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 1995 Apr - Jun
Apr -- XXVIII -- 4(95) -- EVANGELICALS
& CATHOLICS TOGETHER -- PART
3 -- The final section of the accord between Evangelicals and
Roman Catholics - "We Witness Together" - returns to the admission
of the "points of serious tension between" the two communities.
Recognizing that "bearing witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ
and his will for our lives is an integral part of Christian discipleship,"
the conferees agree that the "goodwill and cooperation between [them]
must not be at the price of the urgency and clarity of Christian witness
to the Gospel." However, they stated that "our Lord made clear
that the evidence of love among his disciples is an integral part of that
Christian witness." Here are three words, either written or implied,
that are put in tension - the Gospel, love, and truth.
To witness together as Christians implies
a witness to the same Gospel, and speaking the truth as it is in Jesus.
Love does not cover the preaching of two different Gospels. We can recall
that in the churches of Galatia, two gospels were being proclaimed, but
Paul declared one to be a perversion of the true Gospel. (Gal. 1:6-7)
Again it is a return to the same age old question - Is truth unique, or
is it multifaced?
Admitting that in the United States and elsewhere
both Evangelicals and Roman Catholics attempt to win "converts"
from one another's folds, they now agree that such evangelization undermines
"the Christian mission" by which they "are bound by God's
Word" and "to which [theyl have committed [themselves] in this
statement." This gets down to exactly what "authentic conversion"
is. They define it as "conversion to God in Christ by the power of
the Spirit," and quote the explanation as given in the
Baptist-Roman Catholic International Conversation of 1988.
The first and last sentence of the section from the Conversation quoted
is most interesting. They read: "Conversion
is turning away from all that is opposed to God, contrary to Christ's
teaching and turning to God, to Christ, the Son, through the work of the
Holy Spirit. ... Individuals respond in faith to God's call but faith
comes from hearing the proclamation of the word
2 -- of God and is to be expressed in life together in Christ
that is the Church." (Emphasis supplied)
To further the common ground between them,
and yet bridge their manifest differences, they indicated that "authentic
discipleship" can take different forms because "there are different
ways of being Christian." While all are to be one, it does not mean
that "we are all to be identical in our way of following the
one Christ." This is the very concept of the ecumenical approach
outlined by now Cardinal Cassidy at the Seventh Assembly of the WCC in
Australia, when he stated - "We (Roman Catholics) are not working
towards uniformity among the Churches of the world. We are working
towards unity in faith and communion." (See WWN, 1(95),
p. 4) The Sermon on the Mount teaches "one gate" and
"one narrow way" leading unto life. (Matt. 7:13-14)
The next point the accord addresses is proselytizing,
or "sheep stealing." The statement indicates there is "a
necessary distinction" between this activity and "evangelizing."
Then the conferees declared - "We condemn the practice of recruiting
people from another community for purposes of denominational or institutional
aggrandizement. At the same time, our commitment to full religious freedom
compels us to defend the legal freedom to proselytize even as we call
upon Christians to refrain from such activity." This is indeed a
remarkable commitment to religious liberty, but is the right to witness
a freedom granted by the State - a "legal freedom" - or is it
a part "of the free exercise thereof," that is beyond law? This
language, and the expressions found in other sections - "ordered
liberty," and "the right ordering of civil society" - leaves
questions as to where these conferees actually stand. Yet they affirm
that "any form of coercion - physical, psychological, legal, economic
- corrupts Christian witness and is to be unqualifiedly rejected."
What will some of these men do when Revelation 13 is fulfilled? Do the
men representing the Roman Catholic community in this Accord who have
reverted to Rome from a Protestant heritage, such as Neuhaus and Dulles,
actually believe that Rome has changed?
There is a note of expediency in the approach
to the non-proselyting stance advocated in the document. They state -
"In view of the large numbers of non-Christians in the world and
the enormous challenge of our common evangelistic task, it is neither
theologically legitimate nor prudent to proselytize among active adherents
of another Christian community."
In the section - "We Hope Together"
- the conferees had stated that "Misunderstandings, misrepresentations,
and caricatures of one another, however, are not disagreements. These
distortions must be cleared away ..." Now in the final section, they
return to the same theme, noting that "bearing false witness against
other persons and communities, or casting unjust and uncharitable suspicions
upon them, is incompatible with the Gospel." They indicate that "in
describing the teachings and practices of other Christians, we must strive
to do so in a way that they would recognize as fair and accurate."
In principle, one can agree with this assessment, but would Rome ever
agree as "fair and accurate," the description God has given
in the prophecies of the Bible? Does God lie? Never!
In considering "the many corruptions
of Christian witness," these representives of the Evangelicals and
Roman Catholics confessed that they had "sinned against one another
and against God," and asked "for the grace to amend [their]
lives and that of [their] communities." But in the next breath they
declared that "repentance and amendment of life do not resolve remaining
differences between us." They cite what is perceived as "a major
difference in our understanding of the relationship between baptism and
the new birth in Christ."
Here is indeed a "major difference."
Roman Catholicism holds that "the sacrament of baptism"
Having noted this difference, and the difficulties
involved, they declared that these "must not be permitted to overshadow
the truths on which we are, and by the grace of God, in firm ageement."
They agreed to respect each other's perception, and act toward each other's
active and spiritually alive members as "born again" Christians
and not subject to proselyting by the other. The actual wording of the
agreement would appear to mean that if a Roman Catholic who is "born
again" should elect to live as a "christian" in the Evangelical
community, his "infant baptism" would be recognized as a valid
baptism. The text reads:
p 3 --
- whether understood as having received the new birth for the first time
or as having experienced the reawakening of the new birth originally bestowed
in the sacrament of baptism - must be given full freedom and respect as
they discern and decide the community in which they will live their new
life in Christ."
The "Conclusion" reflects the possibility
that "Our Lord will return tomorrow." This coming of Christ
has been reflected in other parts of the document. They spoke in "We
Contend Together" of a confidence that He will crown their "efforts
when he rightly orders all things in the coming of his Kingdom."
In noting their differences, they admitted that "these differences
may never be resolved short of the Kingdom Come."
The concluding paragraph reads: "We do know that his promise is sure, that we are enlisted for the duration, and that we are in this together. We do know that we must affirm and hope and search and contend and witness together, for we belong not to ourselves but to him who has purchased us by the blood of the cross. We do know that this is a time of opportunity - and, if of opportunity, then of responsibility - for Evangelicals and Catholics to be Christians together in a way that helps prepare the world for the coming of him to whom belongs the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen."
NEUHAUS' OBJECTIVE -- "I take that gospel to be what the Reformation said it is: God's justifying the godless by grace through faith because of Jesus Christ. There are other ways of formulating it, but that is the gist of the matter. In my theological understanding of the Christian reality, I am indebted to innumerable men and women. In eclectic fashion, I have no doubt taken thoughts from each and turned them in directions that they probably did not intend and might not approve. But the two to whom I am most indebted are Arthur Carl Piepkorn and Wolfhart Pannenberg. The late 'Father Pieps' of Concordia Seminary, St Louis, taught me and many the meaning of evangelical catholicity, and of Lutheranism as a movement of gospel reform within and for the one church of Jesus Christ. To him I owe my devotion to an ecumenism that seeks to heal the breach of the 16th century in restored communion between Rome and the Reformation." (The Christian Century, July 11-18, 1990, p. 672)
LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In
this issue as we talk things over concerning ECT, it will be a longer
session, and will cover the material in all three parts of the series.
It is true that I made comments along the way, and some of these may be
repeated for emphasis, or further elaborated upon.
The one item which engages the consuming interest of certain
"independent" ministries is absent in the document, ECT - a
Sunday Law, or seeking to enforce the sacredness of Sunday in any aspect.
Not even a suggestion is made that a law enforcing the observance of Sunday
would help improve the morals of society. The reason for the absence of
such a suggestion has not been explored by those who are seeking to make
capital out of "A NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW" publication. This absence
becomes even more astounding when the document plainly states that the
"church corporately" has "a responsibility for the right
ordering of civil society."
