bible which assigns to it this work and position.
The 1931 Statement was
more concise. It stated simply: God
has placed in His church the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as enumerated in
I Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. That these gifts operate in harmony
with the divine principles of the Bible, and are given "for the perfecting
of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body
of Christ" (Eph. 4:12).
By 1950 changes from the positions held in the past began to appear in
the published works of the
p 7 -- the General
Conference Session of 1950, added two sentences to the 1931 Statement
on "Spiritual Gifts" noted above. They read: That
the gift of the Spirit of prophecy is one of the identifying marks of
the remnant church. They recognize that this gift was manifest in the
life and ministry of Ellen G. White.
This act has far reaching implications whether intended to do so or not.
For the first time in a statement of beliefs which concern, God, Jesus
Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and doctrines of the infallible Word of God,
there was placed the name of a human being. Add to this the doctrinal
upheaval that transpired following 1950 - the SDA-Evangelical Conferences,
the SDA-WCC Conferences (See So Much in Common), and the Desmond
Ford frontal attack on basic Adventism, and you have a basis for understanding
the new formulation which occurred at the 1980 General Conference Session.
This doctrinal formulation
at the Dallas Session confirmed the Nicene Creed, the doctrinal
basis to become a member of the WCC if such a step is contemplated. Other
doctrinal concepts were altered, such as the Incarnation and the Atonement.
But while such "new theology" was being affirmed, a "new
theology" was also formulated in regard to the Writings of Ellen
G. White. It read: One
of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying
mark of the remnant church and was manifest in the ministry of Ellen G.
White. As the Lord's messenger, her writings are a continuing source
of truth which provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.
They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching
and experience must be tested. (Emphasis supplied)
The last sentence is ambiguous. Is it saying that the Writings establish
the authority of the Bible, or that they are confessing the primacy of
the Scriptures? The emphasized words place the Church as no longer holding
the "all-sufficient" Bible, as the "only infallible"
source of truth. And as it would then be necessary, the 1980 Statement
omits from the first statement on "The Holy Scriptures" the
word, "only"; and in listing the purposes of the Bible it does
not state that it is the "all-sufficient" and a "full revelation
of the will of God" as did the previous Statements from 1872-1931.
This places the current "historic" Adventist in a very difficult
position. By holding the Writings to be the defining factor as to whether
one is "historic" or not, means the acceptance of one phase
of the "new theology" of the 1980 Statement. Further it is rejecting
the true historic position of the Church on the Bible from 1872 to 1980
as well as the rejection of the fundamental principle which was the hallmark
There is no question but that one could cite the writing of various pioneers of the Church to support the "new theology" of the 1980 Statement in regard to the Writings of Ellen G. White. But the beliefs and convictions of individuals do not determine the position of the Church, nor even what the Bible really teaches on a given doctrine. This has been aptly illustrated in the present agitation by the current anti-Trinitarians. They quote the positions of men, not the Statement of Beliefs of the body. The Church founded on the Word of God bases its teaching on that Word, and when it takes a stand contrary to that Word, it becomes apostate, no matter how many personal convictions can be quoted. Let us be Bible Adventists, and "Followers of the Way" even as the early Apostolic Church. Let us return to a primitive faith and godliness.
--- (2000 Aug) --- End --- TOP
Sep -- XXXIII 9(00) -- GOD'S
REST -- Editor's
Preface -- There are a number of happenings within the community
of Adventism upon which we could comment and would like to comment. This
is being written as the General Conference is still in session at Toronto.
Reports that I am receiving, at least on the surface, reveal that politics
as usual, were at play. I will leave to other independent publications
their analysis of what happened, and why possibly some men were placed
in positions of leadership which their experience did not so qualify them.
Organization serves a purpose, and is needful, but when organization
becomes a tool for the exercise of power, it corrupts not only the one
who exercises it, but the whole structure is corrupted. It is obvious
from 20/20 hindsight vision, that the original protest to the apostasy
in the Church should not have heeded a lone, strong voice who opposed
all organization. What a different picture might be seen today had simple
"Gospel Order" prevailed. That is past, and cannot be recalled.
We must, however, press on to the mark of the prize of the high calling
of God in Christ Jesus.
