1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
1975 Apr-Jun VIII 4(75) - VIII 6(75)
1975 Jul-Sep VIII 7(75) - VIII 9(75)
1975 Oct-Dec VIII 10(75) - VIII 12(75)
1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)
1976 Apr-Jun IX 4(76) - IX 6(76)
1976 Jul-Sep IX 7(76) - IX 9(76)
1976 Oct-Dec IX 10(76) - IX 12(76)
1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
1977 Apr-Jun X 4(77) - X 6(77)
1977 Jul-Sep X 7(77) - X 9(77)
1977 Oct-DecX 10(77) - X 12(77)
1978 Jan-Mar XI 1(78) - XI 3(78)
1978 Apr-Jun XI 4(78) - XI 6(78)
1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)
1978 Oct-Dec XI 10(78) - XI 12(78)
1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)
1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)
1979 Jul-Sep XI 7(79) - XI 9(79)
1979 Oct-DecXI 10(79) - XI 12(79)
Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
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In Bible Prophecy
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Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
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OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:
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Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson
Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones
"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson
Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen
Place of the Bible In Education, The - Alonzo T. Jones
Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen
So Much In Common - WCC/SDA
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-- XXVI -- 4(93) -- TAKING ISSUES
Part 3 -- The third section of Seventh-day
Adventist Church history discussed in ISSUES covers the time period
from Ellen White's death in 1915 through 1992 (pp. 45-51). The writer
indicates that "several historical factors and significant events"
from that period "have contributed to the current situation in the
church." (p. 45) This is an
understatement because events and decisions made in this period
are the primary cause for dissention in Adventism today. Yet the writer
elects not to discuss as fully these "important events and trends"
as such events and trends were discussed during the first two periods
of the Church's history - its formative years, and the period when Ellen
White worked with the organized Adventist Church. It is, therefore, of
the utmost importance that these "historical factors and significant
events" be more fully and forthrightly addressed.
In this discussion of "issues," we will focus on certain major events and decisions which the writer of ISSUES introduces - the 1952 Bible conference; and the SDA-Evangelical Conferences with its resultant publication, Questions on Doctrine. But first how are these events introduced in ISSUES: F. D. Nichol, Review editor trom 1945 to 1966, well known for his apologetic defense of Adventism, may have contributed to a Fundamentalist-type perspective in the church. After the 1952 Bible Conference for example, Nichol wrote in the Review of the "impressive fact that we have not changed our theology." To be sure, the qualifiers that Nichol adds to that statement tend to temper its intensity. He seems to be speaking of Adventism's major doctrines. But even then it would seem that the shift to a Trinitarian theology is a significant "change" in Adventist thinking. Living in the shadow of Fundamentalism, however, the spokespersons for the church were not ready to call attention to change.
2 -- Ironically, in Gary Land's Adventism in America
the very next page after the one citing Nichol's statement is headed "Dialogues
With Evangelicals," an event that seemed to introduce into Adventism
what many have considered inappropriate "change." For many of
the church's more strident critics, that event plays a key role. (p.
In the section, "The Questions on
Doctrine Debate," ISSUES states - "This
BIBLE CONFERENCE -- The 1952 Bible Conference
was held in the Sligo Park Seventh-day Adventist Church during the first
two weeks in September. It was called by Elder W. H. Branson midway in
his four year term as president of the General Conference. In attendance
at this conference were representatives of the Church world-wide as well
as the North American Division. Administrators, pastors, teachers, and
evangelists were all represented.
E. Rebok, the Secretary of the Bible Conference
declared it to be
"a high-water mark of the Advent movement. Such was the power and
influence of one of the greatest convocations of God's people this side
of Pentecost." (Our Firm Foundation, Vol. 1, p. 12)
Elder Branson in introducing the forthcoming Bible Conference through
the pages of The Ministry, July, 1952, stated:
A very great power resides
in the truths of God distinctive for these last days. There is a new lift
for our hearts and minds and spirits that can come from studying together
the doctrines that have made us a people and that justify our continued
existence. It is one of the prime purposes of this conference to provide
that heavenly lift for heart and soul as we reaffirm those truths that
have most certainly been believed among us through all our history.
(Foundation, Vol. 1, p. 15)
This conference must also be considered against
the backdrop of some history. In 1950, Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K.
Short had presented to the new incoming General Conference leadership,
their call for denominational repentance as contained in their original
edition of 1888 Re-Examined.
longer will the question be, "What was the attitude of our workers
and people toward the message of righteousness by faith that was given
in 1888? What did they do about it? From now on the great question must
be, "What did we do with the light on righteousness by faith as proclaimed
in the 1952 Bible Conference?" (ibid., pp. 616-617)
ISSUES quotes from a Review
Editorial as Nichol looked back on the Bible Conference noting how he
was elated over the "most impressive fact that we had not changed
our theology." (October 23, p. 10) ISSUES indicates that this
elation should be tempered by the "qualifiers"
Nichol used in connection with this conclusion. The full sentence
"No exhibit of differing views on obscure Scriptures or on unfulfilled
prophecy on the part of some of us can hide this most impressive fact
that we have not changed our theology."
He had begun the paragraph by stating: "We
repeat these papers (presented at the conference) failed to give any suggestion
of doubts or uncertainty concerning those teachings that have made us
a distinctive people. This is not a point to be passed by hurriedly or
casually." In another
Bible Conference has come and gone, and the pillars of the (Advent) temple
are still standing, unmoved and erect."
The author of ISSUES again introduces
the question of "Trinitarian theology" into the picture. It
must be kept in mind that two decades have lapsed between the 1931 formulation
and 1952. Nichol was very conversant with that statement having been consulted
in regard to it by its author - Wilcox. (See Movement of Destiny,
pp. 413-4l4) Furthermore, this statement had been voted at the 1946 General
Conference session and the two articles on the Godhead were left unchanged.
The change had come in 1931, not in 1952, naturally, he could write, the
Bible Conference had "not changed our theology."
p 3 -- There was dissent. W. E. Read
presented a paper on "The Great Controversy" which outlined
the order of events through to the Second Coming of Christ. In it he presented
Armageddon differently than had Uriah Srnith in his book, Daniel and
Revelation. This aroused the indignation of W. R. French, an highly
respected Bible teacher. A class room at Washington Missionary College
just across the street from the Sligo Church was arraigned, where he presented
during free time at the session the "old view" with force and
It had been decided from the beginning that
there was to be "no open-forum type of discussion." (Vol
1, p. 29) Even the questions asked had to be written out and signed.
This left only one type of public reaction to be expressed by the delegates
- walking out on the speaker. This was done during the presentation by
Edward Heppenstall on "The Covenants and the Law." One veteran
evangelist from the South became very agitated during the presentation,
shaking his head frequently, and then finally, he stomped out of the meeting.
Others followed him.
As to whether the published paper in the
report of the Bible Conference accurately reflects what Heppenstall said
during the presentation would have to be compared with the taped recording
of the session's presentations. There was editing of what had been presented.
Prior to the Bible Conference, Arthur Maxwell, in preparation for his
assigned topic, had polled a segment of the Adventist ministry as to what
they believed and preached concerning the Second Coming of Christ. He
gave the findings of this poll when presenting His paper on "The
Imminence of Christ's Second Coming." The poll so adversely reflectcd
upon the ministry that it was omitted from the published reports, and
he was forbidden to release his findings. It is essential to understand
what was taught at the 1952 Bible Conference in regard to the Incarnation,
the Sanctuary truth, and Christian
No specific presentation was made at the
Bible Conference on the doctrine of the Incarnation. H.
L. Rudy, one of the vice presidents of the General Conference, in his
study on "The Mediatorial Ministry of Jesus Christ" made
comment on the incarnation.
He said: The
providing of this sacrifice (by Christ) was possible only at an infinite
cost. It included more than just the death on the cross. As the Father's
representative He must fulfill all righteousness. Every day of His
humiliation in sinful flesh was a day of suffering. (Vol. II, p.
17; emphasis ours)
This statement is remarkable. From the very
beginning of Adventism there was the consistent teaching that Christ in
assuming humanity "took of Him the nature of the seed of Abraham."
