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1995 Oct -- XXVIII -- 10(95) -- EXEGESIS OF REVELATION -- THE TALE OF TWO CITIES -- Part 6 -- So much Adventist tradition has been built around the "angel" of Revelation 18, that it is most difficult to analyze just what is written without reading into the text some aspects of that tradition. The message of this angel which comes down from heaven "having great authority" is similar to the message of the second angel of Revelation 14 with certain distinct differences. Babylon has now become "the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird." (ver. 2) Instead of the proffered wine which Babylon made all nations drink (14:8), the nations now have drunk (perfect tense), and the leaders ("kings") of the earth have committed fornication with her and the "merchants of the earth" have profited by their association. (18:3) The union between the combined forces of religion - "Babylon the great" - and the governments of earth is complete. The dire warning is that the power which activates these religious forces is the power of the devil. To all outward appearances, he has become the undisputed sovereign of the earth.

If we understand the symbolism of this angel the same as the symbolism of the three angels of Revelation 14, it represents a "movement" under the direction of this assigned angel of heaven who is given great authority to carry out his mandate. But when will this take place? Obviously from the text, it is just prior to the pouring out of the Seven Last Plagues, because these are spoken of as still future in the context (18:8). Yet the message declares that the forces of evil have fixed their abode in Babylon - "Babylon ... is become the habitation of devils." (18:2) This prior event noted in the prophecy is the working of "the spirits of devils" as they gather "the kings of the earth and the whole world" to "the battle of that great day of God Almighty." (Rev. 16:14) (Keep in mind that Revelation 16:13-16 describes activity in "the last remnant of time" which is the justification of the sixth plague, verse 12. See WWN, 8/95, pp 3-4; also note Great Controversy, pp. 561-562)

The revelation of what the Harlot says in her heart -

p 2 -- "I sit a queen, and am no more a widow..." (18:7) - clearly defines the time of the message of this fourth angel as congruent with the "harlot" riding forth out of the wilderness on the scarlet colored beast. (17:3-5) While yet future, it is the immediate future! We can even now see the beginnings of this final confrontation.

Within the two chapters - the 17th and the 18th -certain time references are given. The ten horns "receive power as kings one hour with the beast." (17:12) While the harlot's plagues "come in one day" (18:8), in "one hour is [her] judgment come" (v. 10). "In one hour" her "great riches is come to nought" (v. 17). "In one hour is she made desolate" (v. 19). A close comparison of the wording would indicate that the same time allocated to the reign of the ten horns, is the same amount of time that these horns use to turn on the harlot and make her "desolate." (Compare 17:12, 17 with 18:19) While a prophetic day equals one year (Eze. 4:6), the hour, if reckoned as a 24th part of the prophetic day, would be 15 literal days. However, hora, the Greek word for hour, can mean a short period of time, rather than a literal 24 hours. Whatever reckoning of time is used, there is one thing certain - "the final movements will be rapid ones."

It is indicated that those on the side of the Lamb "are called, and chosen, and and faithful." (17:14) Little do we realize what faithfulness in that hour will mean. To all appearances, Christ has come. Spiritual wonders convince the eye. The third millenium projects unity, peace and prosperity. For the human instruments to give the warning of the fourth angel will require an absolute confidence in the revelation of the Word contrary to all outward appearances. For those on the side of the Lamb will have to call the great return to "moral values" the working of Satan disguised as an angel of light. Those who cannot stand for truth now, how can they expect to stand then?

The 18th Chapter closes with an illustration. A mighty angel takes a millstone and casts it into the sea, saying, "Thus with violence shall the great city be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all." (18:21) Pen cannot describe, the carnage, the anarchy - "the violence" - which will ensue when the inhabitants of earth awaken to the fact that through religious deception they have lost all in the battle of life and have joined forces with Satan against Christ.


The 19th Chapter of Revelation opens with the third interlude (vers. 1-5) of this second section of the book. The first interlude was placed between the description of the work of the "false prophet" and the the Three Angels' Messages (14:1-15). The second interlude was interfaced with the announcement and the carrying out of the Seven Last Plagues. (15:2-5) Now the final interlude marks the transition from the end of the prophecy concerning the "Harlot," the wife of the dragon-beast, to the call to "the marriage supper of the Lamb" (19:9). The basic message of this interlude is praise to God for His judgment on "the great whore which did corrupt the earth with her fornication." (v.2)

There is heard "a voice" which "came out of the throne, saying, 'Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear His name, both small and great."' (ver. 5) The One in the midst of the throne is the Lamb "as it had been slain" but is "alive for evermore." (5:6; 1:18) He who sent the message on that resurrection morning through Mary Magdalene, "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to your God, and my God" (John 20:17) now calls for universal praise to "our God." He still identifies Himself with the sons of men who look to the One God and Father of us all. He who emptied Himself for the redemption of man now eternalizes the Example set in time that "God may be all in all." (I Cor. 15:28)

In the prophetic imagery of the call to the marriage supper of the Lamb, because of its brevity (19:6-9), we should not overlook its momentous significance. This is one of the seven Beatitudes of the book of Revelation, and is declared to be along with the promise of "making all things new" (21:5), as "the true sayings of God." Why are these uniquely marked as the "true sayings of God"? Making "all things new" marks the end of the incident of sin. The pain and anguish which this interlude of sin has brought to the heart of God is past, all things can become new, and new in a new dimension. The Lamb has accomplished His objective to seek and save that which was lost. Now His marriage is come.

First some details:    One of the angels of the seven last plagues shows John, the wife of the Lamb - "that great city, the holy Jerusalem." (21:9-10) But as with the "wife" of the dragon-beast, "that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (17:18), people are involved. While the cities are used symbolically, they are also literal, and made up of people. A marriage supper includes not only the "wife" but also "guests." In this brief call there is "a great

p 3 -- multitude," as well as the wife "arrayed in fine linen." (19:6, 8)

God's original plan called for man to be only "a little while inferior to the angels." (Heb. 2:7, margin) Created in the image of God, "designed to be a counterpart of God," a high destiny awaited man. He, however, sinned and fell prey to the dragon's "wrath" and jealousy. Now through the "redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24), not only can man be restored, but a group, designated in Revelation as the 144,000, is to be the "wife" of the Lamb, sharing His throne. Lest we read into the description - "his wife hath made herself ready" - a salvation-by-works theology, we need to recall that "those arrayed in white robes" have "washed" them and "made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (7:13-14)

What then could the expression mean - "the fine linen (in which the wife is arrayed) is the righteousness of saints"? Is this the full realization of "imparted righteousness"? If so, then if we desire to be among that group, should we not study to know exactly what it means - "His wife hath made herself ready"? What is that "readiness" by which the righteousness of Christ can become ours in a personal possessive sense?

John next sees "heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war." (19:11) This description and that which follows when Christ rides forth as King of kings and Lord of lords is not only replete with Old Testament imagery of the conquering Christ, but also brings together various symbols used in Revelation itself.

When the Lamb opened the book sealed with seven seals, the first seal revealed "a white horse" with a rider who receiving a bow, and a crown, went forth "conquering and to conquer." (6:2) There were arrayed against him, the forces of evil - human strife, poverty, pestilences, hunger and death. A price was paid in this warfare. John sees "souls under the altar" who cry unto God, "How long, 0 Lord?" (6:10) When the sixth seal is opened, the signs which would herald the coming response of God are noted. Interjected into the vision is the first introduction of the 144,000, followed by the seventh seal - "silence in heaven." Now in the final confrontation portrayed in the 19th Chapter, all "the armies in heaven followed Him on white horses." (19:14) There is silence in heaven, but not so on earth.

"Out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations. ... And He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." (19:15) A description of this winepress closed the vision connected with the six angels of Revelation 14. "The vine of the earth" - those whose roots have been of the earth earthly - weeds and tares - face the wrath of Him whom they have rejected that He should not rule over them. He now rules them with a rod of iron, and the sword of His mouth destroys them. (See II Thess. 2:8) The "violence" in the overthrow of "Babylon the great" (18:21), the "wrath of Almighty God" (19:15), and "the wrath of the Lamb" (6:16) produce a "blood-letting" unparalleled in time. (14:20)

The "names" noted in this revelation of the Lamb provoke thought. He has a personal name engraved on His crowns, that He himself alone knows. (v. 12) His vesture dipped in blood has inscribed upon it the name, "King of kings, and Lord of lords." (vers. 13, 16) He is also called the Word of God - the Logos. Once in the book of Revelation, Jesus Christ speaks as "the Son of God" (2:18). Now as He comes forth to "judge and make war" He returns to His original relationship in the Godhead - "the Logos of God" - He who was in the beginning with God. (John 1:1-2)

The language and thought describing the "conquering" King of kings and Lord of lords is found in Isaiah 63:1-6. A thoughtful reading of these verses reveals the "tension" between what He provided as He tread "the winepress alone" and the judgment upon those who reject this great provision of salvation.

As the Word of God rides forth to "judge and make war," He does not come unopposed. "The beast and kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army." (19:19) They had been gathered together by "spirits of devils" to "a place called in the Hebrew, Har-Mo'ed," for "the war (Gr.) of the great day of God Almighty." (16:13-14, 16) The "beast" and "the false prophet" are taken and cast "alive" into "the lake of fire." (Gr. 19:20) Daniel speaks of the "beast" which had "the little horn" as being "given to the burning flame." (7:11)

The problem which arises is that "the lake of fire" in which the dragon and the lost are cast does not come till the close of the Millennium (20:9-10). Must a symbolic meaning be given to its use in 19:20, even as the "beast" and "false

p 4 -- prophet" are symbols of Systems? The "lake of fire" represents "total annihilation." Is this telling then that with the close of human history at the Second Advent, the systems of earth through which the Devil deceived mankind are ended? After the 1000 years, Satan in person goes "out to deceive the nations of the earth." (20:8)

After the scenes of war and strife, and the final destruction of sin and sinners are revealed to John, he sees "a new heaven and a new earth." He hears from the throne the promise, "Behold I make all things new." He is told - "Write, for these words are true and faithful." (21:5)

NEWS PAST & PRESENT -- WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES YEAR BOOK 1995 has a very interesting "Table of Contents." Besides listing its Member Churches, which does not include the Seventh-day Adventist Church, it gives the Regional Ecumenical Organizations, the National Councils of Churches, Specialized International Ecumenical Organizations, and Christian World Communions. The members of this latter group "are invited to send non-voting representatives to WCC Assemblies and Central Committee meetings." This list of "Christian World Communions" includes the "General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists." (p. 54) It is noted that there have been since 1957 "annual informal gatherings of the secretaries of such organizations." B. B. Beach in So Much in Common wrote that the General Conference "has been activiely represented" in these annual meetings since 1968. (p. 100)

A CHANGE OF COURSE -- Joseph W. Tkach, Editor in Chief of Plain Truth, a publication of the World-wide Church of God, introduced his editorial in the August 1995 issue with the following announcement:      "Late last year, the Worldwide Church of God sponsor of The Plain Truth, changed its historical position as a strict seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath keeping fellowship. Although the Church will continue to hold its traditional worship service on Saturdays, it no longer holds to the doctrine that the old covenant Sabbath commandment is binding on Christians." (p. 1)

WAS THIS THE BEGINNING of Adventists and Catholics Together in Medical ministry? "Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville and Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring have signed an agreement for a joint program to train students in health care ministry.

"Holy Cross, operated by the Roman Catholic Sisters of the Holy Cross, will supervise the training of both the supervisor and five students from Shady Grove in clinical pastoral education. The program prepares religious workers for a specialized ministry to the sick.

"After completion of his training at Holy Cross, Shady Grove's chaplain, the Rev. Doug Griffin, will be able to administer a similar program at his hospital. Holy Cross officials said the joint training venture is the first in the area involving hospitals of differing religious affiliations." (Washington Post, "World of Religion," July 30, 1983) [Note the date.]

