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
Seal of God
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
As of 2010, all official sites of ALF in the United States of America were closed. The Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Canada with its website, www.Adventist Alert.com, is now the only official Adventist Layman's Foundation established by Elder Grotheer worldwide.
The MISSION of this site -- to put works of the Foundation online.
Any portion of these works may be reproduced without further permission by adding the credit line - "Reprinted from Adventist Layman's Foundation, AdventistAlert.com, Victoria, BC Canada."
Thank you for visiting. We look forward to you coming
WWN 1980 Jul - Sep
1980 Jul -- XIII -- 7(80) -- NEW FUNDAMENTAL STATEMENT OF BELIEFS PREPARES THE WAY FOR JOINING WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES-- At the Fifteenth and final meeting of the Fifty-third General Conference Session in Dallas, Texas, on April 25, the delegates voted "overwhelmingly" but not unanimously to accept a Statement of Beliefs which contained phrases and clauses which have never appeared in any previously formulated statement of doctrines. Certain phraseology and concepts are copied directly from the Constitution of the World Council of Churches, and prepares the way for the hierarchy to move in that direction when they feel it advantageous to do so.
Article #2 - The Trinity - from the new Statement of Beliefs reads: There is one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal persons. (General Conference Bulletin # 9, p. 23)
Article #11 - The Church - reads: The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. (Ibid., p. 25)
The Constitution of the World Council of Churches requires that only those churches which express such doctrinal concepts "shall be eligible for membership" in that body. Here are the first two articles from the Constitution.
A. The Constitution
p 2 -- When Article #2 was presented at the Seventh business meeting, there was discussion over its phraseology. Elder H. J. Harris, president of the Oregon Conference, wished it amended, but both Dr. Richard Hamill and Dr. W. R. Lesher spoke in support of its retention as written. These two men served as "floor leaders" in getting the Statement thru the Session, and were on the editing committee with Hammill as its chairman. In fact, Dr. Lesher, who heads the General Conference Biblical Research Committee commented - "It is much more in harmony with the mystery of God to simply say there is one God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." (See GC Bulletin, #5, pp. 11, 14)
Throughout the discussion of the Statement of Beliefs, the stock answer to many of the objections was to use the words of Dr. Hamill - "When we framed this statement we tried to use Biblical phrases as much as we could." (Ibid., p. 11) But where in the authentic text of the Bible can one find the expression as copied from the Constitution of the World Council of Churches in regard to God? One might point to I John 5:7, but this text can be found "in no Greek manuscript earlier than the 15th and 16th centuries." (SDA Bible Commentary Vol. 7,p.675) It is a gloss which crept into the Scriptures to support the doctrine of the Trinity - a term found in neither the Bible nor the Spirit of Prophecy.
"evolution" of the second statement defining the Church is
also very interesting. In the Statement of Beliefs as voted by the 1979
Annual Council to be recommended to the General Conference in session;
it read - "That the Church is the company of believers who confess
Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour."(p. 9, Adventist Review,
Feb. 21, 1980) However, this statement was never presented to the General
Conference session. A completely new statement was prepared just
The consternation which resulted in the change of Statements of Belief from the one voted and recommended by the Annual Council, and the one that the committee presented to the delegates was expressed by a delegate from the Netherlands who said - "In the Netherlands we studied and discussed those fundamental beliefs many hours. Is this the same text we received there? It is very dificult for me to understand what is going on now because there appears to be many differences. I don't recognize the contents and contexts of certain theological terms in this manuscript." (GC Bulletin #8, p. 15)
3 -- GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON NEW STATEMENT
OF BELIEFS -- In presenting the Statement of Beliefs
which had not been sent to the field for
One can but conclude from these comments that the objective of the hierarchy was to prepare and present a statement which could be clearly understood as to what is believed, or is to be believed by the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, whether read by a member or by one who is not a member. A careful reading of previous Statements of Belief (See "Watchman, What of the Night?" June, 1980) leaves little doubt as to what was believed "with entire unanimity" by the Church prior to 1930. And it was expressed in simple, clear, and concise language. Why then a need to change or modify such positions? Let us for comparison take one statement from the previous formulations, and compare it with a parallel statement as was voted in Dallas, Texas, and see if "clarity" and "preciseness" of language was achieved. Here are the two statements:
#1 Jesus Christ "ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in heaven, where through the merits of His shed blood, He secures the pardon and forgiveness of the sins of all who persistently come to Him."
#2 "in it ["a sanctuary in heaven"] Christ ministers in our behalf,
p 4 -- making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross."
It is obvious that these two statements are not saying the same thing. But what is #2 saying? The #1 statement is to be found in Smith's outline of Beliefs as given in the 1912 Review (August 22, p.4, Article 2), while the #2 statement above is from Article #23 of the newly voted Statement of Beliefs (GC Bulletin #9, p. 27). The Smith statement reflects the belief of the Church which was held with "entire unanimity throughout the body" from 1844 to well into the 1920's. It is clearly stated that Jesus Christ after shedding His blood ascended to the sanctuary in heaven "where" through its merits He "secures" pardon and forgiveness of sins. But what is the #2 statement saying? Christ is ministering in the heavenly sanctuary making available "benefits." But were these "benefits" obtained because He made atonement in the heavenly sanctuary with His blood or were they obtained when the offering was made at the Cross? It is simply not clear, and must be understood in the light of what has been previously published as an authentic amplification of our beliefs. This previously published explanation says: When, therefore, one hears an Adventist say, or reads in Adventist literature - even in the writings of Ellen G. White - that Christ is making atonement now, it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement He made on the cross; that He is making it efficacious for us individually, according to our needs and requests. (Questions on Doctrine, pp. 354-355, Emphasis theirs)
How glorious is the thought that the King, who occupies the throne, is also our representative at the court of heaven! This becomes all the more meaningful when we realize that Jesus our surety entered "the holy places," and appeared in the presence of God for us. But it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it for us on the cross. And now as our High Priest He ministers the virtues of His atoning sacrifice to us. (ibid., p. 381, Emphasis theirs)
Elder Neal C. Wilson would have been more accurate had he said that the Statement of Beliefs which was being presented was not an attempt to change the concepts already in print in the book - Questions on Doctrine - It would have really been more honest.
#23 came in for some pointed discussion at the Dallas session. The substance
of the article, as presented and voted, followed the 1931 Statement
which removed the concept that when Christ ascended on high, He began
His ministry in the first
apartment of the sanctuary; and that in 1844, He entered
into the second apartment
for the final work of atonement. In place of the concept as given in
the earthly type, the work of Christ was defined as "phases."
A layman - C. H. Carey - arose during the discussion on this article
and stated: I
am a layman, a church elder of some 40 years. I would like to say that
my belief today regarding the Spirit of Prophecy and its relationship
to the Word of God is the same as when I became a member. I
p 5 -- believe in the historical and fundamental place of the Spirit of Prophecy in the church, both past and present. I do not believe we should weaken this belief because it is controversial. I suggest the following for sentence four: "At the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, in 1844, He entered into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary, and began the second and last phase of His ministry." (GC Bulletin, #8, p. 15)
However, the concept as stated by Kenneth Vaz prevailed. He said: I refer to the fourth sentence, ["At the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, in 1844, He entered the second and last phase of His ministry; He began a final work of judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, a work typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the day of atonement."] which presents a point regarding the sanctuary that is currently causing a great deal of controversy. I am happy with this termnology, for it eradicates the matter of geographic location of Christ by not using the word place, which is really the center of the controversy. (Ibid.)
