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WWN 2002 Oct - Dec


2002 Oct -- XXXV -- 10(02) --The New Birth -- Editor's Preface -- This entire issue of WWN is devoted to the night conversation that Nicodemus had with Jesus, and John's illustration of what it means to be born from above. The reason for so doing, is that there is being taught in the community of Adventism that one must be born again before he can be justified. In principle, this is the same concept that was enunciated at the Council of Trent and constitutes the Tridentine Gospel of Rome.

Nicodemus was recognized by Jesus "as a teacher in Israel." He was a "righteous" man by Jewish standards which means that he fasted twice a week, and gave tithes of all that he possessed. See Luke 18:11,12. He could no doubt have confessed as did the Rich Young Ruler, had Jesus given him the same directive for life, "All these have I kept from my youth up, what lack I yet?" (Matt. 19:20). Jesus, in his conversation with Nicodemus, gave the same answer to "what lack I yet?" from a different perspective. Only as the proud Pharisee could see him self as he really was, a sinner, though clothed in his own "rightecusnesses" would he cry out for mercy as did the Publican. Then the new birth could begin.

The value of the record that John has left for us in this experience of Jesus with Nicodemus is the fact that it is so necessary for us as Laodiceans to recognize that we, too, have a similar attitude as did the Pharisees of Christ's day. We are rich and increased with good works, needing nothing. trusting in our own righteousnesses. knowing not that we are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" needing to be "born from above." Until we can come to the place where we recognize our spiritual poverty,. and worthlessness, will we ever cry out, "God be merciful to me, a sinner."

p 2 --
The New Birth -- A Re-Study of John 3:1-15 -- In reporting the night conversation that Nicodemus had with Jesus, John for the Second time in his gospel makes reference to the Pharisees. There is a connection. It was the Pharisees who sent a deputation from Jerusalem to the Jordon where John the Baptist was preaching and baptizing (John 1:24). Their approach indicated a Messianic implication, for John replied immediately, "I am not the Christ," and when further plied confessed to being neither "that prophet," nor "Eiijah" (John 1:20-21). It would appear that the Pharisees at this point were willing to accept him as either the Messiah, or Elijah, if he had so claimed. Jesus reminded them at a later date that they "were willing for a season to rejoice in his light" (5:25).

John told the deputation that there was One standing among them "whom ye know not." That One, he said "is preferred before me" (1:26-27). In less than six months, that One would appear in Jerusalem. He would cleanse the temple - His Father's house - and work undeniable miracles (2:16, 23). Some downgrading of their previous judgment was required. Did they want a Messiah who would reek havoc on their religious structure? But then there were those "miracles" to take into account. So in council they confessed that Jesus
was a "teacher come from God" based solely on His miracles, and not on what He did in the Temple, nor
His claim for so doing it; "for no man can do those miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."

Why did Nicodemus come to Jesus, with this consultation report, "We know ... "? Was it to discuss His actions in the Temple? Or was it to conclude a working arrangement with Jesus as a "teacher" for he, too, was a "teacher in Israel" (3:10). The Gospel record does not tell us. This approach and all that it might involve, Jesus abruptly swept aside, and pointedly told Nicodemus - "Verily, verily, I say unto thee (soi - singular), Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (33). The word translated "again" can also be translated, "above," as indicated in the margin of the KJV. The Greek word, anwqen, is an adverb, and when referring to place or source is translated, "above," but when to time means, "again." Jesus meant place; Nicodemus interpreted it as time and responded, "How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" (v, 4). Jesus then pointedly stated:      Verily, verity, I say unto thee, Except a man he born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must he born from above" (vs. 5-7).

Too often, we separate these verses when quoting them. They constitute one thought and that thought is vital when studying the "new birth." If a man could be "born again," the result would still be "flesh," with all that that term means in Scripture. He must be born from above by the Spirit so "as to enter into the kingdom of God." Paul pointedly stated it in his letter to the Corinthians:  "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1, 15:50).

Jesus continued to explain to Nicodemus the meaning of the "new birth" from the viewpoint of "from above." He said,      The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is everyone that is born of the Spirit. (v. 8, KJV)

In the Greek text the same identical word, to pneuma, is used at the beginning of the verse, as at the end. John knew the proper Greek word for wind, anemoV, and used it in John 6:18. A free translation of this verse could read:      The Spirit breathes where it wills, and thou hearest His voice; but thou dost not know how He is coming and where He will lead. This is the experience of everyone who is born out of the Spirit.

This was the concept understood by those who lived immediately after John penned his gospel. Ignatius in AD 110, as he was being led to martyrdom, said,

p 3 -- "The Spirit knoweth whence it cometh and whither it goeth."

Jesus emphasized that the birth from "above" was a dual experience "out of" (ek) the water, and out of the Spirit. This recalls the first creation when the earth "without form and void" lay entombed in "the waters." Upon that mass, "the Spirit of God moved." (Gen. 1:2). Out of it came forth a perfect creation in its entirety. Some of the mass became trees; some of it beasts of the field, and some of the mud, man in the image of his Maker. It was the Spirit's determination, and to the Spirit's voice all matter yielded to find its place.

The life of man in sin is chaotic, a desolation, with his soul in darkness unable to find peace. Well did Isaiah describe the state of the man in sin:      The wicked are like a troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. Their is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. (57:20-21).

I have stood on a rock overlooking the mighty Pacific. The breakers came in, restless and surging. When they receeded, there was left filth and dirt. More than water is required - "except a man be born out of the Spirit." The earth in its state of chaos could have existed millenniums, and nothing would have happened. But let the Spirit brood, and there came forth order, form, and beauty. It is the Spirit that can give order and direction to a life of chaos and restlessness.

We must never forget that the first work of the Spirit is to convince us of our sinfulness. (John 16:8) And the why is given: "Because they believe not on Me" (v 9) When we come to the place when we realize that we cannot trust in our own works; and what those "righteousnesses" in which we trust really are, Will we cry out, "God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13). Isaiah states it clearly - whether saint or sinner - "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (64:6). He is not saying that our "iniquities" are as filthy rags, which they are, but that our "righteousnesses" are likewise such. Man has nothing upon which to rely of himself. The message of John the Baptist was, "Behold the Lamb of God, the One bearing away

('o airwn) the sin of the world" (John 1:29 Gr.). He not only takes away my sins and iniquities, but He stands in place of my "righteousnesses." He becomes, "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jar. 23:6).

