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.
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the Form of a Slave
In Bible Prophecy
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Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer
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of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
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Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones
"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson
Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen
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Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen
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Apr 2006 -- XXXIX - 4(06) -- The Sabbath -- Editor's Preface -- Each issue of WWN is posted in two mailings: In the United States it goes as a "bulk mail," while outside of the United States, it is sent as a periodical and placed in an envelope. This makes an extra page (8) for the periodical mailing. Besides the required postal information for periodical mailing, we sometimes place additional data for our readers. In this issue, we entered a quote from Wm. H. Mason, which is very apropos for an issue on the Sabbath. He wrote "The Sabbath is a time when the spent spirit may catch its breath, and man may look into the face of God and be refreshed."
Also in this issue are other items of interest, including paragraphs from a documented paper read at a Baptist minister's meeting held in Saratoga, New York. Then, we noted the saga of T. Enright of the Redemptorist Fathers of the Roman Church and his $1,000 reward to anyone who could find a Bible text authorizing the keeping of the first day of the week. We closed this issue with two paragraphs from The Catholic World published in 1894, regarding Balder, sungod of the ancient Scandinavians. If you would wish a copy of any (indicate which) or all of these above references, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to P. 0. Box 69, Ozone, Arkansas , 72854. We will respond to your request. For those living in Canada or Australia, send your request to the respective office address. (See Order Form)
p 2 -- The Sabbath -- Six days of creation were about to close. Adam had completed naming the created kinds, but for him had been found no "helpmeet" (Gen. 2:19-20). Sleep overtook him, and when he awakened there stood before him Eve, in all her beauty. They closed the first day of their lives together; for Adam most of the day, for Eve but a few hours. Their second day was spent in communion with the Lord God. It was God who "rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made." It was God who "blessed the seventh day and sanctified it" (Gen. 2:3). It was the day that He made holy, that He consecrated, and gave to man (Mark 2:27-28).
For our first parents, their first Sabbath was not the seventh-day of their lives, but the second. The seventh-day Sabbath is God's Sabbath, not man's Sabbath. As stated in the Law given by God Himself, "the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord [Jehovah] thy God" (Ex. 20:10). It, along with the "breath of life" (Gen. 2:7), were God's creation gifts to man.
We are not told how long Adam and Eve worshiped in the bliss of Eden with God from week to week. A change occurred after sin entered, not a change of day but a change of ritual and meaning. "In the process of time" - "at the end of the days" (Heb., margin) - Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof" (Gen. 4:3-4). One gift represented what produced the incident of sin, along with the products of the cursed ground; the other gift came to represent the means devised for man's redemption - the blood of the lamb (margin. V. 4). To Abel and to his offering God had respect. Cain's countenance fell in his wrath. The Lord told him that if he did well, he would be accepted (4:7). They both worshiped on the same day, but Jesus declared that the true worshiper must "worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23).
The next mention of the Sabbath in Scripture does not occur again until centuries had passed, and the world that then was had become the world that now is, and sacred history paralleled secular history. Genesis chapters 1-6 record in brief the world that then was; chapters 7-8 the transition to the world that now is. Chapter 11 introduces what was the beginning of the kingdoms of this world, "in the land of Shinar;" while chapter 12 introduces God's plan by which "all families of the earth" shall "be blessed." Between these two forces, is the "conflict of the ages" that does not cease until "great Babylon" comes "in remembrance before God" (Rev. 16:19).
covenant with Abraham are to be found not only the elements of righteousness
by faith - Abraham "believed in the Lord" and it was "counted
to him for righteousness" (Gen. 15:6), but also a prophecy was given
concerning the servitude of his seed "in a land that was not theirs"
(15:13). During this servitude, the Sabbath was introduced and became
a point of contention. In an exchange between Moses and Pharaoh, the Egyptian
ruler accused Moses of making the children of Israel "rest"
from their burdens (Ex. 5:5). It could be translated - "to keep sabbath."
One of the first lessons God taught the children of Israel when liberated
from Egypt was which day was the Sabbath. Manna was given daily; a double
p 3 -- provided on the sixth day; and none on the seventh day. The text reads: See, for that the Lord hath given you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day (Ex. 16:29-30).
Having clearly established which day was which in the giving of the manna, the Lord then proclaimed from Sinai "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God" (Ex. 20:10). The reason is clearly given: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it (20:11).
Prior to the crossing of the Jordan into the Land of Canaan, Moses reviewed the covenant God made with the children of Israel at Horeb. He stated: The Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone (Deut. 4:12-13).
In reciting these ten commandments, Moses called their attention to another "remember." Not only were they to "remember" the Sabbath day per se, but they were to remember their servitude in and their deliverance from Egypt. The Mosaic version reads: Remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord brought thee out thence through a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day (Deut 5:15).
It is at this point many stumble and fall. God has never altered from the giving of the Sabbath to man. He is the Creator! Neither has He altered in giving the Sabbath to His chosen people. He is their Deliverer and Redeemer! Through Abraham "all families of earth" were to be blessed (Gen. 12:3). The key connection is emphatically stated by Paul as he set forth the gospel given him "by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:12) - "if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (3:29).
To the Romans, Paul stated it another way - who a genuine "Jew" really is: He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and the circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men but of God (Rom. 2:28-29).
Again, in the same letter he wrote: They are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed (Rom. 9:6-8).
To the Ephesians, Paul would write that they were at one time "without Christ" but became "fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;" and "were built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone" (2:19-20).
flesh, we all have a blood line, be it French, German, Russian, Spanish,
whatever. In the Spirit, we also have a blood line, the blood of the Lord
Jesus Christ, and that blood line makes us "spiritual Israel,"
even the seed of Abraham. This places the question of the Sabbath in a
different perspective than it is usually perceived. The central point
that needs to be kept in focus is the fact that Paul declared the Gospel
he proclaimed was not from man but by direct revelation from Jesus Christ
(Gal. 1:12); and that whoever preached a different gospel, be it even
p 4 -- from heaven" let him be "accursed"' (1:8-9). We need to ponder long the force of what Paul wrote - "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed." With this, we need to include Peter's declaration that "there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12), save the name of Christ. We need to ever remember that we do not keep God's holy day to be saved, but because we have been saved by the blood of Calvary, and as Abraham's seed we have been given in trust "the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises" (Rom. 9:4).
In the sacred history of the Old Testament, the Sabbath is interrelated with the other feasts given to the children of Israel. These, the Passover, Pentecost, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles, are stated to be "beside the Sabbaths of the Lord." The Sabbath was distinct; it was and is the Sabbath of the Lord (Lev. 23:3-4, 37-38). One of the marks of difference between the feasts and the Sabbaths, except for the Day of Atonement, was the work permitted. On the feast days, no "servile work" was to be done (Lev 23:7, 8, 21, 25, 35, 36); while on the Sabbath and the Day of Atonement, "no work" was permitted (Lev. 23:3, 28).
