1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
1975 Apr-Jun VIII 4(75) - VIII 6(75)
1975 Jul-Sep VIII 7(75) - VIII 9(75)
1975 Oct-Dec VIII 10(75) - VIII 12(75)
1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)
1976 Apr-Jun IX 4(76) - IX 6(76)
1976 Jul-Sep IX 7(76) - IX 9(76)
1976 Oct-Dec IX 10(76) - IX 12(76)
1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
1977 Apr-Jun X 4(77) - X 6(77)
1977 Jul-Sep X 7(77) - X 9(77)
1977 Oct-DecX 10(77) - X 12(77)
1978 Jan-Mar XI 1(78) - XI 3(78)
1978 Apr-Jun XI 4(78) - XI 6(78)
1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)
1978 Oct-Dec XI 10(78) - XI 12(78)
1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)
1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)
1979 Jul-Sep XI 7(79) - XI 9(79)
1979 Oct-DecXI 10(79) - XI 12(79)
Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
last of WWN published
ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)
SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation
- Legal Documents
Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer
Hour and the End is Striking at You, The - William H. Grotheer
the Form of a Slave
In Bible Prophecy
Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer
Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer
of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary
Ten Commandments - as Compared in the New International Version & the King James Version & the Hebrew Interlinear
OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:
Various Studies --
Bible As History - Werner Keller
Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts
Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith
Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson
Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones
"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson
Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen
Place of the Bible In Education, The - Alonzo T. Jones
Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen
So Much In Common - WCC/SDA
Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy
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WWN 1999 Jan - Mar
1999 Jan -- XXXII -- 1(99) -- BASIC UNDERSTANDINGS -- Editor's Preface -- With this issue of WWN, we begin our 32nd year of continuous publication. Much has transpired during these three decades plus, both within the Church and within the world. This preface is being written just a few days after the Americar mid-term election. If ever an election revealed the breakdowr of the moral fiber of America, especially on the West and East coast this one did. The lifestyle of the days before the Flood, and the the culture of Sodom are the same forces which seek to dominate the American scene. We need to remember that Jesusdsaid that this lifestyle and culture would mark the time jusI before His return. It is no longer a mere cliché to say thatl we have reached the end times. The devil indeed has come down knowing that he hath but a short time. The tragic factor is that the professed people of God with all the enlightenment of prophecy are still planning for "great days" in the 21st Century! The moral collapse in America coupled with the growing concern of the Religious Right foreshadows a "time of trouble" in which enforced righteousness will bring about the final events so long envisioned in the prophetic Word.
As we face the year ahead, we need to take stock of the basic understandings which marked the beginnings of God's final movement in the earth. We dare not forget that the Biblical hermeneutic of typology played an important role in the Millerite Movement, and in the Seventh-day Adventist perceptions of what actually took place in 1844. The Parable of Jesus in Matthew 25:1-13 did not end in 1844: it only began. We are in its ending time now. Since the days of Jesus, the word, "church," which we use to translate the Greek word,ekklhsia, meaning, "called out," has meant different things to different people. How do we relate it to today's proliferation within the community of Adventism? All of these "basic understandings" cry out for an answer. Is there one? We think so.
The discussion of Paul's theology in the Corinthian letters which was begun in last month's issue of WWN, will be concluded in the February issue. Some planned articles for 1999 had to be rescheduled.p 2 -- Basic Understandings -- The underpinnings of Adventism rest on the prophecy of Daniel 8:14, typology associated with the Hebrew sanctuary and its services, and the parable of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 25. (See The End of Historicism by Kai Arasola, pp. 90, 128) Commenting on typology, Dr Arasola writes "The typology of the NT is both horizontal, referring to historical fulfilments, and vertical, illustrating things considered as heavenly realities. An example of horizontal typology is in 1 Cor. 10 where Paul regards things from the Exodus and wilderness itinerary as symbols of various things in Christian experience" (p. 162) [Regarding vertical typology, he states - "Some of the clearest examples of vertical typology are found in the book of Hebrews" (p. 163)].
One horizontal type drawn by Paul from the Wilderness wanderings will preface our discussion of Basic Understandings. He wrote - "Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer" (1 Cor. 10:10). This is referring to the experience found in Numbers 14 where it is written: "And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness" (ver. 2).
This murmuring and discontent was the result of the report of ten of the twelve spies sent into the land of Canaart to search out the land. While Paul does not draw specifics from this experience or any other which he cites, he does leave the whole open for typological instruction. "They are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come" (v. 11). There is one aspect to the murmuring experience at Kadesh-barnea which we need to give careful consideration. God in judgment declared "Ye shall know my breach of promise" (14:34). The margin reads - "altering of my purpose." God intended to take the children of Israel into the Land of Promise at Kadesh-barnea, the point to which they had then come after leaving Sinai. Instead they went back into the wilderness for forty more years of wanderings till that generation died. They finally crossed over the Jordon at Jericho.
In the fifth volume of the Testimonies for the Church, there are a series of statements which associates the Church as "modern Israel" and compares its experiences with those of ancient Israel in the wilderness. (All of these statements were written in the decade leading up to 1888) They read: I have been shown that the spirit of the world is fast leavening the church. You are following the same path as did ancient Israel. (pp. 75-76)
The sin of ancient Israel was in disregarding the expressed will of God and following their own way according to the leadings of unsanctified hearts. Modem Israel are fast following in their footsteps and the displeasure of the Lore is surely resting upon them. (p. 94)
Satan's snares are laid for us as verily as they were laid for the children of Israel just prior to their entrance into the land of Canaan. We are repeating the history of that people. (p. 160)
[While this last reference alludes to the time after the forty years of wandering, it does add to the conclusion that the Seventh-day Adventist Church was perceived as "Modern Israel" by the Messenger of the Lord and thus subject to the type-antitype analogy in 1 Corinthians 10. (See The Exodus and Advent Movement in Type and Antitype by Taylor G. Bunch. This has just been republished by Teach Services, Brushton, NY 12916)].
We reached our Kadesh-barnea at Minneapolis in 1888 God sent to His Church a report from the Land of Promise of the glorious redemption in Christ Jesus through faith in His righteousness. What broke out in the camp of moderr Israel? - rebellion. The reaction to the report of "two spies" who brought forth evidences of the "fruit" of the Heavenly Land of Promise has been noted as a matter of record in the original edition of 1888 Re-Examined. Quoting from the Writings, they wrote:
I (Ellen White) can never forget the experience which we had in Minneapolis, of the things which were revealed to me in regard to the spirit that controlled men, the words spoken, the actions done in obedience to the powers of evil ... They were moved at the meeting by another spirit and they knew not that God had sent these young men to bear a special message to them which they treated with ridicule and contempt, not realizing that the heavenly intelligences were looking upon them.
Wieland and Short rightly concluded - "Thus did moderr Israel, fondly expecting to be vindicated before the world by a display of supernatural power in the long-expectec 'loud cry' actually do dispite to the Spirit of grace, and despised the riches of His goodness." (A Warning and Its Reception, p. 17)
Following the rejection of the God-sent message of Right, eousness by Faith at Minneapolis, a series of crises followed, even as in the case of ancient Israel as they returned to the Wilderness (See Numbers 16 & 20). The organizational struggles which climaxed in 1901 and 1903 grew out of the rejection of the message of 1888. (See Testimonies for Ministers, pp. 362-363) Of this trend, Ellen White would write to P. T. Magan: We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel, but for Christ's sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their ownp 3 -- wrong course of action. (M-184-1901)
The fact that we are still here proves the accuracy of this possibility. The possibility has become a reality. We face the necessity of accurately analyzing what did happen, and its significance for us as we stand on the eve of the Third Millennium of the Christian Era. We face the question - Will the final events be now as they would have been had the end come at the close of the 19th Century? Or, to ask the question in another way - Will the "altering of the Divine Purpose" affect the final events in a way similar to the way the course of the history of the Children of Israel was effected by the insubordination at Kadesh-barnea?
Beyond question, the Seventh Month Movement, out of which Adventism originated, taught that that Movement was the fulfilment of Jesus' parable-prophecy of Matthew 25. This is attested to in The Great Controversy which reads: The parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25 also illustrates the experience of the Adventist people. In Matthew 24 ..., Christ had pointed out some of the most important events in the history of the world and of the church from His first to His second advent ... After this He spoke of His coming in His kingdom, and related the parable describing the two classes of servants who look for His appearing. Chapter 25 opens with the words, "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins." Here is brought to view the church living in the last days, the same that is pointed out in the close of Chapter 24. (p. 393; writer's emphasis)
In the parable of Matthew 25 the time of waiting and slumber is followed by the coming of the bridegroom. This was in accordance with the arguments just presented, both from prophecy and from the types. They carried strong conviction of their truthfulness; and the "midnight cry" was heralded by thousands of believers. Like a tidal wave the movement swept over the land. (p. 400)
Simply stated, those involved in the Seventh Month Movement, believed that the whole of the parable of the ten virgins applied to their experience. They could reason in no other way because they believed that Jesus would return October 22, 1844, the 10th day of the 7th month. Thus all prophecies of events prior to the return of Jesus would be fulfilled in their entirety. But if we continue to so believe as they did, we will err because we will fail to take into consideration the continuance of time, and the application of that parable as the scroll unrolls. Here is a critical area for study which left unresolved will continue to promote the disunity and continued confusion which marks the various segments in Adventism today.
The parable is twofold in its message. There are two calls to go forth to meet the Bridegroom, the first implied, the second explicit. Actually the lesson intended by the parable does not begin to unfold, until the first call is an accomplished fact. It is stated in the Greek aorist (past) tense - "Then ... ten virgins ... took their lamps, and went forth (exhqon) to meet the bridegroom" (Matt. 25:1). Then Jesus describes how they went forth: five being "wise" took oil with them; five foolishly did not. However, after coming out as a united group - all ten - they "slumbered and slept" (ver. 5). The story as it unfolds indicates that at "midnight" a call from outside the sleeping virgins arouses them declaring - "Behold, the bridegroom; be going out (exercesqe) to a meeting of him" (v. 6; literal). This verb is in the present tense indicating the focus of the parable on the time of the second call to go out to meet the bridegroom.