Another comparison which needs to be considered as to whether the historic position of the Church was changed or not is to compare what was said in both the White and Smith statements with the 1931 Statement and the voted 1980 Statement in regard to the incarnation of Christ. The White and Smith formulations read: There is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom He created all things, and by whom they do consist; that He took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of the fallen race; ... (See "Watchman, What of the Night?" June, 1980, 3, Article 2)
There is no question here as to meaning. The Church believed with "entire unanimity" that Christ when He became man took upon Himself the fallen nature of Adam - coming through the seed of Abraham. Now if the committee appointed by Wilson felt the text in Hebrew 2:16 was open to textual criticism, and desiring to use the phraseology of Scripture, they needed only to use Romans 1:3 - "Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." But what was voted? -- Forever truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. (GC Bulletin #9, p. 23)
Though technically correct, the question is left open - Did Jesus take the nature of Adam before the Fall, or the nature of Adam after the Fal1? - Adam was truly man both prior to and following the Fall. Thus the historic position of Adventism is glossed over, and Wilson's explanatory statement that no attempt was considered to alter our historic faith creates a credibility gap as to his own theological posture. However, it must be remembered that Neal C. Wilson placed his "nihil obstat" on the book, Movement of Destiny, which clearly taught that
p 6 -- Christ took the nature of Adam prior to the Fall. (See Movement of Destiny, pp. 15-16, 497.)
UPCOMING BUSINESS -- Now that the 1980 General Conference is history, the hierarchy must return to Washington and face some unfinished business what to do about Dr. Desmond Ford? A layman - Richard A. Waterman of Bath, Maine - has written an open letter to the hierarchy, and "interested laymen within the Adventist Movement." From this letter, we quote - a very accurate analysis of the basic problem involved:
The current "theology crisis" within the church today concerning Desmond Ford's bold stand in the matter of the hevenly sanctuary, which conflicts with the writings of Ellen G. White, has prompted me to write and share with you a few of my observations regarding this matter.
From the outset, I want to say that I am in total disagreement with the theology Desmond Ford has been presenting, specifically regarding the sanctuary, ...
It is my observation that if Desmond Ford were to pack his theology books and board a 747 for Australia today, the theological.crisis would not cease because the same position has been taught in a disguised manner in this church since in the 1950's, shortly after the Barnhouse-Martin debates. Desmond Ford is not the instigator of the current crisis, just merely one of many perpetuators of the coveted evangelical teachings, examples of which are to be found in the book, Questions on Doctrine.
It is also my honest belief that if Ford had not stated so forthrightly his position regarding the sanctuary and the 2300-year prophecy, he would still be teaching in our college today. However, since he boldly disagreed with the writings of Sister White, pertaining to Christ entering the Most Holy Place in 1844, and asserting instead, that Christ entered the Most Holy Place at His ascension, he left the leaders with no other choice but to deal directly with this situation and come face to face with the real issue undermining our movement, which is an incorrect understanding of the nature of Christ.
Let me explain. Reformationists hold to the view that Christ inherited a sinless nature, and if so, He is not my Example, but merely my Substitute. So, therefore, the forensic concept of justification is all that is included in the doctrine, or experience, of righteousness by faith. So, do you see that if only the forensic concept, or experience, is all that is needed, then why do we need a continuing atonement in heaven? We don't need it. If the atonement was full and complete on the cross, there is no need of a continuing atonement if Christ is
p 7 -- merely my Substitute. Ford is just expressing more openly what others, including Edward Heppenstall, are now teaching. Now while Heppenstall and others may not have come out and said that they do not believe in a continuing atonement, that Christ did, indeed, enter into the Most Holy Place in 1844, their teaching is still a deception because there is no need of a continuing atonement, if Christ is presented as my Substitute only. One position makes void the other. But, on the other hand, if Christ is my Example in all things, then we do need a continuing atonement, for if Christ inherited a sinful nature from His mother, and not a sinless nature then He has proven to the whole world and universe that a sinless character can be developed in sinful flesh.
If that be the case, then there is a need for a continuing atonement because we are told "when the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced. ..." It does not say - "when the character of Christ shall be accepted," but when it is "perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own." So the reproduction of His character is what is now taking place while Christ is in the Most Holy Place, and "sanctification is the work of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," according to Ellen G. White, not the work of man. The idea that justification is the root and sanctification is the fruit is Reformation theology, not Ellen G. White's theology. When we say that justification is the root and sanctification is the fruit, what we are really saying is that the first part of the work is the work of Christ, but the second part is the work of man. Out of a heart full of love for what Jesus did, I will want to do good works. Sister White never said it was the work of man. Sure, we will cooperate. We will always have a free will, but, as I submit to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, they will do the work. The new covenant relationship is entered into. This is the subjective element of salvation. It is the historic position of this church that righteousness by faith includes both the objective and subjective phases, but let us remember always that in both aspects the autonomy of the human will is constant. I would caution that it is possible to go to extremes with either phase and enter into subjectivism or objectivism. Both are wrong.
So, brothers and sisters, and those in positions of leadership, I earnestly plead that you will come to grips with the real issue in the great controversy, and let us not make Desmond Ford the scapegoat. The problems existed before he ever came on the scene, and the problem will exist after he leaves.
calls for unity. But He does not call for us to unify on wrong practices.
The God of heaven draws a sharp contrast between pure, elevating, ennobling
truth and false, misleading doctrines. He calls sin and impenitence
by the right name. He does not gloss over wrong doing with a coat of
untempered mortar. I urge our brethren to unify upon a true, scriptural
basis." Ms. 10,
1905 (SM, bk i, p. 175)
p 8 -- SOURCE DOCUMENTS NOW AVAILABLE -- In the preceding article - an open letter from a layman - it was pointed out the present theological crisis in the Church would not cease by merely making Dr. Desmond Ford a scapegoat "because the same position has been taught in a disguised manner in this church since in the 1950's." This alluding to the 1950's has reference to the conferences which took place between the Evangelical leaders - Donald Grey Barnhouse and Walter R. Martin - and certain leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church during the years, 1955-1956. Today many of our church members do not know what actually took place at these conferences. The book resultant from this dialogue - Questions on Doctrine - published by the Church is no longer available through Adventist Book Centers. Furthermore, this book does not give the original answers in critical areas of theology as given to Barnhouse and Martin in response to their questions; it is a revision which sought to disguise the depth of the denial of our historic faith which our church leaders made to these men.
Immediately following the conferences, in Eternity, a magazine edited by Barnhouse, both he and Martin wrote articles which gave their evaluation of these meetings, and what was said to them by "responsible" leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. These assertions have never been denied by the Adventist conferees. For twenty years, no authenic report came from an Adventist writer as to what took place, until in 1977 Elder T. E. Unruh who chaired the conferences wrote a summary in Adventist Heritage. Not until then, did anyone know from an official source who actually authored the book - Questions on Doctrine, nor the extent to which it had been approved by the hierarchy of the Church. A committee appointed by the then president of the General Conference, R. R. Figuhr, to prepare the way for its publication, reads like a Who's Who of the executive officers of the Church.
To the present time, all that has been available to tell the inquiring laymen and concerned minister what took place in those fateful conferences where our historic faith was surrendered has been Letters to the Churches by the late Elder M. L. Andreasen. (See Order Form.) However, it was felt that along with this new edition, all source documents presently obtainable should be made available for study and analysis by every concerned layman who wishes to know what took place at the 1955-1956 Conferences - We have, therefore, made a facsimile reproduction of all the articles appearing in Eternity - five in all - and the report given in the Adventist Heritage and put them together in a brochure, monograph, or whatever one wants to call it. (See Order Form)
fact that the Statement of Beliefs voted at the 1980 General Conference
Session in Dallas, Texas, continues to reflect the same deviations of
the historic teachings of the Church in the area of the Incarnation
and Atonement makes it all the more necessary that we understand what
did take place during these Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences
9 -- OBSERVERS AT THE GENERAL
CONFERENCE SESSION -- Besides
the regular delegates, various Protestant churches sent observers to
the General Conference Session in Dallas. These observers were introduced
at various business meetings of the Conference by Dr. B. B. Beach, and
they in turn spoke a few words to the delegates in session. The first
such observer, Dr. Russell Dilday from the Baptist World Alliance, was
introduced at the Fifth
Elder Neal C. Wilson in opening the discussion of the Statement of Fundamental Beliefs had noted: There are a great many individuals, for instance, who write to the General Conference Ministerial Association requesting a simple statement of our fundamental beliefs. We would like to feel that when such a statement is sent to those who are theologically educated or who are proficient in stating Biblical truth simply, they will understand not what they see but rather what we see and what we believe. (GC Bulletin, # 5, p. 19, Emphasi's his)
Terwiliger was looking for something with which he could disagree, but he did not find it. But what did he see that we believed - "I found increasingly that we are together in our faith" - in other words not that he is becoming a Seventh-day Adventists, but that we are becoming further and further removed from those distinctive truths that formed the basis of the Advent Movement. Sacred trust has been betrayed.