This means truth, pure and unadulterated, must become basic as well as
all pervasive. First, it gives freedom from the oppression of a human
driven religious organization. Jesus said to the Jews who were so controlled
- "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"
(John 8:32). Secondly, it is the vital part in one's preparation for Heaven.
Jesus, in His High Priestly prayer. requested of the Father - "Sanctify
them through thy truth. thy Word is truth" (John 17:17). Truth brings
the receiver into God's rest. This will be our continued emphasis in each
issue of WWN One aspect only is to be found in this issue; others
p 2 -- The
Review Continues: GOD'S
REST -- As one reads the story of Creation in Genesis 1
there is an interesting repetition: "And there was evening, and there
was morning" (Gen. 1:5 Heb.). This summation is followed consecutively
through the days of the first week to "day the sixth" (Gen.
1:31 Heb.). In the second chapter of Genesis, the seventh day is noted,
but it closes with no such notation. It states simply but emphatically
that "God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because
that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made"
(2:3). It was God who had worked; it was God who rested.
On the sixth day God created the land animals and lastly, man in His
own image (Gen. 1:24-27). Before Adam, all appeared and he named them
(2:19-20). Not finding "an help meet" for Adam, God in the waning
hours of the sixth day, brought forth Eve. Neither had lived a full day
before they entered into rest with God. It was God's rest. Since the formula
which closed each day of creation is omitted for the day of God's rest,
is there a suggestion that God's intent was for Adam and Eve to live in
a perpetual Sabbath - a day that would not end?
The work assigned Adam as he was placed in the Garden of Eden was "to
dress it and to keep it" (2:15). But what did that mean? This can
be understood in part by noting what happened after sin became a way of
life. In the curse, the vegetation was altered. "Thorns and thistles"
would appear (3:18). Labor would be required - "In the sweat of thy
face shalt thou eat bread" (3:19). Work would enter the picture,
far different than merely dressing and keeping the garden.
From the contemplation of God as revealed in nature, man would face the
meaning of sin day by day in work. Thus man would require rest from work.
So that which was planned as an eternal experience, was made a weekly
event. The record reads - "At the end of the days" Cain and
Abel came to worship before God with their offerings (4:3, Heb., margin).
God desired to bestow His rest upon them. For man to understand the redemptive
meaning that God's rest was to be, the offering brought in worship was
specified (4:3-5). The works of man's labor were unacceptable; only a
life offered as a substitute would be acknowledged.
From this first reference of worship by Cain and Abel "at the end
of the days," there is no further
After the deliverance from Egypt, God provided sustenance for the children
of Israel, but with it He specified certain regulations. He sent manna
six days, but none on the seventh day (Ex. 16:27). He "rested."
Moses had told the people that the day was "the rest of the holy
sabbath unto the Lord" (16:23). But some of the Israelites failed
to heed the instruction to gather a double portion on the sixth day, and
went out on the seventh day to get their food supply for the day. This
brought a strong remonstrance from the Lord: How
long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for the Lord
hath given you the sabbath, therefore He giveth you on the sixth day the
bread for two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out
of his place [to gather bread] on the seventh day. (Ex. 16:28-29)
Several important factors are stated and implied in God's reaction to
the actions of the faithless Hebrews. In the giving of the manna, there
was divine intervention. The same God who created the world in six days,
gave food for all seven days, but the food for the Sabbath came in a double
portion on the sixth day. The Lord who rested the first seventh day from
creation, also "rested" in the giving of the manna to Israel
each seventh day. This weekly routine was followed by God through all
of the vicissitudes of Israel for forty years till they arrived safely
in Canaan. (Joshua 5:12) This is saying something as to how God regards
HIS day of rest. This same God declared of Himself, "I am the Lord,
I change not" (Mal. 3:6).