In the areas of the atonement, sanctuary teaching, and perfection, we shall give quoted statements from the various papers presented: Atonement -- Death is not simply the penalty for disobedience but also the price of redemption, and both are accomplished by the same person in one event - the atoning death of Christ, the Innocent One, on the cross of Calvary. (Vol. 1, p. 361)
The death of Christ
on the cross paid the redemption price, but His blood must be applied
to the repentant sinner through His own mediation, in order that the atonement
or reconciliation may be complete. (Ibid., p. 373)
The atoning sacrifice
was made certain upon the cross, when Christ uttered the words, "It
is finished." This sacrifice becomes effectual for individual sinners
by the priestly ministry of Christ in heaven....Necessary and helpful
though the ministry of Christ is in the holy place in heaven, yet His
service there does not entirely do away with sin. ...The ministration
in the second apartment was needed to effect the final destruction of
sin. (ibid., p. 334)
Sanctuary Teaching -- The message concerning the mediatorial ministry
p 4 -- of Christ is God's answer to the apostasy of the last days. It is the heart of Christianity. (Vol. II, p. 11)
Christ made the atoning sacrifice once for all, and when He entered the "holy places" in heaven He "entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." "Eternal redemption" indicates that the full price was paid, and by His sacrifice the work of redemption is to be fully and eternally completed. (ibid., p. 63)
At the beginning of the investigative judgment in 1844 Christ was seen to enter into a new phase of His mediatorial ministry. ... Christ entered the most holy to perform the work of atonement. (ibid., p. 65)
On Calvary, Christ
is the substitute accepted in the sinner's stead. In the holy place in
-- It should be noted that the washing took place in the court, and so
it is, here on earth, that this work must be done for us. It is now that
we must put away every sin. It is now that our robes must be washed white
in preparation for entrance into the holy places not made with hands.
(Vol. 1, p. 323)
Merely forgiving sins
will never put an end to sin. Christ could keep on forgiving sins forever,
but if He took no steps to dispose of sin, there would never be an end
to this blight that came upon the world and the universe. (Vol.
II, p. 69)
John states a profound
idea simply: "And in their mouth was found no guile: for
they are without fault before the throne of God." (Rev. 14:5)
The fact that there was no guile found was the result of their condition
-- "without fault." Significantly, amomoi, the
word here translated "without fault," is the same word that
is used to describe Christ in 1 Peter 1:19 as "without
blemish and without spot." Paul uses the same word in Hebrews
9:14, where he mentions that Jesus offered Himself "without
spot to God." How could the character of these "firstfruits
unto God and to the Lamb" be better portrayed than by describing
their character in the identical terms used to depict the Master Himself?
(ibid., pp. 407-408; emphasis his)
It is the similarity of the experience of the 144,000 to that of the Saviour that sets them apart from the others of the redeemed host. (ibid., p. 411)
Here we face a conundrum. The speakers presented clearly
what was declared to be the objective of the Bible Conference - the
reaffirmation of those great and fundamental truths that have most certainly
been believed among us throughout our history, in other words, "historic
Adventism." Yet within three years time, these truths would
be repudiated, and this repudiation would be published in a book which
was given wide circulation - Questions on Doctrine. This is compounded
by the fact that ten of the men who served on the 1952 Bible Conference
Planning Committee also served on the Questions on Doctrine Preparation
Committee. Further, eight of these ten men, presented papers at the Bible
Not only this, but three of these eight were the Adventist
conferees plus T. E. Unruh at the
First, we need to keep in mind what
F. D. Nichol wrote in his editorial reflection on the Bible Conference
beyond what ISSUES
noted. He stated that "the
conference impressed us anew with the fact that the primary doctrines
of this movement are interlocked. They are not isolated, unrelated beliefs,
any one of which might be undermined or discarded without damage to the
others. On the contrary, the whole structure of truth is affected if even
one of them is attacked." (Vol. II, p. 764)
The Evangelicals were the first to report their perceptions
of the Conferences in a series of
p 5 -- Evangelical
Christians of all faiths in all ages. ... We affirmed our belief in [Christ's]
priestly rninistry before the Father, applying the benefits of the
atonement completed on the cross." (Adventist Heritage,
Vol. 4, #2, p. 38; emphasis supplied)
How is this denial reflected in Questions
and how are other doctrinal concepts altered?
-- Although born in the flesh, He is nevertheless God, and was exempt
from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural
descendants of Adam. (p. 383; emphasis suplied)
word, "exempt" carries theological overtones from Romanism.
This word is used by Cardinal Gibbons in explaining the force of the Dogma
of the Immaculate Conception. (The Faith of Our Fathers, 88th ed.,
Atonement -- Adventists do not hold any theory of a dual atonement. "Christ hath redeemed us" (Gal. 3:13) "once for all." (Heb. 10:10). (p. 390; emphasis theirs)
Comment: If as affirmed
by the Adventist conferees that the atonement was completed on the cross,
and we do not believe in a "dual" atonement, what atonement
is repudiated? None other than the "final atonement" which was
fundamental in basic Adventism from its beginning.
How glorious is the
thought that the king, who occupies the throne, is also our representative
at the court of heaven! This becomes all the more meaningful when we realize
that Jesus our surety entered the "holy places" and appeared
in the presence of God for us. But it was not with the hope of
obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time, No! He
had already obtained it for us on the cross. And now as our High Priest
He ministers the virtues of His atoning sacrifice to us. (p. 381; emphasis
Comment: Paul stated
that we do have a hope through the Spirit -
"the hope of righteousness by faith." (Gal. 5:5)
This "hope" involves "being
conformed to the image of his Son." (Rom. 8:29) Deny the final atonement,
and you deny that there will be a people "without fault before the
throne of God." (Rev. 14:5) The whole structure of truth is affected
as Nichol noted in his reflection
on the 1952 Bible Conference. The example he used is apropos:
give up the sanctuary truth would be to repudiate our teaching that God
raised up a prophetic movement in 1844." (op. cit.)
This is exactly where we are today and the crux of the crisis in
This repudiation of basic Adventism has not been repudiated,
but rather reaffirmed. On February 16, 1983 (note date - three years after
Dallas), Walter Martin wrote the General Conference "calling for
the Conference's public and official statement reaffirming or denying
the authority of the Adventist book, Questions on Doctrine."
On April 29, 1983, W. Richard
Lesher, then vice-president of the General Conference, now president of
Andrews University, replied: You
ask if Seventh-day Adventists still stand behind the answers given to
your questions in Questions on Doctrine as they did in 1957. The
answer is yes. (Quoted in The Kingdom of the Cults, p. 410;
WHY? -- Why
could men after reaffirming their beliefs in "historic" Adventism
in 1952, three years later deny the very uniqueness of Adventism? Even
the Evangelicals were amazed because they contemplated prior to the formal
talks with the Adventist conferees that on the doctrine of "the investigative
judgment," it "would be impossible to come to any understanding
which would permit [their] including [Adventists] among those who could
be counted as Christians believing in the finished work of Christ."
(Barnhouse, op. cit.) They recognized that the Adventist sanctuary
teaching was "a doctrine never known in theological history until
the second half of the nineteenth century and which is a doctrine held
exclusively by the Seventh-day Adventists." (ibid.) We simply
in these conferences denied our uniqueness. How could we?
Historical Adventism failed us. We had not followed counsel.
"The Lord has made His
people the repository of sacred truth. Upon every individual who has had
the light of present truth devolves the duty of developing that
truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done." (Ms.
27, 1897; emphasis supplied)
Nichol in retrospect was elated that the Bible Conference proved "that we have not changed our theology." We failed to realize that we have "many, many" things to unlearn, as well as things to learn, God and heaven alone being infallible. (TM, p. 30) As a result when certain texts in Hebrews were thrown at the Adventist
p 6 -- conferees, they caved-in becausc deep Biblical
research induding linguistic study had not been done.
They did not heed the words:
"We must not think, ' Well, we have all the truth, we understand
the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge.' The
truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light."
(R&H, March 25, 1890) While
professing to be preaching the message of 1888 in greater power than had
been done in 1888, the 1952 Bible Conference committee and speakers failed
to heed the counsel given in connection with 1888. They failed to accept
"the fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many
years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible."