In the Old Testament from Moses to Christ little reference is found regarding the Sabbath. A rich blessing is promised to those who keep the day holy by refraining from their "pleasure" and "call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable, and shalt honor Him not doing (their) own ways, nor finding (their) own pleasure, nor speaking (their) own words" (Isa. 58:13-14). On the other hand, there were those who considered the Sabbath a burden, and who anxiously looked forward to its closing so they could renew their cheating in business transactions. The prophet Amos cried out against this hypocrisy in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah (Amos 8:5-7).
Following the captivity in Babylon, Nehemiah notes that much merchandising was done on the streets of Jerusalem on the Sabbath by the Jews who had returned as well as merchants from Tyre. Nehemiah rebuked severely the nobles of Judah for profaning the Sabbath, and in so doing revealed that this had been one of the sins which provoked the captivity (13:15-22).
The book of Isaiah closes with a prophecy regarding worship in the new heavens and new earth. It reads: For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord (Isa. 66:22-23).
In the hymn book of Israel - the Psalms - there is a verse which is pulled out of context but which is used nevertheless as supporting worship and religious services on Sunday as the "Lord's day." The first time I was confronted by this use of Ps. 118:24, was in a challenge to debate by a Church of Christ minister when I was engaged in public evangelism in the South. Imagine my surprise when I was noting what the new Catholic Catechism had to say about the Sabbath commandment to discover that this verse - ""This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" - was used to preface the section on "The Lord's Day" (p. 524).
the verse in context does not justify such a conclusion, it is of interest
to note that the day is governed by nature, even as the month and the
year, but not so the week. It was deliberately
p 5 -- set by God and He made the seventh day, His Sabbath. So if the meaning of this verse in Psalms concerns a day which He has made, it is the Sabbath, the day on which we are to enter "the gates of righteousness" for praise unto our God who is our "salvation" (Ps. 118: 19-21).
As we open the New Testament, Luke, as he begins his record of Jesus' ministry, notes Jesus coming to Nazareth "where He had been brought up: and as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day," and took part in the worship service (Luke 4:16).
It was not which day that was an issue of discussion in the gospels in regard to the Sabbath. That was clearly understood. Luke states that the day following the crucifixion was "the Sabbath day according to the commandment" (23:56). The confrontation was over how the Sabbath was to be observed. Jesus pronounced forthrightly - "Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days" (Matt. 12:12). He Himself operated according to this dictum even to the extent of restoring sight to one who had been born blind (John 9:1, 14).
There is a principle of law set forth in the book of Hebrews which needs to be considered. Paul contended that if the blood of bulls and goats sanctified to the purifying of the flesh under the old covenant, "much more shall the blood of Christ ... purge (the) conscience from dead works to serve the living God. For this cause He is a mediator of the new testament" (Heb. 9:14-15). The principle is then stated: 'Where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth (Heb. 9:16-17).
To put it plainly, yet simply: If there were to be any changes as far as the Sabbath was concerned under the new testament, those changes would have had to have been made and stated prior to Christ's final cry from the cross - "It is finished." In the Scriptures, there is no record of any such change. Thus, as proclaimed from Mt. Sinai, the Ten Commandments stand as originally given.
The book of Acts contains, for the most part, the missionary activities of the Apostle Paul. His approach, when entering a new city was to go to the local synagogue, and as opportunity opened, to speak to the Jews of the Diaspora who assembled there, concerning Jesus the Christ. See 17:2; 18:4. Even when no synagogue existed, he sought the place where prayer was made on the Sabbath and spoke to the group who gathered there. See 16:12-13. He instituted no new day of worship.
In the New Testament the first day of the week is mentioned in connection with the resurrection of Jesus (Luke 24:1-3); but no instruction for, nor suggestion of worship on that day is given. The one lone gathering recorded on that day was because "the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews" (John 20:19).
theology for the New Testament seventh day Sabbath as expressed in the
book of Hebrews connects the Sabbath rest with the "rest" which
Jesus promised to give to all who come unto Him (Matt. 11:28-30). Both
in Hebrews 4:10 and Matthew 11:28 the word, "rest" is compounded
with a preposition on the same Greek root word, kauw.
In Hebrews 4:10 it is katapausin,
while in Matthew 11:28 it is anapausw.
Then in Hebrews 4:9-10, it states clearly - "There remaineth therefore
a rest (margin - 'a keeping of
p 6 -- Sabbath' (Gr. sabbatismoV) to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest hath ceased from his own works, as God from His." Verse 4 had declared "God did rest the seventh day from all His works."
Dr. E. T. Hiscox Stated -- Dr. E. T. Hiscox, a Baptist clergyman, and author of their Manual was invited to speak at a ministers' meeting, August 20, 1893, in Saratoga, New York. The assigned topic was "'The Transference of the Sabbath." Present at this meeting was Elder F. C. Gilbert who received a copy from Dr. Hiscox of what he read, corrected and approved by him.
The following is from that paper: It will however be readily said, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the Seventh to the First day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring the information on this subject, which I have studied for many years I ask, where can the record of such a transaction by found? Not in the New Testament, - absolutely not. There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the Seventh to the First day of the week. I wish to say that this Sabbath question, in that aspect of it, is in my judgment the gravest and most perplexing question connected with Christian institutions which at present claims attention from Christian people. And the only reason why it is not a more disturbing element in Christian thought, and in religious discussions, is because the Christian world has settled down content with the conviction that somehow, a transference did take place at the beginning of Christian history, and with a comfortable apathy, the matter stands, as of insufficient importance to cause any special concern, save indeed on the part of a small company of "Sabbatarian Cranks," of whom I am one only in so far as my views expressed in this paper agree with theirs. ...
