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1995 Jul -- XXVIII -- 7(95) -- EXEGESIS OF REVELATION -- THE 144,000 AND THE THREE ANGELS -- Part 3 -- The first vision given to John after he was told, "Here is wisdom," is a climax to a series of revelations given in the previous chapters. He was told that "all that dwell on the earth shall worship" the first beast, except those whose names are in "the book of life of the Lamb." (13:8) It was also stated that those who would "not worship the image of the beast should be killed." (13:15) In Chapter 12, it was declared that those who overcome "the dragon" do so "by the blood of the Lamb," and these "loved not their lives unto death." (12:11) Now John sees a company with the Lamb on mount Sion, 144,000. This number stands in direct contrast to the "all" who worship, the dragon, beast, and image. (13:4, 15) These are commandment keepers; they have no other gods before Jehovah Elohim. (Ex. 20:2-3) Further, they do not bow down to, nor serve any "image." (Ex. 20:4-5) God honors them for their fidelity in the midst of universal apostasy by placing His name in their foreheads.

The 144,000 on mount Sion, the remnant of the seed the of the woman who face the death decree in the warfare with the dragon, are also revealed in the first section of the book. (Chapter 7) There these victors are portrayed as having "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (v. 14) The picture is heightened by further comparison. The 144,000 receive "His Father's name." These "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth." (14:4) The high point of this last section of Revelation before the Millennial reign is that "the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready." She is clothed in"fine linen, clean and white," a righteousness obtained by the blood of the Lamb. There is another "knitting" back into the first section. The victors of "Laodicea" sit with "the True Witness" (Gr. ho martus) on His throne. (3:21) They refuse to worship the dragon, beast and image - they keep the commandments - and they have the "witness" (Gr. marturian) of Jesus Christ. They are the "remnant" of the woman's seed, the "Queen" - the wife of the Lamb accepting only "His Father's name."

The 144,000 with the Father's name in their foreheads

p 2 -- -"the seal of God" (Rev. 7:3) - are in contrast to the "all" who worship the beast and receive "a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads." (13:16) With the emphasis on "the blood of the Lamb" as the means of victory, the 144,000 have nothing in their hands to bring, simply to the Lamb they cling. Those who trust in the merits of their own works - Cain worship - receive a mark in their right hand.

John next heard a Duo singing "a new song" in which the 144,000 unite their voices. These voices are accompanied "by harpers harping on their harps." (14:2-3) "The voice of many waters" is the voice of "the Son of man." (1:15) The voice "of a great thunder" is God Himself. Zephaniah seeing "the remnant of Israel" who do no iniquity, neither is a "deceitful tongue found in their mouth," foretells that the Lord God "will joy over (them) with singing." (3:13, 17) [See John 12:28-29, and note the phrase, "lightnings and thunderings and voices" associated with descriptions of the Throne of God in Revelation 4:5; 16:17-18.] An interesting question for consideration is why and what is the "new song" which only God, the Lamb and the 144,000 will sing together.

The 144,000 are indicated as having been "redeemed from among men." (14:4) James White made an insightful observation on this point. He wrote:        "Not out of their graves; no, no, - 'from among men.' They must, therefore, be the living saints who are changed to immortality at the coming of the Lord." (R&H, May 9, 1854, p. 124; emphasis his)       These are declared to be "the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb." Here again is the Divine Duo with a stated relationship of the 144,000 to Them. This entwining picture should be carefully considered:

1)    The 144,000 are with the Lamb on mount Sion with God's name in their foreheads.
2)    The Lamb and God sing a "new song" in which only the 144,000 can unite their voices.
3)    The 144,000 become "first fruits" to God and the Lamb.

If James White's observation first penned in 1850 is correct, and we believe it is, this relationship between the 144,000 and the Divine Duo is further heightened by the fact that those who are translated without seeing death put on "immortality" in contrast to the "incorruption" of the resurrected saints. (I Cor. 15:51-54) The word translated, "immortality" (athanasia) is used only three times in the New Testament, twice in I Corinthians 15:53-54, and once in I Tim. 6:l6. Here in these related verses is a clear suggestion that the 144,000 will share in an attribute of God as did the exalted Jesus who had laid aside this perogative to accomplish redemption. This resurrected Christ is also called, "the first fruits." (I Cor. 15:23)

There is an interpretation read into these verses which designates the 144,000 as the instruments by which God brings together the "great multitude" of Revelation 7:9. Inasmuch as the 144,000 are discussed in both Revelation 7, and 14, we need to pause and consider the two prophetic pictures together. In Revelation 7, the question is asked, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?" (v. 13 NKJV) There is no question but that the great multitude are arrayed in white robes. The text so states. (7:9) It also declares that the "multitude" come from "all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues."

Applying the same question asked by "one of the elders" in Chapter 7 to Revelation 14 in regard to the 144,000, the answer is - they result from the Three Angels' Mesages, which are likewise given not only to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people" (14:6) but also to them "that dwell on the earth." The 144,000 are not only "redeemed from among men," but also are "redeemed from the earth." (14:3) Here a judgment call must be made once again. Are we to interpret "earth" as the symbolic "earth" of the continuous prophecy of Revelation 12 & 13, or do we interpret the word as applied to the planet as a whole?

From the picture in Revelation 14, must be added the descriptive concept of the 144,000 - "in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." (v. 5) In other words, "they keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." (v. 12) Compare Rev. 14:5 with I Peter 2:22, and consider the basic revelation of Chapter 12 - the "Seed" of the Woman, the Man-child, and the "remnant of her seed" which keep the commandments of God, and have the witness of Jesus. (12:17) Where then does the "great multitude" enter the picture? In Rev. 14:13 "a voice from heaven" is heard. The Holy Spirit speaks - "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth." There is a point of time from which those who die in the Lord are called "blessed." The text would suggest that point as the beginning of the Three Angels' Messages.

We next turn our attention to the Three Angels

p 3 -- and their messages. Immediately we face a problem. How are we to identify these angels, as symbols or real angels? We have said that they represent a movement. We have perceived that movement to be the Adventist Movement. However, there are more than three angels in
Revelation 14. Besides the three which "fly in the midst of heaven," there are three other angels: two come "out of the temple," and one "out from the altar." (vs. 15-18) One from the "temple" and the one from the "altar" are involved with "the great winepress of the wrath of God" and "the city." (vs. 19-20) The previous reference where "temple," "altar," and "city" are associated together is Rev. 11:1-2. The references previous to Rev. 11:1, where the "altar" is seen is in Chapters 8 & 9. There it is called, "the golden altar before the throne." (8:3; 9:13)

Our problem is that if we interpret the three angels flying in the midst of heaven as an earthly movement, how can we interpret the last three as literal? If all are symbolic of "movements," what movements do the last three represent? How do we interrelate these angels which come out of the temple with the two temple scenes of Chapter 11:1, 19? Either we say that they mean something different in Revelation 14, or we say that they must be given a consistent identification in each reference where the term is used. Whichever interpretive decision we make, we come face to face with the realization that there are still areas in the book of Revelation that need prayer and study.

A suggestive interpretation of the angels of Revelation 14 might be found in the designation of the sixth angel. He had "authority ("power" - KJV) over the fire." (v. 18 Gr.) In Revelation 16,the angel of the third plague is spoken of as "the angel of the waters." (16:5) Throughout the entire book, angels are given specific responsibilities in carrying out the directives that come from the throne of God. Thus we could say that the first angel of Revelation 14 was given the "authority" to see that the everlasting gospel with its specific emphasis for earth's last hour was implemented. This he did through the Advent Movement. From this viewpoint, the "angels of God" in Revelation are real beings - "ministering spirits" - placed in charge of God's plans and purposes to bring about the full realization of the victory of "His Christ." (12:10)

Considering the messages of the first three angels of Revelation 14, as we seek to let the text speak, we face problems in harmonizing what the text says with what our tradition has read into these verses.

The first angel comes in the midst of heaven "having the everlasting gospel." (14:6) It is age-long (aionion); the same gospel as promised to Eve in the beginning, and realized in the victory of the Man-child. It is to go not only to "them that dwell on the earth," but also to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." It carried a specific message. "The hour of God's judgment is come." "Is come" (elthen) is in the past tense (Gr. aorist). When this angel gives its message, the judgment has commenced. The message of the first angel is not a message telling of something to come, but a proclamation of what has begun - God's judgment hour. Further it is connected with three imperatives:    1)    "Fear God,"    2)    "Give glory to Him," and    3)   "Worship Him who made."

This message could not be given until the Judgment had begun in Heaven no more than the Spirit could come on Pentecost until the enthronement of Christ as High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary. (See Acts 2:33) Thus the first angel began to sound after 1844, not before. It is also a historical fact that the Movement directed by this angel did not see the sanctuary truth of the final atonement of the great High Priest, or the Sabbath truth until after October 22, 1844. Further, since this message is a part of the age-long gospel, it will continue to be proclaimed till the close of all human probation. The other two which follow only join their voices with this first angel.