CABINET MINISTER COMMITS SUICIDE. -- Mordechai Gur, Deputy Defence Minister in the Israeli government, committed suicide because he could "no longer tolerate the limits enforced upon him by serious illness. Mr. Gur, a career military man, was best known for the words: 'The Temple Mount is in our hands.' He uttered them over the military communications system after he and his paratroop unit captured Jerusalem's Old City, including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, in the 1967 Middle East war." (Border Mail, Albury, NSW, Australia, July 17, 1995)

"SECOND VATICAN OF THE WORLD" -- "Most of the nations of today's world refuse to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. They want it to be under international control. The Vatican has demanded the internationalization of Jerusalem for 48 years. Recently the heads of the Christian community in Jerusalem called for its internationalization. The World Council of Churches demands the same. Amazingly, Israel's leaders have secretly offered to hand over sovereignty of Jerusalem's Old City to the Vatican. Jerusalem is to become the 'second Vatican of the world."' (The Berean Call, July 1995, p.1)

"Rome would not have made peace with the Jewish state in December of 1993 unless she was certain that Jerusalem would fall from Israeli control and become an international city." - Frank Dimant, Executive Vice-President. B'nai Brith, The Jewish Tribune, April 13, 1995, p. 3)

p 5 -- "BEYOND THE BORDERS"? -- Part 1 -- Last year, when issues of various Adventist publications were devoted to the 150th anniversary of the Great Disappointment and the Millerite Movement, our Library failed to receive Spectrum's issue (Vol. 24, #2) devoted to the subject. It was not until I was reading a letter to the Editor in a following issue, and wishing to check the article to which the letter referred, that I discovered we hadn't received that issue. It is before me now as I write.

In this issue, Dr. Glen Greenwalt, professor of theology at Walla Walla College, wrote on "The Sanctuary God in Our Midst." (pp. 42-49) Even though he is writing for and from the liberal perspective of the Adventist Community, the conservative and "historical" Adventist sector should take careful note of a question he asks - "How does a community plot a future course when it has journeyed beyond the borders of its own charts and maps?"

He introduced his article with a report of "a few inormal surveys" he made "to see if this generation of Adventists shared the same vision as held by their grandparents' or even parents' generation. He used a Sabbath School class made up mostly of retirees, many of whom had been denominational employees, and a class of college sophomores. He discovered that 78% of the Sabbath School class considered 1844 to be important to their faith, while only 9% of the sophomores so related. While 65% of the "senior citizens" still believed that the emphasis on "time prophecies" was important, 95% of the young people said the church should "stop trying to prove time prophecies altogether and move on to bigger, more important issues."

While it is true that after 1844, the time element of prophecy is no longer a test, events fulfilling prophecy still are. Peter declared, "We have the word of prophecy made more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts." (II Peter 1:18 ARV) Prophetic light does not cease to guide through the darkness of the night till the day dawns. In placing a false emphasis upon the past, and failing to correct Biblical misinterpretations, has contributed to the theological "generation gap" which the survey revealed.

There is no question but that the sanctuary teaching and the prophecies connected therewith need to be carefully re-studied and corrected where corrections need to be made without abandonment or denial of the basic truth itself. Beyond that night of disappointment on October 22, 1844, the morning dawn brought light that is basic, and upon which we need to restructure the sanctuary truth.

Greenwalt, in suggesting an answer to his own question, reviews certain pioneer stories and "what they can still mean in our pilgrimage today." Among those whom he chooses is the experience of Hiram Edson. Of Edson's experience, he writes:        "After a night so dark it has forever been remembered as the night of the Great Disappointment, Hiram Edson was crossing a cornfield, returning home from the barn where he and others had spent the night in prayer. There, according to his own words, he 'saw distinctly, and clearly, that instead of our High Priest coming out of the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth..., that He for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of that sanctuary."' (His emphasis)

Herein is fundamental, basic Adventism which has given uniqueness to its message. And it is over the interpretation given this revelation that the relevancy of the Church's basic teaching is today being challenged and questioned by a "new" generation of Adventists. Greenwalt reminds us that it was "some 13 years after the Great Disappointment that the view was established that Jesus had gone into the most holy place, there to begin a work of investigating the books to see who would be saved and who would be lost." He then honestly and accurately comments - "Today this view, like other explanations before it, is losing its persuasive appeal. As time continues, the explanatory power of our interpretation wanes."

The questions facing us today - questions with life and death consequences - are:    1)    Do we jettison the fundamental revelation as Desmond Ford and others have done and are doing; or    2)    Do we face the fact, painful though it may be, that our interpretation of what this revelation given to Edson meant, may be flawed?

Basic is the simple objective - How can an event which occurred on October 22, 1844, be made relevant, removed as we are, 150 years from that experience? Can we not see that the traditional explanantion casts reflection on the omniscience of God? Are we unable to lay aside our

p 6 -- preconcieved ideas so as to discover truth? Are we unwilling to accept the dictum - "The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation." (R&H, Dec. 20, 1892) So where do we begin?

The key text upon which the traditional concept of the investigation of books of judgment was based is Daniel 7:9-10. Any review of this text in the light of our traditional perception must first inquire, what is its context? Not only is it sent in the continuum of the symbols of prophetic history which focus on the "little horn," but it is not the end point of the prophetic revelation given to Daniel. Because we placed a period where God only placed a comma, has caused much of our current confusion. How then are we to relate to this text?

First, we must exegetically seek to understand just what was revealed to Daniel in the prophetic detail as well as in the explanation given by the angelic messenger.

Secondly, this must be related to the vision given to Daniel in the third year of Belshazzar (Chapter 8), and the explanation which followed eleven years later (Chapter 9).

Thirdly, this prophetic revelation must in turn be placed in relationship to the typical services of the sanctuary to which it refers. In other words, the services on the typical Day of Atonement of the Hebrew economy must be considered and inter-related.

While all of this may be but review for some, it is, however, dimly comprehended by the many. It is with difficulty that we condition ourselves to think exegetically. We would prefer to approach the prophecy and the type eisegetically because of our long standing traditional concepts of these prophecies and typology.

Besides this type of study, we need to frankly and honestly ask ourselves some questions. How does all of this relate to the final message of God to the inhabitants of earth as found in Revelation 14:6-14? If the hour of God's judgment is come, and it so states, how are we to relate this with Daniel 7:10 - "The judgment was set and the books were opened"? Who is on trial? Why is the whole angelic host assembled at this point in time? How does the cleansing of the sanctuary (Dan. 8:14) relate to this judgment? What light does the typical service shed upon these questions.

In this investigation, we need to keep in mind that the fundamental objective is to discover the meaning of the light that came at daybreak following the dark night of disappointment October 22, 1844. That light reduced to its basic simplicity was that Jesus Christ as High Priest entered upon His final ministry as revealed in the typical ministry of the Day of Atonement. What does that mean?

Another factor also enters the picture which has been overlooked. Though seemingly irrelevant, it, if understood correctly, could make the experience of 1844 relevant to this generation of Adventism.

In the book of Hebrews, it is stated that man was created "a little while inferior to the angels." (2:7, margin) The same identical language is used in the Greek text to describe Christ in His incarnate state. (2:9) Further, it is emphasized that man in the beginning was created "in the image of God." (Gen. 1:26-27) Insights into the significance of God's design are given in the Writings. Consider the import of the following:       "All heaven took a deep and joyful interest in the creation of this world and of man. Human beings were a new and distinct order." (R&H, Feb. 11, 1902)

"God created man a superior being; he alone is formed in the image of God, and is capable of partaking of the divine nature of cooperating with his Creator and executing His plans." (R&H, April 11, 1885)

"Man was the crowning act of the creation of God, made in the image of God, and designed to be a counterpart of God." (R&H, June 18, 1895)

When we understand that rebellion flared into the open over God's intent in the creation of man (SG, 1:17), the necessity for the angelic host to be assembled at the start of the judgment can be better understood. Judgment must begin at the point where sin began so that affliction will not arise a second time. (Nahum 1:9) Will God carry out His original plan in the creation of man?
Time has intervened between the original design and the hour of judgment. Man has sinned; the open books reveal the depths to which human beings have sunk. Also in time, God revealed the value He placed upon man - the Cross. Was the price sufficient? All of this must be considered

p 7 -- if we are to build a revelant structure of truth upon the revelation which came to Hiram Edson? Jesus on October 22, 1844, entered upon His final work of ministry for man for whom He gave His all. This we shall do in continuing issues of WWN.

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- We have frequently used, and have heard oft times repeated the classic definition of justification by faith found in a testimony written from Adelaide, Australia, dated Oct. 12, 1896. It read:      "It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ." (emphasis supplied)

Immediately following this answer was another question and answer. It read:      "What is regeneration? - It is revealing to man what is his own real nature, that in himself he is worthless." (emphasis supplied)

This appraisal of our real spiritual potential, in and of ourselves, is not only little thought of, but is in reality unwelcomed. Many refuse, even reject, the idea that our salvation is wholly provided for by God. The concept that it is "the work of God" alone is abhorent to one who perceives his self as possessing value. But unless we honestly face reality that we have nothing by which to merit God's grace, and that in ourselves we are "worthless," there is no hope.

Does man have no value? Am I valueless? My value must be viewed in the light of Calvary, the costly sacrifice which Jesus made to save me from ruin. Then with Paul, my glory is in the cross, not in myself. (Gal. 6:14) This is why the highest place man can attain by his own power, and he must attain that place, is at the foot of the cross. There by beholding and accepting the blood of the slain Lamb of God, he realizes the forgiveness of his sins, and in that forgiveness, a cleansing of his "tongue" with a coal from off the altar (Isa. 6:6-7) so that he can bear witness to Truth, the pure truth as it is in Jesus.

Witnessing ever from the foot of the Cross, he is willing to bear in his body, "the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest" in his flesh. (II Cor. 3:10) He senses in a new way what the "great controversy" is all about. Emancipated from the slavery of sin to the freedom provided in redemption, he now enters the warfare against sin. He realizes that sin was more than an act; it was a denial of truth, the word of God. In sinning, he united with him, who abode not in the truth. (John 8:44) Now he confesses not only the Truth, but also that truth revealed in Him. Thus he realizes what his "work" is to be, the "works" which God requires of man, and then by faith leaves with God His work, to keep him from falling and to present him "faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." (Jude 24)

This is the outline of God for victory - the "brethren" of Christ overcome the evil one "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they (love) not their lives unto the death." (Rev. 12:11) Nothing more, nothing less! --- (1995 Oct) --- End --- TOP

1995 Nov -- XXVIII -- 11(95) -- BEYOND THE BORDERS -- EXPANDING THE SANCTUARY TRUTH BEYOND THE TRADITIONAL BORDERS -- Part 2 -- The heart of Adventism is the truth revealed by God in the earthly sanctuary, which He asked ancient Israel to erect, so that He might dwell among them. (Ex. 25:8) God had a special regard for Israel. He sent Moses to them with the message - "I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God." (Ex. 6:7) To Pharaoh, Moses was instructed to declare - "Let my people go." (Ex. 8:1) In explaining to the Israelites why God chose them, Moses said - "The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you." (Deut. 7:7-8) We desire to be near those we love; likewise God. He desired to dwell among His people.

Connected with this sanctuary, Israel was to erect, were services. If they had no significance, the ritual of these services would be a meaningless routine in and of themselves. Each morning and each evening a lamb was offered on the Altar at the door of the sanctuary. (Ex. 29:38-42) Other sacrifices and offerings were defined for the individual worshiper. While the meaning of these services is inferred in the Old Testament, no direct statement is made. The Psalmist recognized that God's way was revealed in the sanctuary. (Ps. 77:13) It is the New Testament witness which defines the message of the sanctuary. It opens with the cry of John the Baptist - "Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) The Gospels tell the Sacrifice offered by Christ; Himself the priest, Himself the Victim, on the Altar of the Cross. It is the book of Hebrews which reveals the meaning and significance of the ministry of the risen Lord in the Sanctuary which the Lord pitched and not man. (Heb. 8:1-2)

How are we to understand that ministry? Paul writes that the earthly priesthood served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." (Heb. 8:5) The ministry of the earthly tabernacle was each year divided into two phases, a daily focusing primarily on the Altar in the Court, and a yearly ministry with its focus in the Most Holy Place, while the Holy Place

p 2 -- served in connection with both rituals. If the Word of God is to have any meaning, then the ministry of Jesus as a Priest must likewise consist of a dual ministry as indicated in the type. The message of Adventism is the message - "Behold the High Priest as He ministers the cleansing from sin" - even as John declared - "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." It is the Elijah message! How does this message relate to the prophetic revelation of Daniel 7:9-10? This is the question and on that answer hangs the relevancy of Adventism today.

The first most obvious observation between what is revealed of the Most Holy Place where "the judgment was set and the books were opened" and the most holy place of the earthly type is that a structural comparison is incongruent. In the earthly type, the High Priest entered, on the Day of Atonement, its Most Holy Place which was but a ten cubit cubicle. The vision given to Daniel reveals a judgment set in a vast temple room capable of accomodating the entire angelic host. While the curtains of the tabernacle were embroided with the symbolism of cherubs, the emphasis on the service of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement was that he should enter alone that sacred enclosure. (See Ex. 26:1; Lev. l6:l7) The contrast of the type and antitype is greater than likeness and can only be made congruent if we accept the dictum of Hebrews 8:5 - the priests served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things."

