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. 23, No. 1 Straight and Narrow January 2014
"Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven,
who hath gendered it?" (Job 38:29)
In This Issue
Partaking of the Divine Nature
The Lawful Use of the Law
The Big Lie
We Need to Rethink Statin Drugs
From the File Cabinet of History
Sabbath School Lessons Comments
Old Paths on the iPad
Partaking of the Divine Nature, Part 1
In the last six issues of Old Paths, we have been studying the incarnation. These studies cannot even be considered an introduction to a topic the redeemed will study for eternity:
The study of the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice and mediatorial work, will employ the mind of the diligent student as long as time shall last. (Christs Object Lessons, p. 134)
Because of the limitations of time and space, we now conclude this series with the apex of our study on the incarnation. In past issues we have seen how the divine Son of God became a partaker of humanity. Now we shall study how humanity becomes a partaker of the divine nature.
When narcotic detectives raided a loft apartment in a depressed neighborhood in New York City, their eyes and hearts were shockingly opened. The dark corridors and dingy rooms were crowded with twisted, ill-fed, and ill-clothed derelicts. Out of this human scrap heap, the police arrested six men for carrying hypodermic needles and heroin. Apprehensive of the host of this heterogenous company, the detectives charged him with harboring drug addicts.
At police headquarters, the meek-looking and mild-mannered man claimed that he had chosen to live among these people to provide them with food, shelter, and clothing. His door was open to all. He did not realize he was breaking the law in extending compassion. Investigation revealed that the operator of this strange hostel was neither a vagrant nor a drug habitué. The dedicated man turned out to be John Sargent Cram, a millionaire, who had been educated at Princeton and Oxford. To avoid the “rigmarole” of organized charity, he had moved into the undesirable neighborhood and had gone to work.
After his trial and acquittal, Cram was admonished not to take in drug addicts. Later he said to a reporter, I dont know if my work does any good, but I dont think it does any harm. Im quite happy, you know. I am anything but a despondent person. Call me eccentric. Call it my reason for being. I have no other! (G. Curtis Jones, 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching, p. 45)
An interesting statement! Cram went to live among those who needed help. This, in a sense, parallels the experience of Jesus Christ who became incarnate to live among sinners in need of help. Peter says:
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:3, 4)
Inspiration says that we are to become partakers of the divine nature and that Jesus united his divinity with our humanity.This was so our humanity could be combined with his divinity and so we could be a partaker of the divine nature.
Ellen White speaks of a divine culture which brings perfection that we can only obtain as we are partakers of the divine nature:
Divine culture brings perfection. If in connection with God the work is carried forward, the human agent, through Christ, will day by day gain victory and honor in the battle. Through the grace given he will overcome, and will be placed on vantage ground. In his relation to Christ he will be bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, one with Christ in a peculiar relationship, because Christ took the humanity of man. He became subject to temptation, endangering as it were, His divine attributes. Satan sought, by the constant and curious devices of his cunning, to make Christ yield to temptation. Man must pass over the ground over which Christ has passed. As Christ overcame every temptation which Satan brought against Him, so man is to overcome. And those who strive earnestly to overcome are brought into a oneness with Christ that the angels in heaven can never know.
The divine culture of men and women will be carried forward to completion only as they are partakers of the divine nature. Thus they may overcome as Christ overcame in their behalf. Through the grace given, fallen man may be placed on vantage ground. Through toil, through patient trust and faith in Jesus Christ, through faithful continuance in well-doing, he may rise to spiritual victory. (Ellen G. White, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 926; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)
There is nothing wrong with culture of itself and certainly nothing wrong with divine culture. Some seem too proud of their humility to wish for culture. We are told, however, that “divine culture brings perfection.” This divine culture we receive by partaking of the divine nature.
Christ was given the right to bestow immortality. The life which Jesus had laid down in humanity, he again took up and gave to humanity. In John 10:10, Jesus said: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Jesus is not simply speaking of good health, though that is important and is a part of the abundant life, but he wants us to have both a quality and a quantity of life that is abundant and eternal. Inspiration speaks of this as the science of life unto eternal life:
All who are one with Christ through faith in Him gain an experience which is life unto eternal life. (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 302)
Jesus spoke of this experience as recorded by John:
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:54–57)
Our life has to be a life infused with the life of Christ from the beginning to the end and everything in between. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also (John 14:19). The life we are to live is to be the embodiment of the life of Christ. Continuing in Selected Messages, Ellen White noted:
Christ became one [in the flesh] with humanity, that humanity might become one in spirit and life with Him. By virtue of this union in obedience to the Word of God, His life becomes their life. He says to the penitent, I am the resurrection, and the life (John 11:25). (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 302)
The brackets in the above text are designed to show that we have added the expression in the flesh. Certainly the context must allow something to be used to express in what manner Jesus became one with us, and we shall shortly show that inspiration does indeed state that it is in flesh that Christ became one with humanity.