What the servant of the Lord wrote in the time of the Alpha apostasy is just as apropos now in the period of the Omega. Read it in Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, pp. 51-59 - "The Foundation of Our Faith."
p 10 -- B. B. BEACH - UPWARD MOBILITY -- Dr. B. B. Beach, who has served as "Secretary of the Northern-Europe-West Africa Division, was voted to head the General Conference Department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty at the recent Session in Dallas, Texas. His previous work for the Church apart from his Division duties included the following: 1) Representing the Seventh-day Adventist Church at the annual meetings of the Secretaries of the World Confessional Families. He served as Secretary of this ecumenical group the past several years. One of its objectives was to "work together more with the World Council of Churches in understanding the ecumenical role that all of us have." (RNS, May 19, 1977)
2) Presenting to Pope Paul VI a gold medallion on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Of this presentation, Dr. Beach noted that this "marked the first time in history that the Seventh-day Adventist Church, through an official representative, had met with a Roman Pontiff." (Ibid.)
3) Co-edited with Dr. Lukas Vischer of the Faith and Order Secretariat of the WCC the book - So Much in Common - which contains "documents of interest in the conversations between the WCC and the Seventh-day Adventist Church."
However, according to RNS (April 29, 1980), Dr. B. B. Beach "at the church's 53rd World Congress" made the following observations: "I think that we can establish an ecumenical law. The more a church is declining in membership, the more it tends to be ecumenical. And I think we can establish another law saying that the more ecumenical a church becomes, the more it tends to become stationary in its evangelistic advance. It tends to concentrate on socio-political issues. But the real question in ecumenism is not numerical growth. Rather, it is whether we can be in favor of unity at any price. We cannot dilute our message or compromise our convictions by any form of structual hamstringing" such as the WCC.
Nowhere in the General Index to the General Conference Bulletins (#10, p. 32) can these observations of Dr. Beach as reported by RNS be located. How can one relate all of this double-talk with truth? If the WCC is as Beach now says it is - and he ought to know - why copy from its Constitution into our Fundamental Beliefs? Or, is this report by Beach, the price demanded for upward mobility - to clean up one's image as he takes over the Public Affairs Department of the Church? --- (1980 Jul) --- End --- TOP
1980 Aug -- XIII-- 8(80) -- 1844 RE-EXAMINED -- This is a borrowed title, which in turn was adapted from the now well-known manuscript on the 1888 crisis - 1888 Re-Examined. When the circular advertising the Brinsmead syllabus was received, I ordered a copy so as to become knowledgeable of the position being taken by those who wished to discard the historic interpretation of the basic prophecy upon which the Advent Movement rests. As always, I read the Introduction first so as to sense the direction the author intends to take. This is as far as I read and cast the syllabus aside realizing that I had wasted my money, for if the integrity of the syllabus as a whole was of the same calibre as the introduction, it would likewise be based on erroneous assumptions. To discredit 1844, Brinsmead allegedly quotes an "evangelist." He writes: Many evangelists are no longer comfortable preaching the investigative judgment. One confessed, ''When my evidence is weak, I shout. But when I come to the investigative judgment doctrine, I nearly scream!" Those who have to present the traditional explanations to people "outside" the faith are most senstive to the problem. There is a widespread feeling that our case for 1844 and our explanation of it are no longer convincing or perhaps no longer viable. (p. 10)
Having spent the larger share of my twenty-five year ministry for the Church in public evangelism [I was extended the invitation to head the evangelistic program in the New Gallery Theatre in London prior to George Vandeman's acceptance of the same call], I know that either this statement is fabricated, or else the evangelist being quoted wishes to appear on the cutting edge of the "new theology." At no time, and I repeat, at no time - and I presented the prophecy involving 1844 in every series of meetings, whether long or short - did I find it necessary to "shout" let alone "scream" when I came to this subject. I looked forward to this section of the evangelistic subjects and set forth our historic belief with conviction. As I recall, only once in my whole evangelistic ministry was I ever challenged on this phase of the church's teachings, and it concerned Hebrews 8 & 9 rather than the prophecy of Daniel 8:14.
this same Introduction to his syllabus, Brinsmead alludes to the convictions
of Raymond F. Cottrell, and the late Don F. Neufeld as supportive of
his thesis, but in a modified form. While Brinsmead would jettison the
whole concept as not having any viability, Cottrell assumes that it
can rest on the assumption that the Adventist position in regard to
1844 is an "inspired re-interpretation" thus
p 2 -- using the Spirit of Prophecy as its authority. This leaves much to be desired as our faith must rest on the Bible and the Bible alone.
In the latest issue of Spectrum (Vol. 10, #4), Cottrell sets forth the history and background in regard to this "Sanctuary Debate" as it is titled, and his own involvement in it. He writes: I first became aware of the problem while teaching the class in Daniel and Revelation over a period of years prior to taking up editorial work in 1952. [He was a religion teacher at Pacific Union College.] However, there seemed to be no pressing reason at that time for an in-depth study of Daniel, especially in view of the fact that during those earlier years I was involved in a series of major Bible study projects focusing on the book of Revelation and on sound principles of biblical interpretation.
The first major incentive to devote serious attention to the problem in Daniel 8:14 arose during the course of editing the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, between 1952 and 1957. It came into sharp focus for the first time as we were preparing Volume 4 of the Commentary (which includes comment on the Book of Daniel) for publication. (p. 17)
a few months after the completion and publication of Volume 4 of the
Commentary, the now infamous Adventist Evangelical Conferences
took place. When the
decision was reached to publish the answers to the questions asked by
Martin in the book - Questions on Doctrine - the members of the
editorial committee consulted at length with the Commentary editors
on matters of exegesis. SinceWalter Martin had asked for an official
statement of Adventist beliefs to which he
1958, the plates for Bible Readings became worn out, so before
preparing new ones for this standard Adventist publication, it was decided
to bring the book "up to date." The work on its revision was
assigned to the editors of the Bible Commentary - F. D. Nichol,
D. F. Neufeld, and R. F. Cottrell. Cottrell's assignment involved the
Daniel and Revelation section of Bible Readings. In the March
31, 1958 issue of Christianity Today , Dr. Harold Lindsell had
assailed the Adventist position on the sanctuary doctrine stating that
if the 2300 day prophecy ending in 1844, and the concept of the cleansing
of the sanctuary could be destroyed, "there would be no adequate
basis for the existence of the SDA." Cottrell states that "with
the statements of Lindsel1, Barnhouse, Martin and others ringing in
my ears, I cast about for a more effective and convincing way of presenting
our beliefs related to Daniel 8:14." (Spectrum, op-cit.)
p 3 -- In the pursuit of this objective, Cottrell wrote to 27 leading Bible scholars of the Church asking for their response in regard to "six carefully formulated questions designed to bring the best contemporary Adventist scholarship to bear on the question" of Daniel 8:14 and the concept of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. In response "not one of the 27 believed that there was a linguistic or contextual basis for applying Daniel 8:14 to the heavenly sanctuary, an antitypical day of atonement, or 1844." (ibid., p. 18) Cottrell took his findings to Nichol, who in turn called the results of this questionnaire to the attention of the then president of the General Conference, R. R. Figuhr. Figuhr appointed a select committee which became known as "the Daniel Committee." Cottrell was made a member of this committee. He states concerning the concepts of this committee that its members - were in agreement with respect to key Adventist teachings on the heavenly sanctuary and its cleansing, the investigative judgment and the 1844 experience. There were, however, decided differences of opinion as to a valid hermeneutic, or interpretation, on which to base these conclusions, and eventually two patterns of interpretation merged. The majority considered it possible to establish the Adventist exposition of Daniel 8:14 directly from the Bible, chiefly by analogy with Genesis 1:5; Leviticus 16 and Hebrews 9. To the minority, these were not vaIid anaIogies, from the viewpoint of biblical exegesis, and Ellen White's confirmation of the explanations given and her reinterpretation were necessary as well. (ibid.)