(R&H, Dec. 20, 1892)
If we had had our concepts on the sanctuary truth cleaned up and squared
with the Bible in all details, the Evangelicals would not have been able
to throw the conferees a curve by which they struck out.
But that which applies to the Church also applies to the
"Private" ministries named. They are crying "historic"
Adventism, and it will fail them as it did the Church they are so vigorously
condemning. In fact, it already has. Dr. Larson who prepared a very commendable
research on the history of the Doctrine of the Incarnation, has now denied
the basic concept he set forth in that research. Not only this, but in
the educational institution sponsored by these named ministries, the study
program denies to those who are emphasizing Biblical Studies the knowledge
of Biblical languages. This only compounds their impotency to meet the
challenge against the sanctuary truth by those who are attacking it, both
within and without the Church.
Until the doctrine of the Sanctuary is squared by the Scriptures, both the Church and the "Private" ministries named in ISSUES, will remain in a crisis. Until we are willing to "walk in increasing light" and "advancing truth" we shall continue in a quagmire of confusion. Sad.
LETS TALK lT OVER
-- The section in
ISSUES devoted to "The Questions on Doctrine Debate"
has two interesting paragraphs, a key sentence of which we need to talk
over. These paragraphs read: One
side stresses Jesus' role as our sinless substitute arguing that His nature
was like Adam's before the Fall. The other stresses Jesus' role as our
example, arguing that He came in the "likeness of sinful flesh"
with a nature like Adam's after the Fall.
Both sides can marshall Ellen White quotations in support of their positions, and both sides can claim devout and prominent personalities in the church among their proponents, including editors of "official" Adventist publications. (p. 46; emphasis mine)
The emphasized sentence is not only true but its accuracy
creates a serious problem. Anyone who has done careful and thorough research
in the rnajor areas of theology, such as the incarnation, the Godhead,
and the atonement, relating that research to the Writings of Ellen White,
finds that while the preponderance of the statements will come down on
one side of the question, there are other statements which support the
opposing viewpoint. Let me illustrate the problem. In
Acts of the Apostles, there a statement reads: Behold
the apostle preaching in the synagogue at Corinth, reasoning from the
writings of Moses and the prophets, and bringing his hearers down to the
advent of the promised Messiah. Listen as he makes plain the work of the
Redeemer as the great high priest of mankind, - the One who through the
sacrifice of His own life was to make atonement for sin once for all,
and was then to take up His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.
(p. 246; emphasis mine)
Clearly this is stating that Jesus by His death on the cross made a completed atonement - "once for all" - and "then" took up His High Priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. This was published in 1911. In 1884, Ellen White had written: The intercession of Christ in man's behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after his resurrection, He ascended to complete in Heaven. (SP, Vol. IV, p. 313; emphasis mine)
p 7 -- Again clearly this
is saying something different than what was written in 1911. Further,
in 1878, the discussion of the same incident in the life of Paul does
not state it as it read in 1911.
Note: -- He
brought his hearers down through the types and shadows of the ceremonial
law to Christ, to His crucifixion, His priesthood, and the sanctuary of
His ministry, - the great object that had cast its shadow backward into
the Jewish age. (SP, Vol. III, p. 409)
So long as individuals can point to references in the
Writings to support their side of the major theological questions, and
others can point to references from the same source on the opposite side,
there will continue to be divisions in Adventism. This is not questioning
the inspiration of Ellen White. Evidences in support of her gift, and
call as a "Messenger of the Lord" are persuasive. But why are
references in later works published under her name at variance with theological
positions taken in earlier publications? This the White Estate has not
answered, and there is evidence that they know of some of these irregularities
if not all of them. The illustration given above can be repeated in regard
to other areas of theology.
The releases of Ellen White material increased dramatically
after the SDA-Evangelical Conferences. With these added releases came
this divisive phenomena. There are various ways in which this could have
occurred. Transmission from her hand writing by the secretaries; improper
type setting; but these should have been caught by adequate proof reading.
But there is still that haunting factor of a self-inking rubber stamp
of her name which W. C. White purchased upon their return to the States
from Australia. There is also the question of the preparation of her books
after the years had taken their toll on her alertness.
This problem cannot, dare not be pushed under the table. If it is, then forget about "Issues" which are presently dividing the Adventist Community. Unless this is solved, then there is only one answer for each and every concerned Adventist, and that is to take Ellen White's counsel as she addressed the General Conference in session for the last time in 1909. Elder W. A. Spicer tells the story: Mrs. White spoke a few words of good cheer and farewell, and then turned to the pulpit, where lay a Bible. She opened the book, and Held it out with hands that trembled with age. And she said: "Brethren, and sisters, I commend Unto you this Book." (Spirit of Prophecy in the Advent Movement, p. 30)
--- (1993 Apr) --- End --- TOP
1993 May-- XXVI -- 5(93) -- WHAT IS IT? BASIC ADVENTISM -- How Are We Developing it? A Higher Plane? -- What was to be the nature of Adventism which the Messenger of the Lord envisioned for the Church? This is not a trivia question, but a question fraught with eternal consequences. In 1890, Ellen White addressed this question. She wrote: We must not think, "Well, we have all the truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge." The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light." (R&H, March 25, 1890; emphasis supplied)
This vision of "advancing truth" and "increasing light" was an issue at the time of the 1888 message, and it has become an issue again as a result of the present crisis in Adventism. The resolution of this crisis cannot be found in the hue and cry of staying with Historic Adventism. This is deceptive, just as deceptive as staying in the apostasy that has engulfed the Church. It leaves those who embrace this concept in the same Laodicean blindness that they decry in the leadership of the Church itself. It is simply blind leaders calling others blind. Neither can see, thus they lead the poor deceived "sheep" into the pit of destruction. Tragically, many of the "sheep" would have it so. This is exactly the condition that the messenger of the Lord warned about a few years later in 1894. She wrote then: It is a fact that we have the truth, and we must hold with tenacity to the positions that cannot be shaken; but we must not look with suspicion upon any new light which God may send, and say, "Really, we cannot see that we need any more light than the old truth [historic Adventism] which we have hitherto received, and in which we are settled. While we hold to this position, the testimony of the True Witness applies to our cases its rebuke, "And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Those who feel rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing, are in a condition of blindness as to their true condition before God, and they know it not. (R&H, August 7, 1894; emphasis supplied)
p 2 -- Those, therefore, who are followers and devotees of the "Private Ministries" named in ISSUES are merely exchanging one Laodicean condition for another. They have not opened the door to let Jesus, the Truth, "pure and unadulterated" to come in and break the bread of life with them. They are in as much confusion as they were before. But does "advancing truth" and "increasing light" mean that we have to be inundated with all kinds of speculative theories about Bible prophecy, and fanciful interpretations of the Word of God? No, absolutely not! The Messenger of the Lord has given a careful guideline to be followed in pursuing our duty in searching for "advancing truth." She counseled: The Lord has made His people the repository of sacred truth. Upon every individual who has had the light of present truth devolves the duty of developing that truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done. (Ms. 27, 1897; emphasis supplied)
It is "that truth" - "present truth" - not some speculative theory that is to be presented, but a development of the "sacred truth" received, to "a higher scale than it has hitherto been done." This process can be rather painful, if not unnerving at times, as we seek to find truth, pure and unadulterated" even the righteousness of Christ. (TM, p. 65) We are plainly told: "We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have an occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed." (ibid., P. 30)
"Peter exhorts his brethren to 'grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' Whenever the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His word. They will discern new light and beauty in its sacred truths. This has been true in the history of the church in all ages, and thus it will continue to the end. But as real spiritual life declines, it has ever been the tendency to cease to advance in the knowledge of truth. Men rest satisfied with the light already received [historic Adventism] from God's word, and discourage any further investigation of the Scriptures. They become conservative, and seek to avoid discussion." (5T:706-707) Everyone of the Private Ministries named in ISSUES declined an invitation to come together to discuss key doctrines of truth. "When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves, to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition [historic Adventism], and worship they know not what." (ibid.)