By joining to Christ, by partaking of the divine nature, we have life, real life, even life eternal. Jesus said, And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). This life, eternal life, we may have now and not at some future time. Jesus became one in flesh with us so that we might become one in spirit with him. Paul writes:
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17)
Paul also notes that we are to have the mind of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5) and comparing Pauls quotations of Isaiah 40:13 in 1 Corinthians 2:16 and in Romans 11:34 with the text in Isaiah, we find that the term mind and the term spirit are equated with each other. Paul says, “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Thus, we are to be of one spirit with Christ, and that is the same as being of one mind. He becomes one in flesh with us, and we become one in spirit with him.
As noted earlier inspiration does indeed state that Jesus became one flesh with us, and he did this so we could become one spirit with him and thus begin eternal life:
Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave,not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because, through faith, His life has become ours. Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal. (The Desire of Ages, p. 388)
When does his life become ours? It is not in the future when Jesus comes and raises the dead, but it is now when we yoke up with Christ. It is now that we form a union with him. When we receive Jesus into our heartsat that timewe have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal.” When the dead are called forth from the grave, it is not because of a great miracle performed at that time. The life of Christ has already been imparted to the believer.
Now, as we compare the prior statement from Selected Messages with the above statement from The Desire of Ages, we see a perfect harmony.
Christ became one with humanity, that humanity might become one in spirit and life with Him. (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 302)
Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. (The Desire of Ages, p. 388)
Breaking down the comparison we see clearly the validity of declaring that Jesus became one flesh with humanity.
SM: Christ became one with humanity
DA:Christ became one fleshwithus,
DA: in order that wemight
SM:become one in spirit and life with Him.
DA:becomeone spiritwith Him.
The Desire of Ages also provides us the following statement:
As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. (The Desire of Ages, p. 331)
It is the purpose of God that heaven and eternal life will begin here. Sadly, in many homes heaven does not begin here, but it should. How many times do couples marry thinking that they will have a heaven on earth, only to have a hell on earth? This happens because Christ is lacking from some, or perhaps all, members of the home. Even if you are in a concentration camp, you can have life eternal and heaven here on earth, if you have Jesus Christ with you. Heaven is not dependent upon the circumstances around you; it depends upon Christ being within. If you have the life of Jesus now, if you are his now, then heaven has begun for you now!
Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). John wrote parallel thoughts in his first epistle, using slightly different words but the same thoughts:
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. 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 5:11–13)
John records Jesus speaking of life eternal, while he, John, uses the expression eternal life. In each case in the original Greek, life is the noun and eternal is the adjective. In both John 17:3 and 1 John 5:11, the word for life (zoe) comes just before the word for eternal (aiônios), but in Greek the syntax is not very important. In most cases words can easily change location within the text, for their purpose and usage is not determined by their locations in the text, but by the form of the word. John 17:3 could be translated eternal life, as it is in many English translations (NKJV, Darby, RSV, CSV, NIV, ESV, etc.). We may begin eternal life now. If we are faithful unto the end (Matthew 10:22), immortality will be given at the coming of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:51–54).
For God to finally trust someone with immortality it must be demonstrated that the believer has yielded his or her life totally to the leading of the Holy Spirit and has received the divine nature. A change of character must precede a change of being.
When we have Christ we have all the fullness of the Godhead. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). The believer has all the fullness of deity in Jesus, and Jesus offers that fullness to us:
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. (Ephesians 3:14–21)
We who are in sinful flesh may have all the fullness of God. It does not mean that we are omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), or omnipresent (everywhere present), but it does mean that we have Christ, and when we have him, we have the fullness of God. What Christ possessed, we are to have and experience now, even the fullness of the Godhead! It is written:
In Christ dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily. This is why, although He was tempted in all points like as we are, He stood before the world, from His first entrance into it, untainted by corruption, though surrounded by it. Are we not also to become partakers of that fullness, and is it not thus, and thus only, that we can overcome as He overcame? (Ellen G. White, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 907)
With what fullness did Christ possess the “divine nature”? Is this the same fullness of which we must partake, if we are to overcome as he overcame? According to the above statement, it is the same fullness.
