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WWN 1997 Jan - Mar


1997 Jan -- XXX -- 1(97) -- THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL -- Part 1 -- Editor's Preface -- With this issue we begin our thirtieth year of publication. The Lord has been good to us. At our first Board meeting when we were organizing the Foundation as a vehicle for producing and distributing "Watchman, What of the Night?" we voted that at no time nor under any circumstances would we solicit funds for its publishing. We reasoned that if the work to which we were called was of Him, He would provide for His own program. And we can testify after these thirty years - He has done so! Through the moving of the Holy Spirit many have had a part in carrying out the sacred trust committed to us. We thank God for them, for their prayers, and for their encouragement over these years.

In this first issue of 1997, we begin a series of studies on the Everlasting Gospel. How many there will be, we know not; but we do intend to cover the ground thoroughly. We intend to distinguish clearly the Gospel given in Scripture and the version of the Tridentine gospel of Rome being urged upon the concerned in the community of Adventism by various "voices" professing to speak for "historic" or "traditional" Adventism. This first article is followed by "Helps" and we explain why in the editorial, "Lets Talk It Over."

There is much confusion over the counsel that "time and place" must be considered in the application of the Writings. This principle is applicable also in the understanding of history. Principles which govern life do not change, but factors which arise out of changed forces operating in history do change, and need to be understood. This we discuss in the second article.

The third article, which consists of two word pictures from the Gospel of John, gave us encouragement as the Seminar was presented. We review the pictures that emerge from the salient strokes of the verbal brush in this section of John. To know that one's ministry began on time with a fulfilled prophecy some thirty years ago, and to see the steady march of events as they are leading toward the final climax of the prophecies given to Daniel, is to see a picture bright with hope and expectation. Jesus soon will come. We need to be ready and waiting. The Papal countdown for the year 2000 begins in earnest this year. We need to watch the unfolding of these plans. God's count down began at a previous date when He gave the SIGN of the End of Time.

p 2 -- The Everlasting Gospel --Part 1 -- Over arching the ancillary messages of the Three Angels of Revelation 14 is "the everlasting gospel." John declares - "And I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. (v.6) This angel does not cease to proclaim the everlasting gospel when the second angel begins to sound his message, or the third his. Further, one must ask, from what did Babylon fall? The answer is simply "the gospel." The "beast" of which the third angel warns is "the mystery of iniquity" (II Thess. 2:7) in contrast to "the mystery of godliness" (I Tim. 3:16), "the everlasting gospel."

The word translated "everlasting" (aiwnion) is used elsewhere in connection with God - "the everlasting God" (Rom. 16:26) - of the Spirit, "the eternal Spirit" (Heb. 9:14), and of the salvation of which Christ is the author (Heb. 5:9). This association of the word dare not be overlooked. The gospel in its age-long essence is associated with the Godhead. It is the mystery kept secret in "times eternal" (Gr. Rom. 16:25), which God commissioned to be made known through the proclamation of the apostles.

This "gospel" proclaimed with new emphasis just prior to the coming of Christ is the criterion by which obedience is judged. For when Christ comes, He comes "in flaming fire taking vengeance on them ... that obey not the gospel." Little consideration has been given to this obedience, yet those who respond to "the everlasting gospel" not only keep the commandments of God, but also keep "the faith of Jesus." (Rev. 14:12) It is righteousness through faith not "of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:9).

Interchangeably in the New Testament, the gospel is called the gospel of God or the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether different aspects of this gospel are intended by the two designations, is not clear. However, Paul calls it "my gospel" (Rom. 2:16; 16:25) which he received by the direct "revelation of Jesus Christ." It is compassed in its entirety by "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 3:24) If the gospel we proclaim is not the gospel received by Paul through direct revelation, it is an alien gospel bearing the curse of God. (Gal. 1:8) Tragically, it is this foreign gospel that is being proclaimed by many "voices" in the community of Adventism today.

Paul defined the gospel of God as "concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 1:1,3) Then two foci of this revelation are noted:    1)    He "was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;" and    2)    He was "declared to be tbe Son of God with power, ... by the resurrection from the dead." (vs. 3-4) Reduced to two words, the two focal points are the incarnation and the resurrection. The gift of God - God sent the Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, so that he that hath the Son hath life, which through Him - is eternal life; and verified the same to us in that He raised Him from the dead. (Rom. 6:23; 8:3; I John 5:12; Acts 17:31) The study of the gospel must begin where the necessity began for the Logos to become flesh, and that was at the Fall.

THE FALL OF MAN -- God created man in His own image" after His "likeness." (Gen. 1:26). With this high existence came the power of choice. In the confrontation with the "evil one" through the serpent, man chose to distrust God and disobey His word. In so doing, three things resulted:    1)    He came under the dominion of death (Gen. 3:19);    2)    He lost his home (3:24); and    3)    His nature was changed. He had held daily communion with his Maker. (3:8) Now that which had once been a loving and welcome communion with God became a response of fear arising from guilt. The words of Scripture read - "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I am naked; and I hid myself". (3:10) Not only was he homeless, under the sentence of death, and guilt ridden, but he also lacked the power to remove the death sentence, to regain his lost home, and to once again reflect the image in which he was created. Further, not only could he not attain to his original image, but he also passed to his children that which resulted through sin to himself. The record reads simply - "Adam ... begat a son in his own likeness, after his image." (Gen. 5:3)

This we term, "the fallen nature" from which none of the children of Adam have been exempt. This means simply, and never should it be forgotten, that we do not possess the power to reflect the image of our Creator, nor to remove the death sentence, nor to regain our lost homeland. All must come as a free gift. This is the heart of the gospel, "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 3:24) This was plainly inferred in the first gospel promise - the proto-euangelion - of Genesis 3:15. This promise bears careful reading. God stated to the serpent:      I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel"

This verse says much and we need to carefully consider what it says. God will act:      "I will put enmity." The "Seed" that would bruise the head of the serpent would be "the seed of the woman" not the seed of Adam. Again, there is

p 3 -- the promise of Divine intervention. God would empower the woman to conceive, and the resulting child would be the God-man. He would not have an earthly father. Further, the "man" contribution from the woman would be the only nature that woman could contribute, the fallen. This promise was not made in the presence of Eve before the Fall for there was no need; but after the Fall. This promise in its fulfillment would also cost God - the serpent would "bruise His heel."

The action that God would take was further illustrated. To cover the nakedness of the guilty pair, He made "coats of skin and clothed them." (3:21) This is echoed in the test to Abraham, when his faith reached out and he declared, "God will provide Himself a lamb." (22:8) Man can only look in amazement and wonderment. However, he can humble his pride (self) and accept.

THE RECORD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT -- The emphasis of man's inability to contribute anything to the redemption which God initiated, and his lack of power to regain the lost "image" of the original creation, is sustained in the record of the Old Testament. In one of the oldest books of the Bible, if not the oldest, its leading character, Job, asks - "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" And the answer follows - "Not one." (14:4) Job, who was declared by God to be "a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil" (1:8), confessed - "Behold, I am vile" (40:4) - and stopped his mouth. He had heard of God, but when his blindness was removed, and he saw God, he could only confess -" I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes." (42:6)

Abraham, father of the faithful, related to the promises of God with a simple, "Amen," and it was accounted to him "for righteousness." (Gen. 15:6) The KJV translates the Hebrew word, amin, as "believed." In the Gospels, amhn is almost always translated, "verily." In English, we say, "Amen" - so be it. While Abraham accepted the finality of the decision that one born in his house would not be his heir, he did not grasp the full intent of the promise that the heir would be his by Sarah. When Sarah passed the point of possibility in child bearing, she advised taking the fulfillment into their own hands. Ishmael was born of Hagar. This did not illustrate the gospel from God's viewpoint; it was of human devising. When it was fully recognized as impossible by human initiative, then God intervened, and Isaac was born. The question was answered - "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Gen. 18:14) What God promises, He is able to perform to those who by faith say, with meaning, "Amen, Lord."

In the ceremonies of the sanctuary given to Israel, the gospel is revealed. The sinner makes confession over the substitute provided. It is the priest who makes the atonement assuring forgiveness. (Lev. 4:25-26) On the Day of Atonement, it was the high priest alone who entered the most holy and secured the cleansing of Israel. (16:17) Only two things were required of the recipients:    1)    They were to afflict their souls, and    2)    cease from their work(s). (23:29-30) They could not cleanse themselves; no amount of work on their part could contribute to God's initiative. The soul affliction would but reveal to them their desperate situation, and their need for Divine mercy and cleansing.

Isaiah, known as the gospel prophet, pictures God as asking - "Is there a God beside me?" - and the answer is given, "Yea, there is no God; I know not any." (44:8) Isaiah had just written - "Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and His Redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first and the last; and beside Me there is no Elohim." (v.6) This unique oneness in duality is linked with God as the only Savior. Quoting God, Isaiah writes - "There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." (45:21-22) Only God can save. Turning from God's power to save, Isaiah focuses on man's inability to save himself, or to contribute to his salvation. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we do all fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (64:6) Even the elementary things we do which are right are as "filthy rags." With the Psalmist, Isaiah is but confessing that our goodness attaineth not unto God. (See Ps. 16:2)

In the pantomime of the book of Zechariah with its eschatological implications, the high priest is pictured as robed in "filthy garments." The command is given - "Take away the filthy garments from him." Then to the high priest, the Lord declares - "Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I have clothed thee with a change of raiment." (3:3-4) It is God acting; man but surrendering to the Divine mandate. What does he lose? - only his own "righteousnesses" which have no merit, and his "iniquities" arising from his corrupted fallen nature.