This is the One whom John the Baptist told the delegation from Jerusalem was standing among them Whom they knew not. He is the One who was preferred before him, and the One we too must prefer before ourselves. But the Pharisees didn't wait till the next day to discover who He was when John designated Him as the Lamb of God. Neither they, nor we desire the self renunciation such a recognition demands. But unless we are born out of the water and the Spirit, we can not, nor will we, enter the Kingdom of God.

Isaiah after describing the "righteousnesses" of even "saints" caps his statement with the meaning of the "new birth" as Jesus defined it to Nicodemus that night long ago. He wrote:     But now 0 Lord, thou art our father; and we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and we are all the work of Thy hand. (64:8).

To be born from above means simply, we return to the "mud" of the first creation, so God can begin the regeneration required for us to see the eternal kingdom. Because of sin, death is required, a return to dust for God decreed, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. 3:19). Actually, the second death is the return to dust (ashes" - Mal. 4:3) eternally. We have a choice now in life to return to dust to be remolded after the Divine likeness, or to be returned to dust at the end of the age nevermore to be. The way to life has been provided by the Lamb who came to bear away the "sin" (singular) of the world.

At the same time that Jesus reminded "the Jews" (Pharisees) that at one point they were willing "for a season to rejoice in the light" provided by John, He also said to them,      "Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which

p 4 -- bear witness of Me; and ye will not come unto Me, that ye may have life" (John 5:39-40 ARV).

The whole issue of the Gospel is the relationship we have toward the Lord Jesus Christ. Do we believe in Him, or do we not? Or do we believe in ourselves!? True, He has become to us an "example" that we should follow in His steps. But that Example clearly stated, "Of mine own self, 1 can do nothing" (John 5:30). That same total dependence on God evidenced in the life of Jesus. must be revealed in our lives. "The Father that dwelleth in me, He death the works" (John 14:10). "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith" (Rom. 3:27). Faith is the noun in English by which the action of the verb in Greek, "I believe" (pisteuw), is designated. A saving faith is belief, a simple trust, in the Lord Jesus Christ, by which 1 become willing to become nothing - clay, mud, or dust - however, one wishes to designate it, so that the Spirit of God may once again brood "upon the face of the waters."

The hardest part of this experience could well be that which is defined as "whence [the Spirit] cometh and whither it goeth" which was quoted by Ignatius on the way to martyrdom. We are not asked how we want the course of our life to be, or to end; it is the Spirit of God who makes that decision. This is to walk by faith and not by sight. This is placing one's self in the Hand of the Potter to be and to serve to, His glory where He wills and in the way He indicates. To be doing the Spirit's bidding rather than the way we would like to be doing, is evidence of genuine conversion. This will be the experience of everyone born out of the water and the Spirit.

To have a one to one experience with the Lord Jesus Christ will call forth in us the same response it did in Paul - "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). Then, all my plans and purposes in life will be subordinated to that one objective no matter how humiliating to human pride, that work that may be. We need to realize that in this "new birth" experience from above, God remoulds us to fit His objective for us, not what we may want.

Consider two antediluvians - Enoch and Noah. Of Enoch it was written - "Enoch walked with God" (Gen. 5:22). likewise of Noah it is stated, "Noah walked with God" (6:9). In this walk, Noah did .according to all that God commanded him" (6:22), He went through the Flood, and the record simply states, "and he died" (9:29). Of Enoch the same record reads - "Enoch walked with God: and he was not for God took him" (6:24). We may ask, why two different ends for two men who walked with God? Enoch has been in "heavenly places" all these millenniums, while Noah rests awaiting the call of the life Giver at the end of the age. While one "pleased God," the other became an "heir of the righteousness which is by faith" (Heb. 11:5, 7). Does the clay say to the Potter, why have you so moulded me? NO! The recognition of the Sovereignty of God is involved. We sing, "Lord of my life, I crown Thee now, Thine shall the glory be." Do we sing just words, or do we mean what we sing? These words are the heart of what it means to be born from above.

Are we willing to trust our lives each day in the hands of the Potter, or are we still thinking that our ".righteousnesses" are first required? Or in the broader aspect are we shrinking from the consequences that such a surrender may require? There is no record of any decision that Nicodemus made that night as the result of the conversation. only a parting word from Jesus - 'As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:14 15). That was to follow in progressive steps (7:50-51;19:39). Birth follows a conception by truth.

Many who profess to be His followers have an anxious, troubled spirit,
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)

p 5 -- Self Renunciation Symbolized -- To be born from above as defined by Jesus leads to but one experience, the renunciation of self. Nicodemus, understanding Jesus to mean to be born "again" asked, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be barn?" The answer is, he cannot do so. Neither can a man become again mud entombed in water, and be thus recreated. However, Jesus with John the Baptist entered into a ceremonial experience that would "fulfil all righteousness" (Matt. 3:15). It, like creation, involved water and the Spirit. This ceremony is, too often, lightly regarded and little understood.

First, 1 cannot baptize myself. Jesus could not do it either, and thus declared to John, "It becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." Paul asked the Christians at Rome, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death?" (Rom. 6:3). As Jesus closed His earthly life, besides the "loud voice" declaring, "It is finished," He prayed, "Father into Thy hands, I commend my spirit: and having said thus, He gave up ..." (Luke 23:46).

There is something awesome here. A man stands as an ambassador of Christ (II Cor. 5:20), to receive into the water a candidate for the kingdom of God. The candidate places himself wholly in the hands of this minister. He is entombed in water, and is raised up by this "ambassador" - not by his power but by the ambassador's - so to live again, "a newness of life" (Rom. 6:4). The candidate in this act has admitted the justice of the wrath of God against sin, the "old man" is buried in water. The Divine dictum is symbolized - "Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return." There is a new creation. (II Cor. 5:17). There is to be a Divine moulding from "above." This "moulding" is a daily experience. "I die daily," declared Paul (I Cor. 15:31).

What will lead one to enter fully into this "death" in life? When one sees himself as he really is, as God sees him, he voluntarily dies because he is too putrid to live. Well does Isaiah describe our condition:    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 putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither moIlified with ointment. (1:5-6).

It is also Isaiah who reminds us that our "righteousnesses" are as "filthy rags" (64:6). Paul summerizing the state of man, drawing from Old Testament references, wrote:      There is none righteous, no, not one: then is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Rom. 3:10-12).

This represents our condition as "Laodiceans," perceiving ourselves to be what we are not, nor can be of ourselves. Thinking that we are "in need of nothing" while in reality we are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" (Rev 3:17).

