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Rebuilding the Temple – Prophets, Priests and Rulers

The rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem by those who returned from exile in Babylon was accomplished through the cooperation of prophets, priests and rulers.  The temple was started and finished under the leadership of Zerubbabel, who led the first group of exiles who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem based on the decree of Cyrus, supported by Joshua the High Priest, under the instructions of God through the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah.  After the temple was finished, other servants of God such as Ezra and Nehemiah built the city and erected its walls.

Haggai the Prophet

The word of the Lord through Haggai the prophet:

“In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built. Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways…Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the Lord…Then spake Haggai the Lord’s messenger in the Lord’s message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the Lord. And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.” (Haggai 1:1-15)

Zechariah the Prophet

The word of the Lord through Zechariah the prophet:

“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.  And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by. And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” (Zech. 3:1-7).

“This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you.” (Zech. 4:6-9).

The Spiritual Temple of the Last Days

In our day, there is a temple to be re-built and there is a New Jerusalem that we will live in that will have walls of Jasper – “After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.” (Acts 15:16, 17); “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5); “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2); “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.” (Rev. 21:18).

Jesus Christ has gone back to heaven and is preparing the city.  But the temple, we must play our part in building – “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3); “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth…And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” (Rev. 11:1-7).

Sealed for the Final Conflict

When the temple is finished, there will be a hundred forty and four thousand sealed – “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (Rev. 7:1-4).

Those who are sealed will have to contend with the Beast and his Image but they will overcome and be delivered – “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is…And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Rev. 17:8-14).

Prophetic Message to Priests, Rulers and People

Prophets, Priests and Rulers all have a part to play.  But we must get it in order – Prophets first, then Priests and Rulers.  The Prophet is the one who receives messages from God and passes it on to the Priests and Rulers who govern the people.  Unfortunately, the Prophet is not always popular with the Priests and Rulers and people often regard the word of the Priests and Rulers more than they do the Prophets.  But God’s word is: “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” (2 Chron. 20:20).

God promised to raise up a Prophet like Moses, but when He came, the Priests and officers stirred up the people and together they pressured the Rulers to kill Him – “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” (Deut. 18:18); “Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.” (John 19:4-6).

The witnesses of the last days will likewise be killed and, like their Master before them, will rise again after three days – “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” (Rev. 11:7-14).

Interesting times are ahead – “Solemn events before us are yet to transpire.  Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded, vial after vial poured out one after another upon the inhabitants of the earth.  Scenes of stupendous interest are right upon us.” (Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 982.)

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

Unity upon a false premise

In unity, there is strength.  However, the only unity that will last is that which is built on the truth.  From the moment Lucifer rebelled against God in heaven, there has been a constant conflict between truth and error.  The conflict was spread to this earth when Lucifer who, by then, had become Satan – the Devil – led Eve to doubt God’s word and through Eve led Adam to disobey God’s explicit instruction.  The conflict continues today and will ultimately give rise to a grand unity of Satan, “the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies”, who will be gathered together to make war against Christ and His people (Rev. 19:19; see also Rev. 16:13, 14).  The entire world will turn against the true followers of Christ, as Christ said to His disciples, “ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matt. 24:9).  But Christ will return and destroy the world confederation and deliver His people (Rev. 19:11-21).  Our only safeguard is to know the truth and follow it.

 

The Basis of the WCC

The following is taken from the official website of the World council of Churches:

“The WCC’s 1948 inaugural assembly declared: “The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which accept our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour”. Soon this formulation gave rise to questions, and requests for a clearer definition of the Christ-centredness of the churches’ common calling, a more explicit expression of the Trinitarian faith and a specific reference to the holy scriptures. The result was the re-formulation, adopted by the Third Assembly (New Delhi 1961), which still stands:

“a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures, and therefore seek to fulfill together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.””

(https://www.oikoumene.org/en/about-us/self-understanding-vision/basis” retrieved July 21, 2019 – the official website of the World Council of Churches).

 

The Episcopal Church

The following is taken from the official website of the Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers:

“The Episcopal Church is one of the 147 founding churches of the World Council of Churches (1948).  The WCC has roots that reach back to the beginning of the modern ecumenical movement and to the conviction, which took hold at several places during the late nineteenth century, that something must be done to heal the divisions which have hampered witness to the Christian faith.

Today there are 349 member churches.  They live in very different political, economic, and social conditions.  Many of them – Anglican, Orthodox, Baptist, Reformed, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Old Catholic, etc. – have a long history.  But member churches also include “younger” Pentecostal bodies, independent churches in Africa, and united churches.  The Roman Catholic Church is not a member but it cooperates with the WCC through a Joint Working Group, several programs, and membership in the Commission on Faith and Order, and has delegated observers at major meetings.

Membership is open to any church which is able to accept the WCC “Basis”, provided its signs of ecclesial character meet standards acceptable to two-thirds of the churches already in membership.  The “Basis” declares:  “The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfill together their common calling to the glory of the one God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit”.”

(https://www.edeio.org/world-council-of-churches-wcc.html, retrieved July 21, 2019 – the official website of the Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers (EDEIO) website).

 

Seventh-day Adventist Church

The following is taken from the official website of the world Council of Churches:

“The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a denomination of conservative evangelical Christians. The church arose out of the eschatological expectations of the middle nineteenth century (epitomized by the Millerite Movement), but was only formally organized in 1863. The Millerites had set October 22, 1844, for the return of Christ. With the failure of this date, the movement fell into disarray. One of the small Adventist groups adopted the Seventh-day Sabbath, reinterpreted the events of 1844, and became, in due course, the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The roots of Adventism, however, go back much further – to the Reformation and the church of the New Testament.

Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as the inspired word of God. In essence, the Bible is their only creed, though they do have a statement of 28 Fundamental Beliefs, which is subject to revision at any General Conference World Session, as new light is received or better language is found, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. These beliefs include the Trinity, believers’ baptism, spiritual gifts, death as an unconscious state until the resurrection, and the New Earth as the home of the redeemed after the millennium. SDAs are creationists and believe that man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of the Biblical creation week. With the entry of sin, God’s plan of salvation was put into effect. In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will, his suffering, death and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept the gift of salvation may have eternal life. Since the very beginning, Seventh-day Adventists have been consistent advocates of religious freedom for all, and have taken a lead in its international promotion, including at the UN.

Global mission and evangelism are essential elements of the SDA ethos. The church is intent on sharing the good news of justification, righteousness by faith, salvation through Jesus Christ, and his imminent return. As a result, the SDA Church is probably the most widespread Protestant denomination, with work in over 200 countries. Though cradled in North America, less than 8 percent of her membership today resides there, and there is considerable growth in various parts of the world. Adventists wish to live lives of service to God and humankind. To help achieve this goal the church owns and operates many institutions: over 6,000 schools (from kindergarten to university), 720 hospitals and health-care facilities, publishing houses, and health food factories. Media centres (worldwide satellite TV and radio) have been established in recent decades. Adventists believe in a healthy lifestyle, which includes a good diet (many Adventists are vegetarians) and abstention from harmful drugs, including alcohol and tobacco products. Adventists also promote public health. The church operates the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), which is well-known internationally for its work on behalf of disaster victims and third world development projects.

The SDA church sees herself not as a federation of local or national churches, but as one world church. There is an effective form of representative government. The church’s polity provides for four key organizational levels: 1) the local church, a united body of individual believers, 2) the Conference, a united body of local churches, 3) the Union Conference, the united body of several conferences (a larger territory, often a nation), 4) the General Conference, the worldwide body whose constituent units are the approximately 100 Unions. The General Conference operates through its 13 Divisions (branch offices).

Seventh-day Adventists “recognize those agencies that lift up Christ before men as a part of the divine plan for the evangelization of the world” (General Conference Working Policy, 075). They enter into fellowship with other Christians and practice open communion. They believe that in a certain sense they are a prophetic movement with a time of the end message centering on the “eternal gospel” to give to the world. While they welcome opportunities to dialogue and reach better understanding, they have not formally joined the organized ecumenical movement by becoming members of councils of churches. They do, however, in many cases have observer, consultant, or advisor status. Adventists wish to preserve and protect their unique identity and give life to their God-given evangelistic and service mission.

The office of the general conference is located in Silver Spring, USA. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is comprised of 14 million baptized believers, representing with children a fellowship of some 25 million Adventists.

 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not a member of the World Council of Churches.

Websites

(https://www.oikoumene.org/en/church-families/seventh-day-adventist-church, retrieved July 21, 2019 – the official website of the World Council of Churches).

 

The Catholic church

The following is taken from the official website of the World Council of Churches:

“Catholics believe that the church was founded by Jesus Christ as part of the Father’s plan for the salvation of the world. Christ’s proclamation and inauguration of the kingdom of God led to the gathering of disciples. His death, resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit definitively established the church, with which he promised to remain until the end of time (cf. Matt. 28:20). Jesus entrusted to this community the mission of preaching the gospel and of “making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).

Because the church is, in God’s hands, a means of bringing about the communion of all those who, with the help of God’s grace, would accept the proclamation of the good news, the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) taught that “the Church is in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race”. (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium, paragraph 1). This constitution goes on to affirm that the whole community has an active role to play in proclaiming and handing on God’s word, in worshipping and celebrating the sacraments and in serving the mission Jesus entrusted to it……

According to the Vatican’s Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae of 2005, the Catholic Church numbered 1,085,557,000 persons, or 17.2 percent of the world’s population. Of these, 13.2 percent of Catholics live in Africa, 49.8 percent in North and South America; 10.5 percent in Asia, 25.7 percent in Europe and 0.8 percent in Oceania.

 

The Catholic Church has never been a member of the World Council of Churches, but is actively participating in the ecumenical movement in different ways. Learn more

Websites

(https://www.oikoumene.org/en/church-families/the-catholic-church, retrieved July21, 2019 – the official website of the World Council of Churches).

 

The Edict of Thessalonica which defines who is a Catholic Christian

The following is taken from Wikipedia:

“The Edict of Thessalonica (also known as Cunctos populos), issued on 27 February AD 380 by three reigning Roman Emperors…

Theodosius I, Gratian, and Valentinian II on 27 February 380.[1] The edict came after Theodosius had been baptized by the bishop Ascholius of Thessalonica upon suffering a severe illness in Thessalonica.[3]

EMPERORS GRATIAN, VALENTINIAN AND THEODOSIUS AUGUSTI. EDICT TO THE PEOPLE OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
It is our desire that all the various nations which are subject to our Clemency and Moderation, should continue to profess that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition, and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the apostolic teaching and the doctrine of the Gospel, let us believe in the one deity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title of Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since, in our judgment they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give to their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of the divine condemnation and in the second the punishment of our authority which in accordance with the will of Heaven we shall decide to inflict.
GIVEN IN THESSALONICA ON THE THIRD DAY FROM THE CALENDS OF MARCH, DURING THE FIFTH CONSULATE OF GRATIAN AUGUSTUS AND FIRST OF THEODOSIUS AUGUSTUS[4]

— Codex Theodosianus, xvi.1.2

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_Thessalonica, retrieved July 21, 2019).

 

The Edict of Thessalonica marked the official definition of who the Catholic Church considered a heretic – namely, one who did not believe in the Trinity.  This was the basis on which persecution was launched on a widespread basis.  It will be observed that as soon as the World Council of Churches adopted as its Basis in 1961, a concept that was in harmony with the definition of Catholic Christian, as defined in the Edict of Thessalonica, within a year, in 1962, the Second Vatican Council was convened, and out of it, the other churches of Christendom were declared to be no longer designated as heretics but rather as separated brethren.

 

Foundation of Seventh-day Adventist Faith

In 1904, Ellen White writes, “For the past 50 years every phase of heresy has been brought to bear upon us… Messages of every order and kind have been urged upon Seventh-day Adventists, to take the place of the truth which, point by point, has been sought out by prayer, study, and testified to by the miracle-working power of the Lord.” (Special Testimonies, Series B #2, p. 59)

Notice that in 1904, the foundation of faith had been firmly established. “Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, Elder Hiram Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure… When they came to the point in their study where they said, ‘We can do nothing more,’ the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.” (1SM 206.4)

 

At that time the Seventh-day Adventist Church officially had a non-Trinitarian statement of Fundamental Principles as was repeatedly published in the Annual Yearbook of the church.  The first Fundamental Principle as was published in the 1889 Yearbook was: “That there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal; infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by His representative, the Holy Spirit.  Ps. 139:7”. They did not elaborate further on the identity of the Holy spirit.  The second Fundamental Principle identified Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  This was clearly a non-Trinitarian perspective.

 

The Bible gives further clarification regarding the Holy Spirit, called the Comforter.  The Comforter that is sent is a messenger or representative who ministers under Christ’s instructions – “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7); “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13).

 

Like the angels of God, the Comforter appeared as a flame of fire and enabled miracles to be done – “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:2, 3).; “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” (Heb. 1:7); “The angels of God are ever passing from earth to heaven, and from heaven to earth. The miracles of Christ for the afflicted and suffering were wrought by the power of God through the ministration of the angels. And it is through Christ, by the ministration of His heavenly messengers, that every blessing comes from God to us.” (White, Ellen G., The Desire of Ages, p. 143).

 

We need to know the difference between the spirit of God that fills us (God’s mind, character and power) and the Comforter who is an agent sent to minister to us.  This will serve as an antidote against the alpha of deadly heresies, which promotes the idea that God is personally inside of people and inside other entities – as opposed to being personally in heaven.  It will also preserve us against the omega of deadly heresies that destroys the identity of God by making God a unity of three rather than a sovereign being who presides over the universe and sent His only begotten Son into the world to save us.

 

The angel of Revelation 18 who brings the latter rain outpouring of God’s power does the same type of work that the Comforter came and did in the outpouring of the early rain of God’s power at Pentecost.  We are told by revelation to Ellen G. White that “Angels were sent to aid the mighty angel from heaven” in the outpouring of the latter rain (White, Ellen G., The Story of Redemption, p. 399). We may similarly understand that other angels worked in support of the mission that was carried out by the Comforter in the early rain outpouring.  We are not expected to worship the angel of Revelation 18; neither are we expected to worship the Comforter.  There is no basis in scripture for anyone to place the Comforter or the angel of Revelation 18 as co-equals with the Most High, who sent His only begotten Son into the world.  The Bible says there is: “One God and Father of all, who is above all” (Eph. 4:6).  This is the person that the Bible refers to as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:3).  Further, we worship Jesus, the Son of God because God, the Father, commands us to worship His Son (John 5:23; Heb. 1:6) – and no one else.

 

The issue is not whether or not there is a third person and eventually even a fourth, (the angel of Revelation 18).  The issue is the status of the third being, and also the fourth.  There is one Supreme Being, the Father, who is above all, who has given His Only begotten Son the authority to exercise all His power and has commanded us to honour His Son as we honour Him (John 5:23; 1 Cor. 15:24-28). This authority, He has given to none other.”

 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church was not fully accepted by the other churches while it stuck to the Biblical definition of God, as was held by its pioneers.  Up until 1980, the baptismal vow spoke of God as follows: “I believe in God the Father, in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit”.  This was changed to say: “Do you believe there is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons?” Was something wrong with the first formulation? Certainly not, from a Biblical standpoint.  It was generic and did not even deny the Catholic formulation, even though it did not specifically declare it.  But the second formulation goes beyond what the Bible says and includes some element of speculation as there is nowhere in the Bible that defines God as three in one.  But most specifically, it accords with the Catholic definition as declared in the Edict of Thessalonica and as embraced by the World Council of Churches.

 

Will we hold to the truth without wavering or will we do otherwise in order to be accepted by the world confederation that will ultimately turn against God’s faithful people?  The choice is ours.  But all is not lost.  In 2005, the Seventh-day Adventist Church adopted an alternative form of the Baptismal vow that has only three statements.  This allows the pastor preparing the candidate for baptism to avoid binding the candidate to an unscriptural vow.  We must hold fast to the truth especially at this time, as this will be the measure of our loyalty to God.  This wholehearted commitment to God, above institutional commitment, is the essence of the new covenant experience (see article “Religious Liberty and the New Covenant” at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/2018/03/18/religious-liberty-new-covenant/.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

Unity upon the Three Angels’ Messages – Pt 5

The Unfortunate Scattering

It is very important that the earmarks of Babylon be clearly distinguished from those of God’s little flock.  A failure to do this will almost inevitably result in the establishment of false criteria for the identification of’ God’s denominated people.