I do not assert that it was not the divine intention that the Christian holy day, should be the first day of the week, but there is no evidence of such intention in these instances cited. I do not assert that Christians should not commemorate the resurrection on Sunday; but as no one knows when the resurrection took place, and as there is strong evidence against Christ's having risen on the first day of the week, it seems somewhat needless to press claims for the sanctity of that day on that ground. To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus during three years' intercourse with His disciples, giving instruction as to His kingdom, constantly, coming in contact with the Sabbath question, often discussing it in some of its aspects, freeing it from its false glosses, and teaching its true nature and purpose, never alluded to any change to any transference of the day. Also that during the forty days of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated. Nor so far as we know, did the Spirit, which was given to bring all things to their remembrance, whatsoever He had said unto them, deal with this question. Nor yet did the inspired Apostles in preaching the Gospel, founding Churches, counselling and instructing those founded discuss or approach this subject. Of course I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of Paganism, and Christened with the name of the Sun-god. Then adopted and sanctified by the Papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism, and the Christian world, just as Easter which the churches hankering after ritualism are now so lovingly pressing to their hearts, comes bearing the sign Manual of a heathen divinity, instead of - if something purely Christian could not be had - at least bearing a sign and designation of pascha from the old dispensation. But in those early ages, when Christian ritualism largely received its form, the mould in which it was cast was rather pagan than Jewish, as preferred by a carnal and secularized Church establishment.
T. Enright, CSSR -- On June 16, 1899, at Kansas City, Missouri, T. Enright of the Redemptorist fathers of the Roman Church wrote on a piece of scratch paper - "I hereby offer $1,000 to any one who can prove to me from the Bible alone, that I am bound under pain of grievous sin to keep Sunday holy" - and signed it.
appear that a Methodist minister, Samuel Walter Gamble stated that Fr.
Enright had withdrawn his offer. In the meantime he
p 7 -- had moved to Detroit, Michigan. To one who wrote him checking on Gamble's assertion, Enright replied in a letter dated April 26, 1902: Your note was forwarded to me here where I reside at present. I have never seen Mr. Gamble, never read a line from any one of that name. The assertion that I have withdrawn the offer is utterly false. I still offer $1,000 to anyone who can prove from the Bible alone, that I am bound under pain of grievous sin to keep Sunday holy. We keep Sunday in obedience to the law of the Catholic Church. The church made this law after the Bible was written; hence the law is not in the Bible. The Catholic Church abolished not only the Sabbath, but all the other Jewish Festivals.
There is no record of Mr. Gamble ever attempting to collect the $1,000; but Enright in 1905 reiterated his offer. He wrote again, this time from St. Louis, Missouri: I have offered and still offer $ 1,000 to any one who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound under pain of grievous sin to keep Sunday holy.
It was the Catholic Church which made the law obliging us to keep Sunday holy. The Church made this law long after the Bible was written. Hence said law is not in the Bible.
Christ our Lord empowered the Church to make laws binding on conscience. He said to His apostles and their lawful successors in the priesthood, "Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" Mat. 16:19. The Catholic Church abolished not only the Sabbath, but all the other Jewish festivals.
From The Catholic World -- A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science -- The church took the pagan philosophy and made it the buckler of faith against the heathen. She took the pagan Roman Pantheon, temple of all the gods, and made it sacred to all the martyrs; so it stands to this day. She took the pagan Sunday and made it the Christian Sunday. She took the pagan Easter and made it the feast we celebrate during this season.
day are, if we consider their derivation, much the same. In truth, all
Sundays are Sundays only because they are a weekly, partial recurrence
of Easter day. The pagan Sunday was, in a manner, an unconscious preparation
for Easter day. The sun was a foremost god with heathendom. Balder the
beautiful, the White God, the old Scandinavians called him. The sun has
worshippers at this hour in Persia and other lands. "'Some of you"
says Carlyle, "may remember that fancy of Plato's. A man is kept
in the some dark, underground cave from childhood till maturity; then
suddenly is carried to the upper airs. For the first time he sees the
sun shining in its splendor overhead. He must fall down, says Plato, and
adore it." There is in truth, something royal, kingly about the sun,
making it a fit emblem of Jesus, the Sun of Justice. Hence the church
in these countries would seem to have said, "Keep that old, pagan
name. It shall remain consecrated, sanctified." And thus the pagan
Sunday, dedicated to Balder, became the Christian Sunday, sacred to Jesus
(March 1894, p. 809).
p 8 -- The Sabbath is
a time when the spent spirit can catch its breath, and man can look into
the face of God and be refreshed. - Wm.
--- (2006 Apr) ---End --- TOP
May XXXIX -5 (06) -- Luke 21:24 -- Editor's Preface -- In 1974 a North American Division Bible Conference was conducted in three different places across the United States. I attended the conference held at Andrews University. , One of the topics presented by a respected Adventist theologian was "The Unique Contribution of Adventist Eschatology." He noted that the interest at the time of his presentation in the Second Coming of Christ was based on "Three Facts." On the third fact he commented: "The re-establishment of the state of Israel has generated intense excitement that this historic event is a dramatic fulfillment of prophecy, indicating that the end is near." Then he commented on what he perceived to be the Adventist perception of the establishment of the Jewish State. He declared: "Seventhday Adventists do not see theological importance in the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948 or the annexation of Old Jerusalem in 1967" (p. 6). This a difficult position to defend in the light of all the evidence that is being presented in this issue of WWN. While it is true that Dr. Zurcher's book on Christ of the Revelation had not been published in 1974, at least not in English, The 20th Century Bible Course was still in vogue. A little research would have discovered Edson White as well as Ellen White's comments on Luke 21. Further "home work" would have brought to light the subject of Christ's Second Coming assigned to Arthur S. Maxwell for the 1952 Bible Conference. Sadly, the failure to see the theological importance of Christ's prophecy has been detrimental to Adventism.
p 2 -- Luke 21:24 -- "Jerusalem shall be trodden of the Gentiles (nations - eqnwn0), until the times of the Gentiles (nations eqnwn0) be fulfilled."
James Edson White, second son of James and Ellen White, entered the publishing work at the early age of 15. At the Review & Herald office he learned and mastered the printer's trade. Sensing the need of funds for missionary work and the profit that could be derived from the sale of Bible oriented books, White pushed forward the writing and sale of 12 books in all. Among them was The Coming King, which for years was the leading subscription book produced by Seventhday Adventists for colporteurs (SDA Encyclopedia Vol. 11, p. 890). In the chapter on the "Destruction of Jerusalem," White tells of the terrible carnage inflicted by the Roman soldiers, and cites this as a fulfilment of Jesus' prophecy as given in the first part of Luke 21:24 - "they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations (ta eqnh)." Then he adds a closing paragraph to the chapter: We also read that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." This will be when the work of the gospel is finished ( p. 109, 1906 edition).
This is a declarative and definitive statement of how Luke 21:24 was understood. The book was published by the Review & Herald Publishing Association, and as noted above "was the leading subscription book produced by Seventh-day Adventists" for years. In other words, it is as official an interpretation as could possibly be given to Luke 21:24 apart from the General Conference in session.