It should be very apparent to the student of sanctuary type and antitype, that there must be a revised approach to the meaning of the symbolism, and a change of emphasis. Add to this the fact that the type reveals movement on the part of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement from the Most Holy Place to the Altar in the Court where the last act of the services of the Day were performed. Add yet another fact that in the final act of atonement, the blood of the bullock and of the Lord's goat was mingled to accomplish the symbolic cleansing. These added factors demand a rethinking of our sanctuary theology to bring our teaching into harmony with the combined revelation of the typical service (Lev. 16) and the prophetic representations given to Daniel (Chapters 7-9). To do so requires a painful laying aside of some previously held traditional concepts and a devotion to truth and truth alone. Truth loses nothing by honest and forthright investigation but is rather enhanced, as well as the experience of the one willing to do such an investigation.

Where do we begin? Accepting the dictum of Hebrews 8:5, we need to focus, in review, our attention on the services performed on the typical Day of Atonement as well as the daily services which provided a provisional atonement. It must be kept in mind that the typical sacrifices in and of themselves could accomplish nothing. They could "never take away sins." (Heb. 10:11) However, they do tell us how God intends to accomplish the fact so that when Christ comes the second time, He comes "without sin unto salvation." (Heb. 9:28)

In considering first the daily services regarding the sin offerings, certain facts need to be reviewed:

1)    Sins of ignorance were used by God to illiustrate the atonement which resulted in forgiveness. (Lev. 4:2, 20, 26, 31)
2)    Two categories of sins were noted - corporate and individual. (Lev. 4:13, 27)
3)    The high priest ministered the atonement for the corporate confession, and the common priest for the individual confession. (Lev. 4:16, 30)
4)    In the sacrifice of the individual sin offering, no blood was ever taken into the sanctuary. The record of the confession was placed on the horns of the Altar in the court. (Lev. 4:30) However, the priest did eat a token part of the sin offering. (Lev. 6:25-26)
5)    In the corporate confession, the High Priest took some of the blood, sprinkled it before the Lord at the inner veil, and placed a record of the confession on the horns of the Altar of Incense. (Lev. 4:17-18)

These typical acts tell us certain things in regard to the heavenly ministry. First it needs to be recognized that the sin had already been committed. It was on record. When convicted thereof, the sinner found a merciful provision. He could transfer his guilt to a substitute, and be again at one with God. To indicate that this act transferred sin to the sanctuary is to suggest that the way to keep from facing our sins is not to confess them. It must be repeated that the sin had already been recorded, and when one convicted of that sin sought freedom from its guilt, a provision was made. The record of his desire, and the acceptance of the provision is recorded.

Translated into the Reality that can take away sins, it means that I, when convicted of my sins,

p 3 -- accept the redemption provided in Christ Jesus. That acceptance is recorded. I am "accepted in the beloved." (Eph. 1:6) In the figurative language of the Old Testament, my name is engraved on the palm of Jesus' hand. (Isa. 49:16) Even as the common priest partook of the sin offering which stood for the sinner, so Christ partook of my flesh and blood, and with His palm out stretched on Calvary, bore our sins. (Heb. 2:14; II Cor. 5:21)

The services for the Day of Atonements (Lev. 23:27-28, Heb. majestic plural), are detailed in Leviticus 16. Note carefully the following data:

1)    The High Priest entered three times on that day into the Most Holy Place; first with incense, secondly with the blood of the bullock, and last with the blood of the Lord's goat. (16:12, 14, 15)
2)     The bullock was provided by the High Priest, while the Lord's goat was taken from the congregation. (16:3, 6, 5)
3)     The days' ritual was performed because of two things:    I)     "the uncleanness of the children of Israel"; and    II)     "their transgressions in all their sins." (16:16)
4)     The ministry was done in three steps:   I)    In the most holy place;   II)     In the holy place where were registered corporate confessions; and    III)     At the Altar of the Court where individual confession had been made. (16:16-18)
5)     It should be observed that while the "uncleanness of the children of Israel" is a factor in the cause for atonement, it is not until the final ministry at the Altar in the Court, that it is cleansed. (16:19, 30)
6)     While the blood of the Lord's goat is used for the atonement in the most holy place, and the holy place, it is the mingled blood of the bullock and the Lord's goat which accomplished the final cleansing at the Altar in the Court. (16:18-19)

All of this data must be programmed into our understanding of the sanctuary truth. Up until now, we have either centered our focus only on the record of sins in the most holy place - "the transgressions in all [our] sins" - or we have jettisoned the whole truth as "stale, flat and unprofitable." Until we are willing to study the symbolism of the services in the typical sanctuary in all of its aspects, and adjust our thinking to the revelation found in the Word it shall continue to lack appeal and meaning to the new generation of Adventism. It should be obvious to even a casual reader of Leviticus 16, that we have not even considered certain points of the data noted, and some of those we have, we have given a questionable interpretation.

Consider first the bullock provided by the High Priest. The text states that the bullock was to "make an atonement for himself, and for his house." (16:6, 11) The emphasis is stressed in these verses on "for himself." He is providing an atonement. It is not for "himself" in the sense of confession for no hand is placed upon the bullock in confession of sin. Aaron functioned as typical of Jesus Christ the great High Priest forever after the Order of Melchisedec. It was Jesus Christ who "offered Himself without spot to God." (Heb. 9:14) He did this for His "own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of our hope firm unto the end." (Heb. 3:6) It was the blood of the bullock, symbolic of Jesus giving Himself, that with the blood of the Lord's goat which figuratively accomplished the final cleansing.

Consider also, that the high priest on the typical Day of Atonement moved from the most holy place to a final ministration at the Altar of the Court. The significance of this movement we have failed to consider with its consequesnces in the reality of the Heavenly ministration. We have in our perception of the Judgment confined Jesus as continually ministering before the Heavenly Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place until He lays down His censor to don His kingly robes of vengeance to come a second time. The type does not support this thinking. To make the sanctuary truth meaningful for a new generation of Adventists, this must be restudied carefully.

We have lumped the Judgment together, or eliminated from our consideration, the significance of the fact that the registration of confession of sins in the daily services was recorded differently for corporate and individual confessions. This same distinction marked the Day of Atonement. The registration of blood in the holy place was atoned for prior to the cleansing at the Altar in the Court. We have focused our thinking of the judgment on individual cases, and have not included a concept of judgment on corporate sins. The type does not warrant such an exclusion. Admittedly, to accept the whole of a given truth often times leads to an unwelcomed conclusion which demands a decision we would prefer not to have to face. Because of this we opt for either what we smuggly call "historic" Adventism, or we choose

p 4 -- to believe that the sanctuary truth is no longer relevant. Over the issue of the Sanctuary Truth for a new generation in Adventism, we have come to a crossroads where neither option is the present truth.      (To Be Continued)

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In a recent issue of WWN, we quoted from the publication, The Liberal Illusion as to what would be the Catholic objective in regard to "the religious observance of Sunday" when they restructure society according to their perception of 'teternal standards." (8/95, p. 6) When writing the article for that August issue, I did not have a copy of the book before me, but relied on notes from a long ago evangelistic lecture. Besides, I was unable, at the time, to turn the book up in our library, even though I was sure we had a copy.
I wrote to the address of a key Roman Catholic agency in Washignton D.C., to see if I could obtain a copy, since it had been translated from the French by the National Catholic Welfare Conference in 1939, and I could not find their address. To this request, I received back a handwritten note from one associated with the National Catholic Educational Association which read:

"Dear Elder Grotheer:
Being unable to locate any information about the book by Louis Veuillot, The Liberal Illusion, after extensive consultation with the United States Catholic Conference (successor orgainzation to the National Catholic Welfare Society) and the Archives and Library of the Catholic University of America, I regret to inform you that I have failed in my efforts to respond positively to your request. So sorry!
Catherine McNamee"

In the meantime, we located the Library copy. Not only does this translated publication contain what Louis Veuillot wrote in the French in 1866, but also a brief biographical sketch, and a "Translator's Preface." The translator boldly claims that the Encyclical by Leo XIII in 1888 on Liberalism "placed the seal of papal approval ... fully upon the contents of Louis Veulliot's The Liberal Illusion." (p. 8) In the brief "Bio-graphical Forward," Ignatius Kelly, S.T.D. of DeSales College, noted that Veuillot was acclaimed by Leo XIII as a "Lay Father of the Church," and Pius X declared him to be "the model of them who fight for sacred causes." Jules Le Maitre gave him the epithet of "le grand catholique." (p.3)

In the light of how Veuillot was perceived by his Papal contempories, and that his book was promoted by the National Catholic Welfare Conference in 1939, the stated fact that his book cannot now be located in either the Archives or the Library of the Catholic University of America, is saying something.

What does it mean that Rome never changes? Does this mean that while its objectives never change, it methods for achieving its objective can change? Veuillot was a Catholic zealot who did not hesitate to make his pen a sword. His was a confrontational approach to reach the objective. He wrote of force - "Force in the hands of the Church is the force of right, and we have no desire that right should remain without force. Force in its proper place and doing its duty, that is the "orderly way."(The Liberal Illusion, pp. 47-48) His position was that in the era in which he lived (the Papacy was suffering under its "wound of death") force was not in its proper place, "that is to say at the disposition of the Church." He contended that "in the normal order, Christian society is maintained and extended by means of two powers that ought to be distinct - not separated, united - not confused, and one above the other - not equal. The one is the head, the other the arm: the one is the supreme and sovereign word of the Pontiff, the other the social power." (ibid., pp. 37-38)

Veuillot pictures the union of Church and State as "two swords." The Church, "the first sword, the one that cleaves nothing but darkness, remains in the patient (sic) and infallibly enlightened power of the Pontiff. The other, the material sword, is in the hand of the representatrive of society, and in order that it may make no mistake, it is in duty bound to obey the commandment of the Pontiff. It is the Pontiff who bids it come forth from the scabbard and who bids it return thereto. Its duty is to repress agressive error, once it has been defined and condemned, to shackle it, to strike it down: to give protection to the truth, whether the latter is under the necessity of defending itself or has need, in its turn, to go on the offensive." (ibid.)

All of this is echoed in the Encyclicals of Leo XIII, and one can find this defined division basic

p 5 -- in the concepts of John Paul II as he endeavors to achieve the Roman objective - dominance of the world. Did Veuillot, therefore, state too bluntly the Roman Catholic objectives so that his translated book was an embarrassment to Rome and had to be "lost," or unavailable? Is Rome now seeking to cover the same objectives under the terminology of "a well ordered society" and "ordered liberty"? (See WWN 4/95, p. 4)         ~~~

In reading through the latest issue of Christian History, (Vol. XIV, #3) on "Paul and His Times," I noted an early Christian document quoted. The instruction from the Didache, as it is comonly called, is very apropos for this present hour due to the "many voices" sounding in the Community of Adventism. Written in the early part of the 2nd Century (circa. A.D. 120), it counseled:       "Let every apostle that cometh to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain except one day; but if there be need, also the next but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goeth away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodgeth; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet." (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VII, p. 380; writer's emphasis)

May I suggest that you take time to write down the names of all the "independent" ministries you know, from whom you receive letters and/or publications. (We do not have space to do so) Place a check after each name that solicits money from you. Then follow the advice of this early Christian document, write after that name - "false prophet." If every concerned Adventist, and all who consider themselves, "historic" Adventists would do so, the clouds of confusion which now hang heavy over the Community of Adventism would be rapidly dispelled, as is fog before the morning sun.       ~~~

The July-August issue of the 1888 Message Newsletter highlighted the "Primacy of the Gospel Committee" meeting at the General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland on May 24 of this year. This ad hoc committee was set up by the President of the General Conference to "examine and test whether the concepts proclaimed by the 1888 Message Study Committee can be sustained from Scripture."

The report in the Newsletter stated:        "The nature of Christ [in the incarnation] was purposefully not discussed, it being suggested that other topics need to be considered first, especially justification by faith in the light of the Day of Atonement and 'corporate repentance."' (p. 1; emphasis supplied)

Questions:    Would there have been any justification by faith, or a Day of Atonement had there been no incarnation?    Would not "corporate repentance" involve a change from the apostasy which prevails in the Church regarding the incarnation?    To what lengths of compromise will Wieland go to curry the favor of the apostate leadership of the Church? . ---(1995 Nov) ---End---- TOP

1995 Dec -- XXVIII -- 12(95) -- BEYOND THE BORDERS -- WHAT IS DANIEL 7:10 NOT SAYING? -- Part 3 of 3 -- In previous issues of WWN, we have discussed the prophecy of Daniel, chapter seven. This prophecy does not restrict the "borders" of Adventism, but traditional Adventism has restricted itself in its study of this prophecy. This prophecy given to Daniel in the first year of Belshazzar is basic to all the other visions which followed. It is true that to Nebuchadnezzar, God gave an outline of the nations of earth which were to succeed his golden kingdom. (Daniel 2) It was, however, only an outline. The vision given to Daniel detailed the outline, and focused on end-time events.