Other illustrations and references could be drawn from the Old Testament which picture God as the only Savior. From the moment that God came into the Garden of Eden calling to the man - "Where art thou?" - He has never ceased His initiative. Finally, He was to come where man was and tabernacle with man in the slave form of sin. And all through this period of time, what had been man's response? With few exceptions, that response has taken one of two forms. Either, man has openly continued in his re-

p 4 -- bellion against God, or he has offered his righteousnesses as a contribution to the saving work of God, thus exalting himself as one with God.

IN THE NEW TESTAMENT -- There is an interesting "bridge" text in the prologue of the Gospel of John which unites the Old and New Testaments. It reads:       For the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (1:17)

The text literally reads in the Greek - "The law through {dia with the genitive} Moses was given, the grace and the truth through {dia with the genitive} Jesus Christ came to be {egeneto}. This same word, egeneto, is used in John 1:14 - "And the Logos flesh came to be." (lit.) While Moses was the instrument through which the Law was given; grace and truth was a reality in Jesus Christ. He was the embodiment of this revelation not merely its instrument. He "was full of grace and truth." Herein is the crucial difference between the old and the new covenants - the Old and New Testaments.

The only revelation of God's will in the OT - spoken by God Himself, written by God with His own finger in stone - was the Law of God which He uttered from Sinai. The grace of God which bringeth salvation was yet to be revealed. It existed in promise and was manifest in direct interventions by God. (Gen. 6:8) The dominion of this earth had not been wrested from Satan. Israel to whom the Law was committed in sacred trust and who followed after the law of righteousness did not attain to it. "Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law." (Rom. 9:31-32)

This is pointedly illustrated in the experience of the Rich Young Ruler. He came to Jesus asking - "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 18:18) Jesus responded - "If thou wilt enter into [eternal] life, keep the commandments." (Matt. 19:17) We tend to overlook Jesus' answer to the Ruler's question, "Which?" Jesus in replying enumerated only the ones which pertained to man's duty to his fellowmen, and omitted the final one of the six - "Thou shalt not covet." To this the Ruler responded - "All these have I kept from my youth up." Keep in mind that Jesus did not challenge His integrity; He challenged his heart - "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." (Jer. 17:9) He said to the young man - "Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast...; and come, follow Me." (Luke 18:22) Here was revealed the plague spot of his heart - lust (Rom. 7:7) - let alone his relationship to God - following God as manifest in the flesh. Christ did not deny the necessity to keep the commandments, but He revealed that man can not have eternal life except they believe in Him. This is the message which Christ - "full of grace and truth" - brought to man. It is the Everlasting Gospel.

On another occasion, Jesus made the condition of eternal life painfully simple. When asked - "What shall we do that we might work the works of God?" (John 6:28) {Note the plural, "works"} Observe carefully the singular in Jesus' reply - "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." (v.29) The designed "works" came through Moses; but man could not attain to them. Grace and truth came to be in Christ Jesus. Meeting man's desperate need, God said - "There is one work - believe in Jesus." "Ye are complete in Him." (Col. 2:10) (To Be Continued)

HELPS -- What is justification by faith? - 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. When they begin to praise and exalt God all the day long, then by beholding they are becoming changed into the same image.

What is regeneration? - It is revealing to man what is his own real nature, that in himself he is worthless.   EGW, Adelaide, Oct. 12,1896

Human nature could not keep the law, even if it would. Apart from Christ, without union with Him, we can do nothing ...,

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 sin of the world. The shed blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin, ...

Christ reconciled the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them. 0, what compassion and love are here revealed! How is humanity exalted through the merits of Christ! His sacrifice is ample and complete. The Holy One died instead of the ungodly. He clothed Himself in our filthy garments, that we might wear the spotless robe of His righteousness, which was woven in the loom of heaven.

We are not to do something in order to purchase our en trance into heaven; for the Lord gives us heaven through the merits of Jesus Christ, and not through any merit of our own, ...       Excerpts from the Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895 (Read the whole article)

Confusing Time & Place -- We are in the final decade of the 20th Century. While there are similarities between this decade and the final decade of the 19th Century, there are also distinct differences. These differences as well as the similarities need to be carefully differentiated.

The period from 1888 through 1900 witnessed a strong agitation in America for a Sunday Law. Not so in this decade. In 1895, J. F. Snyder in a letter to Cardinal Gibbons, suggesting the words of the reply, received the response that "the act" of changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday "is the mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters." (See Facts of Faith, pp. 292-293) Not so in this decade. The Catholic Church through a Cardinal, who heads Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, declared that sharing the Eucharist is the "ultimate sign and seal of church unity." (EPS 91.02.74) This contrasts with a letter written by a Cardinal's secretary after having the words formulated by the inquirer. It is direct from the highest voice in the Roman Catholic ecumenical Pontificate.

At a recent gathering of Adventist retirees, the Roman Catholic trained Adventist lawyer from the West Coast appealed to the craving for the sensational by citing a parish newsletter, in which the local priest defined as "the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the church ever did," that of changing the Sabbath "not from any directions noted in the Scriptures, but from the Church's sense of its own power." This observation of the parish priest in Algonac, Michigan fits well into the Catholic boasts and positions stated in their catechisms published during the final decade of the 19th century and first decades of this century. Not so now. The latest Roman Catholic catechism, Catechism of the Catholic Church, carrying the imprimi potest of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger carries no such boast nor alludes to any such change but rather defends the observance of Sunday setting forth a Biblical rationale. The arguments follow closely the reasoning of the Lord's Day Alliance using the same approach and application of Biblical texts. (pp. 580-586) However, there is in this section of the Catechism a joining of Sunday observance with the new "sign" chosen by the Roman Church, the Eucharist. Paragraph 2181 reads in part - "The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice." Paragraph 2182 follows by stating - "Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and his Church."

In the last decade of the 19th century, there was no such emphasis for a one world order as we hear today. It is obvious from the Pope's Encyclical, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, that has in mind a working relationship between the three monotheistic religions of earth - Christian, Jewish and Islamic, all of which have different weekly holy days - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday - a long weekend! We need also to keep in mind that "the image to the beast" is set up in the "earth" a symbol used of where the second beast of Revelation 13 arose. (vs. 11, 14) This involves differentiation of place for a confrontation between truth and error.

Against this backdrop of contrast, is the "time and place" counsel of the Writings, and its application to the Writings themselves. There is a statement in Testimonies for the Church, Vol. V which speaks of a "decree enforcing the papal Sabbath" serving as a warning "to leave the large cities preparatory to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the mountains." (pp.464-465) This was written in the 1880s, in an eschatological setting. Now a century later, where are the "secluded places" that would be free from government intrusion? Today modern tracking devices make what few wilderness areas that may still exist as open as the cities themselves.

Please take the time to re-read page 5 of the previous WWN [12(96)]. Then note the statement from TM, p. 62. It reads that when "anti-christ will appear as the true Christ" then "the law of God will be fully made void in the nations of our world." The antichrist, from context, is "Satan clothed as an angel of light." Further "the apostate churches" who join in the exaltation and deification of Satan will be awakened by the outpouring of the wrath of God. This is to take place in "the last remnant of time." (See The Great Controversy, pp. 561-562) It should be obvious that the making void of God's law is associated not with a national "decree," but with a law involving "nations" initiated by Satan himself. Add to this the comment - "The Lord will judge according to their works those who are seeking to establish a law of the nations that will cause men to violate the law of God. (Letter 90, 1908; emphasis supplied) If we do not keep our thinking straight now, and are still holding a 19th century mentality, refusing to honestly deal with time and place, what are we going to do when suddenly the final deception descends on the inhabitants of the world as an "overwhelming surprise"?

There is another contrast between the two decades that dare not be overlooked. While the close of the 19th century saw the Church debating the message of justification by faith, and not having reached the proverbial 144,000 in membership, the final decade of the 20th century sees the Church splintered, and the main body far afield from the basic teachings which once were the hallmark of Adventism. Basically the Adventism of the final decade of the 19th century is not the Adventism that marks the last decade of the 20th century. Even the splintered groups of Adventism who profess to be holding to the "historic" faith cannot seem to grasp the meaning of the counsel given by the Lord's messenger during the final decade of the 1800s:      The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light. (R&H, August 7, 1894)

p 6 -- Lessons from Pen Pictures in John's Gospel -- John the Baptist -- Following the prologue in his Gospel in which he wrote - "There was a man sent by God" - John reveals that the ministry of that man, John the Baptist, was an "independent" ministry. The Jewish leadership in Jerusalem sent "priests and Levites," the clergy of Israel, to find out what he was up to. (John 1:6, 19) By birth, John the Baptist was a member of that clergy, but he had not stopped by the Temple to pick up his credentials nor his assignment before beginning his ministry. To various questions he responded in the negative. Finally the inquiring priests in exasperation asked - "Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?" (v. 22) His reply was simple - he came in fulfillment of prophecy - "the voice of one crying in the wilderness" as said the prophet Isaiah. The point of interest in this pen picture is the fact that John the Baptist was the herald of Christ's first advent. Certain factors from this experience need to be carefully considered.