With the passing of time, since the pioneers of 1844 fell asleep, a situation has developed whereby the divinely appointed criteria that defines God’s denominated people have, to some extent, been replaced by humanly invented organizational criteria. This is not to minimize the importance of organization. It was revealed by the Holy Spirit that “there must be order and thorough discipline in the church – that organization was essential.” (TM 26)[1]. However, if organization was made everything and given undue pre-eminence, then evil would result.

“Evil does not result because of organization, but because of making organization everything, and vital godliness of little moment. When form and machinery take the pre-eminence, and a laborious task is made of carrying on the work that should be done with simplicity, evil will result,”White, Ellen G., Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 253.

A situation has developed whereby many persons have been cast out of the church for no other reason but that they have conscientiously refused to comply with certain organizational directives which attempt to stipulate the precise way they should (or should not) present the gospel. Others who have neither committed open sin nor denied the tenets of the Three Angels’ Messages but have simply expressed conscientious objections to certain actions of the church leadership, have been likewise disfellowshipped. Trends of these sorts had already started to show manifestation even before some of the pioneers fell asleep.

“A strange thing has come into our churches. Men who are placed in positions of responsibility that they may be wise helpers to their fellow workers have come to suppose that they were set as kings and rulers in the churches to say to one brother, do this; to another, do that; and to another, be sure to labor in such and such a way. There have been places where workers have been told that if they did not follow the instructions of these men of responsibility, their pay from the conference would be withheld.” – White, Ellen G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 477.

Divinely inspired warnings were issued against the continuation of such trends.

“If the cords are drawn much tighter, if the rules are made much finer, if men continue to bind their fellow-laborers closer and closer to the commandments of men, many will be stirred by the spirit of God to break every shackle and assert their liberty in Christ Jesus.”White, Ellen G., Review and Herald, July 23, 1895.

Notwithstanding the inspired councils, such high-handedness and kingly power has continued over the years, in many instances, and hence, the present situation tells for it.  Several groups and factions have been created within the ranks of Seventh-day Adventism, many of which relate to each other and to the parent organization with little more than indifference, and in some cases, virtual hostility. This is totally unacceptable before the Lord.

Though the level of fragmentation that has occurred over the years (and persists) has not been, and is not without cause, God’s will is that all be united. It was never His purpose that the church be fragmented.

“I know that the Lord loves His church. It is not to be disorganized or broken up into independent atoms. There is not the least consistency in this; there is not the least evidence that such a thing will be.”White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 68, 69.

 

The Question of Legitimacy

The basis on which some of these groups came into existence can hardly be questioned. Some of them began and have continued as genuine self-supporting ministries with the sole objective of preaching the gospel.  Others got started because faithful believers in the Three Angels’ Messages were unjustly cast out of the church.  Having been cast out of the church for reasons which cannot be sustained by inspiration and having endeavoured to obtain reconciliation without compromise of principle and being true to their convictions to cooperate with God in spreading the gospel, they could hardly be considered as having erred in organizing themselves to make their efforts more effective in doing the Lord’s work.

Some of these groups, however, have subsequently taken an extreme and unjustified course in deliberately distancing themselves from most other professed Seventh-day Adventist believers. Some have attempted to read themselves into prophecy, claiming that their circumstances were prophesied by the Spirit of Prophecy writings of Ellen G. White in comments made about the Angel of Revelation 18. Others have flatly denounced the parent organization as apostate and classified it as being a part of Babylon.

Such positions are extreme and untenable for several reasons, among which the following might be considered:

  1. Repeated warnings have been given that the Seventh-day Adventist church should not be denounced as Babylon. Babylon has certain distinct characteristics which cannot be ascribed to the Seventh-day Adventist church, notably, the doctrines of Sunday sacredness and the immortality of the soul. These two great errors, we have been repeatedly told will constitute the basis for the marvelous workings of Satan in the last days, and such doctrines particularly constitute the wine with which Babylon drunks the nations (2 SM 66-69, GC 588, 4SP 405)[2].
  2. Only one great Reformatory Movement has been prophesied to take place among God’s people in the last days and this movement has been clearly linked with the Latter Rain experience when God will be “taking the reins in His own hands” (TM 300, 9T 126)[3]. Prior to that experience the condition of God’s people will be typified by the Laodicean condition. This condition will persist until it is broken by a shaking (or sifting). The final stages of this shaking will coincide with the Mark of the Beast crisis (EW 270, GC 608, 12 MR 318-325)[4]. None of the various groups that profess the Seventh-day Adventist faith can truly, since their inception, identify their experience with the characteristics of the great Reformatory Movement that has been prophesied. All must admit that they have been no more than Laodicean.
  3. The Angel of Revelation 18 is manifested at a time, specifically, when the sins of Babylon would have “reached unto heaven” (Rev.18:5). Of that point in the world’s history, the inspired commentary is as follows:

“The sins of the world will have reached unto heaven when the law of God is made void; when the Sabbath of the Lord is trampled in the dust, and men are compelled to accept in its stead an institution of the Papacy through the strong hand of the law of the land.  White, Ellen G., Review and Herald, Nov. 5, 1889.

Individuals will be compelled to accept Sunday sacredness, the Mark of the Papacy (the leopard-like beast of Rev. 13), in place of the Lord’s holy seventh day Sabbath in the crisis of the Mark of the Beast.  Hence, this crisis marks the point when the sins of Babylon would have “reached unto heaven”. The last act in the drama that would have filled up the cup of Babylon’s iniquity is the imposition of the Mark of the Beast (RH April 23, 1901)[5]. At that time, the Third Angel’s Message will carry its greatest force (GC 605-606)[6]. It is just at that time, as the Third Angel’s Message swells to a loud cry, that the Angel of Revelation 18 joins the Third Angel, giving added power to the Third Angel ‘s Message.

“The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel’s message as it swells to a loud cry. And the people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet.”

“This message seemed to be an addition to the third message, joining it as the midnight cry joined the second angel’s message in 1844.”

White, Ellen G., The Story of Redemption, p. 399, 400.

“The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel’s message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of world-wide extent and unwonted power is here foretold.” – White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 611.

For groups that have taken extreme positions such as those which have been mentioned, the solution lies in simply discarding such views and re-directing the focus of their ministry to reflect objectives which are more consistent with the primary purpose for which the Seventh-day Adventist church was raised up. It is the mission of the church to proclaim the Three Angels’ Messages to the world, pointing them to the law of God which has been made void by the enemy and to the final work of atonement by our great High Priest to blot out our sins.

God’s professed people cannot afford to confuse the issues of their warfare and turn their ammunition against themselves. We cannot now afford to deny our history, because we have nothing to fear for the future except as we forget how God has led us in the past. God has led us step by step and placed us on a “solid, immovable platform” – the Three Angels’ Messages – from which a block should not be moved, nor a pin be stirred (EW 258, 259)[7]. We must ever remember that it is the Sabbath, primarily, around which the final conflict will be centred. The Sabbath is our sign of distinction and this identifies us with God’s denominated people. If we are not faithful to our high calling and profession then we will be sifted out from among God’s remnant people as the “messenger of the covenant” works to “purify the sons of Levi” “for he is like a refiner’s fire” (Mal. 3:2, 3).

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

[1] White, Ellen G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 26.

[2] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 66-69; White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 588; White, Ellen G., The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, p. 405.

[3] White, Ellen G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 300; White, Ellen G., Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 126.

[4] White, Ellen G., Early Writings, p. 270; White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 608; White, Ellen G., Manuscript Releases, Vol. 12, p. 318-325.

[5] White, Ellen G., Review and Herald, April 23, 1901.

[6] White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 605-606.

[7] White, Ellen G., Early Writings, p. 258, 259.

Unity upon the Three Angels’ Messages – Pt 2

Laodicea, not Babylon

The Seventh-day Adventist church is not Babylon. The Seventh-day Adventist church is Laodicea (2SM 66)[1]. The Lord has indicated through His messenger, Ellen G. White that the churches of Christendom which have rejected the Three Angels’ Messages are classified in their corporate capacity, as Babylon (2SM 68; GC 389, 390; TM 61)[2]. With respect to these churches we have been given a message to call people out (Rev. 18:1-4). For Laodicea, however, no such message has been given (2SM 66)[3]. The message to Laodicea is an appeal to repent (Rev. 3:19).

In the case of Babylon there are certain characteristic errors which are described by Inspiration as the “wine” with which Babylon drunks the nations. These errors are the doctrines of: (1) Sunday sacredness (2) Immortality of the soul (3) Eternal torment of the wicked (4) Denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem (TM 61; 2SM 68)[4].

So far as end-time prophecy is concerned, Babylon in the first instance is the impure woman of Revelation 17, which we clearly understand to represent the Papacy. This identification is extended to include the so-called daughters of the impure woman, which daughters we understand represent the religious bodies which have imbibed her doctrines and to some measure, have patterned after her, namely the nominally Protestant churches of Christendom which have rejected the Three Angels’ Messages in their corporate capacities (GC 389, 390)[5].

In the second instance, Babylon is an end-time confederation of the Papacy, apostate Protestantism, Spiritualism and the rulers and merchants of the earth (Rev. 16:13,14; 18:3) all of which will join forces to war against Christ, in the form of His faithful Sabbath-keeping people, by enforcing the Mark of the Beast (Rev. 19:19; 13:12-17). This will be a situation (which is currently taking shape) wherein “kings, merchants, rulers and religious teachers are all in corrupt harmony” (2SM 68)[6].

In the case of Laodicea, however, the Three Angels’ Messages and kindred truth which are of relevance and applicability to the present time have been embraced and understood. Laodicea represents “Seventh-day Adventists who have had great light and have not walked in the light” (2SM 66)[7]. Hence, the message to Laodicea is an appeal for repentance, whereas, there is no message to Babylon, but rather, a call for the faithful and chosen children of God who are in her ranks to “Come out of her” (Rev. 18:4).

 

Need for Repentance

Laodicea is guilty of not walking in the light. For this, the only recourse that is acceptable to God is repentance. The repentance that is needed is not only at an individual level since the individual and the church is not affected only by the personal sins of individuals (as in the case of Achan). Both individuals and the church collectively are affected also by corporate sins. Hence, the divinely specified precursor for the church receiving the latter rain is not only individual but corporate repentance, supplication and confession of sins (Joel 2:12-18).

True confession, however, is always of a specific nature and acknowledges particular sins (SC 38)[8].  The church over the years has been guilty of sins which have been of an open and public nature, for which, no public confession has been made, and in some cases involve continuing offense. These sins can be listed. One such sin was the terrible act, by the European Division, and with full knowledge of the General Conference, in endorsing the forced drafting of believers into the armed forces of Europe (World Wars 1 and 2), to bear arms, and particularly so, on the Sabbath; and going further to denounce as fanatics and facilitate and augment the persecution of believers who conscientiously refuse to so break the commandments of God.  Those actions led to the formation and continuation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Reform Movement.  Other groups, such as the Free Seventh-day Adventists have been formed similarly, for other reasons.

For the sake of non-Adventists who might be inclined to scoff on account of such a grievous sin as denouncing and facilitating the persecution of conscientious objectors to secular warfare, it might be well considered that such actions were not unique to Sabbath-keeping Adventists. Most of the churches that existed at the time acted in a similar manner. Of course, this is no excuse or consolation, neither does it lessen the abhorrence of such actions on the part of a people who profess and ought to be a light to the world – God’s fortress in a revolted world.

This example may be considered as having its place in the distant past, but there are others which are more recent.

 

Uncharitable Attitude

It is particularly unfortunate that, over the years, some believers have taken a rather uncharitable attitude to those who have dared to point out any sin, by marginalizing them, denouncing them, accusing them of evil motives and in some cases even persecuting them. Such actions are bad in themselves, but they are particularly disturbing in light of the fact that the divinely stated purpose to be accomplished in the human heart by the gospel is the creation of an enmity for sin and all that savours of unrighteousness (Gen. 3:15). Therefore, anything that would stifle, diminish or suppress an individual’s sense of revulsion to any perceived act of unrighteousness could be a very serious impediment to one’s spirituality.

Unfortunately, the attitude that has been manifested by and within some churches has been to some persons, that type of impediment. This has led them to establish and maintain fellowship groups that are not subject to direct control by church leaders who may unsettle their faith or impede their spiritual development.

Error and sin, whether by teaching or practice is never harmless. Consequently, individuals have, not only a right, but a positive duty to seek an environment that offers upliftment and enrichment of their spiritual experience. Individuals are not obliged (under the gospel) to consistently fellowship in an environment where they are subjected to influences that wear down their spirituality and tend to diminish their revulsion for unrighteousness (CW 47; EW 124, 125, 7SDABC 934, Loma Linda Messages 165)[9].

All persons do not have the same spiritual experience or the same level of spiritual sensitivity to the same things. Hence, an environment that one person would find stifling to his/her spirituality might very well be of some spiritual value to another person, provided the fundamental tenets of present truth are to be found there. Hence one person cannot act as conscience for another as to determine where he/she should fellowship within the framework and setting of an established belief in the Three Angels’ Messages.

Within the progressively falling churches of Babylon where the Three Angels’ Messages have been rejected there can be no safety in seeking fellowship (EW 124, 125)[10]. With respect to such, individuals are admonished “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul” (Jer. 51:6). For Laodicea, however, the message is: “Repent”. All Laodicean churches do not offer the same influence. Some churches offer a greater backsliding influence than others. One’s safest course is to repent, get back to the old paths and fellowship in an assembly where one can grow spiritually, where the truth is best upheld. In thus working out one’s own salvation with fear and trembling, one is better able to minister to others and in the process, help to strengthen that nucleus where the truth is upheld.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

 

[1] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 66.

[2] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 68; White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 389; White, Ellen G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 61.

[3] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 66.

[4] White, Ellen G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 61; White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 66.

[5] White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 389, 390.

[6] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 68.

[7] White, Ellen G., Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 66.

[8] White, Ellen G., Steps to Christ, p. 38.

[9] White, Ellen G., Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 47; White, Ellen G., Early Writings, p. 124, 125; White, Ellen G., Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 934; White, Ellen G., Loma Linda Messages, p. 165.

[10] White, Ellen G., Early Writings, p. 124, 125.

The Spirit that Fills Us and the Spirit that Ministers to Us

The spirit of God is to God what the spirit of man is to man – His mind, character and personality – “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 2:11). This is the spirit of God that we may be filled with.

 

The Comforter that is sent is a messenger or representative who ministers under Christ’s instructions – “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7); “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13).

 

Like the angels of God,  the Comforter appeared as a flame of fire and enabled miracles to be done – “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:2, 3).; “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” (Heb. 1:7); “The angels of God are ever passing from earth to heaven, and from heaven to earth. The miracles of Christ for the afflicted and suffering were wrought by the power of God through the ministration of the angels. And it is through Christ, by the ministration of His heavenly messengers, that every blessing comes from God to us.” DA 143.

 

Knowing the difference between the spirit of God that fills us and the Comforter who is sent to minister to us will serve as an antidote against the alpha of deadly heresies along the lines of pantheism and the omega of deadly heresies along the lines of demon possession or spirit worship.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

Righteousness by Faith – Distinguishing the true from the false

There is a popular view that righteousness by faith means that once you accept Christ, you are righteous solely because Jesus lived a righteous life, thus absolving you of any need to resist temptation and live righteously.  This presentation examines the issue of what exactly is righteousness by faith and seeks to distinguish the true concept from false ideas associated with it.

 

New Heart

 

The truth is that, by accepting Christ, He forgives us of past transgressions and gives us a new heart that enables us to live righteously (Ezek. 36:26, 27).  He transforms our minds (Rom. 12:2).  Thus, where there was selfishness He plants love.  God has no problem accepting any of us.  The problem is that sin makes us afraid of God, like Adam who went hiding in the garden (Gen. 3:8).  God did not have a problem to come and look for him.  Therefore, God sent His Son who is just like Himself to show us that God is Someone we can freely relate to as Jesus related to His disciples, contrary to Satan’s lies concerning God (Heb. 1:1-3; John 17:6-8).  God is not standing over us to smite us because we are not perfect.  He knows our frame and knows that we are dust (Ps. 103:14).  He knows that we cannot change ourselves any more than the leopard can change its spots (Jer. 13:23).