This is exactly what is happening today in the community of Adventism. "Many" are devotees of certain men, and instead of seeking the truth as it is in Jesus - the Word - they go and worship at the feet of these men. You talk with them, and tell them what the Word says, even giving them the texts in the Bible, suggesting that they study these carefully and then form their own convictions. The response is, I will call - and a certain man is named - and see what he says." They worship they know not what!
Before one can develop "present truth" to "a higher scale than it has hitherto been done," he must know what is "present truth." In other words, he must find the firm foundation of truth - basic Adventism - upon which to build. Interestingly, the same hue and cry we hear today - stay with "historic Adventism" - was the cry in 1888 of those who opposed the messages sent through Elders Jones and Waggoner to the church. it was merely phrased differently. In 1888, it was, "Stand by the old landmarks." However, there was evidence that many "knew not what the old landmarks were." The same is true today. Those crying, "Stay with historic Adventism" do not know what basic Adventism is, so as to be able to tell if what has been built on "the foundation," now called, "historic Adventism" is really pure and unadulterated truth, or if there are things both to learn as well as "many, many" things to unlearn.
What were the "old landmarks" - basic Adventism upon which to build? in the crisis year which followed 1888, the messenger of the Lord wrote: The passing of the time in 1844 was a period of great events, opening to our astonished eyes  the cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having a decided relation to God's people upon the earth,  the first and second angels' messages and the third, unfurling the banner on which was inscribed, "The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."  One of the landmarks under this message was the temple of God, seen by His truth-loving people in heaven, and the ark containing the law of God.  The light of-the Sabbath of the fourth commandment flashed its strong rays in the pathway of the transgressors ot God's law.  The nonimmortality of the wicked is an old landmark. I can call to mind nothing more that
p 3 -- can come under the head of old landmarks. (Ms. 13, 1889; numbers supplied)
These five fundamental doctrines constitute basic Adventism. It would be as well for our edification to consider what is not included as to study these five doctrines which are designated as "old landmarks." We will let each reader consider for himself what is not included asking, Why? We will discuss the five basic teachings of Adventism, suggesting wherein each might be developed "on a higher scale than...has hitherto been done."
I. The Cleansing of the Sanctuary -- This fundamental landmark is two pronged, that which is transpiring in heaven, and its "decided relation to God's people upon the earth." our knowledge of what is transpiring in heaven is based upon the typical services of the model sanctuary which Moses was instructed to build. The priests of this tabernacle served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." (Heb. 8:5) The service which ceremonially cleansed the sanctuary yearly was the ritual of the Day of Atonements. But in this cleansing were included " all the people of the congregation." (Lev. 16:33)
In the ceremonies of that day, the High Priest ministered in three different areas of the sanctuary, the most holy, the holy, and the altar. (Lev. 16:20) [In this chapter, the most holy is noted as simply the "holy," the word, "place," being supplied. (v. 2) The holy place is noted as "the tabernacle," and "the altar" is the altar of the court where the confessions of the individuals throughout the year were recorded] The record outlining the ministry in the most holy place stated that two things were involved: 1) "the uncleanness of the children of Israel" and 2) "their transgressions in all their sins." (16:16) But it was not until the third step - the ministry at the altar - that the uncleanness was removed. (16:19) This was done by mingling the blood of the Lord's goat, and the blood of the bullock provided by the high priest. (16:18) This basic concept has not been developed.
Further light is cast upon the services of this day by a careful study of Daniel 7 when the "judgment was set and the books were opened." (7:10) This was done before the angelic host. The significance of this prophetic representation has not been pursued in the light of the fact that where sin began, its final judgment must also begin so that affliction will not arise again a second time.
A careful study of the daily services reveals that the record of the confessed sins of individuals were placed on the horns of the altar in the court, while the record of the confessed sins of corporate Israel were placed on the horns of the altar of incense in the tabernacle. See Leviticus 4. The services of the Day of Atonements involved not only these two places, but also the Most Holy where the presence of God dwelt. This succession of ministry on the Day of Atonements - from the Most Holy to the Holy to the Court - or from God, to corporate identities, to the individual, is the same succession that is observed in the Three Angels' Messages. From the "hour of the judgment of Him," to "Babylon" and the "nations" (corporate entities), to the individual - "if any man worship the beast" - the same sequence is observed. This aspect of an interrelationship between the lessons of the sanctuary and the Three Angel's Messages has not been considered, let alone being further developed.
II. The Three Angels' Messages -- In the study of the Three Angels of Revelation 14 with their messages, it must be kept in mind that John first sees before he hears. He sees the angel "having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred and tongue and people." (14:6) There are two items noted that need to be carefully considered:
1) The expression - "them that dwell on the earth" is used in the previous chapter. The second beast deceives "them that dwell on the earth." The same beast advises "them that dwell on the earth." (13:14) is this telling us that the giving of the messages centers where the action of Revelation 13 focuses? it is true that the messages are to be world-wide in extent for the everlasting gospel is to go "to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." But have we given consideration to the final drama, and its particular focus on "them that dwell on the earth"?
2) The "everlasting gospel" is the framework in which the messages of the "mark of the beast," and "Babylon is fallen" are to be given. These messages are not the gospel! The gospel is clearly defined in Scripture. Paul declared "the gospel of God" concerns His Son who "was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." (Rom. 1:1,3) Further, in an epistle written just prior to Romans, Paul stated that if anyone, even an angel from heaven, should preach another
p 4 -- gospel, "let him be accursed." (Gal. 1:8) it is true that "an angel" who fell from heaven is indeed insinuating a different gospel, but tragically today, the Church to whom God committed the giving of the "everlasting gospel" is also accepting this false gospel.
When our spiritual forefathers perceived their mission in relationship to the Three Angels' message of Revelation 14, they believed fervently that the Second Advent of Christ was imminent. They also perceived the many things of Revelation and other prophecies were in their day as yet unfulfilled. These they concentrated into a very small period of time. That which they believed would be fulfilled in a few decades has now lengthened into more than a century. Does that mean that we discard these messages? Never! But it does challenge us to re-study our perceptions to see what we might need to unlearn as well as to learn.
Linguistically, the tenses in which these messages are stated call for careful study. The "hour of His judgment is come (elthen)" is past tense. Likewise, "Babylon is fallen (epesen)" is also past tense. it means simply that the message when given declares that which is already accomplished. Further the basic picture is that the nations accept the "wine" of Babylon rather than the "everlasting gospel." This would involve the probationary time of the nations.
The third angel's message is in the present tense - "if any man is worshiping the beast and his image." This message then would not become present truth until the "image" would be set up. You could not be worshiping that which was not. Or else, we have not perceived the significance of the image to the beast, and the "image of the beast" is upon us and we know it not.
Some perception as to how God works might cast light on the present. The victory of Jesus Christ in the flesh was worked out within the framework of His chosen people in a restricted geographical area before the contest became world-wide. Jesus declared plainly that he was "not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matt, 15:24) During His earthly ministry only on rare occasions did He respond to Gentile appeals. In the f inal contest it was the religious hierarchy of the chosen nation who gave Him over to be crucified. The gospel did not go to the nations until the Jewish Church crossed the unseen line and closed their probation. Can it be, that the test over the image to the beast will be worked out first within the frame work of Adventism to whom was committed the "everlasting gospel" - and given first to "them that dwell on the earth" - the place where the image is to be formed?
We dare not forget that when the 1901 Constitution was jettisoned, and in its place wa enacted the 1903 Constitution, the delegates wer warned from the floor that "the principles which are to be brought in through this propose constitution, and in the way which they are brought in, are the same principles, an introduced in precisely the same way, as they were hundreds of years ago when the Papacy wa made" - the "beast." (1903 GC Bulletin, p. 150 Further it needs to be recalled that Ellen White declared of this action that the Church was "now being leavened with her own backsliding." (8T:250) Sadly it must be declared that the 'image" of the Papacy has been set up in the Church. This time "the very stones" have cried out. The "Findings of Fact" of a United States District Court Judge read: 77. One of the twenty-seven fundamental beliefs of Adventists - based on Bible passages - is that "the Church is one body with many members called from every nation, kindred, tongue and people." Theologically, the Seventh- day Adventist Church is a single unified church. Church documents that prescribe the Church's structure and governance confirm that all parts of the Church are parts of a single entity. Next to the Roman Catholic Church, the Adventist church is the most centralized of all major christian denominations in this country. (Case No. 81 C 4938; United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division; emphasis supplied)
"if any man is worshiping the beast and his image,...the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God." Did not the Lord's messenge write in commenting on Ezekiel 9 - "Here we see that the church - the Lord's sanctuary - was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light, and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust." (5T:211) Basically as the Three Angels' Messages clearly declare - we have a choice of worship, either "worship Him who made," or "worship the beast and his image." We must discern between the truth of God and a church which has denied the truth committed to it in trust. Is indeed the final drama being worked out first in "spiritual" Israel, as it was in ancient Israel? How near then are we to the final events, and what should our message be? There are things to learn, and many, many to
p 5 -- unlearn.