There are certain factors of history which the illiterate
propagandist, seeking only the sensational, overlooks. The close of the
20th century is not the same as was the close of the 19th century. History
is not static but dynamic. The America of today is not the America of
the 1890's. The religious agitation which marked that period is not found
in today's American society. Also a new force has entered - Islam, with
its holy day as Friday.
Couple this fact with the design of the Papacy to reach
the Islamic world. In his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope,
John Paul II, quoting from the Vatican II Declaration Nostra Aetate,
Church also has a high regard for the Muslims, who worship one God."
(p. 91) Add to this the rapproachement between the Papacy and Israel.
The Pope considers the children of Israel as "our elder brothers,"
and notes that "in the Catholic Church it is significant that dialogue
with the Jews takes place in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian
Unity, which is also concerned with the dialogue among various Christian
communities," (ibid., p. 150)
Into this document, ECT, there is woven a fine thread
relative to "the coming Kingdom." In connection with this anticipation,
the conferees contended that they "seek to secure to all a greater
measure of civil righteousness and justice, confident that He will crown
[their] efforts when He rightly orders all things in the
The danger inherent in our failure to program into our eschatology the dynamic of history, is that when "all things" are ordered in the supposed Kingdom of Christ set up by Satan himself is that it will be too late for these deceiving voices, and those who continue to be deceived by them, to alter their course and be prepared for the close of probation. "The final movements will be rapid ones." (9T:l1)
In our discussion of the document (ECT, Part
2, p. 5, col. 1), we noted a certain key word which was used in relationship
to "liberty" and "civil society." The American nation
with its Constitution and Bill of Rights is spoken of as an "experiment
in ordered liberty." Christians as a corporate body are to
be responsible "for the right ordering of civil society."
These expressions are clearly of Neuhaus' formulation. The "experiment
in ordered liberty" is used in his book, The Catholic Moment,
published in 1987, in which he looked to the Roman Catholic Church in
the United States to assume "its rightful role in the culture-forming
task of constructing a religiously informed public philosophy for the
American experiment in ordered liberty." (Quoted in Current
Biography Yearbook 1988, p. 420) What is meant by the word, "ordered"?
It is used again in the document in connection with the Roman Catholic
doctrine of apostolic succession. A "ministry ordered in apostolic
succession" is contrasted to the Biblical and Reformation concept
of "the priesthood of all believers." "Ordered" in
the context of this use, can mean, "limited," "circumscribed,"
"regulated," and "restricted."
This meaning attached to "the American
experiment" is not the way I have read the history of the founding
of this nation. The First Ammendment declares plainly "that Congress
shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof." "No law" removes "ordered
liberty," as it respects religious freedom, as an acceptable
alternative. Yet the ECT document reads: "We strongly affirm the
separation of church and state." The conferees agreed to "contend
together for religious freedom."
If pressed on this point, Neuhaus could justify
his position from the Scriptures. James, after quoting two of the Ten
Commandments to illustrate his point that to break one commandment is
to be guilty of the transgresion of all, declared that each is to speak
and act in harmony with "the law of liberty." (James 2:10-12)
This is ordered liberty. The point that is overlooked is: Who is
to do the ordering; Who is the final judge? To the Church that task was
not committed, but reserved to the Son of man. (John 5:22) The Church
is limited to moral pursuasion - "Go... teach all nations."
A careful look at how the "American
experiment" is interpreted casts light on the objective of ordered
liberty. While confirming the separation of church and state, the document
adds - We "just as strongly protest the distortion of that principle
to mean the separation of religion from public life." Substitute
"Church" for "religion," and you obtain a more accurate
picture of who this "distortion" is perceived to be. It is the
Roman Catholic position that the Church is above The State, and should
thus dictate public policy, as well as being supported by the State. If
one wishes the documentation for the Roman Catholic position he should
carefully observe the chapter, "Americanism Versus Romanism,"
in Facts of Faith, pp. 256-272.
ECT speaks of "legitimate diversity,"
thus using the present theme of the ecumenical dialogue - "unity
in diversity" - but warns that this "should not be confused
with existing divisions between Christians that obscure the one Christ
and hinder the one mission." Where does all this lead? To seek to
make one's way through this maze of rhetoric is confusing. The ultimate
will be the fulfillment of the prophecies of Revelation 13 ~ 17. However,
as noted in the first segment of this analysis, the issue of Sunday sacredness
is not even mentioned in this essay, and certain things, unspecified,
for the "right ordering of civil society" are left to "the
coming of [Christ's] Kingdom." I repeat this point for emphasis so
that the present time be not clouded by speculation for personal profit.
We need take off the colored glasses that certain "voices" want
us to wear.
Next we need to carefully observe the things
p 5 -- which ECT says they
are united upon, and the issues which still separate them. Doctrinally,
the concepts of agreement are far fewer than the concepts of disagreement.
They affirm together:
1) "Jesus Christ is Lord."
However, the Roman Catholic would affirm this with reservations. For him,
there is another Lord. Pope Leo XIII in his Great Encyclical Letters,
declares - "We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty."
(p. 304) In this encyclical, the pope has capitalized all pronouns referring
to himself and to God. (See Facts of Faith, p. 61)
2) "Justification [is] by grace through faith because of Christ." While Neuhaus claims he accepts the gospel to be what the Reformation said it is, he waffles indicating that there are other ways to formulate this statement. (See his Objective, p. 3, col. 1) The statement as affirmed in ECT is not the Reformation position, nor the Pauline, which adds - "by grace alone." The Council of Trent, which was to heal the divisions caused by the Protestant Reformation "avoided the ill-disguised Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism of Eck, Pighius, and other early champions of Rome, and worded its decrees with great caution and circumspection; but it decidely condemned the Protestant doctrines of the supremacy of the Bible, the slavery of the natural will, and justification by faith alone." (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. VII, p. 600) How then can they affirm together a common belief on justification by faith?
[Pelagius (circa, A.D. 400), a British monk, set forth
the position that "each person is created like Adam, with perfect
freedom to do good or evil. Hence an entirely sinless life is possible,
and man can save himself by his own good works." (Qualben, History
of the Christian Church, p. 121) While many would likewise reject
the Pelagian position as did the Council of Trent, they still opt for
its formula of faith plus works, rather than the Pauline and Reformation
position - by grace alone]
3) "There is one church
because there is one Christ and the church is His body." To the Roman
Catholic, "one church" means only one thing - the Church of
Rome. For the Evangelicals divided in various denominations, what does
"church" mean? Interestingly when the two groups listed their
differences, three of the ten points of disagreement involved this concept.
4) The "Scriptures... are
the infallible Word of God." Which Bible? What about "tradition"
and the "teaching magisterium" of the Pope?
5) "The Apostles Creed... [is] an accurate statement of scriptural (sic) truth." With this Creed written in full, they closed what they affirmed together.
What really did they affirm together, apart from the Apostles Creed, and that they were "all brothers and sisters in Christ"? Actually it was a facade to obtain one objective - a united front to secure social legislation with religious overtones for "the right ordering of civil society."
The differences listed were ten in number but could be
reduced to certain major concepts regarding what constitutes the "Church;"
what is the authority in the Church; its ministry; the Sacraments; and
the relationship to Mary.
Is the Church a local congregation raised up as the consequence
of preaching the Gospel in which all its members have equal access to
God through the mediation of Jesus Christ, or is the church an integral
part of the Gospel, a universal communion with a ministry which stands
as a mediator between the individual member and Jesus Christ?
Is the sole authority for the believer, the Scriptures,
or is the Scripture to be interpreted by the Church through a teaching
Is Baptism, and the Communion service, symbols of grace,
or a means of grace? Is the Lord's Supper, an eucharistic sacrifice, or
a memorial meal? Does baptism of itself regenerate, or is it a testimony
It is obvious that these are major areas of differences.
How can two walk together with these unresolved differences? Again the
bottom line is that these differences, though admitted in the accord,
were muted so as to achieve a working alliance "for the right ordering
of civil society" which includes public education and its support,
the protection of the "family" from moral evils, "a vibrant
market economy," an appreciation of Western culture, and certain
goals to be reflected in American foreign policy. The Church's agenda
is to become the agenda of the State.