The whole course of life is toward death. We will die. But from the death which comes at the close of a life governed by our desires, there will be no return. When viewed from this perspective, there is not much to renounce for self has little, if any, value. When I come to this realization, the true conviction of what sin is, and has done to me, then by the same Spirit, there is offered to me a new birth. To enter in, 1 must die. It is a choice of deaths - a death in life, or a death that will end all life forever.

The Divine Dictum - 'Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" - is never altered. It is a matter of "When." Jesus offers us a choice. I can be "crucified with Him" and live (Gal. 2:20); or I can live, and "be punished with everlasting destruction" (II Thess. 1:9). To live now, so as to never die hereafter, is to have Christ living in me. As He died, placing Himself in the hands of the Father, I also die placing myself in the hands of Jesus Christ. I am "baptized into Jesus Christ" (Rum. 6:3). My life is

p 6 -- hid with Christ in God, so that when Christ, who is my life shall appear, I shall also appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:3-4).

It might be well to carefully consider the words of Paul in Galatians 2:19-20, translated as literally as possible from the Greek text. He wrote:      For I through law to law died in order that to God, I might live. In Christ, I have been crucified. But I live, no longer I, but lives in me Christ. But that which now I live in flesh, in faith I live, the faith of the Son of God, the One who loved me and gave Himself in my behalf.

Note, he writes, "I live, no longer I" The Apostle Paul is no longer Saul the Pharisee. There is a clear, evident difference. The difference came on the way to Damascus, when he asked Jesus, "Lord, what will thou have me to do?" From that Point forward it was no longer the "old" self; that had been renounced. Forthwith there came a new creation, a new identity. Neither was the Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night, the same Nicodemus who joined Joseph of Arimathaea in the burial of Jesus. He was willing now to go forth "Unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach" (Heb. 13:13) in the light of day, not in the shadows of the night.

Paul declared that "in faith" he lived, but it was not even his own faith. It is the faith which the Son of God authored, a complete trust in God that He would carry out the terms of the Counsel of Peace that had been formulated "between the Two of Them." (See Zech. 6:13). It could be called "the Faith of the Cross," for in His dying words, as He passed into the "outer darkness" of the second death, Jesus placed Himself in the "hands of the Father." It is well stated:      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 he the simple outworking of His will. As we commit our ways to Him, He will direct our steps. (Ministry,of Healing, p. 479)

A brief altering of Christ's final commitment to the Father must become the basis of our "new birth" experience. Read the text in Luke 23:46 as your commitment - "Father into Thy hands I commend my life," and having prayed thus, give up. This is the hardest part of the experience of being born from above. You do not know where that commitment will lead you. You live by faith, even the faith which the Son of man authored. He prayed just before crossing the brook into the Garden of Gethsemane:  "This is life eternal that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" (John 172). To know this God is to know that:      God never leads His children otherwise that 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. (ibid.)

God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold from anyone whom He loves and who loves Him, that which is for their best interest. 1 must be crucified in Christ, but by that death, and the resurrection which follows, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

The Kingdom of God -- The kingdom of God is the objective of the "new birth" from above. We, too often, limit it to the kingdom which shall be inaugurated when Christ shall return the second time sitting upon the "throne of His glory" (Matt. 19:28) In His parable teachings, Jesus spoke, however, of another "kingdom of heaven." See Matthew 13:24, 31, 33, 45, 47. We are encouraged to come boldfy to "the throne of grace, that we might obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16). That night long ago when Nicodemus conversed with Christ, the kingdom inferred was the eternal kingdom of glory. His last words to Nicodemus concerning the lifting up of the serpent in the wilderness were concluded with the statement, "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish. but have eternal life" (3:15).

However, the conditions for entrance into either kingdom - grace or glory - are the same. As far as

p 7 -- the kingdoms are concerned, one succeeds the other. Our inheritance with the holy ones in light follows our deliverance from "the power of darkness" by the translation "into the kingdom of His dear Son" now, "in Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:12-14).

Once I have been planted together in the likeness of His death - "Father into Thy hands, I commend my self" and give up - the same mysterious movings of the Spirit begin - " Thou dost not know where He is leading." If we are honest with ourselves, as we review the past years of our lives, be they few or many, we have to admit that every major failure which has brought remorse, and with it regret and guilt, stems from the fact that we did not follow the Spirit's leading, but chose our own way.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray - "Our Father, Who art in heaven ... thy will be done in earth, as it is
heaven" (Matt. 6:10). But it cannot be done in earth, unless it is first done in us - dust - "dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou retum." Then the Spirit leads the recreated "dust" - to work in the accomplishment of the wider meaning of "earth." What, and how and where that will be, is not ours to define, but His to choose. "For the Son of man is as
a man taking a far journey, who left His house, and gave authority unto His servants, and to every man his work" (Mark 13:34).

Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place
designated on earth where we are to work for God. (Christ's Object Lessons, p. 327)

In this third chapter of John's gospel, the record of the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus is
followed by an illustration of what Jesus meant when He told Nicodemus - "Ye must be born from above."
Commenting briefly (vs. 16-21) on the parting statement of Jesus (v. 15), the gospel narrative returns to the ministry of John the Baptist (vs. 23-30).

A question concerning religious practice was used as an opportunity to plant, if possible, seeds of
jealousy between John and Jesus. How did John
respond? He reminded those Jews that he had told them previously that he was "not the Messiah," but was "sent before Him" (vs. 28; 1:20). Then from lips which betokened a life born from above, he declared - "He must increase, but I must decrease."

Here was man of whom Jesus would testify that "among them which are born of women there hath not risen a greater than" he. (Matt. 11:11). He was born to an elderly couple. We are not told how old he was when he laid them to rest. He chase not to follow his father in temple service for he "'was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel" (Luke 1:80). His dress and his food was what could be found in the desert. (Matt. 3:4). He never married. There were none to inherit his patrimony. He began to proclaim the message given to Him by God the year he baptized Jesus. In less than two years the "burning and shining light" (John 5:35) would be extinguished in martyrdom. The Spirit leads where it wills, and the one born from above follows, accepting in full assurance that "Voice of gentle stillness" as it "whispers softly, - 'Wanderer, come! Follow Me, I'll guide thee home."' --- (2002 Oct) --- End --- TOP

2002 Nov -- XXXV -- 11(02) -- This Year -- In Retrospect -- Editor's Preface -- Since in the November issue of WWN we insert the listing of the manuscripts and publications available through the Foundation, the actual size of the publication is reduced one page. During the years, we have at times brought together for the November issue, news from the ecumenical world. This year, we will note in review some of the high points which were discussed during the year and update some of the issues, such as the crisis which has rocked the Roman Church.

