Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. Psalm 25:14
Vol. 22, No. 12 Straight and Narrow December 2013
In This Issue
John and the Incarnation
The Epistles of John
By Allen Stump
The last several months we have looked at the incarnation in the Old Testament in types, shadows, and prophecies. We have seen the message from the gospels and from the writings of Paul. Now we wish to examine some of the last statements in the Bible on the incarnation, beginning with First John.
John writes in his first epistle about the reality of the Son of God coming in the flesh:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1–3)
John speaks of having fellowship with the Father and with the Son and that the link that allows our fellowship with the Father comes through Christ. John says that the life of the Father was manifest through the Son. John places an emphasis upon that which the senses could perceive. He says that they heard, saw, and felt real flesh and blood. We usually do not want to trust our senses, and John is not advocating that, but what he is doing is expressing that when Christ came to this earth, he came as a real human being—someone you could hear, someone you could see, someone you could reach forth and touch. Jesus is a real person, and Jesus declared himself to be such, even after his death and resurrection: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).
The emphasis of John is not that we should trust our senses, but rather to understand what those senses are telling us in this case—that Christ is a real human being. Jesus has real flesh, blood, and bone.
Isa Lake is located in Yellowstone National Park at an elevation of 8,262 feet, and it is unique because it lies on the Continental Divide, with some of the water draining out to the Pacific Ocean and the rest draining out to the Atlantic Ocean. As the Continental Divide is the great dividing line for the watershed in North America, the incarnation is a great dividing line in Christian theology.
In 1 John 4:1–3, we read:
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:1–3)
John is saying that something was being taught that attempted to take the place of Christ, and this was antichrist. This teaching would take Christ out of his real place, declaring that Jesus did not coming in real flesh. This is not simply a matter of whether or not Jesus had flesh and bones, but about the kind of flesh Jesus accepted in the incarnation. Did he have flesh like those he came to save or some other kind of flesh? How far down the ladder did Jesus come? In his second epistle also, John connects antichrist with the doctrine of the incarnation. “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 7).
How does Catholicism fit into the issue of the antichrist? Let there be no mistakeCatholicism is the second beast power of Revelation 13, the nondescript beast of Daniel 7, and the man of sin of 2 Thessalonians 2. Catholicism is certainly an antichrist power and is full of the spirit of antichrist. The mark of the beast issue concerns the law of God and specifically the Sabbath; however, the term antichrist is never used in Revelation or in Daniel. It is used three times in the epistle of First John (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3) and once in Second John (verse 7). The plural form, antichrists, is mentioned once in 1 John 2:18. Not one of these references has a hint about the Sabbath or about any day of worship, but in the last two references John talks about the incarnation and John links this directly to antichrist.1
The incarnation is the watershed, the dividing point, of theology. The incarnation helps us to understand what the gospel really entails. Did Jesus come all the way down to the bottom of the ladder to reach us? We are told:
He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature, that He might know how to succor those that are tempted. (Ellen White, Medical Ministry, p. 181)
Did Jesus really do this? Yes, he did, and the importance of understanding this is vital to overcoming sin and to the whole plan of salvation.
The Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception has many confused about what it really teaches. Many believe that it refers to the conception of Jesus, since he was born of the virgin Mary, but the teaching of the Immaculate Conception concerns the conception of Mary, not Jesus. This doctrine, though believed for centuries, was not proclaimed official dogma until 1854:
THE DECREE OF POPE PIUS IX. ON THE IMMACULATE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.
Since we have never ceased in humility and fasting to offer up our prayers and those of the Church to God the Father through his Son, that he might deign to direct and confirm our mind by the power of the Holy Ghost, after imploring the protection of the whole celestial court, and after invoking on our knees the Holy Ghost the Paraclete, under his inspiration WE PRONOUNCE, DECLARE, AND DEFINE, unto the glory of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, the honor and ornament of the holy Virgin, the Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian religion, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and in our own authority, that THE DOCTRINE WHICH HOLDS THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY TO HAVE BEEN, FROM THE FIRST INSTANT OF HER CONCEPTION, BY A SINGULAR GRACE AND PRIVILEGE OF ALMIGHTY GOD, IN VIEW OF THE MERITS OF CHRIST JESUS THE SAVIOUR OF MANKIND, PRESERVED FREE FROM ALL STAIN OF ORIGINAL SIN, WAS REVEALED BY GOD, AND IS, THEREFORE, TO BE FIRMLY AND CONSTANTLY BELIEVED BY ALL THE FAITHFUL. (Published in The Creeds of Christendom by Philip Schaff, vol. 2, pp. 211, 212; all emphasis in original document)
The Immaculate Conception teaches that Mary was born pure, without any trace of what is called original sin. This provided Mary with an unfallen nature, with no bent within herself to sin. According to Catholic theology, Mary had to be born in this way so that she would not sin and so that she would be a pure vessel through which God could bring his Son into the world. Cardinal James Gibbons, in his famous apologetical work, wrote:
Unlike the rest of the children of Adam, the soul of Mary was never subject to sin, even in the first moment of its infusion into the body. She alone was exempt from the original taint. (The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 171)
A. T. Jones noted:
. . . the nature of Mary” [according to Catholic teaching] was so “very different from the rest of mankind,” so much “more sublime and glorious than that of all natures” and “surpassed by [so] far the cherubim and seraphim” as to be “beyond comparison more glorious than” they, and therefore to be venerated “in preference” to them. This, then, puts the nature of Mary infinitely beyond any real likeness or relationship to mankind.
Having this clearly in mind, let us follow to the next step. And here it is in the words of Cardinal Gibbons:—
“We affirm that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word of God, who, in his divine nature is, from all eternity, begotten of the Father, consubstantial with him, was in the fullness of time again begotten, by being born of the virgin, thus taking to himself from her maternal womb, a human nature of the same substance with hers.
“As far as the sublime mystery of the incarnation can be reflected in the natural order, the blessed virgin, under the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, by communicating to the Second Person of the adorable Trinity, as mothers do, a true human nature’ of the same substance with her own, is thereby really and truly his mother.”— “Faith of Our Fathers,” pp. 198, 199.
Now put these two things together, First, we have the nature of Mary defined as being not only “very different from the rest of mankind,” but “more sublime and glorious than all natures;” thus putting her infinitely beyond any real likeness or relationship to mankind as we really are.
Next, we have Jesus described as taking from her a human nature of the same substance as hers.
It therefore follows as certainly as that two and two make four, that in his human nature the Lord Jesus is very different from mankind, is in a condition more sublime and glorious than all natures, is beyond comparison farther from us than are the cherubim and the seraphim, and is therefore infinitely beyond any real likeness or relationship to us as we really are in this world. (A. T. Jones, The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, paragraphs 15–20)
The contrasting graphic below illustrates the difference between the biblical teaching of the incarnation and the Catholic teaching of the Immaculate Conception.
On the left we see the Catholic doctrine, where God uses Jesus as a bridge or a ladder, not down to fallen man, but to Mary, who, due to her supposedly immaculate conception, is above the rest of humanity because of her unfallen nature. On the right we see the biblical model, with Jesus being the ladder that reaches all the way down from God to fallen man.
There is a gap between God and the sinner in Catholicism. This gap had to be bridged, so between God and the sinner, is Mary, who is above fallen man, for she had no taint of corruption or of original sin; she had no fallen nature. But the Bible says that Jesus is the only “mediator between God and men” (1 Timothy 2:5).
Italian Catholic bishop and spiritual writer Saint Alphonsus Liguori stated in his famous work The Glories of Mary: “All graces are dispensed by the hand of Mary alone, and that all those who are saved, are saved solely by means of this divine mother; it may be said, as a necessary consequence, that the salvation of all depend upon preaching Mary, and confidence in her intercession” (p. 8). That is a strong statement. As true Protestants we disagree with this, yet many Protestants believe a view of the incarnation that is actually very similar to what the Catholic Church teaches. They espouse a version of the Immaculate Conception. Notice the illustration below.
On the right we have the biblical version of the incarnation, with Jesus coming all the way down to bridge the gap between God and fallen man. On the left we have the Protestant doctrine of the incarnation, their own immaculate conception. In this version the spirit impregnates Mary, who is fallen and sinful, but she has a child that is born immaculate and free from what is called original sin. Jesus is also free from having a fallen nature and, instead, takes the nature that Adam had before the fall.
As A. T. Jones realized, if you take either the Catholic view or the Protestant view, there is still a large gap between God and fallen man. You do not have a Jesus who comes all the way down to save us. The Protestant version is simply a generation gap away from the Catholic version, with both versions accomplishing the same purpose of putting Christ too far from the sinner.
Philip Schaff drew a clear line on the meaning of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, along with its nineteenth century companion doctrine of Papal Infallibility:
The sinlessness of the Virgin Mary and the personal infallibility of the Pope are the characteristic dogmas of modern Romanism, the two test dogmas which must decide the ultimate fate of this system. Both were enacted under the same Pope, and both faithfully reflect his character. Both have the advantage of logical consistency from certain premises, and seem to be the very perfection of the Romish form of piety and the Romish principle of authority. Both rest on pious fiction and fraud; both present a refined idolatry by clothing a pure humble woman and a mortal sinful man with divine attributes. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which exempts the Virgin Mary from sin and guilt, perverts Christianism into Marianism; the dogma of Infallibility, which excepts the Bishop of Rome from error, resolves Catholicism into Papalism, or the Church into the Pope. The worship of a woman is virtually substituted for the worship of Christ, and a man-god in Rome for the God-Man in heaven. (Schaff, Ibid., vol. 1, p. 164; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)
While the entire soul of Mary, according to Catholic dogma, was preserved free from the fallen nature of man, the evangelical doctrine teaches that the human soul of Christ was thus preserved. In reality, the distance between Jesus and man in the evangelical model is no different than the distance between God and man in the Catholic model; there is still a gap to bridge.