Five years later, Edson's mother directed a letter to Dr. J. H. Kellogg which is filed as Letter 20, 1901 (Ms. Rel., #14, 1102, pp. 139-149). In this letter, after discussing general matters Ellen White declared Luke 21:24, in full context, to be "present truth," and "an object lesson." We discussed this letter in some detail in this year's January issue of WWN (pp. 6-7). She wrote: 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 the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (p. 149).
When Christ comes in the clouds of heaven, "the work of the gospel" will have been "finished." Ellen White's letter to Kellogg would appear to be an endorsement of her son's position as given in The Coming King.
The Coming King was superseded as the leading subscription book for Adventist colporteurs by Bible Readings for the Home Circle. In the 1915 edition, which was stated to be "New, Revised, and Enlarged," the following questions and answers can be found in the chapter on "The Gathering of Israel."
Because of disobedience, what experience came to Israel? --
prophecy spoke of their return from captivity? --
Note - The first dispersion of the Jews occurred BC 606-588, under Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. In 457 BC under Artaxerxes, the Persian king, large numbers of Jews returned to Palestine, their home land.
3. How had Moses spoken of another and greater dispersion? --
p 3 -- The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from afar, from the end of the earth. ... and the Lord shall scatter thee among all people from the one end of the earth even unto the other (Deut. 28:49-64).
Note -This calamity and dispersion occurred in 70 A.D., under Titus, the Roman general. ...
How long was Jerusalem to be trodden down of the Gentiles? --
What will terminate the "times" allotted to the Gentiles? --
This reflects the same position as stated by Edson White in The Coming King. Then another question is asked - "Why was the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles?" The answer is taken from Acts 15 when at the first Church Council James, the moderator, declared - God "did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name" (ver. 14). The 1915 edition goes even further, noting that "many nations" will go to Jerusalem thinking they will arrive at truth citing Micah 4:2, but in reality they will be gathered to the battle of the great day of God Almighty (Rev. 16:13, 14).
In 1949, Bible Readings for the Home Circle was revised. Attention was directed to one major change by Leroy E. Froom in his questionable apology, Movement of Destiny (See pp. 427-428). Interestingly, the chapter on "The Gathering of Israel" in the 1915 edition of Bible Readings was reproduced without change in the 1949 revision for the first seven questions and answers except for the omission of the note under question 5 (p. 258).
The 1949 edition (p. 315) did add a new section - "True Israel in God's sight." This has led to the "spiritualizing" away of the literal city of Jerusalem and substituting the concept of a "spiritual Israel," as is suggested in the revised edition's new section to the chapter. But such does not reflect the context. It was the literal, historical Jerusalem that was ""compassed with armies" (Luke 21:20); likewise it is the same Jerusalem that would be "trodden down of the nations (eqnwn) until the times of the nations (eqnwn) be fulfilled" (21:24).
This was not the only problem that Adventist prophetic interpretation faced during the decade leading up to the establishment of the present State of Israel. For the colporteur were published paperback books on various Biblical topics. These sold for 25 cents, and were known as ""bread and butter books." If the colporteur could not place Bible Readings in the home he could sell a paperback or two and thus have money to live on. These same books were used as the "gift of the month" by the Voice of Prophecy. One such book was Palestine in Prophecy by J. C. Stevens copyrighted in 1944. The last paragraph of the book reads: The apostle Paul speaks of old Jerusalem as being "in bondage with her children" Galatians 4:25. Had the Jews been faithful, Jerusalem would have been enlarged and beautified to become the center of the whole earth, beautiful for situation. But throughout the generations [since] the fall of that city in A.D. 70, Jerusalem has been "a burdensome stone" and "a cup of trembling unto all the people" (Zechariah 12:2, 3); and it will be so to the end of time. Palestine and Jerusalem do not have a bright future in this present world, and those who are holding the hope of national restoration for the Jews are following a theological will-o-the-wisp (p. 95).
In 1947, the Pacific Press published a paperback written by Roy F. Cottrell, The Jews and Palestine. He wrote:
p 4 -- The father of modern Zionism was Theodor Herzl, an Austro-Hungarian journalist. In 1896 he published a book entitled, The Jewish State. The following year the first Zionist Congress convened in Basel, Switzerland, and presented to the world its program for "a publicly assured and legally secured home for the Jewish people in Palestine" (P. 57).
Near the close of this chapter, the conclusion is drawn: 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).
In 1947, the published position of the Church was that it was impossible for a Jewish State to ever be restored in Palestine. One year later, in 1948, the Jewish State became a reality.
In 1948, 1 became pastor of the First Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Sabbath following the establishment of the Jewish State, I prepared a sermon to shore up confidence in the Church's position. I told the congregation - "Don't get too disturbed. Do not become overly alarmed. There are still more Jews in New York City that can possibly get settled in the small area of Palestine." I had no other answer, which was no answer. What was I to say? In other words, as a result of current events, it became obvious that we as a Church were fallible in our prophetic interpretations, and that there needed to be some re-thinking.
In 1952, a Bible Conference was held in the Sligo Church. At this conference, Arthur S. Maxwell, editor of the Signs of the Times, was assigned the topic, "Imminence of Christ's Second Coming." In his presentation he discussed three areas of unfulfilled prophecy, one of which was "developments in Palestine." What he said needs to be carefully considered in its entirety: The recent dramatic restoration of the nation of Israel has focused the attention of mankind once more upon Palestine. Many Christians have mistakenly permitted themselves to believe that the return of thousands of unconverted Jews to their native land is in fulfilment of the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not realizing that, since the death of the Son of God on Calvary, there is no salvation, nor eternal homeland, except for those who believe in Him and accept His sacrifice.
However, there is one prophecy concerning Palestine that we should all be watching with special care. Said Jesus, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" Luke 21:24.
For nineteen centuries Jerusalem has been trodden down of the Gentiles. It is still trodden down of the Gentiles. Despite the amazing prowess of the Israeli troops, the ancient city of Jerusalem is still in Arab hands. A Mohammedan mosque still stands upon the site of Solomon's Temple. Victorious as were the forces of Israel in every other part of Palestine, they failed to take the most dazzling objective of all. Mysteriously they were held back from achieving this most cherished goal, this culminating triumph, as by an unseen hand.
What could be the reason? Only that the times of the Gentiles are not fulfilled (said in 1952).
Centuries ago Israel was not permitted to enter Palestine for a certain time because "the iniquities of the Amorites" was "not yet full" (Gen. 15:16); that is, not until the probationary time allotted to the Amorites had run out.
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. If this be correct, how much hinges upon the fate of this ancient city and the power that occupies it! (Our Firm Foundation. Vol. 2, pp. 230-231).