If what we are seeing takes place between the Evangelicals
and the Roman Catholics was
p 6 -- restricted solely to their communities,
we could sit back and watch the unfolding of the drama. This, however,
is not the case. Segments of the Adventist Community are moving Romeward.
the SDA Youth Quarterly (3rd Qrt., 1994) in the first lesson,
"The Great Assembly," sought to convey "the beginning days
of the Christian church." The section for Wednesday (pp. 8-9) listed
some of the beliefs of the early church. One, as listed, reads:
"Christ commanded us to
eat the Communion meal as often as we could (sometimes every day)."
Another described worship on the Sabbath as only a Jewish custom. It read:
"Many of the Jewish customs, like worshiping on the Sabbath,
eating only clean meats, should be observed." (Emphasis supplied)
The doctrine of "righteousness by faith" was
introduced. The youth were told that
"simply stated, it means
that we cannot do anything to help ourselves to be saved; Christ's
death alone can do that." (emphasis theirs)
Then the youth were told: "The
evidence is that while they had not studied it as carefully as modern-day
theologians, they did understand. The center of their worship service
was the agape (love) meal. It was like a potluck at your church
in which people remembered Christ. A part of the meal was the Eucharist
(thanksgiving), which we refer to as the Communion. By taking a portion
of bread and a sip of grape juice, they relived the death of Christ on
Calvary for their sins.
"We today have Communion every three months and sometimes on special occasions. Early Christians celebrated Communion each Sabbath, and at times during the week."
On the adult level, the recent controversy over the book, Beyond Belief, involved not only the regular church, but also major "independent ministries." While the book voiced serious error, the response from certain "independent" voices echoed the dogmas of the Council of Trent. (See WWN Extra, 94-1) Unless we stay close to the Word of God, none of us are exempt from the influences of the teachings of Rome, for Romanism is merely a religion to satisfy the carnal heart.
What is the answer? There is only one. "We have also
a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto [we] do well to take heed, as
unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the
day star arise in [our] hearts." (II Peter 1:19)
Prophecy not only reveals the future for us, but it also
outlines the events which have led up to that future. In that outline
of events, God reveals how He looks upon certain powers which move across
the stage of history. To Daniel, God revealed the course of human history
from Babylon to the time when the saints shall possess the kingdom. An
orderly succession of prophetic symbols passed before Daniel - a lion,
a bear, a leopard, and finally a non-descript beast. (Dan. 7:1-8) These
four beasts were four kingdoms which were to dominate the earth. (7:17,
23) Two factors concerning the fourth beast need ever to be kept in mind:
1) This beast continues till
it is "given to the burning flame." (Rev. 19:20)
2) The "little horn" which speaks is never
removed from the beast, but is ever nourished by it. (7:8)
History gives us the orderly succession of world powers
from Daniel's day - Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia and Pagan Rome. Out of
Rome arose the Papacy. God is simply telling us in prophecy that the Papacy
is merely baptized paganism. It is humanized - the "little horn"
has "eyes like the eyes of man," but the heart which sustains
its life is the heart of the beast from which it arose.
God charges this "little horn" power, the Papacy,
with blasphemy - it speaks " words against the most High;" with
murder - it wears "out the saints of the most High;" and with
lawlessness - it thinks "to change times and laws." (7:25) Paul
defines this "Lawless One" (ho
anomos, II Thess. 2:8) as "the mystery of iniquity."
(ver. 7) Thayer, in his Greek Lexicon, defines the very designation,
ho anomos, ["that Wicked," KJV] as "he in whom
all iniquity has as it were fixed its abode." (p. 48) He may be "the
Man of the Year" to the editors of Time, but to God, he is
the embodiment of the Source of all evil.
In the Book of Revelation, in which God declares are revealed
things "which must... come to pass,' the same four symbols of Daniel
7 are united in one non-descript beast. (13:2) This beast is stated to
derive its power and authority from "the dragon," which in turn
is defined as "that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan."
(12:9) This beast is pictured as joining in the design to gather the leadership
of the nations of earth to
p 7 -- "the battle of the great day of God
Those who believe the prophetic Word of God will not become
entangled with the Papacy through any of its agents, neither will God's
people become involved with those who have been deceived and who have
joined in an accord with Rome.
We need to bring this issue closer home. While we can say, we have not joined in this ECT accord, nor signed the document, yet there are those in the Community of Adventism who are doing the very work of the Enemy seeking to re-interpret the prophecies of Daniel and the Book of Revelation so that their force is either mitigated, or completely annulled.
One of the most subtle deceptions being promoted today by one "independent" voice is that while he interprets Daniel by the historic hermeneutic, he interprets the Book of Revelation by the Jesuitical futuristic scheme. Truth is being mingled with error. Confidence in the method of interpretation which has stood the test of history and the assault of the Jesuits, Ribera and Alcazar, needs to be restored. The inroads of Rome, and the encyclicals issued by Leo XIII decrying "the American experiment" must be known and understood. The one book which brings this all together is Facts of Faith by Christian Edwardson.
If you have not obtained a copy of this book, do so immediately.Facts of Faith.
In this whole picture, there remains one thing to watch. What will be the official attitude of the regular SDA church to this document - ECT? The formulators of the document plainly stated that it did not speak "officially for our communities," but they forthrightly declared that in this document, they intended to speak "to our communities." It cannot be overlooked that since the fateful SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56, the leadership of the Church wish to be known as "Evangelical," and accepted by those Churches which their spiritual forefather perceived as "Babylon." They can no longer accuse the Protestant world of being a "confusion" of religious concepts for within the community of Adventism be they regular voices or "independent" voices, confusion reigns.
A recent editorial in the Adventist Review (January
5, 1995), noted a dialogue between a delegation from the Lutheran World
Federation and a group from the General Conference headed by B. B. Beach.
The conference was hosted at Marienhöhe Seminary in Darmstadt, Germany.
As the conference progressed, "a fascinating dynamic began to emerge
- each side kept quoting Luther! We began to realize that we were all
children of Luther." (p. 4) This is almost a re-echo of the ECT whose
conferees discovered themselves as "brothers and sisters in Christ."
The Adventist-Lutheran Conference had for the Adventists
one objective - status. They did not want to be considered as a "cult."
Is this our commission? Or are we commissioned to proclaim the truth as
it is in Jesus, and let the status take care of itself? Did Jesus ever
arrange a dialogue between Himself and the Sanhedrin? When Nicodemus came
for a dialogue, how did Christ conduct it? Did Elijah offer to dialgoue
with Ahab and Jezebel's religious counselors? Dialogue is one thing, to
come together to promote truth or to refine perceptions of truth is another.
Otherwise truth and error are ever to be in confrontation.
May-- XXVIII -- 5(95) -- EXEGESIS
OF REVELATION --THE
WOMAN, THE DRAGON, THE MAN-CHILD AND THE REMNANT OF HER SEED -- Part
1 -- An individual can approach the study
of the Bible from two different viewpoints. One can either let the text
speak for itself, or one can read into the text traditional concepts which
he has been taught, or preconceived ideas of what the text is saying from
his own personal biases and prejudices. By letting the text speak to him,
the Holy Spirit can open to his mind new vistas of truth each time he
studies which he has not previously seen. There may remain unaswered questions
which he will not be able to answer until fuller light is revealed to
him. This is especially true in the study of Bible prophecy.
In the book of Revelation, there are some key chapters
which cast light on our present time which need to be carefully re-studied
by just letting the text speak to us. These chapters are the heart of
the last section of the book - chapters 12 through 19. Since the book
is a whole book, there will be a "knitting" back into the first
section of similar concepts and key phrases. For example, the "forty
and two months" of Revelaiton 13:5, is also to be found in 11:2.
It will be our objective over the next several months to take an exegetical
look at these chapters and see just what they are saying. Questions may
remain unanswered, but we will be left with the facts of what is written
so that as we seek to understand more fully through continued study, the
groundwork will have been laid.