This daily provision for food and its weekly lesson was given to Israel prior to the uttering of the Law from Sinai in which God incorporated into its very heart the command to observe HIS day. That
p 3 -- command read: Remember
the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all
thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it
thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant,
nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy
gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all
that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed
the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Ex. 20:8-11)
The Sabbath was declared the sabbath of the Lord God as the Creator of
all. Man's accountability is set in the framework of the six days of creation
and the rest he lost because of sin limited to one day. It was proclaimed
in a universal setting which stipulated what man's relationship to God,
and to his fellow man was to be. Yet within forty days the Sabbath command
was separated from the Law and given to Israel for a unique purpose. At
the end of the forty days of communion with God in the mount during which
time instruction was given to Moses for the building of the sanctuary
and the establishment of its typical priestly ministry, the Lord's final
word was: Speak
thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall
keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations;
that ye may know I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the
sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: ... Six days may work be done,
but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: ... Wherefore
the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath
throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between
Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven
and earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed. (Ex. 31:13-17)
The same basic elements are retained: It is God's sabbath given to man
to keep holy; its origin was following the six days of creation. However,
a new element was added. It would be a sign of God's sanctifying power
between Him and the people whom He had called to be His own "peculiar
treasure ... above all people" (Ex. 19:5). It was not involved in
a stature of limitations; it was to be the evidence of a "perpetual
covenant" and a sign "forever" between the Lord and "the
children of Israel."
In the call of the prophets for reformation in Israel and Judah during
the Old Testament period the Sabbath was a focal point. Isaiah challenged: Thou
shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to
dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy
pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the
Lord honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thy own ways, nor finding
thy own pleasure, nor speaking thy own words: then shalt thou delight
thyself in the Lord; ... for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (58:12-14)
Jeremiah was instructed by the Lord to stand in the royal gate of Jerusalem
and warn the kings, princes, and people of Jerusalem to bring no burden
in or out of the city on the Sabbath but to "hallow ye the sabbath
day" as He had "commanded" their fathers (Jer. 17:19-22).
Ezekiel was commanded of the Lord to review for the Jewish elders who
came to inquire of the Lord in behalf of the captives In Babylon, their
history of rebellion. He reminded them of the sabbath given to them "to
be a sign that they might know" that it was "the Lord that (sanctified)
them" (20:12). He recalled for them the words of the Lord: I
am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and
do them; and hallow My sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and
you, that ye may know I am the Lord your God. (20:19-20)
Then Jesus Came -- The Word; who made all things "and without Him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3) became flesh and "dwelt among us" (v. 14). He who worshipped with our first parents on the first Sabbath day, now made it His custom to worship with men in sin on the Sabbath day (Luke 4:16). During His ministry, there was constant confrontation between Jesus and the religious leaders of the Jews over the Sabbath. As one reads the gospel record, it would appear that Jesus invited confrontation over the Sabbath. He went into the synagogue as was his custom and seeing a man with a withered hand asked the man to stand up "in the midst" and then challenged "the scribes and Pharisees" present with the question, "Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good?" He proceeded to heal the man. (Luke 6:6-10) In another incident, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath and spotted a woman who had been infirm for eighteen
p 4 -- years and was bowed in such a way she could not walk upright.
He stopped and loosed her from her infirmity to the indignation of the
first elder. Jesus said to him, "Thou hypocrite, doth not each of
you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him
away for watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan hath bound, 10, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond
on the sabbath day?" (Luke 13:10-16)
In the gospel of John, two of the three miracles of healing recorded
are acts of restoration performed on the Sabbath day. (chapters 5 &
9) Other miracles noted by John were the changing of water to wine (chapter
2) and the resurrection of Lazarus (chapter 11). Discussions which ensued
because of the healing miracles centered on proper Sabbath observance;
but not once in all of these confrontations was there any mention, not
even a suggestion, that the Sabbath had changed, or would be changed to
another day. It was God's day, given to man, and Jesus as the Son of man
claimed Lordship of that day (Mark 2:27-28).
As Lord of that day, Jesus sought to direct man's attention to the true
significance of the Sabbath. He invited the burdened of soul and body
to come to Him and find once again the original rest. He called: Come
unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden
is light. (Matt. 11:28-30)
This concept of "rest" in connection with the Sabbath is found
in the book of Hebrews. Recalling the rebellion of the children of Israel
in the wilderness, Paul noted God's reaction to their unbelief in saying,
"They shall not enter into my rest" (3:8-11). Then he challenged
the Hebrew Christians:
Linguistically, there is a connection between the "rest" offered
by Jesus, and the "rest" spoken of here in the book of Hebrews.