An impasse developed between the majority and minority as to how their conclusions were to be reported. "As a result of this impasse, the committee finally agreed to issue no formal report, and authorized individual members to present papers on the subject for publication under their own names." (ibid, p. 19)
From this point Cottrell began a thorough investigation of Daniel 8:14 for his own personal information "and in the hope of being able to provide something that would be useful to the church in view of the exgetical impasse." This study has resulted in a 900-page manuscript entitled The Eschatology of Daniel, as yet unpublished. Only one with a working knowledge of the Hebrew language could profit from it in its present form according to Cottrell's own evaluation of his manuscript. (ibid., Footnote #9, p. 26) However, the basic problem is not all that difficult.
the KJV, the translators used the phrase - "shall be cleansed"
for the Hebrew word - nisdaq
- in Daniel 8:14. In so doing, they followed the LXX (Septuagint) which
used the word - katharisthesetai
- and the Vulgate by Jerome, which used the Latin word -
These latter two words in their respective languages, Greek and Latin,
both translate - "shall be cleansed." This was the basis for
the second question which Cottrell sent to the 27 denominational Bible
scholars. It read - "Why did the translators of the LXX render
nisdaq as katharisthesetai?"
(ibid., p. 26, Footnote #4) Evidently the ones questioned never
found an adequate answer as to the "Why?" The dilemma continued
because the Hebrew word -
nisdaq means - "shall be justified." How does one
thus associate "being justified" with "cleansing"
as typified by the services of the Day of Atonement? And so it was concluded
that the whole Adventist exegesis falls apart, and there ceases to be
p 4 -- any relavancy for its continuance, except that we conclude that Ellen G. White, as an inspired prophetess, gives us a re-interpretation of this text applicable for the final generation. And this is Cottrell's conclusion. He stated: Christ, Paul, and John provided a reinterpretation of Daniel for New Testament times, and Ellen White provides a continuing reinterpretation appropriate for our time. (ibid, p. 20)
Let us return to Cottrell's question "Why did the translators of the LXX render nisdaq as katharisthesetai ?" (Simply, why did the translators of the Septuagint render the Hebrew "shall be justified" by the Greek, "shall be cleansed"?) The fact that they did so translate should give us pause. These men translating some 200 years before the birth of Christ were only about 350 years removed from the third year of Belshazzar when Daniel wrote the vision of the eighth chapter (Dan 8:1). They had access to documents much closer to the original autograph than we have now. Unless we completely question the competence of these translators, we must conclude that they had valid reason for so translating Daniel 8:14. Further, Jerome chose to follow the LXX rather than the Hebrew text of his day in regard to this word. There had to be some reason for his choice.
In 1948, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America published a learned essay by its Sabato Morais Professor of Bible, Dr. H. Louis Ginsberg, in which he holds "that the Hebrew portions of Daniel (i.e., chapts 1-2:4a; 8-12) are, with the exception of the obvious interpolation 9:4-20, translated from Aramaic originals is a hypothesis of long standing, but was only demonstrated by Zimmermann 1938 and 1939. As Baumgartner observes, not al1 of Zimmermann's arguments are cogent and I shall have occasion to criticize some of them in the course of this Section, but some are so telling that they suffice to establish his thesis." (Studies in Daniel, p. 41) Ginsberg discusses Daniel 8:14 and shows that the Aramaic would read - "shall be cleansed." (ibid., pp. 41-42; Footnote #8, pp. 79-80) Thus if the LXX translators were working from the Aramaic text, they were true to its meaning in the use of the Greek word - katharisthesetai - "shall be cleansed." However, it must be pointed out that the editors of the Commentary - which included Cottrell - rejected the conclusions and evidence produced by Zimmermann, or not being aware of it, closed the door to the answer to Cottrell's own question as to why the translators of the LXX used the phrase - "shall be cleansed" - rather than - "shall be justified." * It must be noted that while Ginsberg appears to use the traditional Jewish interpreation of the prophecies of Daniel, he cannot be faulted in knowing his languages. So again we stand on firm Biblical ground when we believe that Daniel 8:14 reads properly in the KJV - "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."
* See SDA Bible Commentary, Vol 4, p. 749
p 5 -- VLADIMIR SHELKOV - POSTHUMOUS REPORT -- Georgi Vins, leader of the underground Baptist church in Russia, who was among the exchanged prisoners between the US and the USSR, in a news release concerning the death of Elder Vladimir Shelkov told of conditions at Camp Tabaga where Shelkov died. He stated: Camp Tabaga is located in an area similar to the regions of the Far North. In the winter temperatures drop to -64 C. The 84-year old Shelkov was from Tashkent, a southern city, and was sent specially to a camp in the north with the objective of physical annihilation.
I am well acquainted with the conditions in this camp, having spent the last four years of my imprisonment there. The camp is specially controlled by organs of the KGB and the camp administration is experienced in battle with religious activists in conditions of imprisonment. The director of Camp Tabaga is Major Trofimof. The director of operations (KGB) is Captain Pinchuk. The camp address is: Yakutskaya ASSR, g. Yakutsk, pos. Tabaga, p/ya YA/D - 40/7. In providing the address I want to direct the attention of Christians throughout the world to this camp of death; which is becoming a traditional place of Christian bondage in the USSR. (Quoted in The Christian Beacon, April 3, 1980)
The trial of Elder Shelkov, March 12, 1979, which led to his final imprisonment and death also included three other Seventh-day Adventists - Arnold A. Spalin,, Sergie Maslov, Sofia Furlet, and Ilya Lepshin. These were charged under the RSFSR Criminal Code as having infringed on "the rights of citizens under the appearance of performing religious ceremonies." (Article 227) The sentences of these four ranged from five years for the men, and three years for the one woman in "a general regime corrective labor colony."
Further Soviet police activity against the True and Free Church of Seventh-day Adventists in Russia has been noted by Amnesty International. They reported: In August-September 1978 a series of searches and arrests took place in Stravropol Territory. It is reported that the searches were intended to discover the printing press of the unofficial Adventist publishing house ''True Witness." The homes of nine Adventists were searched, among them the home of Mr. Spalin's mother in the village of Lysogorskaya. In September Rikhard Spalin was arrested along with three other members of the sect: Valentia Zaporozhets, Ekaterina Ryskal, and Nikolai Irinin. (AI Release on Rikhard Spalin)
Mr. Spalin was tried from the 11th to the 25th of June, 1979 in Stravropol together with two other Adventists, Anatoly Ryskal and Yakov Dolotyor. Mr. Spalin was sentenced to seven years imprisonnient, and the fate of the three arrested with him is at present unknown. It is most difficult to overlook the fact that all of this activity against the True and Free Seventh-day Adventists parallels the time of the visits to Russia by Elder Alf Lohne in 1977, and then by Elders R. H. Pierson and Lohne again in 1978.
While Elder Shelkov was alive, all that the official Adventist Press in Washington
6 -- would say was that he was not a member of the Church which
they recognized in Russia. Now that he is dead, and has been eulogized
by a former fellow prisoner, Alexander Ginsberg, before a convocation
on the campus of La Sierra College (See La Sierra Today, Vol.