Christ came to be our example, and to make known to us that we may be partakers of the divine nature. How?By having escaped the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Satan did not gain the victory over Christ. He did not put his foot upon the soul of the Redeemer. He did not touch the head though he bruised the heel. Christ, by his own example, made it evident that man may stand in integrity. Men may have a power to resist evila power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master; a power that will place them where they may overcome as Christ overcame. Divinity and humanity may be combined in them. (The Review and Herald, February 18, 1890)
Christ did not come to simply be our substitute, but also to be our example. We may have a power to resist evil, as humanity and divinity are combined.
In Christ divinity and humanity were united, and the only way in which man may be an overcomer is through becoming a partaker of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Divinity and humanity are blended in him who has the spirit of Christ. (The Youths Instructor, June 30, 1892)
Isnt that beautiful! You hear the excuses given: I cant overcome. I cant keep the commandments and be perfect. Jesus could because he was God. Jesus could because he had a divine nature. But this inspired statement from The Youths Instructor says that “divinity and humanity are blended in him who has the spirit of Christ.” This was his secret of success—his humanity was blended with divinity, as he partook of the spirit of God.
Scarcely can the human mind comprehend what is the breadth and depth and height of the spiritual attainments that can be reached by becoming partakers of the divine nature. (Our High Calling, p. 60)
Perhaps the human mind can scarcely recognize this because we have become so calloused. We have been so firmly set in the rut of sin. Too many of us have heard sermons all of our lives about how good Jesus is to forgive us and about how we are going to sin some anyway. So to our minds it is hard to comprehend the spiritual attainments that we may reach by partaking of the divine nature.
Christ gave to humanity an existence out of Himself. To bring humanity into Christ, to bring the fallen race into oneness with divinity, is the work of redemption. Christ took human nature that men might be one with Him as He is one with the Father, that God may love man as He loves His only-begotten Son, that men may be partakers of the divine nature, and be complete in Him.
The Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the only-begotten Son of God, binds the human agent, body, soul, and spirit, to the perfect, divine-human nature of Christ. This union is represented by the union of the vine and the branches. Finite man is united to the manhood of Christ. Through faith human nature is assimilated with Christs nature. We are made one with God in Christ. (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 251)
Is this pie in the sky? Can this union with Christ be a reality? Is this only for others? Let us answer this by examining a question. What makes God, God? Was Michael God before he came to earth? His name means who is like God. The Bible says that he was in the form of God before the incarnation. Philippians 2:6 says that Jesus was in the form of God. Another translations says, Who, being in very nature God (Philippians 2:6 NIV). This one who is in very nature God is then contrasted with a slave. When Jesus came to earth, he took the form of a servant [Greek: slave] (Philippians 2:7 KJV). Though he took this slave nature in the incarnation, when he was a baby in Bethlehem, he was called God, and all the angels of heaven were commanded to worship him:
And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. (Hebrews 1:6–8)
When the angels sang “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14) to the helpless baby, the sovereign of the universe commanded that they worship Christ. You do not worship creatures; you only worship deity. The Father, speaking to the Son, says: “Thy throne, O God” (Hebrews 1:8), quoting Psalm 45:6.
He veiled the demonstrations of Deity which had commanded the homage, and called forth the admiration, of the universe of God. He was God while upon earth, but he divested himself of the form of God, and in its stead took the form and fashion of a man. He walked the earth as a man. For our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. He laid aside his glory and his majesty. He was God, but the glories of the form of God he for a while relinquished. (The Review and Herald, June 5, 1887)
There are those who, in an effort to uplift and exalt the Father, are fearful to call Jesus God, but the Father was not fearful and neither was Ellen White. Ellen White also notes that Jesus, for a time, relinquished the glories of the form of God. The word relinquished is the past participle of relinquish. Relinquish means: To withdraw from to give up; to release; to surrender (Noah Websters 1828 Dictionary). For a time he gave up, or surrendered, his omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and immortality. The Bible says that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52). He could not have done that if he was already omniscient. Jesus declared, I can of mine own self do nothing (John 5:30). Jesus did not say he chose to do nothing, but that he could do nothing of himself. Jesus was, however, no less God without those powers!
Ellen White says that the glories of the form of God he for a while relinquished. This is evident from Christs prayer, And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5). Jesus declared that there was a time when he had a glory that he did not have at the time of the prayer. He asked God to return it to him at some future time.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
There was a glory of grace and truth that the disciples could see, but it was not the full manifestation of deity for which Jesus prayed. Jesus did not have, as a man, the attributes that we commonly think of as being the exclusive property of God, yet he was deity upon the earth.