How does the evangelical explain this? This is bridged, they say, by the concept that man is saved by faith alone (sola fide) and that man accepts what was done in his behalf by Christ. This becomes primary in emphasis and has to be primary in emphasis because if there is no experimental model of what God can do in fallen human flesh, then there is no example for the Holy Spirit to emulate in working out the victory in the fallen human nature of the believer.
Connected with this is the doctrine of papal infallibility, and the Seventh-day Adventist laity have been told by the leadership of the incorporated church that the church is going through, and they are told to stay with the ship. The concepts of church and organization have become so intermingled that they appear as one. As truly as the papacy has substituted human mediators between God and the sinner, so truly has a human organization been substituted between the laity and the Saviour in the Seventh-day Adventist Protestant mode. This, we are told, is following in the track of Romanism (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 363). When we accept another version of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, we are following in the track of Romanism. The teaching of the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility go hand in hand.
The teaching of the doctrine that Jesus came in sinless flesh makes the doctrine of perfection impossible! Colossians 1:18 says:
And he [Christ] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
How does this relate to us today? Jesus is to have preeminence in all things. If you and I can overcome all things in sinful flesh and yet Jesus had to have sinless flesh to overcome, does Jesus, can Jesus, have the preeminence? No! The teaching that Jesus came in the sinless nature of Adam makes perfection impossible. The true doctrine of perfection of character and the doctrine of the incarnation are inseparably linked, just as quantum mechanics says that two entangled particles are linked, regardless of how far apart they are. If the doctrine of the incarnation (Christ coming in sinful flesh) is altered, then the doctrine of perfection of character in our fallen nature becomes only a theory that is not possible to achieve. So, the antichrist denies that Jesus came in fallen flesh like ours.
Paul writes, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). Who was manifest in the flesh? God was manifest in the flesh, and the context has to be speaking of Jesus Christ. Paul is emphatic that Jesus took our flesh and blood. In Hebrews 2:14, he says:
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.
Overcoming sin and settling the great controversy over the character of God has to happen through the incarnation. If the incarnation is not a reality, if it is simply a façade, then there is no salvation. John says to deny this fundamental truth is the spirit of antichrist.
The Bible teaches, though, that Jesus Christ was truly on our plane. First John 4:17 says, Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”
We are to be like Jesus, not just when we get to heaven, but now, in this world. Ellen White noted:
To human eyes, Christ was only a man, yet he was a perfect man. In his humanity he was the impersonation of the divine character. God embodied his own attributes in his Son,his power, his wisdom, his goodness, his purity, his truthfulness, his spirituality, and his benevolence. In him, though human, all perfection of character, all divine excellence, dwelt. (The Youths Instructor, September 16, 1897)
The same relationship between Christ and his people mentioned in the book of First John is repeated, or revealed, in the book of Revelation. Jesus stated:
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
Jesus is setting a parallel before us. We are to overcome as he overcame and as we do this, we will eventually sit with him in his throne. Jesus does not offer us a different plan than the one in which he participated.
Christ accepted the liability of the flesh and blood we have, and he met the law of equivalence. He met the task where it is and overcame as we must overcome, so that humanity might also experience victory by the way and through the means provided by his life, death, resurrection, and high-priestly ministry.
Christ came to the world to counteract Satans falsehood that God had made a law which men could not keep. Taking humanity upon Himself, He came to this earth, and by a life of obedience showed that God has not made a law that man cannot keep. He showed that it is possible for man perfectly to obey the law. Those who accept Christ as their Saviour, becoming partakers of His divine nature, are enabled to follow His example, living in obedience to every precept of the law. Through the merits of Christ, man is to show by his obedience that he could be trusted in heaven, that he would not rebel.
Christ possessed the same nature that man possesses. He was tempted in all points like as man is tempted. The same power by which He obeyed is at mans command.(Ellen G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 292)
This power is at your command. The choice whether to have it or not is yours.
Jesus Christ came as the Son of man in Revelation:
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. (Revelation 1:13)
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. (Revelation 14:14)
The symbolism of Revelation 12 presents the pre-incarnate Christ as Michael (one who is like God) in conflict or at war with Satan.
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. (Revelation 12:7, 8)
This warfare resulted in Satan being cast out of heaven:
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. (Revelation 12:9, 10)
Because of the victory of Jesus, salvation is come to man. Michael, incarnate as the Lamb, provides the victory for the believer. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11).
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:1–5)
The symbolism of Revelation 12:1–5 harks back to Genesis 3:15, where God had promised Adam and Eve: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” There would be a “man child” (Revelation 12:5) who would destroy the serpent. Though Satan was cast out of heaven by Michael, his final defeat was assured by the man child, the man Christ Jesus, who would be the seed of the woman.
It should be noted that the Greek expression for man in man child is not anthropos, which means man, human, mankind. Anthropos is used in Matthew 16:13, where we read of Jesus speaking to the disciples and asking, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? In this text the Greek word translated man is anthropou, the genitive, singular, masculine form of anthropos.
John also did not choose to use the Greek word aner for man. This word is used to contrast a boy from a man or to designate a husband. We find one of the forms of aner used in these texts:
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. (Ephesians 5:28)
And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: (Luke 24:4)
And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing. (Acts 10:30)
In the last two references above, aner is used for angels. Like anthropos, aner is not distinctly used for only humans.
The word that John choose is arsen, and it is exclusively for male or man. John is emphasizing that in every sense of the word, Christ was truly a man. A parallel verse to Revelation 12:5 is found in Isaiah:
Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. (Isaiah 66:7)
The Hebrew for man is zakar, whose Greek equivalent in the LXX is arsen.
Why is it so important that we understand that Jesus Christ was fully man? It is because only if he were truly tempted in all points as we are (Hebrews 4:15) could he be our Saviour. Jesus was not lacking in any of the common anatomy of man, thus he was liable to all the temptations of man. Jesus understood the drives which Satan can stimulate to provoke the violation of the seventh commandment. Jesus was not as an angel, nor as a monk, or as a eunuch.
And Jesus did not isolate himself from females. Though Jesus knew her past and the kind of woman she had been, he spoke to the Samaritan woman alone (John 4:7–26).
The most marked example of Jesus having controlled manhood was exhibited in his relationship with Mary Magdalene.
And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils. (Luke 8:2)
Seven times the sexually weak and evidently very desirable Mary hears Jesus pray for her and rebuke demons. Jesus is closely associated with this woman, who like the Samaritan woman, had lived very promiscuously, yet he does not yield to the temptations that Satan must have used against him.
Mary had been looked upon as a great sinner, but Christ knew the circumstances that had shaped her life. He might have extinguished every spark of hope in her soul, but He did not. It was He who had lifted her from despair and ruin. Seven times she had heard His rebuke of the demons that controlled her heart and mind. She had heard His strong cries to the Father in her behalf. She knew how offensive is sin to His unsullied purity, and in His strength she had overcome.(Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 568)
It is probable that these prayers were not all public, but were done in private to save her shame and reproach. As she hears his prayers, she gains strength through his purity.
Furthermore, the Bible tells us that women traveled with Christ and the disciples.
And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. (Luke 8:1–3)
The man child, the Son of man, was so victorious that he could pinpoint impurity in a mere look and yet he could ask the question of John 8:46, “Can any of you prove that I am guilty of sin” (John 8:46 New Century Version)?
For Jesus to rule all nations with a rod of iron, hemust first rule the nature of man with a rod of iron. This man child was victorious and was caught up to the throne of God (Revelation 12:5), where Jesus understands the feelings of the infirmities we have:
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
Because Jesus was tempted in all points as we are, he can save to the uttermost:
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
Jesus Christ is truly the complete Saviour because he wholly identified himself with the humanity he came to save, meeting the tests of sin, self, and Satan on the same ground and in the same way that the rest of humanity meets these tests.
The final picture of Revelation 12 is that the remnant of the seed of the woman has overcame as the man child overcame. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).
W. W. Prescott summed up the matter well, when he wrote:
In order that the character of God might be manifested in sinful men who should believe on him, it was necessary that Jesus should unite divinity and humanity in himself; and that the flesh which he bore should be the same as the other men in whom God was thus to be manifested. . . .
This is not a mere matter of theory. It is intensely practical in its bearings. If the Son of God did not dwell in sinful flesh when he was born into the world, then the ladder has not been let down from heaven to earth, and the gulf between a holy God and fallen humanity has not been bridged. (The Review and Herald, December 21, 1905
We want to thank you for the many diligent prayers that have ascended in behalf of Brother Lynnford Beachy, who had a near fatal accident last month. We are thankful to let you know that Lynn is home and doing much better. You can read and see more about his accident at this link: http://presenttruth.info/Urgent_Update.htm.
We are sure everyone has been praying for the victims of the disaster in the Philippines, and we, of course, ask you to continue. We are, however, thankful to let you know that there are several believers of the truth about God in the Philippines and that they have reported back that God has miraculously preserved them.
Let us devote this month also to lifting up our children in special prayer to God. I know of several youth who are seriously challenged with life issues that are in need of our prayers. Thank you.
Black Bean — Oatmeal Burgers
This recipe was created by Betsy Brown and found in Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.s book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Mrs. Esselstyn notes that these burgers are “delicious” and that “they melt in your mouth.” The recipe has been slightly adapted. Makes 6–10 burgers.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Process first seven ingredients in a food processor until blended.
3. Add to oats and stir.
4. Form into patties. Place on baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes.
5. Turn up oven up and broil about 2 more minutes, until tops are nicely browned.
6. Serve on whole-grain burger buns with lettuce, tomato, onion, and/or a no-tahini hummus (see below).
Whiz garbanzos in blender to break into chunks. When they will no longer blend on their own, add the remaining ingredients, except the water. Be patient; it takes time for the mixture to become smooth. Add water as needed.
Whiz in blender until smooth and creamy.
By Allen Stump
On Friday night, November 1, 2013, in an evangelistic series sponsored by “It is Written,” a presentation was made on the subject of antichrist. Before the sermon, “It is Written” speaker and director, John Bradshaw, stated: “Tonight we reveal or uncover the identity of the last-day antichrist. There’s not going to be any speculating tonight.” Shortly after this the evangelist began to speak. Perhaps this brother has a deep desire to help people, but there were some vital points presented that need to be examined in the light of inspiration. There were statements that shocked me, and I think might shock any truly historic Seventh-day Adventist who believes that God led the pioneers of this movement.