The first point that needs to be recognized, and which must be "set in concrete" is that to Daniel was given a succession of events in symbolic representations, one to follow the other. He first saw a "lion" and "behold another beast" followed - a bear (7:4-5). "After this" he beheld a leopard-like beast with four heads and four wings (7:6). "After this" he saw a non-descript beast "dreadful and terrible" with ten horns (7:7). As he was considering "the horns," another, "a little horn," came up among them (7:8). He continued to look "till ... the Ancient of days did sit," and "the judgment was set and the books were opened" (7:9-10).

Here is where "historical" Adventism placed a period. God does not so do. Daniel "beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake" (7:11).Why did we place a "period," when God placed only a "comma"? It would appear we confused this verse with Daniel 7:25, when in the explanation given by "one of them that stood by" (7:16), "words" were to be spoken by the little horn during the prophetic period of "a time and times and the dividing of time" (7:25). The word "great" is supplied in Daniel 7:25; the "great" words were to follow the convening of the judgment.

While the deeds done and words spoken by the Papacy during the Dark Ages were blasphemous, God evaluates the pronouncements of the Papacy following the setting up of the judgment as "great." These "words" have been uttered up to this present era. To note these, and what they are saying, that God would call attention

· p 2 -- to such, in prophecy, makes relevant this basic prophecy to our very time. By not doing so, we can blame only ourselves for the theological "gap" which imperils fundamental Adventism for a new generation.

The time allotted to the Middle Ages's reign of "the little horn" - "a time and times and dividing of time" (7:25) reached to 1798, when the French general, Berthier, declared the government of the Papacy at an end. The Judgment was to follow, and the enlarging prophecy of Daniel 8, focuses on the time of that judgment - the cleansing of the sanctuary - at the close of the 2300 prophetic days (8:14). This brings us to 1844, and the beginning of the First Angel's Message which heralded the fact that "the hour of [God's] judgment is come." (Rev. 14:7) It was "then" that Daniel beheld "because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake" (7:11). What words have been spoken?

In 1854, the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception was promulgated which taught that when "the Word was made flesh" he was born into humanity of a different kind of a mother than the rest of the daughters of Eve. This was not the concept given to those to whom was committed the trust of the "everlasting gospel" (Rev. 14:6) Has it become an issue today in the community of Adventism? Then is not the prophecy involving the judgment relevant for this time?

In 1870, the Dogma of Papal Infallibility was issued. Man infallible, and his pronouncements on a par with the Word of God? Has not the issue of ecclesiastical authority marked the history of Adventism? Is it not much alive today?

In 1950, the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven was proclaimed, and with it a door has been opened for the inroads of Spiritism in the garb of Mary.

We do not need to celebrate the 150th anniversary of a past experience, the prophecy which marked the convening the judgment is on-going in its fulfillment. We need to step beyond the "borders" we have set, and follow the continuing vistas set by the prophecies of Daniel.

After Daniel is shown the final end of the beast and the little horn nourished by the beast, he sees in the night visions "one like the Son of man" being brought to the Ancient of days, not to determine who will make up the kingdom, but to receive "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom." His priestly work is finished; his kingly reign is about to begin. Did Jesus not appear before the seat of judgment when it was set, and the books were opened? Yes, assuredly! How do we know? The typology of the Hebrew service of the Day of Atonement serves "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." (Heb. 8:5) However, that "example" also teaches that after the High Priest appeared in the Most Holy Place, he carried forward a three-fold cleansing, which was concluded at the Altar in the Court. The prophecy of Daniel indicates that having completed His work, He returns to the Ancient of days to be inaugurated as King of kings and Lord of lords. All of this data must be harmonized into one complete picture. If this is done, the relevancy of the sanctuary truth becomes once again a present truth that it was in its beginning phase in 1844.

As the data is related, the fundamental axiom previously enunciated must be kept in mind. The judgment on sin must begin where sin began, and that is in heaven. To this axiom we must add the corollary that the adjudication in the judgment must assure God that sin will never arise a second time. This involves both the sovereignty of God, and the free moral agency of all created beings including the angels among whom sin arose the first time. Indeed, when the Ancient of days did sit in judgment and the books were opened, an angel proclaimed, "the hour of the judgment of Him is come." (Rev. 14:7, Gr.)

The sovereignty of God involves His unchangeableness. "I am the Lord, I change not," He declares of Himself. (Mal. 3:6) God had a purpose in His plan for the creation of man. He was to be made in His own image, and was to be only a "little while inferior" to the angels. (Gen. 1:26; Heb. 2:7, margin) Over this plan, Lucifer started his rebellion. He wanted to "be like the Most High." (Isa. 14:14) Two persons cannot occupy the same place at the same time. Man could not be made in the image of God, like the Most High, and Lucifer occupy that place also. There was conflict in heaven. How can God carry out His original objective, and sin never arise again?

Circumstances are vastly different than when God first introduced His plan. Man was only on the drawing board, a concept in the mind of God. According to the prophecy of Daniel, the first act of judgment is the assembling of the angelic host. The books are opened. What a sorry record is the human story - all have sinned, all have joined Lucifer in his rebellion against God. Can God carry out His original plan, and find

p 3 -- among men, those in whom He can recreate His image, and exalt to the place He intended Adam to occupy? Will the Angelic host concur?

Here is where the typology answers the questions. The blood of the bullock provided by the high priest, and the blood of the Lord's goat were mingled for the symbolic cleansing of the individual so that he might be clean of all his sins before the Lord. (See Leviticus 16) Now with the typology in mind, let the imagination grasp the scene when the hour of God's judgment commenced. With the books opened before the Angelic record-keepers - they know what is written down - the Great High Priest steps forward and, with His nail pierced hands outstretched, asks - "Have I given enough to have those who have confessed Me to be with Me where I am?" They recall those scenes of earth: - Gethsemane, the Judgment Halls of political and priestly rulers. They recall how they veiled their faces at the agony of Calvary.

The Father then asks:   "Did I give enough when I gave One who was my Fellow to become a member of the fallen race, forever to retain His human nature?"    The Angelic host recall that night when the Word, who had "emptied Himself," was born a Babe in Bethlehem's manger. How well they recall vying for the honor to proclaim Him to the shepherds. With one voice they consent for God to carry out His original plan even though man's depravity had lowered him further in the scale of moral worth. One condition alone was attached - every one who would be recreated must, as they, accept the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ.

With one unified purpose, all Heaven moved to the final objective of the Atonement - "the manifestation of the sons of God." (Rom. 8:19) Three Angels would assist the Son of man through their supervised Messages to prepare a people who would "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." When His work of ministering the cleansing would be completed, He would return "with the clouds of heaven," lay aside the white linen garment, with its writer's ink horn, and return to the Throne of the Ancient of days to claim his kingdom. (Compare Lev. 16:4 with Eze. 9:2, 11)

The books are not closed in the vision of Daniel 7. They remain open, and from them the "dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." (Rev. 20:11-12) However, there is another book that was opened - the Lamb's book of life. In that book are registered the names of those who have accepted His sacrifice, eaten His flesh and drunk His blood, thus having life. (John 6:53) Those not written therein are "dead" though they stand before the Great White Throne.

The Sanctuary Truth is not stale nor unprofitable, but vibrant with life and immortality. We have made it dull and uninteresting to a new generation in Adventism because we have not moved forward with advancing light, and have failed to search diligently to see if every position that we have taken could be sustained by the Word of God. Instead a period was put to the perception of truth, and the word, "historic," was coined.

There is an interesting parallel between the three phases of the priestly ministry on the typical Day of Atonement, and the Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14. The services of the typical Day of Atonement involved a "cleansing" of the Most Holy Place; the Holy Place; and finally, at the Altar in the Court. In the Most Holy Place before the Ark of the Covenant, the blood of both the bullock and the Lord's goat had been sprinkled separately. The reason given was "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins. (Lev. 16:16) It was twofold, the one resulting from the other. We sin because we are unclean. It should be observed in passing that while the uncleanness is noted, it was not until the final act with the mingled blood that the uncleanness is mediated. (16:19)

The second phase of the Day of Atonement mediation was in the holy place where corporate confession had been recorded on the horns of the Altar of Incense. Then the third or final act was at the Altar where the individual confession had been made.

These same three steps can be observed in the progression of the last warning messages of the Three Angels. First, it is the announcement that the hour of God's judgment is come. It focuses on God; give glory to Him, ... and worship Him," the Creator. Keep in mind that God had a plan and purpose in that creation. The second message calls the nations to account - corporate confession. Finally, the Third Angel is an individual accounting - "If any man shall worship the beast and his image." (Rev. 14:9) Those who refuse to so worship are cleansed so that it can be said of them - "Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." (14:12) Further, as we noted in the series of studies on "Exegesis of Revelation," the tense changes from the aorist (Greek past) in the first

p 4 -- two messages to the present tense in the Third. This is not without significance.

If we had but caught the vision of the Psalmist - "Thy way, O God is in the sanctuary" (Ps. 77:13), and had been willing to carefully follow the dictum of Hebrews 8:5 that the priests of the typical served unto the example and shadow of the Heavenly, the crisis in Adventism might have been contained. It is true that some painful decisions would have had to be made. They will still have to be made. "It is necessary that our unity today be of a character that will bear the test of trial. ... We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed." (TM, p. 30)

In the survey that Dr. Greenwalt took in his Sophomore Bible class regarding basic prophetic concepts, he noted that 95% of the "new" generation of Adventists believed "the church should 'stop trying to prove time prophecies altogether and move on to bigger, more important issues."' (Spectrum, Vol. 24, #2, p. 43; see also WWN, l0(95) p. 5) Two factors have produced this reaction:    1)    We have stated, and rightly so, that time is no longer a test since 1844; however, to place a period at that date, and memorialize it by commemoration ceremonies does not meet the need or expectation of a "new" generation.    2)    While time is not a test, events still are. These events if placed in the setting of prophecy, can be shown to be significant as God sees them and they do impact on present day Adventism.

For example, the Second Angel's message indicated that "all nations" have made a decision. They have yielded to drink of the wine of Babylon. This decision would close their probation. When did this occur? Keep in mind that the message is not talking about individuals, but nations, corporate bodies. (Individuals are focused in the Third Angel's message) Jesus gave us the prophecy that when literal Jerusalem returned to the control of the nation of Israel, the probationary time of the nations (Gentiles) would be "fulfilled." (Luke 21:24) This event occurred in 1967, and was officially ratified in 1980. What has been done about this fulfilled prophecy? The official church recognized its possibility in the 1952 Bible Conference; published a book containing the recognition of its fulfillment, and then has now become "deadly" silent. The "historic" Adventist either ignores the prophecy, or contradicts the very words of Jesus, or seeks to spiritualize its force away - anything but face the truth.

Are there borders in Adventism? Yes, but we have drawn them, not God. God's call is the same now as to ancient Israel - "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strenghten thy stakes." (Isa. 54:2)

CHRIST OUR COMPLETE SALVATION -- "Our acceptance with God is not upon the ground of our good works, but our reward will be according to our works. 'For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the rigtheousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.' (Rom. 8:3-4)

"'The carnal [or natural] mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.' (8:7) Human nature could not keep the law, even if it would. Apart from Christ, without union with Him, we can do nothing. 'Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.' (II Cor. 3:5) The law requires us to present to God a holy character. It demands of men to-day just what it demanded of Adam in Eden, - perfect obedience, perfect harmony with all its precepts in all relations of life, under all circumstances and conditions. No unholy thought can be tolerated, no unlovely action can be justified. As the law requires that which no man of himself can render, the human family are found guilty before the great moral standard, and it is not in the province of law to pardon the transgressor of law. ... Standing before a holy, good, and just law, and finding ourselves condemned because of transgression, we may well cry out, What shall we do to be saved?

"There is but one way of escape for the sinner. There is but one agency whereby he may be cleansed from sin. He must accept the propitiation that has been made by the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. The shed blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin." (Signs, May 30, 1895; emphasis supplied)

p 5 --
THE "ULTIMATE SIGN AND SEAL" ! -- The book of Revelation pictures two groups of people as existing in the final hours of human history, and each are marked. One group is sealed with "the seal of God," and the other is marked with "the mark of the beast." Adventism has taught that "the mark of the beast" results from the observance of Sunday in place of the Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment of the Law of God. The "seal of God" is presented as revealed in the very commandment itself.