Ellen White was conscious of this factor and noted it in connection with the 1888 experience. She wrote: I was confirmed in all I had stated in Minneapolis, that a reformation must go through the churches. Reforms must be made, for spiritual weakness and blindness were upon the people who had been blessed with great light and precious opportunities and privileges. As reformers they had come out [notice the past tense] of the denominational churches, but they now act a part similar to that which the churches acted. We hoped that there would not be the necessity for another coming out [present tense]. While we will endeavor to keep the 'unity of the Spirit' in the bonds of peace, we will not with pen and voice cease to protest against bigotry. (Ms. Release 1216, pp. 5-6; 1888 Material, Vol. 1, pp. 357).
This statement says much. While the Adventist Church was not Babylon ("the denominational churches"), if she did not reform, but continued in the path of "Babylon," it would produce "the necessity for another coming out." Then in writing of the first Tasmanian Campmeeting in 1896, she interjects the concept that such a coming out will become a reality. She wrote: My mind was carried into the future, when the signal will be given, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him." But some will have delayed to obtain the oil for replenishing their lamps, and too late they will find that character, which is represented by the oil, is not transferable. (R&H, Feb. 11, 1896)
This revelation is saying in simplest language possible that there is to be a second coming out. There will be a division among the "Ten Virgins." It will not be a separation from the "denominational churches" which marked the initiation of the Ten Virgins into one corporate body. It will be a separation within the "Virgins." It will take character to respond to the "signal" and come out a second time. In 1896, the Spirit speaking through "the messenger of the Lord" indicated that it was yet future. What was then future is now present.
Further in 1901, the same year she was to indicate to P. T. Magan that because of insubordination our entrance intop 4 -- "the land of Canaan" would be delayed, she conveyed at the close of a letter to Dr. J. H. Kellogg the necessity to study the prophecy of Jesus found in Luke 21. Her words were: "The words of Revelation 18 will be fulfilled. [The specific verses are not given, so the whole of the chapter must be assumed] Is not this description enough to cause all who read to fear and tremble? But those who do not love the light, who will not come to the light lest their deeds shall be reproved, will not follow on to know the Lord. By their attitude they say, I want not thy way, Lord; I want my own way.
But God has given His object lesson. If the world will not heed, will not the people of God take heed? In the twenty-first chapter of Luke, Christ foretold what was to come upon Jerusalem; with it He connected the scenes which were to take place in the history of this world just prior to coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (MS. Rel., #1102, pp. 10-11: Letter 20,1901)
Already in 1898 the Pacific Press had published a book by James Edson White, The Coming King, which commented on the prophecy of Jesus as given in Luke. Edson White wrote: "We also read that 'Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.' Luke 21:24. Jerusalem has never again come into the possession of the Jews, and will not until 'the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.' This will be when the work of the gospel is finished." (p. 98)
The counsel was not heeded, and the exegesis given Luke 21:24 by James Edson White was left undeveloped. In 1944, the same Pacific Press published a paperback by J. C. Stevens titled - Palestine in Prophecy. This was given wide circulation as a book of the month by the Voice of Prophecy. It closed with the sentence - "Palestine and Jerusalem do not have a bright future in this present world, and those, and those are holding the hope of national restoration for the Jews are following a theological will-o'-wisp.11 (p. 97) Again in 1947, another paperback, The Jews and Palestine, came from the Pacific Press, this time written by Roy F. Cottrell. He declared - "The God of heaven who overthrew the city and nation and who because of their apostasy dispersed the inhabitants to the ends of the earth, forever settles the question of a complete return and restitution in old Canaan by asserting that it 'cannot be."' (p. 61) Yet one year later, Israel once more became a State. Was this a fulfilment of Bible Prophecy? No! But coming events cast their shadows before." (See Desire of Ages, p. 636)
God was beginning to set His hand a second time "to recover the remnant of His people." God convicted again two young men to re-examine the Message of 1888, and to call the attention of the leadership of the Church in 1950 to the results the rejection of that message had brought upon the people of God. The Bible Conference called in 1952 had as its main objective to show that the Church did proclaim the message of Righteousness by Faith (Our Firm Foundation, Vol. II, pp. 616-617), and thus blunt the charge made by Wieland and Short. However, during this Conference, the Church's attention was redirected to the prophecy of Luke 21:24, and the exegesis as given by James Edson White was enlarged.
Arthur S. Maxwell, in his presentation of the "Imminence of Christ's Second Coming," listed three areas o "Unfulfilled Prophecy" from his viewpoint in time (1952). One of these then, unfulfilled prophecies was Luke 21:24. He stated - "The recent dramatic restoration of the natior of Israel focused the attention of mankind once more on Palestine." (ibid., p. 230) Here is a reversal of the interpretation given the previous decade, and a tacit admission that our prophetic exegesis had been faulty in certain aspects. Observing that this event was not "in fulfilment of the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," Maxwell said "however, there is one prophecy concerning Palestine tha we should all be watching with special care," and he quoted Luke 21:24.
As Maxwell reviewed how victorious "the forces of Israel" were "in every other part of Palestine," he observed that "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 unseer hand." Then he asked - "What could be the reason?" And his own answer was - "Only that the times of the Gentile. are not yet fulfilled." He cited an experience of ancien Israel where because "the iniquity of the Amorites" was "not yet full" (Gen. 15:16); they were not permitted to enter Palestine. He concluded - It may well be that the same principle applies today, on a wider scale. If so, then Jerusalem is to remain trodden down by Gentiles till the probationary time of all Gentiles has run out." (pp. 230-231)
From this date - 1952 - to the fulfilment of Luke 21:24 in 1967, the agitation over the 1888 Message has paralleled in time. (See A Warning and Its Reception for the reaction of the Church to the allegations made in 1888 Re-Examinea and the responses of Wieland and Short.) In 1967, in the same month that Jerusalem came again under Jewish control, a meeting was held in Washington by the General Conference brethren at which Elder R. J. Wieland was given an opportunity to defend his and Short's manuscript. In an eight page letter, Wieland outlines for D. K Short the reaction and attitude of the leadership of the Church. The final paragraph reads: To sum it all up, as I see the meeting in retrospect: the 1951 report [by the General Conference] said the Ms was unworthy of serious consideration because it was "critical"; the 1958 report said it was unworthy of such cnsideration because it used EGW statements out of context; the 1967 hearing concludes it is likewise unworthy because its fruitage is evil. When we are not able to say
p 5 -- anything effective to clarify misunderstandings, I do not think the last charge is really fair; but I believe the time has come to "let go and let God, " and keep still. The Lord Jesus gave everybody, good and bad, an excellent example as sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. Whether I am right or wrong, I believe I must from hereon be "dumb." (p. 8, "Buff Section" of A Warning & Its Reception)
[Wieland did not follow through on his "belief," but the events of history indicate that God has indeed taken the reins in His own hands, and that the Enemy has come down in great wrath setting in operation "every conceivable power of evil." (R&H, Dec. 13, 1892)]
To declare the fruitage of the message of Christ's righteousness as evil, is no different than declaring that very Righteousness One, a malefactor [evil doer] (John 18:30). The leadership had made its decision. Thirteen years later, the Church in session would place its imprimatur on a Statement of Beliefs which denied the original trust given to it by God. The "signal" was then given. Israel moved its capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and by an act of the Knesset declared that Jerusalem united as one city was to be the capital of all Israel.
What are all of these facts - if so recognized - saying to us? Number one and primary is the factor that the final edition of The Great Controversy in 1911 did not contain the added light given to the Messenger of the Lord between 1888 and 1911 involving the Parable of the Ten Virgins and Luke 21.
How this omission should effect our use of The Great Controversy in understanding current events is a question that must be resolved.
Secondly, an understanding of Revelation 18 as well as Luke 21 was indicated in the letter to J. H. Kellog written by Ellen White in 1901. While, as we noted above, no specific verses are indicated in the counsel, the section of Revelation 18 which concerns the call to come out of Babylon is primary in current "historic" Adventist thinking. Certain aspects of this factor of basic understandings, essential for this hour, need to be addressed. This we shall do in the following article.
Basics in Revelation 18:1-4 -- Key representations in these verses are "another angel," "Babylon," "all nations ... kings ... and merchants," "another voice," and "my people." First some questions that need to be resolved and/or addressed:
Are we to interpret the symbolism of "another angel" in the same way that we interpret the first three "angels" of Revelation 14?
Are "voice" and "my people" interrelated? The previous "voice" is "the great voice out of the temple, from the throne" (16:19). Could this be the "voice" of Jesus? If so, is this the call of Jesus so that for those who respond He will make His final intercession (atonement)?
At what point in time have all nations, with their rulers and "the great men of the earth"(18:23), drunk of the cup offered them by the woman" with whom they have committed fornication?
It is obvious in context that the "Babylon" of Revelation 18:2 is the woman of Revelation 17:5. This means simply that the understanding of Revelation 18 is closely related and cannot be separated from an understanding of the events prophetically portrayed in the 17th Chapter. Further, it needs to be recognized that "Babylon" is not, and never has been "my people." The reverse corollary is also true; neither are "my people" Babylonians. However, these verses indicate that "my people" are in Babylon, else why are they called out of Babylon? The Greek text emphasizes twice the come out - Exelqate, o laoV mou, ex authV- "Come out, the people of me, out of her."
This symbolism and the Greek emphasis connects this verse to two Scriptural comparisons, one of typology, the other the parable of Matthew 25. First typology:
The northern Kingdom of Israel was carried into captivity by Assyria. Two centuries later, when Babylon had succeeded to the dominion of Assyria, Judah was carried into captivity. These captivities were the result of the professed people of Jehovah giving themselves over to the idolatrous practices of paganism. Babylon was used of God to punish His people. Scripture refers to Nebuchadnezzar as God's "servant" in this judgment on Judah (Jer 43:10), but nowhere are the people of Babylon referred to as "my people." Interestingly, also, is the fact that when Judah returned from captivity, there is no mention of a "mixed multitude" coming from Babylon with them, as in the days when Israel came out of Egypt (Ex. 12:38). It was the same "my people" returning from captivity who were carried into captivity, not a multitude of Babylonian "converts."
