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"Saving Faith" - Dr. E. J. Waggoner
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WWN 2000 Oct - Dec

 

2000 Oct -- XXXIII -- 10(00) -- Re-Writing History -- Editor's Preface -- In the previous issue of WWN, we quoted at length from a paper prepared by Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual. He indicated that he had studied the Sabbath-Sunday question "for many years. From his viewpoint the lack of "scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the Seventh to the First day of the week" was in his judgment "the gravest and most perplexing question connected with Christian institutions" at that time. In this issue of WWN, we have sought to rediscover some of the evidence from which Dr. Hiscox drew his conclusions. While such documentation can be found, it is also important to note that the Papacy which was so bold with their assertions during the time of Dr. Hiscox's study have now taken a different approach to the whole question. Besides this, they have added a new dimension by tying one of the key sacraments of the Roman Church to the observance of Sunday.

This new approach began with Vatican II, and has become basic in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter, Dies Domini. enlarges on the position taken in the Catechism. However in so doing. this new position separates more distinctly God's intent for the Sabbath in contrast to the new intent of Rome for Sunday. Clearly the call is as echoed in the First Angel's Message. "Worship Him who made ..." (Rev. 14:6).

There is an interesting use of the Greek tenses in the Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14, to which little consideration has been given to date. The first two messages are written in the Aroist, or Greek past tense, while the third message is in the present tense. What is the significance of this difference? This study of the change in Roman Catholic teaching on Sunday has given us a basis for some reflection which we shall continue to pursue, and will share after further study. Your thinking will also be appreciated. Basically it gives new meaning to the significance of the prophetic symbolism - the Mark of the Beast - as to time and nature.

p 2 -- The Review Continues: Re-Writing History -- In the previous issue of WWN, we quoted at length from a paper presented by Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual, before a meeting of Baptist ministers in Saratoga, New York, August 20, 1893. Three key sentences read:      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 Protestantism, and the Christian world, just as Easter. ...

In six months, a publication of "the Papal apostasy" would corroborate the findings of Dr. Hiscox. The Catholic World, a monthly magazine of General Literature and Science in its March issue of 1894 attested:      The church took the pagan philosophy and made it the buckler of faith against the heathen. She took the pagan, Roman Pantheon, temple of all the gods, and made it sacred to all the martyrs; so it stands to this day. She took the pagan Sunday and made it the Christian Sunday. She took the pagan Easter and made it the feast we celebrate during this season.

Sunday and Easter day are, if we consider their derivation, much the same. In truth all Sundays are Sundays only because they are a weekly, partial recurrence of Easter day. The pagan Sunday was, in a manner, an unconscious preparation for Easter day. The sun was the foremost god of heathendom. ... There is, in truth, something royal, kingly about the sun, making it a fit emblem of Jesus, the Sun of Justice. Hence the church in these countries would seem to have said, "keep that old, pagan name. It shall remain consecrated, sanctified." And thus the pagan Sunday, dedicated to Balder [by the Scandinavians), became the Christian Sunday, sacred to Jesus. (p. 809)

Other cultures worshipped the sun under different names. For example, the Persian Sun-god was named Mithras. At first perceived as an angel of light or a genius which attended the Sun, the distinction soon disappeared, and they became one and the same god. Strabo, writing in the reign of Augustus Ceasar, stated of the Persians: "They also worship Helius (the Sun), whom they call Mithras." (Quoted in Sunday in Roman Paganism, p.136)

A Portuguese writer, A. Paiva, in his book, O Mitraismo, stated:      The first day of the week, Sunday, was consecrated to Mithra since times remote, as several authors affirm. Because the Sun was god, the Lord par excellence, Sunday came to be called the Lord's day, as later was done by Christianity (p.3).

Gilbert Murray in an essay in Christianity in the Light of Modern Knowledge, declared of the influence of Mirthaism:      It had so much acceptance that it was able to impose its own Sun-Day in place of the Sabbath, its Sun's birthday, 25th December, as the birthday of Jesus. ("Religion and Philosophy," pp.73-74).

Dr. Augustus Neander, known as "the prince of Church historians" further confirms the findings of Dr. Hiscox. In his book, The History of the Christian Religion and Church during the Three First Centuries, he wrote:      The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a Divine command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic Church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday. Perhaps, at the end of the second century a false application of this kind had begun to take place; for men appear at that time to have considered labouring on Sunday as a sin. ...

The Jewish Christian Churches, {i.e. Churches consisting of Jewish converts,} although they received the festival of Sunday, retained also that of the Sabbath; and from them the custom spread abroad in the Oriental Church, of distinguishing this day, as well as the Sunday, by not fasting and by praying in an erect posture; in the Western Churches, particularly the Roman, where opposition to Judaism was the prevailing tendency, this very opposition produced the custom of celebrating the Saturday in particular as a fast day. (Vol. I, p.186)

In the Foundation Library, we have a number of Roman Catholic Catechisms, while several suggest what has now become a re-write of history in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, two sustain in a specific way the findings of Dr. Hiscox. One, A Doctrinal Catechism, by Rev. Stephen Keenan was published first as the Edinburgh Edition in 1846 with the official Scottish approbations. It was released in the United States in 1876 with the imprimatur of the

p 3 -- then Archbishop of New York, Cardinal McCloskey. The catechism reads:
Q. Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?
A. Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her; - she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority. (p.174)

The other catechism, The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine by Peter Geiermann, C. SS. R., with the official Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat was published by B. Herder Book Co., of St. Louis, Missouri, in 1909. In 1910 it received the Apostolic Blessing of the reigning pontiff. By 1944 it had gone through sixteen editions. From this 16th edition, we note the following question and answer on page 50:
Q. Which is the Sabbath day?
A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.

Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.

During the last two decades of the 19th century, and into the early 20th century, there was considerable agitation over the Sabbath question as to which day was the Sabbath, and the origin of worship on Sunday. Spanning this time period an interesting series of statements and challenges came from T. Enright of the Redemptorist Fathers of the Catholic Church.

The Saga of Father Enright -- Enright's entry into the contention is found in The Industrial American, published in Harlan, Iowa, on December 19,1889. He wrote:      The Bible says: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," but the Catholic Church says: "No, keep the first day of the week," and the whole world bows in obedience.

A decade later he wrote on a small piece of note paper from Kansas City, Missouri, on June 16, 1899, the challenge:   "I hereby offer $1000, to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone, that I am bound, under pain of grievous sin, to keep Sunday holy," and signed his name.

By 1902, he had been transferred to the Mission Church of the Most Holy Redeemer in Detroit,
Michigan. From there, he wrote on April 26 to an unknown inquirer: (All letters and notes are handwritten)     

 Your note was forwarded to me here where I reside at present. I have never met Mr. Gamble, never read a line from any one of that name. The assertion that I have withdrawn the offer is utterly false: I still offer $1,000 to any one who can prove to me, from the Bible alone, that I am bound under pain of grievous sin to keep Sunday holy. We keep Sunday in obedience to the law of the Catholic Church. The Church made this law long after the Bible was written; hence the law is not in the Bible. The Catholic Church abolished, not only the Sabbath, but all the Jewish Festivals. Those who deny the authority of the Catholic Church and obey only the Bible must answer correctly the following: 1. Where does the Bible teach that we must keep Sunday holy; 2. Where does it teach that we must keep Sunday once a week and not once a year like Christmas; 3. Where does it teach that we must keep Easter always on the 1st Sunday after the full moon of the Vernal Equinox; 4. In Lev. 23 you find 7 holy days binding as strictly as the Sabbath. Where does the Bible say that they are abolished; 5. Protestants have rejected 7 books of the Old Test. Where does the Bible say they are not the word of God; 6. How can you prove without the infallible authority of the Cath (sic) Church that the writings of S. Luke and S. Mark are inspired. They were no way the 12 Apostles. Why should their writings be inspired any more that those of S. Clement (sic) S. Barnabas or S. Dionysius; 7. Read Numbers 5 & 6. Where does the Bible say that this clear law of God has been abolished; 8. Why do you follow the current date when you write a letter etc! Here also you obey the Catholic Church and not the Bible.

Who was this Mr. Gamble alluded to in this letter? Mr. S. W. Gamble was a Methodist writer who sought to establish Sunday as the Sabbath from linguistics. He interpreted the phrase - mian sabbatwn - in Matt. 28:1, and Mark 16:2 as meaning, "first of the (new) Sabbaths" rather than the "first (day) of the week" as in the KJV. It was his own Methodist brethren who challenged his linguistics. Dr. Wilbur Fletcher Steele in the Methodist Review of May, 1899 wrote:      This widely heralded Klondike discovery as to mian Sabbaton turns out to be only the glitter of fool's gold. It rests upon the profoundest ignoring or ignorance of a law of syntax fundamental to inflected speech, and especially of the usage and influence of the Aramaic tongue, which was

p 4 -- the vernacular of Jesus and His apostles. Must syntax die that the Sabbath [Sunday] may live?

Dr Steele concluded his review and exposure of Mr. Gamble's theory with these words:      As a vital or corroboratory part of any argument for the sanctifying of the Lord's day, this travestied exegesis instead of being a monumental discovery, is but a monumental blunder. Thereby our foes will have us in derision.

Tell it not in Gath,
Publish it not in the streets of Battle Creek,
Lest the daughters of the Sabbatarians rejoice,
Lest the daughters of the Saturdarians triumph.

We can only assume that the one to whom Father Enright addressed his letter in 1902 had called his attention to Mr. Gamble's theory. It also can be assumed that either Mr. Gamble or someone supporting that theory, when asked if he had collected the $1,000 from Enright, replied to cover his negative response, that the offer had been withdrawn.

By 1905, Enright had been transferred to the St. Alphonsus' (Rock) Church in St. Louis, Missouri. From there in June, he wrote a "Dear Friend" letter:      I have offered & still offer $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone, that I am bound, under grievous sin to keep Sunday holy.

It was the Catholic Church which made the law oblinging (sic) [obligating (?)] us to keep Sunday holy. The Church made this law long after the Bible was written. Hence said law is not in the Bible.

Christ our Lord empowered his church to make laws binding in conscience. He said to his apostles their lawful successors in the priesthood: "Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be binding in heaven" Matt. 16:19. Matt. 18:17. Luke 16:19 The Cath. Church abolished not only the Sabbath, but all the other Jewish festivals.

Pray & study. I shall be always glad to help you as long as you honestly seek the truth.

Respectfully T. Enright CSSR

{A copy of this handwritten letter on his official stationary may be obtained by sending a #10 self-addressed stamped envelope to "Enright Letter," P.O. Box 69, Ozone, AR 72854)

The Re-Write -- Moving from the position that the Church changed the day of worship commanded by God as evidence of her power to institute festivals of precept declaring that "had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her; - she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority" (Doctrinal Catechism, p.174); she began to assign in her catechetical literature a reason for the change other than just her sole authority. In the book, The Faith of Millions, written by Dr. John A. O'Brien of Notre Dame University in 1938, the following explanation is given:      The word "Sabbath" means rest, and is Saturday, the seventh day of the week.

Why then do Christians observe Sunday instead of the day mentioned in the Bible? In order to make clear to the Jews that they are no longer under the Old Law of Moses, with its requirements of circumcision, abstinence from certain meats and the scrupulous observance of the Jewish sacrifice on the Sabbath, but under the New Law of Christ, the infant Church changed the day to be kept holy from Saturday to Sunday. All the ceremonial laws of the Jews ended with the coming of Christ; but since their ceremonies and practices were enshrined in Jewish tradition for two thousand years, the early Christian Church thought that the most effective way to drive home to them the arrival of the New Law of Christ was to transfer the traditional day of public worship to the Sunday. (p.472)

Certain New Testament Scriptures begin to appear to justify the change, such as Acts 20:7, and I Corinthians 16:2. Neander, in his history of the Church in the first three centuries of the Christian era, cites these texts and the opposition to Judaism in his discussion of the change in the day of worship. He writes:      Opposition to Judaism introduced the particular festival of Sunday very early, indeed, into the place of the Sabbath; the first trace of this custom is in the Acts xx.7, where we find the Church assembled together on the first day of the week. (Neander, op.cit.)