Before we examine what this evangelist said and enter into the study, please take the following pop quiz on antichrist:
1. How many times in the book of Daniel is the term antichrist used?
2. How many times in the book of Revelation is the term antichrist used?
3. What book of the Bible has the most references to the term antichrist?
4. How many times is the term antichrist used in that book?
5. Is there one answer to the question on who or what the antichrist is?
6. What are the two core doctrinal issues mentioned in the Bible that involve antichrist?
As we progress in this study, we hope to find the answers to these questions and much more. The Apostle John begins his first epistle by warning the church, whom he calls little children, about the conflicts. The first conflict is between light and darkness (1 John 1:12:6). The next conflict is between love and hatred (1 John 2:717), and then John warns about a third conflict between truth and error (1 John 2:1823). Within this last group we find John speaking of antichrist. In fact, in the Bible only John in his first and second epistles mentions the term antichrist(s). Those references are 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; and 2 John 7.
The first reference to antichrist, in context, says:
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. (1 John 2:18–24)
As we read these texts, we can see that John does no name-calling, nor does he limit antichrist to just one person, and he does not deny that the antichrist is a single person. He says that we are to have the truth of the Father and the Son abiding in us, a truth which we have “heard from the beginning.” That is important, and we will see it come up again later.
John states the believer has “the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life” (1 John 2:25). Then he says, “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you” (v. 26). There were and are seducers who would take us away from the important and great truth that Jesus is the Christ. The importance of understanding what this doctrine teaches cannot be underestimated.
The Identity of the Antichrist
Let us now read the other references to antichrist:
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:1–3)
To deny that Jesus came in the flesh is the spirit of antichrist. John further states that antichrist had already come in his day:
And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 6–11)
Anyone who attempts to alter the truth of the Father and the Son is antichrist. Anyone who denies the incarnation of Jesus Christ is antichrist. You are not to receive such false teachings nor bring them into your home. There are many ways to bring these false teachers and their damning doctrines into our homes. They can come directly in, yes, but they can also come in by the television, radio, Internet, and by books and magazines. When you support these false teachings by supporting those who teach them, you have become a supporter of antichrist!
The first question in our quiz concerned the number of times the term antichrist is used in Daniel. Any concordance will reveal that the term antichrist is never used in Daniel or in Revelation. In fact, the term antichrist is only used by John in his first and second epistles, but almost all Adventists have understood that the first beast of Revelation 13 and the little horn power of Daniel 7 are associated with antichrist. They also understand antichrist to be connected to the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. (2 Thessalonians 2:1–3)
Paul states that we should not let any man deceive us (verse 3). Here he uses a double negative for emphasis.2 Paul wants us to be sure that we are not deceived about what he iswarning. This man of sin is also the son of perdition:
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:4–7)
Paul says that there was a mystery of iniquity that was already working in his day, and John agrees, saying that the spirit of antichrist was already working in his time:
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:8–12)
John mentions antichrist (singular). This implies an individual or something singular in structure, but this man of sin (singular) is also the son of perdition. He is a son, and he has a father; and we read about this father in John’s gospel. Jesus told the people who were striving to destroy his ministry and to kill him:
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)3
Antichrist is a liar (1 John 2:22), and Satan is the father of lies. Now if we return to 2 Thessalonians 2:8, we see that Paul says that there is a Wicked one that would be revealed or exposed. In the original Greek there was no distinction between upper and lower case letters. The translators here, though, have capitalized this word showing that they believe that the Greek word anomos must make reference to the name of someone, as opposed to simply a title. Concerning anomos, as used in 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Joseph Thayer notes that it means . . . he in whom all iniquity has as it were fixed its abode (Thayers Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 48). Verse 8 is a strong reference to Satan himself, yet we see in verse 9 that the Wicked’s “coming is after the working of Satan,” so the Wicked one cannot exclusively be Satan. What we have, however, is a dual understanding, where in the ultimate sense, the man of sin, the Wicked one, is Satan; but in the secondary sense it is his main agent upon earth, the Papacy.
This is a parallel to an interpretive principle used in Daniel and Revelation. In Revelation 12:3, 4 the dragon attacks Christ and tries to kill Jesus when he is born. Later the dragon is identified: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan” (Revelation 12:9). Yet we know that in a secondary, working sense, the dragon represents Rome because Rome does Satan’s work. Rome is Satan’s main system upon this earth through which he works.
The concept of a dual understanding of a single symbol also appears in Daniel 2, where the legs of iron and clay represent both phases of Rome (the first outwardly pagan, the second outwardly Christian but still pagan at heart). Sometimes we call these phases pagan and papal Rome; however, I ask you, dear reader, when was Rome ever Christian and when did Rome cease to be pagan? Rome has never been Christian but has been pagan all the way through! A better distinction would be to speak of early Rome and later Rome. Early Rome was openly pagan, and later Rome is still pagan, but not openly enough for the masses to see. In Daniel 8 the little horn represents both phases of Rome and in Daniel 11, the King of the North represents both phases also. We find an intermingling between Satan and Rome, as the man of sin, the antichrist. In the following statements we see evidence that Ellen White understood this principle, as she applies antichrist to both Satan and Rome:
Antichrist as Satan
The determination of Antichrist to carry out the rebellion he began in heaven will continue to work in the children of disobedience. (Ellen G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 949, 950)
Here antichrist is someone who rebelled in heaven. Clearly this is Satan, but this is not all she defines as antichrist (singular).
Antichrist as Papacy
The whole world is to be stirred with enmity against Seventh-day Adventists, because they will not yield homage to the papacy, by honoring Sunday, the institution of this antichristian power. It is the purpose of Satan to cause them to be blotted from the earth, in order that his supremacy of the world may not be disputed. (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 36)
In the counsels of the synagogue of Satan it was determined to obliterate the sign of allegiance to God in the world. Antichrist, the man of sin, exalted himself as supreme in the earth, and through him Satan has worked in a masterly way to create rebellion against the law of God and against the memorial of his created works. Is this not sin and iniquity? What greater contempt could be cast upon the Lord God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, than is cast upon him by ignoring the Sabbath, which he instituted, sanctified, and blessed, that it might ever be a memorial of his power as Creator? How dare men change and profane the day which God has sanctified? How dare the Christian world accept the spurious sabbath, the child of the Papacy? The Christian world has nourished and cherished the spurious sabbath, as though it had a divine origin, when the fact is that it originated with the father of lies, and was introduced to the world by his human agent, the man of sin. (The Signs of the Times, March 12, 1894)
The human agent of Satan is the man of sin, and we have been told in the book The Great Controversy that the bishop of Rome is the representative of Satan (p. 50). When we speak of antichrist (singular), we mean Satan or his child, the man of sin, the papacy. Anyone who promotes the program of the papacy or teaches the doctrines of the papacy is an antichrist and has the spirit of antichrist.
The Spirit of Antichrist
We live in an age when the spirit of antichrist permeates everything around us:
In this age of the world we see every grade and degree of skepticism. There are rank infidels, those who believe in the lying wonders of Spiritualism, and those who reject the claims of divine truth. All these are placed among the class that John has written of, and are controlled by the spirit of antichrist. (Ellen White, The Signs of the Times, September 3, 1894)
Inspiration is saying that there is something being taught that attempts to take the place of Christ; it is antichrist. We are either controlled by the spirit of Christ or by the spirit of antichrist. Antichrist is from the Greek word antichristos which is from two wordsanti which means against or in place of and christos which means the anointed one. The teaching of antichrist would take Christ out of his true place. Part of this teaching of antichrist concerns Jesus not coming in real flesh.
How do we understand the history of the teaching of antichrist? What was happening during Johns time that led to such warnings being prompted by the Holy Spirit? The following from The New American Commentary of 1 John addresses some of the probable historical context, as well as implications:
John now addresses directly the Christological error that leads people into the darkness. These false teachers have denied that Jesus is the Christ. It is certainly possible that there were those who, though attracted to Jesus, attempted to minimize his divinity, but it seems improbable that they would have been admitted to the community because the confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:31), would mostly likely be required for entrance (1 John 2:22, 23; 3:23; 4:15; 5:1, 5, 13). It seems more probable, particularly when one takes into account the heresy of Cerinthus4 that arose in this area, that the secessionists held to a Christology that diminished the human content of this confession of faith and denied the reality of the incarnation (cf. 4:2ff.; 2 John 7). Ignatius (d. 98/117) wrote against those who deny that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.5 Irenaeus (Fl. ca. 175-ca. 195) attacked Cerinthus by name. Although it is not possible to know what the secessionists affirmed exactly/publicly (John does not tell us), it is clear that in some sense they denied that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God in any vital and permanent incarnational understanding. They affirmed and accepted Jesus as significant and important in some manner, but their theology was wholly inadequate in its grasp of his person and ultimately of his work. As Marshall explains: For John the height of heresy is to deny that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and Savior. To reduce Jesus to the status of a mere man, or to allow no more than a temporary indwelling of some divine power in him is to strike at the root of Christianity. Modern thinkers may have more refined ways of stating similar denials of the reality of the incarnation. It may be doubted whether they are any more immune to Johns perception that they take the heart out of Christianity.6
In the second half of the verse the liar, who denies the Incarnation, is called the antichrist. The designation of this person as the antichrist need not be a reference to the specific apocalyptic figure that will arise at the end of time. It may rather be a declaration that the one who opposes Christ by rejecting his true identity has taken on the spirit of the antichrist (4:3). The consequence of this action is that he denies the Father and the Son. The placing of this phrase in apposition to the title of antichrist shows the gravity of this false Christology. It is doubtful that anyone of the heretics had directly denied the Fatherhood of God, but by their refusal to believe that Jesus is the Christ they have shown that they have never truly known the Father, for Jesus and the Father are one (John 10:30). Denial or acceptance of Gods revelation in the man, Jesus, is equivalent to a denial or acceptance of the Father.7 (Daniel L. Akin, 1, 2, 3 John, vol. 38, The New American Commentary, pp. 121122)
Some of these historical points may be very accurate, and yet we cannot fully know all of the details with positiveness. We must, therefore, have a hermeneutic that allows us to understand the main points of the text, even if the history is not available. By simply reading the plain text of Scripture, we can come to an understanding without any history on the matter. The history can enrich our understanding and be a blessing, but it is not essential. God’s word has been written for everyone, everywhere, and the humble layman as well as the scholar of history may all understand with the aid of the Holy Spirit, if they are willing to follow truth.