The question can be asked, "Anything new in publication and research?" The answer is negative. Until we come to know what has taken place in the Church during the last half century, we will remain children in respect of what our duty is. Some may already have these documents, such as Steps to Rome, (being led by the eulogized "Adventist Statesman"); The Hour & the End; and "The Sacred Trust Betrayed." If you do, may we suggest that you call a friend's attention to their availability. One book that speaks volumes is So Much in Common, a book co-authored by B. B. Beach, and Dr. Lukas Vischer, who at the time of writing was secretary of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC.

For those interested in a detailed study of what has happened over the past half century, we suggest the following sequence:
1)  M. L. Andreasen's Letters to the Churches.
2)  SDA-Evangelical Conferences. taking special note of the recorded telephone conversation between A. L. Hudson and Donald G. Barnhouse.
3)  Key Doctrinal Comparisons, from the first Statement in 1872 to the 1980 Dallas Statement.

p 2 -- In Retrospect: This Year -- In the December issue of WWN for the year 2001, we called attention to the counsel given by the Lord's messenger in the Review & Herald, July 26, 1892. It read:      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. As long as we hold our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.

As we concluded the article, we commented, "If in 1892, there were lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn, the intervening years have not nullified this counsel, and because it has not been done, it makes it even more necessary that such an attempt be made now." (p. 7)

In the January issue of this year, we began with the key doctrine of Adventism - the teaching and understanding of the meaning of the sanctuary which God, in blueprint form, gave to Moses at Mt. Sinai. The interpretive tool for this teaching is given in the book of Hebrews: The priests of the earthly type served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." (8:5)

Throughout the history of Adventism, there have been questions and problems over this basic teaching. Many are unaware that E. J. Waggoner of the 1888 team stumbled over aspects of the "orthodox" teaching. Prior to his sudden death in 1916, Waggoner wrote a letter to a friend in which he stated:      Sin is a condition, not an entity. It exists only in the individual, and can be removed only by a new life in the individual. ...

Twenty five years ago [18911. these truths (of Christ's saving grace) coupIed with the self-evident truth that sin is not an entity but a condition that can exist only in a person, made it clear to me that it is impossible that there could be any such thing as the transferring of sins to the sanctuary in heaven, thus defiling that place; and that there could, consequently, be no such thing, either in 1844. A.D. or at any other time, as the "cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary." (pp. 9, 14)

It is also of interest that as Waggoner continues his "Confession of Faith" he sets forth arguments very similar to those used by Cottrell in his essay read before the San Diego Chapter of the Association of Adventist Forums, February 9th of this year. (See WWN XXX-7) Because Cottrell has borrowed from Waggoner, and because Waggoner drew the conclusion he did, doesn't make it right, nor does it nullify the sanctuary truth. But it does make more imperative, that the counsel that we have many things to learn, and many, many things to unlearn, be applied.

Waggoner concluded correctly that sin is not an entity, but a condition. Further, in the type, one did not transfer sin to the sanctuary via his sin offering. The defiling record of sin had been or was already being placed in the books of Heaven (Dam. 7:10; Rev. 20:12).

In 1890, the first volume of the Conflict of the Ages series was published - Patriarch and Prophets. In it would be found the following paragraph:      The most important part of the daily ministration was the service performed in behalf of individuals. The repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle, and placing his hand upon the vicim's head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the vail, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood transferred in figure to the sanctuary. In some cases the blood was not taken into the holy place; but then the flesh was to be eaten by the priest, as Moses directed the sons of Aaron, saying, "God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation." Both ceremonies alike symbolized the transfer of the sin of the penitent to the sanctuary. (pp. 354-355).

p 3 -- In this paragraph is to be found a subscript asking the reader to turn to Appendix, Note 9. This note reads:      When a sin-offering was presented for a priest or for the whole congregation, the blood was carried into the holy place, and sprinkled before the vail, and placed upon the horns of the golden altar. The fat was consumed upon the altar of burnt offering in the court, but the body of the victim was burned without the camp. See Lev. 4:1-21.

When, however, the offering was for a ruler or for one of the people, the blood was not taken into the holy place, but the flesh was to be eaten by the priest as the Lord directed Moses: "The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in a holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tent of meeting." Lev. 6:26, RV. See also Lev. 4:22-35. (p. 761).

This note was in the original 1890 edition. Simply, it is saying that what was written in the text of the book does not accord with the Scriptures. This causes some questions to arise, and some observations on the data which has surfaced. First the data: 1) Patriarchs & Prophets was published in 1890 with the above quoted appendix note; 2) Waggoner indicates that it was in 1891 he confronted some cardinal points in the sanctuary message and found them wanting; and 3) in 1892, Ellen White called for the getting together in Bible study as was done at the beginning of the movement. Why? "We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn." Because of the date, 1892, one could conclude that the whole question still involved the issue of 1888, but a careful reading of the article in the Review & Herald, July 26, indicates a broader range of subjects.

Secondly, the questions:  Instead of placing an appendix note, why did not the publishers go to Ellen White, and kindly, but pointedly indicate to her that she was not in line with Scripture on this point and make the corrections then and there? Why has there been no explanation of this variance with Scripture all these years while the attacks on the sanctuary truth have continued to mount?

In the type, the sin was a sin of ignorance, which when known was to be confessed. The penitent was to bring the specified offering and having placed his hand upon its head, was to slay it. (Lev. 4:22-24; 27-29). The common priest was to take some of the blood of the victim and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour the balance of the blood at the base of the same altar. The result to the confessor is clearly stated - "the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him" (vs. 26, 31, 35). At no time was the blood taken into the sanctuary. The record on the horns of the Altar in the court was confessional. The steps were orderly: recognize the sin, confess the sin, accept a substitute, and the common priest secured forgiveness. This is also New Testament theology. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, ..." (I John 1:9).

The important factor is that this transaction was done in the court, not in the sanctuary. Thus when the time of cleansing would come typically once a year, the High Priest would complete the "cleansing" ritual at that Altar. (Lev. 16:18-19). If sin were an entity, and the position valid that the sin offering transferred sin to the sanctuary, then the ceremony could have ended in the Most Holy Place; but being a condition, it must end in the person. Typically on the Day of Atonement, Israel gathered before the Court for just such a cleansing. In the February issue of WWN we discussed those illustrations from the Old Testament in Ezekiel and Zechariah which confirmed this point of view. The "Tau" involved persons not records. The records were not made the basis of wonderment, but men who had received a "change of raiment."