Righteousness by faith is simply that God has made provision for us to be changed while we hang out with Jesus His Son.  It is not that God will accept His Son but not accept us, so His Son must sort of possess us (like demons possess people circumventing their minds).  Rather, He transforms us and purifies us.  How and when are His to sort out – if we submit to His instructions.  Love Him, accept Him and constantly hang out with Him, as the disciples did, and you are fine – unless you are not sincere, like Judas.  Whatever purification is needed He will do it in due course.

 

Christ not Diffused

 

On the contrary, some persons hold a metaphysical concept that mystifies the process – a concept that sounds pantheistic, like Christ is diffused throughout, with a little bit of Him in you, in me and all over, possessing people and living through them, speaking and acting in their place.  The Spirit of God is the mind of God which is put in us through His word (John 6:63).  His word transforms our thinking and make us different individuals.  It is by this means that Christ purifies us “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”  (John 17:17).

Righteousness is attained by faith in Jesus Christ.  It is by looking to God for transformation that we are made righteous.  God, through Christ, will accomplish His purposes in us and for us.  It is His work to bring about transformation at His own pace, depending on where we are at, once we have genuinely committed to Him.  This commitment, Christ alone can judge.  Once that commitment is there, he will give us his Spirit and work to purify us.  If we die before we are fully perfected, we are assured of a place in his kingdom since we are His and have His Spirit (Rom. 8:1, 5-9).  But if we are alive until Christ returns, His character must be sealed in us so that we are no longer committing sins (Rev. 22:11, 12).

 

To Know God

 

To know God is life eternal (John 17:3).  Some people minimize the value and importance of this knowledge, by saying that we need more than just information – more than just knowing all the right things.  Indeed, knowing God is more than just information.  But one cannot know God and not know Him at the same time.  You cannot truly know God and be a Muslim or a Buddhist – based on how they view God, as distinct from the way Christ portrayed Him.  We are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom.12:2) – “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:5).  This means that our thoughts and outlook are changed.  It is the Word of God that does this. This is how He describes His work of cleansing and purifying His church: “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Eph. 5:26).  The Word of God changes our thinking.  When God plants His Word in us, like a seed, it remains in us and bears fruit, causing us to see things differently and act differently.  It is just like a person who used to eat meat at a popular restaurant who happens to see them butchering a dog around the back.  It is enough to make him not eat meat there ever again.  God knows exactly what to reveal to us to change our minds.  If we ask Him to change our minds He will do it.

 

Christ in Us

 

There are those who would say that Christ must live inside of us if we are to be considered righteous because only God is good, so, with Christ inside of us, He, being God, will be seen and not us.  But, when the Bible says that there is none good but God (Matt. 19:17), it is simply saying that God is the fountain of goodness.  We must receive His word consistently if we should maintain a life of goodness.  If we are cut off from Him, we will soon err for the simple reason that we do not know everything and will never know everything; but He does.  Therefore, we must always be guided by Him and obtain from Him the abilities to do what is right and good.  So, He is in us in the sense that His words are the directing force in our lives.  He is not in us in a physical sense.  God is in heaven.  Jesus prayed: “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9).  If He were in us in person, then might not someone bow down before us, worshipping the God who is inside of us?  By his angels (ministering spirits – Heb. 1:7, 14), God is in constant contact with all His creatures throughout the length and breadth of the universe.  This is not to say that He does not move and have personal knowledge of His entire creation, but there is no evidence that God leaves heaven and takes up residence inside anyone.  Certainly, in the earth made new, God and Christ will take up Their abode with us here (Rev. 21:3; 22:3, 4).

 

A Part to Play

Others say that we do not play any part in the process because we cannot be righteous based on anything that we do.  So, it is Christ who is righteous and who is seen instead of us, once we accept Christ.  This removes the need for them to strive against sin, because their actual lives are unimportant.  That is not how it works.  Our thoughts and actions are important and we must utilize the grace that God has given us through Christ, to overcome sin – “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11, 12).

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

 

 

“Try the spirits whether they are of God”

The Bible says we should not believe every spirit, but we should “try the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1).  We have been warned that spiritualism will be woven into every form of deception in the last days – “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” and “his ministers also” “transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:14, 15); “spirits of devils, working miracles” will be gathering the “kings of the earth and of the whole world” (Rev. 16:14). The final message to the world will be a call out of the false systems of worship because Babylon would have become “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit” (Rev. 18:2).  It is therefore, worthwhile to consider what light can be obtained from the Bible regarding the working of the spirit of God.

 

Some people are saying that the Holy Spirit is a third God-being who may/should be worshipped.  Others are saying that the Holy Spirit is God and Christ personally living inside of us.  Still others are saying that it is really the disembodied spirit of God that operates separately from God Himself.  What is the truth regarding the Holy Spirit?  Judge for yourself.

 

The Spirit of God

 

God’s spirit gives you life; it does not make God live in you – “And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live” (Eze. 37:14).  God does not need us to live.  God lives independently of us.  God has been and will be, regardless of us.

 

Further, you are not alive without God’s spirit being in your body – “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7); “It is the spirit that quickeneth [makes alive](John 6:63).

 

The spirit of God also gives power – “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

 

This Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit that gives power is the same spirit that gives life – “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom. 8:11).

 

Jesus gave a measure of the Holy Spirit to His disciples when He was with them – “he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22).  When Jesus breathed on His disciples, He remained where He was – He did not go inside of them.  But He gave them more power.

 

 

 

Spirit Belongs to God

 

The spirit of life does not belong to us.  It belongs to God.  He gives it to whomsoever He wills.  At death, it goes back to Him.  It does not wander around – “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecc. 12:7); “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” (Job 33:4); “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” (Luke 23:46).

 

God blows the breath of life into whoever or whatever He chooses, and life enters them – even into dry bones – “Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” (Eze. 37:5, 6).

 

This is the Creator who says, I am God, “and there is none else”For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. Isa. 45:18. (See also Isa. 46:5, 9).

 

This is the God, whose breath moved over the face of the earth and breathed life into every living creature – “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen. 1:2, 3).

 

This is the God, in whose image and likeness human beings were made, who said to His Son, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26; John 1:1-3).

 

Jesus Filled with the Spirit of God

 

Jesus Christ was filled with the spirit of God – “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” (John 3:34); “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:2); “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan” (Luke 4:1).

 

While Jesus has the spirit of God without measure, everyone has a measure of God’s spirit – the “spirit of wisdom”, “understanding” (Isa. 11:2) and “the spirit of life” itself (Rev. 11:11).  But, to be saved, we must have other elements of God’s spirit that include “the spirit of meekness” (1 Cor. 4:21), and “the spirit of knowledge and of the fear [reverence] of the Lord” (Isa. 11:2); “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear [to be afraid]; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7).  God gives His spirit to those who ask and obey Him – “how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him” (Luke 11:13); “the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him” (Acts 5:32).

 

The most evident manifestation of someone being filled with the Spirit of God or of God being in someone is the case of Jesus Christ himself.   Jesus prayed to His Father in heaven and taught His disciples to do the same.  He had a mind and will of His own – He prayed in Gethsemane, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39).  Christ’s knowledge is separate from the Father’s – But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32).  In several instances, the Father even spoke to Him audibly, not from inside of Him, but from heaven (Matt. 3:17; John 12:28; Matt. 17:1-5).

 

“God was in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:19) but the Father was not in Christ as another mind or intelligence that took up residence inside of Him.  Christ was controlled by His own will but consciously chose, moment by moment to align His will with His Father’s will.  This is what God expects of us as free moral agents, not for us to be taken over by another intelligence as in the case of demon possession.  When Jesus needed to be comforted as he faced the most trying phase of His earthly sojourn, in the garden of Gethsemane, God did not leave heaven and come personally to Him but there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:43).

 

Jesus Christ is the prototype, for us, of what it means to be filled with the Holy Ghost and how the spirit of God might dwell in us.

 

The Comforter

 

When Jesus was soon to return to heaven, He promised that He would not leave His disciples comfortless; He would send them the Comforter, whom He also refers to as the Spirit of truth and the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) – “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7); “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26).

 

The Comforter was sent on a mission to dispense spiritual gifts and to comfort the disciples.  He would not speak of himself but would speak only what he hears – “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13).

 

Whereas the Comforter brought the Early Rain of God’s spirit (spiritual gifts) at Pentecost, a mighty angel will bring the Latter Rain of God’s spirit in the last days even more extensively “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” (Rev. 18:1; see also Acts 2:17, 18; Joel 2:23, 28-31).  This mighty angel carries out a similar mission to that which the Comforter carried out at Pentecost.  The Comforter is a person but not a God-being like the Father and the Son – there is no precedent in scripture for anyone praying to or worshipping the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

 

The True God, Christ and the Holy Spirit

 

The Spirit of God that dwells in us in measure are the spiritual gifts (including the gift of life) by which we live and are empowered to be God’s witnesses.  The term Holy Spirit may refer to the spiritual gifts that we receive and that remain in us or it may refer to Christ’s representative, the Comforter, who dispenses the gifts to us. We should not confuse the two; neither should we confuse these, with references to God Himself as a spirit being.

 

May the Lord help us to recognize the true God, who created us and gave us the spirit of life.  In the strength of the power that He gives, we “live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  Eternal life is something that we do not have naturally, but through His Son, Jesus Christ, God freely offers it to all who believe – “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16); “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3); “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev.2:10).

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

 

Holy Spirit – Power or Person?

God’s spirit gives you life; it does not make God live in you – “And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live” (Eze. 37:14).  God does not need us to live.  God lives independently of us.  God has been and will be, regardless of us.  Further, you are not alive without God’s spirit being in your body –

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7).

 “It is the spirit that quickeneth” (John 6:63).

 “he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22).

 This Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit that gives power is the same spirit that gives life –

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you . . .” (Acts 1:8).

 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom. 8:11).

When Jesus breathed on His disciples, they received more power – more life; but Jesus remained where He was – He did not go inside them.  He gave them more life.  He is willing to give us more life and power too.

 

Spirit Belongs to God

The spirit of life does not belong to us.  It belongs to God.  He gives it to whomsoever He wills.  At death, it goes back to Him.  It does not wander around –

 “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecc. 12:7).

“The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” (Job 33:4).

 “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” (Luke 23:46).

Let’s commit our spirits to God, as Jesus did, and God will return it to us at the resurrection.  This is the spirit of God that dwells in us, in measure.  We may ask God for more of His spirit and be more empowered but let us not fool ourselves in thinking that we have the spirit of life in and of ourselves or that God needs to occupy our bodies for Him to live and execute His will.  God blows the breath of life into whoever or whatever He chooses, and life enters them – even into dry bones:

“Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” (Eze. 37:5, 6).

This is the Creator who says, I am God, “and there is none else”:

For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. Isa. 45:18. (See also Isa. 46:5, 9).

This is the God, whose breath moved over the face of the earth and breathed life into every living creature:

“And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen. 1:2, 3).

This is the God, in whose image and likeness human beings were made, who said to His Son, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26; John 1:1-3).

 

The Holy Spirit and Gifts of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit is not a third God-being to be worshipped; neither is the Holy Spirit a being that takes up residence inside of us.  We have seen that the term Holy Spirit may refer to the gifts of the Spirit (including the gift of life – Acts 1:8; Rom. 8:11).  The term Holy Spirit, in a different context, may also refer to the representative of Christ who dispenses the spiritual gifts.  This is evident in Christ’s promise to send the Comforter, whom He calls the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) –

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7).

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26).

However, quite separate from the representative that Jesus would send in His place, the term Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) may also be used in reference to gifts of the spirit that Jesus has without measure inside of Him that He can give us in measure.

“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” (John 3:34).

“And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:2)

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan” (Luke 4:1).

“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22).

While Jesus has the spirit of God without measure, everyone has a measure of God’s spirit – the “spirit of wisdom”, “understanding”, “knowledge” (Isa. 11:2) and “the spirit of life” itself (Rev. 11:11).  But, to be saved, we must have a greater measure of God’s spirit that includes “the spirit of meekness” (1 Cor. 4:21), and “the spirit of knowledge and of the fear [reverence] of the Lord” (Isa. 11:2); “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear [to be afraid]; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7).

 

 Holy Spirit Poured Out – Early and Latter Rain

As gifts, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the believers at Pentecost, in fulfilment of a promise that God made through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28, 29). Peter referred to this promise and its fulfilment in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost:

“But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17, 18);

Jesus says that we should ask the Father for the Holy Spirit – “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was like the early rain that gave a kick start to the newly germinated seeds. When the plants are mature, latter rain showers are needed to ripen the crop and prepare them for the harvest.  Based on Joel’s prophecy there would be an Early Rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit and in the last days, a Latter Rain outpouring.

“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” (Joel 2:23).

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” (Joel 2:28-31).

The Latter Rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit is described as the work of a Mighty Angel who descends from heaven and causes the earth to be lightened with his glory.

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Rev. 18:1, 2).

The Latter Rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit is given in the last days at a time when modern Babylon is taken over by demons and evil spirits.  This final outpouring of the Holy Spirit will empower God’s true and faithful believers to overcome the Devil as Moses was able to overcome the magicians of Egypt.

 

Representative of Christ Dispenses Gifts

It is important that we do not confuse the spiritual gifts that we receive in us with the representative of Christ who dispenses the gifts.  Whereas the Comforter dispensed the gifts at Pentecost as the Early Rain, the Mighty Angel of Revelation 18 will dispense the gifts in even greater measure as the Latter Rain.

The Comforter is not a third God-being like the Father and the Son.  Like the Mighty Angel of Revelation 18, the Comforter was sent on a mission to dispense spiritual gifts and to comfort the disciples.  He would not speak of himself but would speak only what he hears –

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13).

There is no precedent in scripture for anyone praying to or worshipping the Holy Spirit.  Of course, the references to Spirit in this discourse does not detract from the generally known fact that God, Christ, angels and humans are spirit beings, and each has their own spirit (or inner person).  It is also recognized that some references to the Spirit of God in scripture, are references to God Himself.  Such references are usually self-evident as, for example, “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24) and “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?” (Isa. 40:13).

The word spirit or the words translated spirit are used hundreds of times throughout the Bible.  Therefore, there is no lack of scriptural references to assist us in getting a clear understanding of its meanings.  The fundamental challenge that many people overlook, that results in confusion, is the fact that the word spirit is used to refer to several different things.  To take a meaning that is intended for one thing and apply it to something else will cause the intended sense to be missed.  The challenge of one word having more than one meaning is not unique to the word spirit.  It is a normal occurrence with many other words and the approach to understanding the sense of their usages is the same.  It is the context of the usage that helps us to understand the intended meaning.  This study has explored different meanings of the word spirit and ultimately has sought to shed light on the matter of who or what is the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of God that dwells in us in measure are the spiritual gifts (including the gift of life) by which we live and are empowered to be God’s witnesses.  The term Holy Spirit may refer to the spiritual gifts that we receive and that remain in us or it may refer to Christ’s representative who dispenses the gifts to us. We should not confuse the two; neither should we confuse these, with references to God Himself as a spirit being.

May the Lord help us to recognize the true God, who created us and gave us the spirit of life.  In the strength of the power that He gives, we “live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  Eternal life is something that we do not have naturally, but through His Son, Jesus Christ, God freely offers it to all who believe – “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3).

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

For further information, please visit http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

The Holy Spirit and the End Time

In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is spoken of, both as gifts that are poured out on the believer, and as the Giver of the gifts.  The gifts include power, truth and Godly attributes.  The Giver is ultimately God Himself who gives to Christ and Christ sends the Comforter or an angel to give them to us.

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:13-16).

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” (Rev. 1:1).

 

As a gift, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the believers at Pentecost, in fulfilment of a promise that God made through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28, 29). Peter referred to this promise and its fulfilment in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost:

 

“But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17, 18);

 

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was on both Jews and Gentiles, and by this, God showed that in the new dispensation there was to be no difference between Jews and Gentiles.

 

“And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 10:45).

 

Jesus says that we should ask the Father for the Holy Spirit – If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).

 

The Early and Latter Rain

 

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was like the early rain that gave a kick start to the newly germinated seeds. When the plants are mature, latter rain showers are needed to ripen the crop and prepare them for the harvest.  Based on Joel’s prophecy there would be an early rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit and in the last days, a latter rain outpouring.

 

“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” (Joel 2:23).

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” (Joel 2:28-31).

The latter rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit is described as the work of a mighty angel who descends from heaven and causes the earth to be lightened with his glory.