The translator of Neander's history from the German, Henry John Rose, adds a footnote to the above. It explained:

p 5 -- The passage is not entirely convincing, because the impending departure of the apostle may have united the little Church in a brotherly parting meal, on occasion of which the apostle delivered his last address, although there was no particular celebration of a Sunday in the case. The passage from I Cor. xvi. 2, is still less convincing; for all may be quite completely explained, if we only consider the passage as referring to the beginning of the civil week. (ibid.)

In 1994, the new Catechism of the Catholic Church was released. The Ten Commandments are discussed as a subsection of "Life In Christ." Article 3 is concerning the Fourth Commandment, to the Catholics, the Third Commandment, inasmuch as they have deleted the Second. Section l is captioned - "The Sabbath." It sets forth the Sabbath in the Old Testament as   1) "The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord" (Ex. 31:15 RSV);   2) A memorial of Creation quoting Ex. 20:11;  3) "A memorial of Israel's liberation from bondage in Egypt quoting Deut 5:15;"   4) "A sign of an irrevocable covenant" entrusted to Israel to keep (Ex. 31:16);   5) A model for human action inasmuch as God "rested and was refreshed;" and   6) A day of Ihe Lord of mercies and a day to honor God. The section is concluded by quoting Mark 2:28 - "The Son of man is lord even of the sabbath." (par. 2168-2173)

Section II is captioned, "The Lord's Day." This section begins by quoting Ps. 118:24 - "This is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." However, there is no way that this can be construed as referring to Sunday. The first paragraph presents the resurrection as "the new creation" and thus to Christians the day of the resurrection, "the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's day" citing, not Scripture, but Justin Martyr as authority.

The second paragraph declares that Sunday is the "fulfilment of the Sabbath" and "its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath," and announces man's eternal rest In God." It closes again by citing, not Scripture, but Ignatius of Antioch. The final paragraph declares that "Sunday worship fulfils the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people." (par. 2174-2176)

Gone is any suggestion that the Church by the plenitude of its divine power altered the Sabbath.
Interestingly, however, there is no Scripture cited to justify the observance of Sunday. While the enlarged 2nd Edition of the Catechism released this year by the United States Catholic Conference
leaves unaltered this section, John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter, Dies Domini (May 31, 1998) sought to supply this lack. By analogy and philosophical reasoning he sought to establish a justification for Sunday observance. He stated:      In the Creator's plan, there is both a distinction and a close link between the order of creation and the order of salvation. This is emphasized in the Old Testament when it links the shabbat commandment not only with God's mysterious rest after the days of creation (cf. Ex. 20:8-11), but also with the salvation which He offers to Israel in the liberation from the slavery of Egypt (cf. Dt. 5:12-15). (par. 12)

Using this theme, the pope concluded, "The Sabbath precept, which in the first covenant prepares for the Sunday of the new and eternal covenant, is therefore rooted in the depths of God's plan" (par. 13). Then without warrant, he declares - "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." (par. 14).

In the final paragraph of Chapter I of the Letter, the pope seeks to establish the why of the change from the Sabbath to Sunday. He wrote:      Because the Third Commandment [Fourth] depends upon the remembrance of God's saving works and because ChristIans saw the definite time inaugurated by Christ as a new beginning, they made the first day after the Sabbath a festive day, for that was the day on which the Lord arose from the dead. The Paschal Mystery of Christ is the full revelation of the mystery of the world's origin, the climax of the history of salvation and the anticipation of the eschatological fulfilment of the world. ... In the light of this mystery, the meaning of the Old Testament precept concerning the Lord's Day is recovered, perfected and fully revealed in the glory of the Risen Christ (cf. 2 Cor 4:6). We move from the "Sabbath" to the "first day after the Sabbath," from the seventh to the first day: the dies Domini becomes the dies Christi! (par. 18).

{In the phrase, "the first day after the Sabbath" is an echo of Mr. Gamble's theory noted above. The Greek is not "the first day after the Sabbath" but rather, "the first day of the week" - a new week. Christ's work as Redeemer was "finished" on Friday (John 19:30); He

p 6 -- rested in the Tomb on the Sabbath, and arose to a new work (Heb. 10:19-21) on the first day.}

In Chapter II of the Encyclical, the Pope seeks to establish Sunday as the Dies Christi of the Early Church by citing not only the resurrection on the first day of the week, but also the descent of the Holy Spirit on that day. The final paragraph (#30) notes Sunday as "An indispensable day!" After seeking to establish in the previous paragraphs of the chapter the observance of Sunday from Apostolic times, he admits that not until the beginning of the 3rd century was it a general practice. He wrote:      An Eastern writer of the beginning of the third century recounts that as early as then the faithful in every region were keeping Sunday holy on a regular basis. What began as a spontaneous practice [no Divine command] later became a juridical sanctioned norm [by Church and State authority]. The Lord's Day has structured the history of the Church through two thousand years: how could we think that it will not continue to shape her future? ... Given its many meanings and aspects, and its link to the very foundations of the faith, the celebration of the Christian Sunday remains, an indispensable element of our Christian identity.

An Added Emphasis -- Into this re-write of History, a new emphasis has been added. In the earlier catechisms cited above, while the proper observance of Sunday included attendance at the Mass, this was not the central emphasis that is now being taken in the new Catholic catechism, nor the emphasis placed by John Paul II in his encyclical.

In the new Catechism, immediately following the paragraphs on the Sabbath and its change to Sunday are two sections on the Eucharist. From these note the following emphasis:      The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life (par. 2177).

The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice (par. 2181).

Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church (par. 2182).

In his Apostolic Letter, observe also the pope's emphasis:      (32) The Eucharist is not only a particular intense expression of the reality of the Church's life, but also in a sense its "foundation." The Eucharist feeds and forms the Church: "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread" (I Cor 10:17). Because of this vital link with the sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord, the mystery of the Church is savored, proclaimed, and lived supremely in the Eucharist.

(36) The Sunday assembly is the privileged place of unity: it is the setting for the celebration of the sacramentum unitatis which profoundly marks the Church as a people gathered "by" and "in" the unity of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

(42) ... The Mass in fact truly makes present the sacrifice of the Cross. Under the species of bread and wine, upon which has been invoked the outpouring of the Spirit who works with so absolutely unique power in the words of consecration. Christ offers himself to the Father in the same act of sacrifice by which He offered himself on the Cross. "In this divine sacrifice which is accomplished in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once and for all in a bloody manner on the altar of the Cross is contained and is offered in unbloody manner."

This whole emphasis of linking the Eucharist with Sunday is incongruous. It was the evening before the crucifixion that Christ instituted the Communion Service as a memorial of a greater Passover. It was the next day that He was Crucified. Then came the day of the Resurrection. They are not the same, nor linked together. This same incongruity is seen in the reverence paid by Rome to the crucifix - an emblem of a dead Christ. As stated by the angel at the sepulchre, "He is not here, but is risen" (Luke 24:6). We serve a risen Lord. There is a deeper factor involved than meets the eye.

You will observe that the Pope, in the last of the above references from his Apostolic Letter, declared that Christ is offered at each Mass as He was offered on the Cross, except in an "unbloody manner." He modified the historic position of the Church by indicating that this "unbloody" sacrifice was accomplished "with the absolutely unique power" of the working of the Spirit "in the words of consecration." However, the sainted Doctor of the Church, Alphonsus de Liguori, in his book, Dignity and Duties of the Priest, wrote:      St. Bernardine of Siena has written: "Holy Virgin, excuse me, for I speak not against thee: the Lord has raised the

p 7 -- priesthood above thee." The saint assigns the reason of the superiority of the priesthood over Mary; she conceived Jesus Christ only once; but by consecrating the Eucharist, the priest, as it were, conceives him as often as he wishes, so that if the person of the Redeemer had not as yet been in the world, the priest, by pronouncing the words of consecration, would produce this great person of a Man-God. ... Hence priests are called the parents of Jesus Christ: such is the title St. Bernard gives them, for they are the active cause by which he is made to exist really in the consecrated Host.

Thus the priest may, in a certain manner, be called the creator of his Creator, since by saying the words of consecration, he creates as it were, Jesus in the sacrament, by giving him a sacramental existence, and produces him as a victim to be offered to the Eternal Father. As in creating the world it was sufficient for God to have said, Let it be made, and it was created He spoke and they were made - so it is sufficient for the priest to say, "Hoc est corpus meum," and behold the bread is no longer bread, but the body of Jesus Christ. "The power of the priest," says St. Bernardine of Sienna, "is the power of the divine person; for the transubstantiation of the bread requires as much power as the creation of the world." And St. Augustine has written, "0 venerable sanctity of the hands! 0 happy function of the priest! He that created (if I may say so) gave me the power to create him; and he that created me without me is himself created by me!" (pp.32-33)

Here the line is clearly drawn between the Sabbath of the Lord our God, and the day substituted by Rome. The Sabbath stands as a memorial of the creative power of God, a day for us to enter into "His rest." Rome by manipulation of fact has chosen to emphasize the blasphemous celebration of the Mass on the day they have substituted for the Sabbath without Biblical precedent or authorization. Thus the one day - the Sabbath - stands for the Creative power of God, and Sunday stands as an emblem for the blasphemous presumption of man, that he can create even God.

This is clearly the contending issue which marks the difference between the Seal of God, and the Mark of the beast. Even as the number of the beast "is the number of a man" (Rev. 13:18) so also the mark is the mark of a man. Do we worship the true Christ, the risen Lord, or do we worship a piece of bread made by man, and declared by man to be that Christ? This is the true meaning of Antichrist. In the Greek, anti means, "in place of" rather than as in English, "against." The last warning of God before the close of all human probation given in Revelation concerns this very element of worship. The Third Angel declares:       If any man worship thd beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation. (Rev. 14:9-10)

In the Handbook for Today's Catholic, a section gives instruction on "How to Receive Communion." Comparethe warning in Revelation with how it may be received. Also note that it is the "door" into the Roman Church. The Handbook reads:      "Holy Communion may be received on the tongue or in the hand and may be given under the form of bread alone or under both species ...

"When the minister raises the eucharistic bread or wine, this is an invitation for the communicant to make an Act of Faith, to express his or her belief in the Eucharist, to manifest a need and desire for the Lord, to accept the good news of Jesus' paschal mystery.

"A clear meaningful 'Amen' is your response to this invitation. In this way you profess belief in the presence of Christ in the eucharistic bread and wine as well as in his Body, the Church." (p.42)

"But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and the table of devils." (I Cor. 10:20-21) --- (2000 Oct) --- End --- TOP

2000 Nov -- XXXIII -- 11(00) -- Confessions ... -- Editor's Preface -- Each year with the November issue we include a listing of publications - manuscripts, books and tracts - available from the Foundation. This means a reduction of one page so as to keep within the postal weight for overseas mailing. In previous years we have devoted the four pages to reports of what took place during the year ecumenically among the Protestant Churches.

This year, the issue comprises three articles:   1)   A report on a book copyrighted by the Ministerial Department of the General Conference and printed by the Pacific Press. The book, originally written as devotional essays by a Baptist Minister and his wife based on their tour to Mt. Sinai, has been edited and re-paged from the original edition in 1983. It is what was not edited that is so shocking!   2)   For the past several decades at the General Conference sessions, various observers have been introduced to the delegates by B. B. Beach, Adventist Ecumenist. This session was no exception but revealed a new and more subtle approach to church union.   3)   The final article is an abridgment of a homily by the Pope. This will no doubt be a surprise to most of our readers. But the Pope in this homily which preceded Mass in the Garden of the Olives outside of the monastic enclosure of St. Catherine's Monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai, placed himself affirmatively for the Ten Commandments declaring them to be "the Law of life and freedom!"