The second angel proclaims - "Babylon is fallen, is fallen." Again, this is in the past tense (epesen). When this angel sounds, there is an accomplished fact. In fact, the reason for the fall of Babylon - "because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication" - is in the Greek perfect tense (pepotiken), indicating completed action. The message of this angel is that the "nations" to whom "the everlasting gospel" was to be proclaimed, instead of accepting it, chose to drink of Babylon's wine under religious duress.

The third angel joins the other two. However, in John's recording of this message, he places it in the present tense - "If any man is worshiping (proskunei) the beast and his image, and is receiving (lambanei) a mark ...." (14:9) This message, therefore, except in a warning of what will be, cannot be "present truth" until the "mark" is in place, and the proclamation to worship is made. It needs to be kept in mind that the cause to worship this beast is contingent on the fact that "the deadly wound was healed." (13:12)

p 4 -- When we consider the "wisdom" and "under-standing" given to John in the previous chapter (13:18), we discover that the basic element in this warning is against the worship of man for the "beast" is a man! The third angel joins his voice in warning that the rejection of the everlasting gospel's imperatives - "Fear God, and give glory to Him ... and worship Him who made" - and in its place, worshiping man in whatever form that may take, brings "the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture." (14:10)

In the final confrontation when all that dwell on the face of the earth bow in worship to the beast that had a deadly wound and "was healed," there will be a "remnant of Israel" who, as the Three Worthies before them, refuse to bow to the image - they will keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (14:12) It will be a trying ordeal for it will reveal the "endurance" (patience - KJV) of the saints. "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." (Matt. 24:13)

This verse - 14:12 - is interesting in that not only do the "saints" keep the commandments of God, they also keep the faith of Jesus. We hear much about "keeping" the commandments of God, but we hear little, if any thing, about keeping the faith of Jesus. This word, "keep" (tereo) is the same word as used in the blessing pronounced upon those who "keep those things which are written" in the book of Revelation. (1:3; 22:7, 9) John uses this word frequently in both his Gospel and first Epistle. In these books, it is used primarily with keeping the commandments, and the sayings of Jesus.

We might ask, does the keeping of the faith of Jesus mean entering into the experience He entered, in both Gethsemane and Calvary, where unable to see through the darkness, He simply prayed, "Thy will be done. Father into thy hands I commend my spirit." Will the 144,000 who go with the Lamb "withsoever He goeth," have also gone with Him through their Gethsemane and Calvary?

" One thing will certainly be understood from a study of Revelation,
- that the connection between God and His people is close and decided.

(TM, p. 114)

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In the weeks immediately following the release of the Special Report on "Adventists & Catholics Together," we have received continued clippings and letters telling of a similar "togetherness" in other places than Colorado. However, this past week (This is being written April 3) we received documentation of a different kind of togetherness involving Adventists and other religious bodies as well as Roman Catholics.

The first report came from Canada and told of the inauguration of the Outaouais Company into sisterhood of churches in the Quebec Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The report was written by Claude Richli, the Executive Secretary of the Conference who "cut the symbolic ribbon." This was done "in the presence of Pastor Karl Johnson, Father Turcotte of the Catholic diocese of Hull/Gatineau and Pastor Deschampes of the United Church. (Messenger, February 1995, p.11) The article did not state what part the Roman Catholic priest had in the special service. Any part would have been a "part" too much. His presence representative of the Catholic diocese should have been persona non grata. How could the church members, if they were taught the prophetic revelation of the Papacy, been comfortable with a Roman Catholic priest's presence at their acceptance into the sisterhood of Adventist Churches?

The second item received was a newspaper clipping from The Harford (CT) Courant (March 25, 1995) with the caption running across the page - "Jews, Muslims, Christians to unite for interfaith Passover Seder Sunday." The news item read in part:      "More than 200 Jews, Christians and Muslims will participate in an interfaith Passover Seder Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Bloomfield.

"Co-sponsors include the church, Emek Shalom of Farmington, Temple Sinai in Newington, Masjid Muhammad of Hartford, Islamic Center of Bristol, St Monica's Episcopal Church of Hartford, Hope Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bloomfield and Baha'i in the Hartford area." (Emphasis supplied)

Questions arise -    Was this merely an unilateral act on the part of the pastor of the local
Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bloomfield, Connecticut, or was this conference approved?    If unilateral, has there been any conference response?    If conference approved how high up the hierarchical ladder did the approval come from?

Then one final question that covers both incidents - When did we loose the uniqueness which truth brings and why?     (If you wish a copy of the article from the Canadian Union Messenger, and the clipping from The Hartford Courant, send one dollar to the Foundation office - P. O. Box 69, Ozone, AR 78254)

p 5 -- THE POPE SPEAKS -- Part 2 -- In the previous issue of WWN, 6(95), we discussed briefly the encyclical issued by John Paul II outlining the preparation of the Roman Catholic Church for a great Jubilee in the year 2000. He divided the preparation into two phases, the second phase being the three years just preceding 2000. Each of these years will emphasize to a different member of the Trinity.

The year 1997 will "be devoted to reflection on Christ, the Word of God, made man by the power of the Holy Spirit." The Pope suggested that during this year there should develop "a deeper understanding of the mystery of the incarnation and of Jesus' birth from the Virgin Mary." He declares that the "affirmation of the central place of Christ ("as the one saviour of the world") cannot be... separated from the recognition of the role played by his most holy mother." He also calls for a "renewed interest [in] the Bible." This, however, is conditioned by a call for "a detailed study of the Catechism of The Catholic Church" which presents "'faithfully and sytematically... the teaching of sacred Scripture, the living tradition of the Church and the authentic magisterium, as well as the spiritual hertiage of the fathers, doctors and saints of the Church, to allow for a better knowledge of the Christian mystery and for enlivening the faith of the people of God."'

The year 1998 will be dedicated in a particular way to the Holy Spirit " because the incarnation was brought about "by that Spirit - consubstantial with the Father and the Son - who, in the absolute mystery of the triune God, is the person-love, the uncreated gift, who is the eternal source of every gift that comes from God." The one point that will be emphasized is that while the Spirit distributed "different gifts for the welfare of the Church," He subjected to the authority of the apostles "even those who were endowed with charisms." He notes that the Spirit brings hope of the establishment of the kingdom of God. For this reason "Christians are called to prepare for the Great Jubilee of the beginning of the third millenium by renewing their hope in the definite coming of the kingdom of God."

The year 1999 will be devoted to the Father in heaven "fom whom the Lord was sent and to whom he has returned." Emphasizing that "God is love," the Pope interjected the Economic agenda of the Roman Church calling for "reducing substantially, if not canceling outright, the international debt which seriously threatens the future of many nations."

The Pope writes, that "two commitments should characterize in a special way the third preparatory year: meeting the challenge of secularism and the dialogue with the great religions." On the second commitment, John Paul calls for "interreligious dialogue, in accordance with specific guidelines set down by the Second Vatican Council." Then he states:       "In this dialogue the Jews and the Muslims ought to have a pre-eminent place. God grant that as a confirmation of these intentions it may also be possible to hold joint meetings in places of significance for the great monotheisitic religions.

"In this regard, attention is being given to finding ways of arranging historic meetings in places of exceptional symbolic importance like Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Mount Sinai as a means of furthering dialogue with Jews and the followers of Islam, and to arranging similar meetings elsewhere with the leaders of the great world religions."

As John Paul II approaches the conclusion of his encyclical - Tertio Millennio Adveniente - he defines the actual celebration of "the Great Jubilee." It is planned to "take place simultaneously in the Holy Land, in Rome and in the local churches throughout the world." In this phase of celebration "the aim will be to give glory to the Trinity... In this sense the jubilee celebration makes present in an anticipatory way the goal and fulfillment of the life of each Christian and of the whole Church in the triune God." Then there is to be another celebration in conjunction with the Jubilee. The pope describes it thus:       "Since Christ is the only way to the Father, in order to highlight his (sic) living and saving presence in the Church and the world, the International Eucharistic Congress will take place in Rome on the occasion of the Great Jubilee. The year 2000 will be intensely eucharistic: in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the saviour (sic), who took flesh in Mary's womb 20 centuries ago, continues to offer himself (sic) to humanity as the source of divine life."

An ecumenical suggestion is then introduced. The Pope continues:       "The ecumenical and universal character of the

p 6 -- sacred jubilee can be fittingly reflected by a meeting of all Christians. This would be an event of great significance, and so, in order to avoid misunderstanding, it should be properly presented and carefully prepared in an attitude of fraternal cooperation with Christians of other denominations and traditions, as well as of the grateful openness to those religions whose representatives might wish to acknowledge the joy shared by all the disciples of Christ."