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Rev. 18:1, 2).

End Time Conflict

 

The latter rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit is given in the last days at a time when Babylon is taken over by demons and evil spirits.  This final outpouring of the Holy Spirit will empower God’s true and faithful believers to overcome the Devil in the final conflict as Moses was able to overcome the magicians of Egypt.

“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” (Rev. 16:13-16).

The final conflict will see the Dragon (Satan), the Beast power and another power described as a “false prophet” bringing the world together to what is called the “battle of that great day of God Almighty”.  In this battle, they will be gathered to fight against Christ and His people (See Rev. 19:19-21).  The issue will be whether people will worship the true God or worship the Dragon (Satan) working through the Beast and his Image (a look-alike of the Beast power).  The Beast and his Image will have the support of another power in the world (called the“false prophet”), that appears to have some lamb-like characteristics, but which speaks as a dragon (Rev. 13:12, 13).  This other power will cause the world to worship the Beast and his Image.  They will have almost the entire world on their side.

“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:4).

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear.” (Rev. 13:8, 9).

The power that has lamb-like characteristics will have the capacity to empower the Image of the Beast – an entity that looks like the Beast power – and cause it to exercise authority over the whole world.  This signifies that this power with lamb-like characteristics is a superpower.  Of this superpower that has lamb-like characteristics, it is said:

 

“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Rev. 13:15-17).

 

So, both the Beast power and the superpower that has lamb-like characteristics will work through an agency (the Image of the Beast) that they would have empowered, and that the nations of the world will respect and submit to.  Through this agency, the Mark of the Beast will be enforced.

 

Final Gospel Message

 

Before the final conflict, the Gospel will be preached to all the world as a witness, so that no one will have any excuse.  The message to all the world will call everyone to worship the true God who created the heaven, the earth, the sea and all that is in them.

 

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14).

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:6-12).

The saints are identified as those who “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”. To be safe, we must know who the true God is and what is the sign that He has given, by which we show that we acknowledge Him as the Creator.

Worship the True God

 

Jesus said: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3).

 

The true God sent His only begotten Son into the world.  We are called upon to worship the Father as “the only true God”.  In worshipping Jesus as the Son of God, we are giving honour to His Father, who sent Him and who He represents. But we should not worship angels, not even one sent from heaven –“And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” (Rev. 22:8, 9).

 

The angels in heaven worship God and Christ – no one else (Rev. 5:13); and so, we should, as it will be in the new earth – “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” – Rev. 21:22.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

The Spirits of God, Christ, Angels and Humans

The word spirit or the words translated spirit are used hundreds of times throughout the Bible.  Therefore, there is no lack of scriptural references to assist us in getting a clear understanding of its meanings.  The fundamental challenge that many people overlook, that results in confusion, is the fact that the word spirit is used to refer to several different things.  To take a meaning that is intended for one thing and apply it to something else will cause the intended sense to be missed.  The challenge of one word having more than one meaning is not unique to the word spirit.  It is a normal occurrence with many other words and the approach to understanding the sense of their usages is the same.  It is the context of the usage that helps us to understand the intended meaning.  This study explores the different meanings of the word spirit and ultimately seeks to shed light on the matter of who or what is the Holy Spirit.

 

Spirit Beings

 

In the Bible, God, Christ, angels and humans are all referred to as spirit beings.  Of God, the Bible says: “God is a spirit” (John 4:24).  It also says that Jesus Christ is a spirit: “The first Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45).  Angels are also spirits: “Are they not all ministering spirits” (Heb. 1:14); holy angels are referred to as ministering spirits that have been sent by God to minister to those who are heirs of salvation and generally to execute God’s will (Ps. 104:4; Heb. 1:7,14); evil angels are referred to as unclean spirits, evil spirits, lying spirits, demons or devils (eg. 1 Kings 22:19-23; Acts 19:13-16; Mark 3:11; Acts 3:22,23; Acts 5:6-15; Jude 6,7).  Man is also referred to as a spirit: “That which is born of the spirit is spirit” (John 3:6); “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1-5); “he went and preached unto the spirits in prison” (1 Pet. 3: 18-21).

 

The word that is translated “Ghost”, as in “Holy Ghost”, in the New Testament – pneuma, is the same word that is translated “Spirit”, “spirit” or “spirits” depending on the translators’ opinion of what they thought was being referred to.  The word that is similarly used in the Old testament – ruach, is also translated “Spirit”, “spirit” or “spirits”. If the preceding adjective is “evil” or “unclean” and it is thought that a plurality of personalities is being referred to, then the word is translated “spirits”.  This causes one to understand immediately that reference is being made to fallen angels as evil spirits or unclean spirits.  If the reference is to holy beings and there is a clear plurality implied as in the case of “four” (Zech. 6:5) or “seven” (Rev. 1:4; compare with Rev. 8:2), the word is translated “spirits” which allows for an understanding that these “spirits” are holy angels.

 

But in some other cases when the adjective is “holy” and it seems to be referring to one being, the word is translated “Ghost” or “Spirit” and the first letter of the adjective is capitalized to render the expression “Holy Ghost” or “Holy Spirit”.  This translation has helped to foster the popular notion that there is a third divine personality of worshipful status.  The concept of a third divine personality results in the glaring anomaly that in some instances where it would have been expected that the supposed third divine personality should have been mentioned, instead the expected reference is entirely missing and in its place is a reference to angels (eg. Luke 9:26: “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels”; also 1 Tim. 5:21: “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels”).  Further, it creates the inexplicable spectacle of a divine personality that is sent and has no authority to say anything of himself (John 16:13: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak”).

 

It is interesting also that Paul always brought greetings from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Son but not from the Holy Spirit (eg. Eph. 1:2: “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” – no mention of any other; likewise, Phil. 1:2; Col.1:2; 1 Thess.1:1; 2 Thess. 1:2; Philemon 1:3; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor.1:2).  John does the same (2 John 1:3).  Jesus also said that no man knows the Son, but the Father, and no man knows the Father but the Son and he to whom the Son will reveal Him (Luke 10:22).  The idea of a third divine personality is entirely excluded.

 

The question therefore is: When the Bible speaks of spirit in personal terms, what evidence can be produced that it is someone else other than God, Christ, angels or man that is being referred to?

 

Personal Beings

 

Notwithstanding the fact that God, Christ, angels and humans are all spirit beings, they are also personal beings.

 

None would doubt that Jesus Christ is a personal physical being – after He was resurrected He showed His disciples His hands and feet and told them to touch Him to prove that it was He himself – a person (Luke 24:39).

 

The Father also has a shape and form.  Man was made in His image (Gen. 1:26).  The Father was seen in heaven seated on a throne (Dan. 7:9) and the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) coming to Him (Dan. 7:13);  Stephen also saw heaven opened and the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:56);  John the Revelator saw God in heaven also sitting on a throne with millions of angels around the throne (Rev. 4:2, 8-11; 5:11);  Ezekiel saw God on His throne and His appearance was “the appearance of a man” (Eze. 1:26).  Man, a personal being, was made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26), after His likeness.  When Moses and Daniel saw God, they saw someone with physical features like what man has: face (which Moses was not allowed to see – Ex. 33:20), hand and back parts (Ex. 33:20-23), head, hair, feet (Ex. 24:9-11; Dan. 7:9).  Jesus who is described as the express image of His Father’s person (Heb.1:3) and the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15) was seen before His incarnation (Dan. 10:5,6; 12:7) and after His resurrection (Rev. 1:12-15), having human-looking features like what God is described with.

 

The angels are also personal physical beings.  In answer to Daniel’s prayer, an angel came and talked with Daniel, telling him that he was delayed with the prince of the kingdom of Persia for 21 days and when he is through talking with Daniel he would go back to the prince of Persia (Dan. 10:12,13,20).  On more than one occasion the angel Gabriel appeared to Daniel, talked with him and even touched him (Dan. 8:16-18; 9:21).  Gabriel also appeared to Mary (Luke 1:26, 27).  Angels are described as looking like humans and having wings with which they fly (Isa. 6:1,2,6; Eze. 10:5,20-22).

 

Without question, man is clearly a physical personal being.  The difference between man and other spirit beings is that man has a terrestrial body, whereas other beings have celestial bodies – But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.  All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.  There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” (1 Cor. 15:38-40).

 

Real Bodies

 

Christ had a glorious body like His Father before He came to earth.  But He put off that glorious body and took on a human body; that is, He became flesh – Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6, 7); “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb. 2:14).

 

Having been resurrected from the dead, Christ now has a glorious body like the bodies that we will get at His Second Coming – “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Phil. 3:20, 21).

 

It is critical for it to be understood that Christ is in Heaven at this time, interceding for us before his Father and an innumerable company of angels – He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Rev. 3:5).  When His intercessory work on our behalf is finished, He will return to take us to be with Him (John 14:1-3).  An angel told Mary He is not here: for he is risen” (Matt. 28:6).  And Christ later appeared to Mary and told her Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father” (John 20:17).  It is evident that after His resurrection, Jesus was not present everywhere at the same time.  He now has a body like the ones that we will get when He returns the second time.  In His glorious body, Christ is not everywhere, and neither will we be everywhere at the same time, in the glorified bodies like His, that we will have.

 

Jesus is the “express image” of His Father’s person (Heb. 1:3).  We also, were made in God’s image, after His likeness.  When God sees us, He sees an image of Himself.  This is a part of the reason that God loves us so much – all of us.  Hence, God and Christ were willing to make such a sacrifice to save us; and we will be exalted even above angels in the New Earth.  God and Christ will make their dwelling on earth with us, in a real world where we will be able to see them and interact with them as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden – “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Rev. 21:22); “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads” (Rev. 22:3, 4).

 

The notion that God and Christ are everywhere inside of people is a form of pantheism and it leads to a complete distortion of the reality of the relationship and interaction that we, as free moral agents – beings with minds of our own, can have with God, Christ and the angels.

 

All living beings have a spirit

 

Although God, Christ, angels and humans are said to be spirit beings, they are also said to have their own spirit.

 

The spirit of man is said to be a part of him: “what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:11).  Man’s spirit is unique to him and so is God’s spirit unique to God. The spirit of God is described as a part of God: “I will pour out of my spirit” (Acts 2:17). The spirit of Christ in the prophets is described as “it”“the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand” (1 Pet. 1:11). The spirit of Christ is spoken of as the spirit of God: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you.  Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9) – Note: the word “dwell” is the same as is used in Rom. 7:17 in relation to sin.  So, the spirit of Christ in us is not a living being inside of us but rather Christ’s attributes, like the “mind” of Christ that we are called upon to have – “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:5).

 

 

Living creatures called cherubims (angels) are described as having a spirit: “for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels” (Eze. 1:20, 21); “I knew that they were cherubims” (Eze. 10:20).  It is to be noted that beasts are also said to have a spirit: “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” (Ecc. 3:21).

 

Other meanings of Spirit

 

We have already seen that spirit can refer to the whole person and it can also refer to the inner being of the person.  Based on the usages of the word spirit other meanings include breath“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26); “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it” (Ecc. 12:7).   The word spirit is also used to mean personality, mind, disposition, countenance or character“And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled” (Gen. 41:8); “Why is thy spirit so sad?” (1 Kings 21:4, 5); “be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).

 

Power, as in the means of causing things to be done, is also conveyed by the word spirit“And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand” (Judg. 14:6);  “And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy” (1 Sam. 10:6); “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18).

 

God in you – How?

 

Given the various ways in which the word spirit is used, what then does it mean for the spirit of God to be in someone?  Some such expressions are: “Spirit of God dwell in you” (Rom. 8:9) – the same word for dwell (oikeo) is used in relation to sin: “no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Rom. 7:17); “by his spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8:11);  “I will dwell in them” 2 Cor. 6:16) – the same word dwell (translated from the word enoikeo) is used in Col. 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you” and in 2 Tim. 1:5: “unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois”.  God’s spirit, in the sense of something dwelling in us, is God’s mind or character.  This is made possible by us receiving and believing his word – “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63).

 

God, Christ, the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Christ being in us could not mean that the whole Person is in us because of the following reasons:

 

  1. The whole Person is omnipotent, omniscient, immortal, and divine – which we are not. If the whole Person is in us, then we must likewise be omnipotent, and all that God is.

 

  1. The whole Person cannot be in one of us and be in someone else at the same time. The part that is in one must be a different part from what is in another, even if similar in quality.  Further yet, the divine quality cannot be in us in totality as we would then be like God Himself in every particular – power, wisdom and all.

 

  1. The Bible is clear that God and Christ are in heaven and heaven is neither everywhere nor inside an individual – “Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16, 45); “Our Father which art in heaven” (Luke 11:2); “Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive” (2 Chron. 6:30); “And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left” (1 Kings 22:19). Jesus went back to heaven and promises to return – “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3).  Jesus even likened His departure to a man traveling to a far country to receive a kingdom – “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his servants, and delivereth unto them his goods”; “After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them” (Matt. 25:14, 19); “He said therefore, a certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return” (Luke 19:12).

 

Since it is clearly not the whole person that is in us, it must be aspects of God that may include: life (or breath), personality (character or attributes) or power (abilities).  The spirit is “poured out” by measure (Acts 2:17) – hence we are not omnipotent, omniscient, immortal or other attributes that are unique to God.  Christ has God’s spirit (attributes) without measure – “God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him” (John 3:34, 35).

 

 

Lucifer wants to be worshipped

 

Lucifer wanted to be like the Most High – “I will be like the most High.” (Isa. 14:12-14)The heavenly Council was between two – The Creator and His Son – “the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zech. 6: 13); “All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” (Luke 10:22).

Lucifer’s ambition caused him to rebel against the Most High and he was consequently put out of heaven – “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isa. 14:12-14; See also Eze. 28:12-19; Rev. 12:7-9).

From the earliest days, idolatry centred on the worship of threeNimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz who were called by different names in different cultures.  The concept of worship being given to three was common to many pagan religions (eg. Hindu – Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva; Egyptian – Isis, Horus, Set).  Obviously, Lucifer has not given up the idea of being worshipped as a third deity.

 

Apart from direct idolatry as in pagan religions, Lucifer applies deception to achieve the same objective among professed Christians by leading people to believe that God is three-in-one, a concept that is not found anywhere in the Bible.  Through the concept of a triune god, professing Christians are drawn to accept the concept of worshipping the “Holy Ghost” which is perceived as a third divine personality.  Through this means Lucifer accepts the worship and adoration being given and even makes himself the focus.  In other cases, he gains control of the minds of persons who open themselves to receive his controlling influence which they think is the “Spirit” of God “filling” them – thus bringing professing Christians to the same place of worshipping him as do pagans, notwithstanding their professed belief in the Most High and His Son Jesus Christ.

 

Conclusion

 

From the information gathered we can conclude the following: God is a personal being of whom Christ is the image and likeness.  Man is also made in the same image and likeness. Nowhere is God represented as being a mysterious immaterial essence without body or parts; neither is God’s spirit separate from God Himself.  God is a spirit and so are Jesus Christ, angels and human beings – real, literal persons.  God is in heaven, a real, literal place that is not everywhere.  The spirit of God is either God Himself or an aspect of Him.  When the Bible speaks of spirit in personal terms, as in the various references to the Holy Ghost, it is referring to no other than God Himself, Christ, angels or one of God’s representatives.  The Christian’s hope is to one day be united with God and Christ in Person and see them face to face (1 Cor.13:12) and live with them throughout eternity in a real and literal, material new earth (Rev. 21:1-4, 22-25).

 

Satan’s studied purpose is to be worshipped like the Creator.  He seeks to achieve this through deception.  By creating confusion in people’s minds concerning the reality of God, Christ, angels and man as personal beings, he can weave himself into the spiritualized mix of uncertainty (which is often described as a mystery), thereby deceiving people into worshipping and interacting with him and his host of fallen angels without their realizing it.        “Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matt. 24:4);

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

 

For further information, please visit http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

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Religious Liberty and the New Covenant

The most fundamental principle of the New Covenant is religious liberty or freedom of conscience.  Under the Old Covenant, God’s Moral Law as contained in the Ten Commandments, along with the Statutes and Judgements that amplified and clarified the finer principles contained in the Law, were administered externally by the Mosaic System.  Under the New Covenant, the Law is written, not on tables of stone to be externally administered, but on the tables of people’s hearts, to be self-administered.  This is the essence of religious liberty.  Regarding the New Covenant, the Bible says:

 

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” – Heb. 8:10, 11.

