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1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
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So Much In Common - WCC/SDA
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1999 Apr -- XXXII -- 4(99) -- A Fearful Warning -- WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR US? -- Editor's Preface -- This issue is primarily about one topic - Jesus as the Prophet who came in fulfillment of the promise given to Moses, and one prophecy He gave. The challenge for us is to heed the fearful warning that accompanied the promise of His coming. We have on record the history of the nation, to whom He came, which disregarded what He said. The destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 is but a faint shadow of the doom that awaits a world which disregards the truth He proclaimed and the principles of righteousness by which He lived.
At the 1952 Bible Conference, Elder Arthur S. Maxwell introduced one section of his paper on "The Imminence of Christ's Second Coming" with the declaration: "The recent dramatic restoration of Israel has focused the attention of mankind once more on Palestine." Now fifty years later as we approach the Third Millennium, it can be said again with the events taking place in the Near East, and with the interest manifest by the Papacy in Jerusalem, mankind's attention is again focused on Palestine. This time it is the countdown to the end This generation, which has seen the fulfillment of the final sign which Jesus the Prophet gave, will not pass away until all be fulfilled.
Even with the plain admonition which Maxwell gave at the Bible Conference, there are those who are not willing to recognize the significance of the fulfilled prophecy of Luke 21:24. They are continuing to hold out for a continuation of time into the Third Millennium, even until a certain state of readiness is attained by a required number of people. This compounds the problem, for not only is the prophecy of that Prophet disregarded; but also the ministry of that Prophet as High Priest is placed in doubt. What the Messenger of the Lord has written is set aside as of little significance - "Divine grace is needed at the beginning, divine grace at every step of advance, and divine grace alone can complete the work." (TM, p 508) It is time that we accepted the fact of our nothingness so that the Holy Spirit can do His work for us and in us.
p 2 -- A Fearful Warning - What Does It Mean for Us? As Moses reminded the Children of Israel of their request at Mt. Sinai "not to hear again the voice of the Lord," nor to "see this great fire" of Divine Majesty, he informed them of God's promised visitation in flesh. With this promise God attached a fearful warning. The words of God to Moses were: sI will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth: and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 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. 18:18-19)
The Hebrew word for "Prophet" is nabi, a calling which involved not only speaking in the name of the Lord to kings and nations, but also predicting future events. The Messiah was to be such a prophet. Jesus, that Messiah, spoke forthrightly to the leadership as well as to the professed people of God, sometimes in very strong language. They did not hear, and that Prophet warned by parable what God would "require" of them: "He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen" (Matt. 21:41). "The king ... sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers and burned up their city" (22:7). Not only by parable, but also by prophecy, Jesus gave warning of the coming judgment.
As Jesus drew near to Jerusalem on His triumphal entry, beholding the city, He wept over it, and prophesied saying: "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee around, and keep thee in on every side. And they shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave one stone upon another; because thou knowest not the time of thy visitation." (Luke 19:42-44)
The results of the decisions that would be made during this last week of the earthly ministry of Jesus would reverberate throughout the rest of time and into eternity. Little do we sense the awesomeness of the events that transpired the seven days that followed this entry into Jerusalem. One week later Jesus would be the Risen Lord walking along the road to Emmaus. During that week, decisions would be made that would seal the fate of the Jewish nation and its holy city, Jerusalem. All could be summarized in one experience - the time of thy visitation," and this involved ignorance - "thou knowest not."
Each major decision maker during this week had his own agenda. Caiaphas expressed his in the reasoning that "It is expedient for us, that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not" (John 11:50). He prefaced his conclusion with the words, "Ye know nothing at all," himself not knowing that "the time of his visitation" was rapidly coming to a close. Why? Because he would not hear that Prophet. Pilate asked, "What is truth?" Before him stood the Truth - his "time of visitation" - who reminded him - "Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice." (John 18:37-38) He asked the question, and in moments turned Jesus over to be crucified because it was the expedient thing to do. Jesus in anguish of spirit cried out - "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall 1 say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour" (John 12:27). His agenda - His cause - becomes for every man and nation the time of their visitation. And the only way we can know, or will know that the final "time of visitation" has been reached is to "hear Him."
During this final week, the Prophet would speak again, not about the "time of visitation" for the city of Jerusalem, but about the judgment upon it. He told His disciples - "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." While Jerusalem did not know the time (kairoV) of its visitation, the disciples of the Prophet were to know the hour of its judgment. In the period of time, a little less than forty years, events transpired which serve as a lesson for another close of time the kairoV of the Gentiles." Jesus linked the "signals" for the two events together with the history of the same city, Jerusalem. After instructing His disciples what course they were to follow when the first "signal" would be given, Jesus then pictured the "days of vengeance" upon the inhabitants of the city - slaughtered "by the edge of the sword" - and those escaping the sword would "be led away captive into all nations (ta eqnh )." But this was not the end of the words of the Prophet. Another event would "signal" the end of the final kairoV. Jesus continued "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles (eqnh) until the times (kairoi) of the Gentiles (eqnh) be fulfilled." (Luke 21:20-24)
Both of these "signals" were given by the same Prophet. The very lives of those living in AD 66 in Jerusalem, when the first "signal" was given, depended on obeying His words. Is it to be any different when the second "signal" is given?
First, what lessons does New Testament history teach us? Except for the writings of John, the New Testament closes in the shadows of what befell Jerusalem from AD 66 to AD 70. The events of this forty year period reveal a series of closings of probation on those who knew not the time of their visitation.
During the final week of Christ's ministry, the first judgment fell upon the Temple. After pronouncing the woes upon the scribes and Pharisees" calling them
p 3 -- "hypocrites," "blind guides," "serpents," and "generation of vipers," the Prophet told them - "Your house is left unto you desolate" (Matt. 23:38). The Temple which they venerated is removed from further consideration; only events connected with the history of the city would remain as "signals." As the final week closed, the "once-for-all" Sacrifice would be made, and in a few weeks, the Heavenly Temple would be anointed; all within the time allotted for the "people" of Daniel. (See Dan. 9:24)
The next decisive event in "the time of visitation" occurred in the palace of the high priest. When the false witnesses failed to agree, and the trial faltered, Caiaphas arose and secured the desired judgment. The record reads: And the high priest arose, and said unto Him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held His peace. And the high priest answered and said unto Him, I adjure Thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you; Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard His blasphemy. What think ye? They answered, He is guilty of death. (Matt. 26:62-66)
In that act, in that moment, the unseen line was crossed, and probation closed for the religious leadership of Israel. This is attested by a careful reading of the history of events which took place on and following the Day of Pentecost. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter offered repentance to the Jews of Jerusalem and to those from the Diaspora (Acts 2:5) who came together to see what had taken place under the ministration of the Spirit and stayed to hear what Peter had to say. To their question -"Men and brethren what shall we do?" - Peter responded, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ" (2:37- 38).
The third chapter of Acts records the experience of Peter and John who went to the Temple at the hour of prayer to witness. A lame man was healed in the name of Jesus Christ. A concourse of people gathered, and to them Peter again offered repentance (v. 19). In so offering, Peter quoted the very words of Moses regarding the Prophet that was to come and now had come. The reaction of the Jewish hierarchy was swift. Peter and John were arrested and confined to prison till the next day. In response to their questioning, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, accused them forthrightly of crucifying Jesus Christ, but made no call for them to repent (4:8-12). Listed among the Jewish hierarchy were Caiaphas, Annas and others of the clique who controlled the Sanhedrin (4:6).
As a result of further witnessing, the twelve were arrested and placed in prison (5:17-18). Miraculously freed, the next morning they witnessed in the temple precincts, and were again arrested. Testifying before the assembled council, accusing them of the murder of Jesus, they noted the purpose of the exalted Lord "to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins;" but they did not offer it to them! (vs. 29-32)
The days of the final week of the seventy prophetic weeks which had been determined upon the nation of Israel were rapidly drawing to a close. As this time ended, it was Stephen who was speaking to the Jewish council. He reiterated the charge of murder against them, but extends to them no call to repentance, only condemnation (Acts 7:51-53). With his stoning, "the times of the Jewish nation" ended, and "the times of the Gentiles (nations)" began. Thirty-six more years were to pass before the words of the Prophet would be fulfilled upon the city of Jerusalem itself. While probation closed for the nation of Israel as the chosen people of God, it did not close for the individual Israelite. The book of Acts covers the history of that period when the Jews of Jerusalem and the Diaspora would be given opportunity to repent.
What is involved in the lingering time of mercy needs to be carefully noted. Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed Himself to be the Son of man, and the promised Messiah of Israel, the Son of God. The religious hierarchy of Israel condemned Him as an impostor, and forced His death at the hands of Pilate. This was done at Jerusalem, the very heart of Judaism. In the missionary labors of Paul, he first went to the Jewish synagogues of the Diaspora, and gave them the opportunity to make a decision before turning to the Gentiles with the Gospel of repentance. What was that decision? This is the critical point that should be carefully considered. Every Jew in the Diaspora had to decide whether the decision of their religious leadership in regard to Jesus was correct, or whether He was as He claimed to be, the promised Messiah. The issue was Jesus - what think ye of Christ?
Jesus stood for something. He declared, "I am the truth." God had said, "I ... will put my words into His mouth," and "whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." And God did! But the destruction of Jerusalem has a wider message. It stands as a representation of the devastation that awaits a world who rejects His word. Further, Jesus is not present in Person to speak to earth's final generation, but He is present in Truth by the Spirit of truth. This applies to the Church as well as to the world.