The pope summarizes this objective in the concluding section of his encyclical. He notes that "the Church has endured for 2,000 years. Like the mustard seed in the Gospel, she has grown and become a great tree, able to cover the whole of humanity with her branches. The Second Vatican Council, in its Dogmantic Constitution on the Church, thus addresses the question of membership in the Church and the call of all people to belong to the people of God: 'All are called to be a part of this Catholic [Universal] unity of the new people of God... And there belongs to it or are related to it in various ways the [Roman] Catholic faithful as well as all who believe in Christ, and indeed the whole of mankind, which by the grace of God is called to salvation." (Emphasis supplied)

Against this backdrop of the Papal plans for the year 2000, there must be considered how the designs and purposes of the Papacy, are stated elsewhere. From another encyclical - Redemptor Hominis - Malachi Martin summaraizes the Papal objective for the solution of the world's problems - "hunger, violaton of human dignity and human rights, war and violence, economic oppression, political persecution - any and all of these can be solved only by acceptance and implementation of the message of Christ's revelation announced by the papacy and the Roman Catholic Church." (Keys of This Blood, p. 74; emphasis mine)

While this Encyclical - Tertio Millennio Adventiente - emphasizes the Second Vatican Council as the source of a so-called "new look" in the Roman Catholic thinking, this present Pope has also reached back to Leo XIII. In an encyclical - "Centesimus Annus" - issued in 1991, John Paul II marks "the centenary of Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Norvarum. The reaction to this Centennial Encyclical by John Paul II dare not be overlooked, and the thinking of Leo XIII must also be considered as it is up-dated by this present Pope.

The Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Roman Catholic oriented research and publication organization established in 1976, published a book on this papal encyclical - A New Worldly Order. Edited by the president of the Center, George Weigel, this book consists of a series of essays on the pope's pronouncement. The opening paragraph of Weigel's Preface is immeasurably significant. It reads:       "It wasn't supposed to happen like this. One hundred years ago, not even the most fervent Catholic would have predicted that an encyclical by the Bishop of Rome, at the end of the twentieth century, would be front-page news in virtually all the world's major newspapers, the subject of intense scholarly debate among evangelical and liberal Protestants, Jews, and Catholics, and a matter of considerable interest to corporate executives, trade union leaders, and government officials. And yet that is precisely what happened in May 1991 when Pope John Paul II issued the encyclical Centesimus Annus (The Hundredth Year) to mark the century of Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum and to set the future intellectual direction of Catholic social teaching." (p. ix)

No one reading this reaction to a papal encyclical can doubt that the "deadly wound" has been healed. But what about Leo XIII? He was the first pope elected after the loss of temporal power by the Papacy in 1870. His pontificate covered the years from 1878 to 1903. His predecessor, Pius IX, who refused to deal with the Italian government, and who because of the loss of temporal power assumed the role as "prisoner of the Vatican," issued in 1870 the dogma of Papal infallibilty which was confirmed by Vatican Council I. This centralization of power and authority in the Roman Pontiff, was clearly defined by Leo XIII in his Great Encyclical Letters. He wrote - "We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty." (p. 304) "The supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself." (p. 193)

In Leo XIII's, letter, Immoratale Dei, he outlines "the Christian constitution of states" by saying
that "the state" should profess the Catholic religion, and the Roman pontiffs should have "the
power of making laws." He decried the American system of separation of church and state, and
wrote that the Catholic Church "would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority." The basic documentation of Leo XIII's religious and

p 7 -- political philosophy can be found in Facts of Faith, pp. 61-62, 256-261. (This book can still be obtained from the Foundation.)

The book - A New Wordly Order - has a subtitle - "John Paul II and Human Freedom." This
expression, "human freedom" seems to be a substitutionary catch phrase for "religious liberty. " In the discussion of Evangelicals & Catholics Together we noted the use of the expression, "ordered liberty." (WWN, XVIII-4 (95), p.4). Are "ordered liberty" and "human freedom" to be equated? Weigel perceives of
Centesimus Annus as touching "on virtually every aspect of public life at the end of the twentieth century." (p. x) Only as a careful study can be made of what the present pope's implementation of human freedom, and ordered liberty would mean can the full import of the planned Great Jubilee be seen. Weigel writes:

"Cestesimus Annus should be of special interest to Americans. For better or for worse - and usually for both - the United States is the test bed for modernity, and for whatever-it-is that's going to come after modernity. We are the world's only superpower whose moral raison d'etre is freedom. As a nation 'conceived in liberty,' and as the leader of the party of freedom in world politics, the United States ought to pay careful attention to what the most influential leader in the contemporary world has to say about the many dimensions of freedom, and about the intimate relation between freedom and truth: particularly the 'truth about man,' which has been such a prominent theme in the teaching of John Paul II since his election in 1987." (p. 2)

Nagging questions remain - Does the word "truth" used in the papal encyclicals mean "the acceptance and implementation of the message of Christ's revelation announced by the papacy and the Roman Catholic Church" as stated by Malachi Martin rather than the Biblical meaning of the word? Can the concept of "human freedom" as envisioned by John Paul II be equated with the "religious liberty" in which this nation was conceived, or is this "human freedom" a cover phrase for Leo XIII's agenda?

" It would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for state and church to be, as in America, disseverd and divorced. " Leo XIII

" When Christ saw in the Jewish people a nation divorced from God,
He saw also a professed Christian church united to the world
and the Papacy
Kress Collection, p.153

--- (1995Jul) --- End --- TOP

1995 Aug -- XXVIII -- 8(95) -- EXEGESIS OF REVELATION -- The Seven Last Plagues -- Part 4 -- In the pronouncement of the Third Angel a warning was given that if anyone worshiped the beast or his image, that one "shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God." (14:9-10) In the vision beginning with Chapter 15, this wrath is described as being the Seven Last Plagues. (v. 1) The format for the giving of this vision is the same as was the format of Revelation 12 - a great wonder is seen in heaven - the screen upon which the divine revelation is portrayed. (The Greek word for "wonder" in Rev. 12:1, and "sign" in Rev. 15:1 is the same)

These plagues are defined as the seven last plagues. The first reference to "plagues" in Revelation is in connection with the sixth trumpet. (9:20) This would indicate that the fulfillment of the "trumpets" in the time sequence of the book of Revelation precedes the final wrath of God, and therefore, is not a parallel prophecy. The second reference to "plagues" is noted in reference to the Two Witnesses which are given authority "to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will." (11:6) It is interesting to note that in the Greek text, the word "wound" is used to translate the "plague" received by one of the heads of the beast of Revelation 13. In verses 3 and 12, the phrase is "plague of death," while in verse 14, it is "the plague of the sword." These previous plagues as described under the sixth trumpet, and the wound received by the beast are ministered by earthly forces, while the seven last are directly ordered by God, and placed under seven angels who come from the Throne of God with their mandate. (15:5-6)

Verses 2 - 4 are interpolated like Rev. 16:15, and serve as an interlude as does Rev. 19:1-4. In each of these interludes, we are taken back to the original vision given to John when "a door was opened in heaven" and John was instructed by "the first voice" to "Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter." (4:1) He sees a throne "set in heaven" upon which sat the Eternal Majesty. Around the throne sat 24 elders, while before the throne were "seven tourches of fire burning" declared to be "the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth,"

p 2 -- representing the omnipotence (horns) and omnipresence (eyes) of the Lamb. (4:5; 5:6; Hab. 3:4; Zech. 4:10) Also before the throne, there is "a sea of glass like unto crystal." (4:6) In the midst of the throne are four living creatures, and "a Lamb as it had been slain." (4:6; 5:6)

The interlude of Revelation 15:2-4 returns to the setting of the vision of the open door with its sea of glass; but here it is "mingled with fire" rather than merely being "clear as crystal." (Compare 4:6 with 15:2) Could the "fire" be symbolic of the means by which the ones standing on the sea of glass were victorious over the beast and his image and purified so as to be fitted to be in the presence of God? (See Mal. 3:2-3; Luke 3:16)

There are some parallels between this vision and the vision of Rev. 14:1-5, as well as some distinct differences. Here it is stated that those who stand on the sea of glass are victors "over the beast and over his image," while such a conclusion concerning the 144,000 on Mount Sion can only be inferred. The 144,000 sing an unique song, while those standing on the sea of glass sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, the words of which are given.

Another question arises, how far back in time must we go to find victors over the beast? Is the "beast" only that phase of the beast which had a wound by the sword and did live? That is the emphasis used in previous identification of the beast in connection with "his image." (13:12, 14) However, the beast has "seven heads" which, depending on the interpretation given to the seven heads, could reach back to Egypt the first power to "persecute" the corporate people of God. Of interest in this connection, "the song of Moses" is introduced. All of these factors must be programmed into any exegetical study of these verses.