The Jewish Church with its leadership had failed God. A voice was needed to herald the soon appearing Redeemer. God raised this voice from among the clergy of the Jewish Church, placed him in an "independent" ministry and timed his message with the fulfillment of prophecy. These criteria dare not be overlooked in an hour when many "voices are confusing the concerned people in the community of Adventism.

When Jesus gave the parable of the Ten Virgins, he indicated that a "voice" outside the virgins would be heard at midnight calling, "Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him." (Matt. 25:6) This "voice" was not one of the "virgins;" they were all slumbering and sleeping. Would the credentials of this voice parallel the credentials of John the Baptist - A man sent from God; called from among the clergy of the Church; placed in an "independent" ministry; and on time in harmony with a fulfilled prophecy?

If the single criterion of the "voice at midnight" parallels that of John the Baptist - taken from among the clergy of the Church - this would in one clean sweep eliminate most of the "voices" sounding today as "independents." Perhaps this is why there was such urgency, awhile ago, to get certain "voices" ordained to give outward validity to their ministries. But they were not ordained by the Church, hence they do not meet the Biblical criterion of john the Baptist's "independent" ministry. God does not leave any sincere soul in confusion if such a one is willing to walk in the light coming from the pen pictures found in the Word of God.

Nathaniel -- Another pen picture from the first chapter of John is the call of Nathaniel. He is appraised by Christ as "an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile. " (1:47) Interestingly, the word, "guile" is not from the same Greek word for "guile" as is found in Rev. 14:5. It is, doloV rather than yeudoV. The word is from the verb, delw, meaning to catch with a bait. Thus perceived the word stands for a lure, snare, and signifies craft, deceit and guile Nathaniel was open and above board; forthright and honest. He said what he meant; and meant what he said without malice or intrigue. This type of person is a part of the great want of the world and the Church - men who in their inmost souls are true and honest. It leaves little doubt about Nathaniel's popularity in his home community of Cana of Galilee, or elsewhere.

We do not like unvarnished verbalizing. We prefer what the world calls diplomacy. Jesus said, "Let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." (Matt. 5:37) We should be as open and as transparent as the sunbeam at noonday.

We might ask ourselves, why did John include this call of Nathaniel and detail it. In the Gospels, he does not come across as a prominent apostle as do Peter, James and John. We hear little before and nothing of him after his being in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 1:13: Bartholomew = Nathaniel) The Gospel of John is about one thing - truth. He uses this word (alhqeia in the Greek) 25x while in the other three Gospels, it is used only 7x. It is also found 20x in his three Epistles. John is not primarily interested in truth in the abstract but in the reality of life, and the call of Nathaniel illustrated this kind of truth. It is the kind of truth that Jesus is, and the type of truth He desires to see in his followers.

Truth in the abstract is essential for unless we know the truth, we cannot live the truth. "There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. It is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the mind." (The Desire of Ages, p.671) It is essential to understand this for at least two reasons:    1)    This element is a vital factor in the issue of "historic" Adventism. Another name by which it can be called is "traditional" Adventism. Only as we advance in our understanding of truth can we free ourselves from traditions which are as "tares" grown up around the wheat. And    2)    The very gospel concerns the righteousness of Christ "which is pure, unadulterated truth," not just truth in the abstract but truth revealed in the daily life as we communicate, not with guile and deceit, but in sincerity. There is a dirth of this kind of fellowship.

LETS TALK IT OVER -- In spite of the fact that Ellen G. White plainly wrote that "God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines" (The Great Controversy. p. 595), there are those who will not consider the truth revealed in the Holy Scriptures unless it is bolstered by direct quotes from the Writings. Some who hold the Writings to be on a par with or above the Scriptures actually want certain portions of the Bible set aside in their consideration of doctrine. This is especially true in the present confrontation over righteousness by faith. Since in this issue of WWN we are beginning a series on the Gospel, and plan to base our conclusions solely on the Word of God, the norm by which all gifts are to be tested, we have provided a section following the first

p 7 -- article called, "Helps." These are from published articles and letters which reflect the same conclusions we have drawn in the article from Scripture alone as counseled to do. To follow this counsel is not to deny the gift of the Spirit as one is often accused of doing if he follows this specific counsel; but to fail to follow the counsel given is tantamount to denying the gift itself. It is sad that one has to belabor this point so often, or constantly defend himself for following this counsel, when those who are at "ease in Zion" will not put forth the study and effort necessary to discover truth from the "Bible only" on such an important matter as the Gospel. Do the Writings present a new gospel from that which Jesus Christ gave to Paul? (See Gal 1:12) Yet the tragedy of this whole picture is the fact that those who do this are by this avenue deceiving sincere concerned Adventists. Instead of urging concerned Adventist to study the Word for themselves, and providing the tools essential to study the word, these false "voices" content themselves with articles composed of "quotations." How shall professed "guardians of the flock" answer in the day of final accounts, and how will the people be ready to answer for their faith when questioned during the final controversy "between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and

Follow Up -- In the October issue of WWN [10(96), p. 3], we reproduced a picture from the Gleaner, official organ of the North Pacific Union, showing three ministers in clerical robes. Reaction to the editor of the Gleaner was swift. One sister nearing 80, born into an Adventist family, baptized when 14, wrote - "Our Lord must hang His head in shame as angels weep." A brother responded - "I am not sure I am a member of the remnant church anymore." Another sister commented - "Our ministers look like they are trying to look like priests of some kind," Then one questioned - "Is the garb they are wearing any indication of who our leader really is, or just who is influencing the leadership of my church?" So acute was the response that the editor reproduced the picture and had a feature article in the August 5, 1996 issue of the Gleaner (p.3) captioned - 'Defrock These Men?' While this title is a play on words, the answer in the affirmative would be very apropos.

The editor asked one of the men pictured to respond to this reaction from the field. Roscoe Howard, assistant to the Union President for regional affairs quoted Paul in II Thess 2:15 - "Therefore brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or by epistle." He then applied this to what he called "a rich and beautiful heritage of the black community when it comes to worship and praise." He claimed that "robes were very much a part of the cultural heritage of Africa, with reference to royalty and nobility." This is not the "tradition" of which Paul is writing. Howard has perverted the Scriptures. You cannot assess pagan culture as Christian teachings. A follower of the Lord Jesus Christ lays aside all pagan culture of his ancestry. Paul stated clearly - "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ {not his pagan inheritance}. There is neither Jew nor Greek {They had their different cultures}, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3:27-28) God's true church is not a multicultural church. There is to be only one culture - "the divine culture" the development of which brings perfection of character. (7B:926)

Howard further commented - "I am told that I am a child of the King, and that makes me a prince, praise God!" The context is in reference to "royalty and nobility." So he can wear robes! Are
not the members of the Church also "children of the King"? Perhaps all as they enter the Church on Sabbath should be furnished a robe to wear even as the clergy. All are to have robes, even now, but robes in which there is not a single thread of human devising, the robe of Christ's righteousness. The picture reflected such a lack with men covering themselves with robes of human devising.

A New Ministry Planned -- For those whose eyesight may be failing, or for those who are blind, yet wish to keep informed of events within the community of Adventism and the religious world as reported each month in WWN, we plan to tape each issue and mail to those so requesting. The service will be available through each Foundation office. --- (1997 Jan) --- End --- TOP

1997 Feb -- XXX -- 2(97) -- XXX 2(97) -- THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL -- Part 2 -- Editor's Preface -- In this issue, we continue the study of the meaning of the "Everlasting Gospel" of Revelation 14. Again we follow the study with "Helps" primarily from The Desire of Ages. May we suggest that you note the comparison with the Pharisees of Christ's day and the Laodiceans. Keep in mind that it was the Pharisees who advocated a lifestyle which to them procured merit before God. Further, it seems that for many "independents" the mention of the formula arising out of the Reformation is anathema. We are unable to separate what is truth from the error others have interwoven with that truth. To assert that one's salvation is solely dependent on "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" does not mean that I believe in what is called "eternal security." I can fall from grace and be lost. We have prepared a taped study seeking to reduce the need of man, and the redemption provided by God to the lowest common denominator. We called it "The Two Mysteries." You may have a copy merely for the cost of postage and handling - US$1.00. Send your request to the Foundation office, P. 0. Box 69, Ozone. AR 72854. and ask for Tape #121.

The Roman Catholic Church is in turmoil, and the suggestion is made by conservative Catholics that the solution can be found in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. This new Catechism presents us with some problems. No longer is it admitted that the Roman Church changed the day of worship to Sunday, but rather it is suggested to be of apostolic origin. There is also in this new statement of Catholic belief, the emphasis on the celebration of the Eucharist connected with the Sunday Mass.