 

God intended that ancient Israel should have been a “kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6) but, while there was external conformity to the commandments in many instances, there was no genuineness of heart.  As a result, Jesus repeatedly told the Pharisees that they were hypocrites and pointed them to the spirit of the law by which God would judge their sincerity.  Accordingly, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews pointed out that finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Heb. 8:8).  Under the New Covenant, both Jews and Gentiles are reconciled in one body, the Church (Eph. 3:6; 1:22, 23), and within this body, God’s original intention would be fulfilled, so that the Church would be a “royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9).

 

Dark Ages

 

God’s intention for the Church, however, has been perverted in many instances as church leaders have repeatedly sought to make of the Church another theocracy like ancient Israel in which the priesthood of believers is supplanted and liberty of conscience is suppressed.  Starting with the Roman Catholic Church, true believers were persecuted simply because they sought to serve God according to the dictates of their own conscience.  They were called heretics, they were tortured, burnt to the stake, had millstones put around their necks and drowned, cast out of society and had other atrocities committed against them.

 

Many churches today claim to believe in religious liberty but to them, this liberty only extends to those who embrace their faith and subscribe to their creeds.  Differences of views are tolerated only within the bounds of their established creeds or Statements of Beliefs.  Dissent is frowned upon and while many do not label those who have different views as “Heretics”, possibly because of the historical baggage of persecution that the label carries, they have modern equivalents such as “Offshoot” that is used for the same purpose of social exclusion.  What is the result?  – The same as in the Dark Ages – ignorance and suppression of truth.  Free thought in religious matters is discouraged and uniformity is promoted.  This situation, as in the days of ancient Israel, makes hypocrites of those who profess things that they often do not understand or lead many to join in ostracizing persons that God has raised up to help in advancing His work.  This is the reason that the prophets and messengers of God have been seldom embraced during their lifetimes.  The New Covenant was intended to change that.

 

Popular error embraced

 

God accepts only genuine belief, not mere profession; and He is not fooled.  Only the New Covenant principle of liberty of conscience allows truth to thrive.  In an atmosphere of intolerance error finds fertile ground.  People will embrace popular error and avoid listening to anything that would show them otherwise.  Such is the case, even now, where popular Christianity has embraced a concept of God that is not taught in the Bible – that God is three-in-one.

 

There is nowhere in the Bible that says God is three-in-one or triune.  This concept is at best an assumption, yet it is stated in most church creeds as a required belief, even while many of the churches claim sola scriptura – the Bible, and the Bible alone.  Where did that belief come from?  – From Paganism, and brought into Christianity by Rome through a series of deliberations starting at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD.  The Jews had no such concept of God but the pagans around them did.  The early Apostles had no such concept, but the pagans around them did.  The early Adventist pioneers had no such concept but the churches around them did.  Two notable Adventist pioneers expressed the view that was generally taken by early Adventists as follows:

 

“The greatest fault we find in the Reformation is, the Reformers stopped reforming.  Had they gone on, and onward, till they had left the last vestige of Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday-keeping, the church would now be free from her unscriptural errors.” (James White, Review & Herald, Feb. 7, 1856).

 

“The doctrine of the Trinity was established in the church by the Council of Nicea, A.D. 325.  This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (J. N. Andrews, Review & Herald, March 6, 1855).

Most fundamental truth

 

The most fundamental truth is the truth about God.  The Biblical teaching regarding God is that there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5); “One God and Father of all, who is above all” (Eph. 4:6); “But to us there is but one God, the Father” (1 Cor. 8:6); “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 1:3).  Jesus is the Son of God – fully Divine and of the same nature as God, His Father (Heb. 1); He is the Mediator between us and God and is the only way to the Father (John 14:6); He was sent into the world by God, his Father and went back to the Father (John 16:28; 17:8), of whom He said: “If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28).  Before Jesus returned, He said “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter” (John 14:6).  Regarding the Comforter, Christ said: “when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father” (John 15:26), “he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak” (John 16:13).

 

The Scriptures speak in clear and unambiguous language that there is one God who is above all, who sent His Son into the world and His Son left and sent the Comforter to represent Him until He returns at His second coming.  God is one and not three-in-one.  Any confusion and mystery as to the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit are brought about because people are speculating and stretching the scriptures to accommodate a pagan concept of three-in one that was brought from paganism into Christianity by Roman Catholicism, in a similar way that some persons try to stretch the references in the New Testament regarding the first day of the week, of which there are only eight places that it is mentioned, to teach Sunday-sacredness, which the Bible clearly does not teach.

 

New Covenant rejected

 

How have these unscriptural pagan teachings come to be so widespread among professed Christians who claim to be guided by sola scriptura?  The answer is simple – they have rejected the New Covenant principle of liberty of conscience, even while claiming to embrace the New Covenant.  Almost without exception, the churches have sought to re-create an Old Covenant theocracy where belief is externally controlled and enforced.  Hence, the Deceiver only needs to have the false doctrines infiltrated among the leaders and eventually it would filter down through every congregation and the entire body would be led astray.

 

Among the few churches that have been able to maintain diversity of beliefs are the Baptists.  They were persecuted in their early beginnings in seventeenth century England and came to the United States of America.  Roger Williams, who was forced out of the Massachusetts colony because he maintained that individuals should be free to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, fled from Boston and founded the Rhode Island colony on the principles of civil and religious liberty.  He established the first Baptist Church in America and Rhode Island became a haven for believers of all faiths, including Sabbath-keepers, the Seventh-day Baptists, who passed on the Sabbath truth to Adventist pioneers who became Seventh-day Adventists.  The principle of religious liberty was eventually embraced by the framers of the United States Constitution and is represented as the First Amendment to the Constitution.  But while religious liberty is promoted to protect the Church from imposition by the State, there seems to be no protection of the believer from imposition by the Church.  Hence, the truth is not advancing.

 

Religious liberty fundamental

 

Religious liberty is the most fundamental principle of the New Covenant, yet most churches do not even have it as one of their stated Fundamental Beliefs.  The New Covenant provides the basis for religious liberty and is the single greatest provision that facilitates the spread of the truth.  The truth needs only to be given a fair opportunity to be heard for it to prevail.  The Devil knows this and so his greatest weapon against truth is suppression.  Those who suppress the expression of other views may think that they are protecting others from error, but they are doing the cause of truth a disservice and they are acting contrary to the principles of the New Covenant.  May the Lord help us to recognize the truth and allow it to flourish on its own and under God’s direction.

 

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

  • Zerubbabel (Zech. 4:6)

 

Other presentations can be found at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Separation of Church and State

History has shown that religion and politics can be a very dangerous mix.  For this reason, the founders of the American republic have enshrined the concept of separation of Church and State in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.  But the question is: Can Church and State be completely separated and wherein lies the danger in both being mixed?  If we fail to recognize the locus of the danger it is very possible that the very danger that we fear could be realized where we least look for it.

 

I feel blessed to live in a country where our National Anthem is a prayer in which virtually all the blessings that any nation could ever desire from the Almighty are prayed for.  I feel blessed that annually, our political, institutional and civic leaders meet at a National Prayer Breakfast to seek God’s guidance and blessings for the nation.  I feel blessed that I can see and hear the Prime Minister in Half-Way-Tree Square join with religious and civic leaders to pray for our nation.  And what a stirring prayer it was!  But is there a problem with these things as some people imagine?

 

Back in 311 AD Galerius issued the Edict of Toleration that legalized Christianity and effectively started the process of ending the terrible Roman persecution of Christians.  Two years later, in 313 AD the Edict of Milan signed by Constantine and Licinius went even further and allowed Christians to organize churches and have confiscated property returned to them.  Political leadership could hardly be seen as having erred, by carrying out such actions.

 

But then things changed.  Emperor Constantine presided over the Council of Nicea in 325 AD that ended with Arius and two bishops who had dissenting religious views being condemned and exiled.  That was the start of another phase of persecution that saw Christians persecuting Christians.  This continued for more than a thousand years over a period that has come to be known as the Dark Ages.  The Church effectively became a political organization.

 

Whenever political power is used to advance a religious objective, the result is almost always persecution.  This type of persecution is not restricted to the use of the political power of the State; it happens also by the use of the political power that church leaders have within their church organizations.

 

Further, when religion is used to advance a political objective, the result is almost always persecution.  So, if one political contender, as was Constantine when fighting against Maxentius in 312 AD, decide to use a religious ideology, symbol or slogan, as Constantine did with the Cross, to galvanize political support, in order to overcome other contenders, that spells danger.

 

But when political leaders of various ideologies, without advantaging any political movement over another or advantaging any religious organization over another meet to pray for the good of the nation, this could hardly be seen as a bad thing.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

  • Zerubbabel (Zech. 4:6)

 

Previous presentations can be found at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Calvary and the Mystery of the Trinity

 

The Argument of Calvary

            It is popularly assumed that Father, Son and Holy Ghost make a Trinity; further, that the Trinity concept is a mystery that is difficult to explain but should be accepted by faith. But, does the supposed difficulty in explaining it really expose us to embracing questionable ideas that could be detrimental to accept? First of all, what is the Trinity and why is the question important? Consider this. On the assumption of a Trinity, people worship the Holy Ghost alongside the Father and the Son. Is this a valid position? Could we, unwittingly, be offering worship where it does not belong – making us guilty of idolatry?  Further, the Trinity presents Jesus as being eternally self-existent as the Father.  Does this imply that Jesus did not die at Calvary or that there is a part of a person that is alive when their body is dead?  These and other issues bear on the validity and consistency of the faith that we profess.  When all is said and done, the answer to all mysteries is revealed in the light that streams from Calvary.  If the argument of Calvary is not sufficient to settle all mysteries for us Christians and set us on the straight path, perhaps nothing else can.

It is an established historical fact that neither the Jews, nor the Apostles nor the Seventh-day Adventist Pioneers believed or taught that God was a Trinity.  The concept was developed between 325 A.D. and 681 A.D. during the same period when the Roman Catholic Church embraced image worship and Sunday observance.  For many, the term Trinity is just a reference to the existence of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  But it is more than that.

The Trinity doctrine asserts that there is one God who is made up of three persons. Some people prefer to use the term Godhead, but in essence hold to the same concept as is held by those who use the term Trinity.

Standard definitions of Trinity are as follows:

Trinity n Christianity the union of three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in one God” – Collins Student’s Dictionary.

“(the Trinity) (in Christian belief) the three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) that make up God.” – Little Oxford Dictionary.

Trinity noun in Christianity, the union of Father, Son and Holy Ghost in one God.” – Chambers English Dictionary.

The idea is that when the Bible says that there is one God, the one God is really Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

If the testimony of the pioneers of Seventh-day Adventism is not sufficient to convince us that the Trinity is a false and pernicious doctrine, then perhaps, Rome herself can do the job by telling us that she was the one who formulated the doctrine.

If the testimony of the Jews, to whom was committed the oracles of God, is not sufficient to convince us that God is one and not one in three or three in one, then, maybe the pagans of their day, who invariably had a Trinity of gods, may help us to see that the Trinity concept is of pagan origin.

But, if all else fails, I hope the argument of Calvary will be sufficient to settle all questions once and for all.  Calvary declares that the Father and the Son were separated for our sakes when the Son cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) and the Father endured the pain of seeing His only begotten Son expire and die on the cross.  Such was the sacrifice that was made by the Father and the Son because of their great love for humanity.  To this we respond with gratitude by worshipping the Father and the Son in accordance with the precedents in scripture.

 

Trinity Concept Contrary to Calvary Truth

 

Contrary to the argument of Calvary, the Trinity concept declares that Father, Son and Holy Ghost constitute an inseparable unity.  This implies that no separation took place at Calvary.  Which will you believe?  The Bible teaches that there is One Supreme Being and that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son.  The doctrine of antichrist denies the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22).

Contrary to the argument of Calvary, the Trinity concept declares that the Son is as eternally self-existent as the Father.  To be eternally self-existent means that you cannot die.  This implies that the Son of God cannot die and, therefore, did not die at Calvary.  It is either the truth as declared at Calvary that the Son of God was made flesh so that He could die and did in fact die or the doctrine of antichrist that denies that Christ came in the flesh (1 John 4:3), thus implying that Christ was incapable of dying (going out of existence).

Contrary to the argument of Calvary, the Trinity concept declares that, apart from the Father and the Son, there is another who is deserving of worship and adoration.  There is no precedent or authority given in scripture for worship to be offered to anyone except the Father and the Son, for they only are worthy (Rev. 5:12, 13).  The example and precept of scripture is worshiping “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb” (Rev. 21:22) only.  The man of sin, however, “sitteth (is positioned) in the temple (place of worship) of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:4)?

In the name of this other object of worship, many are supposedly speaking in tongues, performing many miracles and communicating with all manner of spirits.  Believing in the Trinity, fulfils the one criterion necessary for acceptance with the World Council of Churches and being a part of the Babylonish ecumenical spiritualistic confederation that will be overthrown at the second coming of Christ.

Calvary discounts the three pivotal concepts of the Trinity, namely:

(1)        Inseparability of Father, Son and Holy Ghost,

(2)        Eternal self-existence of the Son and

(3)        Worship of the Holy Ghost.

Would one dare contend with the argument of Calvary?  I hope that, once and for all, those who were ready to declare the pioneers of Seventh-day Adventism in error in their rejection of the Trinity will thoughtfully reconsider.

 

Trinity Concept Justifies Papal Teachings

 

Those who advance the idea of God being a Trinity seem to believe that Jesus Christ must, of necessity, have existed as a distinct Being for as long as His Father if He is to be regarded as a Divine Being.  If such is the case, then, by the same premise, would it not also be true that Jesus must always exist and therefore could not have died at any point if He is to be regarded as a Divine Being?  That has to be the case, unless one’s idea of death is similar to that of those who believe in the immortality of the soul, who would hold that there is an aspect of a person that is still alive when the person appears to be dead.  If that was true of Christ, then, what of human beings who were made in the image of God?

In following the Trinitarian line, one is inescapably led to justify not only the doctrine of the immortality of the soul but every single Roman Catholic doctrine.  Indeed, the Roman Catholic Church has declared that all their other doctrines are based on the doctrine of the Trinity:

“The mystery of the trinity is the central doctrine of Catholic faith.  Upon it are based all the other teachings of the church” (Handbook for Today’s Catholic, p.16) 1.

Consider even the idea of Mary being co-mediatrix.  If Jesus Christ is also, Himself, the God from whom humanity has been estranged and to whom humanity needs to be reconciled, then, is it not evident that there would be a need for someone to go between us and Jesus Christ?

How have Seventh-day Adventists come to the place where they are now declaring that Jesus raised Himself from the dead?  Could the Bible have made itself any clearer when, in Gal. 1:1, it declares that it was “God the Father, who raised him from the dead”?  Or, could Ellen G. White have been more explicit when, referring to Christ’s resting in the tomb, she declared that “He was bearing the sins of the world and His Father only could release Him” (Youth’s Instructor, May 2, 1901 pr. 8)? 2

 

 

Trinity Concept Discredits Seventh-day Adventism

 

Seventh-day Adventism loses credibility (so far as the matter of truth is concerned) if Trinitarianism is correct.  What rational explanation could be given for such an anomaly as God’s specially led people being in error on a fundamental issue as the question of who God is, when most of the other churches which they denounced as Babylon had a clearer understanding, in that they believed in the Trinity whereas the pioneers did not?

Which set of people would more fit the bill of being classified as Babylon, if Trinitarianism should be regarded as truth?  Would not the pioneers of Seventh-day Adventism be found as fitting the bill of being labeled false prophets and Babylon?  Is it not inexplicable that some of these very persons had previously belonged to Trinitarian churches before accepting Seventh-day Adventism and this great enlightenment that was brought to their spiritual experience should be tainted by the rejection of truth (the so-called truth of Trinitarianism), which they had previously embraced, only to have it replaced with damnable heresy (the supposed error of non-Trinitarianism)?  Yet the world was to accept and believe that these people were specially called by God?

 

Trinity Concept Denies Bible and Spirit of Prophecy Consistency

 

If the Trinitarian line that is being advanced is correct, then the inescapable conclusion is that the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy contradict themselves.  I will now highlight some statements that cannot be reconciled to a Trinitarian position (all emphases mine).