After recording this interlude, John's attention is returned to the "seven angels having the seven last plagues." He sees the open temple - "the tabernacle of the testimony" - from which these angels are to come. This is none other than the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary wherein is the ark of the covenant with the Law of God. John has seen this tabernacle before as the vision of the trumpets was concluded. (11:19) Another parallel between these two revelations is that God in Chapter 11 is declared to have taken His "great power, and has reigned," while in Chapter 15, "the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His great power." This assumption on the part of God brings forth His wrath in judgment, and no "man" is able to "enter the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled. (15:8) Intercession has ceased, for there is but "One mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus." (I Tim. 2:5)

Next John hears a voice described as "a great voice out of the temple." (16:1) It is a mandate from the throne. (See 16:17) To the seven angels, the command is given - "Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth." Little have we realized what the mercy of God has been, and what the wrath of God against sin is. We have tried to reconcile the God of the Old Testament with how we perceive the God of the New Testament. In our finite perceptions we have not realized the hatred God has toward sin, nor the significance of the separation that took place when on the cross, Christ became verily sin for us, nor the full significance of the fact that "in the midst of the throne" has "stood a Lamb as it had been slain." (5:6) But when that Lamb steps aside and when no longer His blood pleads for the sinful race, and the wrath of God unmixed falls upon the unsheltered heads of the devotees of the beast and his image, then will all know that the Eternal God is the same God as is revealed in both the Old and New Testaments.

In noting the plagues, it becomes obvious that no plague falls without a reason. "The curse causeless shall not come." (Prov. 26:2) The warning was given to the final generation that to "worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark" meant only one thing, the unmixed wrath of God. (14:9-10) To those who received this mark, the first angel directs his plague. "A foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image." (16:2, NKJV) If the symbols as given in these chapters are to be consistently interpreted, the image was created and worshiped by those "who dwell on the earth" meaning the place from whence the second beast arose. (13:11-12) The second plague is more difficult of interpretation than would first appear. (16:3) Is it the literal oceans that are here meant, or is "the sea" to be understood as the place where arose the first beast? (12:12; 13:1) It is singular in number. If "the sea" is to be symbolically understood, what does the clause - "every living soul died in the sea" - mean? The explanation given by "the angel of the waters" as to why this plague is poured out states "they have shed the blood of saints and prophets." Who are the

p 3 -- "they"? The only plural antecedent would be the collective, "sea," "rivers and fountains of waters."

The third plague is the one plague of the seven which is repeated. (16:4) It is directed against the sources of the sea - "rivers and fountains of waters." However, it does not state that "every living soul" in the "rivers and fountains" dies; but the pronouncement of the angel of the waters covers both plagues. The first beast makes "war with the saints." (13:7) It could be assumed that blood was spilt. The "image to the beast" issues a death decree but no where is it indicated it was carried out. (13:15) The intent is clear, there would be bloodshed. However, similar language as used by the angel of the waters, "blood of saints and prophets," is used to describe the "woman" of Revelation 17. (See verse 6) Can it be that the same principle enunciated by Jesus for the generation which crucified Him, will apply to the generation which issues the "death decree" against "the remnant" of the woman's seed? (See Matt. 23:34-36)

Since the death decree is issued not by the beast that came up out of the "sea," but rather by "his image," and since the "beast" did shed much innocent blood during the Dark Ages, does the doubling of the plague of blood to drink, give an indication as to when the "death decree" will be issued? If this indication is correct, the "decree" comes after the close of human probation. Further, from this point on in the detailing of the plagues, the wording used by John becomes more reflective of that which is to be revealed than with that which had been previously revealed. Confirming this assumption, is the fact that one of the seven angels of the seven last plagues, becomes John's instructor following the vision of the plagues. (See 17:1; 21:9)

The fourth angel poured out his vial "upon the sun." (16:8) The sun has been the object of worship from ancient times in most if not all pagan religions. The Bible recognizes such worship as a denial of the God of heaven. Job declared that "if I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge; for I should have denied the God that is above." (Job 31:26-28) Transferred into professed Christian religions through Rome are numerous elements of pagan sun worship. The birthday of the sun-god Mithra, December 25, is now the celebrated birthday of Jesus. Easter sunrise services are but echoing the pagan ritual of greeting the sunrise with an act of worship. Then weekly, the Christian world, for the most part, worships on the Day of the Sun. Significant, then is the inclusion in the "everlasting gospel" (14:6) of the call to "worship Him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." (v. 7) God's designated day of worship as the Creator is the Sabbath. (Ex. 20:8-11) The "beast's" designated day is the Day of the Sun.

Keenan in his catechism asks the question, "Have you any other way of proving that the [Roman] Church has power to institute festivals of precept?" Then he answers - "Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her; - she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of the Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority." (Doctrinal Catechism, p. 174)

The fifth angel pours out his vial "upon the seat of the beast." (16:10) If the "sea" in the second plague does represent the area from which the "beast" arose, and as a result of the plague, every living soul died in the sea," this "seat" could not be Rome, its original seat. The prophecy in Daniel does cast some light on this problem. There a power "shall plant the tabernacle of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain" (Dan. 11:45) which is Jerusalem. This fact is further emphasized in the sixth plague.

Resultant from the plague, "the (beast's) kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain." This is an interesting use of words, "darkness" associated with the "tongue." The victorious 144,000 do not have in their mouth "a deceitful tongue." (Zeph. 3:13; Rev. 14:5) Spiritual darkness comes from deception and the corruption of the Word, for the entrance of the Word giveth light. (Ps. 119:130) This plague strikes the seat of the beast from whence came spiritual "darkness" during probationary time. Now the medium - the tongue - by which that darkness was conveyed is plagued with pain. The next plague - the sixth - is poured upon "the
great river Euphrates." (16:12) What is this plague? It is something which drys up the waters of the river, and the drying is for a purpose - "that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared." Each plague, except for the third, is directed toward what man did in probationary time. For example, the first plague came upon those "which had the mark of the

p 4 -- beast and upon them which worshipped his image" activity during probationary time. The description of this activity which brings the sixth plague follows in verses 13-14, 16, verse 15 being parenthetical.

To understand the import of what took place during the last remnant of time, one must understand the imagery of the sixth plague - the river Euphrates, and its waters. Significantly, one of the angels of the seven last plagues tells John - "Come hither, I will shew thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters." (17:1) Yet, when John is shown the judgment on this woman, he sees her sitting upon a scarlet colored beast. (17:3) Further, he is told that "the waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." (17:15) The only vision, previous to the explanation of the "whore" where John could have seen her on "many waters", is during the vision of the seven last plagues. This whore is "Mystery Babylon the Great" (17:5) the great antitype of ancient Babylon which sat on the River Euphrates.

Even as literal Babylon was situated on the Euphrates, so where this antitypical Babylon will be situated is also revealed. In the explanation as to why this plague is given, we are informed that the "spirits of devils" gather the leadership of "the whole world" to a place called in the Hebrew tongue, "Harmagedon." (16:16) The Hebrew word, Har-mo'ed, means the Mount of the Congregation or Jerusalem. (See Isa. 14:13; Ps. 48:2) There is also another connection of thought in regard to Babylon and Jerusalem. This woman whom John saw on the river Euphrates is called "that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth." (17:18) This "great city" is described elsewhere as the city "which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." (11:8)

The conclave at the Mount of the Congregation is religious in nature, motivated by the spirits of devils emanating from the dragon, beast, and false prophet. (16:13) They gather together for "the war (Gr. polemos) of the great day of God Almighty." (16:14) In the explanation given concerning the "whore" it states that these powers "make war with the Lamb." (17:14)

The plague itself is something which dries up the river, in other words, the support of the people and multitudes. What could cause those who once supported the woman to turn upon her?
(17:16) The seventh plague involves a great earthquake and hail. (16:18, 21) Another scripture indicates that, just prior to the earthquake and hail, the temple of God is opened in heaven and "there was seen in His temple the ark of His covenant" which contains the Law of God. (11:19) Paul writes, "The Law worketh wrath." (Rom. 4:15) Coming from the darkness of the fifth plague, what greater revelation could arrest the attention of the inhabitants of the earth than the meaning of the Law of God in all of its reality? Sensing their deception, and the eternal loss involved, where would the rage of those who have lost all in the battle of life be vented?