Let us return to 1 John 2:18: Little children it is the last time. Throughout the New Testament you will find that as Peter, John, James, and Paul wrote, they considered the time from the crucifixion forward as the last days. The last days began at the cross. John had been teaching thisIt is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come (v. 18). This is the first time you see it in this exact form, but the Bible prophesized it in the book of Daniel. Even now there are many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us (vs. 18, 19). Let us think back to the reformation for a minute. Did Martin Luther go out of the Catholic Church? No, Luther was put out of the church. He was excommunicated.
Romanists have persisted in bringing against Protestants the charge of heresy and willful separation from the true church. But these accusations apply rather to themselves. They are the ones who laid down the banner of Christ and departed from the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 3. (Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 51)
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist. He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father” (vs. 22, 23). Now, we mentioned that Satan is the father of lies. “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ,” he who denies that Jesus is the anointed one?
As we noted earlier the term antichrist comes from christos, the Greek word for Christ. Christos comes from another Greek word, chrio, which, according to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, is a fundamental word found in Homer and other tragic dramas, meaning to rub or to stroke or to smear or anoint with a substance, such as oil. Chrio is the Greek word for anoint. It means to pour oil on, and we know in the Old Testament that to pour oil on someone, or to anoint him, was symbolic of receiving Gods Spirit. In order to be anointed in a religious sense, someone greater in authority or position must do the anointing. A person cannot anoint themselves. Think about how the New Testament lays ordination out. The apostle Paul and other men were ordained, and men were ordained by elders who had already been there before them. Paul told Timothy I have ordained; you ordain others later. It is not setting up a caste system of some being greater or better than someone else. It is simply the order that God has chosen, and there has to be someone already experienced in the work to do the anointing.
I heard about a man who decided that he alone had the truth. He gathered a little band of believers together. They decided they all wanted to be baptized in a certain way, but there was no one to baptize them. So the leader goes out into the water and baptized himself. He then baptized the others, but you cannot do that. You cannot anoint yourself and then anoint others. That is absurd.
Was Jesus ever anointed by the Father? If he is the Christos, he has to have been anointed, for that is what the word means. The Bible prophesied in Daniel 9:24 that he would be anointed. We dont need speculation today, but only what the word of God says, and it says that seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Within seventy weeks this was going to happen, and somewhere in those seventy weeks the most Holy was to be anointed. In Acts chapter 4, we have the prayer of Peter: “For of a truth against the holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed . . .” (Acts 4:27). In Acts 10:38, Peter again says that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power and that he “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
Christ was anointed at his baptism. He was God’s anointed one in heaven and upon the earth. In Hebrews 1:9, we read: “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Christ is the anointed one. Jesus asked, “But whom say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15), and Peter answered: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Implicit in that answer was an understanding that this Christ was the Son of God.
Islam today claims to believe in Jesus; you can read about him in the Quran. Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet, but that he was not the anointed of God. Many Jews acknowledge Jesus as an historical figure, but not as the anointed one, and even atheists believe in a philosopher by the name of Jesus, but not an anointed one. Denying the anointed one is to deny the Father who anointed him and that there was one greater who did the anointing. In First John, John spoke about denying the Father and the Son. He could have used the terms Yawheh and Jehoshua or God and Jesus, but he specifically focused on the Father and the Son, on a relationship, and concerning this text in First John, most commentators simply speak of it as a denial of the divinity of Christ and call this denial antichrist. It is antichrist, for sure, to deny the divinity of Christ, but is the Sonship of Jesus also important? Yes. It is the Sonship of Jesus that is being denied and when we do that, we also de facto deny the Fatherhood of God, for if Jesus is not the Son of God, then God cannot be his Father. In 1 John chapter 2, let us read carefully again verse 23: “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” You might think that you have the Father and that you believe in and worship the God of heaven, but, friends, if Jesus is not really the Son of God to you, then the Father is not your God, and you do not have him.
In 2 John 9, we read: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” If we do not have the doctrine of the anointed one and that someone anointed him, then we do not have God.
John says in 1 John 4:15 that “whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” Friends, we are not talking about a tangent here. We are not talking about some fleeting side issue. We are talking about core fundamental principles of the gospel. In 1 John 4:1, John says: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.” They are to be tested, and many different spirits claim to be Christian, claim to be saved, and claim to offer you salvation, but they must be tested and to deny the Father and the Son denies the very heart of the gospel—the love of God. First John 4:8 says: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love,” but how do I know that is true? Verses 9 and 10 tell us: “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Now, the word of God is exact and not carelessly put together or haphazardly written; it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Penned by men, yes, but penned under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus said that man should “not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). John is very specific. He says that we know the love of God because God sent his only begotten Son. He could have said because God sent Jesus, but he didn’t do that because he wants us to understand it is predicated upon the point that he has an only begotten Son to send for us, and this is what brings about the response that we love him because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Is there a teaching in the world today that claims to be Christian, that claims to declare Christ and yet denies the Father and the Son to be literally true? Yes, there is, and it is called the doctrine of the trinity, and this teaching that we call the trinity is the central doctrine, the core, the brainchild, of the Papacy. In Handbook for Todays Catholic, on page 16, we read:
The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of Catholic faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the Church.
If this system were antichrist (and it is), could I replace Catholic faith with man of sin and not do injustice to the meaning of the quotation? Would I be wrong in doing this? If I said that the mystery of the trinity is the central doctrine of the son of perdition, would I be wrong? If I said the mystery of the trinity is the central doctrine of the first beast of Revelation 13, would I be wrong? What if I said the mystery of the trinity is the central doctrine of the little horn power of Daniel 8? I would not be wrong! The mystery of the trinity is the central doctrine of antichrist, of even Satan himself, because upon it are based all the other teachings of the church, including Sunday sacredness. Friends, this is vital to our understanding.
Continuing in Handbook for Todays Catholic:
In the New Testament there is frequent mention of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. A careful reading of these scriptural passages leads to one unmistakable conclusion: each of these Persons is presented as having qualities that belong only to God. But if there is only one God, how can this be?
The Church studied this mystery with great care and, after four centuries of clarifications, decided to state the doctrine in this way: in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—truly distinct one from another. Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three gods but one God.
Now, this is a very frank admission. This is the classical version of the trinity as taught at Andrews University, as supported by the Biblical Research Institute, and as expressed in our official publication on theology, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Handbook (volume 12 of the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary series). However, some Seventh-day Adventists claim to believe in the trinity but do not believe in the orthodox trinity. They believe in something called tritheism which says that there is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. So far, it sounds just like orthodox trinitarianism, but instead of one god, there are three gods in tritheism. They openly admit that there are three different individuals who are god, three separate hypostases, but that they are one in their purpose, in their goals, and in their actions—like the disciples were to be one. There were twelve disciples, but they were to be one in action. Jesus said he and his Father were one, and the disciples were to be one as the Father and Son were one. Of course, the disciples could not be one hypostasis, one substance, for they were twelve individuals, but the doctrine of tritheism is just as bad as the doctrine of the trinity because tritheism also denies that Jesus is the Son of God.
The doctrine of the trinity does not have scriptural support. This mystery which for four centuries was considered with great care comes down to an assumption, and you know what assumptions are worth.
Graham Greene, a Catholic writer, in an article entitled The Catholic Churchs New Dogma: The Assumption of Mary, stated, Our opponents [Protestants] sometimes claim that no belief should be held dogmatically which is not explicitly stated in scripture (ignoring that it is only on the authority of the Church we recognize certain Gospels and not others as true). But the Protestant churches have themselves accepted such dogmas as the Trinity for which there is no such precise authority in the Gospels. (Life, October 30, 1950, p. 51)
You might say, Well, thats what the Catholics say, but we dont believe that. I want to tell you that the Adventist Church agrees exactly with that. In the Adventist Review, we read:
While no single scriptural passage states formally the doctrine of the Trinity, it is assumed as a fact by Bible writers and mentioned several times.
They say the Bible writers assumed it. Continuing,
Only by faith can we accept the existence of the Trinity. (Adventist Review, vol. 158, no. 31, p. 4, an undated special issue published in July 1981)
My Bible tells me faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. If I have the word of God, I can substantiate something, but if I do not have the word of God, I can only assume. In the trinitarian model of the Godhead, there are no real relationships, only assumed roles.
In the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . , a popular book in Adventism that has the sanction of the church, we read: “In the New Testament, Jesus used Father to bring us into a close and personal relationship with God” (p. 20).
In The Signs of the Times of July 1985, we read: “It may be inferred from the Scriptures that when the Godhead laid out the plan of salvation at some point in eternity past, They [the Godhead members] took certain positions or roles to carry out the provisions of the plan.” In other words, it would be like Brother B, Brother M, and me having a conference. In this conference it is decided that I will take the identity and position of Brother B, Brother B will take the identity and position of Brother W, and Brother W will take my identity and position. We could switch it around. It doesn’t matter because we are all co-equal and co-eternal. Since there is no true father-son distinction, we can just rotate like a carousel, and we can take any position because, in reality, our distinctions come down only to positions or roles. This is what the trinity doctrine forces one to believe, and it brings the plan of salvation down to theatrics. The plan of redemption is simply a drama.