Revelation 12 -- This chapter focuses on two visions - "wonders," significant apparitions - seen by John. One is a woman with child (v. 1-2), and the second is "a great red dragon" (v. 3). The interrelationship between these two symbols is continued to the time of "the war with the remnant of her seed." (v. 17) The "fiery red (Gr. purros) dragon" is defined "as that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan." (v. 9) The "child" is called "a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron." (v. 5) He is also "the seed" of the woman, since the "remnant" are referred to as a "seed." The woman is not defined, but the very elements of the two visions
p 2 -- - a serpent, a seed, and a woman - bring to mind the first gospel promise in Genesis 3:15, where the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent's head. The role of the "Man child" is described further as "Michael" (v. 7), the "Christ" or Messiah (v. 10), and the "Lamb" (v. 11).
Verse 7 brings us to our first judgment call. Are we going
to read into this verse, our perceptions, or are we going to let the text
speak for itself? "There was war in heaven." Is the word,
"heaven," to be understood the same as the word is used in verses
1 and 3? Or are we to interpret it as meaning, the dwelling place of God?
If the latter, our traditional perceptions place this war prior to the
creation of man. The text indicates that as a result of this "war,"
Satan "was cast out into the earth." This then would mean that
this "earth" existed some time before the creation of man, and
further that God created man and placed him where Satan was confined.
If on the other hand, we read this word "heaven" as it is used
of the other two visions" - the stage where the symbolic drama was
being enacted - the "war in heaven" then becomes the battle
of the Man-Child, the incarnate Michael with the dragon, and the resultant
victory of the Cross, where the blood of the Lamb was spilt. This would
harmonize with the next pronouncement John hears from the heavens - "Now
is come salvation." (v. 10).
Following through on the fact that the Devil "was cast out into the earth" (v. 9), "is cast down" (v. 10), the action of the prophecy turns to activity on the earth and the sea. John hears a command - "Rejoice, ye heavens (plural), and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath." (v. 12) The use of the plural for "heavens," and the reference to the "inhabitants that dwell in them," removes the use of the term as the place of the vision, to the reality where God dwells. But why the use of terms "earth" and "sea" to refer to the inhabitants upon whom Satan manifests his wrath? He was merely "cast out into the earth." We must leave this an open question in the light of what follows - the two "beasts" of Chapter 13, one of which would "rise out of the sea" (v. 1), and the second which would come "up out of the earth" (v. 11).
The first activity of the devil, after his defeat, was to manifest his wrath against the woman "which brought forth the man child." (12:13) The "woman" flees into the "wilderness." (We meet this term again in Chapter 17, where another "woman" is pictured as being in a "wilderness" See 17:3.) The woman of Revelation 12 is in the wilderness for a given period - A thousand two hundred and threescore days" (v. 6), and "for a time, and times, and half a time" (v. 14). Why two different time descriptions for the same period? First, the designation of verse 14 is the same as Daniel 7:25, thus linking the prophecies of the two books. The language of verse 6, - 1260 days - is also the time that "the two witnesses" prophesy "clothed in sackcloth." (Rev. 11:3) This links the "two witnesses" closely with the "woman." The emphasis on the woman in the wilderness is that there she will be fed, and "nourished." Is she nourished by "the two witnesses"? The text says - "They should feed her." (12:6) The only antecedent to "they" connected with the same prophetic time element are "the two witnesses."
In contrast to the nourishment received, the "wrath"
of the devil is symbolized as casting "out of his mouth water"
in such quantity so as to become a flood to overwhelm the woman. We have
read into this term, "water," persecution. Are we justified?
John in his gospel defines "water" differently. He quotes Jesus
as saying - "He that believeth on me, as the scripture has said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Then John explains
what this means - "This spake He of the Spirit which they that believe
on Him should receive." (John 7:38-39) If this concept is applied
to "water" in Revelation 12, does it therefore represent the
"doctrines of devils" which sought to overwhelm the true church
of God, and which flowed as a "flood" during the 1260 day period?
(See I Tim. 4:1) Are we thus told that the only source of true nourishment
is through the Two Witnesses?
Then we face another judgment call. The 16th verse states
that "the earth (not the sea) helped the woman" opening its
mouth to swallow the flood so that she might be preserved. Is this "earth"
to mean the place from whence the second beast of Revelation 13 arises?
To accept the term, "earth," in a prophetic sense, and to apply
it to the data that follows Revelation 12 leads to some interesting observations.
The second beast of Rev. 13 speaks "to them that dwell on the earth" (v. 14). The First Angel's Message heralds the everlasting gospel first "unto them that dwell on the earth," and then "to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people." (14:6) Is the objective of the "everlasting gospel" to unmask the enemy, and preserve the purity of the woman?
p 3 -- There is a final confrontation. It reads: " And
the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant
of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony
of Jesus." (12:17)
Each of these clauses are pregnant with concept. 1)
The "wrath" of the enemy continues against the "woman."
2) A new symbol is introduced, "the remnant
of [the woman's] seed." And 3)
This remnant "keeps" (not professes to, nor tries to keep) the
commandments of God, and they "have" the testimony of Jesus
In this chapter, the word, "war" (polemos)
is used twice, both times in connection with "the seed of the woman"
- the Original Seed, and now the "remnant." (vs. 7, 17) The
"war" concept is carried through this final section:
a) The first beast of Revelation 13 makes "war
with the saints." (v. 7) b)
"The spirits of devils ... go forth unto the kings of the
earth, and of the whole world to gather them to the war (polemos)
of that great day of God Almighty." (16:14) And
c) "These shall make war with the Lamb."
[The verb form of "war" is used] (17:14) Those with the Lamb
are "called, and chosen, and faithful."
This presents another question to be pursued in the study
of the book of Revelation as introduced by verse 17. What is the relationship
between the Seed of the Promise, (The "Man-Child," "Michael,"
"His Christ," and "the Lamb") and the "remnant
seed"? Here is the data:
1) The victors of the last of the seven churches - Laodicea - sit with "the faithful and true Witness (martus)" on His throne. These overcome as He also overcame. (3:21)
2) The 144,000 "follow the
Lamb withersoever He goeth." (14:4) These "have washed their
robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (7:14)
3) The marriage of the Lamb "is come" because "His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." (19:7-8)
The "remnant of [the woman's] seed " have the
testimony of Jesus." The text does not say, "the woman has the
testimony of Jesus," only "the remnant." This phrase is
used in several different places in the book of Revelation. The word translated,
marturia. In John's writings - his Gospel, Epistles, and the
Revelation - he uses the word 30x, and it is translated, "record"
and "witness" as well as "testimony." John also uses
the verb form, martureo,
47x, and the word, martus,
from which we derive our English word, "martyr," 5x.
How then are we to understand, the phrase, "testimony of Jesus" in Rev. 12:17. By eisegetical interpretation, we have read this to mean, "the Spirit of Prophecy" by making a comparison with Revelation 19:10. How is this phrase used in Revelation, apart from 12:17? Note the following verses:
bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ,
and of all things that he saw." (1:2)
was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the
testimony of Jesus Christ." (1:9)
"I am thy
fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship
God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (19:10)
the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness (marturia)
of Jesus, and for the word of God." (20:4)
What deductions can be drawn? 1)
The "word of God" and "the testimony of Jesus" are
associated together. 2) Gabriel,
"His angel" (1:1), has this testimony, as well as the (apostolic?)
"brethren" of John. 3)
The "remnant of her seed" also have it. Is this to be understood
singularly, one person, or collectively, the group?
There is an overall picture conveyed by Revelation 12.
In each period, whether in regard to "the Man-Child", or the
period of the woman in the wilderness, or in the war against the "remnant,"
it is the "dragon" operating. This dragon or serpent is specifically
called "the Devil, and Satan." In the following chapters, other
symbols are used designating powers under the control and authority of
the dragon doing the work which the 12th Chapter attributes to the dragon.
This chapter is the outline which the following chapters detail and enlarge.
A closer look at some of the symbolisms provides meaningful insights into a correct interpretation of past history. The dragon or serpent is described as a "fiery serpent" (drakon purros), better translated as "serpent of fire." Hislop in his Two Babylons notes, that "along with the sun, as the great fire-god, and in due time,
p 4 --
identified with him, was the serpent worshipped. 'In the mythology of
the primitive world,' says Owen, 'the serpent is universally the symbol
of the sun.' In Egypt, one of the commonest symbols of the sun, or sun-god,
is a disc with a serpent around it." A
pictorial drawing from a Phoenician coin is used to illustrate the fact.