III. The Temple and the Law -- Historic Adventism has never questioned the fact that there is a temple in heaven, but it has lef t its believers with the concept that it is identical to the model which Moses erected in the desert of Sinai. One Scripture should clarify this concept readily. Ask yourself the question - How large was the most holy place of the earthly tabernacle? It was a 10 cubit cube. Then ponder how large must the Heavenly Holy Place be. When the judgment is set and the books are opened, "ten thousand times ten thousand" stand before the Eternal. (Dan. 7:10) We picture the type as the reality seemingly unmindful that the Mosaic sanctuary was but an example of the services to be performed in the Heavenly by the Great High Priest.
Neither have we asked the question as to why the angelic host is assembled at the time when the judgment is set, and the books are opened. We have contented ourselves with the perception that these angels come to verify the records they have placed in the archives of heaven the acts of human beings through the ages. But these angels have abode in the truth; the records they have kept are beyond question. God knows this and does not question their veracity. (Eccl. 5:6) Neither have we considered that this is "the hour of the judgment of Him" (Greek Text), and that the judgment must begin where sin began - in heaven, when God was questioned by an angel. Affliction will never arise a second time. But the angels must of their own free will consent for God to carry out His original plan and purpose. His plan is to do this through human beings whose sorry record, these unfallen angels have kept and know all too well what it is. Will they agree? What will persuade them? Does an in-depth study of Leviticus 16 give us an answer? if we would give consideration to some of these questions, we would begin to develop this fundamental truth of Adventism on a much higher scale than it is perceived in "historic" Adventism.
In the temple of God is to be seen the ark of the covenant. (Rev. 11:19) In this ark is the law of God, the Ten Commandments. (Ex. 25:21) One ask - how can these facts be developed to a higher scale? Ask yourself a question - "Are the Ten Commandments for me?" You will say, "Yes!" Then read I Tim. 1:8-11. Does Paul describe what you are, or what you were? Has not the redemption in Christ Jesus changed your status before God as well as your life's objectives? What law are you under? Jesus quoted two commandments, and declared - "on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matt. 22:37-40) We need to remember that it was "historic" Adventism which preached the law until we were as dry as the hills of Gilboa which had neither dew nor rain. We seem not to understand that "the law of Jehovah, dating back to creation, was comprised in the two great principles....The principles were more explicitly stated to man after the fall, and worded to meet the case of fallen intelligencies. This was necessary in consequence of the minds of men being, blinded by transgression." (ST, April 15, 1875, p. 181)
When the Law of God as stated in the Ten Commandments has done its work, we bow as convicted sinners at the foot of the Cross. There we behold a love expressed which calls forth in us a responding love, and we freely give to God our whole devotion - body, soul and spirit. Too many are still burdened under the condemnation of the law, instead of living by the law of love "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 3:24) The development of this fundamental of basic Adventism would bring not only a forward step in a deeper theoretical understanding of the grace of God, but also would advance the student in a manifestation of practical godliness. (I Peter 1:5-7)
IV. The Sabbath -- We have read the story of creation many times, and noted that after each day the formula is repeated, "And the evening and the morning were the first day" and so on through all six days. But we have given little consideration to the fact that it is not stated - "And the evening and morning were the seventh day." it was not until after sin entered, that the Sabbath is noted as coming after the succession of days. (Gen. 4:3, margin) Keep in mind that Adam's first full day of life was spent as a Sabbath in worship and communion with God. Was it ever to end? Did not Adam in Eden possess the promise of eternal life? When he forfeited that life, the text notes, labor began. (Gen. 3:19)
The New Testament teaching in regard to this basic fundamental of Adventism connects the Sabbath with the rest of salvation. In Hebrews 4, the word, rest, is emphasized. (This word's Greek root is the same as the root of the word for "rest" in Matt. 11:28-30.) When it states - "There remaineth therefore a keeping of the
p 6 -- sabbath to the people of God" (4:9, margin), it is connected with the fact that he who has entered into the rest provided through Christ has "ceased from his own works, as God did from His" at creation. (4:10) And thus eternity begins again for all who so enter. "As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in this coming we begin the life eternal." (DA, p. 331) When we perceive this truth, then we are better prepared to understand the fifth basic landmark.
Further, when God raised up this people and committed to them the great truth of the sanctuary teaching, He also restored to them the true Sabbath. This had a purpose, a purpose which "historic" Adventism has not developed. In giving the Sabbath commandment, God emphatically stated - "in it thou shalt not do any work." (Ex. 20:10) This same command marked off the typical Day of Atonements from all the other feast days of Israel. For the Passover, for Pentecost, for the Feast of Trumpets, and for the Feast of Tabernacles, the command stated "Ye shall do no servile work, therein." (Lev. 23:7, 21, 25, 35) However, for the Day of Atonements, the command reads - "Ye shall do no work in that same day." (23:28) Should the obligation go unheeded, a severe warning was associated with it: "Whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people." (23:30) We have not developed this basic truth to a higher plain of perception.
V. Nonimmortality of the Wicked -- This is not the usual formulation of this concept. We say, the nonimmortality of the soul. But basic Adventism teaches the nonimmortality of the wicked. John stated that we "know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." (I John 3:15) But John could also write - "He that hath the Son hath life." (I John 5:12) in this concept, Paul concurs. He wrote - "Your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." (Col. 3:4)
When the Sadducees questioned Christ about the resurrection, He told them plainly that they erred, "not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." (Matt. 22:29) He then quoted to them God's declaration - "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Jesus added - "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." The multitude who heard the exchange "were astonished at His doctrine." (22:32-33) Tragically, so are we who have not accepted "present truth" in reality and developed it to a higher scale. This percept of truth would have helped us over and over again as we presented the subject of "The State of Man in Death" in Christ-centered evangelism.
To know that when we face death with the dissolution of "our earthly house" that we have "an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" would bring to us gentle, trusting sleep as we enter the valley of the shadow. We would know that walking "by faith, and not by sight" is a walk to the very close of this present life." (11 Cor. 5:1-9) Did not Jesus say of Lazarus, He "sleepeth, but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." (John 11:11)
Of all generations, we have an illustration which should help us understand this mystery better than any other. I am not a computer expert, but I know that when I have formed this column on our computer-typewriter, I can press, "Text" and it fades from the screen. Then when I need to recall it, I again press, "Text," and give its code identification. It reappears exactly as when I "put it to sleep" in the memory. Or I can press, "Code" and "Text" and forever erase it from memory. Our God has a memory that exceeds any memory that man can create. He even has a Book of Remembrance, and of those entered, He declares - "They shall be mine...in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." (Mal. 3:17)
When Ellen G. White completed listing these five basic pillars of Adventism, she wrote - "I can call to mind nothing more that can come under the head of old landmarks." Have we added to these basics today? Have we subtracted from them, or have we altered them? We have not, as we ought to have done, developed them to a higher scale than it has hitherto been done. We have failed in our "duty," for "the truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light." We dare not rest in "historic" Adventism; we must cease to abide in Laodiceanism. (Now re-read carefully page one)
The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will loose anything by close investigation. Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 35
p 7 -- LETS TALK IT OVER -- The month of March was spent in Australia meeting with interested groups of people seeking to further the cause of truth as it is in Jesus. We met together in homes, educational facilities from elementary class rooms to university ampitheaters, and public auditoriums. In this we were but following in the footsteps of Paul and the early "Followers of the Way" as they assembled for study and worship. (Acts 18:7; 19:9).