The purpose of this plague is to prepare the way for "the kings of the east." (16:12) Again the "type" needs to be invoked. Cyrus, who overthrew Babylon came from the "east" and with him were other kings. (Dan. 5:31) Cyrus is pictured in prophecy as the Liberator of the captive people of God. (Isa. 44:28-45:4) When Christ comes the second time, He comes as "King of kings and Lord of lords" to set the captives free. (Rev. 19:11-16; Phil. 3:20-21)

When the seventh angel pours out his vial into the air, "a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the Throne" declares - "It is done." A series of events involving the earth are pictured to John as following this declaration from the Throne. A great earthquake, Babylon divided into three parts, the "cities of the nations" fall, "every island fled away, and the mountains were not found." A judgment call must again be made. Are these literal happenings, or is symbolic prophetic language still being used? It is obvious from context that "Babylon" is a symbolic term and is applied to the "harlot." (17:18). Then are the "cities of the nations" the national units of the great international city? Does the symbolism stop here, and the "islands" and "mountains" are to be understood literally?

The seventh plague itself is descibed as hail, every stone being "about the weight of a talent." (16:21) It is said to be "exceeding great." This can be undertstood only as literal language. While men "blasphemed God," those who have been looking at the transgression of earth's inhabitants from heaven's persepctive declare, "Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments." (16:7)

The first section of the book of Revelation closes with similar language as is found in this 16th Chapter. Under the seventh angel of the Trumpets, and the Third Woe are descibed events when God takes unto Himself, His great power and reigns. (11:15-19) These must be considered as parallel with the time of the seven last plagues.

p 5 -- THE POPE SPEAKS -- Part 3 -- In the two previous issues of WWN we called attention to the Papal pronouncements in two recent Encyclicals, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, devoted to the Papal plans in preparation for the coming Third Millenniun, and Centesimus Annus, a centennial review and amplification of Leo XIII's encyclical, Rerum Novarum, (New Things) issued in 1891. We also indicated that cetrtain "nagging questions" remain as we noted the pronouncements made by Pope John Paul II. These we wish to explore further in this article.

In the "Prologue" to the book, A New Worldly Order, that the Roman Catholic oriented Ethics and Policy Center released in 1991, commenting on Centesimus Annus, the play is made on the words, "new things," the translaton of the Latin, Rerum Novarum. Weigel, the editor and president of the Center, wrote:      "Written to honor the centenary of Rerum Novarum, the 1891 letter of Pope Leo XIII that began the papal tradition of modern Catholic social teaching, Centesimus Annus ('The Hundreth Year') is both a look back at the res novae, the 'new things' that seized the attention of Leo XIII, and a look ahead at what might be called the ' new ' new things,' ' the new facts of public life at the end of the twentieth century and the turn of the third Christian millennium. Like other papal documents, Centesimus Annus reaffirms the classic themes of Catholic social thought." (p. 1)

Herein is the question. What is reaffirmed? Weigel continues by emphasizing that this papal encyclical "is not, however, a matter of Catholic inside baseball. The encyclical addresses itself to 'all men and women of good will."' (ibid.) It is considered indeed to be "a new worldly order." Does this then mean that the coming "new world-wide order" is as Malachi Martin stated was the Pope's "most specific" insistence "that men have no reliable hope of creating a viable geopolitical system unless it is on the basis of Roman Catholic Christianity"? (Keys of This Blood, p. 492) If so what form will it take, for Martin states that the pope's "geopolitics is strictly religious ... and specifically Christian from a Roman Catholic perspective." (ibid.)

The book edited by Weigel, A New Worldly Order, gives a condensation of the Papal encyclical, Centesimus Annus. In this encyclical, the Pope declares:       "The 'new evangelization' which the modem world urgently needs must include a proclamation of the [Roman Catholic] Church's social doctrine. This doctrine indicates the right way to respond to the great challenges of today when ideologies are being increasingly discredited. We repeat that there can be no genuine solution of the 'social question' apart from the Gospel. In the Gospel we find the context for proper moral persepctive on the 'new things."' (p. 32, emphasis his)

Two questions immediately arise:    1)    What "Gospel"? and    2)     What is the "social doctrine" of the Roman Catholic Church? It would appear from context that the "social doctrine" and "the
Gospel" as perceived by the Pope as one and the same thing. Pope Leo XIII's intent was to bring
peace in "the conflict between capital and labor." (his emphasis) He recognized "the dignity of the worker" and therefore the "dignity of work." Other, or corollary rights is "the right to establish professional associatations" commonly called "trade unions" assuring a "just wage."

Now note carefully what the pope then said, and what he meant by what he said:      "Leo XIII adds another right, namely the right to discharge freely one's religious duties. The general opinion, even in his day, was that such questions pertained exclusively to an individual' s private life. He affirms the need for Sunday rest so that people may offer the worship they owe to Almighty God. We see in this statement a springboard for the principle of the right to religious freedom, which was to become the subject of many solemn International Declarations as well as of the Second Vatican Council's Declaration and of my own repeated teaching." (p.33)

The "opinion' in Leo's day was the right to worship, or not to worship, as dictated by the individual's own conscience without the intervention of the State. Against this concept of religious liberty Leo XIII inveighed. This present Pope is invoking the term, "religious freedom" to mean a state ordered freedom from the demand of the work place, not "freedom of conscience." Coupled with this freedom from the work place is to be a provision for a specific day of rest so as to worship "Almighty God." John Paul indicated that Leo XIII's "Encyclical points to the error of an understanding of freedom that detaches it from obedience to the truth." (p. 37) But again, what "truth"? This brings us back to the same nagging question, Is the "truth" to which the Pope refers, the truth

p 6 -- of the Word of God, or is it "the implementation of the message of Christ's revelation announced by the papacy and the Roman Catholic Church?" (Keys of This Blood, p.74)

John Paul II stated that Leo XlII's Rerum Novarum "criticizes two social and economic systems, socialism and liberalism." (A New Worldly Order, p.33)

In 1939, The National Catholic Welfare Conference in Washington D.C., published a book translated out of the French, The Liberal Illusion by Louis Veuillot. It sated:      "When the time comes and men realize that the social edifice must be rebuilt according to eternal standards, be it tomorrow, or be it centuries from now, the Catholics will arrange things to suit said standards. ... They will make obligatory the religious observance of Sunday on behalf of the whole of society and for its own good, revoking the permit for free-thinkers and Jews to celebrate, 'incognito,' Monday or Saturday on their own account. Those whom this may annoy, will have to put up with this annoyance. Respect will not be refused to the Creator nor repose to the creature simply for the sake of humoring certain maniacs, whose phrenetic condition causes them stupidly and insolently to block the will of the whole people. In a word, Catholic society will be Catholic, and the dissenters whom it will tolerate will know its charity, but will not be allowed to disrupt its unity." (pp. 63, 64)

The bottom line is simply that the term, "religious freedom," as used by the Pope in defining his "new worldly order" is not to be confused with "religious liberty" as guranteed in the Bill of Rights of the American Constitution.

This is further affirmed in a recent article in The Catholic World Report. Pope Leo XIII not only issued the Encyclical, Rerum Novarum in 1891, but in 1899, he sent to Cardinal Gibbons of
Baltimore, an Apostolic Letter, Testum Benevolentiae, condemning Americanism. Russell Shaw, director of public information for the Knights of Columbus, wrote an "Essay" on "Americanism: Then and Now" in the May, 1995 issue of The Report. (pp. 50-54) That there be no question as to the intent of the Essay, two cartoons from Harpers Weekly, February 19, 1870, were reprinted with this article showing the then attitude toward separation of Church and State. One cartoon showed Ms. Liberty tearing apart a cloth reading "Church" & "State," with the crowned heads and leaders of Europe looking on with approval. The second cartoon, set in the United States shows Ms. Liberty chained to a box marked, "Fradulent Votes" with an opulent priest holding a bag captioned, "Public School Money." In the center of the cartoon is a crone mending a cloth marked, "Church, State," under the blessing of Pope Pius X.

The last line of the Essay reads - "If the Catholic Church in the United States means to survive, Americanism must finally - nearly a century after Testem Benevolentiae undertook to do the job - be laid to rest. What comes next?" (p. 54) Review in Facts of Faith what Leo XIII had to say about the American Way, and the Bill of Rights of the American Constitution. See pages 243-272.

What is interestng as one checks the on-going drama of the Catholic objective for the whole world as well as for America, is the change from a specific agenda for a mandatory observance of Sunday under the guise of "religious freedom" in John Paul II's centennial Encyclical on Rerum Novarum in 1991, and the generalization as found in the Encyclical in 1994 detailing the preparation for a Year of Jubilee in the year 2000. (See WWN, 6(95), p. 5) A possible answer for this down-play can be found in a series of events which began to unfold in 1991. (To be continued)

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In the course of our morning devotional readings in May, we read the article in the Review & Herald, January 8, 1886, captioned, "Rejection of Light." Certain statements found in this essay need to be reviewed and serious consideration given to their import.

Contrasting that time in 1886 with previous generations, this comment is made:    "We are not living in the age in which our fathers lived. God gave them treasures of wisdom, which, through the manifestation of His Spirit, and through the testimony and example of His children from generation to generation, have come down the line to our time."