In the editorial "Let's Talk It Over" we discuss why we did not reorder the Adventist Review, nor the Ministry for the year 1997. One cannot be attentive to the meaning of the "Everlasting Gospel" and give support to a "social gospel." There is a vast difference between emphasizing truth, and setting forth how we can adjust so as to make people feel at home with a lifestyle contrary to truth. Is a church paper, whether for the laity or ministry, to be a prophetic voice calling to a higher plane, or merely a voice pleasant to the perceptions of the reader?
p 2 -- The Everlasting Gospel -- Part 2 -- In the first article of the series on "The Everlasting Gospel" we discussed the experience of the Rich Young Ruler. In this essay we shall return to it, and note again the significance of what Jesus said. When the Ruler asked, "Which?" in response to His declaration, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matt. 19:17-18). Jesus enumerated five of the last six of the Decalogue: "Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother." (Luke 18:20) These define one's relationship to his fellowmen. The young man could respond that he had kept these from his "youth up," and Jesus did not challenge his honesty.

Every individual who so desires can keep these commandments. The four negative commands are forbidden acts which a morally good person refrains from doing, as well as showing respect for his parents. Jesus, however did not quote the tenth "Thou shalt not covet. " Why? Paul perceived its significance when he wrote "I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." (Rom. 7:7) Sin is more than a mere act; it arises out of the heart of man. One or all of the other five will be broken to obtain the object coveted. There is more to entering into life than the mere observance of five commandments. There was a lack which the Ruler could not bring himself to change; and that lack had to do with two things:    1)    Recognition of the very nature of sin; and    2)    the only remedy for its cure. To state it simply in another way, it means denial of self, and acceptance of Jesus Christ as the only way back to the Father. This lesson from the experience of the Rich Young Ruler as given in Scripture, we refuse to recognize, and seek instead to interpret this experience as teaching that men as a means of salvation must keep the law. "Human nature could not keep the law, even if it would." (See "Helps," p. 4 in previous issue of WWN) Herein is the crux of the difference between the Everlasting Gospel, and the Tridentine Gospel being promulgated by "voices" proclaiming themselves to be "historic" Adventists.

The question is not whether the Ten Commandments should be kept. God has not altered His requirements. The same demands which rested on Adam and Eve - perfect obedience - rests on each today. The question is how shall this design of God be reached. The first step is the recognition on the part of an individual of his own condition  -  that of absolute worthlessness. Then and then only can regeneration begin. Tragically, this all too often, as with the Rich Young Ruler, is too much for us to recognize, and we seek another way  - the Tridentine way of "the mystery of iniquity."

Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount had selected two of these Ten Commandments to illustrate a higher righteousness required than mere assent to the letter of the Law. He said that the commandment  - "Thou shalt not kill" -  included being "angry with [one's] brother without a cause," and saying to him  - "Thou fool." He incisively went to the heart of the seventh commandment declaring  "that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already with her in his heart."  (Matt. 5:22, 28)  Could the Rich Young Ruler have said in the light of this  -  "All of these have I kept from my youth up"? Jesus was plainly indicating that the letter of the Law is one thing, the righteousness required by God is another thing. In introducing this section of His sermon, Jesus has unequivocally stated:        Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (ver. 20)

This is what Paul was talking about when he declared that "touching the righteousness which is in the law," he was "blameless," for he was "a Pharisee." (Phil 3:5-6) He realized, however, that a higher standard of excellency was required; and thus sought not his own "righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." (v. 9) Herein again the line is drawn between "the everlasting gospel" and the Tridentine concepts of "the mystery of iniquity."

Jesus gave an object lesson which brings into sharp focus this contrast. The record reads:       Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other. (Luke 18:10-14)

It should be observed that the Pharisee "prayed with himself." Thus the call to "God" also included himself. This is the same as those today who believe that by their good works they contribute to their salvation. It should also be noted that the record of this object lesson is found in Luke alone. He did his research for the gospel record while in Judea with Paul, during Paul's confinement. He shared with Paul his findings. One can only imagine Paul's response when he learned of this story that Jesus told. You can almost hear him say, "Luke, this is it! It tells the whole story. I was once as that Pharisee. Don't leave it out of your record of the life of Jesus." And he didn't. Further, Luke quotes Jesus as using the same term that Paul uses

p 3 -- in his unequivocal conclusion in Romans 3.  - "justified." That conclusion reads -       "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Rom. 3:28)

Paul reached this conclusion by first noting certain obvious facts; that is, obvious to all except the Pharisee and the Laodicean. He documented the fact that "all are under sin." (Rom 3:9) He is not saying that all have committed sins, which is also true, but that all are under sin, and unless there is an escape from this state of being, there is no hope. Paul then strengthens his position by quoting from Psalms 14   -  "There is none righteous, no, not one. ... There is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Rom. 3:10,12)    A second fact follows; here enters the Law   - the Law speaks to them who are "under the law" that all may be guilty before God. "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in [God's] sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (3:19-20) The law serves but one purpose, and that purpose tells me that I am a sinner, however reluctant I am to so confess. Then what is the solution? It cannot be in myself   - I am not good, neither am I righteous. Echoing down the corridors of time is the answer Abraham gave Isaac   - "God will provide Himself a lamb." (Gen. 22:8) This is what Paul states the answer to be   - "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 3:24) Because of this "free" grace, and the redemption provided by Jesus Christ, God can "be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (v. 26) The final premise which Paul drew is inevitable. Note it again   - "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." On this fundamental concept. the revelation of the Gospel as given to Paul rests. Any other premise is accursed. (See Gal. 1:12, 8)

What is this word   - "justified" -   which Paul uses? And what does it mean? The word in the Greek   - dikaiow -   is a legal term, as is clearly indicated in the Papyri, and means to judge, declare, pronounce righteous, and thus acceptable. The basis for this acceptance is the meritorious blood of Jesus Christ, nothing else. (Rom. 3:25) As used judicially by the Greeks it had a negative meaning   - "to condemn"  -   as well as the positive aspect "to acquit." The LXX, the Bible of the apostolic Church, constantly used the term in the positive sense of "to pronounce righteous." The legal emphasis of the word in the LXX is stronger than in the Hebrew Masoretic text. For example, Isa. 45:25 suggests that "righteousness is with Jehovah, while the LXX reads that Israel is "declared righteous by Him."

After making the dictum that "a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." Paul illustrates what he means by noting the experience of Abraham. To this we shall return; but in the process of his argument, Paul cites Psalm 32 which describes "the blessedness of of man, unto whom God imputeth  [puts to his account   - logizetai]  righteousness without works." While Paul quotes only a part of verse 2 because the rest was not apropos to his argument, the part omitted is very apropos to the present understanding of righteousness by faith. It reads that the blessedness of imputed righteousness comes to those "in whose spirit there is not guile." The LXX uses the same Greek word to translate the Hebrew word for "guile" as was used by John to describe the guilessness of Nathaniel as perceived by Jesus. (John 1:47) Those who receive Christ's righteousness are in their inmost souls true and honest. They know their hearts to be "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." (Jer. 17:9) They know and freely acknowledge that "the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (10:23) The simple honesty of the publican would solve all the problems of Laodiceanism and would soon produce the people in whose mouth there is no guile.(Rev. 14:5) We forget that God is not looking for 144, 000 perfect people but for 144.000 sinners in whom He might show His great salvation. Only such will know the blessedness of transgression forgiven, and sins covered.

Returning to the experience of Abraham cited by Paul to illustrate his premise of justification "without the deeds of the law," we note two aspects of the on-going redemptive process. First "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness." This is quoted from Genesis 15:6, and there it says literally that Abraham said, "Amen" to God. He believed   - he acknowledged the promise of God, and said -   "So be it." So also am I to believe what God promises me   - the record of Christ's righteousness in place of a record of sin and no good works of mine added to improve the record.

The second aspect had to do with the sin problem not as the works of sin, but as of sin itself. Abraham and Sarah could not have a child; it was humanly impossible. Only by the direct intervention of God was Issac conceived. Only by the direct intervention of God will there be a people who will be translated who do not first see corruption. This aspect of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus is not expanded upon until the final book of Scripture. Paul merely concludes that the experience of Abraham "was not written for his sake alone, ... but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead." (4:23-24) There is a present justification, and there is a future justification, neither of which are or will be through the merits of human works. The everlasting gospel is concerned about the final justification of which the first-on-going is an example and prerequisite. Between the two experiences is what is called sanctification   - the lifetime between the experience of forgiveness and cleansing. Before considering this part of the everlasting gospel and what it means, we shall continue to note further aspects of the gospel revealed to Paul. -- (To Be Continued)

p 4 -- Helps -- Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his greatest triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. ... The principle that man can save himself by his own works, lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin. (Desire of Ages, pp.35-36)

As it was in the days of Christ, so it is now; the Pharisees do not know their spiritual destitution. To them comes the message, "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear." [Rev. 3:17-18] ... The righteousness of Christ is to them a robe unworn, a fountain untouched. ...

Man must be emptied of self before he can be, in the fullest sense, a believer in Jesus. When self is renounced, then the Lord can make a man a new creature. (ibid., p.280)

The work of Christ in cleansing the leper from his terrible disease is an illustration of His work in cleansing the soul from sin. The man who came to Jesus was "full of leprosy." Its deadly poison permeated his whole body. ... Thus it is with the leprosy of sin,  -  deep-rooted, deadly, and impossible to be cleansed by human power. "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores." [Isa. 1:5-6] ... Whosoever will fall at [Jesus'] feet, saying in faith, "Lord, if thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean," shall hear the answer, "I will, be thou made clean." (ibid., p.266)

For the moment the interest of the hearers was awakened. They exclaimed, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" They had been performing many and burdensome works in order to recommend themselves to God; and they were ready to hear of any new observance by which they could secure greater merit. Their question meant, What shall we do that we may deserve heaven? What is the price we are required to pay in order to obtain the life to come?