Another point dare not be overlooked. If the sacrifice of the sin-offering, and the finger printing of the blood of that sacrifice transferred sin as an entity to the sanctuary, then the easiest way to escape the condemnation of sin is not to confess. No confession, no registry in blood, thus no

p 4 -- record of sin. One is home "scot-free." Except, that one would still be an unforgiven sinner facing the wrath of God against sin. Instead of accepting Him who was made to be sin for us, we would remain what we really are - sinners.

'0 AnomoV -- Earlier in the year, the scandal within the Roman Church broke into the secular press, but we were unable to cover the subject until the June issue of WWN. We chose the title, as above, using the Greek word from II Thess. 2:8, translated in the KJV as "that Wicked (One)." Thayer, in his Lexicon translates this word, "He in whom all iniquity has fixed its abode." This is most accurate and very defining!

Several things have occurred since then. The American hierarchy of the Roman Church was summoned to Rome to hear the Pope's counsel. Upon their return, they met in session and formulated a policy which appeared to favor the molesting priest over the molested children. Then the Pope came to Toronto for the World Youth Day. Many lay Catholics were watching and listening to what he said and did. In The Washington Post, (August 4) a feature article by Mary McGrory summarized the reaction under the title ~ "Awaiting a Change Within the Church." In part, it read:       On his recent visit to Toronto, Pope John Paul II delivered two messages, one verbal and the other visual.

In his remarks at the World Youth Day Mass, the supreme pontiff lamented the "sadness and shame" of the pedophile scandal rocking the church. As before - in a Palm Sunday letter to the Roman clergy and an address to a Vatican meeting of U.S. bishops - he spoke glancingly of victims and urged sympathy for blamless priests who have been besmirched in the crisis.

His other message was conveyed in the presence of Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law, who is at the eye of the hurricane, and whose handling of pedophiliac priests in his diocese has led to the fury among the faithful and to calls for his resignation and even for his indictment. But readers of the Boston Globe, the paper that uncovered the scandal, were shocked to see a picture of the prelate dancing and singing with young pilgrims from Massachusettes.

The pope did not make any mention of the hierarchy's responsibility in the tragedy. Catholics are left to wonder if his attitude toward Cardinal Law is an impilcit endorsement of Law's policy of coverup, payoff and fast shuffle of notorious pedophiles from parish to parish - with no warning to their new parish. Or is it simply an expression of hierarchical solidarity and a suggestion to the people in the pews that this is entirely a matter for the supreme pontiff to decide?

Ms. McGrory in her feature article indicated that there is a "fast-growing lay group" in the Roman church, called the "Voice of the Faithful." Founded in Boston, it has now over 22,000 members nationwide. The president of the group, Jim Post, a professor at Boston University, was "disappointed" at the pope's Toronto statement. He had hoped to have heard that the laity would be included in a solution, but instead he heard, "Go sit in the pews and be quiet."

Cardinal Law discouraged the formation of this group and has locked horns with it over "the all-important matter of money." When church contributions started declining because the laity objected having their funds used as hush money, the Voice of the Faithful offered direct contributions to needy agencies. Law balked insisting that all funds go through him.

Victims' Advocate David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Nebvork of those Abused by Priests, had trouble with the pope's formulation of an equation between child victims and priests unfainy tainted by the scandal. He calls it "ludicrous" to compare the embarrassment of priests to the devastation of children.

The founder and first president of Voice of the Faithful was Dr. James Muller, a professor at the Harvard School of Medicine and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. "As a devout Catholic, he instantly attracted

p 5 -- attention and support when, in a personal crisis of faith, he invited the laity to make known their anger and pain inside the church. Four thousand people attended a recent convention in Boston to endorse an idea that is anathema to the Vatican - the idea of divided power."

Muller did not encourage nor agitate the removal of Cardinal Law. He explained:      It isn't just Cardinal Law. Sexual abuse is not just in the United States, it's all over the world. The underlying cause is the same as it was in the Crusades, the inquisition and other atrocities - it's absolute power.

While Dr. Muller perceives of the problem as "absolute power," The Catholic World Report documents it as "The Gay Priest Problem." In its November, 2000 issue, it published an essay by a Marine Corps and Navy Chaplain. One of his observations is relevant:      When more of your priests die by sodomy than by martyrdom, you know you've got a problem; when the man you bring for the fix comes down with AIDS; you know that you have got a crisis; and when the Pope first gets the facts thanks to 60 Minutes, you know you're corrupt. (p. 57).

We first noted this Essay in the 2001 February issue of WWN. However, in the June issue of this year we detailed some of the data from The Catholic World Report including the foul language used by the South African auxiliary bishop, Reggie Cawcutt, who was exposed by Roman Catholic Faithful for his participation in a homosexual internet "chat room." The report of this "achat room" participation has been given with all of its vulgarity in the August/September issue of The Catholic World Report, page 64. Along with this report is the release from the Vatican press office that the Pope has accepted the resignation of Bishop Reginald Michael Cawcutt, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cape Town. Canon Law 401, par. 2, cited as the basis for the resignation reads, "A diocesan bishop who, because of illness or some other grave reason, has become unsuited for the fulfilment of his office is earnestly requested to offer his resignation."

Cawcutt is a self admitted "gay," and he is quoted as saying on the internet, "I suppose the issue is really celibacy and not gay sex." In all of this scandal that is rocking the Roman Church, and the various reasons being projected as to why, the problem; one senses that there is a relationship between the conduct of the pedophile priests, and the life style of their superiors all the way up into the Vatican curia.

"We have nothing to fear for the future,
except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us,
and His teaching in our past history."
-- Life Sketches, p, 196

--- (2002 Nov) --- End --- TOP

2002 Dec -- XXXV -- 12(02) -- "Unto Us a Child is Born,
Unto Us Son is Given" --
Editor's Preface --
The Christian world celebrates the 25th day of tnis month as the birthday of Jesus. The Stable, the Manger, Shepherds, Wise Men from the East, all focus in Bethlehem. The name, Bethlehem, means, "House of Bread." He who was born at Bethlehem, and laid in a feeding trough for cattle, would proclaim Himself to be "the Bread of life," the very "bread of God" come "down from Heaven" (John 6:35, 33).