How true as applied to our time. 1996, just before us, is not 1886. Over one hundred years separate us, and much has occurred in this century - more than in any other previous

p 7 -- century of time. It must also be perceived that we have advanced, or should have advanced in the understanding of truth. Further, "We have all the light which they [previous generations] had, and the additional light is continually shining, and will shine more and more unto the perfect day."

Here are four categories relating to truth - light from God - which must be kept in balance:    1)    The truth from previous generations of time;    2)    Truth committed in sacred trust to the Church in 1844 and in 1888;    3)    "The additional light" that has been "continually shining" since then; and    4)    The light that will continue to shine to the end.

Truth is eternal as it finds it source in Jesus Christ who is the Truth. There is no variance in that truth from generation to generation. In God's plan, however, there is a continual unfolding of that truth, not only in the individual experience, but from generation to generation. There is also a human factor - the perception of truth, which necessitates a review of truth from generation to generation.

Do we discard the light of the previous generation because the human element was involved? Some today would do this. This is evidenced in the publication - Adventism for a New Generation. Or do we take note of what the human element actually introduced, and rectify their perceptions by the Word of God? Another approach is also being advocated. Some say that they hold to "historic" Adventism. What does that mean? Does it mean that we accept without review from the Scriptures, all that the previous generation taught and proclaimed including the introduction of the human perceptions of that truth?

One area of truth that is particularly plagued with human innovations is the understanding of Bible Prophecy. The speculative interpretations of Bible prophecy are causing sincere seekers of truth to back away from anything and everything which proclaims itself as "new light," yet light is to be "continually shining." There is in the prophetic Word, time prophecies, such as the 1260 days and the 2300 days of Daniel. These times have been fulfilled. Jesus gave another criterion on fulfillment. He stated - "I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe." (John 14:29) In other words, events become the key for understanding the prophecies. We need to know what the prophetic word says, and then "watch" (not speculate), another key word of Jesus. (Luke 21:36; Mark 13:37)

One further factor must be understood. There are several schemata of prophetic interpretations in use today,    1)    The Allegorical,    2)    Preteristic, and    3)    The Futuristic. The latter two were invented by Jesuits to counteract the Reformation which used the historistic methodology which holds that history is but the response to the voice of prophecy. Today most, if not all, Evangelical interpreters follow the Jesuitical Furturistic method, as well as a growing number of voices in the Community of Adventism.

The counsel in the article we read for morning devotions is apropos:    "Truth is progressive; and those who are preparing for the last great day will go forward in accordance with the accumulated light which shines upon them from the prophecies and from the lessons of Christ and His apostles." --- (1995 Aug) --- End ---- TOP

1995 Sep -- XXVIII -- 9(95) -- EXEGESIS OF REVELATION -- THE HARLOT AND THE BEAST -- Part 5 -- In 1534, the Luther Bible, in connection with Revelation 17, showed a cut of a woman wearing the triple tiara of the popes and riding a seven-headed dragon. The obvious deduction was that this symbolic woman represented the Papacy. Uriah Smith in his Thoughts on the Revelation, adopts the same basic view. He wrote:      "This prophecy is more definite than others applicable to the Roman power, in that it distinguishes between church and state. We here have the woman, the church, seated upon a scarlet-colored beast, the civil power." (pp. 702-703, 1897 ed.)

This same basic concept from the Reformation has continued to be the traditional Adventist view of the woman and the beast of Revelation 17, with the added focus on what is termed, "the daughters of Babylon." However this designation is not found in the book of Revelation. Looking at Revelaiton 17 from a exegetical viewpoint, what is its message?

First it is uniquely connected with the time just preceeding the Seven Last Plagues. Of the woman who sits as a "queen," it is declared that "her plagues (shall) come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire." (Rev. 18:8; 17:16) Further, it is one of the angels of the Seven Last Plagues who shows to John "the judgment of the great whore." (17:1)

The designation of the angel who unfolds to John these final visions of the book as "one of the angels which had the seven vials" is in itself revealing from different perspectives. (17:1; 21:9) First, "the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him to shew unto His servants ... He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John." (1:1) Twice during the final revelation by the designated angel as one who was involved in the Seven Last Plagues, John attempts "to worship" him. (19:10; 22:8-9) Each time he is told, "See that thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets that have the testimony of

p 2 -- Jesus." (Composite of the two previous references) It was Gabriel who stated to Daniel that "there is none who holdeth with me in these things (the Scripture of truth) but Michael your prince." (Dan. 10:21) Not only does this confirm Gabriel as "His angel" but also clearly indicates that Gabriel is one of the angels involved in the pouring out of the Seven Last Plagues, if not the chief angel.

The question arises, if Gabriel shows to John, "the Lamb's wife" - "that great city, the holy Jerusalem," whose wife is she who is also designated as "that great city." and boasts herself as a "queen"? The use of the word, "holy" is in contrast to the "city" which is "full of abominations." (17:4-5) Is it unholy Jerusalem?

One must recognize that in this final section of Revelation there is set forth two cities - Babylon arid the New Jerusalem; two women - the one "clothed with the sun" and the one bedecked with gold and pearls; two wives - one, the wife of the Lamb, and the other, the wife of the "scarlet colored beast."

Who is this "scarlet colored beast"? It has seven heads and ten horns as the serpent-dragon of Revelation 12. It should be observed that when the beast of Revelation 13, which also had seven heads and ten horns, is described, its bodily differences from the dragon are noted. (13:2) No such differences are given of the beast of Revelation 17, except the absence of crowns on the heads, and the color change from firey red to scarlet. The word for scarlet (kokkinon) is used to describe the color of the robe the Roman soldiers put on Christ in mockery of Him as "King of the Jews." (Matt. 27:28) No longer are the heads crowned, the dragon is reigning.

This beast is described as "was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition." (17:8) This past, present and future designation parallels the same description for "the Almighty" who "is, and which was, and which is to come" (1:8); but with distinct differences. In contrast to the One who "is to come," whose kingdom the dragon-beast has challenged, this beast goes into "perdition," or destruction (20:10) The kingdom of God is confirmed by the power of His Christ.

The first section (Chapters 2-11) of the book of Revelation closes with three Woes. During the time of the Second Woe, "the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit" is introduced. (11:7) He operates just prior to the Third Woe - which cometh, "quickly." The final Woe marks the close of all human probation, and the pouring out of "the wrath of God." (11:15 - 19) If then, the activities of the beast designated in Revelation 11 are amplified in Chapter 17, the time frame for the fulfillment of the events in Chapter 17 is established - "the last remnant of time."

"The beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven". Note carefully, that while the eighth, he is not of the seventh, but of the seven. He is the power which, though invisible, has operated through all seven heads. Now he assumes openly his claim of rulership of the kings of earth gathered together to a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Har-Mo'ed. (16:13-14, 16)

This brings us to a review of who are the seven heads. Various interpretations have been set forth. One must keep in mind that the controversy between the dragon and the woman who gave birth to the Man-Child goes back to the first gospel promise (Gen. 3:15) which is symbolically represented in the vision which introduce the second section of Revelation (12:1-3 ). Further, the scope of the book included those who sing the song of Moses as well as the Lamb (15:3). This binding of the Bible together as a unit with Moses standing for the Old Testament times, and Jesus Christ for the New Testament is an established concept. (John 1:17; Heb. 3:5-6) Thus the warfare of the dragon-beast against the people of God must begin with the persecution of the corporate body by Egypt. Understanding the definitive declaration of the angel as being expressed from John's point of time (17:10), the five which had fallen were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia and Grecia. One was, Rome - Pagan and Papal - and one yet to come, and he was to "continue a short space."

The reason I suggest the sixth head as pagan-papal Rome as a viable exegesis of this definitive declaration is that in the Book of Daniel, the two are placed as one. The "little horn" of Daniel 7, ever remains a part of the non-descript beast. The "little horn" of Daniel 8 represents both phases of Rome. But what is represented by the "head" that continues a "short space"? Is it the second beast of Revelation 13, or the "image" formed? Regardless which power is chosen, following this, the dragon - "that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan" - appears in person asserting his right of rulership - he "is."

We next turn our attention to the woman. Instead of eisegetically reading into the symbol

p 3 -- the traditional concept from the Reformation and the Millerite Movement, let us see just what the Scripture is saying. The "woman" is designated as "that great city" (17:18), or Babylon the great. By pursuing this avenue of revelation, we observe that "that great city" in its fall is to be divided into three parts (16:19). Further, there are three symbolic powers, out of whose mouths come "unclean spirits" (16:13-14) which assemble "the kings of the earth and the whole world" to a place called in the Hebrew, Har-Mo'ed, or Mount of the Congregation.