During this mid-century period various Bible correspondence courses were prepared by and for the Voice of Prophecy. Others for personal lay evangelism also appeared. Among these was the 20th Century Bible Course. Lesson 5 of this course was captioned, ""Time Running Out." It was based upon a discussion of Jesus' eschatological discourse recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. A
p 5 -- paragraph prefaced the lesson telling of the reaction of both the Jews and His own disciples to Jesus' prophecy of the destruction of the temple. The second question asked - What sign did Jesus give that would indicate when the destruction of the city was at hand? The student was directed to Luke 21:20 for the answer. This note followed: The city of Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman armies in A.D. 66. After a period of time the army withdrew and the Christians, recognizing the sign given by Christ ... fled the city and did not return. In A.D. 69 the Romans returned, and destroyed the city in A.D. 70. Nearly a million people died or were sold into slavery at that time, but not a single Christian died. They watched for the sign that Christ had given and obeyed His instructions. The temple was burned to the ground as Christ had foretold (even though the soldiers had orders not to destroy it). Christ foresaw the future and outlined it to his followers so that they could be saved.
Question #3 asked - How long did Christ say that Jerusalem would be trodden down? The student was directed to Luke 21:24 for the answer. This note then followed: Old Jerusalem and the temple site has been occupied largely by the Gentile nations until 1967 when the Jews took possession of it in a "lightning victory." This portion of Christ's prophecy was fulfilled in our day!
In 1980, the second quarter's Sabbath school lessons for the Adult Division was "Christ of the Revelation" authored by Dr. Jean Zurcher. He not only authored the lessons, but also prepared a special "Helps" book by the same title which was translated into the English from the French. In this book, he noted the fulfilment of Luke 21:24 and its significance. He wrote: We shall not linger over the numerous signs given by Jesus in this discourse. One only will occupy our attention, the one that especially deals with time. Even in our days it constitutes a critical point in the political world: Jerusalem. In fact, Jerusalem is both the beginning and the culmination of Jesus' prophecy. For Him as for Daniel the prophet, the history of nations as that of the people of Israel, is written in the tragic setting of the history of Jerusalem. The latter is the sign by which the fate of the former is determined. So having predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews "into all nations," Jesus declared, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfllled (Luke 21:24).
Few today would deny the precision of this prophecy. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in AD 70 is a historical fact commemorated on the triumphal arch of Titus in Rome. The dispersion of the Jews among all nations is still a reality. As for Jerusalem, nineteen centuries of history should provide adequate proof that it has been "trodden down of the Gentiles" - first by the Romans, then by the Arabs, next by different Christian nations during the Crusades, fourth by the Turks up to the end of the first world war, then by the British, and finally by the Jordanians until the Six-Day War in June, 1967.
This prophecy of Jesus was a sign for the Christians of the Apostolic Church, who lived at the beginning of the times of the Gentiles, and it remains a sign for us who live at the end of the times of the Gentiles. Again, we must know how to discern its meaning.
It is not a matter of our seeing in the return of the Jews to Palestine and in Israeli conquest of Jerusalem a sign of the approaching conversion of the Jews, as so many Christians think. Nothing in Jesus' prophecy allows such an interpretation. However, if we cannot see that Jerusalem is an exceptional sign of the times, then might we not be placing ourselves in the same position as the religious leaders who knew how to "discern the face of the sky" but could not discern the obvious "sign of the times"?
In order to understand Jesus' statement, three questions need answering. First, exactly what does the expression "the times of the Gentiles" mean? Then, what should be understood by the fulfilment of the times of the Gentiles? Finally, what connection is there between the retaking of Jerusalem by the Jews and the fulfilment of the times of the Gentiles?
understand the Biblical language, the times of the Gentiles is the period
set aside by God for the evangelization of the heathen nations. It is
not the time needed for them to be converted to Christianity, as some
think, but for them to hear the gospel. It is in this sense that Jesus
p 6 -- "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14).
I believe that the times of the Gentiles began in AD 34 when the prophetic seventy weeks that God set aside for the people of Israel ended. The baptism of the first "heathen" - the Ethiopian eunuch and the centurion Cornelius - as well as the conversion of Paul as an apostle to the Gentiles mark the beginning of these new times. And if I have understood the prediction of Jesus properly, this time will be "fulfilled" when Jerusalem will cease to "be trodden of the Gentiles." The fact that since 1967 Gentiles no longer have occupied Jerusalem means, therefore, that we are now living at the end of "the times of the Gentiles."
Jerusalem here constitutes the last sign by which the Lord shows us that the history of this world is coming to its climax and that the restoration of all things is at hand. And should God tarry once more in the fulfilment of His promise, we should understand that He "is longsuffering, ... not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9) (Christ of the Revelation, pp. 71-72).
"Dual Covenant" Theology -- There is and has been a close working relationship between the Religious Right and representatives of Judaism. Now a new theology regarding Israel has emerged, which is embraced by the leading lights of the "Religious Right" - Falwell and Pat Robertson. This relationship and theology were reported in The International Jerusalem Post for March 3-9, 2006. The report was captioned - "Falwell: Jews need not convert to get to heaven." It read: An evangelical pastor and an Orthodox rabbi, both from Texas, have apparently persuaded leading Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell that Jews can get to heaven without being converted to Christianity.
Televangelist John Hagee and Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg whose Cornerstone Church and Rodfei Sholom congregations are based in San Antonio told The Jerusalem Post that Falwell had adopted Hagee's innovative belief in what Christians refer to as "dual covenant" theology.
This creed, which runs counter to mainstream evangelism, maintains that the Jewish people have a special relationship to God through the revelation at Sinai and therefore do not need "to go through Christ or the Cross" to get to heaven.
Scheinberg said that this has been Hagee's position for the 25 years the two have worked together on behalf of Israel, and that Falwell had also come to accept it. Falwell had sent a representative to the San Antonio launch of Christians United for Israel in early February, as did popular televangelist Pat Robertson.
Hagee, who will serve as CUFI national chairman, says the new organization aims to be a kind of "Christian AlPAC" (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) through which every pro-Israel Christian organization and ministry in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel on biblical issues.
The main issue, following disengagement from the Gaza Strip, is not to give up any more of the land of Israel, he said.
Many Christian denominational leaders who represent some 30 million evangelical Christians in the United States - have expressed support for CUFI in writing.
Scheinberg said he had worked with Hagee since 1981, when the pastor first broached the idea of organizing a night to honor Israel, which has become an annual event.
came to the Jewish community and of course they were sceptical, they were
a bit suspicious, anxious about whatever agenda he might have," the
rabbi recalled. "He took public positions against proselytizing the
Jews, which some of his own colleagues at that time criticized him roundly
p 7 -- example Falwell was at that time very critical of his noncoversionary statements regarding the Jews. But that is not the case though. Falwell has changed his position," he said.