Of interest, in the light of this conclusion is the fact that in the chapter, "The Seal of God" (5T:213-214), it reads:   - "Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads." This should alert us to the fact that there may be more to the seal-of-God and mark-of-the-beast issue than we have been failing to consider previously. It is true that the context of the statement noted indicates that the "seal of God" involves more than a theoretical assent; truth must be lived.

I recall that in evangelism a few decades ago in lecturing on "The Mark of the Beast" - a lecture now either omitted from an evangelistic series or diluted - I relied heavily on a letter written in 1895 by the Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons which stated - "Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change [of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday] was her act. It could not have been otherwise, as none in those days would have dreamed of doing anything in matters spiritual and ecclesiastical and religious without her. And the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters." (Quoted in Facts of Faith, pp. 292-293; emphasis supplied) It is still a mark of the power and authority of Rome, but is it "the mark of the beast"? Or, is Rome attempting another approach to its goal of dominance with another "mark" or "seal"?

At the Seventh Assembly of the WCC in Canberra, Australia in 1991, the issue surfaced as why the Roman Catholic clergy present could not take part officially in the celebration of the eucharist at the Assembly. At an international press conference, a questioner suggested to Archbishop, now Cardinal, Edward Cassidy, that since the Pope had sent a message to the Assembly decrying the divisions in Christendom, a "concession should be allowed which permitted Catholic participation in the eucharistic celebration. To this Cassidy responded - and his response should be carefully noted -   "He judged that sharing the eucharist is the 'ultimate sign and seal' of church unity." (EPS, 91.02.74) Furthermore, he projected a new dimension in the ecumenical process. He stated -   "We are not working towards uniformity among the Churches of the world. We are working towards the unity in faith and communion." (The Catholic Leader, Feb. 24, 1991, p. 3; emphasis his) Unity in diversity is the new theme, yet a unity based "in faith and communion." "Communion" involves the eucharistic "sign and seal."

Consideration needs to be given to this new emphasis and what it means. But first, a review of the Roman Catholic perception of the eucharist. In theological terms, the Roman Catholic position is called, Transubstantiation, meaning that the bread and wine become literally, the body and blood of Jesus. How this becomes so, is blasphemous. The sainted doctor of the Roman Church, Alphonsus de Liguori, wrote:      "St. Bernadine of Siena has written: ' Holy Virgin, excuse me, for I speak not against thee: the Lord has raised the priesthood above thee.' The saint assigns the reason of the superiority of the priesthood over Mary; she concieved Jesus Christ only once; but by consecrating the Eucharist, the priest, as it were, conceives him as often as he wishes, and that if the person of the Redeemer had not as yet been in the world, the priest, by pronouncing the words of consecration, would produce this great person of a Man-God. ' O wonderful dignity of the priests,' cries out St. Augustine; ' in their hands, as in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, the Son of God becomes incarnate.' ...

"Thus the priest may, in a certain manner, be called the creator of his Creator, since by saying the word of consecration, he creates, as it were, Jesus in the sacrament, by giving him a sacramental existence, and produces him as a victim to be offered to the eternal Father. ... And St Augustine has written, ' 0 venerable sanctity of the hands! 0 happy function of the priest! He that created (if I may say so) gave me the power to create him; and he that created me without me is himself created by me' " (Dignity and Duty of the Priest, pp. 32-33)

Already the "communion" part of Cassidy's formula for unity has been addressed by the

p 6 -- Faith and Order Commission of the WCC in what is known as the Lima Text, or BEM - Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry. It must be kept in mind that the Faith and Order Commission has 12 Roman Catholic theologians as full members, and the current vice moderator of the Commission, Jean Tillard, is a Roman Catholic. Further, the preface to the Lima Text, Faith and Order Paper No. 111, observes that the stated aim of the Commission is "to proclaim the oneness of the Church of Jesus Christ and to call the churches to the goal of visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, in order that the world might believe." (p. viii) [Emphasis supplied]

The preface expressed the success which attended the formulation of the Lima Text by observing that "those who know how widely the churches have differed in doctrine and practice on baptism, eucharist and ministry, will appreciate the importance of the large measure of agreement registered here. ... That theologians of such widely different traditions should be able to speak so harmoniously about baptism, eucharist and ministry is unprecedented in the modern ecumenical movement." (p. ix)

The Lima Text itself speaks to the point of the presence of Christ in the eucharist, calling it "the sacrament of his real presence." The text reads:      "Christ fulfills in a variety of ways his promise to be always with his own even to the end of the world. But Christ's mode of presence in the eucharist is unique. Jesus said over the bread and wine of the eucharist ' This is my body ... this is my blood...' What Christ declared is true, and this truth is fulfilled every time the eucharist is celebrated. The Church confesses Christ's real, living and active presence in the eucharist." (p. 12)

The text defines how this "presence" is accomplished. It reads -  "The Spirit makes the crucified and risen Christ really present to us in the eucharistic meal, fulfilling the promise contained in the words of institution. ... The bond between the eucharistic celebration and the mystery of the Triune God reveals the role of the Holy Spirit as the One who makes the historical words of Jesus present and alive." (p. 13) Observe, while this text does assert that the actual presence of Christ is present in the bread and wine as "contained in the words of institution," it places the Holy Spirit where the Roman Catholic Church places its priests. A commentary note (#13) suggests that a decision remains to be seen if the differing views on the meaning of the "true presence" in the bread and wine "can be accommodated within the convergence formulated in the [Lima] text itself.

The Lima Text was adopted in 1982. The statement made by Cardinal Cassidy at the time of the Seventh Assembly of the WCC was in 1991 noting the eucharist as "the ultimate sign and seal" of church unity." A Handbook for Today's Catholic was published in 1978, and "revised and expanded [in] 1991." One section on "How to Receive Communion" reads:   (Observe the substitution of "minister" for "priest," and the concept of "the presence of Christ in eucharist" and how it may be received)

"Holy Communion may be received on the tongue or in the hand and may be given under the form of bread alone or under both species.

"When the minister of the Eucharist addresses the communicant with the words ' The Body of Christ,' ' The Blood of Christ,' the communicant responds ' Amen.'

"When the minister raises the eucharistic bread or wine, this is an invitaiton for the communicant to make an Act of Faith, to express his or her belief in the Eucharist, to manifest a need and desire for the Lord, to accept the good news of Jesus' paschal mystery.

"A clear and meaningful ' Amen' is your response to this invitation. In this way you profess your belief in the presence of Christ in the eucharistic bread and wine as well as in his Body, the Church." (p.42)

Just say, "Amen" and you can have "the sign and seal" on your tongue, or in your hand, and you become a part of the one great Church - the great ecumenical unity.

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In The Great Controversy (p. 480) is to be found an interesting interpretive paragraph of two key texts which were noted in the first article of this issue - Daniel 7:10 and Revelation 20:12 This paragraph reads:      "The books of record in heaven, in which the names and the deeds of men are registered, are to determine the decisions of the Judgment.

p 7 -- Says the prophet Daniel, ' The Judgment was set, and the books were opened.' The Revelator, desribing the same scene, adds, ' Another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.' " 

In the context of Scripture, the judgment of Daniel 7:10 takes place prior to Christ assuming His office of King of kings and Lord of lords. The judgment of Rev. 20:12 is set after the 1000 years, or the Millenium. There is no way to harmonize the interpretation given in The Great Controversy with the traditional view that in the judgment beginning in 1844, God and the angels have been scrutinizing the records of the dead and now to the living to see who will be saved. However, the concepts presented in the first article in an attempt to enlarge the "borders" of our thinking in regard to the judgment do permit such an interpretation.

Daniel 7:10 begins a judgment scene which does not close till after the Millenium. In the interpretation of the judgment given to Daniel, it states - "The judgment shall sit, and they shall take away [the little horn's] dominion, to consume and destroy it unto the end." (7:26) That is what Daniel saw - the beast of which the horn was nourished "was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." (7:11) Nowhere is it stated that the "saints" were judged. Judgment was rendered in their behalf, and "the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." (7:22) The text in Revelation gives the answer - there is "another book ... which is of life"  -  "the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world ." (Rev. 13:8) In it are written "the names of those who shall enter the New Jerusalem. (See Luke 10:20; Phil. 4:3; Rev. 21:27) Notice the emphasis on "names" only, not the record of deeds. Only the lost are"judged ... according to their works." (Rev. 20:12)

It is the "Book" not the "books" which we should be concerned about. The condition is clearly spelled out. Jesus said:      Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment (Gr.); but is passed from death unto life." (John 5:24)

Our "life is hid with Christ in God" so that "when Christ shall appear," we shall "also appear with Him in glory." (Col. 3:3-4) Those who do the one "work of God" (John 6:29) are enrolled in the Lamb's Book of Life. They do not come into the judgment of Daniel 7:10. That is why Enoch, Moses, Elijah, and the group at Christ's resurrection are now in Heaven, and why the Thief died with the assurance that he, too, would be there. They do not come into judgment.

If we are willing to enlarge the "borders" of our thinking, keeping it in line with the pattern shown in the Mount, recognizing that the purpose of the sanctuary was to reveal by example and shadow the service to be performed in the Temple above, we will not have a message that can be called "stale, flat, and unprofitable," but one which will radiate the truth as it is in Jesus. Neither do we need to jettison the Sanctuary Truth, but it can be a truth as alive and viable as it was to our spiritual forefathers in their limited perceptions.

When the question was asked Christ, 'What shall we do that we might work the works of God?' He answered, 'This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He has sent.' We are not to do something in order to purchase our entrance into heaven; for the Lord gives us heaven through the merit of Jesus Christ, and not through any merit of our own. " (Signs, May 30, 1895, p. 9) TOP

1995 SPECIAL REPORT -- 95(1) -- ADVENTISTS & CATHOLICS TOGETHER -- A "STRATEGIC ALLIANCE" ANTICIPATED -- On January 13, 1995, The Denver Post carried a article by the staff Business Writer, Judith Graham headlined - "Hospital alliance explored." The sub-title read - "Provenant, Adventist may become partners." (p. IC) Provenant is Colorado's second largest hospital system and is owned by The Sisters of Charity Health Care Systems, Inc., of Cincinnati, Ohio. This Care System is so closely allied to the Vatican, that any major decision involving full merger would have to be given prior approval by the Pope.

The Adventist partner in the proposed "Strategic Alliance" is Rocky Montain Adventist HealthCare (RMAH), a Colorado nonprofit corporation operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The article in The Denver Post, quoted Elder Charles Sandefur, President of the Conference, and Chairman of the RMAH Board, as stating that this "partnership ... might include consolidating finances, some operations and management." Sandefur said, "This is not just a loose, casual affilliation we're contemplating. We intend there to be real integration." (p. 3C) The actual "Letter of Intent" states -  "It is anticipated that the strategic alliance will culminate with the parties forming a single financial and operating unit to best serve the health care needs of the community." (See Exhibit, pp. 3-5.) The target date for the full accord has been set for May 1, 1995, according to the information supplied by Sandefur to Ms. Graham.

In a "Conference Memo" dated six days after The Denver Post article, Sandefur sought to explain the background and reason for the "Strategic Alliance." After noting that "Adventist hospitals are faced with difficult choices that can be easily misunderstood," he wrote:    (His emphasis will be underscored, as in the Memo, our emphasis will be in bold type. We believe for our readers to get the full impact of this Memo, it should be quoted in full)      

"Some of you have already read in the paper that last Thursday, the day after our pastors (sic) retreat, Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare (Porter, Littleton and

p 2 -- Avista Hospitals) anounced that it is exploring the possibility of some sort of strategic relationship with the Provenant Health System (St. Anthony's Central, St. Anthony's North, and Mercy Hospitals) That means for the next 90 days we have committed to seeing if we can work together with Provenant in ways that can cut costs, improve service to the community and, most importantly, preserve and enhance the distinctive mission and identity of our Adventist mission and identity by retaining sole ownership of our current hospitals.

"While there are a wide range of possibilities of what a relationship between the two systems might look like, merging or selling the assets of our hospitals is not an option. A key motivation of this possible partnership is to preserve in its entirety Adventist character and ownership. Our healthcare leadership has spent many hours exploring how best we can accomplish our mission ill a turbulent atmosphere of other hospitals, physicians and insurance providers merging or blending into regional systems. If we try to ' go it alone,' many of our hospitals will be among the predicted hundreds that will close in the next few years. At that point, the mission ends and our Adventist presence in the community is weakened. Selling or closing seems an unwise choice, and most for-profit systems are incompatible with our mssion. It seems then that some sort of mutually beneficial relationship with other church-related, not-for-profit systems that share our Christian motivation gives us our most favorable opportunity and future.