Perceiving this scarlet-colored beast to be the symbolic representation of Satan's literal appearing as the long looked for Messiah of Judaism, and the "Coming King" of Christian tradition, coincides with God's revelation of Lucifer's intent. He purposed in his heart "to sit also upon the mount of the congregation (har-mo'ed), in the sides of the north." (Isa. 14:13) This is defined as mount Zion, "the city of the great King." (Ps. 48:2)

Again, you have a contrasting aspect of the prophecy of Revelation. While the rulers of earth are gathered on earthly Mount Zion, which Jesus declared to be desolate (Matt. 23:38), there is portrayed another gathering on the heavenly mount Sion - the 144,000 with the Lamb (14:1). Those who refuse to bow to the false christ, are honored by the true Christ through Whom they overcome and by Whom they are delivered (12:11; 17:14).

Now let us return to the three parts of Babylon. As we seek to find an answer, we need to keep
in mind that any intepretation must be tentative, and can only be truly known as the scroll unrolls. However, it is interesting to observe that the one which Bible prophecy designates as a key player in the final drama of earth - the Papacy - speaks not only of Jerusalem, but of that city as the source of reverence of three monotheistic religions - Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.    1

Attention must also be directed to "the ten horns." (17:12) These ten horns are "ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power (authority) as kings one hour with the beast," not with any "head" but with the beast itself when he appears with his "wife." The parallel prophecy is not the ten horns of the nondescript beast of Daniel 7 - these were reduced to seven - but rather with the ten toes of the image of Daniel 2. Again the identification must wait the "final rapid movements" as they reign only "one hour" with the beast.

The text states that these "ten horns" have one mind and shall give their power (dunamis) and strength (exousia) to the beast. One must ask with a bit of wonderment, how do the "spirits of devils" effect such a unity when for more than six thousand long years, Lucifer in his rebellion has sought to create confusion and discord? In fact the very name of "that great city" Babylon has come to mean confusion. The text gives the answer - a Sovereign God "puts in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled." (17:17)

The oneness of these ten horns leads them to unite in "the war (polemos) of that great day of God Almighty" (16:14). In this final phase they now join in the last battle of the "war in heaven" where Michael and His angels fought against the dragon, when at its climax there came the cry, "Now is come salvation, and strength (dunamis), and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ." (12:7, 10) This final battle of the war involves "the remnant of [the woman's] seed." Trusting in the blood of the Lamb, they remain "called, and chosen, and faithful." The Lamb, coming forth to rescue His bride, overcomes the ten kings "for He is Lord of lords and King of kings." (17:14; 19:11)

When the powers of earth see that they have been beguiled and deceived by the final religious union, "these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire." (17:16)

The name of the "whore" that "great city" which reigned over the kings of the earth - "Babylon the Great" - should be given consideration. The name comes from Babel where God confused the languages and dispersed the "gathering together" of man to defy the God of heaven. (Gen. 11:9) Because of this, the name has stood for confusion. However, Brown Driver & Briggs, in their Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, note that the Assyrian, written Babili, means "gate of god." (p. 93, art. babel) While God uses strong language in describing the departure from truth - harlotry - the deception in reality will be so great that the whole world, apart from a small remnant, will be swept through this delusive "gate of god" to perdition.

1 -- Apostolic Letter - "Redemptionis Anno" - April 20, 1984; Encyclical - Tertio Millennio Adveniente, Nov. 10, 1994.

p 4 -- THE POPE SPEAKS -- Part 4 -- In 1891, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical, Rerum Novarum, setting forth the "social gospel" of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1991 celebrating the 100th anniversary of this Encyclical of Leo's, John Paul II issued his Centesimus Annus. In this pronouncement, he emphasizes Leo XIII's affirmation of "the need for Sunday rest so that people may offer the worship they owe to Almighty God." However, in 1994, when John Paul II set forth his agenda in preparation for the celebration of a Year of Jubilee in the year 2000, his only comment in regard to Sunday in the Encyclical, Tertio Millennio Adveniete was - "Every Sunday commemorates the day of the Lord's resurrection." What caused the change of emphasis?

Between 1991 and 1994, there were negotiations between the Vatican and Israel, and the plan, calling for the Vaticanization of Jerusalem in harmony with the Papal position which had been set forth in the United Nations Security Council Document #S/14032, appeared imminent. Further, the Pope in his 1994 Encyclical observed that "the eve of the year 2000 will provide a great opportunity ... for interreligious dialogue." Then he added, "In this dialogue the Jews and Muslims ought to have a pre-eminent place." Anyone knows that to include the Jews and Muslims who observe Saturday and Friday respectively, the demand for Sunday observance had to be toned down. In fact, in his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, released in 1994, John Paul II refers to the Jews as "our elder brothers in the faith." (p.99; emphasis his) This whole picture of historical data demands a review of traditional eschatological projections.

In his new book, The Fatima Fator in the Final Hours, Rene Noorbergen, notes a series of celestial phenomena which must be factored into any review of closing events leading to the Second Advent. These phenomena begin with the Fatima revelation which took place May 13, 1917 near Ajustrel, Portugal. On this date three children were tending their sheep when suddenly a ghostly lady appeared in the sky who identified herself as "the Lady of the Rosary." They were told to meet "Mary" on the 13th of each month thereafter. On July 13, this "Mary" predicted that she would perform on October 13, a miracle "so that all may believe." When the day arrived the 70,000 people who gathered to the designated spot reported seeing a "solar phenomenon." (p. 133) Malachi Martin telling of this same event descibes it thus:      "The sun was a fast-spinning plate of brightly shining silver, a giant pinwheel turning on its own axis, casting off beams of colored lights. ... All were fascinated by the rim of color around the spinning disk of that sun. At first deep red, the rim's color changed successively to all the colors in the rainbow." (The Keys of This Blood, p. 628)

Martin, however, adds a dimmension to this solar appartition. John Paul II believes that he was saved from death by Mary in the attempted assassination on May 13, 1981 - the official feast day of Mary as Our Lady of Fatima. While convalescing, John Paul II is reported to have received a vision of that same event of October 13, 1917 "in the luminous skies of Latio above the Seven Hills of Rome." (p. 627)

Noorbergen quotes from Pope Pius XII's diary which tells of that pope's experience with what is termed "the miracle of the sun" at the time when he defined the dogma of the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven in 1950. (pp. 138-139) Keeping in mind that the Roman Church believes that the "woman" of Revelation 12 is "the Virgin Mary" clothed with the sun, this solar phenomenon has special significance to them. To the student of history and prophecy, it tells a different story.

"Along with the sun, as the great fire-god, and in due time, identified with him, was the serpent worshiped. ... In Egypt, one of the commonest symbols of the sun, or sun-god, is a disc with a serpent around it." (The Two Babylons, p. 227) The Bible identifies the symbol of the serpent, as "that old (Gr. archaios - ancient) serpent, called the devil and Satan." (Rev. 12:9) Lucifer has sought to "exalt his throne above the stars of God" (Isa. 14:13) and has deified himself in sun worship.

As the gospel of Christ was making its way in the Roman empire through apostolic witness, the Iranian mysteries were also invading the empire via the legions of Rome in the form of Mithraism. In Mithraism, "each of the planetary bodies presided over a day of the week," the first day being dies Solis - Day of the Sun. (Cumont, Mysteries of Mithra, p. 120) Arthur Weigal in his book, The Paganism in Our Christianity, notes that "as a solar festival, Sunday was the sacred day of Mithra; and it is interesting to notice that since Mithra was addressed as Dominus 'Lord,' Sunday must have

p 5 -- been 'the Lord's day' long before Christian times." (p. 145) Gilbert Murray comments that Mithraism "had so much acceptance that it was able to impose on the Christian world its own Sunday in the place of the Sabbath, its Sun's birthday, 25th December, as the birthday of Jesus." (See Sunday in Roman Paganism, p. 150)

Knowing this pagan background of Sun worship and Sunday observance, the solar phenomena connected with the supposed appearance of the Virgin Mary has added significance. The devotion in Roman Catholicism and especially by the present Pope to "the Virgin Mary" means only a temporary toning down of the position taken in his 1991 Encyclical in regard to an enforced Sunday rest. We dare not forget that the final battle is between truth and error, between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and tradition.

WCC - EIGHT ASSEMBLY -- The eighth assembly of the WCC is scheduled for 1998 for Harare, Zimbabwe. This will mark the fiftieth year since the founding of the World Council of Churches in 1948. This eighth assembly is to be celebrated as an "ecumenical jubilee" opening the way "for the ecumenical movement into the future of the 21st century."