9, #4), the curia on the Sligo through its Religious Liberty Department
have begun a "smear" campaign against him. In Liberty Confidential
Newsletter, Vol. 2, #5, in announcing the death of Elder Vladimir
Observe how the paragraph uses the word, "seems" and the clause - "according to some Soviet Adventists" - words and clauses which serve as the basis for gossip and slander. If a thing is truth, it can be documented. Who are the Soviet Adventist sources? Let them put their names to the statements of accusation and give the page and reference to support their allegations. Of course the ultimate is achieved when the official version can accuse someone of calling the Church "Babylon." By so doing they think they can turn any loyal church member who does little thinking for himself against any person crying out against apostasy in high places. All such - those who use this ploy, and those who listen and are deceived by it - are unmindful that the servant of the Lord quoted the divine "Instructor" as asking - "How has the faithful city [The Seventh-day Adventist Church] become a harlot?" (8T:250) Now whether the harlot is named, Gomer (Hosea 1:3), or Jezebel (Rev. 2:20), or Babylon (Rev. 17:5), or a once "faithful city" - a harlot is still a harlot. And how an institution becomes a "harlot" no matter by what name it goes - is defined in Great Controversy pp. 382-385.
The article continues its "smear" campaign of what they call the "Shelkov faction" by stating: If the Shelkov faction were in the United States, it would likely be regarded as more like the Shepherd's Rod (or the succeeding Branch) than like a dissident faction within the church. And here it should be noted that within the Soviet Union are many Adventists who refuse to belong to registered congregations. Though not in agreement with official church policy in the Soviet Union, these people are, nevertheless, looked on as Seventh-day Adventists, part of the Adventist world family. Thus the church does not cast out people of sincere conscience who hold contrary views on registration. (Liberty Confidential Newsletter, op. cit.)
First, the editors of Liberty seek to link Shelkov with the German Reform Movement then they seek to compare "the faction" with the Shepherd Rods, or the Branch. We here in the United States know that the German Reform Movement, and the Shepherd's
p 7 -- Rod are not the same. But a "tar brush" has little discernment of itself.
This paragraph quoted above is also suggesting various fragmentations in what is called the recognized Adventist Church in Russia. This Elder R. H. Pierson admitted in his report of the trip he and Elder Alf Lohne took to the USSR in 1978. (See Review, Oct. 26, 1978, pp. 6-8). There must also be a deeper cleavage, or a greater fragmentation than has been given as yet to the World Church. A recent translation of four articles published in Russia in 1978 in The Journal of Science and Religion tell of a group headed by a P. Matsanov who has established "parallel communities of Seventh-day Adventists." It is this Matsanov group which the Russian article claims is now linked to the "Reform Movement, an extremely reactionary branch of Adventism which started during the First World War in Germany." The other group is termed "moderate" and has the backing of the General Conference. The article by S. Orlov indicated that the hierarchy tried without success to reunite these two groups. (Spectrum, Vol. 10, #3,-p. 26)
Whatever the faction within the visible Adventist Church in Russia, or the underground True and Free Seventh-day Adventist Church, the issue is basically how should one in good conscience relate to atheistic communism. The article by Orlov quotes with approval from a paper - "The Christian in Society and State" - written by "one of the prominent modern Adventist leaders" who wrote: We Adventists who live in the U.S.S.R. have every reason to treat our socialist state with warmth and gratitude. We cannot equate socialism and the Gospel, but the principles upon which the Soviet state is built are considerably nearer to the Gospel's spirit of care for man than are the principles of capitalist society. We consider it a great privilege to be citizens of this country. (ibid., p. 26)
It must be remembered that it was over this very issue that the major break came in 1924, which produced the continuance of the true and free Seventh-day Adventist Church which the General Conference has persistentl refused to recognize. The Russian Adventist Church at its Fifth All-Union Congress issued the following statement: We are convinced that God, in His providence, has disposed the heart of the unforgettable V. I. Lenin and his close associates and given them wisdom in the capable organization of the only progressive and up-to-date government in the world. We delegates of the Fifth All-Union Congress of Seventh-day Adventists express to the government of the USSR. our gratitude and sincere support for all the freedoms it has won. (La Sierra Today, Winter, 1979, p. 2)
This action produced the group led by Elder G. Ostvald, who refused to accept what they called enforced state atheism. It became known at the True and Free Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Church history` in Russia has again pointed up the fact that the choice we must make in the matter of conscience is not organizational, or in line with the policy of the hierarch , but a choice that places us on the side of truth as revealed in the Word of God. Such a course will lead to vilification by those who think of themselves as doing God's service; but "if they call the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household." (Matt 10:25) But how tragic that the Religious Liberty Department should prostitute its confidential newsletter to this sordid work!
Footnote - Christianity Today (April 4, 1980, p. 13) suggested that the readers call the Soviet Embassy in Washington DC and protest the persecution of various ones known to be imprisoned for their faith in Russia. The magazine gave a number to call. We tried to reach the Ambassador or his chief assistant to protest the imprisonment of the True and Free Seventh-day Adventists who were named by Amnesty International. See p. 5. We were blocked by the Russian swtichboard operator, who became very agitated and referred us to the number of the Soviet Information office in the Capital. She also suggested that we write out our protests and send them to Moscow. Besides calling, Christianity Today advised a letter to the Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy F. Dobrynin, 1125 l6th St. NW, Washington DC 20036. For those overseas who might wish to join in the protest, write to the Soviet Ambassador in your country. Be sure, if you do, to refer to specific names of those being imprisoned.
p 8 -- F U N G I -- Editor's Note -- There are some in their zeal to do service for God who are seeking to make the "right arm" the whole body. Such to keep up their "momentum" must devise something different and startling - sensational - to hold their devotees. This article seeks to place in proper persepctive one such assertion.
The fungi comprise one of the lowest groups of plants. They never contain chlorophyll, the green coloring matter of higher plants, and therefore, cannot make their own food. Some fungi obtain food from living matter and are called parasitic. Others get their food from decaying matter and are called saprophytic. Fungi are everywhere present; 100,000 species powder the earth and dust the atmosphere.
are a subdivision of the Thallophyta. One further class of this subdivision
of fungi is Eumycetes or the true fungi. The Eumycetes or true fungi
are further divided into four orders:
Fungi are important in the processes of nature, agriculture, manufacturing, and medicine. Penicillium notatum, from which penicillin comes, belongs to the order Phycomycetes.
Yeasts are economically important because they ferment sugars, converting the sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide; the former used in making alcoholic beverages, and the latter, carbon dioxide, in making bread to rise. To prepare commercial yeast for bread-making the yeast is grown in a suitable medium, separated from this by centrifugation, mixed with starch or vegetable oil , then made into cakes or dried in granules. Yeast is a source of vitamin B and ergosterol from which vitamin D is obtained. Wild yeast, from which salt-rising and sour dough breads are made, are grown on a specific medium and this gives the bread its characteristic flavor.
will not kill yeast; however, yeast (all fungi) are quite susceptible
to heat, being easily killed at the temperatures at which bread is baked.
Bread thoroughly baked will contain no live yeast, and keeping bread
until the second day in no wise further destroys yeast. Newly baked
bread is difficult to digest and thus the counsel given in the Spirit
p 9 -- There is controversy over the use of mushrooms. From the above, one can easily see that to be consistent one must not use yeast to raise bread if one is not to eat the non-poisonous, edible mushrooms. One must do away with the use of Brewer's yeast, food yeasts of all kinds. There are those who advocate the use only of flat unleavened breads. However, yeast breads were freely used throughout Bible times and were prohibited only during certain feasts and with certain offerings to be presented.