The type and antitype can be carried a step further. The returned captives were to rebuild the temple of the Lord with "the prophets of God helping them" (Ezra 5:2). One of the prophets cited is Haggai. He stated the design of Heaven for this restored "house of God." He quoted God as declaring - "I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come: and Iwill fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts" (2:7). The promise was carried a step further. The words of the Lord of hosts read - "The glory of this latter house shall be greater that the former, ... and in this place will 1 give peace" (v. 9).
[Beyond the simple application of type and antitype, there
is much spiritual food for thought which can be developed
Now to the parable of the Ten Virgins: The same Greek word is used in Matthew 25 and Revelation 18 - exercomai - whether it be the aroist (past) and present tense as in Matthew 25, or the imperative as in Rev. 18:4. The emphasis is to come "out" of the state they are in at the time of the call from "a voice." In the parable, all ten virgins are sound asleep; in Revelation, "my people" are in captivity in Babylon. The "awakening" in the parable caused separation among the "virgins." The separation was basically involved with "light" and the oil which produced that "light." The "call out" of "my people" from Babylon in the 18th Chapter of Revelation is a call to break from the captivity in which they find themselves. As in the type, all that went into captivity to Babylon did not return to Jerusalem to help rebuild the temple of God. In fact it was only a small remnant (Haggai 1:14).
There is one distinct difference between the type and antitype in regard to the captivity experienced. Judah was forced into captivity against its will; modern Israel deliberately placed themselves in captivity to modern Babylon. The facts of our own church history dare not be overlooked, even though today, the control of the Church is rapidly passing to the hands of those who did not live through the decades of change but rather either accepted a changed message or else grew up in the church that had already altered its doctrinal commitment.
The fifth and sixth decades of the 20th Century marked the "golden age of Adventist Evangelisrn." In the very center of this time period came the call to re-examine our "Kadesh-barnea" experience of 1888. The review of certain doctrinal positions (not all) at the 1952 Bible Conference and the proclamation that at this Conference, the great truth of "righteousness by faith" was given "with far greater power than it was given in the 1888 Conference" left the Church feeling "good," except for one point! Seventh-day Adventism was still considered a "cult" in the Evangelical world. Within three years of the Bible Conference, the Enemy offered the leadership of the Church many of whom had affirmed their faith in the basic doctrines of the Church at the Bible Conference - an opportunity to shed the stigma of being considered a "cult." They "bought" it and went into "captivity" to Babylon. The SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56 mark basic compromises in key doctrinal positions which had made true Adventism unique. What occurred at these conferences was stated clearly by the Evangelicals - Barnhouse and Martin - in Barnhouse's publication - Eternity. Twenty years later, T. E. Unrue, who chaired this "captivity" gave the Adventist viewpoint in Adventist Heritage. [Facsimile copies of these reports may be secured from the Foundation office.]
Today, those who proclaim themselves as "historic" Adventists are merely travelling the same path that led to the original captivity. The 1952 Bible Conference reiterated faith in doctrinal fundamentals without following the counsel given in connection with the 1888 Message of Righteousness by Faith. In 1892, the Messenger of the Lord had clearly called for a "learning" and an "unlearning" process so that the "truth" committed to our trust might be "pure, unadulterated truth." (R&H, July 26, 1892; Testimonies to Ministers, p. 65) In the same year - 1892 - the same Messenger warned: "Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed. The diligent, prayerful seeker for truth will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth from the word of God." (Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 34)
The call today is simply to "come out" of the captivity in which the leadership has placed the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and rebuild the broken down "temple of truth." The promise is sure that to such a temple "the Desire of all nations" will come the second time without sin unto salvation. To accept this call of "the voice" in Revelation 18 means the separation of the "virgins," the ones to whom the sacred trust of truth was given. The one is a response to the other.
Basic Understandings of Church -- The Scripture clearly states - "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47). This verse plainly indicates that there is a relationship between salvation and church fellowship. Does that mean that I must have my name on a church record? Yes, but what record?
The gospel of John alone records the story of the man born blind (Chapter 9). Here was a man who unable to see but who when confronted with the fact of his restored sight evidenced more insight into truth than the religious leaders. Because of this insight and his willingness to voice his convictions, he was excommunicated (9:34; margin). Such an experience became a common occurrence in the decades following Pentecost. Did those who were thus cast out of the "house of Israel" have any hope? The experience recorded in this chapter has an interesting conclusion directly related to the casting out. It reads "Jesus heard that they had cast him out" (9:35) What did He do? "He ... found him."
The issue of "church" was a real issue in apostolic times. The book of Hebrews as well as Acts addresses the question. Contrasting the experience of the establishment of Israel as a "church" at Mt. Sinai, - "the church in the wil-p 7 -- derness" (Acts 7:38) - the book of Hebrews sets before the "excommunicated" followers of Jesus who had accepted Him as the Messiah, a new mount and new church. It reads: But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven. (Heb. 12:22-23)
In the book of Acts, we see the same controversy over "church" as is evidenced today in the community of Adventism. Paul on his missionary tours "separated" those who accepted the gospel from the synagogues of the Jews, and he did not take the Gentile converts into the synagogues as their "church". See Acts 18:7; 19:9. This resulted in "home" churches. See Rom. 16:5, 14, 15; 1 Cor. 16:12; Col. 4:15; Philemon 2. In contrast to this practice, the Church in Jerusalem under James continued to worship in the synagogues. (James 2:2, margin, Gr) Further, the Jerusalem followers of Jesus as the Messiah still participated in the temple rites and ceremonies. (Acts 21:23, 26) When Paul reported to the leadership of the Jerusalem church at the close of his third missionary tour, James, in turn, told him of the thousands of Jews "which believe; and they are all zealous of the law." (21:20)
This difference of concept of place to worship - "home" church or synagogue - also involved a difference of perception of how men are justified. Paul wrote - "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3:28). James would write - "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (2:24). This teaching of James was cited as the basis for the Tridentine gospel of Rome. See The Creeds of Christendom, Vol. II, p. 99. On the other hand, the teaching of Paul was the basis of the Reformation emphasis on justification by faith alone. Today, what constitutes "church," and what is Righteousness by Faith are again issues involving the "historic" Adventist segment, as well as others on the periphery of the main body.
Into this picture comes the issue of accountability. The Jewish leadership sealed their probation in their action against Jesus Christ in securing His death by Pilate. This can be deducted from Peter's defence before the same council who had tried Jesus (Acts 4:5-12) He offered them no opportunity to repent as he had in preaching to others in Jerusalem (Acts 2:28; 3:19). The nation as a corporate body sealed its fate in the stoning of Stephen in AD 34 (Dan. 9:24). The Israel of the Diaspora as well as the Jews of Jerusalem had to decide whether their leadership did right in pressuring the Roman authority to kill Jesus, or was He indeed the Messiah. If they decided that their leadership had denied "the Holy One," and killed "the Prince of life," they had a choice to make. They could no longer remain in that corporate body under that leadership sharing in that guilt (Acts 3:13-15; 17-19).
We have in the Writings various uses of the word, "church." Familiar to most is the statement - "From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth." (Acts of the Apostles, p. 11) However, there is another concept of the church set forth in the Writings - the corporate identification. It reads: "in the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had." (Vol 8, p. 247) This is corporate language. Everyone who is a part of the corporate body stands in that judgment and faces the guilt of not only what the leadership has done but also what it has been permitted to do. You cannot stand with one foot among "faithful souls" and the other foot in the corporate body. If you conclude that the leadership did right in the compromises of 1955-56, and the confirmation of those compromises in 1980, then stand in and with the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church and face the weighing in "the balances of the sanctuary." If not, then "repent" and become a part of the "faithful souls," the "church of the firstborn," whose names "are written in heaven."
In Conclusion -- As we face 1999, as we near the close of the 20th Century, we have no choice but to face certain basic understandings regarding the meaning of church as a corporate body and our individual responsibility in being truly a "faithful soul." To make the right choice, we must understand the basics of our religious heritage involved in typology and parable. This means simply studying the Bible, and the Bible only, to ascertain basic truth, even as did those who laid the foundations for what became the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church. Traditions which have petrified our thinking must be set aside until a renewed indepth study of the Bible reveals what we are to learn and what we are to unlearn from our past. --- (1999 Jan) --- End --- TOP
1999 Feb -- XXXII -- 2(99) -- PAUL'S TEACHING IN - II CORINTHIANS -- Editor's Preface -- Even in his deep emotional distress over the possible reaction of the Church at Corinth to the strong rebukes in his first letter, Paul's mind turned to the deeper cause of their problems. A goodly number of the Church had come from the Jewish community, including the chief elder of the synagogue and possibly his successor, Sosthenes. To these Moses had been and perhaps still was, a priority in their religious thinking and veneration. The Torah, written by him, was read ever Sabbath. In fact, the record states that Moses was preached in every city (Acts 15:21). Paul, though reared even as they had seen a different vision. He had plainly written in the first Letter, "We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock" (1:23). It is possible that the stumbling block was still in the hearts of many of the Jewish converts. Paul, in this second letter, begins his theological discussion with the glory of the Law under "the ministration of death." He contrasts this with "the ministration of the Spirit" which he also terms, "the ministration of righteousness." This new ministration deals with the tables of the heart, and brings true liberty. He calls it "our gospel," and proceeds to enlarge upon it in the following chapters before Titus arrive from Corinth. Some very fundamental concepts are set forth: The "dying of the Lord Jesus" - what does that mean? Christ "made ... to be sin" for a purpose - what was the purpose? The "in Him" concept dominates whether from the viewpoint of God or the need of man.