In a final comment, I suggest consideration of the difference between the close of this century, and the previous century. Too many with their eyes on a "guide" of things as they would have been had the end come then, will be unable to adjust to the enemy's new approach now one hundred years later.


p 2 -- "Confessions . . ." -- The issue of Ministry for January 1993 (p.32) announced the appointment of Elder James A. Cress to the responsibility of Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association. (He was re-elected at this session in Toronto) He had served previously as the associate ministerial secretary of the Lake Union, then ministerial secretary in the Ohio Conference followed by six years in the Mid-American Union. When elected to the General Conference post by the 1992 Annual Council, he was serving as pastor of the Marietta, Georgia Church.

If while pastor of the Church in Georgia, he followed the policy advocated by the Ministerial Association, he became active In the Ministerial Alliances of the metropolitan Churches. Two happenings in his leadership of the Ministerial Association of the General Conference reflect the possibility of such contacts. The pre-Easter services a year ago televised from the Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University included a non-Adventist pastor from the Atlanta, Georgia area, if my memory serves me accurately. The second item growing out of these assumed contacts while pastoring in the Atlanta area is the printing of a book by the Pacific Press with the copyright held by the General Conference Ministerial Association.

This book is titled - Confessions of a Nomad. It was frst published in 1983 by Peachtree Publishers of Atlanta, Georgia. In obtaining the copyright to re-publish the book, the Ministerial Association also obtained the right to edit and re-page the new publication as stated on the copyright page. The original dedication remained - "To the congregation of the Wieuca Road Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia - our fellow travellers through. the deserts and oases of life." Written by the pastor and his wife, Carolyn and William Self, it traces their tour through the Sinai peninsula and the spiritual application they perceived "for modern Christians crossing the desert of life." A major section of this devotional book covers the Ten Commandments, one by one. It is in this section that the trouble begins, and where editing was not done, not even an explanatory note! It stands as written:      The early Christians were obsessed with the fact that they came out of a Jewish background. Yet God did something new and real for them in the Easter experience, so they would have the Sabbath, and so they would gather together as the Christian sect on Sunday morning and celebrate the resurrection.

But there is a difference between the Sabbath and Sunday. You work until the Sabbath, and then you rest. Sunday is the day that gives you strength to work the six days in front of you. The Sabbath is the end of the week; Sunday is the beginning. The Sabbath is from sundown to sun-down, but Sunday is from midnight to midnight. The Sabbath is a day of rest, but Sunday is a day of worship. The Sabbath has a penalty to it, if you break it; Sunday has no penalty, except that you short-change yourself.

The Christian draws his strength from Sunday. It's a time to let God talk to the inner man. It's a time when we make real that practice which says in effect, "Be still and know that I am God." The Christians took the value of the Hebrew Sabbath and added to it the great joy of the Christian resurrection. We have a marriage of the two in the Christian community.

The commandment said, "Remember the Sabbath Day." So we come together as a body of Christ and remember what God has done. It's a sacrament. Worship and Bible study make Sunday a day when the soul is rekindled, as well as a day when the body is rested (p.118).

In the second chapter on the Fourth Commandment, the author wrote:      Thoreau said if you want to destroy the Christian faith, first take away Sunday. He was right; it is a holy day. For those who know Jesus Christ as Savior, it cannot be a holiday. For those of you who have gathered around the cross and have been saved and washed clean by His blood, it's a sacrilege to do anything else on that day exept to celebrate what God has done.

If we abuse Sunday, we're going to destroy something beautiful that God has given. No Sunday means no church; no church means no worship; no worship means no religion; no religion means no morality; no morality means no society; no society means no government; no government mean anarchy. That's the choice before us.

(Here is the logic to justify Sunday laws. Here is the thinking to enforce Sunday worship. Yes, and copyrighted and published by an arm of the General Conference)
So, what do we do with the day? Do you sit around and read the Bible all day long? That might not be a bad idea for some of us. There are always those people who say, "I

p 3 -- can worship God out on the golf course." Golf is a great sport, but it isn't worship! Those people who want to get out into God's great outdoors are God's great blue-domers. They're going to worship under the blue dome. But that isn't worship; it's recreation. Worship is when you're with the body of Christ (pp.120-121).

Echoes of this thinking are to be found in the Papal Encyclical, Dies Domini, and associated with the celebration of the Eucharist, a sacrament. This book published by a department of the General Conference declares Sunday to be "a sacrament." Rome makes its chief sacrament an obligation to be celebrated on Sunday. The gulf between the two narrows.

With the publishing of Confessions of a Nomad - another book of "a new order" - it is decision time within the Church for those who wish "to hold fast the first principles of (their) denominated faith" (Special Testimonies, Series B, #7, p.57). One of those principles is the Sabbath.

(Those desiring photocopies of the above quoted pages from Confessions of a Nomad, may send a self-addressed stamped #10 envelope to "Confessions," P. 0. Box 69, Ozone, AR 72854)

The Parade of the "Fallen" -- At the beginning of the Ninth Business Meeting, July 4, Dr. B. B. Beach, Adventist Ecumenist Emeritus began his introduction of "observers" from the "Fallen" Churches with these words:      One of the happy traditions of General Conference sessions in recent decades has been to have honored guests and observers from other churches in our midst. ... We would like to welcome, first of all, Pastor Jean Arnold de Clermont, the president of the French Protestant Federation. And we also have in our midst Monsignor John A. Radano, an old friend with whom we've been in contact for many years, who attended the session in Utrecht five years ago, representing the Roman Catholic Church (GC Bulletin, #8, p.25).

It is true that this ecumenical embrace at General Conference sessions is only of "recent decades." It is very revealing that the Catholic monsignor now has represented the Roman Church at two sessions, and is one with whom we've been in contact for many years. How inclusive is the "we"? Do we now have revealed in an off-handed way the line of communication between the General Conference and the Vatican? Does this reveal the reason for some actions of the Church, which have been attributed to "Jesuit" infiltration when in reality it was direct exchange with "a friend of many years" who has officially represented Rome?

Stop for a moment and perceive what the reaction would have been had a Roman Catholic monsignor presented himself as a "representative" of Rome at such General Conference sessions as 1888, 1901, 1903. What report would he have carried back to Rome had he heard P. T. Magan, make the comparison between the new proposed Constitution, and the Papacy? (1903 GC Bulletin, p.150).

The "parade" continued. Next to be introduced was Dr. Donna Geernaert of the WCC Faith and Order Plenary Commission. She was hailed as "one of the top theologians of the world." It must be kept in mind that a Seventh-day Adventist theologian sits on the Faith and Order Commission, and has since 1967. Beach next introduced a representative of the Lutheran World Federation, in the person of the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada, Telmor Sartison. In the introduction of Sartison, Beach recalled that for a number of years the Adventist Church and the Lutheran World Federation have had conversations together with a resulting book being published.

Sartison brought a threefold greeting: first his own personal greeting "as a brother in Christ;" secondly, from the "sisters and brothers in Christ in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada" and third from the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Fedration, Ishmael Noco, and "your sisters and brothers in Christ in that international body, the Lutheran World Federation." It will be remembered that Dr. Noco led out in the dialogue over Justification by Faith between the Lutheran World Federation and Cardinal Cassidy of the Roman Church. The emphasis on "sisters and brothers in Christ" can be understood by his remarks which followed. He held in his hand a greeting card which read - "A willingness to take risk and trust in God and in each other continues to bring meaning and joy to the journey of our friendship in Christ." Then he commented:

p 4 -- I give you these words today. Why? Because I believe that the Holy Spirit of God is struggling with the whole church, trying to bring us not into some gigantic union, but into an understanding and in mission together in the world. You are on your journey. We are on ours. Our willingness to take risks and trust in God and in each other will continue to bring meaning and joy to the journey of friendship and faith in Christ Jesus. May we be one in spirit, even as we are already one in Christ.

Little have we sensed the subtlety and current thrust of the ecumenical movement as the whole world is being gathered together for the battle of the great day of God Almighty. My father was a Lutheran; my mother was a Baptist, and into the faith she professed I, too, was baptized. Then there came to us the challenge of the Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14. One of those angel messages declared - "Babylon is fallen, is fallen" (v.8). Was this wrongly interpreted to us, when we, Baptist, Lutheran, were all one "in Christ Jesus" anyway? Or, was the trumpet then giving a "certain sound," and it has now become "uncertain"?

During the session in a discussion of Church Manual changes, the Baptismal Commitment was questioned on one point. A delegate moved that the 13th Commitment which reads - "I accept and believe that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the remnant church of Bible prophecy..." - be changed to read - "I accept and believe that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is part of the remnant church of Bible Prophecy." (GC Bulletin, #6, p.26) A lively discussion evidently followed, because applause was accorded speakers who opposed this revision bringing a reprimand from the chairman, Calvin B. Rock, denouncing this expression of approval as "not really statesmanlike." The proposed change was defeated.

This position, that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a part of the remnant of Bible Prophecy, was the position taken in the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56. (See Questions on Doctrine, pp. 186-196). This compromise in action is what has produced in recent decades at the General Conference Sessions, the Parade of the "Fallen." We either accept the fact that "in a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchman and lightbearers," and that with this commission "we have been given a work of the most solemn import, - the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages" (9T:19); or we have not. Over these past decades, B. B. Beach has flaunted this solemn work, and led in open revolt against the second Angel's Message, even to the extent of giving a gold medallion, symbolizing the Church, into the hands of the Pope. Now he reveals at this session that there has been "contact for many years" with a representative of the Papacy. This session again reveals a dichotomy between profession and practice.

"Ten Commandments Are the Future of the human Family" -- [Excerpts taken from a homily preached by Pope John Paul II during Mass on the Jubilee Pilgrimage to Mt. Sinai February 26, 2000]

Today, with great joy and deep emotion, the Bishop of Rome is a pilgrim to Mt. Sinai, drawn by this holy mountain that rises like a soaring monument to what God revealed here. Here He revealed His holy name! Here He gave His Law, the Ten Commandments of the Covenant! ...

God shows himself in mysterious ways - - as the fire that does not consume - according to a logic that defies all that we know and expect. He is a God who is at once close at hand and far away; He is in the world but not of it. He is the God who comes to meet us, but who will not be possessed. He is "I AM WHO I AM - the name which is no name! I AM WHO I AM: the divine abyss in which essence and existence are one! The God who is Being itself ! Before such a mystery, how can we fail to "take off our shoes" as He commands, and adore Him on this holy ground?

Here on Mount Sinai, the truth of "who God is" became the foundation and guarantee of the Covenant. Moses enters "the luminous darkness, and there he is given the Law "written with the finger of God. But what is this Law? It is the Law of life and freedom!...

This same God seals His love by making the Covenant that He will never renounce. If the people

p 5 -- obey His Law, they will know freedom forever. The Exodus and the Covenant are not just events of the past; they are forever the destiny of all God's people!

The Ten Commandments are not an arbitrary imposition of a tyrannical Lord. They were written in stone; but before that, they were written on the human heart as the universal moral law, valid in every time and place. Today as always, the Ten Words of the Law provide the only true basis for the lives of individuals, societies and nations. Today as always, they are the only future of the human family. They save man from the destructive force of egotism, hatred and falsehood...

To keep the Ten Commandments is to be faithful to God, but it is also to be faithful to ourselves, to our true nature and our deepest aspirations. The wind that still blows from Sinai ... carries an insistent invitation to dialogue between the followers of the great monotheistic religions in their service of the human family. It suggests that in God we can find the point of encounter: in God the All Powerful and All Merciful, Creator of the universe and Lord of history, who at the end of our earthly existence will judge us with perfect justice. ...

Sinai finds its fulfilment on another mountain, the mountain of the Transfiguration, where Jesus appears to His apostles shining with the glory of God. Moses and Elijah stand with Him to testify that the fullness of God's revelation is found in the glorified Christ.

On the mountain of the Transfiguration, God speaks from the cloud, as He had done at Sinai. But now He says:   "This is my beloved Son; listen to him" (Mk. 9:7). He commands us to listen to His Son, because no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" (Matt. 11:27). And so we learn that the true name of God is FATHER! The name that is beyond all other names: Abba! (cf. Gal. 4:6). And in Jesus we learn that our true name is SON, DAUGHTER! We learn that the God of the Exodus and the Covenant sets His people free because they are His sons and daughters, created not for slavery but for "the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21).