The idea of accepting roles is the view that LeRoy Froom advocated in his apostate book Movement of Destiny, in his effort to promote trinitarianism. During the mid 1950s, while preparing his first book on Seventh-day Adventists, Walter Martin approached the General Conference asking for their official position on the Godhead. A trinitarian position was essential in removing Seventh-day Adventism from the status of a cult, and Froom expanded on this idea as he wrote his book Movement of Destiny. Here is what he wrote on page 301:
. . . in Johns usage the phrase only begotten refers to the uniqueness of Christs sonshipto distinctiveness, not to derivation. (LeRoy Froom, Movement of Destiny, p. 301)
In other words, when John used the phrase only begotten, Froom says it had nothing to do with Jesus being the only begotten Son of God, just that it meant he is a unique son.8
We must ask ourselves if the Scriptures declare Jesus to be the Son of God. Yes, they do, over and over. The highest authority in the universe, the Father, said at the baptism of Jesus Christ that he was his Son: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). In Matthew 17:5, at the Mount of Transfiguration, the Father says this again and adds the words, “Hear ye him.” Christ himself said he was the only begotten Son of God, that the Father loves us so much that he gave his only begotten Son to die for our sins (John 3:16).
We find the apostles declaring that Jesus is the Son of God. When Jesus asked them pointblank whom they thought he was, Peter answered Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). Jesus responded, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona (verse 17). Why was he blessed? Peter was blessed because he proclaimed the truth from God. Jesus did not say, No, No; youve got it wrong, Peter. Im the second person of the trinity.
John said (in John 20:31) that he had written these things that we might know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and this is important.
In 1 John 5:3, John says: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” You see, friends, keeping the commandments of God, including the Sabbath commandment, is important. We worship on the seventh-day Sabbath because we know the Bible says this is important to do. The Bible never tells us to pick any day we want; however, doesn’t Paul say something about some people who esteem one day above another? Yes, he does; but friends, the Bible says that God esteems one day above another. If what you choose esteems something above what God esteems, you are making a big mistake, and you have actually become antichrist.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4, 5)
You see friends, if we do not understand the issue of Christ—he is divine and the Son of God—if we do not understand the incarnation, we do not have power to overcome.
How did the Adventist pioneers see this matter of the antichrist? Did they understand it to be the Papacy? Did they understand that there was a problem with the issue of the doctrine of the trinity? We have published a book that documents what the Adventist pioneers believed about the issue of the Godhead9 and specifically how they felt about the trinity. Let me give you just one reference. In The Review and Herald of February 7, 1856, James White stated:
The “mystery of iniquity” began to work in the church in Paul’s day. It finally crowded out the simplicity of the gospel, and corrupted the doctrine of Christ, and the church went into the wilderness. Martin Luther, and other reformers, arose in the strength of God, and with the Word and Spirit, made mighty strides in the Reformation. 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
We could fill pages quoting the Adventist pioneers because, as Russell Holt noted, A survey of other Adventist writers during these years reveals that, to a man, they rejected the trinity, yet , with equal unanimity they upheld the divinity of Christ.10
Ellen White, the most authoritative person in Adventism, said in The Signs of the Times of May 30, 1895, exactly how she felt about Jesus being the Son of God:
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 Fathers 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.11
Anyone who tries to tell you that Jesus was created is wrong. Jesus was not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as are sinners; but he was a son begotten in the express image of the Father’s person.
If Ellen G. White wanted to say Jesus was the Son of God because he was declared to be his son or because he was a son by role-playing, she could have written that, but she did not. She understood that there was a Father and a Son and that the Father and Son alone are to be exalted (The Youths Instructor, July 7, 1898).
Jesus declared “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). There is an exclusivity that cannot be denied in the relationship of the Father and the Son. One enters into a relationship with the Father through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus said: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32, 33). What does Jesus mean by this when he speaks of our denying him?
You probably have heard of the world famous evolutionist, Richard Dawkins. He is one of the most vocal atheists in the world. Of course, he is also a scientist who speak against God. He believes the historical Jesus existed. He doesnt deny that Jesus existed. Does that mean that Dawkins is a Christian? No. He is just like the philosophers who say there was a Jesus who was a philosopher. He is like the Jews who say there was a historical Jesus, but not the anointed one. He is just like the Muslims maybe who say there was a Jesus, but he wasn’t the Son of God. That is not what Jesus is saying when he says we are not to deny him. Jesus is not saying that you simply acknowledge that he existed in some form or another and you have God. The Bible says you have to understand Jesus and you have to acknowledge who he truly is—that he is the Christ, the one who has been anointed by the Father, and that he is the Son of the Father.
And so, it was not with total surprise, but yet with sorrow, when I heard the presentation of November 1, 2013, in Charlotte, North Carolina, by Ron Halvorsen who was speaking on the subject of antichrist. (The title of the sermon was “Babylon Rising.”) Before I tell you what he said that concerned me, let me share with you a truth that he stressed, with which I fully agree. He said:
It doesn’t matter what I say about antichrist. . . . it only matters what God says about antichrist. (Ron Halvorsen, 31 minutes into video recording)
It only mattes what the word of God says, what the Bible says. (Ron Halvorsen, 36 minutes into video recording)
Who am I going to listen to, God or man? That is the issue. (Ron Halvorsen, 49 minutes into video recording)
Now, what did he say about antichrist that caught my attention?
Listen to me, he [Jesus] was God of every gods. Listen to me! He was the God of every gods. He was deity; he was the Son of God. Not less than the Father, he was equal to the Father. He was equal in every sense, and when they denied that there came a schism in the church.
When John, listen to this, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” What is he saying here? He that denies the Trinity, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit is in here too; if he denies, he denies the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, he is antichrist! [applause]
I’m not saying that, John is saying that . . . (Ron Halvorsen, 60 minutes into video recording)
Friends, John didn’t say that! That is not what John said. John did not add the Holy Spirit into this equation, as if the Holy Spirit were a third being separate and distinct from the Father and the Son. Halvorsen added to the word of God. He added something very dangerous, and yet the audience was told at the beginning that the speaker would not speculate, and the speaker himself emphasized during his sermon the importance of the word of God! Friends, we are not to add to or take away from God’s word.
Nobody can show where it says trinity or even Holy Spirit in 1 John 2:22, the verse Halvorsen quoted in the beginning of this particular section. In no place in the Bible where the antichrist is spoken about does John include the Holy Spirit as a separate, distinct, individual being in any way, shape, or form.
This evangelist is so confused that instead of teaching that the true church went into hiding from the papacy in the wilderness during the Dark Ages, he says:
The Christian Church was baptized into paganism and theologized truth away. They left their first love. Listen, leave your first love and you’re in dangerous place. They’ll suck you out of the church faster than you can’t turn around [sic]. (Ron Halvorsen, 58 minutes into video recording)
Now, I realize Mr. Halvorsen is not reading his sermon, so quoting him verbatim does not seem to flow well, but think about what he says—“the Christian Church was baptized into paganism.” No, friends, the Christian church went into the wilderness like Elder White said and like it says in Revelation 12. There was something pagan all along, but that paganism became baptized with the face, the façade, of Christianity.
All through the sermon the preacher uses pronouns without antecedents and sometimes you are not sure what he is saying. For example, Halvorsen says, Theyll suck you out of the church. Who is the they? Well, he doesnt say who they are. I can only assume he is referring to antichrists, that the antichrists will suck you out of the church faster than you cant turn around. Friends, antichrist is baptizing the church with a Christianfaçade, and it wants to suck you in, not suck you out.
This preacher also makes a terrible mistake concerning 1 John 2:14, where we read: I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Who is the him that is from the beginning that he says they had known? It is Jesus Christ. It should be clear from the context. The context is very easy to understand, but we are told, instead, by Halvorsen that this is Satan, the antichrist. This man takes 1 John 2:14 and applies the first part of it to Satan. Ellen White applies this part of the text to Jesus Christ:
I write unto you, fathers because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. 1 John 2:14. These are the old disciples who are the warriors of the faith. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 1 John 1:14. (Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, p. 205)
Halvorsen may have made this mistake with good intentions. He is attempting to show that antichrist is not just a last-day phenomenon, and he is right in wanting to do that, but he took this verse out of context to try to prove his point. I am not trying to be critical of him. I am not trying to tear his whole presentation down, but you can see what happens when you get into error. Everything so easily becomes confused.
There is one thing which Halversen said concerning the antichrist that I believe, and he said it quite well. He said, “You can’t believe a word he says” (39 minutes into video recording). Now, as we saw earlier, Rome says that their central doctrine is the trinity and that it is the foundational truth of all Christianity. Halversen says you can’t believe a word antichrist (Rome) says. I do believe he is right on that because the trinity cannot be the central doctrine of Christianity, but it is the central doctrine of the papacy.
Antichrist and the Incarnation
Since June of this year, we have been writing on the incarnation, and in this issue you will find on page 2 an article entitled “John and the Incarnation” which goes into detail on the issues of the antichrist and the incarnation. We highly recommend you read it, but in concluding our current study, we wish to pull together a quick synopsis of some of our earlier material and of some of the material in “John and the Incarnation,” so that this study can be complete in itself.
Instead of having confusing and conflicting creeds, friends, we can have Jesus, the anointed Son of God. We can have someone who understands our needs and yet is able to bridge the gulf between God and man and be our mediator, the only mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. We can accept traditions; we can accept what men say, even men who claim to preach the truth.
In 1 John 5:11, 12, we read: And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. John did not say this is the second person of the trinity. He did not say he was writing about some unique person to God. No, John emphasized the Son of God. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13).
Will you leave tradition behind? Will you leave it, even if the television preacher or the radio preacher teaches it? Let us walk in the light while we have the light.
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:14–17)
That means right now. That means that if we are in Christ, sin does not, and cannot, abide in us. It is that simple. Do we still have a fallen, sinful nature? Do we still have a nature that gravitates toward sin and that wants to pull us in the wrong direction? Of course, we do. And we will have that until Jesus comes and this corruptible puts on incorruption and this mortal puts on immortality. Friends, we can overcome as Jesus overcame. We can live as he is in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not make perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
The Bible says that there is a God of this universe who has a son and who loves you so much that he sent his son to die for your sins. This is the spirit of Christ, the spirit of truth. It is the spirit of righteousness, and it is the spirit of revelation. The spirit of antichrist says God did not send his Son or even have a son to send. The spirit of antichrist says that Jesus did not truly die for us and that he did not really come in fallen, sinful flesh. The spirit of antichrist says that Jesus did not walk as we have to walk and that he did not overcome as God wants you to overcome.