The first Biblical reference to leaven or yeast was in connection with the Feast of Unleavened Bread associated with the Passover (Lev. 23:5-8). Before this feast a ritual search was made for leaven and is a most specific and strong confirmation in favor of unfermented wine at the Last Supper for fermentation results from the use of leaven or yeast. Leavened or yeast bread was commanded to be used in connection with the peace offering (Lev. 7:13) and again was indicated to be used at the Feast of Pentecost (Lev. 23:17). Jesus likened His teaching to leaven (Matt. 13:33; Luke 13:20-21). He also illustrated the teachings of the Pharisees and Saduducees and the evil influence of Herod by leaven (Matt. 16:6, 12; Mark 8:15). Paul counseled the Corinthians to cleanse out the old leaven for the presence of one defiant transgressor in the church pervades the whole body and corrupts the whole group (I Cor. 5:6-8) Thus leaven in this instance and in Gal. 5:9 is old leaven or sin.
Health is important for it is the condition necessary for understanding TRUTH. Those who, however, make the "right arm" of the message more than the body (God's great truths) and have zeal for the right arm without knowledge are avoiding the issues at stake. If we major in minors - such as not eating mushrooms - we will at last be found minoring in the majors.
"Two classes have been presented before me: first, those who are not living up to the light which God has given them; secondly, those who are too rigid in carrying out their one-sided ideas of reform, and enforcing them on others. When they take a position, they stand to it stubbornly, and carry nearly everything over the mark." Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 196 --- (1980 Aug) --- End --- TOP
1980 Sep -- XIII-- 9(80) -- THE WITNESS OF JESUS -- The Adult Sabbath School Lessons for the Second Quarter, 1980, were written by Dr. Jean Zurcher, Secretary of the Euro-Africa Division, and entitled - "The Witness of Jesus." This title derived from Scripture has a special restricted meaning to Seventh-day Adventists when the translation as found in the KJV is used. The phrase is found six times in the book of Revelation, and we use two of those times in a very specialized sense. In these two references - 12:17 & 19:10 - the KJV translates the Greek as "the testimony of Jesus" and declares this "testimony" to be "the spirit of prophecy." The other references in the book of Revelation are 1:2; 1:9; 19:10 - used twice - and 20:4. Its first use, and therefore its primary meaning, is connected with the revelation which God gave to Jesus to reveal things which must shortly come to pass. John bore record of this word of God, and witness of Jesus ["testiniony of Jesus" - KJV] and the things which he saw which revealed that word and witness. The word of God and the witness of Jesus contituted "the words of this prophecy" which if read and heard, a blessing follows. (Rev. 1:3) The witness of Jesus is simply in its fullest sense the unfolding of the prophetic word - the spirit and living force of prophecy, God's evaluation of history to be.
This prophecy and its execution has been placed in the hands of the covering cherubim. It was Gabriel, who took Lucifer's place, who revealed to Daniel that he would show him "that which is noted in the scripture of truth" and there was no one who held with him "in these things, but Michael your prince." (Dan. 10:21) To the word and testimony of the prophets, Jesus appealed in justification of Himself as the Messiah. To the two on the way to Emmaus, Jesus said - "Behoved it not the Christ [Messiah] to suffer these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." (Luke 24:27 RV) The very spirit or essence of prophecy is the witness to Jesus, and Jesus in turn witnesses to us, the purpose of God through prophecy. To this sure word of prophecy the witness of Jesus - we need to heed, for it is a 1ight that shines amid the gross darkness that is covering the earth till the true Day Star - the Sun of righteousness - comes without sin unto salvation.
Zurcher, not only wrote the Sabbath School lessons, but also a book which paralleled the weekly lessons. This book - Christ of the Revelation - was published by the Southern Publishing Association. In it he calls attention to a key sign which Jesus prophecied - witnessed to - which relates to this our own time, and reveals to us God's word and purpose. We dare not forget that Jesus was foretold to be that "Prophet" whom the Lord would raise up, and in Whom He would place His words, which if not heeded, God would hold that person accountable. Of this
p 2 -- prophecy of Jesus - words which God placed in His mouth Zurcher wrote: We shall not linger over the numerous signs given by Jesus in this discourse. [Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21] 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 setting of the tragic 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 fulfilled.'' (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 GentiIes" - 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 Iive 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 the Israeli conquest of Jerusalem a sign of the approaching conversion of the Jews, as so many Christians think. Nothing in Jesus' prophecy allows such an interpretation. However, if we cannot see that Jerusalem is an exceptional sign of the times, then might we not be placing ourselves in the same position as the religious leaders who knew how to "discern the face of the sky'' but could not discern the obvious "signs of the times''?
In order for us to understand Jesus' statement, three questions need answering. First, what exactly does the expression '' the times of the Gentiles'' mean? Then, what should be understood by the fulfillment of the times of the Gentiles? Finally, what connection is there between the retaking of Jerusalem by the Jews and the fulfillment of the times of the Gentiles?
I understand the Biblical language, the times of the Gentiles is the
period set aside by God for the evangelization of the heathen nations.
It is not the time needed for them to be converted to Christianity,
as some think, but for them to hear the gospel. It is in this sense
that Jesus said: ''This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all
the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
p 3 -- I beIieve 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 ''heathens" - the Ethiopian eunuch and the centurion Cornelius - as well as the conversion of Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles mark the beginning of these new times when the gospel would be preached to the nations. And if I have understood the prediction of Jesus properly, this time will be "fulfilled'' when Jerusalem will cease to '' be trodden down of the Gentiles." The fact that since 1967 Gentiles no longer have occupied Jerusalem means, therefore, that we are now living at the end of '' the times of the Gentiles.''
Jerusalem here constitutes the last sign of the times by which the Lord shows us that the history of this world is coming to its cl imax and that the restoration of all things is at hand. (pp. 71-72, Emphasis his)
This position of Dr. Zurcher is in sharp contrast with the dogma expressed by Dr. Herbert Douglass at the 1974 North American Bible Conferences who was adhering to the line of the hierarchy. Douglass unequivocally stated - "Adventists do not see theological importance in the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 or the annexation of Old Jerusalem in 1967." ("Adventist Eschatology," p. 6) This combing of two distinct events, though related, only serves to confuse the issue. Jesus did not talk about a Jewish state in His prophecy, only the city which was to be surrounded and destroyed by alien armies. It is also interesting to observe that when the editors of the Adventist Review began a new feature in their journal - "Books in Review" - the first book to be reviewed was Zurcher's - Christ of the Revelation. Dr. Kenneth Strand of Andrews University, the reviewer, noted the section which we have quoted above with this comment - "Two pages are devoted to the interpretation of the expression, 'until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled' of Luke 21:24, but probably few Adventist readers will concur with Dr. Zurcher's personal viewpoint that this period terminated in the events of the six-day war in 1967." (May 29, 1980, p. 19) This is a sad comment on the level to which the members of the church have sunk in their desire and ability to study and to know for themselves the truth as revealed in the witness of Jesus. If the presentation of Dr. Zurcher is merely a matter of his "personal viewpoint" that is one thing, but if it is a valid exegesis of the prophecy that Jesus Himself gave, it is tragically freighted with eternal consequences, and too vital to ignore. What if someone, calling attention to the fact that alien armies had surrounded the city of Jerusalem in 66 AD, was brushed off with the comment that this is merely Brother Agabus' "personal viewpoint"! The disciples of Jesus are those only who "continue in [His] word." (John 8:31) Not a Christian perished in the seige of Jerusalem in AD 70, but this is not saying how many professed Christians died because they chose to ignore the literalism of Jesus' prophecy.
What Dr. Zurcher has written needs more than merely a passing comment in a Book Review. He clearly points out that this prophecy of Jesus - the witness of Jesus "was a sign for the Christians of the Apostolic Church . . . and it remains a sign for us who live at the end of the times of the Gentiles." What if some editor of the Apostolic Church had written - "The Church sees no importance or significance in the approach of the armies of Rome against the city of Jerusalem, because Jerusalem is no longer the chosen city of God, nor Israel of the flesh, His people.
p 4 -- We must remember there has been a change from a literal Israel as the chosen of God to a new spiritual Israel, and therefore, we must interpret in a symbolic manner this prophecy of Jesus." But with 20/20 vision we clearly perceive past history. We say emphatically that the sorrounding of the literal, ancient city of Jerusalem by Roman armies was verily the sign that Jesus gave by which Christians were to know the time had arrived to flee from its midst. But now in our Laodicean blindness, we perceive not the hour of our visitation! As Zurcher so honestly suggests - "If we cannot see that Jerusalem is an exceptional sign of the times, then might we not be placing ourselves in the same position as the religious leaders who knew how to 'discern the face of the sky' but could not discern the obvious 'signs of the times.'"