"Any talk of ' doing business' with another hospital system can be scary for Seventh-day Adventists. I know, because quite a few saints have phoned me in the last few days expressing their fears and concerns about merging or losing our mission. Let me repeat: ' We are not merging or selling our hospital assets.' Any relationship we might enter into will continue with Adventist hospitals being just that - Adventist hospitals owned by Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare. If our mission is ever diluted, it will be because of our lack of commitment not because it is taken away from us.

"Actually, I think the changes in American healthcare gives Seventh-day Adventists new opportunities to place more emphasis on our message of healthful living and prevention. Other health communities have something to learn from us - unless we hide our healthcare candle under a bushel. And rubbing shoulders with other Christian hospitals can expand our witness potential.

"Anyway, for the next 90 days, we have committed ourselves to at least looking carefully to various forms of integration that will present and enhance our mission and identity. We are concentrating on an affiliation or network where each side, Adventist and Catholic, can be assured of indepedent ownership and freedom to pursue mission. Terry White and his leadership team need your prayers and interests as they seek ways for our healthcare witness to be lived out in a new healthcare environment."

The "Letter of Intent" for the exploration of an accord between the Adventists and the Roman Catholic healthcare system was signed on January 11, 1995 by Terry White for the Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare board. In a "Memorandum" issued the next day to the "Members of the Medical Staffs," White sought to explain the "New developments in affiliation talks." He gave his understanding of what this intent means. He wrote that RMAH agrees       "to enter into discussions exploring a close working relationship. The discussions will explore how the two systems might form an integrated financial and management structure - an organization somewhere on a continuum between full merger and a shared governance model." (Emphasis supplied)

Previously the RMAH Board had been in discussions with PRIMERA, composed of Lutheran and St. Joseph healthcare systems. White indicated that both of these "would make excellent partners in terms of culture, mission philosophy and geographic representation." These discussions are now on hold, because "the Provenant system has an additional advantage of managed care relationships that is extremely compatible with ours."

White informed the Medical staff that "Provenant is owned by The Sisters of Charity Health Care, Inc., of Cincinnati, Ohio; and that locally the system comprises St. Anthony Hospital Central, St. Anthony North, Mercy Hospital, the Provenant Senior Life Center, and Provenant Gardens of St. Elizabeth."

On the next two and half pages of this "special report," will be reproduced the "Letter of Intent." You should read it carefully, noting certain underscored sentences. Note carefully "Section 8." Observe the word, "obligate," and compare back to "Section 1, as to what is "anticipated."

"Section 10" provides for a "way out" on the part of either party, but note carefully that "if so terminated, ... the expenses incurred by each party in connection with the proposed Stategic Alliance shall be borne by that party." The expenses noted in "Section 3" to be incurred in the ground work for this Strategic Alliance could not be paid out of the "Petty Cash Box." The final line then is to go through with this "Letter of Intent" or pick up the "tab."

1)    Is this proposed "Strategic Alliance" of RMAH with a Roman Catholic system a "pilot program" approved by the North American Division?
2)     Do the leaders of the Church no longer believe the Pope to be the Antichrist of Bible prophecy?

p 3 --

4231 W. 16th Avenue
Denver, CO
2555 S. Downing
Denver, CO 80203

          The purpose of this letter is to serve as a Letter of Intent ("Letter") to establish a strategic alliance between PROVENANT HEALTH PARTNERS, a Colorado nonprofit corporation with its principal place of business at 4231 W. 16th Avenue, Denver, Colorado ("PHP") and ROCKY MOUNTAIN ADVENTIST HEALTHCARE, a Colorado nonprofit corporation ("Rocky Mountain") with its principal place of business at 2555 S. Downing, Denver, Colorado. Our mutual intention is for the two organizations to develop a strategic alliance generally in accordance with the terms of this Letter, and subject to the following terms and conditons:

          Section 1.    Strategic Alliance.   We are both comitted to establishing an efficient primary care based, community-and-connsumer-focused health care delivery system and environment for Denver and surrounding communities. Both organizations agree that the programs they intend to develop will focus on care management across the entire continuum of care, including a focus on the health and wellness of the population and the community at large. It is anticipated that the strategic alliance will culminate with the parties forming a single financial and operating unit to best serve the health care needs of the community.

          Section 2.    Strategic Alliance Agreement.    PHP and Rocky Mountain will forthwith prepare and execute a definitive agreement (the "Strategic Alliance Agreement") incorporating the general terms of this Letter and containing such other representations, warranties, terms and conditions as customarily pertain to transactions of this type and as are agreed upon by both organizations.

          Section 3.    Investigation.    PHP and Rocky Mountain will, upon execution of this Letter, grant to the other and their respective agents, attorneys, and accountants, full and complete access to their respective books, financial statements, and other documents and materials relating to their respective financial condition, assets, liabilities, and business, including access to independent auditors and all work papers and management letters prepared by such auditors. It is understood that all such access, investigations, contacts, etc. shall be conducted in such a manner as not to unduly interfere with the normal conduct of each party's business.

          Section 4.    Confidentiality.    PHP and Rocky Mountain will, until consummation of the transactions contemplated herein, hold in strict confidence all information obtained from the other and, if the transactions contemplated herein are not consummated, will return to the other all information and documents as have been obtained from the other or will certify to the other that all such documents not returned to the other party have been destroyed.

p 4 --

          Section 5.    Other Discussions.    In consideration of the substantial expenditure of time, effort, and expense to be undertaken by each party in connection with the transactions contemplated by this Letter, both parties undertake and agree that, between the date of this Letter and the execution of the Srategic Alliance Agreement, neither will enter into, solicit, encourage or continue discussions with any other party regarding a purchase of assets, merger, consolidation, or similar affiliation or transaction.

          Section 6.    Expenses.    Each party will bear its own expenses incurred in connection with the transactions descrcibed in this Letter, including fees and disbursements of legal counsel and independent public aecountants. Neither party has nor will employ the services of any broker or finder in connection with the transactions contemplated herein.

          Section 7.    Publicity.    The parties agree that they will not make public statements with respect to this Letter and the transactions contemplated hereby without first consulting the other party in order that such public statements shall be jointly issued by the parties, except as otherwise may be required by law. Except as is necessary to obtain regulatory compliance or approval, the parties agree to maintain this Letter and the information contained herein in strict confidence, and to not disclose this Letter to any person. To the extent the parties mutually agree to disclose this letter to others, such other persons shall expressly agree to maintain its confidentiality.

          Section 8.    Timing and Actions.    It is proposed that a Strategic Alliance Agreement will be entered into by the parties on or before May 1, 1995. The Strategic Alliance Agreement will (subject to customary preconditions and prerequisites) obligate the parties to effectuate the strategic alliance; and such agreement will be presented to PHP and Rocky Mountain to receive all requisite approval prior to execution. The c1osing and/or implementation of the strategic alliance would occur as soon after execution of the Strategic Alliance Agreement as possible.

          In additon, the closing of this transaction will be subject to certain conditions precedent including, but not limited to:

          (a)    Due Diligence.    No substantial problems which will materially affect the success of the parties' Strategic Alliance shall have been discovered during the course of the parties' due diligence investigations of one another.
          (b)    Regulatory Approval.    Any necessary federal and state regulatory approval of the transactions contemplated by this Letter shall have been received.

          Section 9.    Additional Undertakings.    Subject to the terms and conditions set forth in this Letter, each of the parties agrees to use, and to cause its respective officers, employees and agents (as well as those of its respective subsidiaries) to use, all reasonable efforts to take, or cause to be taken, all actions and to do, or cause to be done, all things necessary, proper or advisable to consummate and make effective as promptly as practicable the transactions contemplated by this Letter, and to cooperate with each other in connection with the foregoing.

p 5 --

           Section 10.    Effect of Letter of Intent    This Letter has been prepared and executed for the purpose of expressing the intent of the parties to enter into a strategic alliance generally in accordance with the terms of this Letter and to proceed in good faith; however, the same shall not constitute a legal binding obligation of either party to proceed with the actions described in this Letter, except as to the obligations described in Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 and, prior to execution of the Strategic Alliance Agreement, either party may terminate this Letter, with or without cause, by notification to the other party. If so terminated, the obligations of the parties under Section 4 shall continue, and the expenses incurred by each party in connection with the proposed Strategic Alliance shall be borne by that party.

          If and when the the Strategic Alliance Agreement is executed by the parties hereto, this Letter shall no longer have any force or effect.


Tom Rockers, President


Terry White, President

(This "Letter of Intent" was signed January 11, 1995)

p 6 --LET'S TALK IT OVER -- It was with considerable restraint that I
refrained from adding comment as the factual details of the "Strategic Alliance" were being delineated. At several points, I paused and contemplated interjecting a paragraph in brackets. To think that men in responsible leadership positions in the Seventh-day Adventist Church could perceive of entering into "a close working relationship" with representatives of an organization which God declares received its power, its seat and great authority from "that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan" (Rev. 12:9; 13:2), is almost beyond belief. How can anyone who professes to believe in the prophetic revelation which God gave to Jesus "to shew unto His servants" (Rev. 1:1), even remotely perceive that by entering into an "alliance" with any part of Rome, can "enhance" and "preserve" the "Adventist character" and "distinctive mission"?

Do we no longer believe that the One who stood before the woman "to devour her child as soon as it was born" (Rev. 12:4), is the One who "energizes" the "Lawless One," the "mystery of iniquity" - he "in whom all iniquity has fixed its abode." (II Thess. 2:7-9; See note below) To merel~ cover the anticipated alliance with an arm of Rome by calling it "rubbing sholders with other Christian" people who "share our Christian motivation " is to reveal a total lack of understanding of what Jesus Christ Himself taught in the Sermon on the Mount. He stated, "Not everyone that saith, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven." He emphatically warned that many would say, "Have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast our devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" (Matt. 7:21-22) The word translated, "mighty works" (dunamis) is the same word used by Matthew to describe the healing works of Jesus. (Matt. 11:20, 13:58) Works of charity, ministry to the sick and infirm in the name of the Lord does not make one a Christian. It is doing the will of God (Matt. 7:21). In fact, Jesus clearly stated that He would profess to them that He never knew them, because they worked "iniquity." This word used by Matthew (anomia) is the same word used by Paul to descibe "the mystery of iniquity."

To perceive of Rome as Christian is not some unique aberration being manifest in this
contemplated accord with an arm of Romanism. C. Mervyn Maxwell, in his book, God Cares, (Vol. I) after listing eight marks of identity for the "little horn" of Daniel 7, writes:       
"Only one entity really fits all eight of these identifying marks - the Christian church which rose to religiopolitical prominence as the Roman Empire declined and which enjoyed a special influence over the minds of men between the sixth and the eighteenth centuries." (p. 127; emphasis supplied)

In noting these identifying "marks," Maxwell prefaces this section with what he called "four principles," one of which was -  "There is more than one antichirst." (p. 122). He indicated that in listing the eight marks of identity, he is not seeking to define "the antichrist, but only the little horn." (p. 126-127) Are the two different? Then he assumes that "God purposely presented a one-sided picture of Rome as a terrible beast in order to emphasize His displeasure at persecution." (p. 127) Keep in mind that this non-desrcript beast of Daniel 7 is "pagan Rome." And God gave a "one-sided" picture of its character! Is it then little wonder, that of papal Rome, Maxwell could write:      "To call this Christian church the ' Roman Catholic' Church can be misleading if Protestants assume that the Roman Catholic Church of, say, the sixth century was one big denomination among others, as it is today. Actually the Roman Catholic Church was virtually 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." (ibid., emphasis his) [Who then was the "woman in the wilderness"? (Rev. l2:6, l4)]

If one accepts this "new theology" what then is the problem with forming a "strategic alliance" with an arm of "our Christian heritage"? None! But what is the purpose of prophecy anyway? Did God merely give these "beast" symbols so that evangelists might have something to attract attention in presenting the "everlasting gospel" of the Three Angels' Messages? It is helpful, but prophecy was given to the "servants" of Jesus Christ. (Rev. 1:1) We need to keep in mind that the eschatological discourse of Jesus was given to the Twelve alone on the Mount of Olives. (Matt. 24:3) Why? Because prophecy reveals how God views certain powers and forces which would
operate in the earth. Knowing how God views these, permits us to bring our actions in harmony with that revelation. Tragically, this has not been done in the signing of the Letter of Intent between the Provenant and RMAH.

p 7 -- In the "Conference Memo," Sandefur indicated that "if we try to 'go it alone,' many of our Hospitals will be among the predicted hundreds that will close in the next few years." Is he not aware of what God purposed for ancient Israel? - "the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations." (Numbers 23:9) Has God changed His objective for spiritual Israel? Was it not Israel's failure to observe God's intent that ultimately caused their rejection? Was this not expressed in their fear that to accept Jesus as the Christ, a unique relationship, would endanger their future? (John 11:48) If the Church is following the blue-print given, then what is there to fear? Is not God able to care for His own program that He designed? But if we are not following His plan, and this may be the problem in Adventist Health Care today, then we have much of which to be fearful. In such a case, the leadership of the Church may be left to their own devisings, and the inevitable results of the failure to believe the prophetic word of God.