In Matthew, the word used is anapausiV,
while in Hebrews it is katapausiV
. Both are built on the same verb, pauw
meaning to cease, and thus, rest. However, there are two different words
in Hebrews chapters three and four from which "rest" is translated,
katapasiV and sabbatismoV
(4:9, margin), meaning "keeping of a sabbath." This sabbath
rest is linked with the rest of God at creation as Paul quotes Genesis
- "For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise,
And God did rest (katepausen)
the seventh day from all His works" (4:4). Thus the original intent
for which the Sabbath was given is to be realized in the rest offered
by Jesus. This "rest" which was a "sign" between Himself
and those whom he chose to be His peculiar treasure, ever remains "to
the people of God." It is our heritage in Christ for "if ye
be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise"
Today confusion is compounded by the "new look" Romanism is
seeking to project. In the Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II released
May 31, 1998 entitled, Dies Domini, sections 13-15 were captioned
with Genesis 2:3 - "God blessed the seventh day and made it holy."
Section 14, par. 1 reads: In
the first place, therefore Sunday is the day of rest because it is the
day blessed by God and made holy by Him set apart from the other days
to be, among all of them, the Lord's Day. (The Pope Speaks,
Vol.43, #6, pp.344, 345)
Sunday is not the seventh day, neither is its origin as a day of worship, by the act or blessing of the Creator God. Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual, in a paper read in 1893 before a Baptist Minister's Meeting in Saratoga, New York carefully analyzed the question. He stated: It will however be readily said, and with some show of triumph that the Sabbath was transferred from the Seventh to the First day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information of this subject, which I have studied for many years, I ask, where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament, - absolutely not. There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the Seventh to the First day of the week. I wish to say that this Sabbath question, in this aspect of it, is in my judgment the gravest and most perplexing question connected with Christian institutions which at present claims attention from Christian people. And the only reason why it is not a more disturbing element in Christian thought, and in religious discussions, is because the Christian world has set-
p 5 -- tled down content
on the conviction that somehow, a transference did take place at the beginning
of Christian history, and with a comfortable apathy, the matter stands,
as of insufficient importance to cause any special concern, save indeed
on the part of a small company of "Sabbatarian Cranks," of whom
I am one only in so far as my views expressed in this paper agree with
I do not assert that it was
not the divine intention that the Christian holy day, should be the first
day of the week, but there is no evidence of such intention in these [NT]
instances cited. I do not assert that Christians should not commemorate
the resurrection on Sunday; but as no one knows when the resurrection
took place, and as there is no strong evidence against Christ's having
risen on the first day of the week, it seems somewhat needless to press
claims for the sanctity of that day on that ground. To me it seems unaccountable
that Jesus during three years' intercourse with His disciples, giving
the disciples instruction as to His kingdom, constantly coming in contact
with the Sabbath question, often discussing it in some of its aspects,
freeing it from its false glosses, and teaching its true nature and purpose,
never alluded to a transference of the day. Also that during the forty
days of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated. Nor so far
as we know, did the Spirit, which was given to bring all things to their
remembrance, whatsoever he said unto them, deal with this question. Nor
yet the inspired Apostles in preaching the Gospel, founding Churches,
counselling and instructing those founded, discuss or approach this subject.
Of course I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian
history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian fathers and
other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of
Paganism, and Christened with the name of the Sun-god. Then adopted and
sanctified by the Papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to
Protestanism, and the Christian world, just as Easter, which the Churches
hankering after ritualism are now lovingly pressing to their hearts, comes
bearing the sign Manual of a heathen divinity, instead of if something
purely Christian could not be had - at least bearing the sign and designation
of the pascha of the old dispensation. But in the early ages, when Christian
ritualism largely received its form, the mould in which it was cast was
rather Pagan than Jewish, as preferred by a carnal and secularized Church
establishment. [A notorized copy of this document may be
had upon request by sending a stamped self-addressed #10 envelope to Document
"Hiscox," P.O. Box 69, Ozone, AR 72854]
The question faces us squarely, where do we perceive our "roots" to be? Is our heritage as Christians, pagan; or as being Christ's, we are Abraham's seed? If the latter, then God's rest is the same sign He gave to a people He wished to be His peculiar treasure - "There remaineth a keeping of a Sabbath to the people of God" (Heb. 4:9 margin).