In reality, the date December 25, was first honored as the birthday of the sun-god Mithra, and adopted into Christian practice to make Christianity more acceptable to the pagans, as well as worship on Sunday. The actual birth date of Jesus is unknown and never given in Scripture, but it could not have been in December, because the shepherds were still "abidingin the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night" (Luke 2:8). The date has no significance, but what occurred does. "God was made manifest in the flesh" and "dwelt among us" (1 Tim. 3:16; John 1:14).

"The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. it is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ and through Christ to God. This is to be our study, Christ was a real man; He gave proof of His humility in becoming man. Yet He was God in the flesh. When we approach this subject, we do well to heed the words spoken by Christ to Moses at the burning bush, 'Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.' We should come to this study with the humility of a learner, with a contrite heart. And this study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field, which will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth." (Selected Messages, bk, 1. p, 244)

p 2 -- "Unto Us A Son Is Given" -- It was the "gospel" prophet, Isaiah who wrote:      
For a child hath been born to us, a Son hath been given to us, and the princely power is on His shoulder, and He doth call His name Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of peace. (9:6; Young's Literal Trans.).

Within the compass of this one verse is to be found the whole of the Incarnation, as well as the controversy which has surrounded it. The Messiah was to be "born to us." He was to become, incarnate, "in flesh appearing." He already was, and was "given to us." How divine? "The mighty God," and "Father of Eternity." For what purpose? That "we (may) have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1).

It was Paul who wrote, "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16). While Paul's intent could be understood as "Beyond question, great is the mystery of godliness," there has been controversy from the very moment the prophetic promise of Isaiah was fulfilled. In symbolic representation to John on the isle of Patmos, it is declared that "the dragon stood before the woman ... to devour the child as soon as it was born" (Rev. 12:4). While that Child has been "caught up to God, and to His throne," the "dragon" has not ceased to misrepresent who He was, and what He took upon Himself to he "the Lamb of God which beareth away the sin of the world" (John 1.29, margin).

In his gospel, John records the reaction of the Jews when Jesus declared, "I and my Father are one" (10:30). They took up stones to kill Him. Jesus questioned, why? To this they responded:      For a good work, we stone thee not: but for blasphemy; because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. (v. 33).

The religious leaders had no trouble recognizing Him as a man, but as "God manifest in the flesh," no. To so claim was to them "blasphemy." Over the centuries since, the Christological controversies have concerned both His divine and human natures. Within the Community of Adventism in recent decades, the question which has divided the Church has been the nature of the human nature Christ took upon Himself in becoming a man. The mystery of the Incarnation is still with us.

In the judgment pronounced on the "serpent" is to be found the first gospel promise. The seed of the woman would bruise the serpent's head. (Gen. 3:15) But it would not he without cost; the heel of the "seed" would likewise be bruised. It needs to be kept in mind that this promise was given after both Adam and Eve had sinned. The "Seed" of the woman would be born into the fallen race. No child of humanity was ever born in Eden. Seth, third son of Adam, who would be a progenitor of Christ, bore the "likeness" and "image" of his father after the Fall (Gen. 5:3).

Another incident which impacts on the controversy of the incarnation is the record of Moses' first encounter with God at Horeb, as he fed the flock of his father-in-law to "the backside of the desert." (Ex. 3:1-3). He sees a desert shrub burning but not consumed. Turning to see this unusual phenomenon, God speaks with him from the midst of the glowing bush revealing Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In the continuing conversation, when Moses inquired of His name, God responded, "I AM THAT 1 AM" (v. 14). These "words express absolute, and therefore unchanging and eternal Being."

In the text which records this experience, the Being who converses with Moses is stated to be "the angel of the Lord" (v. 2), "the Lord," and "God" (v. 4). The significance of these names and the self designation by the One speaking as I AM - a verbal name rooted in the verb, "to be" - must be considered against the backdrop of the call

p 3 -- to Moses to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt. He tells Moses, "I am come down to deliver ..." (v. 8). Keep in mind that when He did come down to deliver from sin, He "emptied Himself" (Phil. 2:7 RV), yet He could still refer to Himself as the "I AM" (John 8:58). Beyond question, great is the mystery of godliness, the I AM was manifest in the flesh.

Other Old Testament References to Consider -- There are two Messianic psalms which give added light to the mystery of the Incarnation. In the second Psalm, two Beings are presented, the Lord and His anointed (v. 2). The Hebrew word translated "anointed" could be transliterated as Messiah. The Greek word, CristoV, is Christ. See John 1:41. The God-man of the Incarnation is encompassed in the name Jesus Christ. The second Psalm, however, contains much more. In this Psalm, two existent Beings enter into a compact which is announced as a decree. It reads, "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art my Son; this day have 1 begotten thee" (v. 7). In the New Testament Paul uses this verse as applicable in a double sense. In his Sabbath sermon at Antioch in Pisidia he told the worshippers that Jesus who had been slain, God "raised ... again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have 1 begotten thee" (Acts 13:33). Again in the book of Hebrews, this verse is used of Christ in contrast with angels with an added verse from 2 Samuel 7:14, "I will be to him a Father and he shall he to me a Son" (Heb. 1:5).

The contrast between the Christ and the angels is further emphasized by reference to another Messianic psalm, Psalm 110. Hebrews reads - "But to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy fbotstool?" (1:13). In that Psalm, another provision of the decree is revealed: "The Lord bath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek" (v. 4).

The prophet Zechariah describes these agreements as a part of "the counsel of peace" which "shall he between the Two of Them" (6:13, Heb). "The man whose name is The Branch ... shall grow up out of His place; and He shall be a priest upon His throne" (vs. 12-13). What contemplations of the "mystery" of the Incarnation these prophets of Old Testament times suggest! From the Throne of the universe, He would condescend to a stable in Bethlehem (House of Bread) - far from His "place" - and lay cradled in a feeding trough for cattle. Yet He would rise from the "outer darkness" necessitated because of sin to be a high priest upon the "throne of grace" to which we may come boldly to "obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:14-16). Wondrous mystery, "unto us a child is born; unto us a Son is given."

When the Fullness of Time was Come -- Paul wrote, "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under law" (Gal. 4:4). [No article in the Greek text before, "law."] The birth of Jesus Christ brought Him into the blood stream of earth the same way, and under the same laws of inheritance as every other son and daughter of Adam. "Unto us a child was born."