In 1894, Ellen White wrote:      "It is the rejection of Bible truth which makes men approach to infidelity. It is a backsliding church that lessens the distance between itself and the Papacy." (Signs, Feb. 19)       Is God trying to tell His concerned people something in this whole affair?

Further, the Messenger of the Lord declared:       "The Papacy is just what prophecy declared that she would be, the apostasy of the latter times. Shall this power, whose record for a thousand years is written in the blood of saints, be now acknowledge as part of the church of Christ?" (Great Controversy, p. 571)

This "intent" of the leadership of RMAH brings not only those who are seeking to carry out this "Stategic Alliance" to their moment of truth, but every other Adventist who desires to walk in the light of that revealed truth.

Note:    II Thess. 2:8 KJV reads - "Then shall that Wicked be revealed." The phrase, "that Wicked" in the Greek is, ho anomos. Thayer in his Lexicon translates this phrase as "he in whom all inquity has fixed its abode." (p. 48) Verse 9 indicates that his "coming is after the working of Satan." Fenton's translation indicates by the "energy" of Satan. Phillips' reads - "The lawless man is produced by the spirit of evil."

Suggested Reading - Steps to Rome. This is documented manuscript on the steps taken toward Rome by Adventist leadership as a result of contacts made at the Vatican II Council. Becasue of the gravity of the present situation we will make this available to you. Send for your copy to the Adventist Laymen's Foundation.

" Now and ever we are to stand as a distinct and peculiar people,
free from all worldly policy, unembarrassed by confederating with those
who have not wisdom to discern God's claims so plainly set forth in His law.
All our medical institutions are established as Seventh-day Adventist institutions to represent the various features of gospel medical missionary work and thus prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. ...

" The Lord is testing His people to see
who will be loyal to the principles of His truth. ...
To bind ourselves up by contracts with those not of our faith
is not in the order of God.
We are to treat with kindness and courtesy those who refuse to be loyal to God, but we are never, never to unite with them
in counsel regarding the vital interests of His work. "
(Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7, pp. 106-108)

---- [1995 Special Report 95(1)] --- End --- TOP

1995 SPECIAL REPORT -- 95(2) -- REBELLION ... ON THE SLIGO -- During the year 1995, we focused our emphasis in the issues of WWN on Revelation, and current events in the Religious world assessing the aims of the Papacy as given in the recent Encyclicals of John Paul II. This was not saying that events of interest were not taking place within the Community of Adventism. They were. The General Conference of the regular Church met in Utrech of the Netherlands; certain of the "major" independents continued to talk out of both sides of their mouths, while others splintered with major internal problems as well as moral issues surfacing. Theologically, a section of the independent ministries have made the doctrine of the Trinity their main thrust. Certain of these events and theologies, we plan to comment upon in this issue. Others involving morals and misuse of funds, we shall let rest, hoping and praying that sincerely concerned Adventists will not only free themselves from their involvement with these "voices" but also with the so-called caretaker groups that have involved themselves in the picture.

Another interesting phenomenon is observable. When individuals, who have joined an independent ministry from some secular vocation, are either fired, or leave because of internal problems, they in turn begin another "independent" ministry. Instead of returning to their vocation and taking time to honestly assess the experience through which they have passed and their own hearts, to find out what the problems and issues really were, they become another "voice" with no message. Perhaps their ego will not permit them to take up their vocation again, or they discovered from their mentors how easy it was to write a letter and beg for money. Tragic! Yet more tragically, there are still those concerned Adventists who will respond. May God have mercy on those "sheep" who are being sheared by such "voices."

In this issue we shall begin with the rebellion of the Sligo Church against the action of the General Conference in session. We shall review again the doctrine of the Trinity and aspects of the teachings of those who are making it their mainstay.

P 2 -- REBELLION ... ON THE SLIGO --The New York Times (September 23, 1995, p. 11) carried a feature article by Gustav Neibuhr captioned - "An Adventist Church Breaks Ranks." Evidently syndicated, the same article appeared in other papers across the nation, as I received a copy of the identical article from the West Coast. That Sabbath, the Sligo Park Seventh-day Adventist Church, the second largest congregation in the North American Division, ordained to the gospel ministry three women in defiance of a vote taken at the General Conference session held in Utrech, the Netherlands, in July, which denied the North American Division their request to act separately on this issue from the position of the world-wide Church.

This act of rebellion involves more than merely ordaining three women to the ministry of the Church.    1)    It challenges the position held by the Church on the authority of the General Conference when it speaks in Session with representatives present from all parts of the world field.    2)    This leads directly to another challenge. The prophetic role of Ellen G. White who enunciated the authority of the voice of the General Conference in Church affairs.    3)    It challenges the authority of the local conference Committee under whose jurisdiction the pastor of the Sligo Church functions. The Union Conference is also involved inasmuch as one of the women ordained is a member of the Columbian Union College staff. The president of the College is directly answerable to the Union Committee. However, I am informed that both the pastor of the Sligo Church and the President of the College are members of the Potomac (local) Conference Committee. It is this committee which issues the credentials which would recognize the ordination to be what the Sligo Church wanted it to be; otherwise, the ordination service on September 23, 1995 was nothing more than the service performed by any Church in ordaining local elders.

Anyone knowing just the elementary functioning of the Church organization can readily recognize that this act of the Sligo Church presented the hierarchy of the Church with a monumental problem. Add to this the politics involved and you have all the ingredients of a atomic magnitude explosion. If the responsible parties are not disciplined, the very authority of the General Conference is muted. However, the power and financial contribution of the Sligo Church is a factor which hierarchical "politicians" will cringe before. It is doubtful that a single officer from the Potomac Conference through the Columbian Union Conference and the North American Division to the General Conference has the character or moral courage to take the action which this rebellion demands.

It is plainly stated in Testimonies for the Church, Vol.9, p.260:      "Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work, and to say what plans should be followed. But when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered."

Further in the same Testimony, it is declared:        "God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the world, shall have authority." (p. 261)

At the General Conference session at Utrech in July, the delegates rejected the request of the North American Division to ordain women to the Ministry by a two to one margin. The question now is simply, does the General Conference in session have authority or not? If it does, what discipline is to be meted out to Sligo? If however, the Church is in the state of apostasy which many of the "independent" ministries assert she is, then the "voice" of the General Conference has no significance nor authority. Is this what Sligo is saying? The Church is in apostasy; it is time to set up a new organization.

This problem generated by Sligo cannot be properly addressed without invoking the whole question of ordination of woman to the Gospel Ministry. The precedent of Scripture is clear and simple. In the Old Testament, the priesthood were males from the House of Aaron. There were prophetesses who spoke for God, but these were called of God, and never functioned in the services of the temple or synagogue. In the New Testament, Christ chose and ordained twelve men, even though there were women in His entourage. See Luke 8:1-3. History tells us that it was the pagan religions who had priestesses.

Furthermore, the Bible sets up one criteron by which one qualifies for ministry, and thus
ordination. Paul charged Timothy in his final

p 3 -- epistle - "Do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." (II Tim. 4:5) This is not saying that only those who have been given the "gift" of evangelism, should be ordained, but that all professing to have one of the gifts - apostles, prophets, evangelists, or pastor-teachers (Eph. 4:11) - make full proof of his ministry by doing "the work of an evangelist" - soul winning - before being ordained.

Without knowing the women ordained by the Sligo Park Church, I dare say that not one of them has given a series of Bible studies to an individual desiring to find the truth as it is in Jesus, let alone hold public evangelistic meetings. Over the years, I can recall only reports from Finland where women were actively engaged in public evangelism. Yet here in America at certain centers of Adventism we hear the hue and cry for ordination of women.

My mother and I were introduced to the Three Angel's message by a retired Bible Worker. She and her minister husband had chosen to retire from their responsibilities in Michigan to my home town in Boone, Iowa. It was not until ten years ago, that I learned that she had carried a ministerial License. She never spoke about it nor used it to promote herself. At that time, there was no church in Boone, and a small group met from Sabbath to Sabbath in the home of this retired couple. On various Sabbaths, Bertha E. Jorgensen, would give a Bible Study during the hour of worship. We were her last converts, but to the very end, she endeavored to do the work of an evangelist.

In the years that followed, her husband, Elder Nels M. Jorgensen, died, and the Church at Boone was left without male leadership. Among the group was a teacher on the local High School staff, and she was elected as Church Leader, not a local elder, and nothing was even suggested about her being ordained. It was service, not recognition, prestige and power, to which these of the past responded.

On the same list in 1985 (Spectrum, Vol. 16, #3, p. 60) from which I learned that Sister Jorgensen had carried a Ministerial License, I noted also that Mary E. Walsh, author of The Wine of Roman Babylon, was so recognized. During my ministry, when pastor of the First Church in Toronto, Canada, Sister Walsh was in the area. I asked her to speak at our Worship Hour. We were greatly blessed by her ministry. Over the years she had done the work of an evangelist, and had given full proof of her ministry, yet I never knew her to lobby for ordination.

The present problem which the Church leadership faces today is of their own making. Instead of holding to the guidelines set by the Apostle Paul - "do the work of an evangelist" - the Church began to ordain Conference Treasurers, Auditors, and Academy and College administrators. One of the best conference treasurers that I knew during my ministry in the Church was O. J. Bell who served the Texico Conference when its headquarters were in Clovis, New Mexico. I was assigned the Clovis District with four churches and two Sabbath schools to minister. I never had to worry about the Clovis Church as Brother Bell pastored it besides his Conference responsibilities, and he did so not as an ordained minister.

In the report from the New York Times, one of the North American church leaders defined the ordination issue as based in "social justice." He might have been more accurate had he admitted it was "social pressure" because of what other religious bodies are doing rather than based on what the Bible actually indicates. If the Church leaders real wanted to solve the problem from a Biblical point of view, they should take a page from how the Apostles solved a discriminatory problem in the early days of the Christian Church.

When a problem arose in the central Church in Jerusalem - a problem involving women - over "the daily ministration" being given widows, both Hebrew and Grecian, the Apostles formed a new order of "clergy" - the Deaconate. They were ordained. (Acts. 6:6) They did evangelism. Stephen, one of the "Deaconate," was the first recorded Christian martyr. They baptized. Philip, one of the seven, baptized the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:38). What other ministerial services these performed are not given because nowhere in the New Testament are we told of a marriage service performed, nor a funeral conducted. There would be nothing amiss, if every ministerial intern were first ordained into a new order of clergy as a Deacon.

This also provides a possibilty for a women ministry as Deaconesses. Counsel has been given which reads:      "Women who are willing to consecrate some of their time to the service of the Lord should be appointed to visit the sick, look after the young, and minister to the necessities of the poor. They should be set apart to this work by prayer and laying on of hands. In some cases they will need to counsel with church officers or the minister but if they are devoted women,

p 4 -- maintaining a vital connection with God, they will be a power for good in the church." ("The Duty of the Minister and the Poeple," a signed EGW Manuscript in the Andreasen Collection; emphasis supplied)

This work of an ordained deaconess is the highest suggested level for ordained women ministry to my knowledge. The criteria for service set forth under the above guidelines would soon determine whether the women now seeking ordination are really wanting to serve, or are merely wanting to satisfy their ego. I am sure that the present trend of rebellion will continue unless the whole structure of ministerial ordination is realigned with the Scripture guidelines, and the mandate of Paul is implemented starting with the internship period. The establishment of a new "order" of clergy as did the Apostolic Church would go far to remedy the problem.