-- M. L. Andreasen
God's rest is a spiritual experience into which the soul
enters upon conversion. In the unregenerate man there is unrest and strife;
an evil conscience make life a burden; the heart is filled with wicked
thoughts; worldly ambitions hold sway; envy and pride bring heartache
and sorrow; impurity dominates the mind; and man is at war with his fellow
men, with himself, and with his God. Then comes the blessed day of surrender.
The soul casts itself upon the mercy of God and is accepted. The former
things pass away, all things become new, and all things are of God. He
enters a new world, becomes a new man, has a new name, is a different
person. At last there is peace in his heart - his sins are forgiven. At
last his soul is at rest; he has found God. Gone are the accusations of
conscience; gone his wicked ambitions, his envy and pride, his love of
the world, his love of sin. He is completely a new creature. He has entered
God's rest. He has heeded Christ's call, "Come unto me all ye that
labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon
you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find
rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light"
This is the rest that was promised
to Israel when God said to Moses: "My presence shall go with thee,
and I will give thee rest" (Ex. 33:14). It was of this rest Jeremiah
spoke when he said, "Stand ye in the old paths, and see, and ask
for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall
find rest for your souls. But they said, "We will not walk therein"
(6:16). Isaiah says, "The Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow,
and from thy fear, and from the bondage wherein thou was made to serve"
This call to rest has sounded
throughout all time and is still sounding. Many have heeded it, but more
have rejected it. The call rings out in every generation: "Go out
into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house
may be filled" (Luke 14:23).
The writer of Hebrews connects this rest with God's rest at creation when "the works were finished from the foundation of the world. ... And God did rest the seventh day from all His works" (4:3,4). The connection between the rest into which God invites the be-
6 -- liever and His own rest at creation, though close, may
not be immediately apparent; a little reflection, however, will make it
When God had finished His six
days' work at creation, that which had been planned from eternity at last
found visible expression. The earth stood forth in its pristine beauty,
the angels rejoiced, the sons of God shouted for joy, and the morning
stars sang together. With what amazement and wonder the angels watched
the unfolding of the wisdom and the power of God, as "He spake, and
it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." They saw light infiltrate
the darkness, and beauty begin to take form. When as the climax, God took
lifeless clay and out of it formed a man; when out of man He took a rib
and builded it into a woman; when the man and the woman met, one the perfect
compliment of the other; when the angels understood that what had been
created for the sake of the beings just formed; when they began to fathom
- though as yet only vaguely - that all this had a bearing on sin, which
so mysteriously had appeared in the universe and which threatened to disrupt
the previous harmony of heaven; when they realized that God in His goodness
had permitted them to witness the supreme divine prerogative of the Godhead,
the creation of life, and they themselves would be called upon to have
a part in the unfolding drama of the eradication of sin from the universe,
their joy knew no bounds. Christ, by whom God had made the worlds, had
been exalted before their eyes (Heb. 1:2). They had seen Him create; they
had seen Him breathe life into a lifeless form and create a man in His
own image, a candidate for immortality, capable of reaching even greater
heights than those of which they themselves were capable. Wonderful was
their God, and equally wonderful was the One whom they had just seen reveal
the power of the Godhead.