[For further study
on this association between the serpent, the sun-god, and Sunday observance,
see Robert Leo Odom, Sunday in Roman Paganism, Takoma Park: Review
& Herald Pub. Assoc., 1944]
Consideration needs to be given to the designation of
Jesus in the incarnation as the "Man-Child" (huios,
arsen). This reads literally "a son, a male." In
the Greek, there are two words used to designate man -
anthropos, a human being - from which we derive the English
word, anthropology, the study of man. The second is - aner,
a male person of full age in contrast to a child, or a husband. Then there
is this adjective - arsen
- which emphasizes the male sex. Jesus did not come into humanity as a
eunuch, bereft of the forces which drive men, but was in all points tempted
even as we, yet He sinned not.
His victory over the Devil and Satan is hailed by a loud
voice proclaiming - "Now is come salvation and strength, and the
kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ (Messiah)." (v. 10)
The word, "power" is
exousia, authority. With the victory of Jesus, the dominion
lost by Adam is returned to the new head of humanity, the Second Adam.
No longer could the Devil accuse mankind before the Throne of God, for
"caught up unto God, and to His throne" (v. 5), was One who
was to ever live to make intercession for us. (Heb. 7:25)
After noting the salvation and strength provided in the
redemption accomplished by Michael in His warfare with the dragon, a three-fold
agenda is given for victory over the dragon by each child of humanity.
1) "They overcame him by
the blood of the Lamb." The only provision for our sins, is the sacrifice
of Calvary. The wages of sin is death, but on the Cross, Jesus Christ
tasted death for every one who would believe on Him. (Heb. 2:9) Through
this sacrifice has been opened to us "a new and living way"
into the holiest to the very "throne of grace, that we may obtain
mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 10:19; 4:16)
2) "And by the word of their
testimony." This reads in the Greek - dia
ton logon tes marturias auton - "on account of the word
of the witness of them." While we cannot contribute to the salvation
and strength provided in "the blood of the Lamb," we can bear
witness in our lives to the power of the Word, and testify with our mouths
to the Truth revealed by that Word when made flesh, "full of grace
and truth." (John 1:14) These are the only "works" for
which reward will be given. We need to pray with Paul - "that I may
open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel," that
"I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." (Eph. 6:19-20)
3) "They loved not their
lives unto death." There is a price to pay for speaking forthrightly
the truth. He who was "the Truth" (John 14:6) paid that price,
and He said to all who would follow Him - "As my Father hath sent
Me, even so send I you." (John 20:21) It is at this point, that for
too many, the victory is lost. We are not willing to accept the cost imposed
by truth. It may not be a physical death that we will be asked to endure.
Once inflicted it is over; but professional assassination brings with
it a death in life, and when confronted with this prospect men buckle.
The agony of Calvary, in which Christ experienced the "second death,"
will never be known by the redeemed, but the death in life experienced
by the Son of man when "He came unto His own, and His own received
Him not" (John 1:11), will be the experience of those who follow
the Lamb withersoever He goeth.
the books of Daniel and Revelation
thing will certainly be understood from the study of Revelation, -- that
the connection between God
p 5 -- OUR
CHRISTIAN HERITAGE -- During the preparation
of this issue of WWN, two streams of thought converged, opening
some deeper insights into truth. We were studying the book of Romans in
our Sabbath School fellowship. We wanted to review Paul's teachings in
the light of the controversy engendered over some interpretations given
in the book, Beyond Belief. Then there is always the crucial issue
as to whom the "man" in Romans 7 is. Having made our way past
the theology of justification by faith as presented by Paul in the first
eight chapters of Romans, we entered into a careful analysis of what has
been termed the Jewish question - "And so all Israel shall be saved."
The key verses are: "For
if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy,
so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou,
being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest
of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches.
But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee."
Just what are our Christian roots?
The second stream of thought which converged into this
picture of our Christian heritage resulted from a review of what Dr.
Mervyn Maxwell had written in his book,
God Cares, Vol. I. Speaking of the Roman Catholic Church
"which rose to religiopolitical prominence as the Roman Empire declined,"
being the fulfillment of the "little horn" of Daniel 7, Maxwell
the Roman Catholic Church was vitrually the Christian church in
Western Europe for about a thousand years. Because of this early universality,
both Protestants and Catholics may regard it as the embodiment of 'our'
Christian heritage, for better or for worse." (p. 127; emphasis
In considering the "Christian heritage" - "roots"
in Romans 11 - observe what Paul writes in answer to his question - "What
advantage then hath the Jew?" - "Much in every way: chiefly
because unto them were committed the oracles of God." (Rom. 3:1-2)
He further defines these "oracles of God" as he introduces the
section in Romans on "the Jewish question." He writes - "Who
are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the
covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service, and the promises."
(9:4) This then is "the holy root" into which the "wild
olive" branches were grafted.
God has also revealed the "root" of the Roman
Catholic Church. In Daniel 7, in symbolic sequence, the prophecy identifies
the "little horn" as the Papacy, and places it as growing out
of the nondescript beast, or Pagan Rome. (verse 8) From this beast it
receives its nourishment, and is never removed nor separated from it,
but continues with it until "given to the burning flame." (verse
11) If as the "new theology" of Maxwell contends that "our
Christian heritage, for better or for worse" is via the Roman Catholic
Church, then the "root"
This simple fact of "heritage" finds its primary
illustration in the Sabbath-Sunday controversy. The origin of Sunday observance
is paganism. "The [Roman Catholic] 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; and so it stands to this day. She took the pagan Sunday and made
it the Christian Sunday." (The Catholic World, March, 1894,
The Sabbath made for man, blessed and sanctified by God,
was given to Israel as a part of the sacred trust. The prophet Ezekiel
stated to "the elders of Israel" the words of the Lord God -
"I gave them My sabbaths to be a sign between Me and
them." (20:12) Our heritage of the Sabbath comes to us through Judaism.
While the enemy of truth seeks to stigmatize the Sabbath, as "Jewish,"
nevertheless in the "calling and election" of God, He gave to
Israel the memorial of His creation, to be a sign of His redemptive, sanctifying
This is not all of the "hertiage." To Israel
was given "the service" (he
latreia), the sanctuary ritual performed by the priests as
a shadow and example of the heavenly ministry of Jesus Christ. (Rom. 9:4;
Heb. 8:5) One of the basic conflicts in the Community of Adventism today
is the attempt of the enemy to cause the church to mute, or to deny the
relevancy of the sanctuary teaching. He has well nigh succeeded. The reason
for the enemy's success lies squarely at our door. We are not able to
cope with the time span between the fulfillment of Daniel 8:14 in 1844,
and where we are now one hundred and fifty years from that event. So we
have gone about building "the tombs of the prophets and garnish[ing]
the sepulchres of the righteous" in
p 6 -- the adulation of William Miller, while at
the same time minimizing or discarding the answer the remnant of "the
seventh-month movement" discovered in their disappointment. We are
unwilling to take a careful look as the reasonings used to arrive at certain
conclusions drawn by these pioneers and ask a forthright question - Do
they conform to the type "service" given in trust to Israel?
If they do not, then what changes need to be made in our theological perceptions
of "the cleansing of the sanctuary"? You do not throw the baby
out with the dirty bath water. Is it because we are holding as sacrosanct
certain positions, that we cannot arrive at truth? Will this then lead
to a change in what we accept as our "heritage"? Remember Jesus
warned that "every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted,
shall be rooted up." (Matt. 15:13)
Jesus in conversing with the woman of Samaria stated plainly
that "salvation is of the Jews." (John 4:22) In His day, they
had departerd far from their "roots." He attempted to alter
their "growth pattern" and two times in a symbolic gesture cleansed
the temple. But the end came; the "natural branches" were cut
off, and "wild olive" shoots were grafted in. However, note
carefully, they were grafted into the original "holy stock."
(Rom. 11:17) Further, we are warned, "if God spared not the natural
branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee." (Rom. 11:21)
LYING WONDERS --
It is sad indeed when one must take space and time to comment
on the "lying wonders" of Vance Ferrell. I had intended to ignore
his hearsay and comments in past issues of Waymarks (WM); however,
letters and telephone calls confirmed that something more was required
than letters addressed directly to Ferrell himself. Something needed to
be stated in WWN.