Friends, the future of this world is indeed bleak, but the future of the saved is bright, and we either are going to be finally arrayed with Christ or with antichrist. There is no middle ground because we will all either be antichrist’s or Christ’s followers in the end. There will be no place to strike a middle position, no grey area. To choose Christ today is what we must do because not to choose him is to accept antichrist. Today is the day of salvation, friends. Give your heart to Jesus today, fully, to serve Christ and to stand with the called, chosen, and faithful who stand against antichrist (Revelation 17:14).
The Big Lie
(Dr. Michael Pedrin has graciously granted us permission to publish his book, The Big Lie. This is the third installment. He may be contacted through his website, clearbibleanswers.org.Editor)
THE NEW MOON AND THE TRANSLATION DAY
Before continuing our study, we want to present Dr. Siegfried H. Horns research on the month, as presented in the The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary:
A division of the year derived from the period required by the moon to pass through its 4 phases, as from one new moon to the next. Since the time of the moon’s circuit around the earth is neither an exact number of days nor a commensurable part of the year—its synodical revolution, approximately 29 1/2 days—a calendar month must be either a variable or an artificial period.
The Hebrew month was lunar, beginning with the evening on which the crescent moon appeared. The 1st day of the month was called the new moon (see 1 Sa 20:24–27), and was a day of special observances (see Num 10:10; 1 Sa 28:11–15). At first, visual observation was used to determine the appearance of the crescent. If the crescent was seen on the evening following the 29th day of the month, a new month had begun; if not, another day was added so that that particular month had 30 days (a month never had more than 30 days). Later, methods of calculation were devised by which it could be known in advance whether a given month should have 29 or 30 days. Jewish tradition tells of the method of examining at Jerusalem witnesses who claimed to have seen the crescent, to determine whether they had actually seen it or not. It tells also of fire signals that were used to announce the beginning of the new month to the outlying areas.
The Babylonians, like the Greeks, had lunar months. The Egyptian months were 30 days each, with 5 extra days after the 12th month. The Roman months, originally lunar, were changed to the 30, 31, and 28 (29) days that we know today. Modern Jews still use their Biblical months for religious purposes. These months generally alternate between 30 and 29 days, which have been calculated for centuries according to variable but standardized rules, and are no longer dependent on the moon. The Moslems, on the other hand, still depend on the actual sighting of the crescent moon each month for their religious calendar.
Neither the 30-day month implied in the Flood narrative (150 days totaling 5 months; Gen 7:11, 24) nor the 30-day prophetic month (42 months equaling 1260 days; Rev 11:2, 3; see Time, 5), has anything to do with the Jewish calendar month. Genesis does not furnish enough information to warrant drawing conclusions as to the sort of calendar Noah might have employed, and the 30-day month of Revelation is prophetic and symbolic, not literal, for no known calendar runs in an unbroken series of 42 30-day months. However, the idea of a theoretical or ideal month of 30 days was logical to the Jews, who called 30 days a “full” month; a 29-day month they spoke of as “hollow,” or “deficient.” Because of the variability of the moon’s motion, lunar months do not invariably alternate 29 and 30 days. Consequently it was impossible for the ancient Jews and Babylonians to predict the exact number of days in a period of months or years ahead. Thus the logical method of reckoning a future period was to count by “full” months, that is, theoretical months, of 30 days each (even as we today sometimes count 30 days to the month in computing interest). The Babylonians did this and quite possibly the Jews did also. Since not even Jewish readers of the book of Revelation could tell exactly how many days were in 42 Jewish months without knowing which months they might be (nor could the Gentiles using the Roman calendar, without taking leap years into account), the most logical method of reckoning a prophecy expressed in months and relating to future time would be by theoretical, rather than calendar, months. And the fact that the 42 months are of 30 days each is clear from the equation with 1,260 days. Further, months in symbolic prophecy are not literal, but symbolic months (which, interpreted by the year-day principle, are each 30 years) ( pp. 757, 758)
Three Categories of Days?
The lunar Sabbatarians have three categories of days each month: The first category is the new moon day. There was one new moon day each month. It was the first day of the month. The second category of day is the working days. There would be four sets of six continuously work days, the second to the seventh, the ninth to the fourteenth, the sixteenth to the twenty-first, and the twenty-third to the twenty-eighth days of the month. The third category of days is the Sabbath. There would be four Sabbath days, the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth days of the month. There is still what is called the translation day, for which there must be an accounting.
The 30th day, known in astronomical terms as translation day, is simply a work day, but is not part of a six day week followed by a seventh-day Sabbath. The full New Moon day is always the first day of the new month. The New Moon day is never a seventh-day Sabbath or one of the six working days, and never a translation day. (Kerrie L. French, “Three Months in a Row, Part 1-The Exodus”; accessed at http://www.thecreatorscalendar.com/Articles/three_months/1_04_The_Exodus.html on 10–30–13; emphasis in original)
Elsewhere this is what is said about the translation day connected with the new moon:
There are four complete weeks and 1–2 new moon days in each month.” (Troy Miller, “Tomorrow is the New Moon,” p. 5; accessed on 10–30–13 by clicking the link “David said, ‘Tomorrow is the new moon.’ When is New Moon?” at www.creationcalendar.com)
The one to two new moon days in each month are the first day of the month and the thirtieth day of the month, whenever there is a thirtieth.
There can only be 2 days of the moon in conjunction and when that occurs it appears that the ‘odd’ day should be treated as a work day or as an extended Sabbath since the scriptures do not specify. (Quotation taken from discussion of “Three Months in a Row” at www.worldslastchance.com; no longer posted)
Here they are not sure whether to connect this “odd” day with the work days, with the Sabbath day, or with the new moon day!
The translation day—the thirtieth—is hanging nowhere. It would be better if they had a fourth category of day, instead of just three, because the translation day seems to be fitting nowhere in their scheme of things.
They say it is the translation of the new moon day, and try to attach it with the new moon, and at the same time they say it is a work day, and try to attach it with the work days of the week. Trying to attach it with the Sabbath is ridiculous because God only rested on and sanctified one day!
David and Jonathan
In an attempt to show that there is an extra day of the new moon in the Bible, the lunar Sabbatarians quote the story of David and Jonathan found in 1 Samuel 20, where the new moon celebration was held for two days. So those two days should be the translation day and the new moon day:
The 30th of a month was a transition from one month to another, a dark day, which we now call translation day as mentioned above, and was a regular work day not considered as a Holy Day or feast day. (1 Samuel 20.) (“Printable Luni-Solar Calendar” accessed on 10–31–13 at http://www.worldslastchance.com/printable-luni-solar-calendar.html; emphasis in original)
After the last Sabbath (the 29th) in a 30 day month, there is a two day new moon celebration (day 30 of the old month followed by day 1 of the new month). (Troy Miller, “Tomorrow is the New Moon,” p. 4, accessed on 10–31–13 at http://www.creationcalendar.com by clicking the link entitled “http://www.creationcalendar.com/CalendarIssue/06-ConjunctionStudy.doc”; emphasis in original)
Let us look at the passage of the Bible that records the new moon celebrations.
And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat. (1 Samuel 20:5)
David did not attend the new moon dinner with King Saul which was customary:
And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon a seat by the wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, and David’s place was empty. (1 Samuel 20:25)
Now on the second day celebration of the new moon, David’s seat was still empty:
And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day? (1 Samuel 20:27)
Yes, from the above passage of scriptures we understand that there were two days of celebration of the new moon. Now, please note: When were the two days of celebration?
And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day? (1 Samuel 20:27)
The second day of celebration of the new moon was “the second day of the month.” The lunar Sabbatarians say it was the thirtieth of the old month (the translation day) and the first of the new month:
There is a two day new moon celebration (day 30 of the old month followed by day 1 of the new month. (Miller, Ibid.; emphasis in original)
But the only place where the Bible records the two new moon day celebration places it as the first and the second of the month!
With this, their calendar is all upside down. If the second day of the month were still the new moon, then the first day of the week (according to their theory) begins the next day of the new moon which would be the third day of the month; and Sabbath, therefore, in that month would be on the ninth and not on the eighth as they claim it always was on! Look at what they say to this:
David understood that there would be two days of feasting (Day 30 and Day 1) which is why he requested that Jonathan come into field to shoot the arrows on the third day (the day following the second day of the new moon celebration). The underlying Hebrew in 1 Samuel 20:27, 34 literally means the 2nd day of the new moon (celebration) not the 2nd day of the month as translated. (I asked a Hebrew student). (Miller, Ibid., p. 5; emphasis in original)
Interestingly, some translations of 1 Samuel 20:27, 34 translate them as the second day of the new moon or something similar. (See the Lexham English Bible, the New English Translation Bible, the New American Standard Bible, and Youngs Literal Translation.) However, the great majority of Bible translations give the translation as the second day of the month or a similar phrase. I found at least sixteen translations which do this (ASV, KJV, BBE, NKJV, NCV, NLT, RSV, NRSV, NIV, NIRV, ESV, GWT, HCSB, GNT, Darby, and even the Douay Rheims (a ratio of 4 to 1 over the other choice). Also the Greek Septuagint agrees with the latter translation. (See The Lexham English Septuagint and The Septuagint with Apocrypha translated by Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton.)
The teachers of the lunar Sabbath are still trapped, even if they interpret 1 Samuel 20:27, 34 out of the normal. Only the first day of the celebration is called the new moon and not the second day celebration in the passage of 1 Samuel 20.
And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even. (1 Samuel 20:5)
According to the lunar Sabbatarians, the translation day (the thirtieth) is before the new moon day (the first). So the two days of celebration should end on the new moon day (the first of the month).