The day following the creation
of man was the greatest of all days. God understood, of course, what the
angels but dimly comprehended, and man not at all - the meaning and the
cost of creation. He saw the future. He knew of sin and the dark days
coming; but He also knew that the supreme step had been taken that would
eventuate in the complete vindication of God and the final cleansing of
the universe from sin. He looked forward to the time when one pulse of
harmony should beat throughout creation, one song of harmony rise from
every tongue, when the family in heaven and earth should unitedly raise
their voices in praise to Him that sitteth upon the throne and to the
When the first Sabbath came to
earth, only God had worked the six previous days. The angels had looked
on in wonder and admiration, but they had not created. Man had been brought
into existence on the sixth day. So neither angels nor man had worked
six days. Adam had indeed worked on the day of his creation in naming
all the animals. But he had worked at most only part of one day. In a
special sense, therefore, the first Sabbath in Eden was God's Sabbath,
for He was the only one who had worked six days. It was His holy day,
His day of rest. Hence, the strength and appropriateness of the Bible
statements: "The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord"
(Ex. 20:10). "My holy day" (isa. 58:13). "My
rest" (Heb. 3:11; 4:3,5). "His rest" (Heb. 3:18;
"On the seventh day God
ended His work" (Gen. 2:2). ... God did more than merely end His
work on the seventh day. A person may stop his work without finishing
it. God not only stopped His work; He finished it. And He finished it
on the seventh day. Had God finished His work on the sixth day, there
would have been no Sabbath for mankind. But God included the Sabbath in
the creation week, and thus made His finished work include both work and
rest. Having worked six days and rested the seventh, God says to man,
"I have worked six days and rested the seventh; now you work
six days and rest the seventh, for the seventh day is the Sabbath of the
Lord." It is noteworthy that two thousand years after creation, God
speaking of the Sabbath does not say that the seventh day was the
Sabbath of the Lord, but that it is. In this Christ concurs when
He affirms that the Son of man is, not was, Lord of the
God's ideal of perfect life,
perfect communion, perfect love, joy, and peace, found expression in that
first Sabbath in Eden. As we have noted, in a peculiar and distinct sense
it was His Sabbath, His rest. ... The fact that He picks
on the seventh day and specifically mentions that this is the day on which
He rested in the beginning, and that it is "His rest" to which
He invites all to enter, is significant. And that this is recorded in
the New Testament in Hebrews, more than thirty years after the death of
Christ, is equally significant. Christians would do well to ponder this.
Let the mind dwell upon the first Sabbath. God has finished His work and as He contemplates it, finds it "very good." God states this very modestly, for the earth and what He had made must have been surpassingly beautiful. As God beheld His creatures; as He saw Adam in his perfection of strength and manhood, and Eve in her loveliness; as He saw angels and men,
7 -- sons of God, cherubim and seraphim; as He saw "the
whole family in heaven and earth" in sweet communion and fellowship,
He saw life as He meant it to be - ideal, pure, complete, satisfying.
And so, as He drank in the whole scene, He rested and was refreshed. (Ex.
31:17). The ideal and the climax had been reached ...
The Sabbath thus became to Adam
symbolic of rest with God, perfect communion, of oneness with God. It
was the one commandment that God chose to honor by joining man in its
observance; or perhaps better, inviting man to join Him in its observance.
It is the one command that was communicated to man not only by way of
law but also by God's example. Among the ten it stands unique, symbolic
of God's ideal of perfection, of holiness, of rest, of ideal existence
It is this idea of the seventh-day
Sabbath that is introduced in Hebrews to symbolize God's rest. From the
"foundation of the world" God spoke of the seventh day as His
rest. (Heb. 4:3, 4). It is evident from this reading that God connects
the seventh day - the original seventh day " from the foundation
of the world," when He had finished His work - with entering into
There are three distinct ways
in which "rest" is used in [Hebrews]: first, entering into the
land of Canaan, which was Israel's understanding of rest; second, rest
from sin, resting in God, having peace in the heart, rest for the soul,
true conversion; and third, the perfect symbol and sign of rest, the Sabbath,
instituted by God Himself - not a spurious or new sabbath, but the original
seventh day of creation, which "remaineth" and which God blessed
and sanctified and gave to man as a sign of sanctification. (Eze. 21:12,
20). -(The Book of Hebrews, pp.182-188)
Sabbath is a time when the spent spirit may catch its breath,
Rest -- Those who
take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their
lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the world
can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. In perfect
acquiescence there is perfect rest. [Isaiah] says, "Thou will keep
him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth
in Thee." Our lives may seem a tangle; but as we commit ourselves
to the wise Master-worker, He will bring out the pattern of life and character
that will be to His own glory. And that character which expresses the
glory - character - of Christ, will be received into the Paradise of God.
A renovated race shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy.
As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, Come learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know God, the more intense will be our happiness. As we walk with Jesus in this life, we may be filled with His love, satisfied with His presence. All that human nature can bear, we may receive here. But what is this compared with the hereafter? - Desire of Ages, p.331