In WM #577, he named this editor as one who believed "that there is no Holy Spirit." When my attention was called to this comment, I made a copy of the column, and wrote three words on the page and sent it to Ferrell. The three words were - "Document or Retract!" To this, he replied with a loaded statement for me to sign, but introduced his letter with this sentence - "I have received your request, but am puzzled by it. For over a decade and a half, I have been told by others that you do not believe that the Holy Spirit exists as a distinct Personage the Third Person of the Godhead." (Letter dated January 8, 1995) To this, I responded on January 12: "Inasmuch as you admit in your letter that your information is based on hearsay, as are many of your pronouncements and accusations, may I sugguest that you go to your 'hearsayers' and let them produce the basis of their gossip."
The response to this letter came in Ferrell's "Checkpoints"
#143, dated February 1, 1995 in which he claimed that "as of the
date of this writing, we have received no reply."
While the issue of the Holy Spirit was generating letters
and telephone calls to this desk, my attention was called to another accusation
made in WM #563. I again asked for documentation but have received
no response as of the date of this writing (March 2, 1995). But in a letter,
dated February 20, 1995, I wrote pointedly to Ferrell: "If
you believe that one makes a statement with which you take issue, why
don't you ask person concerned, or give his statements iii direct quotes
in context, rather than go to your 'hearsayers' (soothsayers?). There
are various forms of 'spiritism.' They all have a common source. Whether
the seance, the ouija board, or the gossip-monger, all come from the same
'spirit' source. Since most of your data in publication is based on hearsay,
what does that make your publication?"
p 7 -- LET'S
TALK IT OVER -- During the preparation for a Sabbath
School discussion of Romans 8, I took careful note of verse 14 - "For
as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
In checking the Greek text, I found that the verb - "are led"
(agontai) - is
in the passive voice, in other words, they are being acted upon by the
Spirit. An interesting contrast to this is found in the illustration Jesus
used in John 10:3 of the shepherd and the sheep. The shepherd "leadeth
them out" - active voice.
Christ the Good Shepherd set the course. He indicated
clearly that "if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross, and follow Me." (Matt. 15:24) This we cannot
do unless we are acted upon by the Holy Spirit. Changing the figure of
speech to conform to the bumper sticker - "God is my Co-Pilot"
- we are happy to have God with us in case we get into a dangerous storm
in the flight of life, but we hestitate to let Him be the Pilot. But only
those acted upon by the Spirit of God - passively resigned to the Spirit's
leading - will ever be "sons of God."
As we reflect on our past life - if we dare to honestly
do so - every mistake, every sin, every wrong course taken - can be chalked
up against the one fact that we sought to lead ourselves. With Jeremiah,
we must confess - "0 Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself:
it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (10:23) "We
cannot retain our own self and be filled with the fullness of God. We
must be emptied of self. If heaven is gained by us at last, it will be
only through the renuciation of self and in receiving the mind, the spirit,
and the will of Jesus Christ." (IHP, p. 155)
"The Christian life is a battle and a march. But
the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The field of conflict
is the domain of the heart. The battle which we have to fight - the greatest
battle that was ever fought by man - is the surrender of self to the will
of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love. The old
nature, born of blood and the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom
of God. The hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up."
(M of B, p. 203, 1943 ed.)
"Except a man be born out of the water and out of
the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5,
literal) He must be led - acted upon - by the Spirit.
We sing hymns, and sometimes they become merely words
we utter to music. May I suggest that you take time, time that will not
be interupted, and open the "old" Church Hymnal to Number
272, and carefully, prayerfully read the words. Then do likewise with
Number 279. End your meditative reading with Number 212. Life can be different.
News Note: On February 22, 1995, a Defamation of Character, Breach of Contract, and Wrongful Discharge from Employment Complaint was filed in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Maryland, by David D. Dennis, dismissed Director of Internal Audit for the GC against Folkenberg, McClure, Mittleider, Carson, and the General Conference. The allegations are mind-boggling. ---(1995 May) ---End---- TOP
-- XXVIII -- 6(95) -- EXEGESIS
OF REVELATION -- THE BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHET -- Part
2 -- In
the Twelfth Chapter of Revelation, John heard a "Woe" pronounced
on "the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea." In the Thirteeenth
Chapter, two "beasts" are seen, one rising "up out of the
sea," and the other "coming up out of the earth." (vs.
1, 11) These two beasts are related in the text to the dragon. One receives
"his power, and his seat, and great authority" directly from
the dragon (v. 2). The other, "spake as a dragon" and exercised
"all the authority of the first beast," which authority had
been given it by the dragon. (vs. 11-12).
The commonality between the first beast and the dragon is further heightened in the imagery. Both have seven heads and ten horns (12:3; 13:1) However, there is a movement of one item in the symbols; the crowns are placed on the "horns" of the first beast, rather than remaining on the "heads." It must also be kept in mind that the book of Revelation presents a third beast with seven heads and ten horns. (17:3) No crowns are seen on this symbolism either on the "heads" or the "horns."
What is this telling us? If a "crown"
is symbolic of reigning, then the "dragon" is portrayed as functioning
through its seven heads from the time of the first gospel promise to the
time of, and including the war with the "remnant of her seed."
The first beast of Revelation 13, would then be operating at the time
of the reigning of "the ten horns."
To further identify this beast, the description
is closely associated with the vision given to Daniel (Chapt. 7). The
lion, the bear, and the leopard are followed by a nondescript beast. In
Revelation 13, the nondescript beast is a composite, "like unto a
leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the
mouth of a lion" (v. 2). This is the exact order as found in Daniel
7, only reversed. In the vision to Daniel, he saw that the dominion of
the three beasts was "taken away: yet their lives were prolonged
for a season and time." (7:12). The symbolic representation in Revelation
13, tells us that the lives of the three beasts of Daniel 7 lived on in
the first beast.
p 2 -- We must next turn our attention
to the seven heads. What do they represent? The span of Revelation 12
covers the time from the first gospel promise made in Eden till the war
against the "remnant of her seed." Genesis gives the beginning
of the first nation or peoples through whom this promised "seed"
would be realized. (Gen. 12:3; 21:12) They were to go into bondage. (Gen.
15:13-15) This defiant power - Egypt - was the first power to seek to
"devour" the people of God. Pharaoh was the "son of Ra,"
one of the sun gods of Egypt. The symbolisms of Egypt used to represent
their sun gods, as noted in the previous study of Revelation 12, was the
"serpent of fire" around a sun disc. (See WWN - 5(95),
From the first attempt to destroy the
people of God through whom the Promised Seed would come, there were five
powers to John's day - Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Grecia.
The power of John's day was Rome, another was yet to come. (Rev. 17:10)
At this point, we need to determine how we are to understand prophecy.
Do we place the count, "five are fallen, one is, and the other is
not yet come," as beginning in our day, or do we understand it to
be in the time frame of John to whom the statement was made?
There is another problem however, the
seventh head was "to continue a short space." If the sixth head
is pagan Rome, and the seventh, papal Rome, we have the seventh head continuing
for a longer period than any of the previous six heads which the wording
of the definitive statement will not permit.
The book of Daniel in the visions as recorded
in Chapters 7 & 8, present both pagan and papal Rome as one continuous
power. The "little horn" of Daniel 7, ever remains in and is
nourished by the nondescript beast (7:8). Further this beast is pictured
as continuing "till ... slain, and his body destroyed, and given
to the burning flame." (7:11) The problem then is to interrelate
all of this data to the first beast of Revelation 13, for it is this beast
along with the second which are consigned to "the burning flame"
There is another textual relating between
symbols which must be considered. The first beast of Revelation 13 is
"to act, or work" (Gr.- poiesai)
his will "forty and two months." (13:5) The only other place
where this same time period of prophecy is indicated is Chapter 11:2.
There the "holy city" is to be "tread under foot forty
and two months."
The next verse (11:3) speaks of the "two
witnesses" prophesying in sackcloth 1260 days. As noted in exegeting
Chapter 12, this time period is identical in terminology with the time
period that the woman was to be in the wilderness. It can be shown that
all of these time periods - Daniel 7:25, Revelation 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14;
and 13:5 - are equal and apply to the same period. Why then this differentiation?