In 1 Samuel 20, the new moon day is identified as the first day of the celebration. According to the lunar Sabbatarians, the new moon day (the first of the month) should have been the second day of celebration, the translation day (thirtieth) being the first day. So, you see, they can’t get out of this mess.
Their Sabbaths being fixed on the eighth, fifteenth, twenty-second, and twenty-ninth stand exposed. In this month it would then be the ninth, sixteenth, twenty-third, and thirtieth!
An Orphan Day
The Bible is clear that there are six work days, and the work days are continuous and culminate with the Sabbath rest:
For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth. (Exodus 20:11) [God’s work]
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work. (Exodus 20:9) [Our work]
Six days ye shall gather it [manna]. (Exodus 16:26)
The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days. (Ezekiel 46:1)
There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. (Luke 13:14)
There is nowhere in scripture that shows or even indicates that there is a work day that is not a part of the six work days that are continuous. All the above texts show that the work days are only six, and they are continuous.
So how can one work day—the thirtieth—stand all alone, sandwiched between a Sabbath and a new moon? The lunar Sabbatarias admit it is a work day:
The 30th of a month was a transition from one month to another, a dark day which we now call translation day as mentioned above, and was a regular work day not considered as a Holy Day or feast day. (1 Samuel 20.) (Printable Luni-Solar Calendar accessed on 103113 at http://www.worldslastchance.com/printable-luni-solar-calendar.html; emphasis in original)
Week and Sabbaths
It is very interesting to note the Greek word in New Testament for week and for Sabbath is the samesabbaton.
In the end of the Sabbath (sabbaton), as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week (sabbaton), came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. (Matthew 28:1)
In the above passage of Matthew, the first day of the week is literally called the first day of the Sabbath. Why? The week revolves around the Sabbath. The week count ends with the Sabbath, and a new week count begins after the Sabbath.
The lunar Sabbatarians may say that it is true for just four weeks within a month that the week count begins the day after the Sabbath, but not at the beginning of the month where the new moon interrupts the four continuous weeks.
In Acts chapter 20 we have the week (sabbaton) mentioned. This week is, according to the lunar Sabbatarians themselves, the first week of the month:
The seventh day of their stay at Troas was the second day of the month which Paul refers to as the first day of the week. (The WLC Sabbath Challenge; accessed on 103113 at http://www.worldslastchance.com/wlc-challenge.html?sms_ss=twitter&at_xt=4d4b4981d3e5f6bf,0)
Acts 20:7 says, And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread. The Greek reads And upon the first day of the sabbaton. How can it be the first day of the sabbaton if there was no Sabbath the previous day? If new moon reset the week, it should have read upon the first day of the noumenia (new moon). If they want clear proof that the weeks are a continuous cycle of seven uninterrupted by the new moon, this is it.
We have seen that the scripture presents the Sabbath coming on the seventh day after six working days, week after week, but with the lunar Sabbath theory that the new moon interrupts it at the month end/beginning, we have eight to nine days between the two Sabbaths of the month end and the month beginning.
. . . there are (admittedly) 89 days between the last Sabbath of a month (the 29th day) and the first Sabbath (the 8th day) of the subsequent month. Indeed, there are one or two new moon days during this segment of time. (Troy Miller The Moon Regulates the Weekly Sabbath, p. 10; accessed on 103113 at http://www.creationcalendar.com/CalendarIssue/07-MoonRegulatesTheSabbath.pdf)
These are all irrational concepts that are non-existent in the Bible and only exist in the minds of these lunar Sabbath believers!
The New Moon, Translation Day, and Manna
We know from scripture that God sent manna only on the six working days that were continuous and never on the Sabbath day. Since we believe that there are only two categories of dayssix working days and the seventh day Sabbaththe manna poses no problem to us. But since the lunar Sabbatarians believe that there are three categories of daysthe six working day, Sabbath days and new moon days (and the lunar Sabbatarians are divided where to attach the translation day, the thirtieth)the coming of the manna poses a real problem to them.
The picture is simple. Did God send manna on the translation days and on the new moon days? If they say no, then two possibilities exists:
First possibility—God sent enough manna to last for four days on the final sixth day of the week of the month (the twenty-eighth, the twenty-ninth, the thirtieth, and the first).
Second possibility—They (men, women, and children) fasted for two full days at the end/beginning of the month.
On the first possibility, if God sent manna on the twenty-eighth (the sixth day of the week) for a four days provision, it means it was a bigger miracle that what happened on the Sabbath day—the manna did not stink or breed worms for four days continuously! It would show that all of those three days were equal in importance.
The very purpose of the manna not coming down only on one day was to identify and show the greatness of the Sabbath day!
For the second possibility, God making them fast for two days, including the old people and the children, would reveal an unsympathetic God. That is in contrast to what He isthe One who gives us our daily bread.”
If they say, Yes, God sent manna on the translation day and on the new moon day, then that might seem to be the right answer when we remember that God said “the seventh day, which is the Sabbath in it there shall be none.” This means every day other than the Sabbath it would fall. But God said, “Six days ye shall gather it” Exodus 16:26. There would not be at any time more than six days of God continuously sending down manna. And further, there would be only one day after the six that God would not send manna which means: a) there are only two categories of days—six work days and Sabbath day and b) Sabbaths come continuously every seventh day uninterrupted by translation or new moon days.
And that should be the end of the lunar Sabbath theory that Sabbaths are fixed on the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth!
Manna on the New Moon: Yes or No?
The lunar Sabbatarians are not sure what happened to the manna-giving during the month-end. They give different opinions.
One group believes that manna was not given, so they fasted.
Israel apparently fasted on new moon . . . (A Quick Thought: Did Israel gather or eat Manna on New Moon days?; accessed 11–4–13 at http://www.creationcalendar.com/CalendarIssue/05-QT-Manna.pdf)
That means old people and kids, too, fasted for two continuous days when there was a translation day every second month.
On the other hand, the same author in the same article says that God could have blessed them with a four days’ portion on the last day of the last week, and he compares it with the year of the Jubilee, where God blessed them for four years in advance:
. . . the 48th year of the Jubilee cycle had to provide produce for FOUR years (the 48th, 49th, 50th and the first year of the subsequent Jubilee cycle). (Ibid.; emphasis in original)
Collecting manna for four days wasnt a problem. The people tried to collect more than what they required for one day, and it stank and bred worms. Preserving it for four days was a problem. If God provided manna for four days and preserved it for them, as He provided extra grain during the end of the jubilee cycle, He should have mentioned it to them, as He mentioned it in the Jubilee cycle period!
Another lunar Sabbath promoter is still not sure whether or not manna was given during the translation and new moon days. They are inclining towards manna been given, though:
Since New Moons are not seventh-day Sabbaths, it is possible that they would have gathered manna on New Moon days The jury is still out on whether the Israelites were to gather manna for any New Moon days or Feast days other than the seventh-day Sabbath. My inclination is toward their not gathering a double portion on the previous day to a New Moon day and the other feasts. (Three Months in a Row accessed at www.worldslastchance.com; paragraph no longer available)
Even though the above quotation is no longer available online, this quotation is:
Since the full [sic no end quotation mark is supplied] New Moons are not seventh-day Sabbaths, it appears plausible that they would have gathered manna on New Moon days. . . . While the seventh-day Sabbath is a feast, all feasts are not seventh-day Sabbaths. Therefore it appears that Israel would have gathered manna on all feast days except the first day of Unleavened Bread and the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, as both of these always fall on the seventh-day Sabbath. (Kerrie L. French; accessed 11–4–13 at http://www.thecreatorscalendar.com/Articles/three_months/3_02_The_Mountain.html)
Lunar Sabbatarians triumphantly try to ask us whether the eastern gates of the temple were to be opened or shut (Ezekiel 46:1) if the new moon falls on the week day! Yet, they are not sure whether the manna fell on new moon days, translation days, feast days, etc!
A Bold Accusation
The lunar Sabbatarians are bold when they say that those who worship God on Saturday are worshiping the Saturn god and not the Creator:
While modern Saturday Sabbatarians do not worship by burning their children, the fact remains that the day on which one worships, honors the god of that day. Saturn is the god of Saturday. YHWH, the Creator God, is the God of the seventh-day Sabbath, calculated by His luni-solar calendar. (eLaine Vornholt and Laura Lee Vornholt-Jones, Saturday in Scripture, p. 8; accessed 11–4–13 at http://4angelspublications.com/articles/Saturday_in_Scripture.pdf)
Here’s another statement:
The truth is that worship on the seventh-day of a pagan calendar does not direct ones worship to the Creator. When one worships on Saturday, he is showing allegiance to the god of that day, the cruelest, most blood-thirsty of all the gods: Saturn. (Ibid., p. 10)
If that is so, that we are worshiping the saturn god because we worship on Saturday, then they are worshiping the sun god, moon god, tyr god, wodan god, thor god, frigg goddess and also the saturn god, for their Sabbaths keep falling on different days of the weekthus they honor all the planetary heathen gods and not just one!
Because the seventh day of the week has a pagan name today the holiness of that day does not vanish. In the Bible the first month is called Abib, but later the Israelites called the first month Nisan, the way the Babylonians called it.
…for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. (Deuteronomy 16:1)
In the first month, that is, the month Nisan (Esther 3:7)
If the Bible uses the Babylonian names to address months, there is nothing wrong if we use the Roman names to address the days of the week!
They say that we who worship God on Saturday will be punished on the Day of Judgment if we dont follow the beacon of lights in the heavens. Well, it is the other way round! God saw these moon gazers and predicted their judgment well in advance.
You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons predict what shall befall you. Behold, they are like stubble, the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before! (Isaiah 47:13, 14 RSV).
The light, not from the sky, but from the word is going out again to them because God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
To be continued:
Youths Corner When Quaker Youth Went Forth to Witness
(This month we continue a series based upon the book Youthful Witnesses by W. A. Spicer, published in 1921. This months story is taken from Chapter 13.)