Conrad Raiser, general secretary, speaking in Nashville, Tennessee, at the United States conference of the WCC, declared that this coming assembly "will have to provide a fresh articulation of the ecumenical vision as we move into the 21st century." He noted that while the term "jubilee" carries in the English language the connotation of a joyful celebration, the Bible term went beyond this everyday meaning. The Biblical "jubilee" was intended to restore just relationships in society and to offer a powerful prophetic vision of the new life in community. This idea should help develope a "new ecumenical vision."

He continued - "We are approaching the end of the second millennium, the period of Christian division, and the end of the century which has seen the emergence of the ecumenical movement." An "ecumencial jubilee" in 1998 could help to prepare churches for the year 2000 "in the spirit of true worship, binding together spirituality and the commitment to restoring right relationships in human community." (ENI Bulletin, #10, 1995, p. 5)

This same theme of a "jubilee" in 1998 was the basis of Raiser's message to the Faith and Order Commission's world conference held in Spain in 1993. At that conference, he described the "jubilee" as a time when "doctrinal anathemas of the past could be lifted and churches could be 'expressly converted from separation to the koinonia that is God's gift and calling to them."' (One World, October 1993, p. 15)

Keeping in mind that the Faith and Order Commission's current objective is a common confession of faith based in the Nicene Creed, Raiser suggested that "in a great act of unity the church, through their appointed delegates could confirm that they are bound together in a real ecclesial communion grounded in one baptism and in one confession of Christ." (ibid.)

Observe that Raiser called for the lifting of "doctrinal anathemas of the past." There is one in the offing. 1997 will mark the 450th anniverary of a Roman Catholic decree at the Council of Trent which condemned what it believed to be the Protestant doctrine of justification. The Lutheran World Federation is hoping to make a joint declaration with the Roman Catholic Church on that anniversary date to lift mutual condemnations on the doctrine of justification. What each will give on this basic doctrine should be revealing. (ENI Bulletin, #11, June 1995, p. 7)

"THAT THEY MAY BE ONE" -- Conrad Raiser, general secretary of the WCC, referred to the second millennium of the Christian era as "the period of Christian division." (See previous article) This is a correct assessment. There was the great schism of 1054 between Rome and the eastern church based in Constantinople. Then in 1517 came the Protestant Reformation with its resulting schism.

On May 30, John Paul issued an encyclical, Ut unum sint (That they may be one) in which he committed himself and the Roman Church to the objective of strengthening ecumenism. He set forth the claim that he, as the successor of Peter, was "the first servant of unity." He wrote:      "Among all the Church and Ecciesial Communities, the Catholic Church is conscious that she has

p 6 -- preserved the ministry of the Successor of the Apostle Peter, the Bishop of Rome, whom God established as her 'perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity."' (ENI, #11, 95-0202)

In an "exhortation" attached to the encyclical, the Pope called the bishops of the church to a renewal of commitment "to work for full and visible communion among all the Christian churches. Also to mark the release of this encyclical, a press conference was held at the Vatican. Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity stressed the importance of the papacy in this new initiative for ecumenism because the Pope, who claims to be the legitimate successor of Peter, is as such the leader of the Christian Church.

An American journalist asked if the Pope would give up this role in the light of the fact that the status of the papacy could never be accepted by non-Roman Catholic churches. To this Cassidy replied - "No, under no circumstances could the Catholic Church relinquish the primacy of Peter's successor."

According to various news reports, the Pope in this encyclical recognized that the papacy as an institution "constitutes a difficulty for most other Christians," and that he would seek to "find a way of exercising the primacy" of his office that is "open to a new situation." (US News & World Report, June 12, 1995, p. 16) Yet in the encyclical, John Paul II sets forth very clearly what he perceives the power of his office to be as the alleged successor of Peter. He writes:      "It is the responsibility of the Successor of Peter to recall the requirement of the common good of the Church, should anyone be tempted to overlook it in the pursuit of personal interests. He [the Bishop of Rome] has the duty to admonish, to caution and to declare at times that this or that opinion being circulated is irreconcilable with the unity of faith. When circumstances require it, he speaks in the name of all the Pastors in communion with him. He can also - under very specific conditions clearly laid down by the First Vatican Council - declare ex cathedra that a certain doctrine belongs to the deposit of faith. By thus bearing witness to the truth, he serves unity." (ENI, op. cit.)

It returns to a single bottom line - either the primacy of the Bible or the primacy of the papal teaching magisterium. Basically, there has been no change in Papal objectives nor positions.

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- From 1885 to 1887, Ellen G. White, her son, W. C. and his wife were in Europe visiting the scattered churches and encouraging the workers as they sought to advance the cause of truth. Among the places which she visited were the Piedmont Valleys of northern Italy. In a report of this visit sent to the Review & Herald (June 29, 1886) is to be found an interesting comment. It reads:      "There are many honest souls in these valleys; but they do not understand the truth for this time, and it is not merely by argument that they are to learn it. There is a work to be done of feeding these hungry, starving sheep with spiritual food. Many of the professed teachers of the people are perfectly content to set their stakes and make no advancement themselves, and they are much disturbed when others are induced to seek for truth. When new light is presented, they feel as the Pharisees felt when Christ came with new light for the Jewish nation. They want to stop the increase of light. They not only refuse to search the Scriptures for themselves, but they do all in their power to prevent others from searching."

The principles enunciated and the factors of the conditions existing in 1886 in the Piedmont Valleys is not unique to that time nor place. "The Scriptures are constantly opening to the people of God. There always has been and always will be a truth specially applicable to each generation." (ibid.) The condition in the Community of Adventism today is very little different than was found in the Piedmont Valleys in 1886. For centuries the Waldensians had maintained the apostolic faith in spite of the assaults of Romanism. But what were they to do with the "advancing light" and "increasing truth" of the Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14? Today, the Community of Adventism is divided as a result of apostasy and departure from the "old landmarks." But to "each generation" there is "a truth specially applicable" to that generation! How do we find it, and how do we relate to it?

It is obvious what we should not do - set our stakes, and make no personal advancement in the study of the Scriptures. But this is exactly what has been done, and is being done by those who profess to be the spiritual leaders of the concerned people of God. The term has been coined - "historical Adventism" - to distinguish between their position and the new" theology

p 7 -- which has been introduced into the Church. But what has really happened? Honest souls have been confirmed in the Laodiceanism ("Phariseeism") which permitted the apostasy to enter the Church in the first place. The "I-have-need-of-nothing" mentality blocked the "advancing truth" and "increasing light" which could have confronted successfully the so-called "new" theology.

Each individual needs to ask the question, "What ray of 'new light'or 'advancing truth' have those professing to hold to 'historic Adventism' presented?" The answer is, "Not one ray!" "Advancing truth" will clarify perceptions of what was perceived as truth but which do not truly conform to the Scriptures. If all of our positions taken on truth had been carefully investigated with minds open to the guidance of the Spirit of truth, a different history would be written today of what is happening in the Community of Adventism than that which is being written.

On the other hand, some of the so-called "new light" being projected is so blasphemous that one recoils at even the suggestion that there should be "new light." For example, the present agitation over the doctrine of the Godhead with its denial of Christ sas ever-existent and self-existent - the great I AM - has spawned "strong delusions." (See II Thess. 2:10-12) For example, in this area where we live, there are those teaching as "new light" that Jesus Christ was begotten prior to Bethlehem as "the Son of God" in the same way that Abraham begat Isaac. This is based on the concept that since man was created in the "image of God," God, therefore, has reproductive organs. One of the persons promulgating this teaching was asked, who was the "mother." The answer, "We are not told." This is paganistic and revolting. However, we have been warned that the devil has different delusions prepared for different minds.

Now returning to the basic concept - "There always has been and always will be a truth specially applicable to each generation." We must recognize as fact that we are not the generation which began the Advent Movement. The light of the sanctuary was present truth following the Great Disappointment of 1844. It can still be "advancing truth" if we are willing to correct any perceptions that have become "traditional" but which do not conform to the Word of God. To the "generation" of 1888, there was "new" light. Justification by faith was presented in a way to prepare a people for the final atonement of Christ's ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary. It was rejected.

God again sought through two other "messengers" to revive this "light," but because of their failure to confront the issue as Ellen White advised Jones and Waggoner to do -"Take it to the people" - we have the sad story of the 1955-56 SDA-Evangelical Conferences. If that decade - 1950-1960 - had seen an agitation over a revived 1888 Message, how different the present might be. Because of human failure and faithlessness, God has sent another message of present truth. He permitted a prophecy of Jesus to be fulfilled. Today we face that message and its significance as well as its Author, Jesus Himself, the soon-to-come, King of kings, and Lord of lords. The question is simply, how are we reacting to "advancing truth" and "increasing light"?

Suggested reading - Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 33-42. Available -- Jesus own prophecy of the end-time - The Hour and the End. Order Form. Rene Noorbergen's new book - The Fatima Factor in the Final Hours. ---(1995 Sep) ---End----

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