Matthew tells us that "the angel of the Lord appearered" to Joseph in a dream and informed him that the conception of Mary was "of the Holy Spirit" (1:20). Luke gives confirming details. He quotes the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary:      The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son at God. (1:35).

This verse demands careful study and analysis. In the Greek text, the word, "thing" does not appear; it has been added by the translators so as to give a noun for the adjective, "holy" to modify. In the Greek

p 4 -- language all nouns had gender, and the adjective, "holy" is in its neuter form, to ... 'agion, and linguistically, the noun could be "thing." However, there is another neuter noun and adjective in this verse - Pneuma 'agion (Spirit holy) - the Holy Spirit. What then Gabriel said was that the Holy Spirit would beget Itself in Mary, and the Holy One thus conceived would be called "the Son of God."

In passing, it should also be noted that the "Holy One" conceived "shall be called the Son of God," not "was the Son of God" nor "is the Son of God," but "shall be" so called.

To the revelation given in Luke regarding the birth of Jesus, must be added what Paul wrote in the Letter to the Church at Philippi. He stated that the One "being" ('uparcwn) in "the form of God," "emptied" (ekenwsen) Himself, taking "the form of a slave" (2:6-7). Here is a great mystery far beyond human comprehension or understanding. Luke stated it to be the Holy Spirit that changed "forms;" John in his gospel declares that the Word who was with God, and was likewise Divine, came to be flesh. (1:1-2, 14). What a cost, our redemption? Even impacting on the Godhead! How full of mystery the condescension so that the "Holy One" could die!

Man can only stand amazed at the lengths the Godhead went to redeem him. How wide is the contrast between "the mighty God" and the helpless infant cradled in a feeding-trough for cattle. The "how" of that infinite condescension will forever remain a mystery, but the nature of the slave form that He took upon Himself from Mary is clearly revealed in the Scriptures. He "did no sin" (I Peter 2:22), yet He was "made to he sin for us" (II Cor. 5:21) that we "might be partakers of the divine nature" (II Peter 1:4). He came down to deliver us from the slavery of sin; coming "in the likeness of sinful flesh," He ".condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3).

The very "gospel of God" involves the "slave form" which Christ took upon Himself. Paul declares that gospel to be "concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Rom. 1:1, 3). Though coming in that "flesh," He still was and now is for evermore, God, over all, blessed forever. (Rom. 9:5; Rev. 1:18).

A Being, truly God, functioning in the realm of the flesh, as truly man, is difficult for us to perceive. One moment He could be "asleep on a pillow" in the back of a boat with a great storm raging, and the waves beating upon the boat; the next moment by His command, "Peace he still," the "wind ceased, and there was a great calm" (Mark 4:37-39). Two confessions could summarize His life as truly man. (Not fully man, for had that been so, He would have been a sinner; nor fully God, for then He could not have died.) He declared, "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30); and "the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works" (14:10). Unless we recognize these two factors in the life of the earthly Jesus, we cannot be victorious in the victory over sin; and neither can we perceive the terrible moment on the cross, when there came the sundering of the divine powers (Matt. 27:46), and Jesus passed into "outer darkness," thus paying "the wages of sin." For unto us a Son was given!

Scripture tells us that Jesus can "be touched with the feelings of our infirmities," because He "was in all points tempted like as we are" (Heb. 4:15). Though He sinned not, yet He faced the same forces and drives of fallen human nature which every son and daughter of Adam face. He faced and conquered "sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). The prophetic picture of "the Seed of the woman" is the emphasis that He was a "man child." The Greek text reads - "And she brought forth a son, a male" (kai eteken uion, arsen) Rev. 12:5. He did not come into humanity a eunuch, but as a male being faced with all the sex drives that every human being possesses. But because He ruled Himself with a rod of iron, He shall so rule the nations. This child was caught up unto God and to His throne where He can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, and respond

p 5 -- with mercy and grace in every "time of need" (Heb. 4:16).

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" (Isa. 9:6).

Historical Review -- The first Statement of Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs formulated in 1872 stated that Christ "took on him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race." This was based on Hebrews 2:16, a chapter which would be used as the basis for a heretical movement which developed in the church at the turn of the twentieth century. During the years from 1844 to 1888, little can be found in the publications of the Church in regard to the incarnation outside the writings of Ellen G. White. She stated plainly and unequivocally the nature Christ would take upon Himself in the Incarnation. In 1874 she wrote:      The great work of redemption could be carried out only by the Redeeimer taking the place of fallen Adam. ... What love! What amazing condescension! He would place His feet in Adarn's steps. He would take man's fallen nature and engage to cope with the strong foe who (had) triumphed over Adam. (R&H, Feb. 24, I874)

A decade later, J. H. Waggoner in his book, The Atonement in the Light of Nature and Revelation, declared, speaking of Christ, as One sharing the throne of the universe, he wrote:      He left that throne of glory and of power and took upon Him the nature of fallen man. In Him were blended '"the brightness of the Father's glory" and the weakness of "the seed of Abraharn." In Himself He united the lawgiver to the law-breaker - the Creator to the creature; for He was made "sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." (p. 161).

Seventeen years later Ellen White, would borrow the thought and adapt the wording of what Waggoner wrote, declaring:      In Christ were united the divine and the human - the Creator and the creature. The nature of God, whose law had been transgressed, and the nature of Adam, the transgressor, meet in Jesus - the Son of God, and the Son of man. (Ms. 141, 1901).

However, between 1884 and 1901, other concepts would be introduced into the Church. In 1894, the Church at the headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, published a Directory which included a Statement of Beliefs. They stated that these were "points of their faith upon which there is quite general agreement." Concerning the Incarnation the Statement read - "He took on Him the nature of man, for the redemption of our fallen race." This can be understood two different ways. Was it the nature of man as God created him, or was it the nature of man after he had sinned? Whichever conclusion is drawn, the next year at the 1895 General Conference session, A. T. Jones enunciated the nature of Christ's humanity more clearly and more completely than had been done before in any single presentation.