The prophetic utterances of that Prophet not only included the "signal" by which that generation would know that the devastation of Jerusalem was near, but He also gave a "signal" connected with another event to occur in the history of that same city. Jerusalem would "be trodden down of the nations, until the times of the nations be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). The control of the city of Jerusalem would return to the control of the government of a Jewish State.
p 4 -- That event would mark the beginning of the final generation as "the times of the nations" had run its course. To the prophet Daniel, Gabriel revealed the time allotted by Heaven for the Jewish people as a nation of God's choosing - "the seventy weeks." Now the Prophet sets an event to mark the end of the "kairos" time allotted to the nations. The importance and meaning of this fulfilled "signal" is just as significant to us as the "signal" given in AD 66 was to the Christians in Jerusalem. To ignore it, God "will require it" of us. There is one difference. The first "signal" heralded the prophesied devastation of Jerusalem, the second "signal" marked the close of probationary time for the nations as the close of "seventy weeks" did for the Jewish nation in AD 34. The "now" time can be compared with the time between events of the 70th week and AD 70. Individual decisions must be made before Michael "stands up" and all human probation closes, just as individual decisions had to be made by the Jews of that generation prior to AD 66.
The question is, how have we viewed this prophecy of the Prophet that came into the world to speak for God?
History of the Interpretation of Luke 21:24 in Adventism -- In 1898 James Edson White published, The Coming King, which focused on events that would herald the return of Jesus the second time. In regard to Luke 21:24, White wrote: We also read that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Jerusalem has never again come into 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)
This book went through several printings. It was published in Australia by the Echo Publishing Company in 1904. In that edition, White's comments on Luke 21:24 were edited in contrast to the 1906 edition by the Review and Herald Publishing Association which retained the 1898 conclusion - "This will be when the work of the gospel is finished" (p. 109).
During the decades which followed, the Church moved to the position that there would never again be a State of Israel. Two paperbacks were published in the 1940s: 1) Palestine in Prophecy, in 1944 was used as a book of the month by the Voice of Prophecy. Written by J. C. Stevens, the last sentence of the book read: Palestine and Jerusalem do not have a bright future in this present world, and those who are holding the hope of national restoration for the Jews are following a theological will-o'-wisp. (p. 95)
2) In 1947, the Pacific Press released a book by Roy F. Cottrell captioned - The Jews and Palestine. On page 61, Cottrell 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."
Yet one year later, the State of Israel came into existence, however, the city of Jerusalem remained in alien hands. It is obvious that in departing from our earlier published position, our reputation as students of Bible prophecy was tarnished. In 1952, the Church attempted to recover the lost ground. For the Bible Conference held in the Sligo Park Church the first two weeks of September of that year, Arthur S. Maxwell was assigned the topic, "Imminence of Christ's Second Coming." In this presentation, Maxwell noted three areas of unfulfilled prophecy, one of which he designated as, "Developments in Palestine" (Our Firm Foundation, II, p. 230). Forthrightly, he stated - "The recent dramatic restoration of the nation of Israel has focused the attention of mankind once more upon Palestine." He clearly indicated that this event did not and would not restore Israel to a favored nation status with God. "However," he said, "there is one prophecy concerning Palestine that we should all be watching with special care." Then he quoted the words of Jesus in Luke 21:24 and noted: Victorious as were the forces of Israel in every other part of Palestine, they failed to take the most dazzling objective of all. Mysteriously they were held back from achieving this most cherished goal, this culminating triumph, as by an unseen hand.
Maxwell asked - "What could be the reason?" - and gave the answer, "Only that the times of the Gentiles are not yet fulfilled." (emphasis supplied)
When in 1967, Jerusalem was once again under Jewish control, how did the Church view the event? in the 20th Century Bible Course, Lesson 5 is very appropriately captioned, "Time Running Out." Question #2 asks - "What sign did Jesus give that would indicate when the destruction of the city [of Jerusalem] was at hand?" Luke 21:20 is cited as the answer. A note follows which reads in part: The city of Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman armies in AD 66. After a period of time the army withdrew and the Christians, recognizing the sign given by Christ fled the city and did not return. In AD 69 the Romans returned, and destroyed the city in AD 70. Nearly a million people died or were sold into slavery at that time, but not a single Christian died. They watched for the sign Christ had given and obeyed His instructions. (Emphasis theirs)
Question #3 asks - "How long did Christ say that Jerusalem would be trodden down?" The student is referred to"verse 24" for the answer with this note following:
p 5 -- Old Jerusalem and the temple site has (sic) been occupied largely by the Gentile nations until 1967 when the Jews took possession of it in a "lightning victory." This portion of Christ's prophecy was fulfilled in our day!
In 1980, the subject of the second quarter's Sabbath School Adult lessons was "The Witness of Jesus" authored by Dr. Jean Zurcher. His book, Christ of the Revelation, was translated into English from the French and recommended as a "Helps" for the quarter's lessons. In this book, Dr. Zurcher comments on the prophecy of Jesus as found in the Synoptic Gospels. He writes: Few today would deny the precision of this prophecy. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in AD 70 is a historical fact commemorated on the triumphal arch of Titus in Rome. The dispersion of the Jews among all nations is still a reality. As for Jerusalem, nineteen centuries of history should provide adequate proof that it has been "trodden down of the Gentiles" - first by the Romans, then by the Arabs, next by Christian nations during the Crusades, fourth by the Turks up to the end of the first world war, then by the British, and finally by the Jordanians until the Six-Day War in June, 1967.
This prophecy of Jesus was a sign to the Christians 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. (p. 71)
Dr. Zurcher suggests that three questions need to be answered so as to better understand the meaning of Jesus' prophecy: 1) "What exactly does the expression 'times of the Gentiles' mean?" To this question, he answered "The times of the Gentiles is the period set aside by God for the evangelization of the heathen nations." 2) "What should be understood by the fulfilment of the times of the Gentiles?" His answer - "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." 3) "What connection is there between the retaking of Jerusalem by the Jews and the fulfilment of the times of the Gentiles?" He stated in answer - "The fact that since 1967 Gentiles no longer have [controlled] Jerusalem means, therefore, that we are now living at the end of 'the times of the Gentiles."' (p. 72)
One question he asks in his discussion of this prophecy of Jesus is worth pondering. He wrote -"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."' (pp. 71-72)
All discussion of Jesus' prophecy of Luke 21:24 during the time from the 1952 Bible Conference to Zurcher's book in 1980, has not been consistent. In 1974, a series of Bible Conferences were held in the North American Division. During these conferences, Dr. Herbert E. Douglass presented a paper on "The Unique Contribution of Adventist Eschatology." In his presentation, Douglass asserted "Adventists do not see theological importance in the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 or in the annexation of Old Jerusalem in 1967." (p. 6) He reiterated this same concept in his book, The End, published in 1979; but he changed the concept from "theological importance" to "prophetic importance." (p. 48) While it is true that no prophecy was fulfilled in the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, it cannot be denied prophetic significance as "coming events cast their shadows before" (Desire of Ages, p. 636). However, to deny prophetic fulfilment to the fact that the State of Israel gained control of Jerusalem in 1967 is to disregard the words of that Prophet who came into the world to speak the words of God. This is to walk on extremely dangerous ground.
Douglass sets forth a counter principle in interpreting last day prophecies which he terms "conditional prophecy." He stated at the conference - "The principle of conditional prophecy recognizes that the promises and threatenings of God are alike conditional". (p. iv) Luke 21:24 is neither a promise nor a threat, but a prediction of an event which has taken place, even as the declaration that the government of the papacy was ended in 1798, marked the close of the 1260 prophetic days. The event of 1967 marks the hour when the "times of the nations" were closing. However, to this principle of conditional prophecy, Douglass adds a corollary which he terms "the principle of the harvest." This states "that God will wait for the maturing of Christian character in a significant number of people as the chief condition determining the time of the advent." (ibid.)
This flies directly into the face of the Biblical revelation of God in salvation history. To Noah, God declared - "My spirit shall not always strive with man" (Gen. 6:3) He limited his days to 120 years. He did not extend the time even though in those 120 years, only "eight souls" were prepared to enter the ark that He designed for their "salvation." Upon instruction to explain the vision of the 2300 days given to Daniel, Gabriel declared - "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people." When that time period was fulfilled, probation closed for Israel as the nation under God. The "times of the Goyim (Gentiles) began." Jesus, as the Prophet of God, gave the "signal" when their time as corporate bodies was closing. We stand within shadows of the final closing of all human probation. And again another event in the history of Jerusalem will herald that event. (See Daniel 11:45)
It should be clearly understood that even if "the chief condition" for determining the second advent were a "perfect" development of character as Douglass holds, ages would lie ahead in the history of mankind as is, because such a possibility is unattainable by man of himself.
p 6 -- It will require a divine intervention such as is typified by the final atonement. (See Zechariah 3) By God permitting the fulfilment of Jesus's prophecy of Luke 21:24, He is telling us that we have come to that hour. In the words of the Lord to Ezekiel - "Evil on evil, says the Lord Eternal -- it is coming, the hour has come, the hour is striking, and striking at you, the hour and the end" (7:5-6, Moffatt) God has had enough. As in the days of Noah, the Spirit of God will soon cease to strive with man.
After "the Hour of Visitation" for the Nations - Ellen White wrote - "After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation ... (R&H, Dec. 13, 1892). Observe closely that "after" the witness to "all nations" has been given, time continues dominated by "every conceivable power of evil." This "witness" factor in relationship to "the times of the Gentiles" is one of the points that Dr. Zurcher emphasized in his analysis of Luke 21:24. He wrote in defining the meaning of the expression, "times of the Gentiles" - "As I understand 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 for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."' (Zurcher, op. cit.) The "end" as used by Jesus is not a point of time, but rather a period of time. While cronoV (time) continues, kairoV (the word used from "time" in Luke 21:24) ended for the nations. That was in 1967.
Think carefully over the past three decades, and consider the words chosen by the Messenger of the Lord to describe this time revealed to her - the breaking forth of "every conceivable power of evil." The "days of Lot" (Gen. 19:5), and the "days of Noe" (Gen. 6:2, 5) were even as our "days" now are. (Luke 17:26-30) Homosexuality, and promiscuous sex dominate the morality of the past three decades.