Just as we finished writing the analysis of Paul's teaching
in his second letter, we received the December issue of ALMA Torch
which contained the "Preface" of an appeal to the President
of the General Conference. Informative but flawed, we have responded,
and thus, the second article. While we had intended to discuss an article
in the November issue of The Remnant Herald, also from Australia,
we laid it aside for subsequent issue of WWN.
Due to the subject matter which formed the basis of the 4th Quarter's
Adult Sabbath School Lessons, a special issue of WWN is being prepared.
The Ministration of the Spirit -- In contrasting the "ministration of the Spirit" with the "ministration of death," Paul rests his exegesis on the experience of Moses when he descended from Mount Sinai with the second tables of stone on which had been engraved the Law of Ten Commandments. See Exodus 34:29-35. There was no question "the ministration of condemnation" was glorious, so glorious that the children of Israel could not look on the face of Moses. Moses had to "vail" his face when he spoke to them (II Cor. 3:13). But "if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory... For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious" (3:9,11).
Whenever as Adventists, we read in the Word, the slightest suggestion that anything connected with the Ten Commandments was done away, we become threatened and perceive it to be an attack on the Sabbath or to be some interpretation of Scripture whereby the Sabbath can be set aside. We react negatively to the truth which the Scriptures seeks to set forth. Here, clearly, Paul is speaking of that which was "written and engraven on stones," and calls it "the ministration of death" (3:7). There is, however, "the ministration of the Spirit," also noted as "the ministration of righteousness" (v. 9) which is to "exceed in glory" all previous ministrations and be written "in the fleshy tables of the heart" (v. 3).
So that a study of what Paul has written will not leave us apprehensive, let us first firmly underpin the Sabbath. It was established by God at creation, not entered into by man because he had completed six days of labor. It was God who had "worked" and then chose to rest after He had finished the creation. The Sabbath was Adam's first full day of life and thus at the very beginning of that life, God gave to him the Sabbath. His life began in communion with God, and was intended to continue so. There was no dictum which proclaimed, "and the evening and the morning was the seventh day," as at the close of the other six days. Sin disrupted that planned eternal communion. However, God did not take back the Sabbath from him nor his children (Gen. 4:3; margin).
[Perhaps an observation or two might be in order at this point. If man was to observe the day on which Adam first kept the Sabbath based on the days of his existence, then man would observe the second day, Monday, as his Sabbath, but it is God's Sabbath given to him that he is to observe. Man is to rest on the Sabbath not because of the work he has done for six days; but to rest from, lay aside, his work and renew his spirit in the power of God. It is the laying aside of a reliance in his own works, and turning by faith to a trust in what God has done and wants to do for him that is the essence of the true Sabbath under the ministration of righteousness, the ministration of the Spirit.]
When God chose Abraham and established through Abraham a people for Himself, He gave to them "a perpetual covenant" based in the Sabbath as "a sign between [Him] and the children of Israel forever;" and the reason it was so given is stated - "for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed" (Ex. 31:14-18). It is because of what God did, not what man does that the Sabbath is to be kept. (Man rests from his daily toll every day) That "perpetuity" involves us also. Paul wrote - "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29).
In His earthly ministry, Jesus had various conflicts over the Sabbath. Many of His miracles of healing were performed on the Sabbath. See John 5:16; 9:14; Mark 3:1-4. It would seem that Jesus deliberately chose the Sabbath on which to perform some of His miracles of healing so as to confront the legalists of His day. However, in all of these recorded incidents, not one concerned the question of which day was the Sabbath. That had been settled from the beginning and was non-negotiable. Thus, when Paul speaks of the ministration of death written and engraven in stones - and the Sabbath was one of those engraven commandments - he was not seeking to teach, or even to suggest, that the Sabbath had been abrogated. It was the matter of "the letter" versus "the spirit." He wrote - "the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life" (II Cor. 3:6). We can still preach the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa which had neither dew nor rain. The Law cannot give life; but "the Spirit of the living God" can. However the lifegiving Spirit's work is not in stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart" (v. 3). Jesus did not hold up tables of stone and say, "This is the way," but rather, He said, "I am the way." This is why, Paul could write in his first letter to the Corinthians - "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (I Cor. 11:1).
We fail to sense that the Ten Commandments are not life,
p 3 -- but merely the statements of what life is, or not, to be. On the first day of his existence, all that Adam knew of "do's and don'ts" was a single prohibition, and his work schedule. (Gen. 2:15-17) The Sabbath which was the next day was to be a special day of communion with his Maker. If one were to define the relationship that then existed between God and Adarn and Eve, and between Adarn and Eve themselves, he would have a perfect code of conduct for perfect beings; but it would not be the Ten Commandments as proclaimed from Mt. Sinai. For example, if God had said to Adam and Eve that first Sabbath - "Thou shalt not commit adultery," how would they have responded? The Ten Commandments was God's response to life as it became, and not as it originally was. The Law which governs the relationship between all sinless beings and their Creator was stated by Jesus. He said: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matt. 22:37-40)
[If one desires to study further on this aspect of the Law, see The Book of Hebrews by M. L. Andreasen, pp. 314-315]
To Paul the difference between the ministration of death and the ministration of the Spirit is the difference between the Ten Commandments, and the "two commandments" upon which the law and the prophets hang. One is living under the condemnation of sin, and the other, freedom from that condemnation (Rom. 8:1). One is "under law," and the other "under grace" (Rom. 6:14-15). This is the very heart and core of the gospel as proclaimed by Paul.
This distinction between law and grace, Paul would set forth emphatically in his first letter to Timothy. He reminds Timothy that "the end (objective) of the commandment is charity (agaph) out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience and of faith unfeigned." He warns him that "some having swerved have turned aside into vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, or whereof they affirm" (1:5-7) Then Paul affirms his understanding of the place of the law: "We know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully." And what is its lawful use? "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient;" and he lists various sins covered in the Ten Commandments. (vs. 8-10) He declares his position to be in harmony with the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to [his] trust" (v. 11).
How can we relate our experience to this gospel? If we have honestly taken a look into the mirror, we know that we are not righteous. How can we say then that we are not under condemnation? To Paul, it was the difference between being under the ministration of death, the reality of the flesh, or by faith in the promises of God coming under the ministration of the Spirit, the ministration of righteousness. He concludes - "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are being transformed (metamorfoumeqa ) into the same image from glory to glory by the Lord, the Spirit" (11 Cor. 3:18, Gr). We are being transformed. Here is the difference. This Greek verb is in the present tense, passive voice. We are being acted upon by the Lord, the Spirit. Our gaze is fixed on a different mirror, and we see the glory of the Lord, the fullness of grace and truth. "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:11-2). The answer is being "in Christ." This experience, Paul emphasizes further in the next chapter.
The Dying of the Lord Jesus -- Returning to what he terms, "our gospel," and Paul means that which he has set forth as the "ministry of the Spirit," in contrast to the ministry of death, he declares it is hid from those whose minds "the god of this world hath blinded" that they "believe not" (4:3-4). Blinded to righteousness by faith, what have they lost? "The light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God." Simply stated, through unbelief they miss the restoration (transformation) to that which was lost through sin - man in the image of God. Referring back to creation, Paul writes: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (vs. 6-7)
Here another factor of our failure is indirectly introduced. Besides the blindness of unbelief, there is the unwillingness to recognize our inability to achieve - our nothingness. But regeneration, transformation, restoration, sanctification -- by whatever name we call the process of our redemption -- cannot begin until we recognize "that the excellency of the power" is of God, and not ourselves. Or one occasion, Ellen White asked the question, "What is regeneration?" To her own question, she replied - "it is revealing to man what is his own real nature, that in himself he is worthless." (Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers, #9, p. 62) Once that fact is accepted as the reality of what is, then God can and will accomplish that which we in our inmost souls truly desire. (See Education p. 29) Under the ministration of the Spirit, nothing is impossible, but it is the Lord, the Spirit doing it, not us. If we deny the Lord, the Spirit, and count Him but an influence we do "dispite unto the Spirit of grace." (See Heb. 10:29)
Paul does not leave in doubt as to how this process is to begin, and how it is to continue unto the end. He wrote: Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord
p 4 -- Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (vs. 10-11)
Observe the two uses of the word, "always." In the Greek text, these are two different words: the first, "at all times," the second, "perpetually." And what is to be that perpetual experience - "the dying of the Lord Jesus," "delivered unto death." This is not Calvary; there He died. This is Gethsemane where He the Author of Life accepted the "counsel of peace" that was between the Two of Them which required that He die. (Zech. 6:13; Rom. 4:25-5:1) In His humanity, it was not His will that was to be done, but God's will. Thus for us the "dying of the Lord Jesus" means specifically that the human forces - our fears, our dedication, our desires - are submitted to God that His will may be carried out as He designs regardless of the nature of "the cup" He assigns, and that cup may be our Calvary. If we will honestly evaluate every past decision which ended in failure for us, it comes to a single bottom line, we did not go to the Garden with Jesus. We were not willing to recognize that "self," which is "worthless," has but one legitimate place to go, and that is to the Cross. By not accepting "the dying of the Lord Jesus," we bypassed the cross. We did not die, neither was "the life also of Jesus... made manifest in our body." We remained under the ministration death rather than finding the glorious liberty of the sons and daughters of God under the ministration of the Spirit.
The Divine Constraint -- The great constraining, motivating, and moving influence in Paul's life was "the love of Christ" (11 Cor. 5:14). Why? Because if Christ died for all, then all were dead. Those who find life through Him "should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again" (ver. 15). We are not our own to live as we choose, for we have been bought with a price, a figure that cannot be expressed by human estimates, even "the precious blood of Christ" (I Peter 1:19). The new life accorded us is "in Him." If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new" (ver. 17)
"In Him" is the focal point of redemption. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them" (ver. 19). In Christ, He confronted mankind as a new Son of man. Even as Adam was a son of God (Luke 3:38), so the Word became a second Adam, to stand at the head of the race, a son of God (John 1:14) and a Son of man. He was to be the surety of a new covenant of life (Heb. 7:22). The broken communion because of sin was restored in Christ. To Christ, as the son of man, God said to Him, "Thou art my beloved Son, in thee 1 am well pleased" (Luke 3:22).