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." The price of heaven is Jesus. The way to heaven is through faith in "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (ibid., p.385)

Our own works can never purchase salvation. (ibid,., p.280)

It is only through faith in Christ that sinners may have the righteousness of Christ imputed unto them, and that they may be "made the righteousness of God in Him." Our sins were laid on Christ, punished in Christ, put away by Christ, in order that His righteousness might be imputed to us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895)

The "Solas" -- When we as Adventists look at the conflict over the Gospel, we get hung up on certain terms that are used by those opposed to the Tridentine formula of the Council of Trent. These terms growing out of the Reformation are - sola fide: "by faith alone;" sola gratia: "by grace alone;" sola Christi: "through Christ alone." The formula which associates these terms states that one is justified "by grace alone through faith alone, because of Christ alone." Neuhaus, in his dialogue with Evangelicals, avers that this is a sixteenth century theological construct (E&CT, p.200). When it originated is at the moment immaterial. It does express the distinct difference between the Tridentine position of Rome, and the Everlasting Gospel. The question of primary concern is;   Is this formula, and the terms used in it, Scriptural? This we need to carefully check. Let us start with the source of redemption  -  "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus". (Rom. 3:24)

Is it - sola Christi? Jesus Himself declared - "No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." (John 14: 6) Peter affirmed   -  "Neither is there salvation in any other for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) Neither by any earthly priestly intercession, nor works of righteousness which I might do, am I awarded salvation  -  it is through Christ alone - sola Christi.

Through what medium does it come? Paul wrote to Titus  -  "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men." (2:11) It was "God [who] commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8) It is this grace  -  God's grace  -  by which we are justified freely. "Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross, I cling." It is sola gratia.

How do I respond to the provision of God? I believe. In the Greek, this is the translation of the verb form of the noun, faith. In English there is no verb for "faith." "For by grace are ye saved through faith." (Eph. 2:8) Paul said to Peter  -  "We have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Gal 2:16) Jesus Christ is even the author of saving faith. (Heb. 12:2) sola fide expresses this concept of Scripture.

All  -  the source:  "the grace of God;"  the provision:  "the redemption in Christ Jesus;" and   the means of appropriation:  "the faith of Jesus"  -  are outside of man, and come solely (sola) from God.

That men would pervert the once for all atoning sacrifice of Calvary and turn it to mean "once saved always saved," does not nullify the truth of Scripture that we are justified by grace alone, through the exercise of faith alone, in the redemption found in Christ Jesus. Let the anathemas of the Council of Trent fall; let the compromises being forged to efface the Reformation teaching on justification take place, we need to determine as did Luther, "Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God." "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." (Gal. 5:5)

p 5 -- Catholic Disharmony -- All is not peace and harmony within the Church of Rome. An editorial in The Catholic World Report (October, 1996), a conservative journal, discussed the fact that the American bishops are arguing about the teaching authority in the Church of Rome. "In June, San Francisco's former Archbishop John Quinn ... delivered a highly publicized lecture at Oxford, calling for a more 'democratic' Church and thus a less powerful papacy ... Then. on August 12, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardine of Chicago held a long-awaited press conference to announce ... his own project to set the future course for the Catholic Church." (p. 34) He called his program the "Catholic Common Ground Project." Bernardine indicated that he felt compelled to launch this project because he was unhappy over the "meanspiritedness" being manifest in debates among American Catholics. These factors were the basis for the editorial, "The 'Source and Foundation' of Christian [Roman Catholic] Unity." That there be no doubt as to his position, the editor quoted from the Vatican II document. Lumen Gentium:    "The Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful."

Philip Lawler, in his editorial, let it be known that Pope John Paul II has been outspoken in presenting the Church's teaching. "The Catechism of the Catholic Church has shown us (as the Pope himself put it) 'the content and wonderful harmony of the Catholic faith.'" In other words, there is no need for any debate or dialogue. The cover of the October issue of The Report featured Mary clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet. In the lower left corner was the present Pope with his shepherd's staff, his head bowed in adoration. The upper right corner had the words. "Catechism of the Catholic Church," and across the center in bold characters - COMMON GROUND - with a subtitle - "What Are the Sources of Unity Among Catholics?" The answer was in the background portrayal . Clearly, the written source is the new Catechism.

The Catechism is a documented 756 page volume with documentation taken from the Church Fathers, Papal Encyclicals including those of the present pope, and the Church Councils, including Trent. But of interest, there is also much Biblical reference. It is because of this documentation that we need to take a careful look.

In previously recognized Roman Catholic catechisms, the qiestion of the Sabbath, which day it is, and why it was changed, is clearly enunciated. For example, The Convert's Catechism of Christian Doctrine, prepared by Geiermann, and which received the "apostolic blessing" of Pius X in 1910, reads:

Ques. -    Which is the Sabbath day?    Ans. -   Saturday is the Sabbath day.

Ques. -    Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?    Ans. -    We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the council of Laodicea (A.D. 336), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday ... The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday by the plenitude of that divine power which Jesus Christ bestowed upon her. (p. 50:   See Facts of Faith, p. 69)

During the Sabbath-Sunday controversy which marked the closing decade of the 19th century, a priest of the Church offered repeatedly $1,000 to any one who could give a single text of Scripture justifying the observance of Sunday. Not so, as we have come to the final decade of the 20th century. The new Catechism of the Catholic Church with the Apostolic Constitution, Fidei Depositum by the present Pope, would appear to seek to collect on its own $1,000 offer. It is of interest to note to whom this "Deposit of Faith" is addressed by John Paul II: -    "To my Venerable Brothers the Cardinals, Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, and to all the People of God."

In regard to the Sabbath, the Catechism first reiterates the Old Testament pronouncements in regard to the Sabbath, then the second section presents "The Lord's Day." It is prefaced by the text -    "This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Ps. 118:24) Three sections are devoted to the reason for its observance. They read:

The Day of the Resurrection; the new creation -- Jesus arose from the dead "on the first day of the week." Because it is the "first day," the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the "eighth day" following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday:        We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [ after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead. [Justin]

Sunday -- fulfillment of the sabbath -- Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week:    for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ.       Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death, [St. Ignatius of Antioch]

p 6 -- The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public, and regular worship "as a sign of his universal beneficence on all." Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people. (pp. 581-582)

Several things should be noted from this discussion of what is termed "The Lord's Day." The word "Sabbath" unless at the beginning of a sentence, or in a section title, is never capitalized. The question and answer format of the previous catechisms is no longer used. Absent is any reference to the change of the day of worship being done by the Roman Church as a mark of her authority or power in religious matters. In the footnotes, reference is given to texts of Scripture. The quoted references above are from early Fathers of the Church suggesting the change from Sabbath to Sunday was an apostolic act. If we have eyes to see, the whole basis of the conflict over the Sabbath question has been altered in this new Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The discussion of the Third Commandment [our Fourth] begins with two passages of Scripture - the commandment itself from Exodus 20:8-10 and Mark 2:27-28. Then follows a section on "The Sabbath Day" which we have not quoted. This section links the Sabbath to the Jewish religion, yet its binding claims are emphasized. From the use of Mark 2, the inference is clear. Christ as
the Lord of the Sabbath   - refers to the new day -   "The Lord's day." Not only is it inferred, but the transition paragraph from the discussion of the Sabbath in the Old Testament to the observance of Sunday emphasizes this text. In other words, the change is the Lord's   - not the act of the Church. The Church is merely following "her" Lord. Sunday carries the same essence for the Christian as the Sabbath did for Israel.

Three sections follow the one quoted above and discuss some very important factors:    1)    "The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the [Roman] Church's life." (par. 2177) This is followed by a quotation from the Codex Iuris Canonici which states - "Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in the light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day in the universal Church."    2)    "The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely:    'On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.'" (par. 2180) The reason given is that    "Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice." (par. 2181)    Observe how Sunday and the Eucharist are bound together. This is made the basis of identifying with the true Church. "Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and his Church." The mere enactment of a Sunday law does not produce the basis for the mark of the beast, but a forced participation in the blasphemous Mass of the Roman Church would. In fact, the final paragraph on the "Third" Commandment encourages religious legislation in the name of religious liberty. It reads:    "In respecting religious liberty and the common good of all, Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church's holy days as legal holidays." This is perceived of as "a precious contribution to the spiritual life of society." (par. 2188) The game plan has not changed. The objective as stated in The Liberal Illusion remains, but the factor connected with it, which comes closer to the Biblical designation. "mark of the beast" has been defined.

As the forces within the Roman Church draw their battle lines, and as the ecumenical movement comes closer to its objective, it becomes evident in reading various sections of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church that it was not only written with the Roman Church in mind but also had a broader objective of being the "Common Ground" for a universal Church. The Eucharistic Mass, and that Mass on Sunday, will ultimately come to the forefront of the final confrontation.

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In determlning what publications a small research library
will place on its shelves for an ensuing year, decision time comes each Fall as renewal notices are received from the publishers. For 1997, we made some decisions which we have been contemplating during the year. We chose not to renew the Library subscriptions for the Adventist Review and the Ministry.