Other evidences of a religious nature, which mark their beginning date as 1967, indicate the unleashing of Satanic forces to accomplish the objective indicated in prophecy.
"Pentecost Sunday, 1975, will live in church history as the day when the charismatic movement in the Catholic Church arrived in St. Peter's with full force. During the pontifical mass presided over by Pope Paul VI on May 18, the sound of tongues and charismatic singing filled the massive nave of the ancient mother church of Roman Catholicism." (Christianity Today, June 6, 1975, p. 45) This same journal describing the Pentecostal Movement in Romanism stated - "On the surface, the big story is still the movement's phenomenal growth. From its beginnings among a handful of mostly young persons at a retreat in 1967 on Duquesne University campus in Pittsburgh, it now encircles the earth." (ibid., June 22, 1973, p. 37)
The prophet Isaiah marks as a sign of the last days, a people forsaken by God because "they be replenished from the east" and are involved in Spiritism. (Isa. 2:6) The World Book Encyclopedia in its 1968 Year Book, under the topic, "Eastern Influence" summarized: Finally, news of non-Western religion came to the West in 1967 through the efforts of individuals and groups that might be described as commuters between value systems. The "hippie" phenomenon, which reached a peak in mid-summer, was an example. Hippies turned to Zen Buddhism, the Vedas, the writings of Rabbi Hillel, and the teachings of Jesus, implying that these could provide meaning for a non-violent generation. The Beatles were the best known of the celebrities who turned to Easterr Religion as they sought "transcendental meditation" through contact with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, their choser spiritual leader. Timothy Leary advocated a religion based not only on mind-expanding drugs like LSD, but also on literary resources of Eastern religion. (p. 476)
Another event marked 1967, a mix between religious elements and the toy industry. John Godwin in his book, Occult America, observes: The year 1967 was a historic milestone for the United States toy industry. In that year Americans ditched ther longest-standing favorite among board games, and elevated Ouija boards to its place. (p. 271)
Commenting on this "current dizzying surge" in the sale of Ouija boards, Godwin observed (at the time of his writing) that "the usual wives, mothers, and sweethearts of servicemen were joined by millions of teenagers, right down to the thirteen-year-old level." Then he comments - "While the involvement of servicemen's relatives has obvious reasons, the sudden enthusiasm of the teenagers remains a mystery." (p. 272)
Add to all of this data, the beliefs held by the core group of the New Age Movement - Findhorn. Those involved in the Findhorn Community progressed from Western mystical concepts into Eastern Pantheism aided by their "spirit guides." Through their various experiences beginning in 1953, they became "convinced that the New Age would begin at the end of 1967." (Secrets of the New Age, p. 25) In 1970, a David Spangler and his soul mate, Myrtle Glines came to Findhorn for a visit and stayed three years. During this time Spangler received messages from a spirit which identified itself as Limitless Love and Truth. This spirit had sent messages earlier to other people in England, and the combined revelations "formed the basis for their belief that the New Age began at the end of 1967." (ibid, p. 27)
One thing is evident that in 1967, the spirit world of demonic forces was unleashed with new life and vigour.
p 7 -- What does this mean and what is the objective? At the close of four chapters on the working of evil spirits in the great controversy between Christ and Satan is found a very important paragraph. It reads in part: Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world ... Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of Spiritualism. He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs; but it will be reached in the last remnant of time. Says the prophet: (Rev. 16:13,14 is quoted. Pick up your Bible and read these verses) 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 to a fatal security, to be awakened only by the outpouring of the wrath of God." (GC, pp. 561-562)
No doubt your first reaction will be: "Those verses in Revelation are referring to the sixth plague. That is after the close of probation." True the sixth plague is, but the cause for God's judgment is not. Each plague with the exception of the third is God's response to what man has done in probationary time. For example, the first plague is upon those who "had the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image." (16:2) Did they receive the mark before or after the close of probation? The answer is obvious. Likewise the sixth plague is against a world leadership which responded to the workings of the "spirits of devils." When did they respond? In the "last remnant of time" because they knew not the hour of their visitation. When did God reveal that "the times of the nations" was fulfilled? By an event in the history of Jerusalem in 1967.
How can we be kept from the overwhelming deception? "Through faith in His word." Jesus that "Prophet" spoke, and God has warned that failure to hear what He said will be required of each of us. Are we being lulled into a fatal security, looking for a "signal" of end times when one has already be given? Or are we being deceived by the perception that God is going to wait endlessly on His professed people to alter course? Whichever it is, we cannot escape the fact that Jesus prophesied, and God has spoken by permitting events to transpire which fulfil what Jesus prophesied.
In the beginning of this article, we traced the reaction and the timing of events which culminated in the fulfilment of the first part of Jesus' prophecy as it related to "the time of visitation" for the Jewish hierarchy and nation. There is also a parallel which speaks to spiritual Israel today in the "trust" committed to them. Even as Gabriel told Daniel - "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people" (9:24) just as pointedly the Lord warned this people to whom He committed the "trust" that they likewise face an hour of judgment. This will be covered in another issue of WWN.
Whenever Luke 21:24 is discussed, there are those who seek to associate Jesus' literal message concerning events in the history of Jerusalem with Revelation 11:2 which is framed in highly symbolic language. Is there, or is there not, a relationship between these two verses? This too will be covered in a future issue of WWN. Other questions also remain to be addressed as one considers the objective of Satan in "the last remnant of time" as it relates to Revelation 16:13-14 and verse 16!
To the Pope at St. Louis -- President Clinton in his welcoming address to Pope John Paul II at St. Louis said: "Holy Father, we are moved by your desire to mark the new millennium with a journey to Jerusalem to bring mercy and reconciliation to all those who believe in one God in the holy place where all our faiths began." (Origins, Vol. 28, #34, p. 596)
Origins, a CNS documentary service, lifted this paragraph only from the full verbatim text of Clinton's address and placed it in enlarged type in a special box. Clinton in his private talk with the Pope "expressed appreciation for the positive role of the Holy See in international affairs." A question - Is there behind the scenes activity now over Jerusalem, even as Reagan had with the pope over Russia? --- (1999 Apr) --- End --- TOP
1999 May -- XXXII -- 5(99) -- Parallels -- Cicero, the Roman orator who lived in the first century BC, is credited with saying that "not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child." Paul wrote to the Corinthians - "Brethren, be not children in understanding: ... but in understanding be men" (I Cor. 14:20). We need not only to know what has transpired in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but to understand its significance. This is especially true of the decades which have followed the death of Ellen G. White and even more so the last five decades. In this period of time - 1915 to the present there has seen two different statements of belief approved by the Church in General Session; two Bible Conferences have been convened, one in 1919, and another in 1952: a prophecy of Jesus has been fulfilled to which the ministry of the church was alerted at the 1952 Conference. What is all of this saying? Are there no lessons to be learned? Is there a parallel between our history and the history of the Jewish nation in the time of Christ? Have we done to the truth of Jesus what the Jews did to Jesus, the truth? This is the major question, along with the historical data, which is addressed in this issue of WWN. Facing the reality of fact is not pleasant, and the conclusions to be drawn from the data of history are not the most palatable. Pablum is not what is needed at the present time, but "strong meat" (Heb. 5:14). There are too many "babes" sitting in the pews of the Church and on the chairs in the "home churches" of the independent ministries. Compounding this tragedy, there are "babes" in the pulpits and behind the lecterns placed in the homes.
Whenever the prophecy of Jesus as recorded in Luke 21:20-24 is discussed, there are those who blind their eyes because of what its fulfillment is actually saying. They cite Revelation 11:2 as its explanation which, because of its symbolism, requires further interpretation. This verse we analyze in context as well as citing definitive references in the book, which can lead to further in-depth study. Surely as the Writings witness -"We do not go deep enough in our search for truth," and refuse to accept that which is plain and simple.
p 2 -- Parallels -- This historical review will be based upon two premises:
Premise One: To give the last final message "to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people," as set forth in the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God ordained, a people were called and given a sacred trust even as Israel of old were entrusted of God with the covenants, the law, the typical mediatorial services, and the promises. (Rom. 9:4)
Premise Two: Jesus Christ and truth, pure and unadulterated are inseparable. The rejection of one is the rejection of the other.
To this second premise, there is a corollary: The same Revelation which identifies the final message, pictures in symbolism the close relationship between "the Lamb as it has been slain," and "the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." (Rev. 5:6) In the rejection of this Spirit of truth, men cross the unseen line knowing not "the time of their visitation." In the acceptance of the Spirit of truth men will receive "the fullness of divine power," often noted as "the latter rain."
To guide the last "Israel," God provided the renewal of the prophetic gift to lead that Israel to "the Land of Promise." Clearly it is set forth in the "gift" that the Three Angels' Messages of Rev. 14:6-12 is the sacred trust committed to the "last Israel" and that "Israel" alone. It reads: In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light-bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning message for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import, -- the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.
The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be warned, and God's people are to be true to the trust committed to them. (9T: 19)
Briefly we need to review aspects of the "trust." It is first and foremost "the everlasting gospel" (Rev. 14:13). This proclamation did not cease with the coming of the second angel whose message only added a dimension to the first angel's message. Likewise the third, for the gospel does not cease to be proclaimed until the hour when all human probation closes. The "everlasting" gospel is the core of this final warning.
The second angel announced "the fall of Babylon." The third comes as the controversy between truth and error reaches its final stage - the beast, his image and mark. (Of interest is the fact that of all three messages, only the third is described in the present tense in the Greek text. This has not been duly considered)
The first parallel between ancient Israel and modern "spiritual" Israel that needs to be noted is that even as God placed a time on the probation of His ancient people He warned its modern counterpart, that they too faced a judgment with similar consequences.