Is it for interpretive purposes so that we can put together the various
symbolisms? Is it saying that the first beast of Revelaiton 13 is the
power involved with the work described in Rev. 11:2; and the woman of
Revelation 12 has a connection with "the two witnesses"? If
this be so, then there is some "knittng" back and forth between
the last section of Revelation and Chapter 11, which must be considered.
Before pursuing further the "beasts"
of Revelation 13, let us ask ourselves, what is Rev. 11:2 saying? The
verse is couched in symbolism. The "court" of the temple was
the place of the Altar of Burnt Offering. Here the sacrifices which were
symbolic of the one great Sacrifice for sin, were offered. That Sacrifice
was offered on earth. The ministry of the sanctuary typified a Heavenly
ministration. How do we understand then, the symbolism of "the holy
city"? It cannot be the Holy City which comes down at the close of
the Millennium, for the "holy city" noted in Rev. 11:2 is already
on earth. However, in the chapters which follow, the Harlot is described
not only as a woman, but also a city. (Rev. 17:18) Is the symbol of the
"holy city" in Rev. 11:2 then to be equated with the "woman"
of Rev. 12? All of this places the time frame for the first beast of Revelation
as the instrument through which the dragon sought to destroy the woman
who fled into the wilderness.
The section of the prophecy of Revelation 13 which describes the first beast, can be divided in two parts: 1) A symbolic description of the beast itself and a brief overview of its history (vs. 1-4); and 2) What it was to do in the time period allotted (vs. 5-7). A question arises at this point, do we consider the verses as consecutive, thus placing the 42 months after the healing of the "deadly wound," or is one section a prophetic amplification of the other? What is interesting is the parallel between the 42 months, if understood literally, and the 3 1/2 days of Rev. 11:9, if considered prophetically. Both would equal exactly 3 1/2 years. However, the connection between the "first beast" and Revelation 11 is with "the holy city," while "the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit" is connected with the 3 1/2 days (11:7-9; See also 17:8). It is
p 3 -- evident that much more study
and prayer needs to be given to Revelation before hard and fast interpretations
As the description and comment on the
first beast is concluded, there is found a clause that will be repeated
several times in the ensuing revelation - them "that dwell on the
earth." (13:8, 12, 14-2x; 14:6; 17:2) Since the warning in Chapter
12, was to the "inhabiters" (v. 12) of the earth, and since
the second beast comes "up out of the earth" (13:11), is this
phraseology to be restricted to the area prophetically designated the
earth? Or is to be given the concept which we give to earth - the whole
planet? The answer to this question will even effect the understanding
of Revelation 14:6.
Should the text read as in the KJV - "unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." Or, should the conjunctive, kai, be given its alternate meaning with the text reading, "unto them that dwell on the earth, also to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." In other words, was "the everlasting gospel" to be first proclaimed to the dwellers of the prophetic "earth" and then to every nation worldwide. This is historically what happened. Does this fact, therefore, help us to read aright as prophetic language - "them that dwell on the earth."
In the Greek New Testament text of the
United Bible Societies different Greek words are used in the various verses
in Revelation 12, 13, 14, and 17 for the word, "dwell" in the
clause, "that dwell on the earth." Only in Chapter 13, is the
Greek word the same for "dwell" in verses 8 and 14. However,
in the Received Text (Textus Receptus), the same word for "dwell"
used consistently in Rev. 12:12; 13:8, 14; 14:6; and 17:2. If this is
then to be interpreted prophetically, it adds a different dimmension to
the undertstanding of where the final events will be focused. Those "that
dwell on the earth" will "worship him (the beast)" (13:8).
They will be deceived into making an image to the beast (13:14). They
will become intoxicated with the wine of the harlot (17:2).
It would also appear when the "whole"
earth is meant rather than its use as a prophetic symbol, the word, "dwell"
is not used, but rather holos, meaning entire, is associated with
the word, "earth." See 13:3.
In the connecting verses between the two
"beasts" of Revelation 13, there is both warning and admonition.
"All that dwell on the earth shall worship the first beast"
with but one exception, those whose names are "written in the book
of life of the Lamb" do not do so (13:8). Recognizing that the first
beast represents the Papacy, then one criterion which determines where
our names are placed is our attitude toward Roman Catholicism.
This includes much more than mere Sunday observance. The doctrine of the
Trinity - basic in Romanism, the Eucharist, and other issues enter the
picture. Little wonder then that the admonition follows - "If any
man have an ear, let him hear." (13:9)
In Rev. 13:10 an unique comment is made
- "Here is the patience and faith of the saints." It is found
again in Revelation 14:12, and only in these two texts in Revelation.
Do these serve as "brackets" for the revelation that is given
between? If so, then this call to observe the steadfastness of "the
saints" is associated with the activities of the second beast of
chapter 13 and the giving of the Three Angels' Messages.
The second beast came "up out of
the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon."
(13:11) Two things of importance need to be noted. The prophetic symbolism
does not connect this beast with the other beasts - there is no common
denominator, the multiple heads or horns which mark the other beast symbols
are missing. Only two horns are noted. No prophetic, or literal time factors
are associated with this second beast. He doesn't speak as "the
dragon," but simply "as a dragon."" His two
horns are like the horns of a lamb." The symbolism combines the two
representations which in Chapter 12 are pictured as in deadly conflict,
the dragon and the Lamb.
This beast "exerciseth all the power
(authority - exousia)
of the first beast." Is this saying that its authority is derived
from the same source as the first beast, or is it stating that its controlling
influence is as extensive as was that of the first beast, or both? The
evident time of prophetic emphasis for the second beast is after the deadly
wound of the first beast "was healed." (v. 12) Is it then, that
we are to consider the exercise of, and source for its authority? If so,
the activities of this beast, as described in Chapter 13, would not find
fulfillment until after 1929, when the deadly wound began to be
healed. But when was it "healed"?
One of the wonders which this beast performs
is to make "fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight
of men." (v. 13) This beast is defined as "the false prophet."
(19:20) The allusion to fire coming down from heaven, being done by a
prophet, calls to mind, Elijah who is
p 4 -- to come before "the
great and dreadful day of the Lord." (Mal. 4:5) This is telling us
two things: 1) In the final
confrontation, there will be a reversal of evidence. The false and deceptive
will produce what will appear to be genuine evidence of Divine manifestation.
And 2) This second beast is
a religious power seeking to fulfill the role of Elijah.
In determining the identify of this "beast
power," we have given it two identifications, the United States and
Apostate Protestantism. In the transitional verses from the first beast
to the second, is found the dictum - "He that leadeth into captivity
shall go into captivity." This is interpreted as having been fulfilled
in taking the Pope captive, and by declaring the government of the Papacy
at an end in 1798, thus concluding the 1260 prophetic days. It was at
this time, as the Papacy ceased its domination over "the kings of
the earth," that the United States came into existence as a nation
- "coming up out of the earth." However, to so interpret, excludes
the identification as Protestantism, because Protestantism arose in the
area prophetically identified as "the sea," and over two hundreds
years before the downfall of the Pope. We can respond that it is Apostate
Protestantism that is being identified since the symbol is termed,
"the false prophet." If this be so, then one must ask,
"When did Protestantism become apostate?" To this, we have responded
that this state resulted from the rejection of the First Angel's Message.
And textually the First Angel's Message is placed in the setting of this
prophetic revelation to John, with the Second Angel proclaiming the fall
of Babylon, of which the "false prophet" is one part. (Rev.
In recognizing this "beast"
as a religious power we must also recognize two other factors of prophecy.
1) As noted above, the prophetic emphasis in Revelation
13 is on the activities of the "false prophet" after
the "deadly wound was healed." This extends the time element
for the main thrust of "apostate" Protestantism well over 100
years from the above date (1844) set for its inception. 2)
This religious force causes the "image" to be formed. (13:14)
The "image" to the first beast would be religio-political even
as the Papacy was and is. It must also be understood, that this "religious"
power says to those "that dwell on the earth, that they should
make an image to the beast." This clearly indicates that the political
power through which the "image" will be formed is democratic,
the electorate is asked to grant the authority. But the "life"
of this image is given to it by the "false prophet." (13:15)
Penalties for failure to come into line
are twofold: 1) The "false
prophet" initiates economic sanctions (13:16-17).