Hagee has been consistent in this theological position, Scheinberg said, and this was reflected in both the declared policy of CUFI and at the public launch of the organization last month.
"It seemed there was a great deal of unity not unanimity - on conversion, a non-proselytizing agenda, that the Jews have a special covenant, and this was stated over and over," the rabbi said (p. 7).
Parallels? -- Jesus' prophetic discourse covered the end of two "times" - the "times of Israel" as a chosen people of God, and the "times of the Gentiles" (nations). There would be a "new" Israel of God (Gal. 6:15-16). The Jerusalem of this "new" Israel would not be in the time of secular history, but be the climax of sacred history. "The nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it" (Rev. 21:24). The question is: Are there any parallels between the closing of the two "times"?
Through the prophet Daniel, Israel was given notice that a period of time was allotted to them - "Seventy weeks" (prophetic) time were determined for them (9:24). In that time the Messiah would come. The way they would relate to that "Prince" would determine their fate. The eschatological discourse of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 24 is prefaced by the first step in the closing of the "times of Israel." Jesus declared, "Behold your house is left unto you desolate" (23:38). Then the text reads - "Jesus went out, and departed from the temple" (24:1). The temple veil was soon to be rent, and a new and living way opened (Heb. 10:20). In the discourse, He directed their attention to "Daniel the prophet" and the desolation to come (24:15). Between that hour in AD 70, and the time when He then spoke would come AD 34, the stoning of Stephen and the end of the "seventy weeks." In that period of time would be the ministry of Paul, who would tell the Jews of the Diaspora, that their religious leaders had the Messiah killed by the Romans, and that they had to join the "new" Israel of God with the Gentiles whom God was calling out to be a "people for His name" (Acts 15:14).
From the same discourse of Jesus, Luke focuses on the closing of the other "times" - the times of the nations. This brings questions to the fore. What was to be the final call to the nations? To whom was the final message entrusted? What have they done to it, and with it? Luke 21:24 cannot be shunted aside as of no consequence. The fact that Christ is the truth, the crucifixion of truth is the same as crucifying Him. The parallel between AD 27-31, 1950, and our day should be painfully evident.
p 8 -- Texts to consider with Luke 21:24:
Daniel 11:45 - "He shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas (Dead, Galilee, and the Great) in the glorious holy mountain."
Revelation 16:16 - "They gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Har-Mo'ed (Mount of the Congregation).
Isaiah 14:13 - "For thou hast said in thine heart, ... I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation (Har-Moled), in the sides of the north" (See also Ps. 48:2).
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Jun 2006 -- XXXIX - 6(06) -- A Response -- This will be the last monthl y issue of WWN.. The next issue will begin a bi-monthly schedule and the first issue will be numbered as July-Aug 06, As I have noted previously our mailing is in two parts, Periodical Mailing for all out of country addresses, and Bulk Mailing for all US addresses. The cost of mailing has increased sharply, as well as other costs. WWN is still free upon request, and we want to keep it that way.
In the second article of this issue, we discuss two items which we have received in, our postal box. one of them being the Rosary. The idea of "mystery" dominates the prayers of the Rosary. It is also biblical. Our word "mystery" is transliterated from the Greek. Paul wrote - "Without controversy, great is the mystery (musthrion) of godliness." (I Tim 3:16) How are we to relate to true Biblical mysteries? For example - God is a mystery; the Incarnation is a mystery; sin is a mystery, it cannot be justified; the redemption that is in Christ Jesus can be experienced but not fully understood, it will be the theme of eternity. But how do we relate to the study of these "mysteries" now, such as the Holy Spirit? How do we perceive - "in beginning, Gods (Elohim - plural) created (bara-singular)? , How do we understand - "This is life eternal to know the only true God" (John 17:3), AND 'o zwv (the "Living One" Rev. 1:18) who was sent?
p 2 -- A Response -- Soon after the April issue of WWN was placed in the postal system, I received an E-mail via the Webmaster from a doctor in California requesting comments on his "observations." He wrote: My observation is that Sabbatarian organizations, all of them, other than SDA'S are withering on the vine, so to speak. Sabbatarianism just isn't accepted by the great mass of Christians. Why, should be most obvious - just read the NT over and over! Other Christians have many intelligent and capable analysts of the Bible and translators from its ancient manuscripts. No translators have ever become noted Sabbatarians - this is significant to me - and obviously to the rest of the Christian world.
Nothing (is) wrong with Sabbath worship. Sunday is never commanded, I fully agree. What is commanded is "TODAY" (meaning every day!) in Hebrews 3 and 4. To declare that Heb. 4 reinforces Sabbath observance of the fourth commandment of the Decalogue is a certain error. One has only to read the build up to that text. Unbelief in Him and His grace was what was lacking in the Israelites. Christ (was to be) their Sabbath "Rest" - not the seventh day! ...
(No I am not supporting Sunday over any other day and I have not joined with Sunday worshippers. Most of them are not concerned with Sunday replacing the Sabbath from a God commanded point of view. Many of them work on Sundays too, at least some times, and still consider themselves Christian in good standing. They "love" God AND "love" their fellows of this planet.)
To this letter, I replied. (While I will reproduce what I wrote, it will be enlarged and annotated.)
Dear Dr. --- You will observe that I am replying on Sabbath, which some years back I probably would not have done. As I read the New Testament Scriptures, I observed that the issue was not which day is the Sabbath, but how does one use that sacred time.
day was the seventh day, - none other was commanded to be the day of rest
- was settled at the beginning of the establishment of Israel as a nation
under God in the journey from Egypt to the land of Canaan. Each week for
forty years in providing manna, God
The Sabbath controversies that are noted in th Gospel of John involve the keeping of the Sabbath, not which day is the Sabbath. For example, see John 9:14-16, which records the restoring of sight on the Sabbath to one born blind. Jesus forever settled the question of the day to be observed as the Sabbath in the gospel dispensation. He declared, "The Sabbath was made for man" (Mark 2:27). In practice, as "his custom was" Jesus attended, and took part in synagogue services on that day (Luke 4:16). Paul, apostle to the Gentiles, "as his manner was entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and disputed with those in attendance (Acts 17:2). The question discussed was not which day was the Sabbath, on this they all agreed; but how were they to relate to Jesus of Nazareth.