  • “The Father and Son alone are to be exalted” (Youth’s Instructor, 7th July 1898). 3
  • “There is but one God, the Father” (1 Cor. 8:6).
  • “The head of Christ is God” (1 Cor. 11:3).
  • “Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father – one in nature, in character, in purpose – the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God.” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34). 4 Christ is the only being who could enter into all God’s counsels (and note, this was referring to the creation!).
  • The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate – a co-worker who could appreciate His purposes” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34). 5 An associate – not two.  The associate was not Himself the Sovereign.  Plainly, the God that the Word was (John 1:1), could not have been the same God that the Word was with.
  • Prior to the incarnation, Christ was next in authority to the Father (Review and Herald, Dec. 17, 1872; also, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, p. 9). 6
  • Prior to the incarnation, before Lucifer’s fall, Lucifer “was a high and exalted angel, next in honour to God’s dear Son.” (Story of Redemption, p. 13). 7 There was a clear line of authority: The Father first, The Son second and Lucifer third.  The first two were worshipped, being uncreated Beings and the “counsel of peace” was between them both (Zechariah   6:13).  The third was not worshipped, being a creature.  The third wanted to be worshipped.  After being removed from his position Lucifer (now Satan), has obviously found a way of getting humanity to accept the idea of offering worship to a third being.
  • Speaking of the creation, His Son would carry out His will and His purposes, but would do nothing of Himself alone. The Father’s will would be fulfilled in Him.”  (Signs of the Times, Jan. 9, 1879, pr. 2). 8
  • “God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God. To Christ has been given an exalted position.  He has been made equal with the Father.  All the counsels of God are opened to His Son,” (Testimonies vol. 8, p. 268.) 9
  • “A complete offering has been made; for ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son’ – not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father’s person, and in all the brightness of His majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity and divine perfection.  In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Signs of the Times, May 23, 1895). 10

I could go on and on.  But it is not necessary.  The point is that there are many statements that simply cannot be reconciled to a Trinitarian concept of God.

 

Seeming Contradictions

 

There are statements that have been attributed to Ellen G. White that, on the face of it, appear to give a Trinitarian viewpoint.  However, a number of them can be explained otherwise.  In fact, they must be explained otherwise if contradiction is not to be conceded, since the overwhelming weight of evidence does not support a Trinity.

As supporting a Trinity, persons cite, for example, Evangelism p. 615: “He is the eternal self-existent Son”. 11 This is not the same as saying He is eternally self-existent.  To say that Christ is self-existent does not preclude His being begotten.  Once begotten in the Father’s exact image, He would then be self-existent just as the Father is self-existent.  In fact, that is what the Bible says in St. John 5:26: “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself”.  The expression eternal Son does not preclude His being begotten either.

One that is begotten of God’s own essence would be eternal since the essence of God from which such One is born had no beginning.  Even the Nicene Creed recognizes a difference between being created and being begotten in the following words: “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made.”  Of course, this is not endorsing the concept of eternal generation.  The point here, is that being created and being begotten are two different things that even the Nicene Creed recognizes, and further, that being begotten does not imply inferiority.

Why should one seek to deny that a literal Father-Son relationship exists?  This does not detract from the Divinity of Christ.  This does not make Him an inferior kind of Being.  What would make one think that an offspring could be other than the same kind as the parent?

Another statement of Ellen G. White that is seized upon to advance the concept of a Trinity is the following: “In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived” (Desire of Ages, p. 530). 12 The full statement shows that it is not Jesus Himself that is being described, but rather, life – which Jesus has and is able to impart.  Here is the full statement as it was originally published in Signs of the Times: “In Him was life, original, unborrowed, underived.  This life is not inherent in man.  He can possess it only through Christ.  He cannot earn it; it is given him as a free gift if he will believe in Christ as a personal Saviour.”  (The Signs of the Times, April 8, 1897; also Selected Messages, vol. 1, pp. 296,297) 13   Those who are diligent enough to do a little research will realize that the statement was not saying anything about the life that Christ had that is not within the possibility for humans to experience.

Being described is the nature and quality of this life and not the origin of it.   Original – not a pattern or copy, but something genuine, authentic.  Unborrowed – does not have to be returned.  Underived – not drawn from a source; He has it in Himself.   How He came in possession of it?  It was given to Him by His Father.   St. John 5:26 says: “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself”.   In like manner as He has received this life from His Father, Jesus will impart it to His people.

This matter seems to be quite straightforward and should not lend itself to much of the confusion that this statement is used to create, since Ellen G. White was not even discussing the matter of a Trinity.


Give Prophet the Benefit of the Doubt

 

It is only reasonable that the prophet be given the benefit of the doubt by understanding her statements in a manner that is consistent with other clear statements that she made and with the unanimous position that the church held during her lifetime.  Indeed, the non-Trinitarian statements of faith of 1874, (Signs of the Times, June 4, 1874) 14, 1889, and 1894 represented the generally accepted position of the church of which Ellen G. White was a part, and she did not object to it.

It is not reasonable to construe the words of the prophet in a manner that brings the prophet into disrepute and calls into question the credibility of the entire foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist movement.  Nowhere in Ellen G. White’s writings, is God referred to as a Trinity or Triune.  She never corrected any of the pioneers, including her own husband, James White, who were staunchly non-Trinitarian.  Quite to the contrary, she strongly endorsed the doctrinal foundation that was laid by the pioneers, describing it as “a solid, immovable platform” (Early Writings, p. 259). 15

 

DESIRE OF AGES Did Not Change Doctrine

 

When persons present a lame and ridiculous argument that the publication of the book, Desire of Ages, marked an epochal change in Seventh-day Adventist thinking concerning the Trinity, they do their cause a great disservice, perhaps, without even realizing it.

Is that the way a church and a prophet go about the business of correcting a foundational heresy?   Can one, for even a passing moment, entertain the thought that a prophet and a church, realizing that they were in fundamental error, preaching a false concept of a non-Trinitarian God, misleading people, and they just silently publish a book that does not even mention the term Trinity?   No acknowledgement that they were wrong?  No statement that they used to believe this, but further enlightenment has now led them to believe that?  It had to be left to a later generation to break the news that a change had taken place?

People who present this kind of utterly flawed argument are begging the world to hold the pioneers of Seventh-day Adventism in contempt.  If one had set out to discredit Ellen G. White as a prophet and to present the pioneers of Seventh-day Adventism as deceiving and dishonest, they could hardly have done a better job.

Those who are honestly seeking for truth and a correct understanding will not, however, be deceived into rejecting Ellen G. White and the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers.  In light of the historical record concerning Ellen G. White’s writings and editorial changes, since 1883 (Ronald Graybill, Ministry, April 1994, pp. 10-12) 16, it is not difficult for one to discern the reason for a number of contradictory statements attributed to Ellen G. White since then.

When scholars extend their editorial liberty beyond legitimate bounds and try to clarify, amplify and re-interpret the writings of the prophets, invariably confusion results, just as early Roman Catholic scholars have done in producing their Latin Vulgate which continues to muddy the waters of truth and give the impression that the Bible is sending mixed signals with respect to some important concepts (See Colin Standish and Russell Standish, Modern Bible Translations Unmasked, 1993, Hartland Publications, Rapidan Virginia 22733, USA). 17

For those who are diligent and care about truth, they can verify for themselves that there were no mixed signals, concerning the subject of the nature and personality of God, in Ellen G. White’s writings prior to 1883 when the General Conference passed resolutions setting up a review committee to make editorial changes to Ellen G. White writings (Review and Herald, Nov. 27, 1883). 18 Since then, a number of seemingly conflicting statements have appeared and, notwithstanding the claim by some persons (including the acclaimed Professor Walter Martin) that Ellen G. White changed her position on the Trinity, no statement has been produced from the pen of Ellen G. White wherein the term Trinity has been used to describe God or wherein there were any withdrawal or retraction of the numerous non-Trinitarian statements that were made by her before.

 

If this is Not the Omega, Then What Is?

 

It is rather remarkable and unprecedented that one should have to be attempting to defend the honour, integrity and calling of Ellen G. White and the pioneers of Seventh-day Adventism against disparaging suggestions and insinuations being made concerning them, not by avowed enemies of Seventh-day Adventism, but by professed Seventh-day Adventists, and not mere pew-members, but leaders, for the most part.  On second thought, it is not altogether unprecedented; Ellen G. White herself prophesied it.  In light of the acceptance of Trinitarianism by professed Seventh-day Adventists and the effect that such acceptance has had on doctrine, credibility and overall direction, vis-à-vis the papacy, the predictions of Ellen G. White concerning the ‘omega’ stand among the surest evidences that she was indeed a prophet.

Many people speak loosely of the ‘omega of apostasy’ without realizing that the term ‘omega’ was used by Ellen G. White in relation to a particular change of doctrine that would be embraced within the church on account of which the earlier foundation would be rejected.  The following statements speak for themselves (all emphases mine):

“In the book Living Temple there is presented the alpha of deadly heresies. The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given.  (Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, pp. 49, 50)  {1SM 200.2}19

“”Living Temple” contains the alpha of these theories. I knew that the omega would follow in a little while; and I trembled for our people. I knew that I must warn our brethren and sisters not to enter into controversy over the presence and personality of God.” (Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, p53)  {1SM 203}20

“The spiritualistic theories regarding the personality of God, followed to their logical conclusion, sweep away the whole Christian economy.” (Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, p53)  {1SM 203} 21

“In a vision of the night I was shown distinctly that these sentiments have been looked upon by some as the grand truths that are to be brought in and made prominent at the present time. I was shown a platform, braced by solid timbers,– the truths of the Word of God. Some one high in responsibility in the medical work was directing this man and that man to loosen the timbers supporting this platform. Then I heard a voice saying, “Where are the watchmen that ought to be standing on the walls of Zion? Are they asleep? This foundation was built by the Masterworker, and will stand storm and tempest. Will they permit this man to present doctrines that deny the past experience of the people of God? The time has come to take decided action. 

The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced.”  (Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, pp 54, 55)  {1SM 204}22

 

These statements were made in the year 1904.  Therefore, the points of truth to which reference has been made (“the last fifty years”) would largely have been those that were held within the period 1854 to 1904 and articulated in the statements of faith of 1874, 1889 and 1894.  Consider the following:

  • When people were being warned not to engage in any controversy concerning the presence and personality of God, in light of the error that was seeking to intrude, what was then the accepted belief in the church concerning the nature and personality of God? Was it a Trinitarian view?  The answer is, no.  Therefore she was not urging that the then accepted position be changed.  Quite the opposite, she was cautioning against an attempt to change it.
  • The “alpha of deadly heresies” was being resisted and it had to do with the presence and personality of God. She said, “the omega would follow in a little while” and “will be received”.  What doctrine, that had to do with the presence and personality of God, was “receivedby the church   “in a little while” after the statement was made in 1904?  There is only one doctrine that fits the description – the Trinity doctrine.  In 1931, after the prophet had died, the first Trinitarian statement of faith was published by the Seventh-day Adventist Church (1931Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination (Washington, D.C.: R&H 1931, p. 377), 23 which marked a distinct shift from all others that were previously published.
  • She further indicated what would be the result of the acceptance of that particular heresy: “The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error” ; “A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced” ; people would “deny the past experience of the people of God” and this would result in “giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith”. Which other doctrine but the Trinity doctrine fits the description?  The acceptance of the Trinity is the only major change of doctrine that has occurred within the Seventh-day Adventist church since the pioneers fell asleep.  Other changes have taken place, but not on a scale such that a doctrine which the pioneers actively campaigned against, as a pagan and papal heresy, becomes accepted as truth, and on account of which the pioneers are being discredited. So significant is the change that George Knight, Andrews University Seminary Professor said:

“Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denomination’s Fundamental Beliefs.  More specifically, most would not be able to agree to belief number 2, which deals with the doctrine of the trinity.” (Ministry, October 1993, p. 10) 24

  • “The Fundamental Principles of Seventh Day Adventists”, as upheld by the SDA Pioneers, was presented in the 1889 Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1889.pdf).25 This reflects the defining Statement of Beliefs of the Seventh Day Adventist Church from 1888 to 1930. These beliefs reflect what Ellen White, James White and the Seventh-day Adventist Church as an organization advocated and believed up until 1930, 15 years after the death of Ellen White. The “Fundamental Principles” were first published by James White in the Signs of the Times in 1874, originally as 25 Principles, but three additions (listed as Principles 14, 15 and 16) were included in the 1889 Yearbook and thereafter, until a new version was published in 1931. In the 1889 Yearbook, E. G. White is even listed as one of the Ministers along with a number of other notable pioneers. Some of them, such as James White, Joseph Bates and J. N. Andrews had already passed off the scene.
  • There was no formal declaration that whereas the church previously held a non-trinitarian position it was now adopting the Trinity as official belief. This was not formally done until 1980 when the 27 Fundamental Beliefs were adopted en bloc. A complete extract of the 28 Fundamental Principles and a comparison with the presently held 28 Fundamental Beliefs can be found at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/2017/02/15/adventist-pioneers-28-beliefs-in-the-seventh-day-adventist-yearbook-1889/.26
  • The pioneers were clear that the doctrine of the Trinity was an unscriptural, pagan concept that was brought into Christianity by the Papacy. The following statements by two of the leading pioneers easily demonstrate the general view that was taken:

 

“The greatest fault we can find in the Reformation is, the Reformers stopped reforming.  Had they gone on, and onward, till they had left the last vestige of Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday-keeping, the church would now be free from her unscriptural errors (James White, The Review and Herald, February 7, 1856). 27

 

“Its origin is pagan and fabulous.  Instead of pointing us to scripture for proof of the trinity, we are pointed to the trident of the Persians, with the assertion that “by this they designed to teach the idea of a trinity, and if they had the doctrine of the trinity, they must have received it by tradition from the people of God.  But this is all assumed, for it is certain that the Jewish church held to no such doctrine.  Says Mr. Summerbell, “A friend of mine who was present in a New York synagogue, asked the Rabbi for an explanation of the word ‘elohim’.  A Trinitarian clergyman who stood by, replied, ‘why, that has reference to the three persons of the Trinity,’ when a Jew stepped forward and said he must not mention that word again, or they would have to compel him to leave the house; for it was not permitted to mention the name of any strange god in the synagogue”* Milman says the idea of the Trident is fabulous.†  This doctrine of the trinity was brought into the church about the same time with image worship, and keeping the day of the sun, and is but Persian doctrine remodeled.  It occupied about three hundred years from its introduction to bring the doctrine to what it is now.  It was commenced about 325 A.D., and was not completed till 681.  See Milman’s Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iv, p.422.” *Discussion between Summerbell and Flood on Trinity, p. 38. †Hist. Christianity, p. 34.” (J. N. Loughborough, The Review and Herald, Nov. 5, 1861) 28

It is interesting, that some of the same arguments that are advanced today, to support the Trinity doctrine, such as the interpretation of the word ‘elohim’ and the idea that pagans would have gotten the idea of a Trinity from God’s people, were the very arguments considered and refuted by the pioneers, as is evident in the article quoted above by J. N. Loughborough.

With all that I have highlighted concerning the Trinity and the prophetic forecast concerning the omega of deadly heresies, I have only one further question to ask concerning this matter:  If the Trinity doctrine is not the omega of deadly heresies of which we have been warned, then what is?

 

Trinity Concept Disparages God and Does Violence to the Gospel

 

The doctrine of the Trinity, further, disparages God by making Him out to be no more than a pretender, who appears in the form of humanity, pretending to die (when He really cannot die) and pretending to sacrifice His only begotten Son out of love for us when, in reality, He made no sacrifice, since Jesus Christ was not really His Son and did not even die.

Which other doctrine is as convoluted and hinged on philosophical speculation as the doctrine of the Trinity?  What else could Ellen G. White have been referring to when she speaks of a “A system of intellectual philosophy”?  Well on target was Ellen G. White when she said: “The spiritualistic theories regarding the personality of God, followed to their logical conclusion, sweep away the whole Christian economy.”  {1SM 204}.21 Which other doctrine undermines the very foundation of the Gospel as the doctrine of the Trinity that seeks to confuse the very core of the gospel truth that God gave His only begotten Son for us?

 

Trinity Doctrine a Gateway to Spiritualism

 

As to the matter of the Trinity doctrine being spiritualistic, I have already shown that the Trinity doctrine followed to its logical conclusion leads to a belief in the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, which forms the basis of spiritualism.  As was indicated, the Trinity concept presents the Son of God as being alive on another plane while appearing to be dead in body.