To Daniel, the angel Gabriel stated - "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city" (9:24) To the Church, the Messenger of the Lord wrote: In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Advent ist church is to be weighed She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed upon her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence "Found wanting." By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. (8T:247)
Observe carefully, corporate language is used - "she," and "her." The "church" as a corporate body faces the judgment of the sanctuary. This is language that every member of the Church grounded in the truth can and should understand. It is the sanctuary doctrine which gives uniqueness to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In that setting, the Church "is to be weighed." Neither is the meaning of "the sentence" mysterious. The force of "Found wanting" is clearly described in the book of Daniel. (5:25-28)
The simplest understanding of God's dealings with man tells one that the God who entrusted the Church "with the most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals," and told them that they would be "weighed in the balances of the sanctuary," is not going to leave that Church in darkness as to the decision rendered. Further, if the trust involves and it does, the giving of the Three Angels' Messages "to every nation," and "the times of the nations" are "fulfilled" (Luke 21:24), then certain conclusions are inescapable whether we want to recognize them or not. Either the work of the Church has been completed and the "witness" has been given so that the end can come (Matt. 24:14); or else the Church has failed in its trust, and God has found it wanting, and will have a final witness given to individuals of "the nations" through another means. The latter is suggested by Jesus. See Mark 13:9-11. Read these verses carefully and notice the interjected 10th verse which contrasts the corporate "nations" with the individuals - "rulers and kings" - before whom the final witness will be given. Further observe, those who bear the witness will be but mere instruments in the control of "the Holy Spirit." They will have received the Latter Rain!
p 3 -- Both to ancient Israel, and to modern Israel was committed a sacred trust. The facts of history indicate that the event which would mark the "the times of the nations" (corporate entities) fulfilled has occurred. Are there any parallels between the closing history of that nation whose probation was marked in the prophecy of Daniel, and modern spiritual Israel whom God told His "Messenger" would be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary? We believe there are, and shall delineate these events. The major difference, which is in reality no difference, will be the crucifixion of Jesus, the truth, and the crucifixion of the truth as it is in Jesus.
First, let us take a look as the overall import of the prophecy of Jesus as given in Luke 21:20-24. These verses are a unit of thought underscoring two events in the history of a single city, Jerusalem. In these verses, Jesus answered the two questions asked by the disciples: 1) "When shall these things be? (The destruction of the "desolate" temple); and 2) "The sign (singular) of thy coming and end of the world?" (Matt. 24:3). To the first question, Jesus replied - "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies then know that the desolation thereof is nigh" (Luke 21:20) When this event occurred, they were to do something - "Then let them ... which are in the midst of [the city] depart out" (v. 21). To whom did this prophecy of Jesus have meaning, and for whose benefit was it primarily given? The Jewish nation whose probation had closed, or to the followers of Jesus? Should the second event "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the nations, until the times of the nations be fulfilled" - be any less significant to the follower of Jesus today?
The core of the Three Angels' Messages is "the everlasting gospel." The other aspects of the Messages are adjuncts to this central core. When an adjunct becomes the major theme of emphasis, then the whole message is out of balance. The church in its beginning decades came to the place where it was preaching "the law until we were as dry as the hills of Gilboa that had neither dew nor rain" (R&H, March 11, 1890). To correct this imbalance of emphasis, and to restore the "core" to its rightful place, God sent two "messengers" in 1888 with the message of righteousness by faith. The question, was it accepted, or was it rejected, is still with us. Interestingly, in 1924, Elder A. G. Daniells was commissioned by the Ministerial Association Advisory Council to arrange "a compilation of the writings of Mrs. E. G. White on the subject of Justification by Faith." The result was the book, Christ Our Righteousness, which was published in 1926. After noting the 1888 Message as "an awakening message," he writes: To this day, many of those who heard the message when it came are deeply interested in it and concerned regarding it. All these long years they have held a firm conviction, and cherished a fond hope, that some day this message would be given great prominence among us, and that it would do the cleansing, regenerating work in the church which they believed it was sent by the Lord to accomplish. (p. 35)
Honesty requires that we recognize that Elder Daniells is saying in a nice way the message was rejected. Even though lip service was given to it in the years following the turmoil which surrounded the 1888 GC Session in Minneapolis, it still was shelved as a living reality in the life of the church.
In 1950 two other "messengers" challenged the church alleging that the message of 1888 was rejected, and that there was a need for a restoration of the message to be accompanied by a "denominational repentance." Their presentation to the "brethren" was summarized in the manuscript, 1888 Re-Examined. The first overt response to the manuscript was a letter to Elders Wieland and Short from the Defence Literature Committee dated December 4, 1951.
The covert response to the manuscript was the 1952 Bible Conference. This conference was a crucial event in the history of the Church as it entered the last half of the 20th century. Elder W. H. Branson who called for this conference, presented near its close a message on "The Lord Our Righteousness." As he concluded this message, he admitted that "to a large degree the church failed to build on the foundation laid at the 1888 General Conference," and as a result "much has been lost." "But," he said, "the message of righteousness by faith has been repeated here... And this great truth has been given here in this 1952 Bible Conference with far greater power than it was given in the 1888 Conference . (Our Firm Foundation, Vol. 2, p. 616)
Clearly referencing the challenge of Wieland and Short, Branson declared: No longer will the question be," What was the attitude of our workers and people toward the message of righteousness by faith that was given in 1888? What did they do about it?" From now on the great question must be, "What did we do with the light on righteousness by faith as proclaimed in the 1952 Bible Conference?" (ibid p. 617)
If we define "righteousness by faith" as stated in Testimonies to Ministers, p. 65 as "pure, unadulterated truth," the last question of Branson's is prophetic - the great question "must be" what was done with the truth presented in the 1952 Bible Conference? It was at this conference that Elder Arthur Maxwell declared - "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.' Luke 21:24."
I was present as a delegate to this conference from the Southern Union. I attended all the sessions and presentations as well as a "side" session by a veteran minister, W. R. French, who opposed what W. E. Read said in his pres-
p 4 -- entation. I saw the negative reaction of many to the paper given by Edward Heppenstall on "The Covenants and the Law." I listened carefully to Arthur Maxwell's presentation but missed the significance of his reference to Palestine. It was later pointed out to me by Elder D. K. Short who had been reading carefully the published papers presented at this Conference. In all the sessions, I never heard anything that approached the recorded messages of either Jones or Waggoner that I have read since that date. For the most part, the messages were an affirmation of what has been termed "historic" Adventism. Tragically, this affirmation did not keep the Church in the hour of test which lay just before it.
In "the palace of the high priest"-- In the spring of 1955, the Seventh-day Adventist-Evangelical Conferences began and continued into the summer of 1956. Some five years prior, T. E. Unruh, then president of the East Pennsylvania Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, wrote a letter to Dr. Donald G. Barnhouse commending him on a series of radio sermons on righteousness by faith. An exchange of correspondence followed which was abruptly concluded the following year after Barnhouse made an attack in his publication, Eternity, on the book, Steps to Christ, which Unruh had sent him. On the staff of Eternity, was Walter R. Martin serving as a consulting editor. He had been commissioned to write a book against Seventh-day Adventists, and Barnhouse showed him the exchange of correspondence between himself and T. E. Unruh. Desiring to know what Adventist taught first hand, he made contact with Unruh and asked to meet some Adventist leaders including Leroy E. Froom. This was arranged, and in March 1955, the conferences began at the very center of the work, in "the palace of the high priest." (John 18:15)
In July of 1955, Unruh wrote a long letter to Froom and W. E. Read who at Froom's suggestion was asked to join in the discussion with Martin. Later, R. Allen Anderson, Ministerial Secretary, and editor of the Ministry magazine, was added as a conferee. This letter requested that if possible the Adventist conferees be relieved of other responsibility so as to devote their time to this developing encounter with the Evangelicals. A copy of the letter was sent to R. R. Figuhr, then president of the General Conference. From this point on, Figuhr gave the support of his office to the conference and the publication in 1957 of the definitive statement of Adventist beliefs, the book, Questions on Doctrine.
Walter Martin asked the Adventist conferees a series of questions regarding what the church believed. To these questions, the Adventist formulated answers. These questions and answers formed the basis of the book, Questions on Doctrine. To guide the questions and answers through to publication, Figuhr appointed a committee which he chaired. The committee consisted of the administrative officers of the General Conference, the editor of the Review & Herald, and the four Adventist conferees. In September of 1956 the officers of the General Conference, taking a direct hand in planning the book, ap pointed a small editorial committee. This committee in turn asked the Review and Herald Publishing Association to publish the book "as compiled by a committee appointed by the General Conference." The General Conference officers "approved the title" for the book and "the exact wording" of the introduction that was to appear over the signature of the editorial committee.
Two factors in regard to the theological positions taken in the book, Questions on Doctrine need to kept in mind: 1) According to T. E. Unruh's report on this conferenc (Adventist Heritage, Vol. 4, #2), the Adventist conferee gave as answers to the questions asked by Martin who they considered to be "contemporary" Adventist theology. They appealed to the 1931 Statement of Beliefs as the basis for this teaching. Just three years previously the major theological positions of the Church, save one, had been presented at the 1952 Bible Conference. That would have been truly "contemporary" Adventist teaching. But not even a reference has been found where this conference's presentations were used to substantiate the position stated by the Adventist conferees, although eleven of the fourteen members of the committee appointed to oversee the preparation of the answers given to Martin into book form had presented papers at the 1952 Bible Conference. Yet this book would be published as "a definitive statement of contemporary Adventist theology."
2) During these conferences with the Evangelicals, the Evangelical conferees coached the Adventists as to how they could express their "beliefs in terms more easily understood by theologians of other communions." The bottom line is, in simplest of terms, that the Evangelical helped the Adventists write their "new" theology. All of this was done as it were "in the palace of the high priest."