In preparing the issue (WWN 4-06) I personally received a blessing and some new insights. The seventh day is God's day, not man's day. It was God who rested, Man was merely invited to join Him. It was only man's second day of existence. At the very dawn of human history, even though Cain and Abel brought different gifts, they came with those offerings on the same day - "at the end of the days" (Gen. 4:3, margin). After the flood, the beginnings of profane history are marked by the Babel builders, and from them carne the origins of Sun worship; while sacred history through Abraham is marked by the blessings of the first prornise (Gen. 3:15; 12:1-3), and the Law including the Sabbath (Rom. 9:4).
As the canon of Scripture closes, Babel as Babylon comes again into the picture (Rev. 14:8) under different symbols - a city, an harlot - while those who are of the seed of Abraham follow the Larnb whithersoever He goeth (Rev. 14:4). The emphasis in Revelation is that those who follow the Lamb "keep the commandments of God" (12:17; 14:12). What greater prompting does one need to keep the Sabbath, for is it not the Fourth of those commandments?
The doctor in his E-mail to me observed that "to declare that Hebrews 4 reinforces Sabbath observance of the 4th commandment is a certain error." I am not so "certain." Paul wrote that "God did rest the seventh day from all His works" (Heb. 4:4), and then stated that "he that is entered into His rest - the
p 3 -- rest" of salvation - he also hath ceased from his own works as God did from His" (ver. 10). Paul concluded "There remaineth therefore a keeping of the Sabbath (sabbatismoV) to the people of God" (4:9). The people of God will do as God did!
Postal Box -
The second gift was included in a letter requesting support of: "Food for the Poor." It was a plastic zippered "coin" case, imprinted with the words, "My Rosary" - the first I ever possessed! Besides, the crucifix suspended from the rose-colored beaded chain, was another dime-sized medallion holding the chain together, On one side of this medallion was the likeness of John Paul II, and on the other an engraving of Mary with the words, "I am the Immaculate Conception."
Included with the "gift" was a booklet, "A New Guide for praying the Rosary which had John Paul II's addition of the "Luminous Mysteries," or "The Mysteries of Light." The last of these five mysteries is - " The Institution of the Eucharist" with a Biblical reference from Matt. 26:26 - "This is My body." There are five prayers of the Rosary closing with "Hail, Holy Queen." This prayer to Mary reads: Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy; hail, our life, our sweitness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thy eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. 0 element, 0 loving, 0 sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, 0 Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
final of the four mysteries is called "The Glorious Mysteries."
These mysteries are listed as the Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus,
the Descent of the Holy Spirit as well as the
p 4 -- Assumption and Coronation of Mary, For each is given a Biblical reference, except for the last "mystery" which has the reference from the Apocraphal book of Judith. For the "'Assumption" of Mary, the prophetic symbolism of Rev. 12:1 is cited as evidence of the actual happening. The reference from Judith reads: You are the glory of Jerusalem ... you are the splendid boast of our people. With your own hand You have done all this. ... May you be blessed by the Lord Almighty forever and ever (Judith 15:9b-10a).
The book of Judith containing sixteen chapters follows the book of Tobias in the Douay (Catholic) Version and precedes the book of Esther. An apologetic annotation is attached to chapter 10, verse 12 of this book and reads - "In this and the following chapter, some things are related to have been said by Judith, which seem hard to reconcile with truth." On this notation, found in the Douay Version, Mary Walsh in her book, The Apocrapha, comments - "If the Catholic Church, which is responsible for the introduction and foot note, does not with certitude rely upon the truth of Judith, then why dignify this book by placing it among the inspired books of the Holy Bible?" (p. 23). Actually, the verse from Judith as found in the Rosary Guide is used out of context. "Chastity" is not "coronation."
"Muslim Medievalism, Muslim Silence" -- [This title captioned the comments by Richard Cohen of the Washington Post Writers Group appearing in the National Post published in Canada. Cohen wrote: What strikes me about the threat to execute Abdul Rahman, the Afghan who converted to Christianity, is not that Afghanistan remains deeply medieval and not even rernotely the democracy that we would all like it to be, but that with the exception of the (largely) Christian West, the rest of the world has been mostly silent. The Americans have protested, the Brits have protested, the Canadians have protested, the Vatican has protested and so have some others. But if there has been a holler of protest from anywhere in the Muslim world, it has not reached my ears. That is appalling.
The murder of a person for his religion ought to be inconceivable.
It is something we in the West stopped doing hundreds of years ago and, while Americans continued to kill on account of race (lynchings) deep into the last century, the right of the government to take a life on account of religion has not even been argued in the longest time. We are way beyond that.
Afghanistan was once under Soviet occupation and it may have learned something from those days. Just as the Soviets sometimes pronounced political dissidents to be insane (why else could they question a perfect system?) so have the Afghans decide th at Rahman is nuts (Why else would a Muslim choose Christianity?) Now that the case has been dropped and he has been released, he will probably be spirited out of the country. To remain in Afghanistan is to remain in great peril of death.
Rahman's troubles began, as they do for so many, with a divorce. In contesting his attempt to gain custody of his children, his wife told the court that Rahman would be an unfit father because he had converted to Christianity about 16 years earlier. This is what's known in football as a late hit. Nonetheless, when the prosecutor heard of the conversion, he promptly charged Rahman with apostasy, which is punishable by death. Rahman's choices were (either) to repudiate his conversion or plead insanity. The latter would have been the more sane choice.
"The world is too much with us," Wordsworth once wrote, This is certainly the way I feel. To be confronted on almost a daily basis with the horrors of Iraq is profoundly disturbing. The torture and decapitation of huge numbers of people, the casual homicides, the constant suicide bombings - all of this makes you wonder about your fellow man. It is no longer possible, as it once was, to see the world from your front porch, being disturbed only by the ringing of the of the bell on some passing ice cream truck. Africa, Asia, too much of the world - it is Joseph Conrad much of the time: "The horror? The horror!"
p 5 -- But you can say that these horrors are usually being inflicted by a minority. You can say it is a few crazed terrorists in Iraq who are doing the killing. It is not most Iraqis. You can say the same about suicide bombers and torturers and rogue governments, like the one Saddam Hussein once headed. You can take solace in numbers. Most people are like us.
Then comes the Rahman case and it is not a solitary crazy prosecutor who brings the charge of apostasy, but an entire society. It is not a single judge who would condemn the man, but a culture. The Taliban are gone at gunpoint and their atrocities supposedly a thing of the past. In our boundless optimism, we consign them to the "too hard" file of horrors we cannot figure out: the Khmer Rouge, the Nazis, the communists of the Stalin period. Now though, this awful thing returns and it is not just a single country that would kill a man for his beliefs, but a huge swath of the world which would not protest. There can be only one conclusion: they were in agreement.