But not alone via "the ladder" of restored communication (John 1:51) does God deal with humanity through Christ but it was set up on the earth so that man might ascend that ladder in Jesus Christ to the Father. Jesus could say "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me" (John 14:6). To those constrained by the love of Christ is committed "the ministry of reconciliation," and through these "ambassadors for Christ" is extended to fallen man thei message, "Be ye reconciled to God" (11 Cor. 5:20).
The cost of reconciliation carried a heavy "price tag" for the second Adam. He was made "to be sin for us who knew no sin" (v. 21) How? He took upon Himself the fallen nature of the first Adam - the slave form of man (Phil. 2:7), and in that form the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa. 53:6). For what purpose? "That we might bemade [may become - Gr] the righteousness of God in Him." While it can be mine now by faith "in Him," it is at integral part of the blessed hope (Gal. 5.5).
Unequally Yoked -- In II Corinthians 6 is to be found an admonition to which we too often give a very limited application. Paul wrote: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (v 14). There are two factors in this counsel, unequality and the matter of faith. "Unequally yoked" is one word in the Greek text (eterozugounteV) but it is a compound word. The first part (eteroV) is also one of the Greek words for "another," but noting two of a different kind, which in this usage are unequal. Such a union, whether in marriage, in business, or in religious affiliation is forbidden. "Unbelievers" involves our word "faith." Applied, Paul is writing that any yoke which involves one of a differen faith is forbidden.
While, as often interpreted, this does enter into the choice of a marriage partner, it can apply also to the ecumenical religious movement as well as any organizational arm which is a part of it. It is evident from the context of what Paul quoted concerning the uniqueness which God envisioned for His ancient people Israel, that he was indicating that the same distinctiveness was to mark the new "Israel of God." Because of this, Paul coupled the admonition not to be "unequally yoked together with unbelievers" with the word of the Lord, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate" (v. 17).
God used the mouth of Balaam to describe the separateness which he designed should mark that ancient people - "the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations" (Numbers 23:9). The story of Israel's decline as a nation and its captivity in Babylon is largely attributable to an unwillingness to accept this design ofl God. The rejection of God's chosen government for them was based upon their desire to be "like all the nations" (I Sam. 8:5). In this request, God told Samuel, "They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them" (v. 7). In Babylon, they finally learned the lesson that compromising their faith separated them
p 5 -- frorn God. Then they went to the other extreme of an exclusiveness which blunted the witness God intended them to give to the world. This exclusiveness is echoed in the condemnation that the Pharisees levelled at Christ - He ate with Publicans and sinners. What then is the fine line that can be drawn from this history of Israel? We are to be "outgoing," but only to the point that our faith remains uncompromised. This faith must be based on the Word of God, and not be a fanatical interpretation of that Word.
The two causes which contributed to Israel's downfall - an unwillingness to dwell alone, and a desire to be like the nations - are the very causes which have corrupted the professed Israel of this hour. We abhorred being considered a "cult" by the religious world. So when the opportunity presented itself, we compromised basic fundamentals of our faith with the Evangelicals. The outward results were phenomenal - the membership of the Church increased markedly. A unilateral contact which later the Church approved and nurtured resulted in representation on the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. An Adventist voice was to be heard among the theologians of Babylon. But what has the real price been? The betrayal of the sacred trust which God committed to His people in the Three Angels' Messages. The Second Angel's Message was clear that Babylon had fallen, why then any fellowship with Babylon. We had a message for those prophetically considered as Babylon, not they for us.
Further, another definitive line enters the picture. Paul specified that the follower of Christ was not to be yoked with "unbelievers." Who is a "believer" and who is an "unbeliever." It is obvious that the gospel is the determining factor. This has been the emphasis in the letter, in fact it is the emphasis in all that Paul preached and wrote about. See II Cor, 4:3-5. The unbeliever then is one who does not follow the gospel of Christ.
The application of this definition was a troublesome quesfion in the apostolic church. The Church's leadership in Jerusalem considered continued fellowship with the Jewish church acceptable. James could point to the "many thousands of Jews which believed," and indicated that they were "all zealous for the law" (Acts 21:20) These "thousands" were involved in the synagogue worship, and followed various rites in the temple services (ver. 26; James 2:2, margin). Not so Paul. Those Jews who rejected the gospel were not "believers," and he separated those who accepted the gospel from their fellowship (Acts 19:8-9).
This same distinction and issue we face today. Is the "gospel" of the Evangelicals, the same as the "everlasting gospel" of the First Angel's Message? The same question can be asked in regard to the gospel held by the World Council of Churches and defined by the Faith and Order Commission. Neither is this question foreign within the community of Adventism. Is the modified tridentine gospel proclaimed by certain "historic" Adventists, the gospel which Paul claims was given to him by Jesus Christ? (Gal. 1:12) This question has further implications. If the gospel of the Evangelicals is not the "everlasting gospel" and the Church has joined fellowship in that gospel, then what is to be my relationship to the Church? Paul wrote - "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." Then he drew the line distinct and sharp by a series of questions. As you read these questions keep in mind that Paul was writing to a Church whose membership included many from the synagogue of Corinth including its chief elder(s). (Acts 18:6-8) Paul asked: What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? (6:14-16)
"Let Us Cleanse Ourselves" -- Actually the chapter break between II Corinthlans 6 & 7 should have placed 7:1 as 6:19. One can readily see that "these promises" refer to the precious promises that Paul quoted in the final verses of the 6th chapter. These read: God hath said, "I will dwell in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate," saith the Lord, "and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters," saith the Lord Almighty. (6:16-18)
Because of these promises, we are "to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (7:1). The question is - "But HOW?" Honesty requires the frank admission that though we have struggled often and long, we have not realized the goal. Is the answer then that we have not followed the righl "works" program, and if we had, we would now be in possession of a cleansed spirit and "holy flesh"?
It is true that we have not followed in the right "work" program. Jesus said to those who asked Him, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" - "This is the work (singular) of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent" (John 6:28-29). What has Jesus provided? The very first revelation of Jesus in the final book of the Bible as He is related to us is that He "hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Rev. 1:5). He is revealed as "a Lamb as it had been slain" (5:6), and of the final victors it is recorded that they "have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (7:14). The provision for victory has been provided; it is but for us to act, and the act is an act of faith. To Jairus who had received the message that his little daughter had died, with the counsel, "Why troublest the Master any further?" - Jesus said, "Be not afraid, only believe" (Mark 5:35-36). Instead of our earthly fears, we need to "perfect
p 6 -- holiness in the fear of God." Ours is to yield, bearing about in our bodies "the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life (perfect holiness) of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." We go to Gethsemane with Jesus, and we walk with Him to Calvary to realize the promises of God.
"Examine Yourselves" -- Paul finalizes his second letter to the Corinthians with counsel we all need to ponder carefully and above all, honestly, to do. It reads: Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. (13:5)
"An Appeal to the General Conference President" -- In ALMA Torch (December, 1998), was printed "The Preface of an Appeal to the General Conference President." The article indicated that it was formulated by Elders Ron Spear, Ralph Larson, & Colin Standish. It became obvious in reading the "Preface" that it was written by one man, not three, and the context indicates that one man to be Dr. Ralph Larson. That is understandable as only Larson is the theologian; and the "Preface" plainly stated "the issues before us are theological in nature." (it may be necessary to read the entire "Appeal" to see what "theological" contribution, if any, the non-theologians Spear and Standish made)
The basic attack was levelled at Froom, Ford, Heppenstall, and Sequeria, and rightly so on the issues raised. Dr. Larson has done a very commendable work in his critical analysis of what these men have written, especially documenting their own contradictions and deliberate falsification of quotations used to support their false positions. The "Preface" is based on the premise that three different "theologies are now competing for the church's attention;" namely, "Original or Historic Adventism;" "Liberal Adventism;" and "Calvinistic Adventisrn." Theologically, this is so, but what is now termed, "historic" Adventism in which category the three named persons - Spear, Larson, and Standish - wished to be placed is not "original" Adventism on various theological issues. This distinction must be kept in mind in any survey of present tensions currently facing Adventism.
A false premise leads to false deductions, and the very first premise taken in this "Preface" is false. It reads: Original or Historic Adventism, the theology established in the Bible conferences conducted by our pioneers, further refined through the ongoing influence of Ellen White, and presented in every statement of faith that our church has ever published, including the most recent 27 doctrines ...
To say that the theology expressed in the original 1872 Statement of Beliefs is the same theology expressed in the 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs as voted at Dallas Texas, in 1980 is sheer Laodicean blindness. The Statement of 1872 and those appearing in the Yearbook editions of 1889, 1905, 1907-1914 are fundamentally the same. A new revised Statement appeared in the 1931 Yearbook which was confirmed at the 1946 General Conference session, and briefly altered at the 1950 session. The major changes occurred in 1980, and has been the basis of theological tension ever since.
Let us note some of the differences between the "historic" position, and the present position as voted in Dallas it 1980:
1872 - "The
Holy Scriptures, of the Old and New Testaments ... are the only infallible
rule of faith and practice."
(One word, "only" makes a vast difference in meaning and application)
1872 - "There
is one God, a personal spiritual being, ... and everywhere present by
His representative, the Holy Spirit. There is one Lord Jesus Christ, the
Son of the Eternal Father, the One by whom God created all things, and
by whom the do consist."
1980 Statement is unabridged Roman Catholic teaching. The Adult Sabbath
Bible Study Guide, 4th Qrt, 1998, even defined "Person"
according to Romish perception (p. 24)]
1872 - "There
is one Lord Jesus Christ ... that He took on Him the nature of the seed
of Abraham for the redemption of the fallen race; that He dwelt among
men full of grace and truth lived our example, died our sacrifice, was
raised for our justification, ascended on high to be our only mediator
in th sanctuary in Heaven, where with His own blood He makes atonement
for our sins."