Zurcher contends that to understand Jesus' prophecy, "three questions need answering." Let us observe these three questions, and Zurcher's answers. 1) "What exactly does the expression "the times of the Gentiles' mean?" To this he answers - "The times of the Gentiles is the period set aside by God for the evangelization of the heathen nations." 2) "What should be understood by the fulfillment of the times of the Gentiles?" His answer is - "This time will be 'fulfilled' when Jerusalem will cease to be 'trodden down of the Gentiles.'" And 3) "What connection is there between the retaking of Jerusalem by the Jews and the fulfillment of the times of the Gentiles?" Zurcher's answer to this third question is simply the acceptance of the historical facts of life - "The fact that since 1967 Gentiles no longer have occupied Jerusalem means, therefore, that we are living at the end of 'the times of the Gentiles.'"
If it were only the last two questions involved, the majority of Adventists would not find it too difficult to see light in this prophecy or witness of Jesus. But that first question, which leads to a basic fourth question is the stumbling block. If the "times of the Gentiles" is that period set aside by God for the evangelization of the heathen nations, and that time is up, what then is God saying to us to whom He committed the last message of salvation to the world in the Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14, which was to go to every nation? Zurcher points out and rightly so - "this period, the times of the Gentiles, is not the time needed for them to be converted to Christianity, as some think, but for them to hear the gospel." Then he quotes Matthew 24:14 which reminds us that al1 that Jesus said was the Gospel was to be preached "for a witness unto all nations; and the shall the end come." If then the preaching of the Gospel as a witness has been completed, how valid is all the evangelistic promotion? Does it not then serve only as a propaganda instrument by which to cement the ever widening crevices appearing in the church body so that the hierarchy can still maintain their control of the structure? Are we not because of all the evangelism emphasis diverting the attention of God's people from heaven's revelation of how God looks at the present world situation, and what He is about to do? For the leadership thus to continue to mislead God's heritage will in the ultimate bring a heavy retribution of Divine Judgment.
then, what did Jesus mean, when He said "then shall the end come"?
Have we not always understood the end to be the close of probation?
But has not the "witness of Jesus" - the testimony of Jesus
given us some enlightenment even on this vital point? Read carefully:
"After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to al1 nations,
[Does it say, that probation will close, and Jesus will come in the
clouds of heaven?] every conceivable power of evil will be set
in operation, and minds
will be confused. Then there will be a removing of the landmarks, and
p 5 -- attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith." (R&H, Dec. 13, 1892) One has to be totally blind not to see where we are in the stream of time. If since 1967, there has not been an attempt at removing the pillars of our faith, I am at a loss for words to adequately describe what has been done and is being done in this regard.
Following the great evangelistic witness of the 40's and early 50's, the leadership of the Church condoned the sell-out of the basic historic truths committed to our trust in the Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956. By imposing the denial of basic commitments of the Advent Movement on the church, the leadership betrayed their trust as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, and God permitted prophecy to be fulfilled. In this fulfilled prophecy He is telling all who will listen that the hierarchy of the church is no longer capable of rightly representing the truth, and therefore, He has removed from them the trust He had committed into their hands. By calling an end to the period of the evangelization of the nations, God has ordered that "the last work," "the closing work for the church" be set in operation. (See 3T:266) But as Dr. Strand says - "few Adventist readers will concur." They would rather take the position of the Jewish people of old who faced the end of their times as guardians of a sacred trust, and defy earth and heaven "to dispossess them of their rights" as "the children of Abraham." They "cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God." (COL., p. 294) What God has said in the fulfillment of the witness of Jesus is abhorent to the vast majority of the professed people of God, just as were the words of John the Baptist prior to "the coming of Christ" as the Messiah to His professed people of that hour. John cried out: 0 generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (Luke 3:7-9)
FROM THE PAST -- During
His ministry, Jesus told His disciples of the immediate future, and
what was to transpire. He was to "suffer many things of the elders
and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the
third day." (Matt. 16:21) However, when these events did occur,
the minds of the disciples became so confused; their hopes crushed that
they did not remember nor understand the prophecy of Jesus that He would
rise again the third day. They doubted even the tesimony of those to
whom Christ appeared following His resurrection. Why? "The news
of Christ's resurrection was so different from what they had anticipated,
that they could not believe it. It was too good to be true, they thought.
They had heard so much of the doctrines and the so-called scientific
theories of the Sadducees,
p 6 -- that the impression made on their minds in regard to the resurrection was vague. They scarcely knew what the resurrection from the dead could mean., They were unable to take in the great subject." (Desire of Ages, p. 793)
Jesus has given prophecies that pertain to this our own day, the chief example of which is Luke 21:24 - "Jerusalem shall be trodden down ... until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." It is just as clear, as the prophecies which marked the fall of Jerusalem, and the approach to the end of the prophetic period of the 2300 Days - the alien armies surrounding the city, the Dark Day, and the Falling of the Stars. Not one word of what Christ foretold has failed of fulfillment. Yet we stumble, and doubt the meaning of the last great sign. Why? It involves the Church, as dear to us as was the Temple to the Jews. And we have so long listened to the hierarchy tell us what the church is, that we have become confused in our thinking even as the disciples concering the resurrection. We have been presented a series of Ellen G. White statements arranged to fit the objective of the prelates of power. In reading these statments we fail to understand the context in which it was written, and some of the prophetic statements made by the same author, plus her quotes from the divine "Instructor." The hierarchy would have you believe that the Church is going through, just as the Sadducees of Christ's day would have the laity believe that there was no resurrection. But these modern Sadducees do not tell you Sister White warned in 1903: 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. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her wiII be pronounced the sentence, "Found wanting." By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. (8T:247)
Can anyone produce a series of statement prepared by the hierarchy on the Church going through, where they quote the above? To clear our minds from the foggy thinking we have been subjected to by the hierarchy, let us ask ourselves some forthright questions, and be willing to give some honest answers. If the Church - the corporate body - is going through to the Kingdom, then why should the Church be subject to the judgment of the sanctuary? Is an irrevocable fact subject to judgment with the possibility of being revoked? The very fact that God has determined that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary should tell us that there is a question on its going through. Unless certain conditions set by heaven are met in the investigation, the sentence will be pronounced "Found Wanting!"
the propaganda machine works overtime in the curias on the Sligo to
convince you that for you to recognize apostasy in the church, and to
speak out against it, is to call the church, Babylon. A series of quotations
are produced written in 1893 - ten years prior to the above quotation
- that to call or infer that the church is Babylon is the work of the
devil. It becomes almost an over-mastering delusion. In the same testimony
written in 1903, the servant of the Lord quoted the divine "Instructor"
as asking - "How is the faithful city becomea harlot?" (8T:250)
It is saying simply that the Church was once "the faithful city;"
this no one can deny. She has carried the truth of the downtrodden Sabbath
p 7 -- to the ends of the earth; she has proclaimed that Christ in the performance of His mission took upon Himself the seed of Abraham according to the flesh; she has proclaimed that Christ began in 1844, His final atonement in behalf of the deaed and the living. Blut because she did, does this mean that God will overlook the apostasy and departure from truth which became so marked in the Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956? She played the harlot in basking in the approbation of Babylon, and denying basic, historical Adventist teaching to do so. Not only this in 1955-1956, but now in 1980 - this our very day - she has continued her departure from truth by making provision with the voted Statement of Beliefs to meet the basic requirements doctrinally for membership in the World Council of Churches. Has not God taken into account these things? Or are we saying - "The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgement." (5T:211) When God by fulfilled prophecy says the times of the Gentiles or nations are up, He is saying the trust to give the final gospel warning to those nations has been altered. A faithful city that becomes a harlot cannot give the trumpet the correct, nor right sound!