When the "truth" came to my family home in Iowa, we were introduced to the Review & Herald under the editorship of F.M. Wilcox. It was during the great depression and so we read "borrowed" Reviews. However, being a teenager, I was introduced to The Youth's Instructor, whose editor, Lora E. Clement, through her editorials, "Let's Talk It Over," left a lasting impression on my mind. It was at college, and upon entering the ministry of the Church that the Review became a regular part of my reading menu. Soon thereafter, Wilcox retired and F. D. Nichol was appointed editor after a six months interim under W. A. Spicer. Nichol was followed by Kenneth H. Wood in 1966. In a little more than a year we began the publication of  "Watchman, What of the Night?" We had occasion to take issue with Wood over several items because he failed to do his "home work" well. However, in retrospect, we but added our voice with those who were opposed to his stand on various fundamental principles with which we could also agree. This we regret. The inroads that liberalism was making into the Church and the lowering of the lifestyle standards on the part of many were anathema to him. I have often wondered what his reaction has been to the changes which have been made in the Review since his departure, changes which have led to our decision.

p 7 -- When Dr. William G. Johnson became editor and his theology became known to us  (We obtained a copy of his doctoral dissertation from Vanderbilt University), I approached a friend who had been a member of the committee that had appointed him and asked him if the committee knew of his positions. The reply was in the affirmative. I then asked, "Why, knowing all of that?" He responded, "We thought he would grow in that position." I wonder now what he thinks of all the "growth" manifest? With the departure of Myron K Widmer from the editorial staff, the only relative fundamental voice on the staff, there is litfie promise of a truly "Adventist" Review. Looking down the road because of this change, the possible successor to a soon retiring Johnson is unthinkable.

What is thc basic problem? The Adventist Review has becomc a voice of a social gospel. Instead of perceiving the true gospel, and seeking to call the Church to that gospel, they have let modern lifestyles dictate the message of the publication. The capsheaf came when a feature article asked the question   - Gay Adventists -   The Ultimate Oximoron? (August, 1996, p.11) It is true that the first response took a positive stand for truth, but the counter reply   - that was something else! The final suggestion, that if one could not accept this oxymoron, he ought to think of a name change in his church affiliation, does have merit.

Turning now to the whyfore of the cancellation of the Ministry subscription, the change of direction and policy in the case of the Review is the underlying factor. At one time, I had in my possession all of the early copies of the Ministry. They contained excellent source materials. However, due to frequent moves as an evangelist, I made a terrible error in judgment and left them behind during one move. The first major change in the Ministry came under the editorship of R. Allan Anderson in which he used the magazine to promote the "new" theology resultant from the SDA-Evangelical Conferences in an endeavor to "soften" up the ministry of the Church for the acceptance of the book. Questions on Doctrine. The present decline became very evident with the "sacking" of J. David Newman as editor at the last General Conference session. What should have been done was to change the Ministerial Department and replace Cress as the Ministerial Association Secretary.

There is in the present emphasis a failure to understand the basis of the Three Angels' Messages committed to the Church in the beginning. It is the "Everlasting Gospel" which is the core of these messages. If this were proclaimed and accepted, the ills which plague man today whether it be sin -   homosexuality -   or the results   - aids -   would be met, and the reign of sin could be quickly ended in the return of Jesus. The sinner must realize, no matter what his orientation might be, that the practice of sin must cease, and that he can find consolation only in the mercy of a forgiving God. It must not be forgotten that it was God who gave the Law which removed the leper from the camp of Israel. Until cleansed he could not return.

Beyond this, there is a future aspect to the demand of the final message that was committed in sacred trust to the Church. When "the mark of the beast" is urged upon us, no amount of "social gospel" can prepare one to stand at that time. If I have not so related to Jesus Christ that I "love not my life unto death" (Rev. 12:11), I will accept the mark to save my life. What will have brought this about?    "Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands, and conformed to worldly customs, [the social gospel] will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment. and death." (5T:81) --- (1997 Feb) ---End---- TOP

1997 Mar -- XXX - 3(97) -- XXX 3(97) -- The Everlasting Gospel -- Part 3 -- Editor's Preface -- The third part of the series on the Everlasting Gospel discusses aspects of the "hard to be understood" 5th chapter of Romans. In the article itself, we have not sought to deal with the doctrine of original sin which some have derived from this part of Paul's Letter to the Romans. However, we have added a footnote in which we have noted the thinking of some recognized Greek scholars on this point. In the article itself, we have deviated from the standard understanding of the "type" concept usually attached to Romans 5:14, We suggest a careful study of the "type" analogy developed when the comparison is made between Moses and Christ rather than the Two Adams motif.

This part of Paul's gospel introduces the corporate concept, a concept difficult for the individualistic Western mind-set. However, there are some principles which the corporate concept introduces that need to be carefully understood in the light of the controversies which have fragmented the community of Adventism. What is one's corporate accountability as related to his individual responsibility in the present apostasy which has engulfed the Church?

As the old year closed, I had opportunity to do some reflecting on the past. A couple of recent experiences that I had, triggered memories. These have been discussed in the article, "I Remember." It not only triggered memories, but also raised a question which has concerned me on occasion as I have been confronted with it. The background on this point we begin in this issue and will conclude the discussion in the April issue.

p 2 -- The Everlasting Gospel -- Part 3 -- There should have been no chapter break between Romans 4 & 5. The same God who promised Abraham has made promise to us. Through Jesus Christ, we are promised redemption not only from the guilt resultant from our transgressions, but from the power of sin itself. He died being made sin for us (II Cor. 5:21), but He was raised from the dead. In that act God gave assurance that our sins which Jesus bore were forgiven and that by believing in Him, I am justified. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom. 5:1)

Jesus is the author of faith, a saving faith. (Heb. 12:2) He believed God's covenant promise to Him that if He paid the penalty for sin by becoming sin itself, God would raise Him from the dead. God kept His promise, and He will keep His promise to us to forgive us and to cleanse us. We yield to be crucified in Him, but continuing to live, we live by the faith of Jesus Christ, (Gal 2:20), a faith that is manifest in a complete child-like trust in God. We are again at peace with God, no longer in rebellion against His Word. It is a willingness to accept the present and the unknown future from the hands of Him who knows the end from the beginning. It is the recognition of the God that is too wise to err and too good to withhold from us any essential thing. How few there are who are willing to accept the crucifixion in Christ which declares  -  "Father into Thy hands, I commend my spirit," and so saying give up  -  self. But the peace that results from true justification cannot be found apart from such a crucifixion.

Sin has denied to us the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23) The grace of God which promises restoration full and complete is accessed by faith so that we can rejoice once more "in hope of the glory of God." (Rom. 5:2) While our hope is in a deferred reality, we have no reason to be distrustful, because God's reassuring love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. (5:5)

The whole aspect of salvation was God's initiative and reveals a love beyond human comprehension. Christ died for the ungodly. While yet sinners, "Christ died for us." If then, God provided for the penalty and guilt of sin, will He not also provide for victory full and complete? Yea, but it is all "through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the atonement." (Rom. 5:11) This at-one-ment is a reconciliation with Him with Whom we have been at war; now we have peace with God. In this reconciliation, I come "just as I am without one plea but that the blood of Christ was shed for me."

Then Paul writes -   "Wherefore."   Something is to follow, and that which follows, those who in their desire wish to contribute to their salvation, also wish that Paul had not so written. There are those who would opt that these "some things hard to be understood" penned by Paul (II Peter 3:16) could be excised from the sacred Writ, and in its place a modified Tridentine theology substituted. One must acknowledge honestly that in Romans 5:12-21 are some of those "things hard to be understood which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also other scriptures to their own destruction."

Rather than concern ourselves at this point with the deductions that have been drawn from these verses, let us just seek to read in a simple way what Paul is seeking to say by what he wrote. To Paul it is a matter of life and death because of righteousness and sin. Death came through the sin of one man; life comes through the righteousness of one Man. Even as death is universal because of the sin of one man, much more the provision of life by one Man was provided for a1l. We but dimly perceive the magnitude of the provided redemption in Christ Jesus. However, those who "receive" the "abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (5:17)

In Adam all were dead. It had been for Adam, either  obey:live;  or  disobey:die.  He sinned, and all that he could pass on to his children was death. From this death no son or daughter possessed the ability to escape. The results of the original sin is seen in every man's experience. Because of the depraved nature inherited from Adam, there is a bias toward evil, a power he is unable to resist, and therefore, from the first years of accountability, he sins. Thus there was a doomed world, a race of sinners cut off from Heaven and under the dominion of Satan. There was only one answer: even as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (I Cor. 15:22) The provision of grace in Christ Jesus is "much more" than the transgression of Adam and its results. But it is "in Christ" and by Him alone that the whole world is to be restored to its first dominion. (Micah 4:8) That is what the whole controversy between Christ and Satan is all about.