So when St. Paul writes that we "have died to the law through the body of Christ" (Rom. 7:4), he does not mean that the Law of Sinai is past. He means that the Ten Commandments now make themselves heard through the voice of the Beloved Son. The person delivered by Jesus Christ into true freedom is aware of being not bound externally by a multitude of prescriptions, but internally by the love that has taken hold in the deepest recesses of his heart. The Ten Commandments are the law of freedom: not the freedom to follow our blind passions, but the freedom to love, even when to do so is a burden. It is not an impersonal law that we obey; what is required is loving surrender to the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom. 6:14; Gal. 5:18). In revealing himself on the mountain and giving His Law, God revealed man to man himself. Sinai stands at the very heart of the truth about man and his destiny. (The Pope Speaks, Vol.45, #5, pp.280-282)

Comment: The playing field as this century closes is very different than it was at the close of the previous century. This needs to be carefully noted and understood. While principles do not change, details do. Consider the impact in the final crisis of a religious world upholding the Ten Commandments instead of saying they were nailed to the Cross. Not only is the Pope setting forth the Ten Commandments as indicated in his above homily, but the "Religious Right" is doing likewise. A counterfeit, truth mingled with error, will ever remain, often disguised with Biblical support quotations. Compare the above presentation by the Pope with his Encyclical, Dies Domini. Mingling of truth and error is the hallmark of Satan, review Genesis 3, while truth, pure and unadulterated, is the hallmark of a saint (Rev. 14:12). --- (2000 Nov) --- End --- TOP

2000 Dec -- XXXIII - 12(00) -- The Sign of the End Of Time-- Editor's Preface-- This is the last issue of this Millennium. This also completes thirty three years of Continuous publication. We began our publication within the year of the fulfillment of the prophecy that Jesus gave concerning Jerusalem, marking the end of the probationary times of the nations. It is, therefore, appropriate that we, in this year's final issue, review the doctrinal teaching on Luke 21:24 as it has appeared in the published literature of the Church. We begin with Edson White's comment in his book, The Coming King, and conclude with the analysis of Dr. Jean Zurcher in his book, Christ of the Revelation. It should be of special concern for all who are willing to carefully study the prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21, that in connection with this prophecy relative to Jerusalem is the solemn pronouncement of Jesus:       Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away" (vers 32-33).

In the November issue we called attention to the publication, Confessions of a Nomad, which had been copyrighted by the Ministerial Association of the General Conference. We also called attention to the book's categorizing of the Sabbath "as a day of rest," but Sunday "as a day of worship." In this issue, we note developments which followed the revealing of this information, and since it is still on-going, there will be a further follow-up in the first issue for the year 2001.

While we were looking ahead toward next year, we noted another publication which we will be analyzing seeking to separate the chaff from the wheat. While one ought not to have to so do, the issues that are raised in Dr. George R. Knight's new book require a critique in depth.


p 2 -- The SIGN of the End of Time -- In August of this year a publication of questionable reliability issued its own interpretation on a prophecy of Jesus, ignoring completely what Jesus Himself had said. The defiant dictum read - "The Jews will not have regained control of Jerusalem until they have supreme control over the Temple Mount." This is a devious and deceptive statement. The State of Israel does have control of the temple mount, but Muslims have jurisdiction over their religious rites on the Temple mount. The play is on the word, "supreme." This dictum is a very obvious attempt to blunt the force of the fulfilment of Jesus' prophecy as stated in Luke 21:24.

Jesus Himself had stood on the Temple mount a few hours prior to the giving of His eschatological discourse as recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. There, in confrontation with the scribes and Pharisees, He had declared, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Matt. 24:38). Then "He went out, and departed from the temple" (24:1). No longer was the temple, His "Father's house." It was removed from further consideration. But not so the city. He warned the disciples:      When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. (Luke 21:20)

What if the early Christians who dwelt in Jerusalem at the time of its siege in AD 66 had reasoned that it was the "temple mount" that was to be surrounded, not just the city encompassed. Would they have left the city when the Roman armies withdrew? No, they believed Jesus meant what He said, and at the first opportunity fled the city. Though no longer the city of God, and the people of Israel no longer the people of God, Jerusalem served as a sign in the fulfilment of prophecy. It is still a sign and will continue to be so until "Michael shall stand up." (See Dan. 11:45;12:1) In the same Biblical paragraph in which Jesus gave the sign by which the Christians of Jerusalem would know to flee the city, He also stated that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Ver. 24).

In this verse (24) and the one following (25), the word, ta eqnh is used four times. Twice it is translated "nations" and twice "Gentiles." This word with the article is used for the Hebrew word, hagoyim, the pagan nations apart from Israel. (See Thayer, p. 168, #4 under eqnoV) Consistency of translation would dictate that in each instance of its use in Luke 21:24, 25, it should be translated, "the nations." In other words,the second designation of Jerusalem as a sign, would involve the probation of the nations as corporate bodies.

This sign is unique and was given by Jesus to answer a specific part of the question asked by the disciples. The disciples were concerned about the destruction of the temple, and had asked, "When shall these things be?" (Matt. 24:3). But they, thinking that such an event would involve the end of the world, asked further - "What shall be the sign (singular) of thy coming and of the end of the world?" They asked not what would be the signs of the time of the end, but the sign of the end of time. Thus the answer of Jesus, in which Jerusalem is given as a sign marking both the hour for the destruction of Jerusalem, "the days of vengeance" (Luke 21:22), and "the (probationary) (kairoV not cronoV is used) times of the nations" (ver. 24), is of major importance. In its first use, the sign would be the surrounding of the city by alien armies, and its second use as a sign would be the city's restoration once again to the control of the nation of Israel. The first was fulfilled in AD 66, and the second in 1967 and finalized in 1980.

Some History of the Interpretation of Luke 21:24 -- In 1898, James Edson White published The Coming King . It went through several editions. It was printed in the United States by the Review & Herald Publishing Association, and in Australia by the Echo Publishing Company. In the first edition and the 1900 edition, the chapter on the "Destruction of Jerusalem" closed with the following paragraph:      We also read that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Luke 21:24. Jerusalem has never again come into the possession of the Jews, and will not until "the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." This will be when the work of the gospel is finished. (p. 98)

p 3 -- When the Australian edition was printed in 1904, this paragraph was enlarged and modified. The last sentence was omitted, and previous sentence was made to read:      Jerusalem has never again come into the possession of the Jews, but when the "times of the Gentiles" are fulfilled, and Christ comes to gather the faithful of all ages, then all who are Israelites indeed, all the household of faith, will have a home in that city of which the old Jerusalem was but a type, - the city for which Abraham looked, whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:10. (p.98)

When an enlarged edition was published by the Review & Herald in 1906, the final paragraph of the chapter was abbreviated to state:      We also read that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Luke 21:24. This will be when the work of the gospel is finished. (p.109)

Whether the above interpretation of Luke 21:24 is James Edson White's is open to question. Inserted in the 1906 edition following the "Introduction" is this brief sentence:   "The author gratefully acknowledges contributions on special subjects treated in this book, from the pens of J. O. Corliss, M. E. Kellogg, and G. C. Tenny." (p. viii) Does this apply to all previous editions as well as to the 1906 edition?

During the time of the publication of the various editions of Edson White's book, his mother wrote in a letter to Dr. J. H. Kellogg the following insight:      In the twenty-first chapter of Luke, Christ foretold what was to come upon Jerusalem; with it He connected the scenes which were to take place in the history of the world just prior to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Letter 20,1901)

Two factors need to be carefully considered from this statement:  1)  Luke 21 is singled out from the other two parallel chapters of Matthew 24 and Mark 13 in the Synoptic Gospels. It is Luke alone who recorded Jesus' prophecy - "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the nations until the times of the nations be fulfilled."  2)  It was what "was to come upon Jerusalem," not the Temple Mount, which was connected to the final scenes "just prior to the coming of the Son of man."
While this statement was written in 1901, it was not until 1946 that this particular section of the letter to Dr. Kellogg became available to the Church in the compilation, Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp.23-25. By this time the publications coming from the Church's presses were negating any possibility of a State of Israel which would thus preclude the possibility of Jerusalem coming under Israeli control.

In 1944, the Voice of Prophecy published for their Book of the Month offer, Palestine in Prophecy by J. C. Stevens. He concluded his treatise with this paragraph:      The apostle Paul speaks of old Jerusalem as being "in bondage with her children." Galatians 4:25. Had the Jews been faithful, Jerusalem would have been enlarged and beautified to become the center of the whole earth, beautiful for situation. But throughout the generations the fall of that city in AD 70, Jerusalem has been "a burdensome stone" and "a cup of trembling unto all the people" (Zechariah 12:2, 3); and it will be so to the end of time. Palestine and Jerusalem do not have a bright future in this present world, and those who are holding out the hope of national restoration for the Jews are following a theological wilI-o'-the-wisp. (p.95)

In 1947, another book appeared, The Jews and Palestine. It was published by the Pacific Press and authored by Roy F. Cottrell. In a chapter on "Modern Zionism," the author after quoting Jeremiah 19:10,11 - "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that it cannot be made whole again" - wrote:      The God of heaven who overthrew the city and nation and who because of their apostasy dispersed the inhabitants to the ends of the earth, forever settles the question of a complete return and restitution in old Canaan by asserting that it "cannot be." (p.61).

Yet within a year, the State of Israel became a fact. This should teach the Church and its writers on prophecy to be very cautious, recognizng that some positions held may be faulty, and need to be carefully restudied. "God and heaven alone are infallible."

The Church at the first opportunity rectified its position and returned in principle to the understanding suggested by Edson White in 1898. In 1952 a Bible Conference was held in the Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church in Takoma Park, Maryland. Elder Arthur S. Maxwell, Editor of the Signs of the Times, was assigned the topic, "The Imminence of Christ's

p 4 -- - Second Coming." One section of his presentation was devoted to "Areas of Unfulfilled Prophecy." He cited three, one of which was "Developments in Palestine." He noted that the "recent dramatic restoration of the nation of Israel" in 1948 has once more focused the attention of the world on Palestine. Then he stated:      There is one prophecy concerning Palestine that we should all be watching with special care. Said Jesus, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

Citing "the amazing prowess of the Israeli troops" in every other part of Palestine, he noted that they "failed to take the most dazzling objective of all." Jerusalem remained in Arab hands. Then he asked the question - "What could be the reason?" His answer -"Only that the times of the Gentles are not yet fulfilled." Noting God's dealings in times past that Israel was not permitted to enter Palestine because "the iniquity of the Amorites" was "not yet full," he stated:      It may well be that the same principle applies today, on a wider scale. If so, then Jerusalem is to remain trodden down by the Gentiles till the probationary time of all Gentiles has run out. If this be correct, how much hinges upon the fate of this ancient city and the power that occupies it! (Our Firm Foundation, Vol.2, pp.230-231)

One means used in Adventist evangelistic outreach has been Bible Correspondence courses. Among them was one called the "20th Century Bible Course." Lesson 5 of this course - "Time Running Out" - cited the prophecy of Luke 21. Question #2 asked - "V/hat sign did Jesus give that would indicate when the destruction of the city was at hand?" The text given for the answer was Luke 21:20. Question #3 continued - "How long did Christ say that Jerusalem would be trodden down?" The answer, "verse 24" was followed by this note:      Old Jerusalem and the temple site has been occupied largely by the Gentile nations until 1967 when the Jews took possession of it in a "lightening victory." This portion of Christ's prophecy was fulfilled in our day!