The groups that are protesting the apostasy in Australia are divided mainly into three categories. One group is described as "CB's" - Concerned Brethren - and hold what they believe to be "historic Adventism." Another group was described to me as "Clayton Separationists." The name is derived from a non-alcoholic beverage, advertised as "What you drink when you don't drink." Then there are "separationists" with firm convictions as what the duty of God's people should be in the light of the apostasy in Adventism.
There are some sad aspects in this picture. Permeating through these groups in varying degrees is a revival of the "Holy Flesh" teachings which plagued the Church back at the turn of the Century. These doctrines, teaching the eradication of the fallen nature, and that Christ in becoming man came "born, born again," are having a very adverse effect on a number of lives. Either a "self -righteousness" is manifest in which one claims he has ceased to sin, or discouragement stalks a contrite soul. While the emotional extravaganza which accompanied the Holy Flesh Movement is not manifest, the basic teachings of the movement are nevertheless made prominent. Ellen White declared that there was not a "thread of truth in the whole fabric." (DF 190) The same is true today.
Another emphasis found among the various groups is medical missionary work. Such a work is good and is emphasized in the Writings. But there is also a warning to be found which has special meaning now as we are entering the final struggle of the ages when the deceptive arts of Satan are to be manifest under a guise of light and truth. This warning reads: "You know that Satan will come in to deceive if possible the very elect. He claims to be Christ, and he is coming in, pretending to be the great medical missionary." Then the counsel is given - " We must stand barricaded by the truths of the Bible. The canopy of truth is the only canopy under which we can stand safely." (Medical Ministry pp. 87-88) To mingle the techniques of the occult with the laws of health as set forth in the Writings is to offer "strange fire" on the altar of the Lord.
Some of these subjects we will address in detail in future issues of WWN, giving documentation as to what the occult involves.
---(1993 May) ---End---- TOP
1993 Jun -- XXVI -- 6(93) --THREE NEW PUBLICATIONS CRITIQUED -- A new paperback - The New World Order - has been printed by the Review & Herald Publishing Association for Seminars Unlimited at Keene, Texas. It is evangelistic in approach and format. Written by Elder Russell Burrill, Director of the North American Division Evangelism institute in Chicago, Illinois, it carries a foreword by Mark Finley, speaker for the TV program - It Is Written - who had himself previously headed the same institute in Chicago. The cover design is intriguing. Placed on a Chess Board, the symbolism is expressive of current forces at work in the world and particularly in America. The Statute of Liberty wears the clergy collar; the American Eagle overcomes the Hammer and Sickle. At the top of the Chess Board sits the Papal crown. The back cover gives a very accurate summary of the present forces at play in the development of a New World order. It reads: "People everywhere have been stunned by the swift collapse of communism and the emergence of the United States as the world's sole remaining superpower. The stage has suddenly been set for the arrival of an entirely 'New World order.'
"But the United States is not the only world power jockeying for control of this new world order.
" The head of perhaps the world's most powerful church - a religious leader who played a significant yet almost-unknown role in the communist collapse - is positioned to play a major role.
" The religious right - while seeking to champion "family values," prayer, and the sanctity of human life - may in reality be unwittingly taking the first steps down a path that in time
p 2 -- could lead to the greatest religious intolerance ever witnessed.
" And even in the non-religious world - dominated by secular humanism - ancient occultism strides aggressively forward under the New Age banner."
The heart of the book discusses aspects of Daniel 11, and seeks to make modern day application of current events in the light of the prophecies found in that chapter. That the events prophesied in the closing verses of Daniel 11 are about to be fulfilled is beyond question. The basic subtle error of the book involves the application of a principle of prophetic interpretation. Burrill writes: "All Old Testament phrophecies of Israel are to be reinterpreted through the eyes of the New Testament if fulfillment is found after A.D. 34." (p. 6 5) But he takes this one step further and applies it to New Testament prophecies stating "Likewise, in Luke 21:24 Jesus predicted that Jerusalem would be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles would be fulfilled. If we read this text without the New Testament understanding of Israel, it would be possible to conclude that when Jerusalem is given back to the ethnic Jews, the prophecy would be fulfilled." (p. 66)
But it is in this statement that Burrill's false application of prophecy becomes glaringly apparent. The prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:24 is connected with Luke 21:20. As one Adventist writer has so aptly observed, "Jerusalem is both the beginning and the culmination of Jesus' prophecy." (Christ of the Revelation, p. 71) Jesus had stated plainly - "And when ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." (21:20) Now to apply Burrill's false interpretive principle would mean that the Christian Church of Jerusalem in A.D. 66 erred when they understood the Roman armies surrounding the literal city of Jerusalem to be the signal for them to leave the city. Those early Christians had no understanding of Jesus' prophecy as Burrill has set it forth in his book. They took Jesus literally. Jerusalem was the city of Jerusalem, and not the Christian Church.
The New Testament clearly distinguishes between the application of the terms, Israel, and Jerusalem. Jerusalem in the spiritual sense applies to the Heavenly Jerusalem. Paul wrote to the Galatians: "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." (4:26) And again to the Hebrews, he stated "Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem." (12:22) As for the term, "Israel," there is a new "Israel of God," to whom the promises given to ancient Israel have application. (Gal. 3:29; 6:16; Rom. 9:8) The prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:20-24 involves the city, not the nation nor the temple.
Burrill only compounds his confusion as he seeks to compare
Jesus' prophecy in Luke 21:24 with
Now in the book an astounding conclusion is drawn - "the times of the Gentiles are forty-two months." (p. 67) if as Burrill stated on the previous page that to interpret Jesus prophecy as being fulfilled in 1967 "would mean that the times of the Gentiles was ended - a strange interpretation indeed for Christians today." How much stranger is his conclusion that the times of the Gentiles ended in 1798. There is no question that the very expression "times of the Gentiles (nations)" - means "the period set aside by God for the evangelization of the heathen nations." (Christ of the Revelation, p. 72). Now if the "times of the Gentiles" ended in 1798, what then would be the purpose for the Three Angels' Message to every nation, tongue and people which came after 1798. When we seek to escape the obvious import of Jesus' own prophecy, we get ourselves into all kinds of ridiculous applications of the Word of God.
The same misapplication is seen in the chapters in this book where Daniel 11 is discussed with its resultant questionable conclusions.
As a Church, we have vacillated regarding Jesus' prophecy in Luke 21:24. The first understanding was written just prior to Ellen G. White's
p 3 -- counsel connecting what Jesus said in Luke 21 would "come upon Jerusalem" and "the scenes which were to take place in the history of this world just prior to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Letter 20, 1901) Her son, James Edson White, in his book, The Coming King (1898), wrote: "We also read that 'Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.' Luke 21:24. Jerusalem has never again come 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 the 1940's, the Pacific Press published two books on Israel in prophecy. The first one, Palestine in Prophecy (1944) actually became a book of the month or the Voice of Prophecy. It stated unequivocally concerning A.D. 34: "This date marked the end of the probation for the Jews as a nation." (p. 47) (This is true!) Then based on this fact, the conclusion was drawn through the interpretation of other prophecies that "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'-the-wisp." (p. 95)
Then in 1947, the second book - The Jews and Palestine - was published. The author, Roy F. Cottrell wrote: "Careful study of both the Old and New Testament reveals that the literal descendants of Abraham, as a nation, will never be re-established in the Holy Land." (p. 61; emphasis supplied) Yet the next year - 1948 Israel did become a nation. The Church had misinterpreted prophecy. What was to be done?
In 1952 a
world-wide Bible Conference was held in the Sligo Park Church
under the direction of the President of the General Conference. At this
conference, Arthur S. Maxwell
In 1967, Jerusalem was captured by the armies of Israel, and in 1980, the capital was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem thus completing the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy. Because the world did not end at either date, the Church then made another assumption. At a series of Bible Conferences in 1974 held in the North American Division, Dr. Herbert Douglass made the assertion - "Adventists do not see theological importance in the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 or the annexation of Old Jerusalem in 1967." ("The Unique Contribution of Adventist Eschatology," p. 6) They did in 1952, what made the change in 1974? From a prophecy that "we all should be watching with special care," it had become a prophecy to which there was "no theological significance." Why? The Church did not want to face the reality of the significance which this fulfilled prophecy of Jesus was telling them. This new book by Burrill is only adding to the blindness of Laodicea in regard to Luke 21:24.