FACTORS OF THE GODHEAD -- During this year, among the "independent" voices in the community of Adventism, there has been a constant discussion of the subject of the Trinity. These "voices" have sought to draw a distinct line between their perceptions and the teachings of the regular Church. There is no question but that the Church in 1980 at the Dallas session wrote into the new Statement of Beliefs, the doctrine of the Trinity as taught in the Nicene Creed. This brought the Church into line with the credal formula which forms the basis of the World Council of Churches, as well as alignment with Roman Catholic teaching. However, to be merely against some particular apostate position does not mean that one is holding to the truth as it is revealed in the Bible. We need to start with the Word of God, and then let that revelation reveal its own contrast with error, instead of defining the error, and taking a position in contradistinction to error which may or may not be truth.

The Gospel of John in its preface declares plainly that "in beginning" there "was" the Logos, and this Logos "was in the beginning with God." (John 1:1-2) [The Greek verb translated, "was," is in the imperfect tense and indicates continuous action in past time] In the fulness of time this Logos became flesh and tabernacled among men. (John 1:14) John does not tell by what means this took place. Two of the other Gospels indicate that it was the Holy Spirit who "fathered" Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh (Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35) Since this is the statement of the Word of God, it means simply that the Holy Spirit pre-existed Bethlehem. This is factor Number One which must be computerized into any formulation of the doctrine of the Godhead.

The "how" of this unique conception is not given. It remains a mystery in the fullest sense of the meaning of that word, yet we are told that "God was manifest in the flesh." (I Tim. 3:16) While the "how" is not described, it is nevertheless evident that He was not "conceived" as the father of the human race was, by Divine Fiat, when "by the breath of His mouth. ... [God] spake and it was; He commanded and it stood fast." (Ps. 33:6, 9) The Logos, who was made flesh. had been in the beginning with God. He did not begin at Bethlehem. Yet at Bethlehem a unique Person did begin, never before known in the Universe, a God-man. This God-man, this distinct and new Person, after His sacrifical death was "highly exalted ... and given ... a name which is above every name." (Phil 2:9) This is factor Number Two which must be computerized into any formulation of the doctrine of the Godhead.

This God-man as the Son of man declared Himself to be the "I am." (John 8:58) This in simplest terms means that He was Self-existent - I am - and Ever-existent - I AM! This is factor Number Three which must be computerized into any formulation of the doctrine of the Godhead.

John in his Gospel introduces the Holy Spirit, in His relationship to the Logos made flesh, during the Upper Room dialogue prior to Gethsemane. John quotes Jesus' promise - "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter." (14:16) Yet in the next few sentences, Jesus declares - "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you." (14:18) The word translated, "another," in verse 16 is the Greek word, allos, which means, equal to, but distinct from. Thus the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, and the Logos made flesh are equal to each other, but distinct from each other. This is factor Number Four which must be computerized into any formulation of the doctrine of the Godhead.

It should be evident by now that there is no easy nor quick formulation of the doctrine of God. While the doctrine of the Trinity as formulated by the Roman Catholic Church finds

p 5 -- its roots in Paganism as prophecy indicated it would, nevertheless those "voices," in the Community of Adventism, which seek to make Christ a lesser Being than the Eternal One, and who seek to relegate the Holy Spirit into the ethereal, need to pause and consider carefully these factors based in Scripture before literally "running off at the mouth."

No doubt I will be faulted for not putting together into a concise formulation these four factors as I perceive them, but to do so without you, the reader, doing some serious thinking for youself would violate the highest objective of teaching - "to train [individuals] to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men's thought." (Education, p. 17)

During the past year, we here on the campus, and the Nora Springs Adventist Church have been wrestling with a position paper on the Godhead. Two young men of the Nora Springs Church, Gary Patrick and Dennis Tevis, have worked untiringly on this paper, both in research and formulation. They have prepared a tentative release which is available, on one condition - He who writes for a free copy, by so doing,, accepts the obligation to critically evaluate the same and return his comments, questions and suggestions to these young men whose address will be included with the paper. From this input, we hope to have a position paper as close to truth as it is possible to formulate on the relationship of the Godhead. In so doing we recognize that there are mysteries which must await the Class Room in Eternity when the Master Teacher will reveal the full meaning and significance of all the factors of Redemption.

" Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world. ... He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs;
but it will be reached in the last remnant of time.
Says the prophet: 'I saw three unclean spirits like frogs; ... they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to
the battle of that great day of God Almighty.' (Rev. 16:13-14)
Except those Who are kept by the power of God, through faith In His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion.
The people are fast being lulled to a fatal security, to be awakened only by the outpouring of the wrath of God. "
  Great Controversy, pp. 561-562

ARMAGEDDON -- Several months ago, my attention was called to a manuscript which had been released in 1993 on the subject of Armageddon. The informant indicated that it was advertized as an answer to the application of Luke 21:24 to current events in the recent history of the State of Israel. I secured a copy, and with each successive issue of WWN hoped to find space to discuss some of the contents of the manuscript. Now in this special issue, I shall do so.

Skipping over the first six chapters, I found in Chapter 7, a definition of terms as viewed by the writers. They used Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with its abbreviated Hebrew, Chaldee and Greek Lexicon to obtain a definition of the word, megiddon. No serious scholar of the Word of God would attempt to build a definition of a transliterated word from Hebrew to the Greek to the English on such an abbreviated source. Interestingly, with the authors' limited resources for such research, they did follow through on the English word, "rendezvous," given by Strong, finding that the Hebrew word could mean, "A place appointed for a meeting." However, they failed to connect this concept with the fact, which they noted, that the text in Revelation uses a compound word, Har-Magedon - "Har" - meaning mountain. If they had done so, they would have discovered the very Hebrew word in Isa. 14:13, translated, "the mount of the congregaton," or Jerusalem.

The authors of this manuscript, then turn their attention to the term, "place" - "a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." The word   place   is topos in the Greek. It can be used in a literal sense as in John 14:3, where Jesus said, "I go and prepare a place for you." Or, it can be used as in Hebrews 12:17, where speaking of Esau, "he found no place of repentance," no way to change his mind; he had passed the point of no return. Which concept does the word, "place," convey in Rev. 16:16? Is it not a literal place to which when gathered, the "kings of the earth" pass a point of no return. The authors of the manuscript introduce various quotations from The Great Controversy. I suggest that pp. 561-562, where Rev. 16:13-14 is quoted, and TM, p. 62 be computerized into their thinking. See column one.

Basically, the real issue is how shall we interpret the Word of God? The concepts put forth by

p 6 -- the authors of Armageddon run contrary to the principles of Biblical interpretation in the Advent Movement. Don F. Neufeld, in an essay in A Symposium of Biblical Hermeneutics, edited by Gordon M. Hyde, gave seven principles which governed Adventist thinking. Number 6 reads:      "The Bible must be interpreted according to the plain, obvious, and literal import unless a figure is employed." (p. 119)

Neufeld indicated that "this was a recurring theme at a time when critics attempted to demolish the postions taken by the Adventists." He cites articles in the early issues of the Review & Herald (1854, 1855, and 1859) written by Smith, Andrews, and an experience and conclusion of D. P. Hall. Hall had confronted "a minister of one of the popular denominations, who denied the literality and tangibility of everything taught in the Bible." He wrote, "But there is a remedy for all of this jargon and confusion, and it is to be found in the use of the literal principles of interpretation. Interpret the language of the sacred writers as you do the language of all others, and this difficulty would be speedily obviated." (R&H, August 29, 1854)

The authors of Armageddon, in seeking to demolish the position taken by an Adventist editor at the 1952 Bible Conference, by Dr. J. R. Zurcher, in his book, Christ of the Revelation, and as taught the in 20th Century Bible Course, Lesson 5, have in the first six chapters of their manuscript attempted to spiritualize away Luke 21:24. They define Jerusalem as "God's people." (p.14) Now "Jerusalem" of verse 24 is the same "Jerusalem" of verse 20. In the verses between, Jesus nowhere tells the disciples, "Now I am talking about a different 'Jerusalem' when I say the city is to be trodden down of the Gentiles." The same city which was to be "compassed with armies" was the same city to "be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." What if the Christians in Jerusalem had in 66 A.D. spiritualized away verse 20, as the authors of Armageddon do verse 24? To spiritualize away the words of Jesus is deceptive and diabolical.

A comparison is made between Luke 21:24 and Rev. 11:2, equating both "Jerusalem" and "the holy city" as God's people. (ibid.) It is true that certain terminologies are found in both texts, such as, "Gentiles" (or "nations;" same word in the Greek) and "tread under foot." However, in Rev. 11:2, "the times of the Gentiles fulfilled," nor "Jerusalem" is not found. Rev. 11:2 merely states that "the holy city" would be trodden "under foot" during the time of the first beast of Revelation 13. (See v. 5) The holy city - and the article is used - denoted a special city, and that city is the New Jerusalem. John clearly wrote, "I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven." (21:2) Now is "God's people" coming down from God out of heaven, or is it a literal city which is called "the camp of the saints" not the "saints"? (20:9) Revelation 11:1-2 is a symbolic representation of what the Gentiles (nations) did to those who constituted the worshipers described by Paul in Hebrews 12:22-24. It is the court that is without the temple which is given to the Gentiles, while "the holy city," and what it stands for, is trodden down during the 1260 years of papal rule. The real temple of "the holy city" is "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb." (Rev. 22:22) But another during the 1260 prophetic days set himself up "in the temple of God" as God. (II Thess. 2:4)

The "Jerusalem" of Luke 21:24 is the literal city, no longer holy, its temple desolate. (Matt. 24:38) Zurcher stated well the relationship between Luke 21 verses 20 and 24. He wrote:       "Jerusalem is both the beginning and the culmination of Jesus' prophecy." (Christ of the Revelation, p. 71)      Then he concluded his discussion of Luke 21:24 by stating:      "Jerusalem here [in verse 24] constitutes the last sign by which the Lord shows us that the history of this world is coming to its climax, and that the restoration of all things is at hand." (p. 72)

The Christians residing in Jerusalem in 66 A.D. believed the words of Jesus, accepted them as they were literally spoken, and by doing so were saved, escaping the destruction of Jerusalem which followed in 70 A.D. Such an attitude marks the genuine Christian separating him from those who profess Christianity, but who spiritualize away the very words of Jesus so as to avoid the consequences of what He stated. Salvation is believing and accepting the words of Jesus as written.

Perhaps the authors of Armageddon, will try to find a way to spiritualize away the promise of Jesus, "He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment." (John 5:24, Gr.) There is a spiritual blessing in heeding promise of Jesus, but you do not spiritualize away the promise. Just so, there is the prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:24, but you dare not spiritualize away its import with impunity.

p 7 -- LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In the days of Amos the prophet, there were those in Israel, who because of the blessings promised under their covenant relationship with God, desired the coming of "the day of the Lord"so that they might be delivered from the hand of the oppressor. However, because they continued in a life of sin, the coming of "the day of the Lord" would be only darkness for them. Then Amos used an illustration which I wish to borrow for another purpose. Amos said the situation in Israel was as "if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him." (Amos 5:19).

There is and has been for several decades in the Community of Adventism, those who recognize that "the mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith" and that "upon [that doctrine] are based all the other teachings of the [Roman] Church." (Handbook for Today's Catholic, p. 11) As a result these have become avid anti-Trinitarians, advocating among other things that the pre-existent Christ, the Logos, is a lesser Being than God, having been generated, or begotten by, or emanated from Him.

This position reflects the teachings of Gnosticism. This system starts from the concept of an absolute primal being, "without beginning, unnameable, and incomprehensible; on the one hand, infinitely exalted above every existence; yet on the other hand, the original aeon, the sum of all ideas and spiritual powers." Then this primal God sent "forth from His bosom several aeons." These "emanate from the absolute," and Christ is considered "the chief of the aeons." (History of the Christian Church, by Philip Schaff, pp. 452-453)

Now what is Gnosticism? Schaff defines it as "a heretical philosophy of religion, or, more exactly, a mythological theosophy, which reflects intellectually the peculiar, fermenting state of that remarkable age of transition from the heathen to the Christian order of things." In form and method it was more Oriental than Grecian. (ibid, pp. 449-450)

What has happened in this attempt of one segment of the Community of Adventism to distance themselves from the pagan-papal Trinitarian concepts? They have in turn adopted the basics of Gnosticism and interpret the Scriptures accordingly. Thus "fleeing from the lion, a bear met" them. There is nothing wrong in being against error. That is the correct thing to be. It is how we relate to the error that is the issue. To merely put distance between one's self and the error is not necessarily the answer. We may meet "a bear." We need to recongize that the track of error lies close beside the track or truth. The answer is not distance but perception which means that a mind worked by the Holy Spirit is the requisite.

"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkeness,
and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that
dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be
accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

(Luke 21:34-36)

--- [1995 Special Report 95(2)] --- End ---

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