In reflection it would seem that providentially, the Adult Sabbath School Lessons for the second quarter of 1980 were devoted to "The Witness of Jesus." The month following the conclusion of these lessons, the Knesset of Israel on July 30, voted that "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capitol of Israel," thus culminating the fulfilment of the prophecy of Jesus. The author of these lessons, Dr. Jean Zurcher, wrote as a guide to accompany them the book, Christ of the Revelation. In it he stated, noting Christ's prophetic discourse:      We shall not linger long over the numerous signs given by Jesus in this discourse. Only one will occupy our attention, the one that deals especially with time. Even in our day it constitutes a critical point in the political world:Jerusalem. In fact, Jerusalem is both the beginning and the culmination of Jesus' prophecy. ... So having predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews "into all nations," Jesus declared, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Emphasis his)...

This prophecy of Jesus was a sign for the Christian of the Apostolic Church, who lived at the beginning of the times of the Gentiles, and it remains a sign for us who live at the end of the times of the Gentiles. Again we must know how to discern its meaning.

It is not a matter of seeing in the return of the Jews to Palestine and in the Israeli conquest of Jerusalem a sign of the approaching conversion of the Jews, as so many Christians think. Nothing in Jesus' prophecy allows such an interpretation. However, if we cannot see that Jerusalem is an exceptional sign of the times, then might we not be placing ourselves in the same position as the religious leaders who knew how to "discern the face of the sky" but could not discern the obvious "signs of the times"?

As I understand the Biblical language, the times of the Gentiles is the period set aside by God for the evangelization of the heathen nations. It is not the time needed for them to be converted to Christianity, as some think but for them to hear the gospel. It is in this sense that Jesus said, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14).

I believe that the times of the Gentiles began in AD 34, when the prophetic seventy weeks that God set aside for the people of Israel ended. ... 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 have occupied [controlled] Jerusalem means, therefore, that we are now living at the end of "the times of the Gentiles."

Jerusalem here constitutes the last sign of the times by which the Lord shows us that the history of this world is coming to its climax and that the restoration of all things is at hand. (pp.71-72).

p 5 -- What is the Fulfilled Prophecy of Jesus Saying? -- The very least that this fulfilled prophecy of Jesus is saying is that God is no longer restraining the power of Satan in his control of the nations of earth. Even though Satan declared that he possessed such power and could delegate it to whomever he chose (Luke 4:6), the book of Daniel draws the curtain aside and reveals that God "ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will" (Dan. 4:17). When kings and rulers resisted His purposes, Michael, to whom all earthly authority is given (I Cor. 15:27), comes Himself to influence the outcome of human events (Dan. 10:13). That time is now past, and God has stepped aside and Satan is working his will in the nations of earth.

We have not been left in doubt as to what Satan is seeking to accomplish. In the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the picture is drawn. "The spirits of devils go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 16:14). But you respond, that is the sixth plague after the close of probation. No, it is the cause for the sixth plague, not the plague. Consider the first plague: a "grievous sore" on those who had received the mark of the beast (16:2). Was not the mark of the beast received prior to the close of probation? Just so, the sixth plague. Verse 12 describes the plague - the drying up of the great river Euphrates, and verses 13-14 give the cause in probationary time.

Note the use of this text in The Great Controversy, pp.561-62. Observe the context - "the last remant of time."

The location of this gathering is given as a place in the Hebrew tongue, called "Har-Magedon" (16:16 ARV). This transliterates back into the Hebrew as Har-Mo'ed - Mount of the Congregation. Here Satan will seek to realize his objective - "I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north," or Jerusalem (Isa. 14:13; Ps. 48:2).

Even as the sanctuary "was the key which un-locked the mystery of the disappointment" in 1844 (See, Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, p. 268), so also it gives a further understanding as to the significance of Jesus' prophecy as recorded in Luke 21:24. During the daily ministration, confession of sin, both individual and corporate was made in the court of the sanctuary. The distinct difference between these two ceremonies was where the blood of confession was placed. For the individual, the blood of his sacrifice was placed upon the horns of the Brazen Altar of the Court, while for a corporate sin, the blood of the sacrifice was placed on the horns of the Golden Altar of Incense in the Holy Place. (See Leviticus 4). In the yearly service on the Day of Atonement, the ministration of the High Priest involved all three sections of the sanctuary. He moved from the Most Holy to the Holy, and then to the Court to complete the atonement at the Brazen Altar where the individual confessions were recorded. (See Leviticus 16). Thus the prophecy of Jesus would indicate in its fulfilment that the corporate bodies of earth have been weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting. The time of judgment has passed to the very last act of the Final Atonement - the cleansing of the living.

What Warning Has God Given? -- When God told Moses, the nature of the Coming One, that He would be a Prophet raised up in the midst of the Children of Israel like unto himself, and that He would put words into His mouth, He also sounded a warning:      And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deut. 18:19)

It was that Prophet who declared that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the nations until the times of the nations be fulfilled."

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.
(Luke 21:34-36)

p 6 -- Follow-up: Confessions of a Nomad -- After receiving information from a friend in Florida as to the existence of this book, I immediately obtained a copy from the ABC serving this area. The cover and copyright pages were reproduced along with content pages 118-121 and sent to various readers of WWN including Eugene Lincoln, Editor Emeritus of The Sabbath Sentinel, official paper of the Bible Sabbath Association. His reaction is best described in a letter he sent to Elder James Cress Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association. He wrote - "When a friend sent me this, I was shocked. Are we planning to follow the steps of the Worldwide Church of God under their new leadership and to observe Sunday, or both days? As editor of The Sabbath Sentinel from 1960 to 1985, I am amazed and troubled that Seventh-day Adventists published this book. If the boat is going in this direction, please slow it down so many of us can jump off before it hits this doctrinal iceberg!" (Letter dated August 10, 2000).

Not hearing from Elder Cress, he found also that his requests for information from other "church officials and pastors" went unanswered. While his local. pastor was shocked at first approach, he then became "reluctant to discuss it." On September 4, he addressed a second letter to Elder Cress. Suggesting, that since he is perhaps too busy to reply in detail, he could answer four possibilities by simply checking which one(s) applied, and enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope for his response. The possibilities suggested as to why the book had been published by the Association were:

(   ) The book was published without knowledge of the Ministerial Association and does not have our approval, despite the Ministerial Association's being listed as the publisher.

(    ) Plans are being formulated to make Sunday a day of worship by SDAs. This will be gradual, and not a sudden, transition.

(    ) The book was published to become a jumping board for further discussion, without implied approval of its contents.

(    ) Our church leaders have no plans to drop the seventh-day Sabbath from its list of essential beliefs.

On August 31, 2000, Elder Cress dictated a response to Brother Lincoln's first letter, but apparently due to the Labor Day weekend shut down of the Postal Service, he did not receive it until his second letter had been posted to Elder Cress. When Elder Cress did receive the second letter, he telephoned, and indicated he believed his reply covered the above four positions raised in Brother Lincoln's second letter. This has been questioned by several who have read his letter.

On this letter he placed a restriction which reads:      "Finally, you have my permission to quote from this response ONLY if you quote its entirety." The question naturally follows - "Why?"

In the letter it is indicated that the Ministerial Association has reprinteci four other books by the same authors because they could no longer obtain them from the original publishers. This is true, and each have been copyrighted by the Ministerial Association. They are as follows listed in the order of publication by the Selts along with the original publisher:

Survival Kit for the Stranded (1975) by Broadman Press
Learning to Pray (1978) by Word, Inc.
Survial Kit for Marriage (1981) by Broadman Press
Before I Thee Wed (1 989) by Fleming H. Revell company

Since we have not had time to read any of these books since obtaining them, we cannot pass judgment on their contents. We did observe in a quick scanning that the book, Survival Kit for Marriage, did contain Ten Commandments for a Christian Home. These varied somewhat from the list to be found in Ministry of Healing, but could be attributed to a difference of objective in writing.

Cress also indicated that denominational funds did not pay for the publishing of these books, but rather Self's purchase of them for the most part covered the cost. Where the difference came from was not revealed. In his first letter to Lincoln he declared that the book, Confessions of a Nomad, would not be withdrawn as some have suggested. Then in a another letter dated September 18, 2000, with no restrictions attached, he wrote, "I want you to know that last week the Ministerial Association withdrew this book from distribution." Further, the Association is offering a "full refund to anyone who has purchased the book." I mentioned this fact to a brother in California who had obtained a copy. His response was, "Does Cress think we are fools to

p 7 -- surrender this ongoing evidence of apostasy in high places?"

In the first letter - with its restrictions - Cress challenged Brother Lincoln to ask the individual who sent him the original photocopies from the book, The Confessions of a Nomad, to write to him. This I did in a letter dated September 10, and which we will discuss in the "Follow up" in the first issue of WWN for the year 2001. (To be continued) [If time permits, we hope to make available to our readers all the documents involved in this exchange, printing in full the entire letter which its restriction required]

2001 Preview -- This year there came from the Review & Herald Publishing Association a second book by Dr. George Knight in his Adventist Heritage Series, titled, A Search for Identity; The Development of Seventh-day Adventists Beliefs. I have read it through once and will do so again as we critique it in a series of articles as we begin the 2001 issues of WWN. Back in 1988, Knight released a book, From 1888 to Apostasy, which is not listed among his publications in this new book. We critiqued it at the time in a series of four articles captioned, "Knight Descends on Jones." In reading this current book, we sensed some of the same manipulating of fact to fit an agenda as we had noted in the 1988 publication.

For example, Knight begins his current book with this paragraph:       Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to agree to the denomination's "27 Fundamental Beliefs."

This is true, but is the "agenda" to which Knight is trying to arrive valid, or is it faulty and thus deceptive? Is the word "most" an accurate assessment, or should he have written, "All." Is his explanation as to why he thinks this is true valid, or is his premise wrongly applied? Keep in mind that Knight is seeking to give the history of the development of Adventist Beliefs to the time of the 27 Fundamentals voted at Dallas in 1980.

Then becoming specific on which beliefs of the 27 he has in mind, Knight cites the statements on the Godhead. This becomes the basis for the substance of his first chapter, "The Dynamic Nature of 'Present Truth."' While one can question his analysis of the illustration chosen, one cannot question that truth is dynamic in nature. BUT, when does a perceived advancement of truth constitute apostasy? These are questions raised by Knight's book, and which must be clearly analyzed.

Actually, this book, is a "fruit" from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; or it could be classified as one of the "books of a new order" which would mark the "omega" of apostasy.

"The Narrow Way"
The Truth is an advancing truth,
and we must walk in the increasing light.
(R & H, March 25, 1890)

We must hold fast the first principles of our denominated faith, and go forward from strength to increased faith.
(Series B, #7, p. 57)

  --- (2000 Dec) --- End --- TOP

Special #1 -- 2000 -- The hour has come, the hour is striking, and striking at you, the HOUR and the end. Ezekiel 7:5-6 (Moffatt) -- Editor's Preface -- It was not our intent to publish special issues of WWN durin this year. However, when we received The Jerusalem Post (NA Edition) for February 25, and read the headlines - "PLO-Vatican pact riles Israel" * - and the article which followed. we knew that a "Special Issue" was necessary. The article by the Post Staff noted certain key provisions and objectives of the pact as well as criticisms against Israel for "lack of freedom in the Old City." The preamble to the agreement declared that an "equitable solution" based on international resolutions is "fundamental for a just and lasting peace." It declared that "unilateral decisions and actions altering the specific character and status of Jerusalem are morally and legally unacceptable." Clearly, it was an intrusion into the final-status negotiations between Israel and Arafat which was to include the status of Jerusalem. Calling as it did for "international guarantees," it resurrected the position of the Vatican in a letter to the United Nations Security Council, June 30, 1980. The Charge d'Affairs of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See asked that the Pope's "speech" to the then President of the United States, Jimmy Carter and published in Osseratore Romano, June 30, 1980, be circulated as a document of the Security Counci1, and it was (Document S-14032). The heart of this special issue will be the reproduction of this document in full so that the objective of the Vatican's "Jerusalem policy" can be seen in its full import.

Other factors involving Arafat, as well as a "secret" concession formulated by Foreign Minister Peres under the Rabin government will be reviewed. All in all, we ask, Is not this present action by the Papacy verily a "Wake-up" call telling us that the final movements of this world's history are in progress. Soon "Michael shall stand up" (Daniel 12:1).