Prior to the publication of the book, Questions on Doctrine, the manuscript was quickly sent to 250 ministers the Church world-wide for their evaluation, asking for speedy reply. Articles began appearing in the Ministry magazine setting forth the new theology which would be expressed in the forth coming book. Worker's meeting were held at the conference level to explain to the ministry what had taken place at the General Conference headquarters. Then the book was released, and a distribution program was planned whereby the churches were asked to purchase the books for the libraries and the clergy of the communities. This was underwritten so that the cost of hardcover copy of the book was only $1.00.
Another factor in this betrayal of its sacred trust, is th fact that the book, Questions on Doctrine, was a revision of the answers given to Walter Martin before being released to the Church to read and distribute. Deception was practiced on the rank and file in Adventism. One can check for himself the fact of revision by comparing the
p 5 -- answer given to Question 3 in the book with Martin's quotation from the same answer as given him, in the article appearing in Eternity, November 1956, captioned, "What Seventh-day Adventists Really Believe." While the revision in this instance involves only one added word, the addition changes its meaning. The original answer read in reference to the death of Christ on the cross that it was "the complete atonement for sin." The revision in the book reads - "the complete sacrificial atonement for sin." The whole truth of this "betrayal" will never be known until a copy of the original answers is released.
I had an occasion in 1977 to visit with Don F. Nuefeld when he was associate editor of the Review. During the conversation, he asked me if I knew that the book, Questions on Doctrine, was revised before it was released to the Church. I was dumbfounded, and replied in the negative. He indicated he had a copy of the original answers in his desk drawer but he was not at liberiy to release or to show to them to anyone. Upon my return home, I wrote and pled with him to release these answers for the sake of truth, ethics not withstanding. He replied - "I still feel it would be unethical to make available copies of those original answers sent to Martin and Barnhouse. I received them in confidence and would have to have the permission of the people involved before I could make them available to others. I1 hope you don't mind." (Letter dated Oct. 28, 1977) I did mind, and still do. Nuefeld has passed from the scene of action, but somewhere those original answers still exist. The original answers and the answers given in the book need to be carefully compared in critical areas so that the full extent of the compromise can be known.
What Does the Book Teach? -- T. E. Unruh in his report of the Conference, cited above, wrote that in replying to Martin's initial questions, "we emphasized those doctrines held by our church in common with Evangelical Christians of all faiths in all ages. We stated our conviction that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the only rule of Adventist faith and practice. We affirmed our belief in the eternal and complete deity of Christ, in his (sic) sinless life in the incarnation, in his (sic) atoning death on the cross, once for all and allsufficient, in his (sic) literal resurrection, and in his (sic) priestly ministry before the Father, applying the benefits of the atonement completed on the cross." What this means, and how the Evangelical conferees helped the Adventists to express it, is found amplified in the book, Questions on Doctrine [QonD].
The Incarnation: In the first part of the book, the position is assumed that Christ accepted the fallen nature of man vicariously, even as He bore our sins. (p. 58) Matthew 8:17 is cited which is quoted from Isaiah (53:4). In the LXX, the Greek verb, yerw (bare) is used in stating "He bares our sins." QonD reads "so He bore (Gr. anaphero) our weaknesses (Matt. 8:17, Weymouth)" Neither the Greek text of Matthew, nor Weymouth reads this way. The word in Matthew is elaben, "He took," not anayerw, "He bore." There is a difference between, "He bore" and "He took." He bore our sins; He took our weaknesses. This word, "weak nesses" (asqeneiaV) was troubling to the Adventist conferees because it is translated elsewhere in the New Testamerit as "sickness" (John 11:4), and "diseases" (Acts 28:9). [I have personally sat in the presence of T. E. Unruh and A. V. Olson and witnessed an argument between them over the question, Could Jesus take the common cold?] In Qon D they questioned: It could hardly be construed, however, from the record of either Isaiah or Matthew, that Jesus was diseased or that He experienced the frailties to which our fallen human nature is heir. But He did bear all this. Could it be that He bore this vicariously also, just as He bore the sins of the whole world? (p. 59; emphasis theirs)
Later in the book, the Conferees became very specific They wrote - "Although born in the flesh, He was nevertheless God, and was exempt from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam." (p. 383 emphasis supplied) This word, "exempt" has theological connotations. Commenting on the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Cardinal Gibbons in his book, The Faith of Our Fathers, wrote: Unlike the rest of the children of Adam, the soul of Mary was never subject to sin, even in the first moment of its infusion into the body. She alone was exempt from the original taint (p. 171, 88th ed., emphasis supplied)
No matter from what perspective you view the position stated in QonD, it is only one step removed from Romanism.
The Atonement: This involves two aspects: 1) What was done on the cross; and 2) What Christ is doing as High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary. The book emphatically states: Adventists do not hold any theory of a dual atonement. "Christ hath redeemed us" (Gal 3:13) "once for all" (Heb. 10:10). (p. 390; the entire first sentence is italicized for emphasis)
This strikes at a very basic hermeneutic upon which Adventism was founded - typology. There was the individual atonement typified in the sin offering brought by the sinner to the court (Lev. 4: 26, 31, 35), and the final atonement of cleansing ministered on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16). In the summary of the major feasts and holy convocations of Israel during a year, "the day of atonement" on the tenth day of the seventh month is expressed in the plural - "day of atonements" (Heb., Lev. 23:27-28). Whether this is the pluralis majesticus, or whether the plural is used to cover the multiple cleansings on that day - the most holy, the tabernacle, and the altar (Lev. 16:20) as well as the people - is perhaps an open question. However, on this day "no work," on pain of death, was to be done (23:30), in con-
p 6 -- trast to "no servile work" as prohibited on the other holy days (23:7, 8, 21,25,35-36) It was a distinct day, a day of days. Thus its antitype would also be distinctive. To proclaim this distinctiveness and its meaning was and is the heart of true Adventism.
In the first report of a five-article series on how the Evangelicals viewed the conferences, Barnhouse noted the teaching of Adventism, that Jesus entered into the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary on October 22, 1844 to begin a final work of atonement, as "the most colossal, phychological, face-saving phenomenon in religious history," and thus "nothing more than a human, face-saving idea!" From the context it can be deducted that the Adventist conferees pled that many of the articles and books written on this subject were the work of "uniformed" extremists. Barnhouse wrote - "Mr Martin and I heard the Adventist leaders say, flatly, that they repudiate all such extremes. This they said in no uncertain terms." This charge by Barnhouse has never been denied, nor have the circumstances surrounding the repudiation by "Adventist leaders" been clarified.
Keep in mind that the publications to which Martin or Barnhouse had access were not flyers written by "independents" but books and articles appearing as recognized publications of the Church. Further, note that Barnhouse did not use the term, "Adventist conferees" in stating who "repudiated" the position, but rather "the Adventist leaders." Until this is clarified, it must be assumed that the repudiation was done by those on a highest level of accountability for two reasons: 1) Unruh in his summary of the conferences noted that "Figuhr [GC president] gave the support of his office to the conferences and the publication of the definitive statement of Adventist belief which resulted;" and 2) "The General Conference officers appointed a small editorial committee," chaired by one of their own, which in turn invited the Review & Herald Publishing Association to publish the book "'as compiled by a committee appointed by the General Conference,' accepting the manuscript in its completed form."
Barnhouse also wrote that "they [Adventist leaders] do not believe as some of their earlier teachers taught, that Jesus' atoning work was not completed on Calvary but instead that He was still carrying on a second ministering work since 1844. This idea is also totally repudiated." QonD confirms this repudiation in the statement cited above from page 390 - "Adventists do not hold any theory of a dual atonement."
What does "the definitive statement of Adventist belief" teach on the atonement besides denying its duality?
Under a section heading, "Redemption Absolute by the Victory of Christ," is to be found this teaching- How glorious is the thought that the King, who occupies the throne, is our representative at the court of heaven! This becomes all the more meaningful when we realize that Jesus our surety entered the "holy places," and appeared in the presence of God for us. But it was with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it for us on the cross. And now as our High Priest He ministers the virtues of His atoning sacrifice for us. (p. 381; emphasis theirs)
How then are we to relate to the published statements prior to this "definitive statement" which speak of a "final atonement"? The book reads: When, therefore, one hears an Adventist say, or reads in Adventist literature - even in the writings of Ellen G. White - that Christ is making atonement now, it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement He made on the cross: that He is making it efficacious for us individually, according to our needs and requests. (pp. 354-355; emphasis theirs)
All of this compromise of the heart of Adventism occurred now over forty years ago. In the intervening time, a new Statement of Beliefs has been voted by the General Conference in session. Is this to be interpreted as a return to fundamental Adventist principles of truth?
Walter R. Martin also wondered about events in Adventism, and wrote in 1983 to the General Conference "calling for the Conference's public and official statement reaffirming or denying the authority of the Adventist book, Questions on Doctrine, ..." Two months later, W. Richard Lesher, then a vice-president of the General Conference, who was later to become president of Andrews University, replied. He wrote: You ask if Seventh-day Adventists still stand behind the answers given to your questions in Questions on Doctrine as they did in 1957. The answer is yes. (The Kingdom ol the Cults, p. 410) -- To be continued
Footnote: I used language borrowed from Scripture to caption this last section of the above article - "in the Palace of the High Priest." It was in the palace of the highest authority in Judaism, that the plans were formulated and carried out to crucify Jesus, the Truth. In the highest corridors of denominational authority, the crucifixion of the Truth committed in sacred trust to Seventh-day Adventists was formulated and carried out.
is less excuse in our day for stubbornness and unbelief
p 7 -- Revelation 11:2 -- "But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months."
Invariably when Luke 21:24 is discussed, those opposed to the literal language of Jesus appeal to Revelation 11:2 with its symbolic language to mitigate what Jesus said in His eschatological discourse.