Rev. 16 speaks of unclean spirits like frogs that will be gathering the whole world to the final battle (Rev. 16:13, 14). This final battle will see the world on one side and Christ and His people on the other side (Rev. 19:19, 20). The main agency of deception will be evil spirits.  This domain of religious deception is called spiritualism, which capitalizes on two things: 1. The false notion that people can communicate with the dead – who are, in reality, evil spirits and; 2. Confusion in people’s minds as to who or what is the Holy Spirit and the nature of God’s presence. The Bible gives the final warning against this deception as follows:

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” – Rev. 18:1, 2.

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Rev. 18:4, 5.

 

Our only safeguard is to know the truth from the scriptures about this very important matter.


Trinity Concept Not Scriptural Only Assumed

 

Could it be reasonable that we hold an idea of which there is no clear statement in Scripture and on the basis of that idea, deny the clear statements of Scripture which say otherwise, and dare to say that we are a      people of The Book?  Seventh-day Adventists would do well to seek the Lord earnestly, retrace their path quickly and cover themselves with the truth lest the shame of their nakedness gets exposed abroad and Seventh-day Adventism be made a mockery and the object of ridicule in the religious world.

Even Rome recognizes fully that the Trinity is not explicitly taught in the Bible.  It is only assumed.  Neither the term Trinity nor any equivalent expression appears in the Bible.  Yet Protestants embrace the doctrine while claiming ‘sola scripura’ – the Bible and the Bible alone.  Rome says:

“Our opponents sometimes claim that no belief should be held dogmatically which is not explicitly stated in the Scripture . . . . . But the Protestant Churches have themselves accepted such dogmas as the Trinity for which there is no such precise authority in the Gospels.”  (Life Magazine, Oct. 30, 1950).29

I find that the issues that are raised in objection to the doctrine of the Trinity are often misunderstood or misrepresented.  People say that rejecting the Trinity is denying the divinity of Christ.  I hope that it is clearly seen that such is not the case.  In accordance with what has been shown, the Son is the ‘monogenes’ (only begotten) of the Father (John 3:16) – the only One of God’s genes, so to speak; not one of inferior ‘genetic’ make-up.  This is simple, plain Scripture.  There is no need for any philosophical maneuvering.   Everybody knows what a son is – an offspring.  If the Bible writers wanted to describe a Three-in-one or a one-in-three they could have done so.  But they did not.  They consistently said Father and Son.  So, there is no need to confuse what is already plain.

It is also claimed by some people that rejection of the Trinity is a rejection of the Holy Spirit and they go at length to quote 1 Cor. 13:14 and Matt. 28:19 saying, “See, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Three! Not Two!”  But that is missing the point altogether.  Whoever was saying that there is no Father or Son or Holy Spirit?  Of course, there is a Father, a Son and Holy Spirit.  The issue is defining the relationship between the three.   Are they three individual Beings, One Being with three aspects to his nature, or what?

The simple point is that the speculations of the Trinity are unnecessary since the Bible has clearly defined the relationships:  One is Father (we know what father is), He is the One most consistently referred to as God, the Supreme Being.  Another is Son (we know what son is), a different individual being who is the offspring of the former, having the same nature, but being submissive to the authority of the former (see 1 Cor.15:24-28).

The Holy Spirit is less clearly defined.  Ellen G. White points to the fact that human language has a particular limitation in having different meanings being attached to the same word.  The term “Holy Spirit” is one such expression where this limitation is evident.

 

Holy Spirit Has Different Meanings

 

Ellen G. White said:

“The Bible is not given to us in grand superhuman language.  Jesus, in order to reach man where he is, took on humanity.  The Bible must be given in the language of men.  Everything that is human is imperfect.  Different meanings are expressed by the same word.”  (Ellen G. White, Selected Messages Book 1, p. 20).30

A part of the confusion that exists regarding the Holy Spirit is the fact that based on the different contexts of the usage of the term, different meanings are intended.  Some references to “Holy Spirit” or “Spirit” are references to God the Father; for example, the Bible says: “God is a spirit” – John 4:24; and “The Lord is that Spirit” – 2 Cor. 3:17.  The terms “Holy Ghost” and “Spirit of truth” are used in John chapters 14-16 in reference to the “Comforter”.

 

Holy Spirit the Comforter Sent

 

The Comforter is someone who is sent from the Father at Jesus’ request –

 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” – John 14:26.

 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” – John 15:26.

The Comforter speaks only what he is told to speak –

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” – John 16:13.

 

Spirit Also Refers to Angels

 

The term “spirit” is also used in reference to angels.  The case of Philip illustrates –

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.” – Acts 8:26.

Philip went and saw the Ethiopian eunuch.  He was given further instructions as described in the following words:

Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” – Acts 8:29.

At the end of the encounter, we are told:

And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more” – Acts 8:39.

This role of the “spirit” or “angel”, in this instance, bringing truth to God’s children is consistent with Jesus’ promise regarding the “Spirit of truth”.  The role of angels who, we know, are “spirits” (Heb. 1:7, 14) is also illustrated in the experience of John the Revelator.  God gave the revelation to Christ who gave it to His angel who in turn gave it to John –

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.” – Rev. 1:1.

 

Spirit of Truth

 

To some people it is blasphemous to think of the “Spirit of truth” as an angel.  Yet they would accept that the term “angel of the Lord” was used in some places, particularly in the Old Testament, to refer to Christ or God Himself (as in the case with Moses by the burning bush: “And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” – Ex. 3:2).  In the case of Elijah, “the angel of the Lord” who appeared to him was also referred to as “an angel”

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.” – 1 Kings 19:5.

 And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.” – 1 Kings 19:7.

The point is that the terms “Spirit”, “Holy Spirit”, “angel”, “angel of the Lord” and other terms have multiple meanings and references.  It is the context that helps us to understand and we cannot be dogmatic.

 

Holy Spirit the “Golden Oil” of Zechariah 4

 

A fertile line of research from the Spirit of Prophecy writings that sheds light on the matter of whom or what is the Holy Spirit is the subject of the “golden oil”Ellen G. White says that the “golden oil” of Zechariah 4 is the Holy Spirit.  If one should do a brief search of the E. G. White database under the subject, “golden oil”, it will clarify significantly, if not entirely, much of the ambiguity and speculation surrounding who or what is the Holy Spirit.

“Read and study the fourth chapter of Zechariah… The golden oil represents the Holy Spirit.” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 188) 31

“From the two olive trees the golden oil was emptied through the golden pipes into the bowl of the candlestick, and thence into the golden lamps that gave light to the sanctuary. So from the holy ones that stand in God’s presence His Spirit is imparted to the human instrumentalities who are consecrated to His service. The mission of the two anointed ones is to communicate to God’s people that heavenly grace which alone can make His word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6. – (Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 408).32

The same thought is expressed at another place, the only difference being that the golden oil that was said to be God’s Spirit, is now said to be divine light, love and power. It says:

“In this vision the two olive trees which stand before God are represented as emptying the golden oil out of themselves through golden tubes into the bowl of the candlestick. From this the lamps of the sanctuary are fed, that they may give a bright, continuous light. So from the anointed ones that stand in God’s presence the fullness of divine light and love and power is imparted to His people, that they may impart to others light and joy and refreshing. Those who are thus enriched are to enrich others with the treasure of God’s love.” – (Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings p. 594) 33

“And when these angels empty from themselves the golden oil of truth into the heart of him who is teaching the word, then the application of the truth will be a solemn, serious matter.” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 337) 34

“The anointed ones standing by the Lord of the whole earth have the position once given to Satan as covering cherub.” – (Ellen G. White, The Review and Herald, July 20, 1897; also, Ellen G. White, The Truth about Angels, p. 150).35

It has been shown that in some instances, God Himself (the Father) is referred to as “Spirit”.  Of course, a danger is that of worshipping a “Spirit” that is neither God (the Father) nor Christ (the Son of God) – for which there is no scriptural support and could be an act of false worship or idolatry.

It has also been shown that in some instances, “spirit” refers to holy angels sent from heaven who minister to and comfort the saints on Christ’s behalf.  In other instances, “spirit” refers to Divine attributes such as life itself, light (truth), love and power that we receive from God – attributes that will be inside of us as a part of our being.    Confusion often occurs when the latter case is confused with the idea of “spirit” referring to a living being that, it is assumed, takes up residence inside of us and takes over our mental faculties.  This confusion is dangerous and could leave us open to demon possession.

 

Holy Spirit Not Worshiped in Scripture

 

In the final analysis, the original point stands: we cannot be dogmatic about matters that are at best debatable and have not been fully revealed to us.  We should not allow our own speculative ideas to influence us to place worship where there is no example in the Bible of it being given.  Nowhere in the Bible is it taught that we should worship the Holy Spirit.  If we should follow the example of holy beings in heaven, in our worship we would be saying:

“Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, AND unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” – Rev. 5:13.

And if we would be worshiping as we will be worshiping in the New Earth, we would be in line with John the Revelator who said:

“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” – Rev. 21:22.

 

What the Bible Teaches About God

 

The truth is that the Bible does not teach that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are co-equal. A few clear references will show this. Jesus said: “my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28).

He said again, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” (John 12:49). One might say: Oh, that was in reference to the Son only in His human state. But that is not true. Before the Son came to earth, it is said of Him, that His Father “anointed” Him (Heb. 1:9) and the Father “appointed” Him (Heb. 1:2). Further, the Bible tells us: “And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” (Heb. 7:7).

It is obvious that the Father is greater than the Son.  Further, after sin and death are done away with, the Son himself will be subject to the Father – “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:28). Therefore, the Father is greater than the Son at all phases: before the Son came to earth, while He was on earth, and after He left the earth continuing into eternity. Prophets of the Bible have referred to the Father as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:3; 2 Cor. 11:31). And God the Father is reported as saying to the Son that “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee” (Heb. 1:9). So, this concept of co-equality is totally unscriptural.

This is not to say that the Son is not to be worshipped. The Father says that we are to worship His Son.

But as for the Holy Spirit, it is a different matter. While we need the Holy Spirit, nowhere is it ever said that we should worship the Holy Spirit.

Further, Christ the Son is greater than the Comforter who is the Holy Spirit. Christ said that He would send the Comforter and when the Comforter comes, he would not speak of himself. He will only speak what he hears “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7). And

“he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:” (John 16:13).

So, Christ is obviously greater than the Comforter.

Even in the sending of the Comforter, the order of authority is clearly seen. Christ prays to the Father and asks Him to give the Comforter. Then Christ sends the Comforter – “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter” (John 14:16).

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).

The concept of Father, Son and Holy Spirit being co-equal is totally false.

Further, the Bible tells us who the one God is. We are told:

“For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things” (1 Cor. 8:6). The idea that the one God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit is totally unscriptural.

What the facts show is that Father, Son and Holy Spirit do not make a Trinity.

The Bible is clear that there is only one Supreme Being, and that is the Father – “One God and Father of all, who is above all” (Eph. 4:6). When the Bible says that there is one God, it is a reference to the Father and the Father only.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is of the same nature as God and is worshipped just as God the Father is worshipped. But He is, has been and will always be subject to and submissive to His Father. As we are told, “the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3). But the Holy Spirit is not to be worshipped as God.

This will remain true even into the new earth of which we are told:

“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Rev. 21:22).

A simple text summarizes quite eloquently the consistent perspective that is given throughout the scriptures, regarding the three powers of heaven:

“And of the angels he saith, who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” – Heb. 1:7-9.

The perspective is simply that the Supreme God (the Father) anoints His Son (Jesus Christ) who is God by nature and above the angels (spirits). Thus, is presented the three powers of heaven – God, Christ and angels.

A simple question can help in showing the difference: With what was Jesus anointed? We are told:

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” – Acts 10:38.

“Holy Ghost” here is that with which Jesus was anointed.

This is clearly different from the following reference where the Apostle John is conveying grace and peace from God, Christ and the Spirits. He says:

“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead.”– Rev. 1: 4, 5.

The Three Powers of Heaven are identified – God, Christ and the Spirits. “Spirits” here are ministering spirits.  Some people represent the “seven Spirits” here as the “seven-fold Spirit”, giving the impression that it is not seven but really one.  This is easily clarified by comparing this verse with another verse that is very similar, in which there are four Spirits mentioned and each goes to a different place.  Here it is.

“And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.” – Zech. 6:5

These spirits are of course ministering spirits or angels.  Some go into the north country and others go into the south country (Zech. 6:6).

The next few verses again speak of the three powers of heaven:

  1. “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things.”- 1. Tim. 5:21. There we see the three powers – God, Christ and angels.
  2. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”- Matt. 28:19.

[The word Pneuma translated Ghost, is also properly translated Spirit or Spirits. It is the same word translated “spirits” in reference to the ministering spirits – Heb. 1:7, 14].  So, the reference is to the three powers again – God, Christ and angels. Note also that the whole family in heaven and earth is named after the Father (Eph. 3:14, 15).

  1. “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” – St. Luke 9: 26. There we have the three powers again – God, Christ and angels.
  2. “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” – Mark 13: 32. It is evident here that the three powers are not co-equal.

The Bible is clear that we should not worship angels.  It says:

“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels.”  Col. 2: 18.

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  Rev. 19:10.

  1. “For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son? And again, when He bringeth the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship Him”- Heb. 1: 5,6. Here again the three powers are identified showing the order of precedence: God first, Christ next and then the angels.
  2. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” Rev. 1:1. Once again the three powers are indicated showing the order of precedence – God gave to Christ and Christ gave to the angel to dispense to John.

Some persons say that the Holy Spirit is a third divine being to be worshipped.  If that were the case, these verses that have been highlighted would have presented the equivalent of a big elephant in a room being missed.

It is clear that the Son has been given all authority and power by the Father, so that the Son’s authority should be regarded as the authority of the Father Himself, notwithstanding the Father being the ultimate and supreme authority.  It is very similar to what happened in Egypt when Pharaoh exalted Joseph.  Describing it, the Bible says that Pharaoh said to Joseph:

 

“Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt” (Gen. 41:40-44).

 

This position was held by the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist movement and confirmed by the Great Controversy vision that Ellen White received more than once and was specifically instructed to write out.  This she did in 1858 under the most forbidding circumstances of partial paralysis after Satan tried to kill her specifically to prevent her writing it.  She said:

 

“The Lord has shown me that Satan was an honored angel in heaven, next to JESUS CHRIST.  His countenance was mild, expressive of happiness like the other angels. His forehead was high and broad, and showed great intelligence.  His form was perfect.  He had a noble, majestic bearing.  And I saw that when God said to his SON, Let us make man in our image, Satan was jealous of JESUS.  He wished to be consulted concerning the formation of man.  He was filled with envy, jealousy and hatred.  He wished to be the highest in heaven, next to GOD, and receive the highest honors.  Until this time all heaven was in order, harmony and perfect subjection to the government of God.

 

It was the highest sin to rebel against the order and will of God. All heaven seemed in commotion.  The angels were marshaled in companies with a commanding angel at their head.  All the angels were astir.  Satan was insinuating against the government of God, ambitious to exalt himself, and unwilling to submit to the authority of JESUS.  Some of the angels sympathized with Satan in his rebellion, and others strongly contended for the honor and wisdom of God in giving authority to his Son.  And there was contention with the angels.  Satan and his affected ones, who were striving to reform the government of God, wished to look into his unsearchable wisdom to ascertain his purpose in exalting JESUS, and endowing him with such unlimited power and command.  They rebelled against the authority of the SON of GOD, and all the angels were summoned to appear before the FATHER, to have their cases decided.  And it was decided that Satan should be expelled from heaven, and that the angels, all who joined with Satan in the rebellion, should be turned out with him.  Then there was war in heaven.  Angels were engaged in the battle; Satan wished to conquer the SON of GOD, and those who were submissive to his will.  But the good and true angels prevailed, and Satan, with his followers, was driven from heaven.”  (E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1, pp. 17, 18).36

 

She also said:

 

“The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate – a co-worker who could appreciate His purposes”.
“Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God , was one with the eternal Father – one in nature , in character, in purpose – the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God.” 
(E. G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34).37

 

Speaking of the creation, she said:

 

“His Son would carry out His will and His purposes, but would do nothing of Himself alone.  The Father’s will would be fulfilled in Him.”  (E. G. White, Signs of the Times, Jan. 9, 1879, pr. 2).38

 

Hierarchy in heaven – a direct revelation

 

It is clear, from the report of the vision, as given by Ellen G. White that there was a hierarchy in heaven in which God, the Father was supreme and regarded as the Sovereign, His Son, Jesus Christ was next and then Lucifer was third.  Lucifer was a created being while Jesus Christ was Divine, being of the same nature as God, the Father.  One might query whether the omission of any mention of a third divine being necessarily precludes the existence of such a person.  In this case, it is more than mere omission that is evident in the report, it is a definite exclusion.  When Christ, for example is referred to as the “only being” that could enter into the counsels and purposes of God, there is a definite exclusion of any other being.