At the bottom of each page of the document, we shall place notations, either with other facts, or comments on certain statements in the document itself. Page 7, will be a summation with Scriptural references and comments.

p 2 --

United Nations SECURITY  C0UNCIL Distr. GENERAL
S/14032
30 June 1980

ORIGINAL: ENGLISH/FRENCH

NOTE BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL

The attached letter dated 30 June 1980 from the Charge d'Affaires a.i. of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations was addressed to the President of the Security Council.

In accordance with the request contained therein, the letter is circulated as a document of the Security Council.

S/14032
English
Annex I
Page 1

Annex I

Letter dated 30 June 1980 from the Charge d'Affaires a.i. of the
Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations
addressed to the President of the Security Council.

On instructions from His Eminence the Cardinal Secretary of State of His Holiness, I have the honour to request you to circulate as a Secretary Counsel document the attached text published in the 30 June issue of Osservatore Romano, which reflects the position of the Holy See concerning Jerusalem and all the Holy Places. The English translation, which was made from Italian, may be
regarded as authorized.

(Signed) Monsignor Alain LEBEAUPIN
Charge d'Affaires a.i.


p 3 -- S/14032
English
Annex II
Page 1

Annex II

Text on the question of Jerusalem published by the
Osservatore Romano (30 June 1980)


JERUSALEM

In his speech to the President of the United States of America, Mr. Jimmy Carter, on Saturday 21 June 1980, the Holy Father spoke of Jerusalem in these terms:   "The question of Jerusalem, which during these very days attracts thr attentionn of the world in a special way, is pivitol to a just peace in those parts of the world, since this Holy City embodies interests and aspirations that are shared by different peoples in different ways. It is my hope that a common monotheistic tradition of faith will help to promote harnony among all those who call upon God."

In His Holiness's words we find references to pernanent historical features (the "common monothiestic tradition of faith"), to present facts (the "interests and aspirations that are shared by different peoples") and to a "hope" for Jerusalem (that "harmony amohng all those who call upon God" may be promoted in Jerusalem, in the Middle East and throughout the world).

History and contemporary reality

Throughout the centuries Jerusalem has been endowed with deep religious significance and spiritual value for Christians, Jews and Moslems.

The Holy City is the object of fervent love and has exercised a constant appeal for the Jewish people, ever since David chose it as his capital and Solomon built the temple there. Within it much of the history of Judaism took place, and the thoughts of the Jews were directed to it down the centuries, even when scattered in the :"diaspora" of the past and the present.

There is no ignoring either the deep attachment of the Moslems to Jerusalem "the Holy", as they call it. This attachment was already explicit in the life and thoughts of the founder of Islam. It has been reinforced by an almost unbroken Islamic presence in Jerusalem since 638 A.D., and it is attested by outstanding monuments such as the Aksa Mosque and the Mosque of Omar.
---------

Within a month to the day, July 30, 1980, the Israeli Knesset enacted "Basic Law: Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel. The first three provisions read:

1. Jerusalem, complete and united is the capital of Israel.
2. Jerusalem is the seat of the President of State, the Knesset, the Government and the Supreme Court.
3. The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings towards those places.

This "Basic Law" * placed the government of Israel on collision course with the objectives of the Vatican as were revealed in this UN Security Council document.

p 4 --
S/14032
English
Annex II
Page 2

There is no need to point out that Jerusalem also belongs spiritually to all Christians. There the voice of Christ was heard many times. The great events of the redemption, the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord, took place there. It was there that the first Christian community sprang up, and there has been, even if at times with great difficulty, a continuous ecclesiastical presence. Numerous shrines indicate the places connected with Christ's life and, ever since the beginnings of christianity, there has been a constant flow of pilgrims to them. Saint Jerome is one of the most illustrious witnesses to the Christian presence. In the picture of the world presented by Dante Alighieri in his Divina Commedia Jerusalem is seen as the centre of the earth.

At present, all three communities, the Christian, the Jewish and the Moslem, are part of the Holy City's population and are closely linked with its life and sacred character. Each community is the "guardian" of its shrines and holy places. Jerusalem has a whole network of organizations, reception centres for pilgrims, educational and research institutes and welfare bodies. These organnizations have great importance for the community they belong to and also for the followers of the same religion throughout the world.

In short, the history and contemporary renlity of Jerusalem present a unique case of a city that is in itself deeply united by nature but is at the sarne time characterized by a closely intertwined religious plurality. Preservation of the treasures of the significance of Jerusalem requires that this plurality be recognized and safeguarded in a stable concrete manner and therefore publicly and juridically, so as to ensure for all three religions a level of prarity, without any of them feeling subordinate with regard to the others.

The religious communities of Jerusalem and the international community

The three religious communities of Jerusalem, the Christian, the Jewish and the Moslem, are the primary subjects interested in the preservation of the sacred character of the city and should be partners in deciding their own future. No less than the monuments and holy places, the situation of these communities cannot fail to be a matter of concern for all. As regards the presence of the Christians, everyone is aware of the importance, both in the past and still today, not only of the Catholic community with its various rites, but also of the Greek Orthodox, the Armenian and the other eastern communities, not forgetting the Anglican groups and others springing from the Reformation.
------------

Note the designation of "three religious communities," and that they "should be partners in deciding their own future." Further, that along with "the monuments and holy places," "these communities" must be "a matter of concern for all." The Jerusalem Post indicated that the Papacy and Arafat signed "an agreement that called for an internationally guaranteed statute to preserve 'the proper identity and sacred character' of the city. [This language means more than just 'the monuments and holy places'] The text did not mention Israel, which considers Jerusalem its indivisible capital and has ignored previous Vatican calls of such a statute." The Foreign Ministry of Israel considers the agreement as "an interference in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians." The Director-General told the Papal Nuncio to Israel that not only were the contents of the document disturbing but that the timing was "deplorable" just before the Papal visit to the area.

p 5 --
S/14032
English
Annex II
Page 3

In short, the Jerusalem question cannot be reduced to mere "free access for all to the holy places " Concretely it is also required: (1) that the overall character of Jerusalem as a sacred heritage shared by all three monotheistic religions be guaranteed by appropriate measures; (2) that the religious freedom in all its aspects be safeguarded for them; (3) that the complex of rights acquired by the various communities over the shrines and the centres for spirituality, study and welfare be protected; (4) that the continuance and development of religious, educational and social activity by each community be ensured; (5) that this be actuated with equality of treatment for all three religions; (6) that this be achieved through an "appropriate juridical safeguard" that does not derive from the will of only one of the parties interested.

This "juridical safeguard" corresponds, in substance, to the "special statute" that the Holy See desires for Jerusaem:   "this Holy City embodies interests and aspirations that are shared by different peoples". The very universalism of the three monotheistic religions, which constitute the faith of many hundreds of millions of believers in every continent, calls for a responsibility that goes well beyond the limits of the States of the regions. The significance and value of Jerusalem are such as to surpass the interests of any single State or bilateral agreerents between one State and others.

Furthermore, the international community has already dealt with the Jerusalem question; for instance, UNESCO very recently made an important intervention with the aim of safeguarding the artistic and religious riches represented by Jerusalem as a whole, as the "common heritage of humanity".
------------

While The Jerusalem Post indicated Israel "had ignored previous Vatican calls for a statute" as outlined on pages 3 and 4 of Annex II, above and on p. 6 of this Special issue, this is not wholly accurate. Under the government of the late Prime Minister Rabin, his foreign minister, Peres in a meeting with the Pope in 1994, presented a plan to "Vaticanize" the Old City of Jerusalem placing it under "the auspices of the Pope" and "administered by the Palestinians" (The Jewish Press, Nisan 14, 5755). * Previously, in a letter carried by a friend of Peres to the Pope, Peres "offered to hand over sovereignty of Jerusalem's Old City to the Vatican. Jerusalem is to stay the capital of Israel, but the Old City will be administered by the Vatican. ... The plan called for the extra-territoriality of the Old City and the airport at Atarot, which would become a worldwide meeting center. ... Further details of the plan claim Jerusalem is to become a second Vatican of the world with all three major religions represented under the authority of the Vatican" (ibid., Sept. 2, 1994, pp. 5, 104).  *All of this was echoed in the original Vatican policy submitted in the UN Security Council document above, and now made a part of a pact between the Vatican and Arafat. It remains to be seen what the present Prime Minister will do in the final phase of negotiations concerning Jerusalem when confronted with this pact. He has declared that Jerusalem will not be divided, and will remain the capital of Israel.

p 6 --
S/14032
English
Annex II
Page 4

THE UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION AND JERUSALEM

As early as its second session, the General Assembly of the United Nations approved on 29 November 1947 a resolution on Palestine of which the third part was devoted to Jerusalem. The resolution was confirmed in the next two sessions, on 11 December 1948 and 9 December 1949 while on 14 April 1950 the Trusteeship Council approved a "special statute" for the city on the basis of the Assembly's decisions. The solution preposed by the United Nations envisaged the setting up of a "corpus separatum" for "Jerusalem and the surrounding area", administered by the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations.

This "territorial interntionalization" of Jerusalem was not of course put into effect, because in the 1948 conflict the Arab side occupied the eastern zone of the city and the Israeli side, the western. The position of the United Nations does not appear at least as yet to have been formally revoked. The General Assembly, as well as the Security Council, has repeatedly, beginning with the resolution of 4 july 1967, insisted on the invalidity of any measure taken to change the status of the city.

The Holy See considers the safeguarding of the Sacred and Universal character of Jerusalem to be of such primary importance as to require any Power that comes to exercise sovereignty over the Holy Land to assume the obligation, to the three religious cenfessions spread throughout the world, to protect not only the special character of the City, but also the rights connected, on the basis of an appropriate juridical system guaranteed by a higher international body.


HOPES FOR JERUSALEM

In his address to President Carter, the Holy Father referred to the fact that the question of Jerusalem "during these very days attracts the attention of the world in a special way".

The positions of the two sides on the question of sovereignty over Jerusalem are known to be very far apart; any unilateral act tending to modify the status of the Holy City would be very serious. The Holy Father's hope is that the representatives of the nations will keep in mind the "common monotheistic tradition of faith" and succeed in finding the historical and present day reality of Jerusalem reasons for softening the bitterness of confrontation and for promoting "harmony among all those who call upon God". The aim will be to ensure that Jerusalelm will no longer be an object of contention but a place of encounter and brotherhood between the peoples and believers of the three religions and a pledge of friendship between the peoples who see in Jerusalem something that is part of their very soul.
-------------

The coming visit of Pope John Paul II to Israel needs to be monitored closely. After the "urgent meeting" called by the Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry with the Papal Nuncio to Israel, the Nuncio told reporters that the agreement was not fully understood by Israel. He said, "It is not a political statement, but one about the religious nature of Jerusalem and its importance to three major religions." Yet Israel was not mentioned, and at the meeting between the Pope and Arafat, the Pope accepted an invitation of Arafat to add Jericho to his scheduled itinerary. This is solely political, placing the Pope squarely on the side of Arafat.

p 7 -- SUMMARY -- The year, 1980, not only marked the complete fulfilment of the prophecy of Jesus concerning the probation of the nations, but also the objectives of the Papacy were set forth in a Security Council document which prepares the way for the fulfilment of another prophecy which when fulfilled will herald the close of all human probation. Jesus, from Olivet's mount during the last week of His earthly life, declared of the city across the Kidron Valley, wrapped in the light of the paschal moon, would be "trodden down of the nations (Gr.), until the times of the nations (Gr.) be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). The Knesset of Israel on July 30, declared Jerusalem, complete and united," once again the capital of Israel.

One month earlier, June 30th, the Holy See lodged with the Security Council of the UN a document which reflected 'the position of the Holy See concerning Jerusalem and all the Holy Places." The stipulations when carried out would set the stage for the final prophecy of Daniel 11:45 - "And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him." In February, this last year of the second millennium, the Holy See signed a pact with the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat which will set in motion the fulfilment of its objectives. The next verse in Daniel reads - "And at that time shall Michael stand up" (12:1).