The groupthink of the Muslim world is appalling, frightening. I know there are exceptions - many exceptions. But still it seems that a man could be killed for his religious beliefs and no one will say anything in protest. It is also frightening to confront how differently we in the West think about such matters and why the word "culture" is not always a mask for bigotry but an honest statement of how things are. It is sometimes a bridge too far - the leap that cannot be made. I can embrace an Afghan for his children, his work, even his piety - all he shares with much of humanity. But when he insists that a convert must die, I am stunned into disbelief. Is this my fellow man?
How will this writer react when the following verse of Scripture is fulfilled? "And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed" (Rev. 13:15).
The context of this verse in Revelation is the time of the second beast who came up "out of the earth" (ver. 11), the area designated by Richard Cohen as "the Christian West."
A few months back, we quoted Ann Coulter of the Religious Right. The advertising folder for the American Compass had singled out a statement from her book, How to Talk to a Liberal which parallels the very concepts noted by Richard Cohen. We repeat the statement: I am often asked if I still think we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity. The answer is: Now more than ever" (p. 21).
Isn't this Islamic thinking in "Christian" garb? --- And coming out of the "Christian West"?
The Holy Spirit -- The April issue of Old Paths was received this week, not from its editor, Allen Stump, but from a friend. Stump has removed our name from his free mailing list because of challenges to his teachings on the Godhead. (We still send him, WWN as we have no fear of an open discussion of truth.) In his current issue, he informs his readers that he is going to show that the position taken by the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide that the Holy Spirit is a divine part of the Trinity "to be totally false" (p. 1). Three parts on the Holy Spirit with random comments are presented in this issue, and we shall await further issues to see what direction Stump will ultimately take. Our objective will be to simply point out Scriptures which help one to define the nature and work of the Holy Spirit as well as to ask some questions.
we need to state clearly that we do not believe, nor teach, the Roman
doctrine of the Trinity; however, we also recognize that the Messenger
of the Lord used the concept of "the Heavenly
p 6 -- Trio" to describe the Godhead. More than that, she listed this Trio as "living Persons," - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Evangelism, p. 615). We could simply refer our readers to the previous studies found in WWN on the Godhead and let them speak as an a nswer to Stump's position. The latest such issue was December 2005, first article, "God - Who Is He?" We prefer this time to set forth the facts which certain texts of Scripture reveal, and let each reader draw his own conclusion.
The book of Acts marks the beginning of the Christian Church with the out pouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, as "cloven tongues like as of fire" (2:3). It announced the coronation and exaltation of Jesus Christ. Not only was He exalted, but Jesus "received of the Father, the promise of the Holy Spirit" (2:33). This promise, Jesus had made known to the disciples in the upper room (John 14:16-17). But there He had added another factor - "I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you" (ver. 18, margin). Is Jesus only a "power," just an "influence"? Or is He a real Being? In His retained humanity, He could not be everywhere present, but as the Lamb He would send forth His "horns" and His "eyes" into all the earth. These are declared to be "the seven Spirits of God." (Rev. 5:6) To this prophetic symbolism, we have given little study. We stand before unfathomable mystery which the human mind cannot comprehend, even as also the incarnation. The incarnation and the Holy Spirit are interwoven (Luke 1:35), and they together constitute a great mystery (I Tim. 3:16) - "God manifest in the flesh." We need to take heed to the ground on which we walk with our minds. It is holy ground.
Returning to Acts: Note Chapter Eight. First an "angel" instructs Philip to go to a certain place (8:26). He goes, and the Spirit (8: 29) tells him to join the man in the chariot. He does as instructed, and the result is a baptism. Then the Spirit (8:39) snatches Philip away. An influence? Only a power directing the movement of a man?
Again (Acts 13:1-4): In the church at Antioch were men gifted by the Spirit. To them the Holy Spirit said - "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" (ver.2). Do the pronouns "me" and "I" signify just an influence, or a Person in charge? The text reads - "So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed..." (ver. 4). Paul understood that He was called by the will of God (Eph. 1:1). Who conveyed that "will,"?
Let us go back to the creation and see the revelation of God as given there. "In beginning, Gods (Elohim,- plural) created" (bara, singular) [Gen. 1:1]. The Gods acted in unity, or as One. The Spirit of God, the active agent moved on the face of the waters. The NT tells us that without the Word "not anything was made that was made" (John 1:3). Who then was the active Agent? - Who then was "the Spirit of God"? If you need another Scriptural comparison consider the giving of "prophecy." "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:21). Yet Peter tells us that it was "the Spirit of Christ which was in them" that was testifying beforehand to "the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow" (I Peter 1:11).
Now back to Genesis l. It was the Elohim who said, "Let us make man in our image after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). What was the "likeness" of God (Elohim) as revealed in Adarn and Eve? That One was a male, and the Other a female? Hardly. But the emphasis in Gen. 2:24 is that "they shall be one flesh." Two functioned as One. The incarnate Jesus echoed the same
p 7 -- concept when He declared - "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30).
Luke brings the incarnation to the same point. Gabriel tells Mary that the Pneuma 'agion would come upon her and the 'agion (holy) one conceived would be called "the son of God" (Luke 1:35). The word, 'agion (hagion), an adjective, is neuter in gender to conform with Pneuma, also a neuter. The KJV used "holy thing" to translate the word. It would have been better translated, "Holy One."
The Shema of Israel also enters the picture. It reads: "Hear, 0 Israel, ""The Lord our God is one Lord" (Deut. 6:4). Actually, the words, "our God" is "our Gods" (plural) in the Hebrew Text. See B. Davidson, Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, p. xxviii, col. l.
This conforms with other Old Testament texts such as Isaiah 44:6 which reads: Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside Me there is no Elohim (Gods, plural).
The name "Lord" in both instances in the Hebrew is YHWH (Yahweh), a Biblical proper name of God known as the Tetragammaton. The text states that there are Two of Them. Apart from Them, there are no Gods.
The self declaration as "the first and the last" reaches through the Scriptures and finds expression in the final Revelation. There the Almighty states - "I am Alpha, and Omega, the beginning and the ending, ... which is, and which was and which is to come" (1:8). John in the Spirit then hears behind him a "great voice" in trumpet tones proclaiming Himself also to be the "Alpha and Omega, the first and the last" (1:10-11). Turning, John saw "one like unto the Son of man" (1:13) who clearly enunciated the difference. While the Almighty "was" and "is," and "ever shall be;" the Son of man declares of Himself, "I am the first and the last." Also the "Living One who was dead and behold living I am into the ages of the ages" (1:17-18, Gr.). Here is the same picture as in Isaiah. The Almighty on the throne, King of Israel, before the throne, the Lamb dispensing the blessings of His redemption through the Seven Spirits of God. --- (2006 Jun) ---End ---