[For a detailed study of the significance of Luke 21:24, write for The Hour and the End.]
ANOTHER BOOK -- Another book, with almost the same intent but with differing interpetations of some of the same prophecies, is a new paperback from an independent ministry. To Be God of one World, written by Robert Sessler, also contains the basic fallacy of Burrill's book - inaccurate premises.
Sessler is to be commended in this book for adopting the historistic method of prophetic interpretation. This would signal the abandonment of the dual application hermeneutic which he used in his previous manuscript - The Abomination of Desolation.
In the first chapter, Sessler quotes extensively from Roger Rusk (a "Babylonian"?) in support of his usage of the historic Protestant method of understanding prophecy. He evidently is still not aware that this was the position of the Seventhday Adventist Church until Desmond Ford introduced his "apotelesmatic" theory. This is the problem with many of these younger
p 4 -- independent "voices". They are ignorant of what was taught in fundamental Adventism, and are not willing even now to learn. They prefer to quote a "Babylonian" scholar, and with the stroke of the pen call the Church, "Babylon.", What the Church was, and what the Church has become are two different things! Even as with Israel of old, Jesus could say during His ministry, "Salvation is of the Jews." (John 4:22) He didn't quote from Babylonian sources to sustain His position. He quoted from the historic sources of the Jewish Church - the Old Testament.
As Sessler begins his prophetic interpretations, he writes of the seven heads on the beast symbols of Revelation - "So the seven heads evidently stands as an identifying mark of the plans and characteristics of Satan;..." (p. 9) There is no need for guess work here for one of the angels of the Seven Last Plagues clearly defines these heads. The record reads: "Here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition." (Rev. 17:9-11)
The reason Sessler must avoid this clear definition by the Angel interpreter becomes obvious as one reads on. He writes: "The Roman Catholic church is still very powerful, and she has great influence in many different areas, but she will not play the leading role in this last great controversy." (p.12) This conclusion does not square with the counsel we have been given. It reads that "all need wisdom carefully to search out the mystery of iniquity that figures so largely in the winding up of this earth's history." (TM, p. 118; emphasis supplied) Has "the mystery of iniquity" (II Thess. 2:7-9) now become something other than the Papacy? Do we write that the "method of Bible interpretation which gave rise to the great Reformation Movement from the Dark Ages, was blessed of God, and is still appropriate to use today!" (Sessler, p. 3) and then at the first opportunity abandon it? That method of interpretation called "the mystery of inquity" the Papacy.
This false premise is further compounded in his attempt to interpret the "beast" of Revelation 17. It is true that the dragon of Revelation 12 is "bright red or flame colored." This ties the imagery into paganism and the worship of the devil as the sun-god of antiquity. Sessler notes that the beast of Revelation 17 is colored, and seeks to display linguistic skills by noting a number in Strong's Concordance But one needs to know more than Strong gives to utilize the Greek meaning within the context of its use. The Greek word for scarlet is kokkinos. But the context and use of the word in Scripture must be considered. This Strong does not give, and thus leaves dangling one who does not know his Greek New Testament. This word, kikkinos and/or kikkinon is used six times in the New Testament. Four of those six times its use is in connection with one reigning, even if used in an act of derision. (See Matt. 27:28) The woman riding the beast is also clothed in scarlet (17:4). She declares of herself - "I sit a queen, and am no widow." (18:7) She is married to her "king," who has also decked his firey red skin in "scarlet."
What Sessler fails to note is that Satan is converted after the modern order of things, and comes as an angel of light working through his earthly agent, the Papacy. Both Burrill and Sessler involve the Adventist Church in the final play of eschatological events. Burrill perceives it as the "remnant" Church, while Sessler places the separationists as the players in the drama.
A THIRD BOOK -- The first book we discussed above was written from the vewpoint of the regular Church; the second from the perspective of a dissident movement which takes a very strident attitude toward the Church, and now this third book which we shall consider deals directly with the Church and how the author perceives its need. Corporate Repentance by Elder R. J. Wieland sounds once again his call to the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church to turn around from the course it is pursuing. It is a book of desperation written by a man who is reluctant to admit the reality of what he sees taking place within the Church to which he has given his life in service both at home and abroad.
This desperation is sounded in a "Dear Friends" letter he mailed out earlier this year. One final sentence of the letter reads: "Yes, 8T 249-251 MUST be fulfilled." Herein lies the crux of his problem and desperation. Pages 249-251 are not the whole of the testimony which Ellen White wrote following the close of the General Conference in Oakland in 1903, and before it reconvened in Battle Creek. True, the reassembled delegates did not know that Ellen White had written this testimony the day before
p 5 -- they reconvened, but the timing does relate it directly with the 1903 session. This Wieland bypasses in his new book - Corporate Repentance, when the very pages which he declares "MUST" be fulfilled deal with the need for corporate repentance arising from this sesion, not 1888! it was the action taken at the 1903 session which was the "now" time of the call for such a repentance. The sentence reads: "Unless the church, which is now being leavened by her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted, she will eat the fruit of her own doing until she shall abhor herself." (p. 250; emphasis supplied)
There are two kinds of "abhoring" one's self revealed in Scripture. Peter abhored himself over the denial of his Lord, and went out and wept bitterly. Judas, also abhored himself over the betrayal of Jesus but he went out and hanged himself. He found no place for repentance; he had crossed the unseen line. This is the critical point which is involved in what Wieland says, "MUST be fulfilled." The second paragraph of Ellen White's testimony decisively declares that "the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed" in the balances of the sanctuary. (p. 247) The Church, corporately, must face the judgment of the sanctuary. It is further revealed that if she has not proved true "to the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence, ' Found wanting"' (ibid.) This Wieland ignores, and declares in his new book, there is no such possibility. The Church will go through.
Here is where Jesus' prophecy and the Day of Final Atonement meet. The Church is a corporate body. The confessions of corporate Israel were recorded on the horris of the Altar of Incense. The agenda of the Day of Atonement reveals that the cleansing of the First Apartment was the second act of the services on the Day of Atonement. (Lev. 16:16; Ex. 30:10) Then followed the cleansing in the Court. (16:18-19) The prophecy of Jesus dealt with "nations" [same word in Greek for "Gentiles"] as corporate bodies. The Bible also considers religious bodies as corporate entities, or "nations." (Isa. 26:2; Eph. 2:12-13) Thus Jesus' prophecy tells us when the judgment in the sanctuary would take place, and yet time would linger on for the individual Laodicean to open the door and let Jesus come in.
It is this point which Wieland in his new book desperately seeks to avoid, and in doing so violates the simple Greek of Revelation 3. This is tragic for he closes the chapter, "The Lord's Most Serious Problem of the Ages," with this paragraph: "Committee actions, polished programs, high pressure promotion, can never truly motivate. Truth must be the vehicle, reaching human hearts, for only truth, ' the third angel's message in verity,' can penetrate the secret recesses of the soul." (p. 57; emphasis supplied)
This is so very true, and the fact that the message of the righteousness of Christ is "pure, unadulterated truth" (TM, p. 65) is what makes Wieland's violation of Greek usage in Revelation 3 so inexcuseable. It is the confused thinking of a desperate man seeking to avoid the message of fulfilled prophecy.
Let us consider the message to Laodicea, both its corporate call via the "angel" of the Church, and the individual call to "any man" who hears "the voice of the True Witness," and will "open the door." A mere casual reading of the message to Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22) reveals a change from the second person singular to a third person singular. In other words from "thy," "thou," and "thee," in verses 15-19 to "any man" in verse 20. There is no question but that verses 15-19 are speaking to the "angel" or messenger in a corporate sense. Then the message is directed to the individual. Jesus is still outside the door of corporate Laodicea - the counsel is unheeded, and so He turns to the individual, "any man," to respond and let Him come in. This means simply that His intent in verse 16 - to "spue thee out of my mouth" has been carried out. This conclusion Wieland seeks to avoid and violates the Greek in an endeavor to accomplish his designs.