There is another prophecy which focuses on the same time period. In Revelation 16:13-14, 16, the reason is given for the sixth plague. It reads:      And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. ... And they (Gr.) gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon.

(Note:   Each plague save one - the third - is God's response to what man did in probationary time. For example, the first plague, "grievous sores upon men who had the mark of the beast" (16:2). The mark of the beast was received before the close of probation, the plague followed its close. Just so the sixth plague - verse 12 is the description of the plague, verses 13-14, 16, the cause in probationary time.)

"Har-Magedon" (ARV) transliterates back to the Hebrew, Har-Mo'ed, * "mount of the congregation." This coincides with the objective of Lucifer, to "sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north" (Isa. 14:13); in other words, the glorious holy mountain" (Dan. 11:45; Ps. 48:2).

An interesting use of Rev. 16:13-14 is found in The Great Controversy, pp. 561-562. Defining these verses as describing "the last remnant of time," the comment is made:      Except those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion. The people are fast being lulled into a fatal security, to be awakened only by the out pouring of the wrath of God.

If language means anything, it is saying that the "gathering" of Revelation 16, is synonymous with the "planting" of Daniel 11:45. "At that time shall Michael stand up."

Note: If you desire photocopies of the documents marked with an astenisk (*), please send a # 10 selfaddressed stamped envelope to "Documents," ALF, P.0. Box 69, Ozone. AR 72854. --- (Special 2000 Jan) --- End --- TOP

Special #2 -- 2000 -- AntiChrist -- Editor's Preface -- The Lawsuit won by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Miami this year has become fodder for the gristmill of the "historic" Adventists. Raphael Perez has been catapulted into prominence. The surface issue is the use of the name, Seventh-day Adventist. But behind it is the question. "Is the Church still proclaiming the long held prophetic interpretation concerning the Papacy, or have they denied the historic faith?" While great store has been placed in the name, Seventh-day Adventist, because of its approval through the Messenger of the Lord, other counsel as to how the message is to be presented has been ignored. The warning against trying to "jump start" a crisis has been flaunted, and now we are to see a continuing legal battle which will absorb thousands of dollars with little or no prospect of winning. The "historics" condemned the Church for spending money in legal cases, and now are launching their own legal counter attacks. Is this not the "pot" calling the "kettle" black?

Connected with this controversy is the use of prophetic symbolisms in the hook of Revelation. The Protestant interpretation of Revelation 17 is vividly portrayed in full page advertisements; it is true that Luther so interpreted the woman riding the beast as the Papacy when he broke with Rome. Is this still a valid perspective, or do we need to look carefully into the context in which the symbolism is placed in the book of Revelation? In the second article, we have sought to direct attention to this context and what it indicates.

There are two approaches to the identification of the anti-Christ of Scripture as the Papacy. One is by the things she did - persecution of the saints, blasphemy against God, and the attempt to change times and laws. The second is the blurring of the Gospel, which is termed the Tridentine Gospel of Rome. This is in direct contrast to the Gospel given to Paul by Jesus Christ Himself. The tragedy is that this contrast of "gospels" is not stressed by those so eager to challenge the Church in newspaper spreads. Why?

p 2 -- The Antichrist -- As I prepare to write this Special issue of WWN, I have before me three documents: 1) A two-page (red and black) newspaper spread captioned - "Earth's Final Hour" published by the Eternal Gospel Church of Seventh-day Adventists of West Palm Beach, Florida; 2) A one-page newspaper spread with the same caption, but with a variant content, prepared by the Sweetwater Seventh Day Adventist Church of Athens, Tennessee; and 3) The Adventist Review (May 25, 2000) which carried as its cover story under "Anchor Points" a discussion of "The Anti-Christ" asking the question - "is the Adventist Interpretation Still Viable?" This Adventist Review article was written by Dr. Woodrow W. Whidden of Andrews University.

The basic factors in these three documents have been over-shadowed, and somewhat ignored because of a Federal Court case filed by the Church against Raphael Perez, pastor of the West Palm Beach Church over the use of the Church's name by his break away group. The Church asked that Perez and his congregation remove the name, "Seventh-day Adventist," from their church's designation. Perez refused, claiming the name was chosen by God and given by the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy. In the legal suit that followed, the Court upheld the Church and ordered the name to be removed. Perez complied. While he would not heed the demand of the Church, he bowed to the demand of the Federal Government speaking through its judicial system.

At this point the issue is simple. Do we refuse to bow to the request of the Church, but when the State speaks, we submit? What message is this sending as to how one is to react in the coming confrontation prophesied in Revelation? Does this not dilute the force of the message which the newspaper ad sought to convey? True Perez has appealed the court's ruling, and is counter suing the Church as to the Trademark status claimed by the Church. Did Jesus appeal the decision of Pi-late? Did He seek to initiate before Pilate a counter suit protesting the Jewish Sanhedrin's claim to sole ecclesiatical authority in Judaism? You respond, that this was not possible, and thus are moot questions. However, if moot they are, there is still before us the example of Jesus in His advise to the leper (Matt. 8:4), and the counsel to Peter (Matt. 17:27). It is true that at the time Jesus gave this counsel, the Jewish Church with its leadership had not crossed the line drawn by the Angel Gabriel in his explanation of a prophetic vision given to Daniel (9:24).

Reports coming to this office is that Perez intends to fight the Church all the way to the Supreme Court with every indication that he will loose. This will take much financial resources which could be devoted to a better cause; yet we condemned the Church for expending the same, when they initiated the original suit. Now does the fact that Perez is doing it, justify it? Is this merely a way to continue to harass the Church and obtain some more publicity? Even Michael did not harass the devil, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee," and went about His objective to resurrect Moses (Jude 9). It is one thing to harass apostasy; it is another thing to expose it; and then let people make the proper decision regarding their continued relationship to it.

Overlooked Counsel -- In the controversy over the use of the name, Seventh-day Adventist, great store was placed in the fact that God approved the name, and conveyed this choice through "the Messenger of the Lord." Also involved in the confrontation between Perez and the Church was the message which should be proclaimed and emphasized in the evangelical thrust of the Church. This brings us to the first document listed in the beginning paragraph - "Earth's Final Warning." The introduction consists of three paragraphs quoted from the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol.7, p.976. This is a secondary source notation, not the primary source from which these paragraphs were taken. The primary sources are the Writings of Ellen G. White. This is directly contrary to the counsel she gave. It reads:      The testimonies of Sister White should not be carried to the front. God's Word is the unerring standard. The Testimonies are not to take the place of the Word. (Letter 12, 1890)

And again:      Our position and faith is in the Bible. And never do we

p 3 -- want any soul to bring in the Testimonies ahead of the Bible. (Ms. 7,1894; emphasis supplied)

This is exactly what Perez has done not only in quoting the Writings of Ellen G. White as an introduction, but also throughout the two-page article. This is flouting what Ellen White said should "never" be done. "Our position and faith is in the Bible." So be it! There let it rest.

At this point another question surfaces. Why the cover up of the source of the paragraphs by using a secondary documentation? Was this an endeavor to embarrass the Church? It is true that certain evangelists for the Church have openly denied the position which the Church has held in regard to Catholicism. It is also true that the leadership of the Church has not been happy with other advertising Perez has done including the newspaper ad under discussion. But is this the proper approach so as to bring the Church to accountability with truth? In other words, to whom was this advertising really aimed? If I should flaunt a red flag in front of a bull should I be surprised at the reaction that I will obtain?

There is some other counsel that we should note before turning to an analysis of the article itself. In a testimony counselling restraint of expression, we read:      The time will come when unguarded expressions of a denunciatory character, that have been carelessly spoken or written by our brethren, will be used by our enemies to condemn us. These will not be used to merely condemn those who made the statement, but will be charged upon the whole body of Adventists ... Many will be surprised to hear their own words strained into a meaning that they did not intend them to have. Then let our workers be careful to speak guardedly at all times and under all circumstances. Let us beware lest by reckless expressions they bring on a time of trouble before the great crisis which is to try men's souls.

The less we make direct charges against authorities and powers, the greater work we shall be able to accomplish both in America and in foreign countries. (emphasis supplied) ...

It is our work to magnify and exalt the law of God. The truth of God's holy word is to be made manifest. We are to hold up the Scriptures as the rule of life. In all modesty, in the spirit of grace, and in the love of God, we are to point men to the fact that the Lord God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord. (6T:394-395)

The Scriptures in the "Ads" -- While the second ad appears to be an abridged replica of the first, there are some variations. Both give the Scriptural basis for the validity of the seventh day as the day of worship, as well as the Biblical citations of Apostolic practice in the ministry of Paul. The New Testament references of the first day of the week are also noted. But the major thrust is directed toward the Roman Catholic Church - who changed the Sabbath - as the "beast" of Revelation 13, and the "harlot" of Revelation 17. Outside of quoting from these chapters, no evidence was given that directly linked these symbols to Rome except in the second "Earth's Final Warning" ad.

To establish beyond question the interpretation of the "beast' and "antichrist" of Bible Prophecy as the Papacy, one must first find his basis in the Book of Daniel. In Daniel 7, there is a succession of powers beginning with the symbol of a winged lion representing Babylon and moving down the course of history until the Papacy is "fingered" as "the little horn," which fulfilled the identifying marks of verse 25. Then comparing these marks of identity with the symbols in Revelation, one finds the first "beast" of chapter 13, having the same marks. However, there is in Revelation 13 a number - 666 - which can be directly applied to the Papacy. This the second ad did. The evidence behind this identification is solid and admitted by Rome itself. It should either have been concisely given, (the second ad attempted to do so), or offered to those who would send for the documentation. It is one thing to make allegations, it is another thing to give the Scriptural basis and documentation which justifies these allegations. (If someone uses the 666 evidence as given in the second ad, a "typo" should be corrected: it is "Hebrew" not "Hebron.")

Spiritual "Gorging" -- When I finished college, I entered the ministry in the Texico Conference and was given as my first assignment the completion of a series of evangelistic meetings already begun in a rural area of Eastern New Mexico. The meetings on Sunday were held both in the morning and evening. The first Sunday

p 4 -- morning meeting after my arrival, I was given the assignment to conduct "The Trial by Jury," a unique way to present the change of the Sabbath. Needless to say, I spent the Sabbath preparing the study while the other minister rounded up a jury of nine men for the next day. That Sunday morning the local High School auditorium where the meetings were being held was well filled. The jury decision was 8 to 1 that the Papacy had changed the day of worship.

Elated over the large crowd and response, the other minister announced that at the evening meeting he would speak on the Mark of Beast. That night the attendance was even greater than in the morning. He spoke on the announced subject for three solid hours. But that was the end of the large attendance. The attendance at the meetings there after numbered in the twenties. Truth is to be presented spoonful by spoonful, in moderation; and only in the amount which can be digested at one time. We fail to realize that a presentation, to be immortal, need not be eternal. I well remember that in my youth before going to college, a saintly minister of God said to me, "William, it is just as important to know when to sit down as to stand up."

A series of ads thoughtfully prepared and arranged to add concept to concept would have been far more effective, but they would not have been as sensational. Again the motive, as to why it was done as it was done by Perez in the first instance, is suspect. What event or issue justified the all-out attack on the Papacy? True, there is obvious evidence that the "deadly wound" (Rev. 13:3) given to the beast has been healed. However, there is no evidence that a "national" Sunday Law is before Congress nor any State legislature. This is not saying that a religious crisis is not coming. But is not the advice given to the patriots, as the Battle of Bunker Hill was about to begin, good advice today? "Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes." When there is a concrete issue, well defined, then act with no ulterior motive, or desire for notoriety.