2) The created "image" of the union of
church and state - issues the death decree (13:15).
The final verse of Revelation 13 - verse
18 - demands careful exegesis. It can be noted as both a literal fact,
and it can convey spiritual import. Use of this verse has been made by
Adventist evangelists by identifying the Pope with title - VICARIVS FILI
DEI - which in the Latin equals - 666. A publication recently came to
this desk which claimed that this title "has long been a forgery
of Adventist publishing and is thoroughly fraudulent." Documentation
was given for this charge from a work by Gilbert M. Valentine, The
Shaping of Adventism, published by Andrews University. Evidently someone
has not done their homework, and this would include George R. Knight,
who chaired Valentine's original research. It is the Catholic Church itself
which admits that "the title of the Pope of Rome is Vicarious
Fili Dei. This is inscribed on his mitre; and if you take the
letters of his title which represent Latin numerals (printed large) and
add them together they come to 666."
A spiritual truth is also hidden in this
number and "wisdom." The Greek text reads - "For a number
of man, it is" - no article, and the word for man is anthropos.
Six is one shy of seven, which is a Biblical perfect number, but it is
a combination of three sixes, three being another perfect number. Thus
the number 666 could be interpreted as perfected imperfection. This even
carries overtones of "six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work."
Man in the worship of the works of his hands - Cain worship - and self
glorification, cannot "Fear God and give glory to Him ... and worship
Him who made ..." providing for man, the seventh day of rest, which
is the essence of the First Angel's Message. (14:6-7) The Third Angel's
Message also addresses this issue. "If any man worship the beast,"
but the "beast" is man in the height of his imperfection and
rebellion against God.
This full picture justifies Thayer's definition of "the Wicked" one, "the man of sin," as "he in whom all inquity has as it were fixed its abode" (II Thess. 2:8.) (See Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 48, art. anomos) This is the one which the "false prophet" leads those who dwell on the earth to worship.
In contrast to this, comes the next vision given to John. (To Be Continued)
p 5 -- FOLLOW-UP
REPORT -- In
February of this year, we released a Special Report on "Adventist
and Catholics Together." As soon as the Report reached the field,
the response began coming in. The first told of another such alliance.
A brother in California faxed a report from the Pacific Union Recorder
(March 6, 1995, p. 9) giving News from the various affilliates of the
"Castle Medical Center," news item read, "has
joined forces with four healthcare organizations to form an integrated
delivery network for Oahu residents." In the planning stage, the
four hospitals - St. Francis, St. Francis-West, Kuakini, and Castle Medical
Centers - drafted a "Vision for Collaboration" which "lists
a number of advantages for developing an integrated network" to serve
the hospital's primary market, Windward Oahu (Hawaii). The interesting
coincidence between this Hawaiian "collaboration" and the Rocky
Mountain Adventist Healthcare's "Strategic Alliance" is that
the President of the Rocky Mountain Conference, Charles Sandefur came
to Colorado from Hawaii where he had served as president.
Within twenty-four hours another fax was received from
concerned Adventists in Nebraska telling of still another "cozy togetherness."
See page 6 where we have reproduced the fax as received. Note carefully
that the basic Catholic Health organization - Sisters of Charity Health
Care Systems - is the same organization behind Provenant Health Partners,
with whom the Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare signed the "Letter
of Intent" as given in the Special Report. It should be observed
that the Colorado "Togetherness" and the Grand Island incident
are both in the Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
presided over by Elder Joel Tompkins. This may account for some of his
lack of positive response to concerned Adventists who have approached
him in these matters. The question is how far has this "togetherness"
gone in the Mid-America Union, and why is it being permitted? Regardless
of Goldsteins's publicity stunt of a $1,000 offer for proof of Jesuit
infiltration into the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the nagging question
still remains, how deep have the inroads by Rome been made?
Do not forget that this approach to Rome began openly with B. B. Beach placing a symbol of the Church into the hands of Pope Paul VI. Read the documentation in Steps to Rome.
p 7 -- THE
POPE SPEAKS - Part
1 -- On
November 10, 1994, Pope John Paul II issued an Apostolic letter - "Tertio
Millennio Adventiente" - in which he outlined the preparation the
Roman Catholic Church has been and is making for the coming Third Millennium,
calling for the year 2000 to be a year of jubilee. In so doing, he focused
on "time" which he declared that in the Incarnation had become
a "dimension of God." He perceives that in "time"
the world was created, and the history of salvation unfolded "finding
its culmination in the fullness of time of the incarnation and the glorious
return of the Son of God at the end of time." He states that "with
the coming of Christ there begin (sic) 'the last days', the 'last hour,'
and the time of the Church, which will last until the parousia."
"From this relationship of God with
time, there arises the duty to sanctify time." John Paul II writes
that this was done under the "old covenant" in the setting aside
of feast days and weeks for religious devotion during each ceremonial
year. This he suggests has been done by the Roman Church in its liturgical
year "which in a certain way reproduces the whole mystery of the
incarnation and redemption, beginning from the first Sunday of Advent
and ending on the solemnity of Christ the King, Lord of the universe and
Lord of history." Then he makes his only reference to Sunday in this
lengthy letter by stating - "Every Sunday commemorates the day of
the Lord's resurrection."
Perceiving that in the beginning of the Christian
era, the Church was one church, he indicates:
"Among the most fervent petitions which the [Roman]
Church makes to the Lord during this important time, as the eve of the
new millenium approaches, is that unity among all Christians of
the various confessions will increase until they reach full communion."
The pope believes that this goal could be furthered if
"ecumenical agreements could be reached with regard to the preparation
and celebration of the jubilee" in year 2000. "In this way,"
he writes, "the jubilee will bear witness even more forcefully before
the world that the disciples of Christ are fully resolved to reach full
unity as soon as possible." (Emphasis mine)
The Pope considers the year 2000, to be the year of the
Great Jubilee. He says that the Roman Church was preparing for this jubilee
in the deliberations and actions of Vatican II. He writes that "in
the Church's history every jubilee is prepared for by divine providence."
From "this point of view" he affirmed "the Second Vatican
Council was a providential event whereby the [Roman] Church began the
more immediate preparation for the jubilee of the second millenium."
This section of the Pope's Apostolic Letter needs to be carefully reviewed. John Paul considers Vatican II to be "the beginning of a new era in the life of the [Roman] Church." He also indicates that while this is so, "the Council drew much from the experiences and reflections of the immediate past, especially from the intellectual legacy left by Pius XII" (1939-1958). This "legacy" he does not define. Pius XII was followed by John XXIII who called the Council. The letter then lists the popes of the Council and post-Counciliar period stating - "What these popes have accomplished during and since the Council, in their magisterium no less than in their pastoral activity, has certainly made a significant contribution to the preparation of that new springtime of Christian life which will be revealed by the Great Jubilee, if Christians are docile to the action of the Holy Spirit."
This last comment on being "docile" is in reference
to the emphasis at the beginning of his letter on the Incarnation. He
noted that Mary was "docile" to the word of the Lord, or the
incarnation would not have occurred through her. This emphasis concerning
Mary is threaded through the entire letter, and reaches its climax in
the final paragraph where he writes - "I entrust this responsibility
of the whole [Roman] Church [in the preparation for this Great Jubilee]
to the maternal intercession of Mary, mother of the Redeemer. She, the
mother of fairest love, will be for Christians on the way to the Great
Jubilee of the third millennium the star which safely guides their steps
to the Lord."
In listing the actions of Vatican II which have contributed
to the preparation for the Great Jubilee, John Paul II wrote:
1) "The [Roman] Church ...
discovered anew the depth of her mystery as the body and bride of Christ."
Here is the "honey" which has lulled the whole world into thinking that Roman Catholicism is now "sweetness and light." It was at the Vatican Council that the Adventist Church hierarchy began lessening the distance between itself and the Papacy. There is much more that needs to be explored in this letter of Pope John Paul II. --- (1995 Jun) ---End----