Wieland writes - "The appeal in Revelation 3:20 ("If any man hear my voice") contains a significant Greek word, tis, which primarily means "a certain one," not just "any one." (p. 21) He cites a use of tis in Mark 14:51, 52. But the question must be raised - Is this a valid comparison? And the answer is No! Tis, an indefinite pronoun, can be used as either a substantive, or with a substantive. In the book of Revelation, tis, is used ten times, and in each reference as a substantive. For example see 13:9; 14:9; 22:18, 19. When so used, "tis may be equal to 'any one,' 'anybody,' or 'anything'..." (A Grammar of the Greek New Testament [A. T Robertson], p. 742) The reference cited by Wieland is the use of tis with a substantive. On this point, the noted Greek grammarian wrote: "But the commonest use of tis with substantives is [it equals] 'certain' (really rather uncertain!) [References cited] Sometimes it is difficult to give more force to tis than the English indefinite article. [References cited] indeed it is nearly always true that our 'certain' is too emphatic." (ibid., p. 743)
Yet this is what Wieland has done, even going to the extent of seeking to supply a substantive where John did not so do! This is adding to the Word of God. When will he let truth "penetrate the secret recesses" of his soul as he demands of the Church leadership?
In another place in his book, Wieland writes: "In our case, our problem is not our ' 27 doctrines' or our history. Their general validity is unquestioned. Our corporate nakedness is our want of the one truth that alone can make those ' 27' meaningful - ' the message of Christ's righteousness' which the Lord tried to give us a century ago." (p. 30)
Here we go back to square one. Plainly, clearly, and without any reservations, the Messenger of the Lord stated why the message was rejected in 1888, and the same applies today. She wrote: "Because the Spirit is to come, not to praise men or to build up their erroneous theories, but to reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, many turn away from it. They are not willing to be deprived of the garments of their own self-righteousness, which is unrighteousness, for the righteousness of Christ, which is pure, unadulterated truth." (TM, p. 65)
The righteousness of Christ will not make meaningful that which is not truth, neither will that righteousness cover a false delineation of our history. The only solution today for "any man" who hears Jesus knocking is to heed the message given through His messenger - "My mind was carried into the future, when the signal will be given, ' Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him."' (R&H, Feb. 11, 1896; emphasis supplied)
p 6 -- LETS TALK IT OVER -- Two of the books which we discussed in the lead article focus on the impersonation of Satan as Christ coming the second time. And this is true. Satan will come as the Christ of the world in an attempt to set up his kingdom on this earth. There will be the battle of the great day of God Almighty. One may ask why then be concerned about the methods used in interpreting Scripture if each author by his own method arrives at the same ultimate conclusion that Satan will appear as Christ?
Throughout the ages of the Old Testament, the prophets focused on the coming of the Messiah giving details concerning the one who was to come. When He came the Jewish world was in expectation of this event. Yet how many recognized in the babe of Bethlehem, the incarnate God? Then when He began His ministry how many received Him for what he really was? Today, we have a reverse situation. Satan instead of Jesus Christ will come first. Will we fall for his overmastering deception because when he comes he will come in a different manner than we said he would come? Could we have known, if we had set up a true Scriptual basis, and developed on that basis instead of on a false hypothesis?
For example, Burrill, in his book - The New World Order - discusses the Battle of Armageddon (p. 165) He is absolutely correct in his understanding of the word in the Hebrew tongue as demanded by the text in Rev. 16:16. Yet because of the prophetic hermeneutic he adopts that all prophecy which is fulfilled after 34 A.D. must be spiritualized into meaning the Church, he misses the very literal explanation given by the angel to John in verses 14, 16.
Jesus gave an illustration as He closed the Sermon on the Mount. Two men built houses, and these houses may have looked very much alike. The problem was that one built on rock, the other built on sand. It is the base on which our superstructure rests that counts. That base must be truth, pure and unadulterated. Anything less than this is to build on the sand. The whole issue is truth in each of the books discussed. There is so much that is true in the book by Wieland. For example, he writes: "This issue is not whether we understand and preach the popular version of righteousness by faith as do the Sunday-keeping Evangelical churches. We can do that for a thousand years and still fall to give the unique message the Lord ' commanded' us to give. God has not called us to ecumenism." (p. 28; emphasis his)
But the question goes still deeper. What was God trying to get us to learn in justification by faith, so that we might be ready to receive the final atonement? Actually the reception of the robe of Christ's righteousness, giving up our f ig-leaf garment, and in that moment sensing our nakedness, is what the final atonement is all about. (Zech. 3:4) And Wieland has well stated this point when he wrote: "Righteousness is never in any way innate; never our own. All that we have of ourselves is unrighteousness. in other words, except for the grace of Christ, we are no better than any other people. if we had no Saviour, we would be stark ' naked.' The sins of others would be our sins, but for His grace.
"The realization of this truth humbles our pride in the dust. There is no way for us to obtain that special robe of His righteousness unless we first become conscious of our spiritual nakedness, and are willing to exchange our false ideas for the truth, which alone can cover our shame." (p. 29)
Here again the issue is truth. We must give up our false ideas "for the truth." This even Wieland is not yet willing to do. In this, he is still insisting that Revelation 3:16 does not mean what it says, and compounds it with a violation of Greek grammar to support his false thesis. This is sad. It is not that I have not written to him personally about this, prior to this public discussion of the issue. I did several months ago - but no reply has been forthcoming, not even the Christian courtesy of an acknowledgement of the letter.
No longer can the issue revolve around the one question of acceptance or rejection of the 1888 message by the Church. The resolution of whether the message was accepted or rejected lies not in the message, but rather in its application as far as the corporate Church was concerned. It was not until 1903 when the
p 7 -- Church was being leavened with its own backsliding did the call come for denominational rentance. This was coupled with the clear announcement that the Church as a coporate body was to be weighed in the balances of the heavenly sanctuary. (8T:247, 250) To say that one part of this testimony "MUST" be fulfilled and ignore the other is not being honest with truth. The acceptance of the truth of our own church history has been side stepped in this book. Yet Wieland claims that "we possess a corporate conscience devoted above all else to truth." (p. 31; emphasis his) Do we? If not, why not? Are we still wearing our fig-leaf garments?
"REFLECTIONS" -- in each Christianity Today, there is usually a page devoted to "Reflections" filled with "Classic and contemporary excerpts." In the April 5, 1993 issue was one which contained a penetrating insight into the character of Jesus not often expressed and even less welcome. Dorothy L. Sayers in A Careless Rage for Life, wrote: "I believe it to be a grave mistake to present Christianity as something charming and popular with no offense in it. ... We cannot blink the fact that gentle Jesus meek and mild was so stiff in His opinions and so inflamatory in His language that He was thrown out of church, stoned, hunted from place to place, and finally gibbeted as a firebrand and a public danger. Whatever His peace was, it was not the peace of an amiable indifference." (p. 61)
Paul writes of "the offense of the cross." (Gal 5:11) It has not ceased, but it is despised and rejected, even as the one who glorified it. But how can we really call ourselves followers of the Lord Jesus Christ and ignore the meaning of a life that ended on a cross. Is not one of the three criteria for victory over the power of evil, and the evil one "they loved not their lives unto death." (Rev. 12:11)
METANOIA -- In this present era darkened by the collapse of character, and the dissolution of faith, God's people need to maintain their spiritual integrity. This begins with what the Greeks called metanoia, which means a "change of mind" and is translated in the New Testament as "repentance."
Repentance is commonly thought of as simply an acknowledgment and confession of sin. But repentance is more than this. It is the process by which we see ourselves, day by day, as we really are: sinful, needy, dependent people. It also involves the process by which we see God as He is: awesome, majestic, and above all else, holy. It is the essential experience of the "new birth" which sets our thinking in right relationship to God, and so completely alters our perspectives that we start to see things through the eyes of God, and not our own. In the ultimate it is the daily surrender of self.
It was not by accident that the first of Luther's 95 Theses reads: "When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ' Repent,' He willed that the entire life of believers [whether corporately, or individually] be one of repentance." Paraphrased from CT, Oct. 20, 1989, p. 33.---(1993 Jun) --- End ---