An Experience -- At mid-century, I was serving as pastor of the First Church in Toronto, Ontario, which was then located on Awde Street, a short walk from Bloor and Dufferin. When I first assumed the pastorate in 1948, the city of Toronto was closed down completely on Sunday due to the Lord's Day Act of Canada. A year later a group of its citizens were able to bring the question of an "open" Sunday from 1 to 6 for commercialized sports to a city-wide referendum which was scheduled for January 2, 1950. In October prior to the election, the Anglican Church celebrated the 400th Anniversary of the Church of England prayer book. At a commemorative service in Toronto, Archbishop Philip Carrington of Quebec declared, "Nowhere in the Bible is it laid down that worship should be done on Sunday." (See Bible Students' Source Book, Vol.9 Commentary Reference Series, art. 1589 & 1605) This propelled the religious issue in the referendem to the forefront.

What were we to do? There were negative aspects. This was a reverse Sunday question. It was not seeking to force Sunday observance, but rather to open Sunday afternoon for commercialized sports. Further, the beer producers were for the "open Sunday" which would increase their sales. To take an open stand would not place the Church in the best of company. After careful study, the Church Board voted to take a public stand and push the issue. We were encouraged by the counsel - "We should seize upon circumstances as instruments by which to work" (MH, p.500).

One brother in the Church had a Jewish lawyer friend who helped us formulate a "$1,000 Offer for a Bible text." It read:      The undersigned offer to pay a totat reward of $1,000 to any person or persons who can show from the Bible alone (King James Version), a single text where Christ or His disciples specifically commanded the observance of the first day of the week (Sunday) in honour of His Resurrection.

This was published in the metropolitan papers with a copy of a certified check. The previous Sabbath, I had gone before the Church with the plan and asked for their support. In less than three minutes the money was more than raised in a spontaneous outburst of enthusiasm. A series of Sunday night meetings were planned for each Sunday till the election. We began the series in the Church, but found the attendance required a larger facility, and we transferred to the Canadian Legion Auditorium located at 22 College Street, in the heart of Toronto.

p 5 -- The interest in the meetings, and the calls resulting from the offer became so great that the Conference brought two other ministers to the city to assist in the visitation. One, Elder 0. B. Gerhart, who was connected with the Conference Bible School program, prepared a timely news ad headlined - 'Ottawa Enacts Saturday Law." It was prepared in the setting of the Lord's Day Act amended with Saturday protected and all Sunday bans lifted. It was very effective. Two weeks before the referendum we ran each day, brief one column, Bible studies on the Sabbath question in the daily papers.

The climax came in the citywide church ads the weekend before the referendum. They covered two pages of the Toronto daily papers. Our ad noting the final lecture in the Canadian Legion Auditorium stood out as a "sore thumb" in the midst of all the others. We advertized, "Why Christians Should Vote, 'Yes"' while all the others were calling for a "No" vote. As I arrived home after the lecture, the telephone was ringing. I quickly answered, and it was the city editor of the Globe and Mail. He asked what I had said. I told him. He took what I had said, what an Anglican priest had suggested, and what a United Church minister advised, and wrote up an article for the Monday edition. The article was picked up by the British United Press and flashed across Canada.
We need to be ready to act when the circum-stances indicate. God opens the way. We need to stick to the issues, and present just what the Bible says, no less and no more. The creation of controversy before its time only muddies up the waters and causes many sincere folk to misplace their funds on a personal ego trip, rather than on the presentation of truth as it is in Jesus. Surely the "John Osborne" interlude hasn't been so quickly forgotten. Or has it?

"Is the Adventist Interpretation Still Viable?" -- This is the question asked and answered by the special article on "The Anti-Christ" in the Adventist Review, May 25, 2000. First, the status of the article, then some brief history. While the Adventist Review is no longer noted as the official organ of the Church, but rather lust the "general church paper," it nevertheless carries the status of an official organ. This article on the Antichrist was placed as a part of the "Anchor Points" series, and was the malor article of the issue. Written by Dr. Woodrow W. Whidden, a professor of religion at Andrews University, it is as an official statement of the Church's position on the subject as one can find, apart from a voted Statement by the Church in general session.

Now some brief history: In all the Statements of Belief from the first in 1872 through 1914, even including the Battle Creek Church statement which was a part of their "Church Directory" in 1894, there appeared this declaration:      That as the man of sin, the papacy, has thought to change times and laws (the laws of God), and has misled almost all of Christendom in regard to the fourth commandment, we find a prophecy of a reform in this respect to be wrought among believers just before the coming of Christ.

In the 1931 Statement, as well as the current 27 Fundamentals which were voted at Dallas, Texas, in 1980, no such statement appears. While all reference to the Papacy was removed from the Statement of Beliefs, the Evangelists and Bible Workers did not cease to teach the Biblical revelation which fingered the Papacy as the antichrist of prophecy. Having been so taught as a Baptist, it was not difficult to understand the emphasis placed by the retired Bible Worker who studied the Adventist Message with my mother and me. Such books as The Wine of Roman Babylon by Mary E. Walsh, a converted Catholic and well known Bible Worker, were available for reading and study. The teaching was not mitigated until after Vatican II, when some Adventist observers at the Council came back to the church with a new message.

Arthur S. Maxwell, editor of the Signs of the Times, and one of the observers, in a sermon given in the University Church at Loma Linda, upon his return, called for the. scrapping of the old evangelistic sermons on the Papacy, and a completely new approach. (Present Truth, #3, p. 14). His son, the late C. Mervyn Maxwell, and "patron saint" of the Andrew University conservatives, in his commentary on the book of Daniel stated that "God purposely presented a one-sided picture of Rome as a terrible beast in order to emphasize His displeasure at persecution" (God Cares, Vol.1, p.127). Then he suggested that since "the Roman Catholic Church was

p 6 -- virtually the Christian church in Western Europe for about a thousand years," therefore, "both Protestants and Catholics may regard it as the embodiment of 'our' Christian heritage for better or for worse." (ibid., emphasis his).

It is against this historical backdrop that the article in the Adventist Review by Dr. Whidden must be considered. He asks two questions: "What is the nature of the antichrist?" and "Has papal Rome really so changed its essential nature in the past four decades to demand that contemporary Adventism ought, in fairness, to cease and desist from its traditional prophetic interpretations?" He proposes four "litmus tests" as to how one can identify the antichrist by its teachings. The denial of:   1) The eternal authority of the ten-commandment law as an unchanging expression of the nature and will of God;   2) The gospel of justification by grace through faith alone, not by works of the law;   3) The centrality of Jesus Christ as the only "mediator" between God and humanity; and   4) When a power denies these great truths, it will ultimately seek to gain adherents by false miracles, or through compulsory force. After carefully analyzing these four "litmus tests," Dr Whidden concludes:      When these four key tests are applied to the Roman Catholic religious system, the sad but inescapable conclusion is that papal Rome is still the great power envisioned in Daniel 7 and 8; 2 Thessalonians 2; and Revelation 13. (p.13)

The approach used by Dr. Whidden in reaching his conclusion could be called the theological "gospel" approach, the mystery of iniquity vs the mystery of godliness. To reduce it to simpler terms, it comes down to the question as to whether we are going to teach the Tridentine gospel of Rome formulated in the Council of Trent, or the Gospel as revealed to Paul, called the Pauline Gospel. In other words, we come back to the very question raised by E. J. Waggoner at the 1901 General Conference session; albeit on a different phase of the papal teaching, but very apropos:     We need to settle, every one of us, whether we are out of the church of Rome or not. There are a great many that have got the marks yet. (1901 Bulletin, p.404)

Tragically, too many who are seeking to defend Perez and support his attack on the Church cannot use the "gospel" approach in dealing with the subject of "Antichrist," because they are teaching a modified Tridentine gospel of Rome, thus having, as Waggoner would say, the "marks' of Rome themselves.

It is true, we need to take a stand; but let us see to it that the stand we take includes our "loins girt about with truth" (Eph. 6:14).

Revelation 17 -- Before we enter the final confrontation, or before there are continued attempts to "jump start" the crisis, we need to take a very careful analytical look at what Revelation 17, in context, is saying. There is no question but that Luther and his associates interpreted the woman of Revelation 17 as the papacy. (See The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol.II, pp.275, 276; observe the pictorial representations from the 1534 Luther Bible) This has been the standard Protestant interpretation since that time.

However, let us take a contextual look at the overall picture. The first prophetic symbolism which represents Papal Rome is that of a beast. (Rev. 13:1-7) The representation coincides with the details given in Daniel 7 of the beasts and "little horn." The number ascribed to the first beast of Revelation - 666 - is even admitted by the Papacy. (See "Our Sunday Visitor, Nov. 15, 1914, p.3; April 18,1915, p. 3) The symbolsm in Revelation 17 is different. It is that of a woman sitting on a scarlet coloured beast" (v.3). This is not the first time that John saw this woman in the prophetic revelation. The angel which talked with John suggested, "Come hither; I will shew thee the judgment of the great whore which sitteth upon many waters" (v. 1). These "waters" were defined to him in terms of the "whore" - "the waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth" (v. 15). We are thus faced with the question, Where had John previously seen the "whore" sitting on many waters?

The angel who is instructing John is one of the angels of the seven last plagues (v.1). The woman is declared to be "BABYLON THE GREAT" (v.5). This leads us to the sixth plague, where the waters of the

p 7 -- Euphrates River, which literal Babylon spanned, are dried up (16:12). But "spiritual" Babylon's waters are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" (17:15). Again, we must reiterate a neglected factor of interpretation as applied to the Seven Last Plagues. The plagues with the exception of one - the third - are what man has done in probationary time to which God responds in judgment. For example, the mark of the beast is received during probationary time, the "noisome and grievous sore" - first plague - comes after intercession ceases (15:8).

Applied to the sixth plague, the judgment of God dries up the support of the woman sitting on the "waters" of "the great river Euphrates" (16:12). What builds this support in probationary time, and where does it center? Out of three symbols - the dragon, beast, and false prophet - come "spirits of devils" which gather the leadership of the whole world "to the battle of the great day of God Al-mighty (vs. 13-14). The point of assembly is defined as a "place called in the Hebrew tongue, Har-Magedon" (v. 16, ARV). But, the symbolism of Babylon does not end there. The seventh plague rends "the great city" into three parts (v.19). The angel who is interpreting to John this symbolism declares the woman to be "that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (17:18). Thus we are brought face to face with the possibility that the woman of Revelation 17 symbolizes the Papacy at the time when the "deadly wound" is healed.

There is another factor in this array of prophetic symbolisms, that also needs to be considered. The fiery red dragon of Revelation 12 is declared to be the devil (v.9). It has "seven heads and ten horns" V. 3) The "beast" of Revelation 1 7 likewise has seven heads and ten horns (v.3), but its color is scarlet," a derivative of red. The use of the word outside of Revelation where apparel is involved suggests royalty, and could be the implication here as both the woman and dragon are so clothed. The woman also declares, "I sit a queen" (18:7).

The "beast" is defined by the angel of the plagues:      He is declared to be the "eighth, and is of the seven (heads)" (v. 11), not the seventh. If the "heads"" are perceived of as the powers which Satan has used to war against the purposes of God through the centuries of time, then this describes the appearance of Satan in "the last remnant of time." (See The Great Controversy, pp.561-562).

The ten horns upon the beast are declared to have received "no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast" (17:12) In the prophetic symbolism, the ten horns on the first beast of Revelation 13 are crowned (v. 1). The question is, are they the same, or different from the "horns" on the beast of Revelation 17? This must be considered. It is obvious from the prophecy that the time of the reign of the ten horns in Revelation 17 is of very short duration, spoken of as "one hour" (v. 12); while the horns of the first beast of Revelation 13 would be the same as the beast itself - "forty two months" (v. 5). While these last ten give their united support to the "beast," they ultimately turn on the "woman" and "burn her with fire" (v.16).

It should be obvious that something more is intended in this prophecy, than was perceived by Luther. Before we apply it as did Luther, we need to carefully consider that the time of the "woman" as pictured is connected with the very final events of probationary time. Since the "woman" as Babylon is composed of "three parts," one being the "dragon," how do we relate this to the "beast" on which the woman rides? Then we have the problem of the "spirits of devils" coming out of the "dragon" who is defined as the "devil." We have much study to do, and desperately need divine wisdom to interpret the prophecy aright. --- (Special #2 - 2000 Feb) --- End ---

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