Another lesson comes from the events associated with Calvary. "From the crucifixion to the resurrection many sleepless eyes were constantly searching the prophecies, some to learn the full meaning of the feast they were celebrating, some to find evidence that Jesus was not what He claimed to be; and others with sorrowful hearts were searching for proofs that He was the true Messiah. Though searching with different objects in view, all were convicted of the same truth, - that prophecy had been fulfilled in the events of the past few days, and that the Crucified One was the world's Redeemer." (DA, p. 775) These who were thus studying were not seeking to develop a theology of the atonement, that would come later. They were searching the prophecies so they could understand the events which had transpired before their own eyes. Many who so studied understood what the death of Christ actually meant to the Jewish ceremonial services, and these, obedient to the light which prophecy revealed, acted accordingly. It says - "Many who at that time united in the services never again took part in the paschal rites." (Ibid) Prophecy had been fulfilled. They asked the meaning of what God was saying in the events of Calvary, and having percieved, they acted out their faith.
God has again spoken to us in prophecy - a prophecy of Jesus. It was a sign to the Christians of the Apostolic Church, who lived at the beginning of the times of the Gentiles, and it has become also a sign to us who are now living at the end of the times of the Gentiles. How many today have the courage to act out what this prophecy is telling us? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. To believe on Him is to accept His word. Jesus said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32) The Jerusalem which now is, is in bondage with her children, "but the Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." (Gal.4:25-26) "But ye are come unto Mount Zion, 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)
"The state of the Church represented by the foolish virgins, is also spoken of as the Laodicean state." (R&H, August 19, 1890)
p 8 -- A LETTER TO THE ADVENTIST CHURCH IN RUSSIA -- In a letter dated October 31, 1979, Elders Neal C. Wilson and Alf Lohne addressed the Seventh-day Adventist congregations in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In it was stated General Conference policy. From this letter we quote:
From time to time questions are raised as to the attitude of the General Conference toward believers and their church organization in countries where it has not been possible to follow in detail the organizational procedures Seventh-day Adventists have outlined in their Church Manual and Working Policy. To this we answer that the following principles should be practiced and serve as a guide in such situations:
1) The General Conference can recognize only one Seventh-day Adventist organization in any country. This would normally be the one recognized by the authorities. We conduct our work in harmony with Biblical principles expressed in such texts as Romans 13:1-8 and Acts 5:29. On this basis we encourage all who consider themselves as Seventh-day Adventists to identify with the recognized body of believers. We are convinced that this is harmony with Biblical and Spirit of Prophecy counsel to the church. (Liberty Confidential Newsletter, Vol 2, #5)
Yet, one of the same men who signed this letter - Neal C. Wilson - in a Brief for Appellants, Case #75-1792 in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit authorized the following statement to be made: As an organized religious denomination the Seventh-day Adventist Church insists that it is "wholly exempt" from the cognizance of Civil Authority, and that slight entanglements, practical exceptions, and "reasonable adjustments" are not to be tolerated.
Well did James write: Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. (James 3: 11-12)
Vladimir A. Shelkov -- 1895 - 1980
9 -- A REPORT ON FINDINGS -- During
the month of June, the Foundation Business Manager and I made a quick
trip to Galesburg, Illinois, to finalize details regarding Silver Lake
East, and to Andrews University to obtain photo-copies of documents
which will form the basis of the October issue of "Watchman,
What of the Night?" While in the area, I went to Elkhart, Indiana,
to make contact with Pastor Georgi Vins who is Secretary-in-exile and
International Representative of the Council of Evangelical Christian
Baptist Churches in the Soviet Union. Pastor Vins was away on a speaking
appointment in Canada, but I did visit with a group in the office which
included Vins' daughter. I asked various questions. I wanted to know
how closely the underground Baptists, and the underground Seventh-day
Adventists worked together. Vins' daughter told me, contrary to the
report in The Spokesman Review (April 17, 1977, Spokane, WA),
that the Baptists and the Seventh-day Adventists "illegal"
church groups while cognizant of each other, do not "maintain close
ties." Pastor Vins never met Elder Shelkov. The one exchange prisoner
who knows the most about Elder Shelkov is Alexander Ginsburg who eulogized
him at a
I, also, asked about the possibility of the hierarchy in Washington betraying the underground Seventh-day Adventists to the KGB, or their informers, in exchange for preferential treatement by the Soviet state. Vins' daughter replied that it was done by Baptist authorities relative to the underground Baptist church.
While visiting at the office of Pastor Vins in Elkhart, I was referred to the Executive Secretary of the Society for the Study of Religion under Communism, Alan Scarfe, in Wheaton, Illinois. On our way home, we stopped by this office and had a profitable visit and obtained information regarding other Adventist prisoners of the underground church, which we will share in this brief report. SSRC was established in 1974 under the directorship of Drs. Thomas E. Bird of Queens College, New York, Andrews Q. Blane of Amnesty International, and Paul B. Anderson, former Editor of Religion in Communist Dominated Areas. SSRC is the associate organization of Keston College, England, a research center concentrating on conditions in the communist world.
my visits, I learned the best way to help these persecuted brethren
in Russia is to write directly to them at the prison where they are
confined. It is true that they will not receive the letters written
- the prison officials will intercept and read them - but the fact that
they are receiving overseas mail indicates to the prison officials that
the case of these imprisoned believers is widely
office of Pastor Vins has prepared a card to be sent to Leonid Breshnev
regarding the Baptist prisoners. A brief letter carrying a similar message
p 10 -- Russian leader could be sent on behalf of our brethren in the true faith. When writing to Breshnev, the name of the individual needs to be mentioned - one letter for each name. We suggest the following message - with variations - be sent to Breshnev:
Leonid Brezhnev, President
Dear Mr. Brezhnev;
We kindly ask you to grant freedom of Christian worship and ministry to (name), and to all believers imprisoned for their Christian faith in the U. S. S. R.
Sincerely yours for Religious Freedom
Here is a list of names of the imprisoned believers in Russia, and all available information as to who they are, and where they (when known):
LEPSHIN, Ilya Sergeevich, born 1933. Arrested, March 14, 1978 after a house search. Sentenced March 1979 to five years strict regime camp and confiscation of property. Son-in-law of Vladimir Shelkov. Suffers from a heart condition. Sent to camp in Yaravshan, Kizyl-Kum desert, Uzbek SSR. Wife: Dina Vladimirovna Lepshina, Uzbekskaya SSR, g Tashkent, ul Soyuznaya 56.
SPALIN, Arnold Albertovich, born 1935. Arrested, March 14, 1978. Sentenced to five years ordinary regime camp. In camp in Kurganskaya obl., Kazakh SSR. He was sentenced for "infringing the rights of citizens under the appearance of performing religious ceremonies."
FURLET, Sofiya Prokopevna. Arrested April 6, 1978. Her home had been searched March 29, 1978 and religious literature and writing materials confiscated. Sentenced to three years ordinary regime camp. Camp address unknown.
SPALIN, Rikhard age 42. Arrested September, 1978 and charged with "acquiring and operating a printing press." Sentenced June 25, 1979 to seven years imprisonment. Along with Brother Spalin, three others were arrested - VALENTINA ZAPOROZHETS, EKATERINA RYSKAL, and NIKOLAI RININ. The fate of these three are at present unknown as well as the prison address of Brother Spalin.
(A further note on Valentina R. Zaporozhets. He was born in 1927. He was charged with "criticism of Soviet system and religious policy." Detained in Pyatigorsk prison, Stavropol region. Son: Gennadi N. Zaporozhets; Stavropolsky krai, g. Yessen-tuki, ul. Pgodina 62. One might wish to write to the son at address given.) --- (1980 Sep) --- End ---