It is corporate. We are involved through Adam. In Adam all die. This is simply a fact of life. The

p 3 -- "individualism" of the Western mind set makes it very difficult to understand the corporate concept as is clearly set forth in Scripture. For example, the family is a corporate entity. In the Scriptures, the judgment upon, and condemnation of the act of the head of the family fell upon the whole family. This is illustrated in the sin of Achan. (Joshua 7) It is also reflected in the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. (Numbers 16) The consequences of this rebellion involved the whole congregation, and its solution involved separation. Within corporate accountability there is an individual responsibility   - an individuality, a power to think and to do. So long as we remain "in Adam" we are under condemnation, but to as many as receive "the free gift" (Rom. 5:15), to them is granted the privilege "to become sons of God." (John 1:12) We become "in Christ," and in this new corporate involvement, there is no condemnation. (Rom. 8:1)

We turn next to what Paul wrote in verse 14, and then ask the question, To whom did he refer by what he wrote? The verse reads:        "Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come."

Paul introduces a new person into this equation  - Moses. In the span from Adam to Moses, he states the norm, and omits the exception  - Enoch. The question next arises as to whom does the tupoV (type) refer, Adam or Moses. We might say without question  - Adam. True, Christ became the second Adam as head of the race, but this was not God's original intention. In fact, in the setting of this section of Romans, Adam is the antithesis of Christ. Adam brought sin. Christ brought righteousness; Adam brought death, Christ brought life. On the other hand, Moses is revealed as a type of Christ. In Hebrews (3:5) the faithfulness of Moses as a servant over "his house" is noted as a "testimony" of things to come    - the house of Christ "whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." There is much more of a parallel relationship between Moses and Christ, than between Adam and Christ when placed against the background of what Paul is saying in Romans 5. While the Two Adams motif may be inferred from Romans 5, it is not so stated. The two Adams motif is reserved by Paul for a discussion of the resurrection, and so explicitly stated there. (I Cor. 15)

Consider now the history of Israel. With the setting up of Israel, God began a new era in salvation history. He entered into a covenant relationship with them as He had done with Adam. God covenanted with Israel based on the concept; Obey, live; disobey, die. (Ex. 23:20-21) Israel accepted this arrangement. (Ex. 24:7-8) Forty days later, they broke it right at the foot of Mt. Sinai. (Ex. 32:1-8) Into this breech stepped Moses, willing to place himself at eternal risk (32:31-32) The result was that God stated - "I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel." (Ex. 34:27) This was a repeat of Eden, where because of Adam's transgression, the Logos stepped in and God made a covenant with Him and with humanity. The restoration of Israel with God was via Moses even as the restored of humanity is through Jesus Christ. His house is the new "Israel of God." (Gal. 6:16) While He may be a new Head of humanity, it is a distinct humanity   - a humanity saved by grace. The other part of humanity  - the greater part -  who choose to remain "in Adam" also have a new head, he to whom Adam chose to forfeit the first dominion. (John 8:44)

This whole relationship involving Moses also casts light on why Moses was resurrected, and why he came with Elijah to the Mount of Transfiguration to speak with Christ concerning the "exodus" He was to accomplish in Jerusalem. (Luke 9:31   - the word in the KJV translated "decease" is the Greek word, exodos)

The added dimension to this picture is the High Priestly prayer of Christ where He thanks the Father for "the men which thou gavest me out of the world." To them He gave God's word which they kept. But a larger group awaited to be gathered into "the house of Christ" even "them also which shall believe on [Him] through their word." (John 17:6, 20) Thus -        As sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. " (Rom. 5:21) (To be continued)

FOOTNOTE -- It should be noted that from this section of Romans, the doctrine of original sin is proposed. Romans 5:12 is made to read:         Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all man in whom all sinned.       The prepositional phrase in question is ef w (eph' ho). Should this be translated as noted above - "in whom" - or as in the KJV - "for that." Thayer in his Lexicon indicates

p 4 -- that this phrase is the equivalent of epi toutw oti meaning "for that, on the ground of this, that;" and should be translated, "because that all have sinned." With this position, Arndt and Gingrich concur in their Lexicon.

Some interesting comments on this verse are to be found in Alford's Greek Testament. Vol.2. He comments:        There is no reference here, as some Commentators have supposed, to the case of children and idiots ... The aim is to prove, that the seed of sin planted in the race by the one man Adam, has sprung up and borne fruit in all, so as to bring them under death, temporal and spiritual; ... and though sin is not formally reckoned against them, death, the consequence of sin, reigned as a matter of historical fact, over them also.

It is most important to the clear understanding of this weighty passage to bear in mind, the first member of this comparison, as far as it extends, is this: "As by Adam's transgression, of which we are by descent inheritors, we have become (not by imputation merely, but by propensity) sinners, and thus have incurred death." (p.362)

The Expositor's Greek Testament edited by Nicoll, also associates the doctrine of original sin with the question of infants. Concerning those who would interpret Romans 5:12 to be that all sinned in Adam instead of the fact as Paul has previously asserted  - "All have sinned" -  the author of this section of the Greek Commentary writes:        To drag in the case of infants to refute this, on the ground that panteV hmarton (all have sinned) does not apply to them (unless in the sense that they sinned in Adam) is to misconceive the situation: to Paul's mind the world consists of persons capable of sinning and of being saved. The case of those in whom the moral consciousness, or indeed any consciousness whatever, has been awakened, is simply to be disregarded. We know, and can know, nothing about it. Nothing has been so pernicious in theology than the determination to define sin in such a way that in all its damning import this definition should be applicable to "infants"; it is to this we owe the moral atrocities that have disfigured most creeds, and in a great part the idea of baptismal regeneration, which is an irrational unethical miracle, invented by men to get over a puzzle of their own making. (Vol.2, pp.627-628)

HELPS -- "Many who profess to be [Jesus'] followers have an anxious, troubled heart, because they are afraid to trust themselves with God. They do not make a complete surrender to Him; for they shrink from the consequences that such a surrender may involve. Unless they do make this surrender, they cannot find peace." (The Desire of Ages, p.330)

"Christ, in His life on earth, made no plans for Himself. He accepted God's plans for Him, and day by day the Father unfolded His plans. So should we depend upon God, that our lives may be the simple outworking of His will. As we commit our ways unto Him, He will direct our steps. ...

"God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him." (Ministry of Healing p.479)

"The result of the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is manifest in every man's experience. There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided, he cannot resist. To withstand this force, to attain the ideal which in his inmost soul he accepts as alone worthy, he can find help in but one power. That power is Christ." (Education, p.29)

"The inheritance of children is that of sin. Sin has separated them from God. Jesus gave His life that He might unite the broken links to God. As related to Adam, men receive from him nothing but guilt and the sentence of death." (Child Guidance, p.475)

I REMEMBER -- (This was written Christmas Day, 1996) -- Two things sparked my determination to write this testimony. In the month of November, I responded to a request to conduct a seminar on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. One study which Brother John Leonce, who sponsored the seminar, requested was   - "Jerusalem in Bible Prophecy." In reviewing the material for its presentation, I was struck with the documented evidence in the book, Secrets of the New Age by Kenneth R. Wade and my own experience as it related to the prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:24. Early in December, I received the History Book Club packet which announced the new books they were offering to their members. One book caught my eye - Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century by Martin Gilbert. Receiving the book a few days ago, I imrnediately read the "Introduction." There this recognised biographer and historian wrote:       When in June 1967; Jordanian troops, in support of Egypt, bombarded Mount Scopus to the north of the city and Ramat Rahel to the south, the die was cast for Jerusalem to become the battleground for the second time in less than two decades.

The Israeli Government had urged King Hussein not to enter the war. His decision to do so was decisive for the future of Jerusalem. Within two days of his troops opening fire, the former Jordanian sector of the city was under Israeli control. The physical barriers were thrown down " We earnestly stretch out our hands to our Arab brethren in peace," declared Moshe Dayan, Israel's Minister of Defence, "but we have returned to Jerusalem never to part from her again." East Jerusalem, which constituted one-

p 5 -- fifth of the built-up area of the city, was then incorporated by Israel and given new city boundaries." (p. xi)

Clearly, Jesus' prophecy as recorded in Luke 21:24 was fulfilled in 1967 as had His prophecy of verse 20 been fulfilled in AD 66. The probationary (kairoV) time of the nations was fulfilled. What did this signal? Here enters the documentation from Wade's book.

In the chapter, "Roots of the New Age Movement," Wade writes -       "At the core of the current New Age movement is a community called Findhorn. Many if not most of the movement's leaders have visited or lived at Findhorn. The development of Findhorn illustrates what typically happens when people try to meld Eastern and Western religions." (p.23)        Beginning in 1953, those who initiated the Findhorn center experienced communication with "spirit beings" they called "devas." Citing a reference from a book by William Irwin Thompson, a prominent New Age leader, Wade writes - "During this time they became convinced that the New Age would begin at the end of 1967." (p.25)

Wade next tells of a visit to Findhorn in 1970 by a David Spangler and his soulmate, Myrtle Glines. The visit extended for three years. During this time Spangler began to receive messages from a spirit which identified itself as Limitless Love and Truth. This same spirit had communicated with other people in England. The messages from "LL&T" formed   "the basis for their belief that the New Age began at the end of 1967." (p.27, with references to other sources)   It was obvious to the "spirit" world that the "times" of the nations were fulfilled and that the nations were in their hands to work their will. Against this backdrop of history, I remember where I was at that moment in time.