With the Quaker profession one associates quietness and gravity and strict integrity of character. Religiously, one weakness in early Quaker teachings, we would say, was the substitution of inward impressions for the written Word by which God speaks. The voice of the Spirit comes generally by the Scripture — “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” By this sure standard every impression and every spirit must be tried.
But in a century when the popular view of Christian teaching lacked much, the Quaker came with his voice for peace and his protest against war and resistance of evil, and with insistence upon the iniquity of legally enforced religion. This testimony stirred up bitter opposition. In fact, the great offense of the Quakers was the steady witness to religionists in possession of civil power that it was wicked to use that power in religious enforcement. In isolated cases, under the strain of the natural excitement attending a spiritual resistance to intolerance, there were extravagant things done. But this was the exception, though the exception was naturally eagerly seized upon by enemies to represent the movement.
The first Quakers to land in New England were two women who came from England by way of Barbados in 1656. The leader was Mary Fisher, aged twenty-two years. New England ecclesiasticism, which had banished the Baptists, was startled. “Two poor women arriving in your harbor so shook ye,” wrote George Bishop in England, “as if a formidable army had invaded your borders.”
The two women were shipped back. But still the Quakers were to have a part with the Baptists in helping, by their sufferings, to teach the New England fathers a better way than that of physical force in matters of conscience. All these things were preparing the way for the recognition of religious liberty in the New World order.
Others came and went, or suffered and died, for no crime but that of wishing to bear witness to their faith, with protests against a religion of force and repression by civil power; and the witnesses increased.
So came the Southwick family into trial. Father and mother and elder son were in prison, leaving two younger children at home. This is the story of these young people:
While the aged couple and Josiah the son were languishing in Boston jail, Provided and Daniel being left at home,— presumably in want, since the cattle and household goods had already been destrained in order to satisfy the fines repeatedly imposed upon them by the courts,— these two, who in the narrative are called children, are also fined ten pounds ($50), for not attending public worship at Salem. To get this money, the General Court, sitting at Boston, issued this order:
“Whereas Daniel and Provided Southwick, son and daughter to Lawrence Southwick, have been fined by the county court at Salem and Ipswich, pretending that they have no estates, resolving not to work; and others likewise have been fined, and more [are] like to be fined, for siding with the Quakers and absenting themselves from the public ordinances — in answer to a question what counsel shall be taken for the satisfaction of the fines, the court on perusal of the law, title ‘Arrests,’ resolve that the treasurers of the several counties are and shall hereby be empowered to sell the said persons to any of the English nation at Virginia or Barbados.”
Joseph Besse, in his account of the affair, goes on to state that,
“Pursuant to this order, Edward Butler, one of the treasurers, to get something of the booty, sought out for passage to send them to Barbados for sale; but none were willing to take or carry them. And a certain master of a ship, to put the thing off, pretended that they would spoil all the ship’s company; to which Butler replied, “No, you need not fear that; for they are poor, harmless creatures, and will not hurt anybody."
“‘Will they not so?’ replied the shipmaster; ‘and will you offer to make slaves of such harmless creatures?’
“Thus Butler, notwithstanding his wicked intention, when he could get no opportunity to send them away, the winter being at hand, sent them home again to shift for themselves.”
But the young woman, for her perversity in faith, was given a scourging upon the bare back. These sufferings were not in vain. The report of them reached the king; and Provided’s elder brother was one of the witnesses in England whose testimony led Charles II, irreligious as he was, to order his colonial subjects in New England to cease their persecutions. The victory for freedom of faith was at hand, hastened on by the witness borne and the sufferings endured.
We who reap some of the benefits of the brave witnessing of older time, may well forgive where protest seemed to go too far, honoring the spirit and devotion to duty that characterized the lives of these confessors.
Mary Fisher before the Grand Turk
We must have a word further about Mary Fisher, the young Quaker who came first to Boston, as we have seen, and who was shipped back to Europe. George Bishop tells her story in his book, New England Judged, a book the reading of which, by the way, led King Charles II to take the steps to end the persecutions for religion in New England. After speaking of her visits to Paris and to Rome, Bishop tells of a missionary journey remarkable indeed for a young woman in those times. He says:
Mary Fisher, a servant of the Lord, a maiden Friend, being moved of the Lord to go and deliver His word to the Great Turk, who with his army lay encamped near Adrianople, went thitherward to Smyrna; but being hindered in her passage that way by the English ambassador, who sent her back to Venice, passed by land from the seacoasts of the Morea to Adrianople aforesaid very peaceably, without any abuse or injury offered in that long distance of about five or six hundred miles.
Being come to Adrianople, near unto which was the Grand Turk and his army, she acquainted some of the citizens with her intent, and desired some of them to go with her; but when none of them dared to go, fearing his displeasure, she passed alone, and coming near the camp, procured a man to inform at the tent of the Grand Vizier, or chief general of the army, that there was an English woman who had something to declare from the Great God to the Great Turk, who soon sent her word that she should speak with him the next morning.
So she returned to the city that night, and the next morning came to the camp, and so to the Great Turk, who, being with his great men about him, as he uses to be when he receives ambassadors, sent for her to come in; and she coming before him, he asked her whether it was so as he had heard, that she had something to say to him from the Lord?
She answered him, “Yea.”
Then he bade her speak on, having three interpreters by him; and when she stood silent for a little while, waiting on the Lord as to when to speak, he, supposing that she might be fearful to utter her mind before them all, asked her whether she desired that any might go forth before she spoke?
She answered, “Nay.”
Then he bade her speak the word of the Lord to them, and not to fear, for they had good hearts and could hear it; and strictly charged her to speak the word she had to say for the Lord, neither more nor less, for they were willing to hear it, be it what it would.
While she was speaking what the Lord had put into her mouth to say, they all gave diligent heed, with much soberness and gravity, till she had done; and then he asking her whether she had any more to say? she asked him whether he understood what she had said? He replied, “Yes, every word,” and further said that it was the truth, and desired her to stay in that country, saying that they could not but respect such a one as should take so much pains to come to them, so far as from England, with a message from the Lord; and proffered her a guard, to bring her into Constantinople, whither she intended. Which she accepted not, trusting in the arm of the Lord, which had brought her thither and prospered her work, to bring her back.
He told her it was dangerous traveling, especially for such a one as she, and wondered that she had passed so safe as far as she had, saying it was in respect and kindness to her that he proffered it, and that he would not for anything she should come to the least hurt in his dominions.
They were all desirous of more words than she had freedom to speak, and they asked her what she thought of their prophet Muhammad? She replied that she knew him not; but the Christ, the true Prophet, the Son of God, who was the light of the world, and enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world, Him she knew. And further said, concerning Muhammad, that they might judge him to be true or false according as the words and prophecies he spoke were either true or false; saying, “If the word that the prophet speaketh cometh to pass, then shall ye know that the Lord hath sent that prophet. But if it come not to pass, then shall ye know that the Lord never sent him;” to which they confessed and said it was the truth.
And so she departed through that great army to Constantinople, without a guard.
That was missionary journeying, sure enough, nearly two hundred fifty years ago. George Robinson, a London youth, went to the Holy Land and Jerusalem, being protected by the Moslems from the friars. Ann Gargill faced twenty-five bishops in the hall of the Inquisition in Lisbon, and declared against their works and quoted to them Scriptural warnings against the anti-Christian system.
It was too detached and unsystematic a work, these missionary tours, to bring permanent results; but the courageous spirit of these Quaker young people inspires to greater daring and less timidity in the cause of Christ. We may not hesitate to go anywhere in the Master’s service.
W. A. Spicer
The Value of a Penny
by Grace Cox
I was walking one day with my ten-year-old grandson, and there in front of us on the pavement was a penny.
“Look!” I exclaimed. “A penny! Pick it up.” I expected him to be excited.
“I don’t pick up pennies,” he informed me as he stepped over it.
“Well, I do!” I said, and I did. And I put it in my own pocket. “Pennies make dimes,” I told him, “and dimes make dollars.” I hoped the object lesson and the mini-lecture would sink in.
Someone worked and earned that penny on the ground. Someone dropped it without noticing, or if they did notice, they, like the child, considered it unworthy of a moment of their time or of the effort to bend and reach for it. It had no value to them. If I choose to, I can stoop and pick up the penny. I didn’t earn it to start with, but by taking a moment and expending the small effort to pick it up, I have earned it now. I can save it or spend it because, small as it may be, there is value in it because pennies really do make dimes!
The other day I picked up a penny by the gas pump. It had had such a miserable life that it barely resembled itself. Cankered and scuffed, scratched and dirty, it lay there, resigned to its fate of nothingness. How many had seen it and, repelled by its condition, had chosen to ignore it. In contemplation of the lowly penny in its damaged state, I am drawn to think of deeper things, of the spiritual implications inherent in how I view the penny on the ground.
The world is full of “lost pennies,” human beings who have been allowed to fall down with no one who cared enough to pick them up. Perhaps through their life experiences, through wrong choices they have made or choices that were made for them, they have become scuffed, scarred, and flattened almost beyond recognition. Perhaps, because of their less-than-perfect appearance or their personality flaws, no one has seen in them any value, certainly nothing worth salvaging. So, we have passed by on the other side and have ignored the need that begs our attention.
Jesus never passed by on the other side. He touched the untouchable, he healed the undeserving, he ministered to the masses. If I am a follower of Jesus, how can I pass by on the other side? He comes to us in the persons of the “lost pennies,” those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, homeless; those who, having fallen down, are lying helpless in their misery. “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these . . . you have done it unto me,” he says (Matthew 25:40). If I have done nothing for the helpless ones, in ignoring them I have ignored Jesus and have passed by on the other side.
Sometimes, I may feel like the castaway penny myself. Maybe you do as well. We wish that someone would take notice, see in us something of value, and bother to give us a bit of their time, share with us a bit of themselves, offer us a cup of cold water, so to speak, and revive our flagging spirits. But whether anyone else does or not, God sees value in us, much more value than is in a lowly penny. And he stooped all the way down to our earthly level in the person of his Son to pick us up, dust us off, and make a place for us right next to his heart.