 

In other places where the same vision was reported, the idea is the same, for example, in the Story of Redemption it is reported as follows:

 

“Lucifer in heaven, before his rebellion, was a high and exalted angel, next in honor to God’s dear Son…. Christ, God’s dear Son, had the pre­eminence over all the angelic host. He was one with the Father before the angels were created.  Lucifer was envious of Christ, and gradually assumed command which devolved on Christ alone.

The great Creator assembled the heavenly host, that He might in the presence of all the angels confer special honor upon His Son…. The Father then made known that it was ordained by Himself that Christ His Son, should be equal with Himself; so that wherever was the presence of His Son, it was as His own presence. The word of the Son was to be obeyed as readily as the word of the Father. His Son He had invested with authority to command the heavenly host.” (E.G. White, the Story of Redemption, p.13) 39

 

The SDA church has since embraced the Trinity, citing statements by Ellen White concerning a three-person Godhead as a primary basis for doing so. The question is now being asked, where is the vision to back up the change?  Further, by what authority has a view of God, that was backed up by vision given more than once, been changed to a concept that was once labelled as pagan and unscriptural by the founders of a movement that God raised up, as attested to by prophecy (Dan. 8:14)?

 

Begotten Son Central to the Gospel

 

We are told that Enoch had his first son at age sixty-five years, and Enoch walked with God.  Sis. White, in commenting on this, said that the birth and development of his first son gave Enoch a deeper appreciation of what God purposed to do in giving His only begotten Son.   This led to Enoch’s walk with God.

At another place, Sister White said: “The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind.”  (Review and Herald, July 9, 1895, pr.14).40 Does this sound Trinitarian?

Sister White also wrote that an angel said to her that it was not without a struggle that God gave up His only begotten Son.  “Said the angel, “Think ye that the Father yielded up His dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, no.” It was even a struggle with the God of heaven” (Early Writings p. 127.) 41 Does this sound like Father and Son are only designated titles?  Or is this a genuine Father – Son relationship?

Abraham understood also, when he was told to go and offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham’s hand was stayed however. But for God there was none to stay His hand. He had to bear the suffering of seeing His only begotten son separated from Him and suffer and die.

I pray that the true gospel of salvation will no longer be obfuscated by spurious philosophical speculation that liken God to inanimate things of nature such as air, fire and water that have their foundation in paganism. I pray that the argument of Calvary will be sufficient to settle all questions.  Do you dare contend with the argument of Calvary and prefer the pagan triune that are inseparable and cannot die??  Or do you accept the testimony of scripture that shows the Son of God being separated from the Father, and the Son of God dying in our place?  The choice is yours.  But as for me and my house we will serve Jehovah and rest our cause in the truth of Calvary.

 

References

 

  1. Handbook for Today’s Catholic, p.16.
  2. White, E. G., Youth’s Instructor, May 2, 1901 pr. 8.
  3. White, E. G., Youth’s Instructor, 7th July, 1898.
  4. White, E. G., Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34.
  5. White, E. G., Review and Herald, Dec. 17, 1872; also Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, p. 9.
  6. White, E. G., Story of Redemption, p. 13.
  7. White, E. G., Signs of the Times, Jan. 9, 1879, pr. 2.
  8. White, E. G., Testimonies vol. 8, p. 268.
  9. White, E. G., Signs of the Times, May 23, 1895.
  10. White, E. G., Evangelism p. 615.
  11. White, E. G., Desire of Ages, p. 530.
  12. White, E. G., Signs of the Times, April 8, 1897; also Selected Messages, vol. 1, pp. 296,297.
  13. Signs of the Times, June 4, 1874.
  14. White, E. G., Early Writings, p. 259.
  15. Graybill, R., Ministry, April 1994, pp. 10-12.
  16. Standish, C. and Standish R., Modern Bible Translations Unmasked, 1993, Hartland Publications, Rapidan Virginia 22733, USA.
  17. Review and Herald, Nov. 27, 1883.
  18. White, E. G., Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, pp. 49, 50; 1SM 200.
  19. White, E. G., Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, p53; 1SM 203.
  20. White, E. G., Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, pp 54, 55; 1SM 204.
  21. 1931Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination, Washington, D.C.: R&H 1931, p. 377.
  22. Knight, G., Ministry, October 1993, p. 10.
  23. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1889.pdf.
  24. http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/2017/02/15/adventist-pioneers-28-beliefs-in-the-seventh-day-adventist-yearbook-1889/.
  25. White, J., The Review and Herald, February 7, 1856,
  26. Loughborough, J. N., The Review and Herald, Nov. 5, 1861.
  27. Life Magazine, Oct. 30, 1950
  28. White, E. G., Selected Messages Book 1, p. 20
  29. White, E. G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p.
  30. White, E. G., Christ’s Object Lessons, 408
  31. White, E. G., Prophets and Kings 594
  32. White, E. G., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 337
  33. White, E. G., The Review and Herald, July 20, 1897; also, White, E. G., The Truth about Angels, p. 150.
  34. White, E. G., Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1, pp. 17, 18
  35. White, E. G., Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34
  36. White, E. G., Signs of the Times, Jan. 9, 1879, pr. 2
  37. White, E.G., the Story of Redemption, p.13.
  38. White, E. G., Review and Herald, July 9, 1895, pr.14.
  39. White, E. G., Early Writings p. 127.

Repentance and Faith

It has now become a standard mantra across Christendom that Salvation is by Faith alone.  So popular it has become that there is even a convergence between Catholics and Protestants around this concept to the point that it is even being said by many that the Protestant Reformation is over.  But the question arises, where does Repentance fit into all of this?  Certainly, within a context where the primary message that was carried by Jesus Christ, the Messiah Himself, was “repent ye, and believe the gospel”, it begs the question as to whether something is being missed. The Bible speaks of Messiah’s message as follows:

 

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:14, 15)

 

Messiah’s message was clear: repent and believe!  Today, people are saying, believe only!  Not only was repentance a primary focus of Messiah’s message, it was specifically spoken of as “the gospel of the kingdom of God”.  Not only Messiah, but also John the Baptist who was the forerunner who announced Messiah’s coming, preached repentance – “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 3:1, 2).

 

Same message

 

Repentance was the one thing that was specifically called for as preparation for the “kingdom of heaven”.  Some may say that repentance was the message for that time because the kingdom of God was not yet established.  But after Christ’s resurrection and ascension the disciples preached the very same message after receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost – Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38).  Repentance was not only the one requirement as preparation for the kingdom of heaven but it was a condition for the remission of sins”.  Without repentance our sins will not be forgiven!

 

As if to reinforce the point, Peter, after healing the lame man who was at the temple door pointed out to the people their great sin in killing Jesus Christ, the Son of God and told them: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19).  In both cases, Peter was very specific about the sin that the people were guilty of.  They had killed Jesus, the innocent, sinless Son of God.  The result was that “when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter’s answer was clear: Repent!

 

Repentance or despair

 

When one is pricked in the heart over the wrong that they have done, they can repent or despair.  The story of two people who denied Jesus illustrates.  Peter repented and wept bitterly – And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” (Matt. 26:75).   Forced by his guilty conscience, Judas despaired and hung himself – “Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” (Matt. 27:4, 5).  Peter was saved – saved by Jesus’ words to him that drove him to repentance.  This is where faith comes in – after Repentance!  After sorrow and regret, one can either look to Jesus in faith and be saved or reject Him, our only hope of being saved and despair like Judas and be lost.

 

After the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times, lovest thou me?” (John 21:17)To this, Peter responded, twice, with great contrition, “Yea, Lord” and the third time, being grieved that Jesus asked him a third time, he humbly replied, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” (John 21:17).  Jesus accepted Peter’s confession and gave him a commission in His cause to go and help others to be saved, likewise, telling him: “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17).

 

Message for us at this time

 

But that was Judas and Peter.  What about us?  Are we guilty of anything that heinous?  The Bible says, yes!  We too share the guilt of killing the innocent Son of God and all the innocents that have been killed upon the earth if we reject the prophets of God who are sent to call us to repentance –  Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” (Matt. 23:34, 35).

 

Do we keep silent when we see injustice?  We will be judged as accomplices if we do!  One day, we will come face to face with all the deeds that we have done.  We are told: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10).  That is not the end of it, we are told: As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Rom. 14:11).

 

Judgement

 

No one will escape the judgement of God.  Not even death will spare anyone.  The wicked will be resurrected to face their day in God’s court –  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20:12).

 

At the Second Coming of Christ, there will be two classes of people.  Of one set, it is said: “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17).  Of the other set, it is said: And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isa. 25:9).  Now is the time to choose which class we will be in – whether to repent now and look to Jesus Christ in faith and be saved or not to repent now but be forced by circumstances to repent later and despair, when it is too late, and be lost.

 

Need to repent

 

Hopefully, we can understand why the most important thing to do is to repent and do it now!  We can choose to repent now and be saved, while there is hope or we can wait and be sorry later, when it is too late.  One way or another, we all will face our wrong deeds and be sorry – either now or later.  The choice is ours.

 

Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenburg, Germany, five hundred years ago to protest the sale of Indulgences – a guaranteed pardon for sins without the need for Repentance.  These Indulgences would have guaranteed that many would go to their graves thinking that they were saved when they were not.  Martin Luther was touched by the deception that would cause many to be lost.  His concern sparked what has come to be known as the Protestant Reformation.  Today, people are saying that the Protest is over.  Just believe and you are saved.  No repentance needed?  Has the Devil gone to sleep, and the whole world is being saved – calling upon Jesus – while wickedness abounds?  We had better think again.  Is there need for another Protest against a new form of Indulgence – Salvation without Repentance?  May the Good Lord help us!

 

 “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

  • Zerubbabel (Zech. 4:6)

 

Previous presentations can be found at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com

The Advent Movement and Bible Prophecy

The Advent Movement started with the preaching of William Miller around the year 1831.  Based on Miller’s interpretation of Bible prophecy (mainly Daniel 8:14“Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed”), there was an expectation that Christ would return in 1844.  With the passing of the time and Christ did not return, Miller gave up, but others continued and later adopted the name Seventh-day Adventists in 1860.  Those who continued, accepted the year 1844 as a valid interpretation of the time prophesied by Daniel but held that the event prophesied – the cleansing of the sanctuary, was not the second coming of Christ as was previously thought, but another activity.  There has been much debate as to what that other activity is.

 

In considering the Advent Movement, it’s continuation beyond 1844 and whether or not there is a prophetic basis for it, the following should be considered:

 

  1. Prophecy of Messiah’s coming. Daniel was shown the exact time that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, would appear – “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks” – Daniel 9:25.  Based on the interpretation that a day in the prophecy was equal to literal a year, the exact time of Christ being anointed Messiah was established and was fulfilled accordingly.

 

  1. Endorsement of Daniel. Jesus confirmed that Daniel was a prophet – But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains.” – Mark 13:14.

 

  1. Link between Messiah and 2300 days prophecy. Daniel’s prophecy of the time of Messiah’s coming was given as a part of the explanation of a prophecy regarding the cleansing (some say “restoration”) of the sanctuary after it was being trodden down for two thousand three hundred (2300) prophetic days by a power called the “abomination of desolation”.

 

  1. Day-for-a-year principle. Up to the time of Christ, the 2300 prophetic days that started at the same time as the prophecy that foretold Messiah’s coming had not yet expired, because Jesus spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem (which had not yet taken place) as being a part of the activity of the “abomination of desolation”, whose treading down of the sanctuary would be addressed by the cleansing (or restoration) of the sanctuary.  Hence, the 2300 days duration of the desolating work prior to the cleansing of the sanctuary had not yet finished.  The 2300 days must, therefore, also be based on the same interpretation that one prophetic day equals one literal year.

 

  1. End point of the 2300 days. On the basis of one prophetic day being equal to one literal year, from the same starting point (457 BC) that identifies the time of Messiah’s appearance (anointing), the 2300 prophetic days end in 1844.

 

  1. Cleansing of the sanctuary. God revealed that after 2300 prophetic days (ending in 1844), “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed”.  He did not say how long that cleansing process would last.

 

  1. Fulfillment of Daniel’s Prophecy. The question is, did such a thing as the cleansing of the sanctuary, as God indicated would have happened, start in 1844 or not?  If the Word of God’s prophet is true – and we saw that it was true in relation to the time of Messiah’s coming, then the cleansing of the sanctuary (whatever it is) must have started.  What then was the manifestation of it?  The answer is that the manifestation of it was the Advent Movement that was calling the world’s attention to it.

 

  1. Advent Movement and God’s leading. The Advent Movement that continued beyond 1844 was the only witness calling the world’s attention to the fulfilment of God’s Word that the cleansing of the sanctuary had started.  Some people are now claiming that they were misled.  If they were misled, then it means God’s Word through His prophet Daniel, which had already proven its validity in relation to Messiah’s coming, was false.  Clearly, that was not the case.  The Advent Movement was being led by God.  One very clear evidence was the fact that God raised up a prophet among them.  God said: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” – 12:16.  In 1844, shortly after it was understood that the cleansing of the sanctuary was not the second coming of Christ, Ellen Gould White (née Harmon), one of the Advent believers, had her first of many visions.  These visions continued for many years until she died in 1915.

 

  1. Endorsement of James White. Among the testimonies that she bore, Ellen G. White had this to say about her husband, James White:

 

“I was shown that the work was not left in the hands of any one upon earth.  Angels of God have charge of the work, and they counsel and direct God’s people through chosen agents, and thus the work moves forward.  I was shown that God in his own wise providence raised my husband above dependence and want that his testimony and influence might not be crippled by the galling sense of dependence. . . . . I was pointed back and saw that amid all the hatred and devices of Satan, God had spared the life of my husband, although Satan pressed him sore to take it away a few years since. . . .  I saw that God had stayed him on the right hand and on the left that he should not go to extremes.  This has not been the work of man, but the mark of God’s hand is seen in it.  His work will go forward”Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts (Vol. II) – My Christian Experience, Views and Labors in Connection with the Rise and Progress of the Third Angel’s Message, Battle Creek, Mich., 1860, pgs 282-283.

 

  1. Warning against turning away. The prophet also warned against a turning away from the foundation beliefs that were established by the pioneers of the Advent Movement. She said that such a turning away would not be of God.  She said: “The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced.”  Ellen G. White, Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, pgs 54, 55.  {Selected Messages Vol. I, p 204}.

 

Some persons would interpret Ellen G. White, on some subjects, in ways that would give the impression that she differed from the other pioneers in the beliefs that were generally endorsed by the Advent believers during her lifetime.  This was clearly not the case.  The 28 “Fundamental Principles of Seventh Day Adventists”, published in the 1889 Year Book (http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1889.pdf) was the defining statement of beliefs of the Seventh Day Adventist Church from 1888 to 1930.  These beliefs reflect what Ellen G. White, James White and the other pioneers of the Advent Movement advocated and believed up until 1930, some 15 years after the death of Ellen G. White.

 

In the final analysis, it is clear that the Advent Movement was raised up by God, in accordance with the prophecy of Daniel.  Those who would boldly declare that the Advent Movement was not raised up by God or that the pioneers of the Advent Movement were misled in relation to the positions they conscientiously took that were different from the popular beliefs that existed, should reconsider.  Does present truth lie in rejecting the beliefs of the pioneers and returning to some of the beliefs of the other churches that the pioneers had rejected?

 

At the very minimum, before determining that the pioneers were misled, it would be wise to read their writings and hear what they had to say.  The writings of James White, who it was revealed to the prophet, that he was one who was specially led by God, would be a good place to start.

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

  • Zerubbabel (Zech. 4:6)

Previous presentations can be found at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/