When Madison College, where I was serving as head of the Bible and History Department, closed in 1964, I was invited to come to Minnesota as conference evangelist with the promise that as soon as either the Minneapolis or St. Paul Church opened, I would be assigned to one or the other. This I declined as I wished to complete my graduate work. I was then given the opportunity to go to Andrews University to do so with the proviso that if I added a minor in the field of history, I would return to the Madison campus which was be incorporated into Southern Missionary College and become an adjunct to their nursing program. I was to teach the nursing students their Bible and History. This did not materialise, and following the year at Andrews, I took a leave of absence as a minister in good and regular standing. It was then 1966.

While at Andrews taking class work during the school year 1964-1965, I could not erase from my mind the conviction that the major part of my ministry from that point on would be writing. I did not like to write; I much preferred to organize my thinking in full outline form and speak from those notes. However, I applied myself to a required course, Research and Bibliography, taught by Dr. Lief kr. Tobiassen, which has proved invaluable to me during these years of writing. During the school year of 1965-1966, I completed the Research in Theology requirement - a paper on the Holy Flesh Movement. Then came 1967.

Immediately following the Seven Day War which once more placed Jerusalem under Israeli jurisdiction, I received a letter from a brother in Indiana who had served as a local elder in one of the churches I had pastored there in the late 50s. He asked me what that meant in the light of Jesus' prophecy. I passed it off as I had done in 1948 when serving as pastor of the First Church in Toronto, Canada, and the nation of Israel had once more been constituted. (I still have the notes of the sermon given at that time.) I wrote back to the brother that there was no significance to the event. I had failed to see in 1948 that coming events were casting their shadows before, and that that shadow was a reality in 1967. However, during the Fall the conviction to write bore heavily on my mind, and one morning as I was driving to work  (120 miles RT each day),  I pulled into a side road, prayed and tearfully committed myself to the Lord, promising that if He opened the way so that I could be freed from the time consumed in daily driving, I would do what He wanted me to do - write. He did, and I began writing at the close of 1967, and released the first issue of WWN as the January 1968, issue. It was not until some five years later that I sensed the significance of the prophecy of Jesus as given in Luke 21:24.

God, in Whose hands are the times and seasons, needed a voice to sound the meaning of a fulfilled prophecy, and he ordered a life, and experiences needful in that life, to begin a work at the very time another work was commencing called a New World Order   - an Order in which Satan seeks to implant his will upon the nations. God had given the signal that the probationary time of the nations was fulfilled. A voice needed to be sounded interpreting the significance of the event which marked that time.

p 6 -- Why the Ignorance? -- Whenever Jesus' prophecy as stated in Luke 21:24 is presented to a group of concerned Adventists where I have not spoken previously, or who are unacquainted with the work of the Adventist Laymen's Foundation, the reaction is that they are hearing a new teaching strange to Adventist thought. This ought not to be the case, but why is it? First let us consider the history of this teaching.

In 1898, Edson White wrote in The Coming King:        We also read that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Jerusalem has never come again into the possession of the Jews, and will not until "the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." This will be when the work of the gospel is finished. (p.98)

In 1944, the question of Palestine again appeared in Adventist literature. The Voice of Prophecy published a paperback by J. C. Stevens, Palestine in Prophecy, as their "Gift of the Month" book. The concluding sentence read:       Palestine and Jerusalem do not have a bright future in this present world, and those who are holding the hope of national restoration for the Jews are following a theological will-o'-wisp. (p.95)

This concept was followed in 1947 in another paperback published by the Pacific Press. Written by Roy F. Cottrell, it stated:      The God of heaven who overthrew the city and nation and who because of their apostasy dispersed the inhabitants to the ends of the earth, forever settles the question of a complete return and restoration in old Canaan by asserting that it "cannot be." (p.61)

The very next year - 1948 - Israel did become a nation again, but a nation without Jerusalem under its jurisdiction. In 1952, a Bible Conference was held in the Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church in Takoma Park, Maryland. It was attended by Church leaders from around the world as well as theologians, pastors and evangelists of the Church. Arthur S. Maxwell, Editor of The Signs of the Times, presented a paper on the "Imminence of Christ's Second Coming." He listed three "Areas of Unfulfilled Prophecy." One of these was developments in Palestine. He commented:       The recent dramatic restoration of the nation of Israel has focused the attention of mankind once more upon Palestine. ...

There is one prophecy concerning Palestine that we should all be watching with special care. Said Jesus, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Luke 21:24.

Maxwell noted that while the forces of Israel were victorious "in every other part of Palestine, they failed to take the most dazzling objective of all" - Jerusalem. He indicated that Israel was restrained in this objective "as if by an unseen hand." Then he asks what could be the reason, and answers his own question - "Only that the times of the Gentiles are not yet fulfilled."

Citing the history of Israel when they were first promised Palestine, Maxwell commented that they could not possess it "for a certain time because 'the iniquity of the Amorites' was 'not yet full' (Gen. 15:16); that is, not until the probationary time allotted to the Amorites had run out." Then he concludes:      It may well be that the same principle applies today, on a wider scale. If so, then Jerusalem is to remain trodden down by Gentiles till the probationary time of all Gentiles has run out. If this be correct, how much hinges upon the fate of this ancient city and the power that occupies it! (Our Firm Foundation, Vol.2, pp.230-231)

It should be observed that Maxwell returned to the position of Edson White and associated the phrase, "times of the Gentiles," with the close of probation. What both failed either to see or to understand was that the term "the Gentiles" is in the Greek, ta eqnh (ta ethne) the nations as corporate bodies. This one word is translated both ways in Luke 21:24-25 KJV.

When Luke 21:24 was fulfilled in 1967, what reaction is found in Adventist publications? In the 20th Century Bible Course, a series of Bible studies used in evangelistic outreach, Lesson 5 was captioned  -  "Time Running Out. Question #2 asks  -  "What sign did Jesus give that would indicate when the destruction of the city [Jerusalem] was at hand? Luke 21:20" A note reads:       The city of Jerusalem was surrounded by Roman armies in A.D. 66. After a period of time the army withdrew and the Christians, recognizing the sign given by Christ, fled the city and did not return. ... They watched for the sign Christ had given and obeyed His instructions. ... Christ foresaw the future and outlined it to His followers so that they could be saved. (Emphasis as in the lesson)

Question #3 asks  -  "How long did Christ say that Jerusalem would be trodden down? (verse 24)" The note on this question reads:        Old Jerusalem and the temple site has been occupied largely by the Gentile nations until 1967 when the Jews took possession of it in a "lightening victory." This portion of Jesus prophecy was fulfilled in our day!

This is just what we have been holding forth for over two decades, and to many, who hear it for the first time, it is new and strange teaching, and others oppose it  -  previously published, Biblically based, Church teaching! But should not the same attitude apply to the fulfilled prophecy of Jesus in 1967, as indicated in the Bible Course, marked the Christians in A.D. 66? And is it not equally true in 1967, as stated for 66  -  Jesus gave this prophecy to His disciples "so that they could be saved"?

p 7 -- In 1980, the Adult Sabbath School lessons for the second quarter were "devoted to the study of the testimony of Jesus as revealed in the book of Revelation." The author of these lessons, Dr. Jean Zurcher, was serving as secretary of the Euro-African Division. As a study help, a book by Dr. Zurcher, Christ of the Revelation, was translated and published by the then existing Southern Publishing Association. In the recommendation of this book as it appeared in the Sabbath School quarterly was the suggestion that "you'll also find out about the 'times of the Gentiles."' (p. 4) What is of real interest in the relationship of these lessons to the prophecy of Jesus is that one month after these lessons were studied, Israel moved its government from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the Knesset reaffirmed that Jerusalem united was its capital. What Zurcher wrote and which the whole Church had opportunity to know was of the utmost significance.

Noting the eschatological discourse of Jesus on the Mount of Olives, Zurcher commented:       We shall not linger over the numerous signs given by Jesus in this discourse. Only one will occupy our attention, the one that especially deals with time. Even in our days it constitutes a critical point in the political world: Jerusalem. In fact, Jerusalem is both the beginning and the culmination of Jesus' prophecy. ... So having predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews "into all nations," Jesus declared, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). (p.71)

He observed that few today would deny the precision of this prophecy. He cites the historical record of the city's destruction in AD 70; the dispersion of the Jews into all nations; the domination of the city by Gentile forces over the centuries; and its present restoration to the control of Israel in 1967. Then he states:       This prophecy of Jesus was a sign for the Christians of the Apostolic Church, who lived at the beginning of the times of the Gentiles, and it remains a sign for us who live at the end of the times of the Gentiles. (ibid.)

Dr. Zurcher then warns his readers that        "if we cannot see that Jerusalem is an exceptional sign of the times, then might we not be placing ourselves in the same position as the religious leaders who knew how to 'discern the face of the sky '  but could not discern the obvious 'signs of the times' ?" (pp.71-72)

The detailed analysis which follows this warning needs to be carefully studied. This we shall do in the next issue of WWN as well as to note official church reaction to this prophecy of Jesus. (To be continued)

NOTE: -- If you do not have access to Dr. Zurcher's book, and would like photocopies of the pages noted above, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Foundation Office with your request.

" Nothing is more harmful
to a new truth
than an old error. "

--- (1997 Mar) --- End ---

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