Clearly, Luke 21:20-24 gives Jesus' words in literal language with no symbolism. The city which was to be "compassed with armies" was the same city that was to "be trodden down until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." To read into verse 24, that "Jerusalem" symbolizes the "church" necessitates the same interpretation of "Jerusalem" in verse 20. The absurdity of such an interpretation becomes self-evident.
Revelation 11:2 is set in symbolism. John was given a rod and is told "measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein" (v. 1). Yet no measurements are given. He is told not to measure the court for it is given to the Gentiles, and they shall tread under foot "the holy city" forty and two months. In the book of Revelation, the only use of the designation, "holy city" is for the New Jerusalem (21:2) "The forty and two months" is also symbolic and it is used in only one other reference - 13:5. There it is connected with the blasphemy against God, His tabernacle, and those "that dwell in heaven" which parallels, "them that worship therein."
The only other city discussed in the symbolism of Revelation 11 is designated as "the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." Literally Jesus was crucified at Jerusalem. Symbolically "the great city" is noted elsewhere in Revelation as the "woman" riding the scarlet colored beast (17:18, 3) The prophecy of Revelation has two "Jerusalem" cities, one above, designated as "the holy city;" the other of the earth designated "the great city."
The two prophecies, Jesus' own in Luke 21:22-24, and the prophecy which God gave to Him as recorded in the book of Revelation (11:2) are distinct and separate and talking about two different Jerusalems. We would do well to study more closely the part of chapter 11 which notes "the great city" and ties it with the history of literal Jerusalem, designating it as "spiritually" called Sodom and Egypt. Sodom enters Biblical history as a city ripe for destruction. In Revelation 14:18-20, the city again enters the picture of prophecy where a "winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress." It was without "the city" that a different blood was split when "our Lord was crucified." This "city" is also "spiritually" called Egypt. It was Egypt's king - Pharaoh, son of the sun-god Ra, who defied the God of heaven. It is this same "sun-god" who plans to "sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north." The prophet identifies him as "Lucifer." (Isa. 14:12-13)
We miss much when we fail to do in-depth study of the prophetic Word, letting that Word interpret its own symbolism by carefully comparing text with text. We curse ourselves when we fail to heed the fearful warning God gave in the prophecy of the Messiah to come, because to accept His prophecy crosses our presumptive conclusions of what God has to do, in our judgment, not what He has revealed He will do by His actions in salvation history.
do not go deep enough in our search for truth.
--- (1999 May) ---End---- TOP
1999 Jun -- XXXII -- 6(99) -- HISTORICAL DATA REVIEWED -- Editor's Preface -- A new generation of Seventh-day Adventists have arisen which have little or no knowledge of events which transpired as a result of the compromises made with the Evangelicals in the 1955-1956 Conferences. Some of that new generation have already ascended to union administrative positions. When one adds to this the large number of new members who are uniting with the Church through the annual Net outreach programs, it means that the vast majority of the Church today know little of the doctrinal changes and the conflict that took place four decades ago. Some of the "voices" speaking for what is called "historic" Adventism led compromising lives until they felt it "safe" to take a stand. Their past experience still colors their present perception of truth. In this issue, we continue to cover historical data which we began last month. We include key quotations from documents which were published in response to the compromises made at the SDA-Evangelical Conferences. We need to be mature in our thinking, and that cannot be until we honestly confront our past history, and are willing to make the decisions which that history indicates should be made. We can, if we choose, ignore the facts, and continue to day-dream in blissful expectancy of that which will not be Such is not an expression of faith, but a denial of God's revealed will in history and prophecy.
The last two articles are written to stimulate thinking. There is so much shallow thinking in, and surface teaching from, the Scriptures by professed "voices" of truth. One seeking to continue as a genuine Adventist, by listening to what these "voices" are saying, and not thinking nor studying for himself is in spiritual jeopardy. The concepts expressed in the two articles are not considered infallible, but the basis is in Scripture for each idea is noted, and the reader, it is hoped will carefully study each text for himself, as well as read what is written. The crescendo is rising in the attack on the American experiment of separation of church and state which guaranteed to all "religious liberty." That liberty is being challenged under a new name,"religious freedom." We plan to monitor this development of the "image to the beast."
p 2 -- Historical Data Reviewed -- Part 1 -- With the release of the book, Questions on Doctrine, controversy and dissension broke out in the Church. Elder M. L. Andreasen, a respected theologian, and Bible teacher, wrote a series of mimeographed, "Letters to the Churches." These were reduced to six letters and published by A. L. Hudson, a printer, serving as first elder of the Baker City, Oregon, church. The leadership of the Church, under Fighur moved swiftly and harshly against Andraesen revoking his ministerial credentials and cutting off his retirement benefits. The latter was restored to him quickly when Andreasen applied for welfare, and the State of California learned the details of that which had taken place.
The rumor was circulated that Andreasen was senile. I went to California personally to check on this allegation. Knowing the president of the Pacific Union at that time, I called him about visiting with Elder Andreasen and the charge of senility. His response was, "Andreasen in not senile; go and see him. I have warned the brethren that unless they get this thing settled, they are in for some real problems." I visited Elder Andreasen, taking by brother-in-law with me. He was as alert as I had seen him in previous years when he spoke at ministerial retreats. My brother-in-law stepped out of the room for a few minutes and Elder Andreasen inquired as to his spiritual experience. I told him, and Andreasen had some personal words with him upon his return. Before we left Andreasen prayed with us. I, as he prayed, was conscious that he had a personal connection with the One to whom he prayed. The presence of the Lord came into that room.
During, this time, A. L. Hudson was not a quiet bystander
merely printing Andreasen's Letters to the Churches. He became
actively engaged in the controversy. Among the patrons of his printing
business were lawyers for whom he printed legal briefs for submission
to the Supreme Court of Oregon. Borrowing the format of these briefs,
Hudson prepared a "Supporting Brief" for a proposed Resolution
to be submitted to the Delegates to the Forty-eighth General Conference
of the Church who would assemble in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1958. It read: Let
resolved, that in view of the evidence presented, the book Seventh-day
Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine does not represent the faith
and belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and is hereby repudiated
on the following five points:
In the balance of the Brief, evidence was given to support the five charges made. As was to be expected, the Brief was ignored and not presented to the delegates at the session.
Hudson didn't stop at merely writing this brief. He wrote both Martin and Barnhouse, but receiving no reply, telephoned Barnhouse and recorded the conversation whict he later published verbatim.
Every concerned and professed Seventh-day Adventist whether still in fellowship with the regular Church, or claiming to adhere to "historic" Adventism should read, or reread this conversation, keeping in mind that Barnhouse had engaged in serious conversation with Adventist leaders in high places - conversations which moved the Church from its foundational pillars. Barnhouse told Hudson that he and Martin had "written and signed [statements] by leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist movement" that they had not misinterpreted Seventh-day Adventists positions. He further claimed that "everything" he had published in regard to Adventists "was read by Seventh-day Adventist leaders before [being] published," and he named Froom as one of the those readers. When this factor is understood, the report of what Barnhouse wrote in the article - "Are Seventh-day Adventist Christians?" - concerning the repudiation of basic Adventism by Adventist church leaders, reveals a crucifixion of the Truth of Jesus as terrible as the Jews' crucifixion of Jesus the Truth.
In commenting on the book, Questions on Doctrine, Barnhouse told Hudson. "in a verv nice way, the leaders who have written this book, have moved from the traditional position of the SDA movement." He then suggested that Hudson write an article stating - "Let's face the fact that we have error in our fundamental position. Let's abandon them and go forward to truth."
Here we are face to face with a critically vital issue. In his Letters to the Churches, Andreasen forthrightly wrote "To repudiate Christ's ministry in the second apartment now, is to repudiate Adventism. That is one of the foundation pillars of Adventism. If we reject the atonement in the sanctuary now, we may as well repudiate all Adventism." (#4, p. 5) However, Barnhouse's suggestion to Hudson is not without merit. Questions can be raised in certain aspects of the teaching where in it does not reflect the Scriptures; but do we "abandon" the foundational pillar as suggested, or do we, by careful study and prayer, bring those aspect's into line with the Bible? The Evangelicals did throw at the Adventist conferees a certain text of
p 3 -- Scripture (Heb. 9:12 KJV) which they could not answer in the light of the foundational position held. Instead of revisewing the position, and finding the true force of the Greek text, they capitulated and "abandoned" the truth.
Brother A. L. Hudson not only challenged Questions on Doctrine, but he had received several years prior a copy of the manuscript, 1888 Re-Examined. He urged the General Conference to review the initial evaluation they had placed on the book. However, the second evaluation "was as unsatisfactory as the first." Hudson then appeared before the North Pacific Union Conference Committee and presented a motion requesting that all documents be made available for study in that Union. The result was a publication of A Warning and Its Reception. Hudson closed the original edition with Wieland & Short's "Final Letter to the Committee." The edition produced by the Adventist Laymen's Foundation added a letter from Wieland to Short regarding the last hearing on the manuscript by a General Conference committee. The result was the same as all the other appraisals and evaluations - negative. There was, however, a new and different element - the time. The time of the meeting was the very month that the prophecy of Luke 21:24 began its fulfilment, June 1967.
We can deny that prophecy was fulfilled; that it had any relevancy to what was taking place in the Church. We can scoff at the events of history and seek to interpret the words of Jesus contrary to the intent of the context in which they were given. This, however, does not change the facts of history, nor alter God's design for a message which He sent by two "messengers."(TM, p. 91) Two questions must be answered: 1) Did God intend that the message of righteousness by faith become "the loud cry" for the finishing of His work in the earth? 2) Was it rejected or accepted? Then there is the final question - Why did God permit the fulfilment of Jesus' prophecy to begin in the very month that the Church at its highest levels of authority rejected the 1950 appeal to reconsider the failure of 1888?