[The definitive statement (or one meaning the same thing) on the incarnation in the 1872 Statement - "took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption the fallen race" is missing in the 1980 Statement]
p 7 -- 1872
- "That the
new birth comprises the entire change necessary to fit us for the kingdom
of God, and consists of two parts: first, a moral change wrought by conversion
and a Christian life; second a physical change at the second coming of
Christ, whereby, if dead, we are raised incorruptible, and if living,
are changed to immortality in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye."
1872 - "Jesus
Christ ... ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in
Heaven, where, with His own blood He makes atonement for our sins; which
atonement so far from being made on the cross, which was but the offering
of the sacrifice, is the very last portion of His work as priest."
The meaning of the phrase, "the benefits of the atonement" must be understood in the light of the definitive statement made in the book, Questions on Doctrine. There one reads: "Only Christ, the Creator, the one and only God-man, could make a substitutionary atonement for man's transgressions. And this Christ did completely, perfectly, and once for all, on Golgotha." (p. 400)
It should be clear to even the most casual reader that the 1980 Statement ("the most recent 27 doctrines") does not speak the "Original or Historic Adventism" as claimed in this "Appeal to the General Conference President" This Statement and the compromises leading up to the Statement is the cause for the "theological tensions" presently in the Adventist Community. The tensions can never be solved by falsifying the basic facts in the issue as has been done in the very beginning of this "Appeal." Starting from a false premise can lead only to more confusion and tension.
It is also evident in the "Appeal" that certain statements made by Larson with Spear and Standish's concurrence need to be corrected as well as amplified to give a picture that coincides with the facts. If one charges another with inaccurate use of data, as has been done in the "Appeal," then that one needs to be doubly careful that statements are accurate to the finest detail of fact possible.
In this "Appeal," Larson suggests a solution. He wrote: One of the reasons why our pioneers did so sell in their Bible Conferences is that they engaged freely in challenge, dialogue, and discussion. They did not follow the thinking of any one man and thus partake of both his strengths and weaknesses, as did the followers of Calvin, Luther, Wesley and so forth.
May I appeal for more of that spirit today.
While this suggestion has merit, it still is not the counsel that the Lord's messenger indicated should be the approach. She wrote: Those who sincerely desire truth will not be reluctant to lay open their positions for investigation and criticism, and will not be annoyed if their opinions are crossed. This was the spirit cherished among us forty years ago (circa 1850). We would come together burdened in soul, praying that we might be one in faith and doctrine; for we knew that Christ is not divided. One point at a time was made the subject of investigation. The Scriptures were opened with solemn awe. Often we fasted, that we might be better fitted to understand the truth. (R&H, July 26, 1892)
Why this approach - all on the table, studied one point at a time? In the same article is found the statement: "We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn." All that goes by the name "Historic Adventism" is not Biblically grounded; there are things to learn and many, many things to unlearn.
What is strange about the "Appeal" with the suggestion for "challenge, dialogue, and discussion" is that both Spear and Standish have been invited, at least twice, to take part in such meetings, and they came up with excuses so as not to attend. Now they are endorsing such a call. Do they think that getting under the "coat-tails" of a theologian, their questionable teachings can be sustained? Beside this, information has been received that Colin Standish and his brother are planning this year to release a book captioned, Every Wind of Doctrine. One wonders how many chapters will be devoted to their teachings.
The release in ALMA Torch was only "The Preface." We look forward to reading the whole, "Appeal." --- (1999 Feb) ---End---- TOP
1999 Mar -- XXXII - 3(99) -- The End-Time Crisis -- Editor's Preface -- This issue of WNN with its several separate articles actually is discussing only two major areas of religious controversy. The lead article along with the article asking "Which?" discusses the Sunday Law, and its application to "the mark of the beast." When we were preparing the special issue on "Our Wonderful God," we noted there was another article on the Sabbath School Bible Study Guide which due to lack of space, we could not discuss. In this issue it is the second article. Then as we were nearing the end of the rough draft of this issue, the publication,Old Paths,came in the mail with an article on the Holy Spirit. This fitted well into the Godhead discussion of the second article. The little bit of space left on page 7, we used for a "Let's Talk It Over" which has been missing for several issues.
There can be no question as to where we are in the stream of time. Honest evaluation of what Jesus had to say about the days of Noah and of Lot leads to only one conclusion, we are in the days of the coming of the Son of man. The hours just prior to that event are defined in the Writings as "the last remnant of time." In those final hours of probationary time, things will move swiftly, but with all the delusional power the Enemy of the ages can muster. Truth and truth alone will keep us at that hour. But if we cannot discern truth from error now, how will we be kept then? God is not going to perform a miracle on our thinking in that hour, when we have nurtured and cherished error in its various forms, and those who propagate it now.
Probably one of the most dangerous errors being promulgated as either "present truth" or "new light" is the despite being done to the Holy Spirit. It seems to escape those so disposed that all manner of sin will be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven now or ever. (Matt. 12:32) Perhaps it can be pled that ignoring or denying His reality does not reach "the high crimes and misdemeanors" category of blasphemy, but what difference is there between denial of His reality and outright rejection of His pleadings?
p 2 -- The End-Time Crisis -- The Scripture clearly indicates that the end-time crisis involves worship. The "image of the beast" is to cause all that would not "worship the image" of itself "should be killed" (Rev.13:15). God's message of warning - the Third Angel's Message - declares that "if any man worship the beast and his image ... the same shall drink of the wine" of His wrath (14:9-10). Interestingly, that in this announcement of things to come, the "mark in his forehead, or in his hand" follows the worship of the beast and the image (v. 9). The question arises - Does the act of worship bring "the mark"? It is obvious, if the order as given in Scripture has any meaning, "the mark" does not precede the act of worship.
This concept and the factors involved are emotionally charged issues in the Community of Adventism. It must be asked, If Sunday is the "mark," then what is the nature of the worship which precedes it? How does that "worship" place a "mark" on one? Further, Is the object of worship, a "what" or is it a "who"?
The issue of Sunday observance did not originate with Constantine. A. Paiva, a Portuguese writer on the subject of Mithraism, stated that "the first day of the week, Sunday, was consecrated to Mithra since times remote, as several authors affirm. Because the sun was god, the Lord par excellence, Sunday came to be called the Lord's day, as was later done in Christianity." (Sunday in Roman Paganism, p. 149) The Sun god of Mithraism, as well as the chief god in all pagan religions, was the fallen angel, Lucifer (1 Cor. 10:20). The issue in Old Testament times was who was to be worshipped. The Sabbath was the day for the worship of Jehovah. It was not the day that was worshipped, but the God who designated the day as His day. The line was clearly drawn. In Ezekiel the apostates of Judah "turned their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east, and they worshipped the sun toward the east" (8:16). The day is not mentioned, but the symbol of whom was worshipped is! And his day was Sunday. You can have a Sunday Law, but unless it is followed by a worship dictum, and that dictum is heeded, no "mark" is received.
The crisis could come in one of two ways: 1) Forbidding worship on the Sabbath, or 2) Mandating attendance at a Eucharistic service on Sunday. The first in some form will occur. We have been warned of Satan's intents. He plans: "I will so control the minds under my power that God's Sabbath shall be a special object of contempt. A sign? - I will make the observance of the seventh day a sign of disloyalty to the authorities of earth. Human laws will be made so stringent that men and women will not dare to observe the seventh-day Sabbath." (Prophets and Kings, p. 184)
This is exactly a part of the plan as outlined by Rome a the very time when God raised up this Movement. Louis Veuillot in his book, The Liberal Illusion, wrote: When the time comes and men realize that the social edifice must be rebuilt according to eternal standards,... Catholics will arrange things to suit said standards. ... They will make obligatory the religious observance of Sunday on behalf of the whole of society, and for its own good, revoking the permit for free-thinkers and Jews to celebrate, incognito Monday or Saturday on their own account. (p. 63)
The second is envisioned in the Pope's recent Apostolic Letter, Dies Domini. The emphasis "to ensure that civil legislation respects" the Christian's "duty to keep Sunday holy" is connected with the celebration of the Roman Eucharist. The next sentence reads - "In any case, they are obliged in conscience to arrange their Sunday rest in a way which allows them to take part in the Eucharist." (Par 67) Why? "This mystery [the Eucharist] is the very center and culmination of Christian life. It is the 'source and the summit of all preaching of the Gospel ... the center of the assembly of the faithful.'" (Handbook for Today's Catholic p. 34) And what is worshipped? A "day"? No! A piece of bread, a "what" declared to be a "who" - God incarnate by the word of the priest. Blasphemy!
A further note on this point goes to the heart of Rome's objective. In explaining "How to Receive Communion," today's Catholic is told: Holy Communion may be received on the tongue or in the hand and may be given under the form of bread alone or under both species. When the minister of the Eucharist addresses the communicant with the words "The Body of Christ," "The Blood of Christ," the communicant responds, "Amen." When the minister raises the eucharistic bread or wine, this is the invitation for the communicant to make an Act of Faith, to express his or her belief in the Eucharist, to manifest a need and desire for the Lord, to accept the good news of Jesus' paschal mystery. A clear and meaningful "Amen" is your response to this invitation. In this way you profess your belief in the presence of Christ in the eucharistic bread and wine as well as in his Body, the Church. (Ibid., p. 42)
Consider a point or two of what you have just read: 1) The celebrant of the Mass is not designated as a "priest" but as a "minister," for the new Catholic; 2) The wafer may be received in "the hand." Note, that one of the "or's" in Rev. 14:9 is "or in his hand." 3) The wafer also can be placed on the tongue. Is there any connection between this and the fact that the fifth plague on "the seat of the beast" caused those of "his kingdom" to gnaw their tongues because of the pain? (Rev. 16:10) As stated above to Rome a simple "amen" signifies not only one's acceptance of "Jesus' paschal mystery," but also one's
p 3 -- "belief in" the Roman "Church," designated in the text just noted as "his kingdom"?