Jones began the study of the humanity of Christ by noting the common source from which the humanity we possess was derived. "One man is the source and head of all human nature. And the genealogy of Christ, as one of us, runs to Adam ... All coming from one man according to the flesh, are all of one. Thus on the human side, Christ's nature is precisely our nature." (1895 GC Bulletin, p. 231). In commenting on John 1:14 - "And the Word was made flesh" - Jones asked the question - "Now what kind of flesh is it?" In answering this question, he asked another, and amplified the answer, stating:      What kind of flesh alone is it that this world knows? - Just such flesh as you and I have. This world does not know any other flesh of man, and has not known any other since the necessity of Christ's coming was created. Therefore, as this world knows only such flesh as we have, as it is now, it is certainly true that when " the Word was made flesh," He was made just such flesh as ours is. It cannot be otherwise. (ibid--- p. 232.)

p 6 -- The General Conference session in 1895 was held at Battle Creek. It hardly seems coincidental, that Jones would define so specifically, "the man" whose nature Christ would assume in becoming flesh if there was no controversy over this point, and the statement as drawn up by the Battle Creek Church was not a compromise which could cover two different viewpoints. Jones did use the term, "flesh" the Biblical word, rather than "nature" as used in the Statement.

A further observation should be made in regard to the Battle Creek Church Statement. In 1882 the General Conference Committee authorized the publication of the Yearbook which came to be an authoritative voice of the Church's position and standing. In the years 1889, 1905, 1907-1914, the Yearbook contained a section devoted to the "Fundamental Principles of Seventh-day Adventists." The 1912 Yearbook indicated that the Statement was written "by the late Uriah Smith." In 1894, Smith was serving as Editor-in-chief of the official organ of the Church, the Review & Herald, and was one of the Church Elders at the Battle Creek Church. Whether he was present when the statements were being drawn up could he an open question inasmuch as he travelled extensively in Europe and the Near East during the year. The 1912 Statement does return to the wording of the first Statement in 1872 - Christ " took on him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race."

At the turn of the Century - 1899-1901 - a deviant Movement arose in Indiana, dubbed The Holy Flesh Movement. First headed by S. S. Davis, the teachings were adopted by the Conference President, R. S. Donnell and from that point he led the Movement. In response to a series of editorials written in the Review and Herald by A. T. Jones (Nov. 20 - December 25, 1900), Donnell responded in the official conference organ, Indiana Reporter with a counter series asking the question, "Did Christ Come to this World in Sinful Flesh?" He wrote in article three:      When Christ came to this earth he came to make himself an offering for sin and, in order to make an offering that would be acceptable to the Father, he must at least be as free from sin in every particular as was Adam before he feli. ... But in order to save man, Christ must enter humanity, and because all were sinners, and not a body could be found that was suitable, what had to be done? A body had to be made for the occasion. And so we read in Hebrews 10:5: "A body hast Thou prepared Me."

How did Donnell perceive this body prepared for Christ? In closing his first article, he quoted Hebrews 2:11, emphasizing - "He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified (not He is going to sanctity, but they that are sanctified) are all of one." Then he commented:      Notice that it is the sanctified ones who he is not ashamed to call brethren. Further, it is the sanctified ones of whose flesh He partakes. "Forasmuch, then, as the children (or brethren, sanctified ones) are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise (just as the sanctified one are partakers) took part of the same; ... Heb. 2:14. (ibid., pp. 4-5)

The Holy Flesh Movement came to an abrupt end at the 1901 General Conference Session following a testimony given by Ellen White. Donnell and the conference committee resigned. Since the vacancies thus created were a local problem, an Indiana Conference session was convened in Indianapolis. Various brethren - Daniells, Prescott, A. T. Jones, Magan and W. C. White as well as Ellen White who was returning to the West Coast - attended this constituency meeting for the reorganization of the Conference. A Document File (#190) in the White Estate offices contains an eyewitness account of this meeting and reports that Ellen White counselled those present - "When I am gone from here, none are to pick up any points of this doctrine and call it truth. There is not a thread of truth in the whole fabric."

However, this teaching of the Incarnation has been revived and has been defined as Jesus coming into humanity, "born-born again." This concept of the Incarnation is

p 7 -- reflected in the book Was Jesus Really Like Us? Another writer, states it this way, "He was born with the nature that becomes ours when we are born again - humanity combined with divinity." He then comments:      As God, He (Christ) chose Mary to be His Mother. She was chosen because of her piety and her devotion and love to God. She was everything that God could find in a human mother, a sinner, but filled with love for God and her follow men. In the prenatal experience, while in her womb, Christ was inheriting Mary's love for God. In the post natal experience, He saw God through his (sic) mother. Mary was continually yielding her will to God's will. Christ learned these lessons from His mother's knee. (Waymarks of Adventism, p. 39; 1st, 2nd Edition, July, 1981)

All these variant concepts which reflect the teaching of the Holy Flesh men of Indiana must face the issue of Divine Intervention. If Christ did not take upon Himself the fallen nature of Adam, the only nature He could receive through Mary, then there had to be some type of intervention involving Mary. (This we will discuss in a future issue of WWN, when we consider analytically the series of verses in Hebrews 2 as used by R.- S. Donnell.)

After the 1914 edition of the Yearbook the Statement of Beliefs as written by Uriah Smith no longer appeared in it. Ellen White died in 1915. This says something. Yet during the years, 1914 to 1931, when a Statement again appeared in the Yearbook, the Sabbath School lessons which discussed the subject of the Incarnation held to the position of the 1872 Statement. However, the new Statement reflected the Battle Creek Church statement of 1894 on the doctrine of the Incarnation. The new formulation read:       That Jesus Christ is very God, being of the same nature and essence as the Eternal Father. While retaining His divine nature, He took upon Himself the nature of the human family, lived on earth as a man, exemplified in His life as our example the principles of righteousness. ...

The phrase, "the nature of the human family," is open to the same dual interpretation as the phrase in the Battle Creek Church Statement, "the nature of man."

In 1980, a new Statement of Fundamental Beliefs was voted by the General Conference in session at Dallas, Texas. This statement did not indicate what nature Christ assumed in the Incarnation. However, in 1988, the Ministerial Association of the General Conference released an analytical study of the Statement - Seventh-day Adventists Believe. In the discussion of "God the Son" a section is devoted to "Jesus Christ Is Truly Man," and a subsection (#5) discusses "The extent of His identification with human nature." The conclusion set forth is that of an Anglican divine, Henry Melvill, which he considered the "orthodox doctrine" (p. 57). This "doctrine" reads:      Christ's humanity was not the Adamic humanity, that is the humanity of Adam before the fall; nor fallen humanity, that is, in every respect the humanity of Adam after the fall. It was not the Adamic, because it had the innocent infirmities of the fallen. It was not the fallen, because it never descended into moral impurity. It was, therefore, most literally our humanity, but without sin." (p. 47).

For an in depth Biblical study see our Manuscript, In the Form of A Slave. --- (2002 Dec) --- End ---

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