The year previous, R. R. Figuhr had been succeeded as president of the General Conference by R. H. Pierson. Pierson had been a delegate to the 1952 Bible Conference as President of the Southern Asia Division. He had heard Maxwell declare, "There is one prophecy concerning Palestine that we should all be watching with special care" and then quoted Luke 21:24. (Our Firm Foundation, Vol. 11, p. 230) I, too, was there, and heard what Maxwell said; but it made little impression because the traditional teaching of the Church concerning Palestine was so ingrained in my thinking that I was unable to separate Jerusalem as a sign from the fact that Israel was no longer the chosen people of God; and, therefore, events in Palestine were irrelevant. Such, too, may have been Pierson's experience.
It would be of interest if anyone having access to data connected with the Pierson administration could determine if any study or discussion ensued in the highest echelons of the Church following the fulfilment of Luke 21:24 in 1967. Somewhere along the line some consideration had to be given to the fulfilment of this prophecy for a paper presented at the series of Bible Conferences in 1974 to state, "Adventists do not see theological importance in ... the annexation of Old Jerusalem in 1967," reversing the 1952 Bible Conference declaration. Or was this merely a personal observation of the presenter?
A textual analysis of how Luke recorded what Jesus said reveals a Greek idiom - acri 'ou translated, "until." In the two other places where Luke uses this idiom, the KJV translates it by the words, "till" and "while" (Acts 7:18; 27:33). It indicates that a brief period of time elapses. Such there was in regard to Jerusalem. In 1967, the state of Israel regained control of the old city; and in 1980, an action of the Knesset arnexed the Cilby "in its entirety" to be "the capital of Israel" (Basic Law, July 30,1980).
In permitting the final sign given by Jesus to be fulfilled, God was seeking to tell the Church something, even as God used John the Baptist to tell the Jewish Church in its day of visitation, that there was only a brief period of time left in which to bring forth "fruits meet for repentance" (Matt. 3:8). It dare not be overlooked that the "trust" committed to the Church - the Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14 (9T: 19) - was a message to every "nation" as well as to individuals. With the "times of the nations"' probation about to close, the Church faced a crisis of the greatest magnitude: either the work had to be finished quickly, or it was finished, or else the Church had failed in its "trust" before God. Further, if the Church had altered the basic beliefs of the Three Angels' Messages, how could they in reality profess before God that they were still able to carry to completion that which had been committed to their "trust"? This is not a theoretical question, and the answer is written with indelible ink on the pages of history.
The Second Angel's Message had declared that "Babylon is fallen, is fallen" (Rev. 14:8); yet the Church through its representatives had entered into dialogue with the Evangelicals so as to alter fundamental beliefs. The Evangelicals were permitted to help in the expression of these beliefs so as to be acceptable with "Babylon"! The application of the term, "Babylon" was redefined, and the concept of the "Remnant" was enlarged so as to include the Evangelicals. (Questions on Doctrine, pp. 186-202)
During the second session of Vatican II, a Seventh-day Adventist "observer" and a staff member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) concluded that informal talks between a group of Seventh-day Adventists and an equal number of representatives of the WCC would fulfil a useful purpose." Why not dialogue with another segment of "Babylon"? Had not the leadership of the Church approved such a dialogue a decade earlier with the Evangelicals? The first informal meeting was held in 1965. This
p 4 -- was followed by formalized meetings with the "blessing" of the Church leadership in Europe. The employing bodies of the Adventist participants funded and authorized their participation. (See So Much in Common, p. 98) The results of these meetings were quick in coming.
The January 1967 issue of the official paper of the WCC Ecumenical Review - carried an article on "The Seventh-day Adventist Church." The Church through its official organ - Review & Herald - responded. Its associate editor Raymond F. Cottrell wrote three editorials (March 23, 30 & April 6, 1967). In the last editorial, Cottrell concluded: It is no small measure of regret that SDA's do not find it possible, as an organization, to be more closely associated with others who profess the name of Christ. On the other hand, if the Secretariat on Faith and Order, for instance, were to invite SDA's to appoint someone competent in that area to meet with their group from time to time and represent the SDA point of view, we could accept such an invitation with a clear conscience. Perhaps the same might be done in other areas of Christian concern. On such a basis we could concur with Dr. Hanspicker that the WCC is "one more place" where SDA's might bear their distinctive "witness to the full truth of the Gospel." (p. 13)
Reread this paragraph from the Review, and consider the force of what was being said - the expression of "regret" that the Church cannot more closely identify itself with "Babylon"! Had the WCC become converted through the informal and formal talks which had taken place for two years? Who really had been "converted"? Observe also that "with a clear conscience" the Church could approve of a Seventh-day Adventist theologian sitting on the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC in view of the purpose of this Commission which we shall note in a few paragraphs further.
The invitation suggested was not long in coming. The Central Committee of the WCC appointed Dr. Earle Hilgert, vice-president for Academic Administration of Andrews University as a member of the Commission on Faith and Order. The leadership of the Church endorsed this selection. Events moved so rapidly in 1967 that Dr. Hilgert was able to attend the triennial meeting of the Commission in Bristol, England, July 30 through August 8, 1967 as the first Seventh-day Adventist to serve with the Commission.
The hierarchy of the Seventh-day Adventist Church affirms to the laity that the Church is not a member of the World Council of Churches. This is technically true, but the request and subsequent appointment of a Seventh-day Adventist theologian to the Faith and Order Commission (FOC) has far greater implications than appears on the surface. Cottrell sought to cover his suggestion as "an opportunity to witness." This naive stance betrays either ignorance of, or a purposeful cover up of the real objectives of the FOC.
It must first be clearly understood what the WCC pronounces itself as "a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit." (WCC Constitution; see So Much in Common, p. 40) The WCC does not perceive itself as "a universal authority controlling what Christians should believe and do." However, they are striving as a "fellowship of churches" to "realize the goal of visible Church unity." To assist in this goal, -- the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council provides theological support for the efforts the churches are making towards unity. Indeed the Commission has been charged by the Council members to keep always before them their accepted obligation to work towards manifesting more visibly God's gift of Church unity. So it is that the stated aim of the Commission is to proclaim the oneness of the Church of Jesus Christ and to call the churches to the goal of visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in common worship and common life in Christ, in order that the world believe (By-Laws). (Faith and Order Paper No. 111, pp. vii-viii; emphasis supplied)
This is what the leadership of the Church through its official organ asked to become a part of in 1967. Then they forwarded this whole process towards "Church unity" by placing in the 27 Fundamental Statement of Beliefs at Dallas, Texas, in 1980, the full Constitutional statement of the WCC which is required for membership in that "fellowship of churches."
"Since 1968, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has been actively represented at the annual meetings of the 'Secretaries of World Confessional Families.' This participation is largely the result of WCC/SDA Conversations and contacts made at the time of the Uppsala Assembly [of the WCC]." (So Much in Common, p. 100) This association led to the separate audience granted by Pope Paul VI to the "participants of the Conference of Secretaries of the World Confessional Families" meeting in Rome in 1977 (RNS, May 19, p. 19). At the audience, Dr. B. B. Beach, Secretary of the Conference of Secretaries, presented the Pope with a gold medallion as "a symbol of the Seventh-day Adventist Church" (Review, August 11, 1977, p. 23). Thus in symbolism the Church was given into the hands of the Antichrist. No greater affront could be given to the God of Heaven than for His chosen people through a representative to wantonly defy the message of the Second Angel as was done on this occasion. This act was done with the full approval of, and prior arrangements with, the Northern Europe-West Africa Division Committee. [For full details, see the manuscript, Steps to Rome]
The fraternization with the WCC and involvement in other ecumenical groups such as the Secretaries of the World Confessional Families reaches down to the local units of this "community" of churches - the Ministerial Associa-
p 5 -- tions. These Associations while not organizationally linked with the WCC are microcosms of the World Council. One illustration of what can happen at the local level will suffice to show the end result. Southern Tidings, the official paper of the Southern Union Conference in the Telex news section for April, 1975, reported that Elder Robert Hunter, then pastor of the Morganton District of the Carolina Conference, joined in the local ministerial association's "Pulpit Exchange Day." The pulpit of the Adventist Church on that day was occupied by Fr. Thomas Burke, parish priest of the Roman Catholic Church. "The theme of the city-wide program was 'Blest Be the Tie."'
The strong contrast envisioned in the Third Angels Message between those who were to be entrusted with this message, and the power symbolically represented by the "beast" was nullified in a Brief presented in the United States District Court for Northern California. A footnote read: Although it is true that there was a period of time in the life of the Seventh-day Adventist Church when the denomination took a distinctly anti-Roman Catholic viewpoint, and the term "hierarchy" was used in a pejorative sense to refer to the papal form of church government, that attitude on the Church's part was nothing more than a manifestation of widespread antipopery among conservative protestant (sic.) denominations in the early part of this century and the latter part of the last, and which has now been assigned to the historical trash heap as far as the Seventh-day Adventist Church is concerned. (Rely Brief for Defendants in Support of Their Motion for Summary Judgment, Civ. No. 74-2025 CBR)
In the same Brief, the legal counsel for the Church's officers quoted from an affidavit given by one of the intervenors in which she had sworn that during her training and instruction in Adventist schools and churches, she had been taught that the Adventist Church strongly disapproved "the Roman Catholic system." To this the reply of the Brief read: In several ways this illustrates the danger incurred by an individual church member who presumes to deny the authority of the duly constituted officials and governing bodies of the Church. In the first place, it is true that for a period in its history, the Seventh-day Adventist Church had an aversion to Roman Catholicism and especially to the papal form of church government -- an aversion shared by virtually all Protestant denominations. ... While, however, Adventist doctrine continues to teach that church government by one man is contrary to the Word of God, it is not good Seventh-day Adventism to express, as Mrs. Tobler has done, an aversion to Roman Catholicism as such. (Ibid.) [See Excerpts - Legal Documents: EEOC v. PPPA]
How must the God of Heaven have felt when the Church to whom He had committed in sacred trust the giving of the Three Angels' Messages no longer shared the "aversion" with which the book of Revelation indicates He holds the Papal system? (To Be Continued)
"An Image to the Beast" -- "And [the second beast] deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had a wound by the sword, and did live." (Rev. 13:14)
In an analysis of this verse, the first determination must be how the word, "earth," is to be understood. Is it the planetary "earth" that is designated, or is it the svmbolic "earth" of Rev. 12:12 - "the inhabiters of the earth." Following this determination, we then seek to understand "the beast" to which the image is made. This is the "first beast" of Revelation 13. While the initial revelation to John describes only that "one of his heads as it were wounded to death," this verse (13:14) indicates that the beast, not just a head, "had a wound by the sword, and did live."