In this same Handbook, it cites the Vatican II document, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, as stating that the Eucharist is a "sign of unity" (p. 34). It needs be only recalled that at the 1991 seventh Assembly of the WCC in Canberra, Australia, Cardinal Cassidy, then an archbishop, forbade the Catholics present from joining in the Assembly's communion service. As his reason, he stated that he "judged that sharing the eucharist as the 'ultimate sign and seal' of church unity, and thus a step with many and major doctrinal implications." (EPS 91.02.74) Already at that time, there was in the "works" a program to find common doctrinal grounds by which visible Christian unity might be expressed. The Faith and Order Commission, with 12 Catholic theologians "on board," was pursuing the acceptance of a common confession of faith the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of AD 381. [This we discussed in some detail in the Special Issue of WWN sent out in January. See article, "Whither Bound?"] The key word, in this attempt for visible unity is the "Apostolic" faith.
In his Apostolic Letter, Dies Domini, what the Pope did not say is as important to consider as what he did say. Gone were the proud boasts and challenges to Protestants. No where did the Pope after setting forth the Sabbath as given in the Decalogue (Par. 16), challenge - "Who gave you the authority to tamper with the fourth?" - as was done in the Clifton Tracts. No where did the Pope claim that the change in the day of worship was "a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters" as did the Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons in 1895. Now the voice of Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the Vatican Council for Promoting Christian Unity, declares the Eucharist to be the "ultimate sign and seal." No where did the Pope declare as was done in The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, that "the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday" (p. 50). Instead John Paul II sought to place the observance of Sunday as close as possible to the Apostolic age (par. 23). He cited the timing of the Resurrection and Pentecost to Sunday, along with various "first day" references as evidence of its "apostolic" origin (Par. 19-21) He was but echoing the discussion on the Sabbath Commandment in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church (pp. 581-582).
This new approach of the Roman Church to the Sabbath question dare not be overlooked in our zeal to emphasize that John Paul II suggested Pope Leo XIII's dictum that "Sunday rest" is "a worker's right which the State must guarantee" (par. 66), and that "Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy" (par. 67). But what does keeping Sunday "holy" mean to John Paul II? "The Sunday assembly is the privileged place of unity: it is the setting for the celebration of the sacramentum unitatis which profoundly marks the Church as a people gathered 'by' and 'in' the unity of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (par 36). Placed together in this one statement are the concepts covered by "Apostolic," "visible unity," "Trinity,""Eucharist," and "Sunday." Let us be very careful lest our traditional emphasis blind our eyes to any of these facets of the end-time crisis.
"Sunday is coming," but let us not be so naive as to think that the devil is going to seek to accomplish his agenda in a way that will be openly obvious to the professed people of God. Christ has warned us that the delusions of the final crisis will be such that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt. 24:24). Further, let it be understood that a "Sunday Law" per se, is not the "mark" or "sign" of anything. We have had "Sunday closing laws" among the legal statutes of various states and city ordinances regulating Sunday commerce on the community level. This is not the aspect of Sunday laws that should concern us. It is as Louis Veuillot defined such legislation that we should be watching. His call was for the "religious observance" of Sunday. This involves the Eucharist in the end-time crisis as has been stated in the recent Papal Apostolic Letter.
An Australian "Voice" -- The lead article in The Remnant Herald, November, 1998 charged: "Scripture Denigrated by the Sabbath School Quarterly." The editor, Dr. Russell Standish, cited a paragraph from the Teacher's edition which called attention to a "gloss" in 1 John 5:7-8. He did not take issue with the fact that the Lesson upheld the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Trinity. He evidently believes that teaching himself, for he writes that these verses are "a powerful testimony to the truth of the Son and the Holy Spirit" in the context of the Trinity teaching. He laments that "since the Sabbath School Quarterly is read by a series of readers prior to publication, it is alarming that this error [the recognition of the gloss] was permitted to go to print."
Standish considers the recognition of this "gloss" as an attempt "to cast doubt upon the Word of God." He says that "if the Bible contains one gloss, then we are entitled to inquire how many more glosses there are in Scripture." This is indeed a surprising position for Dr. Standish to take in view of the veneration he and his brother give to the Writings, and the high place they accord Ellen G. White as a "major" prophet. (OFF, April 1989, p. 15) Ellen White herself broached this very issue. She wrote: Some look to us gravely and say, "Don't you think the might have been some mistake in the copyist or in the translators?" This is all probable, and the mind that is so narrow that it will hesitate and stumble over this possibillity or probability would be just as ready to stumble over the mysteries of the Inspired Word, because their feeble minds cannot see through the purposes of God. (SM, bk 1, p 4-
p 4 -- p. 16)
I saw that God had especially guarded the Bible; yet when copies of it were few, learned men had in some instances changed the words, thinking that they were making it more plain, when in reality they were mystifying that which was plain, by causing it to lean to their established views, which were governed by tradition. (The Story of Redemption, p. 391)
1 John 5:7-8 is a perfect example of such a "gloss,"
which was inserted to sustain the non-Scriptural teaching of the Trinity.
The Standishes join in sustaining the "gloss," thus taking their
stand with the Roman teaching of the Godhead instead of standing with
truth. This is not the only Romish tinted error they seek to promote.
Purposefully? That is doubtful. Why, then? Because they do not
In A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Bruce M. Metzger, "on behalf of and in co-operation with the Editorial Committee of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, discusses at length the gloss which the Standishes seek to defend. We reproduce his comments in full: "After marturounteV (witness or record [KJV] 1 John 5:7) the Textus Receptus adds the following: en tw ouranw, o IIathr, o logoV, kai Agion IIveuma: kai outoi oi treiV en eisi. (8) kai treis eisin oi martupuonteV en th gh. That these words are spurious and have no right to stand in the New Testament is certain in the light of the following considerations.
"The earliest instance of the passage being quoted as a part of the actual text of the Epistle is in the fourth century Latin treatise entitled Liber Apologeticus (chap. 4), attributed either to the Spanish heretic Priscillian (died about 384) or to his follower Bishop Instantius. Apparently the gloss arose when the original passage was understood to symbolize the Trinity (through the mention of the three witnesses; the Spirit, the water, and the blood), an interpretation which may have been written first as a marginal note that afterwards found its way into the text. In the fifth century the gloss was quoted by Latin Fathers in North Africa and Italy as part of the text of the Epistle and from the sixth century onwards it is found more and more frequently in manuscripts of the Old Latin and of the Vulgate. In these various witnesses the wording of the passage differs in several particulars. (For example of other intrusions into the Latin text of 1 John, see 2:17; 4:3; 5:6, and 20.)
"For the story of how the spurious words came to be included in the Textus Receptus, see any critical commentary on 1 John, or Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, pp. 101 f; cf. also Ezra Abbot, "1 John v.7 and Luther's German Bible," in The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel and Other Critical Essays (Boston, 1888), pp. 458-463."
[The story of how these spurious words came to be included in the Textus Receptus can be found in the Seventh-day Adventist Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 675.]
Returning to the article in The Remnant Herald, Dr. Standish expresses concern, and rightly so, for the present concerted attempt by "voices" both in Australia and the United States to denigrate the Lord Jesus Christ to lesser Being than the Father, and to blaspheme the Holy Spirit by denying His existence other than an extended influence of the Father and the Son. This latter position is treading on exceedingly dangerous ground. Satan who was once Lucifer, the covering cherub, knows well the Beings of the Godhead, and doesn't mind which extreme position you believe, the Trinity, or the anti-Trinitarian view being expressed today in the Community of Adventism just so long as you do not believe the truth as given in the Scriptures, the high point being revealed in the capsheaf Gospel of John.
p 5 -- It cannot be denied that in this area of theology we have a deep mystery. This mystery centers in the Incarnation, not as an actual happening, but "how" it could happen. We are loath to accept the reality of the fact that Jesus Christ as a God-man was a new Being never before known in the universe, and that He as that God-man was exalted into the Godhead making it "the Heavenly Trio." We have difficulty, and rightly so, in relating this God-man and the Eternal Spirit. It is a mystery in the fullest sense of the meaning of the word in the English language. The book of Revelation symbolizes this mystery as "a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God" (5:6). This could well be the highest symbolic language found anywhere in the Scriptures.
Theologically, the relationship has been expressed by the words, alter ego. Commenting on the Greek text of 1 John 5:6 (the verse just before the gloss), David Smith in The Expositor's Greek Testament (W. Robertson Nicoll, Editor) wrote as follows on the verse: ["This (outoV) is He that came (o elqwn) by (dia) water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by (en) water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth."]
"Ver. 6. outoV, i.e. this Jesus who is the Son of God, the Messiah whom the prophets foretold and who "came" in the fullness of the time. o elqwn, [the One who came] noto ercomenoV [the coming One]. His Advent no longer an unfulfilled hope but an historical event. dia [through] of the pathway or the vehicle of His Advent. ... en [in]: He not only "came through" but continued "in the water and the blood," i.e. His ministry comprehended both the Baptism of the Spirit and the Sacrifice for sin. ... Jesus called Himself "the Truth" (John xiv. 6), and the Spirit came in His room, His alter ego (xiv. 16-18)." (Vol. V, p. 195)
This designation, alter ego, is the best that human language can devise to express the relationships resultant from the manifestation of God in the flesh as described in the Scriptures. However, to sustain a textual gloss because it confirms a doctrine of Romanism which one chooses to accept as a part of his own confession of faith, and then claim to be a "herald" of truth can be defined by only one phrase, a "voice" of deception.
Which? -- The LA Times January 3, 1999, carried a feature article by Kevin Phillips, publisher of American Political Report. The essay was captioned - "Cultural Tide Gathers for a Puritan Revival."The first two paragraphs set the tone for his whole thesis. They read: January 1999 is not just any old January. The Western world is now in a countdown to the millennium, a 12-month world watch already freighted with global economic jitters, the potential collapse of Russia, moral and politcal crusades and an eerie mix of technology and doomsday superstition.