This composite beast resembles in its appearance, a leopard, bear and a lion (13:2). The sequence reflects the vision given to Daniel (chap. 7) except in Daniel these beasts appear in reverse order. One prophetic aspect defined in Daniel indicates that even though these three beasts - the lion, bear, and leopard - were stripped of their dominion, "their lives were prolonged for a season and a time" (7:12). The vision given to John indicates that the three beasts of Daniel live on in the first beast of Revelation 13.
There is a common denominator in the history of the kingdoms from Babylon through Rome in both of its phases pagan and papal. That denominator is the union of church and state. Two of the human interest stories in the book of Daniel focus on the experience resuitant from the State seeking to enforce a religious mandate: the Three Worthies in the fiery furnace, and Daniel in the lion's den.
The first vision outlined in the Book of Daniel - Nebuchadnezzar's metallic man - reveals a similar picture. There Babylon as well as the other three kingdoms are all represented by different metals, gold, silver, brass and iron. Even in the feet, the iron is retained, but clay is introduced. There is a mingling attempted, but in the time when this is attempted, "shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed" (2:43-44). A comment from the Writings, so contrary to traditional interpretation of this part of Daniel 2, invites careful study. It reads: "The mingling of churchcraft and statecraft is represented by the iron and the clay."(4BC, p. 1168: MS 63,1899) A sentence which follows in the paragraph reads - "This investing the church with the power of the state will bring evil results." This is a reverse picture from our common perception. We have perceived the state as carrying out the mandates of the
p 6 -- Church, and such is indicated in other parts of the paragraph from which these two sentences are quoted. Observe carefully that the mingling of church and state as described in the second sentence simply indicates that the "investing" of such power "will bring evil results." It is a prelude to what will follow.
As we began this article, we suggested that the first determination must be the meaning and use of the word, "earth." The interpretative text is Rev. 12:12 which warns -- "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." As the vision progressed, John beheld the first beast of Revelation 13 "rise up out of the sea" (v. 1) It was this beast to which the image was to be formed. The second beast which was to make the suggestion "to the inhabiters of the earth" was seen by John as "coming up out of the earth" (v. 11). Clearly history indicates the "sea" to be Europe, while "the earth" represents that nation which came into existence, all of European extraction in its beginnings. With this nation came a new vision of government. In 1893, the respected legal authority, David Dudley Field, observed: The greatest achievement ever made in the cause of human progress is the total and final separation of church and state. If we had nothing else to boast of, we could lay claim with justice that first among the nations we of this country made it an article of organic law that the relations between man and his Maker were a private concern, into which other men have no right to intrude."
The European model of government imaging the first beast is advocated by Professor Jan de Groof, president of the European Society for Education Law and Policy. He assessed the American achievement as "a completely outdated concept" and urged the "European model" where church and state "are not rivals" but work together to achieve "general, spiritual and material well-being." In Europe, churches, church schools and other ministries of are generously supported by tax dollars collected by their public officials. We might dismiss de Groof's thinking as an unwarranted intrusion into the American way of life were it not for the fact that he was one of the featured speakers at a conference, February 5 in Washington D. C. sponsored jointly by the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the Bradley Foundation, a wealthy right-wing foundation best known for its advocacy of religious school vouchers.
It needs to be recalled that the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center is George Weigel, who contributed to the book, Evangelicals and Catholics Together, Toward a Common Mission, edited by Charles Colson and Richard John Neuhaus. In the essay which he wrote for the book, Weigel referred to the "wallofseparationbetweenchurchandstate" as "a polysyllabic neologism," [One definition of "neologism" is "a meaningless word coined by a psychotic"] He wrote in this essay - The issue here is the direction that Evangelicals and Catholics together should take in reconstructing the moral foundations of American public life. Not surprisingly, the first item on the agenda is the reconstruction of genuine religious freedom in the United States, (p. 50) What does "religious freedom" mean to this "togetherness" of Evangelicals and Roman Catholics? The exact opposite to what was founded in America - the separation of church and state. Their goal is the union of Church and State - a replica of the European (papal) model. In other words "an image to the beast." This was clearly demonstrated in the conference held on February 5, 1999 in Washington, DC. [For an exchange of Letters over this issue between George Weigel and this editor soon after the book noted above was published in 1995, see WWN XXIX - 4(96), p. 5]
To what extent has "the investing the church with the power of the state" been realized? Congress has already approved "charitable choice" funding of churches in some social service programs, and others are under consideration. The State funds public education, but there is a drive by the Catholic Church and the Religious Right for "Voucher Plans" to aid religious schools. The "image" is being moulded.
Madison, writing a half century after the adoption of the Bill of Rights into the Constitution which guaranteed the separation of Church and State, observed that "the prevailing opinion in Europe, England not excepted, has been that Religion could not be preserved without the support of Government or Government be supported without an established religion, that there must be at least an alliance of some sort between them." However, he observed that the American experiment demonstrated that religion "does not need the support of Government and it will scarcely be contended that Government has suffered by its exemption of Religion from its cognizance, or its pecuniary aid." In other words, "an image to the beast" is not needed, but is coming, and already being formed. [All unreferenced quotations in the above article are from the editorial appearing in Church and State, March 1999, p. 15]
Freedom has only the meaning with which men endow it. It is not enough to pay lip service to the concept of religious liberty. We must pay heart service to it, as well, else it remains an empty phrase instead of a living reality. Kenneth B. Keating
p 7 -- "And the Books Were Opened" --A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set and the books were opened. (Daniel 7:10)
Nowhere in Daniel is it indicated that the books were closed. The "one like the Son of man" comes "to the Ancient of days" and receives a kingdom (vs. 13-14). The books still remain open. In the continuation of the vision Daniel sees that "judgment was given to the saints of the Most High" (v. 22). This same thought is found in Revelation - "Judgment was given unto them" (20:4). We have interpreted this same thought two different ways. In Daniel, we have said that this was "Judgment rendered in beha!f of the saints" because of the war waged against them by the little horn (7:21), while in Revelation we have interpreted the same concept as the saints sitting on thrones and rendering judgment. We have Biblical justification in concluding the latter: Jesus own words (Matt. 19:28), and Paul's statement in First Corinthians (6:2). The question then arises - Is the judgment which was set in Daniel 7:10 recessed at some point until the saints can sit in that judgment? The books remain open.
These books appear again and "the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books" (Rev. 20:12). They are called "dead" though portrayed as standing before God in the judgment of the "great white throne" (v. 11). They have no "eternal life" in them (John 6:53). It is evident that in the "books" have been recorded "their works." This factor of the judgment is doubly emphasized - "according to their works" (vs. 12, 13). The condemnation will be "the second death" (v. 14). With this the books are closed. Justice has been met.
We picture the recorded acts - "the works" - as heinous crimes and gross sins. True, such will be recorded. But also, there will be the records of those who while saying, "Lord, Lord," did not do the will of the Father in heaven. While claiming to have done many "wonderful works," even preaching in the name of Christ, and casting out devils, their lives were laced in lawlessness (Matt. 7:21-22). Many of the "dead" had sought to do "the works of God" but failed to do the single "work" required by God. Jesus said - This is the work of God that ye believe on Him who He hath sent" (John 6:29). The second death will claim many who "rich and increased with goods" thought they needed nothing (Rev. 3:17), as well as those Pharisees who could thank God that they were not like other men and who could recite to Him their accomplishments (Luke 18:11-12).
However, there is a further factor to consider. Introduced in Revelation is another book - "the book of life" (20:12, 15). It is a book which has been kept by one Person - "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (13:8). In that book are the "names" of those who have confessed Him, accepted the provisions He has provided, in other words, "believed" in Him. Interestingly, there are no "works" recorded, only "names." They are those who nothing in their hands could bring, but simply to the cross did cling. These "feared the Lord and thought upon His name" (Mal. 3:16).
The Book of the Lamb was begun early from the moment the Word dedicated Himself to become flesh. The first name recorded is simply "Abel bar Adam." He had accepted the "more excellent" sacrifice. The promise Jesus would make in the flesh was his by faith: He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation [Gr. "judgment" (krisiV )]; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)
Many of us at some time in our experience have filled out a resume. These we slanted as much as truth would allow to make the most favorable impression upon the one reading it. The Lamb's Book of Life contains no such resumes, only our names. We have nothing by which to merit heaven; in fact, more to exclude than to include us. Even our prayers must be offered with "much incense" (Rev. 8:3). All heaven echoes one song, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing" (5:12). Some of those who had been recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life, judged, and who are now ministering with Him in the sanctuary above join the chorus singing - He "hath redeemed us" (v. 9) How can we ever expect to unite our voices in that chorus, "Worthy is the Lamb who hath redeemed us," if we continue to trust in and boast about our works? We will be judged by those "works?" Who is willing to face the judgment seat on the merit of those works? Where must our faith be? In them, or in the Lamb that was slain? --- (1999 Jun) ---End----