Americans in particular, face the possibility that the continuing upheaval in Washington could bring about a religious revival and a related neo-Puritanism. The first-ever impeachment trial of an elected U. S. President, amid what is already described as a cultural civil war, could be leading toward a moral and ideological Gettysburg.
Phillips indicates that there is a resurgence of fundamentalism in the United States which is "labelled neo-Puritanism" The moral and legal issues the Senate faced in its trial of the President are only "one litmus test." The moral shift is international. Phillips noted that in Pakistan there is a move toward "a code of Islamic justice in which rapists are executed within 24 hours. Even nonreligious China has drafted new laws to crack down on adultery."
Noting that current polls show that Americans "seem to prefer adultery, perjury and a rising stockmarket to any sort of a neo-Puritan crusade," Phillips asks, "but will they feel this way in April or May, if the Dow has dropped by 30% and the Senate trial revelations have Clinton's rating on a similar curve?" He recognizes that "despite talk about the rise of fundamentalism and the emergence of the Christian Right since the 1970s, the last three decades have seen a fat, larger counter development" in the sexual revolution which began in the 1960s. He stated that though religious leaders have tried to call "the shots in American culture," they have not been able to do so, but rather the liberals and centrists have." However, "these polarizations of lifestyle, culture and conscience are central to the way U.S. politics since the 1960s has resembled an intermittent civil war," the most recent in 1994. The struggle over Clinton's fate is "a vital campaign for both cultural armies." Phillips contends that if "one set of moral, sexual, religious and legal views prevails in the U.S Senate, the vote could produce a latter-day Gettysburg - the decade's potentially decisive confrontation betweer the 'moralists' and the 'permissives."'
Phillips cites some past history of interest in Adventist thinking. It is better directly quoted than summarized. He wrote: In the United States of the 1790s, reaction against moral and political radicalism nurtured a traditional counterreaction, beginning in the small towns of New England, which grew into the Second Great Awakening. Through the 1850s, a related cultural warfare wracked U.S. politics with demands for prohibition of liquor sales and unseemly amusements on the Sabbath. Missions and Bible societies proliferated. Puritanism even spread to cuisine, with the invention of the graham cracker and the organization in New England cities of Female Retrenchment Societies to
p 6 -- defend women against tea, coffee, rich cake and pastry.
One does not have to see cappuccino chocolate eclairs and Sunday shopping in jeopardy to suspect the gathering of another religious or traditionalist countertide. ... Few questions are more important in America's millennial countdown than whether the current peacetime imitation of civil war is heading in a similar direction.
One reader's response to this essay very accurately described the make up of today's American culture in challenging Phillips analysis. He wrote: Kevin Phillips has it all wrong in his Jan. 3 article, "Cultural Tide Gathers for a Puritan Revival." Frankly, I think we are witnessing the death of puritanism.
Americans above all desire individual freedom. We are so diverse and multicultural now that no one religion, cult or evangelist could possibly appeal to a majority of the population. And the balance of the population would fight tooth and nail to prevent others' views being implemented universally.
Americans in large numbers are responding to public sexual indiscretions with resounding yawn. Many people emigrated here for freedom of religion; others did so to be free from religion and the resulting intolerance in their homelands. We are a patchwork of beliefs, increasingly secular, and with our free press and vast information systems the question is, why would anyone want to return to the less tolerant, more repressive ways of the past? Puritans lose, individual freedom triumphs!
From the viewpoint of fundamental Adventist teaching of end-time events based upon an interpretation of Revelation 13, the position taken by Kevin Phillips would be claimed as a correct understanding of what is to happen. However, the present cultural status and thinking in America is accurately described in the letter from a reader. Further honesty requires that we admit that we are interpreting the prophecy of Revelation 13 by the book, The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan. At one point in the book, Ellen White describes what is defined as "the last remnant of time," and changes from events prophesied in Revelation 13 to an event noted in Revelation 16. If we are willing to follow her counsel and apply "time and place" to what she has written, will we come up with the same set of fulfilments 100 years from the time the book was written as would have been if the "the last remnant of time" had been reached in the 1890s? Certain basics, yes; the how of the accomplishment of those basics, no. Herein will lie the deception that, if possible, the very elect could be deceived.
Now let us consider some details that relate to the above questions and assumptions. The prophecy in Revelation 13:11-17 speaks of a "another beast coming up out of the earth." There is no question that the word, "earth" in verse 11 is used as a symbolism. The problem we will face will be in the interpretation of this same word in verse 14. Is this also the symbolic use, or is "earth" the whole inhabited earth? This decision will affect one's perception of what the "image" is. Further, since the Third Angel's Message concerns this "image" as well as the first "beast," we need to get our "act" together so as to give this message in truth. It is so much easier just to take Great Controversy and read what it says and not relate the prophetic basics to a different time frame. However, to do so is deceptive, and prepares those who blindly accept such interpretations to be unprepared for the final delusion.
In the next to the final paragraph in the chapter on "Spiritualism" in The Great Controversy is found the phrase "the last remnant of time" (p. 561). With it is connected Revelation 16:13, 14. But we have said that this being a part of the sixth plague must come after the close of probation, but the context of the paragraph does not permil such a conclusion. After quoting from Revelation 16:13-14, Ellen White writes that the people are being "lulled" into a "fatal security" to be awakened "only by the outpouring of the wrath of God," and that begins with the first plague! From this must be drawn the conclusion that the present interpretations constitute a fatal security." The only answer given of escape in that hour is to be "kept by the power of God through faith in His word" (p. 562). We better know what the "word" says, and watch carefully the unrolling of the scroll. "The last remnant of time" before "the outpouring of the wrath of God" will not give much time to make the preparation needful to stand. If we have not "unlearned" the many, many lessons of traditional perceptions, and learned in their place the lessons of truth we are in line to "be swept into the ranks of [the final] delusion" along with the rest of the world.
Distortion of Truth -- Just as we were completing the various articles above, the February issue of Old Paths was in the postal box. In this issue was an article on "The Promised Comforter." One section was captioned - "Another Comforter." In this section the writer, Doug Goslin, avers that "the word 'another' should be considered here but not as another individui other than Jesus Christ". He interprets "another Comforter" as "the same person" but with "another experience." To arrive at this conclusion Goslin wrote that "Christ was born twice, but in two separate forms. The first was the form of God, the second was the form of man" (p. 7). In these premises, we have several distortions of truth. Let us consider them.
First, there is the linguistic distortion. The Greek word translated, "another" is alloV. It does not mean "same" and denotes a distinct person separate from the one speaking. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
p 7 -- by Arndt & Gingrich states under the art. alloV: "1. other - a. different from the subject who is speaking or who is logically understood ... (illustrations from Greek given) ... b. different from previously mentioned subject or object." Thayer in his Lexicon indicates that from Homer on down, this Greek word means, "another, other." Then he contrasts alloV with 'eteroV, indicating that alloV "denotes numerical in distinction from qualitative difference" (p. 29). If Jesus had wished to indicate that the Comforter would be Himself and the difference would be in "experience" thus denoting a "qualitative" difference, He would have used the word, 'eteroV.
Secondly, there is the problem arising from the concept of "form." Jesus returned to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit in His place because of the limitation of His "form." He could not be everywhere present. (See John 16:7; The Desire of Ages, p. 669, par. 2). Now if He was to be the coming "Comforter" did He come in His exalted human form? "He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the Omnipresent." (Letter 119, 1895) "Omnipresence" is an attribute of the "form of God." Is Jesus Christ operating in two "forms" or are their two operating each in His own "form"? The Greek noted in the above paragraph indicates the latter. It would be much simpler just to accept the explanation given in the Expositor's Greek Testament as cited on p. 4 of this issue of WWN. There is a mystery here which involves the Incarnation. Let us leave the mystery alone, and accept the revealed fact: At Bethlehem a new Being came into existence, a God-man, Jesus. This God-man was exalted to the right hand of the Majesty on high, yet this God-man could be spoken of as "that eternal life which was (hn) with (proV not en) the Father" (1 John 1:2). This brings us to the third distortion of truth.
In the article, Goslin avers that "Christ was born twice." If born twice, even if the first time was "in the form of God," He had a beginning and could not be "that eternal life which was with the Father." In seeking to deny the reality of the Holy Spirit, the assertion of John that "in Him was (hn) life" is thus denied, making Christ's pre-existent life derived, and His claim to be the "I AM"a false claim.
If the "alpha" of apostasy in the Adventist Church involved among other things the nature of God, and it did, could not this distortion of truth about the Holy Spirit, even to the point of doing theological gymnastics with the original text be considered a part of the "omega"? During the last decades we have seen the distortion of the character of God in the denial that He is a God of judgment. In this same period, we have seen a revival of anti-Trinitarianism mingled with Gnosticism. Now we see to what lengths this neo-Gnosticism will go, even to the distortion of the very text of the New Testament to justify the denial of the Holy Spirit as one Person of "the Heavenly Trio." We are faced with two extremes - a Trinitaranism based in Catholicism, and an anti-Trintarianism which distorts the Word of God.
Let's talk it Over -- On the political scene in the United States we have seen a populace who by their attitude and voice prefer adultery and perjury to justice and moral rectitude. The evidence cited in the series of articles in this issue of WWN indicates that men will defend Scriptural "glosses" to support their Trinitarian beliefs which but echo the teachings of Rome. We have documented that those teaching against the Trinity concept of Rome are willing to distort the very Greek text of Scripture to sustain their theories. Then we see that there are many concerned Adventists who will sit at the feet of these "voices," thus encouraging them in their erroneous theories besides poisoning their own minds with such teachings.
Do we no longer believe that the righteousness of Christ will be the only acceptable entrance permit for the eternal world where the mysteries of redemption will be made plain as we sit at the feet of Jesus? Do we no longer accept the fact that Christ's righteousness is "pure, unadulterated truth" TM, 65). It appears not. We accept "glitz," "names" and "distortion" in place of the clear word of God. When will we arouse from the stupefying slumber that is overtaking so many concerned Adventists?
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light" (Rom. 13:12).
crushed to the earth, shall rise again;