We are told:
As a member of the human family he was mortal, but as a God he was the fountain of life to the world. He could, in his divine person, ever have withstood the advances of death, and refused to come under its dominion; but he voluntarily laid down his life, that in so doing he might give life and bring immortality to light. He bore the sins of the world, and endured the penalty which rolled like a mountain upon his divine soul. (The Review and Herald, June 5, 1887)
Let us be clear. Jesus is divine; he is God, but he is not the Father.
At the Saviours baptism, Satan was among the witnesses. He saw the Fathers glory overshadowing His Son. He heard the voice of Jehovah testifying to the divinity of Jesus. (The Desire of Ages, p. 116)
Jesus was God while living as a man upon the earth, but not because of the powers that were within him, but because of his relationship to his Father and because of his character of pure love. First John 4:8 says that “God is love.” This is a definition that no other being can, of itself, claim. Only God is pure love, and Jesus perfectly revealed this love.
The pure character of divine love which Jesus possessed was never laid aside or relinquished by Christ. This was the glory that men saw, and Jesus was still God, as much as when he was Michael in heaven, commanding the hosts of heaven and fighting against Satan and the fallen angels.
It was not the power of God which Lucifer called into question. No. He wanted that power; he lusted after that power. It was the character of God which Lucifer questioned, and the great controversy is about the law of God which is a transcript of the character of God! The law is not a transcript of the power of God nor of the form of God, but of the character of God. (The scope of God’s creative power is mentioned in the fourth commandment, but this does not reveal how or why God chose to create. ) Understanding this difference is essential to us.
The revelation of the character of God is as much a revelation of God as is the revelation of the power of God.
The character of God and the character of Christ are the essence of truth and righteousness, and the power of God could only be used for the welfare of creation, if the character of God is as high as is his power.
He brought into his human nature all the life-giving energies that human beings will need and must receive. (The Review and Herald, June 5, 1887)
With these “life-giving energies,” Jesus proved that fallen human nature had no excuse for sinning and that God’s law can be kept.
It is through His intercession that we, through faith, repentance, and conversion, are enabled to become partakers of the divine nature, and thus escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. (The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 477, 478)
So that the divine nature may be imparted to the believer, Jesus has obtained the highest gift that heaven can now bestow:
Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church. (The Desire of Ages, p. 671)
The Spirit takes the things of Christ, the life-giving energies, and imbues them into the life of the believer. As this happens, Christ is glorified because in the acceptance of these life-giving energies, the believers are enabled to fully reflect the character of Jesus Christ and as this is repeated in thousands of believers, the great controversy is answered.
What then are these life-giving energies which are solely of heavenly origin? What are this life-giving energies by which man may possess the “divine nature”?To be continued Allen Stump
The Lawful Use of the Law
A little more than fifty years ago, the world was at the brink of nuclear war, as the United States of America and the Soviet Union faced off over issues involving the tiny island nation of Cuba. The Soviet Union had placed intercontinental ballistic missiles in Cuba that had the potential to kill over one half of the population of the United States. As the crisis deepened and as war seemed probable, President Kennedy turned to his most trusted advisor, his brother, Robert Kennedy, the United States Attorney General, and asked him to deliver a stern message to the Soviets. It was the second Saturday night of the crisis, and Robert Kennedy was given a proposal to offer the Soviets. If they accepted, war would be averted. If they did not accept it, war would begin in less than forty-eight hours. Thankfully, the proposal was accepted, and war was averted.
Had there been nuclear war, it would have been a terrible event, unlike anything humanity had seen before. Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been considered light to what could have happened. The world would have been very different for many years and might still be very different today. I might not be here, and you might not be alive either.
War is terrible, and we live in a world of war—a world that has seen war upon war. War on a physical level is terrible, but war first began on the spiritual level. War did not begin on earth; it began in heaven! Before there was a battle or a conflict upon this earth, heaven was rocked with rebellion.
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. 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. (Revelation 12:7–9)
This spiritual war has come to the earth, and we all see it and live within this conflict today. I would like to direct your attention to a statement in the book The Great Controversy, where we read about spiritual warfare and read how this was enacted out among the early Christians and the papacy:
But there is no union between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness, and there can be no union between their followers. When Christians consented to unite with those who were but half converted from paganism, they entered upon a path which led further and further from the truth. Satan exulted that he had succeeded in deceiving so large a number of the followers of Christ. He then brought his power to bear more fully upon these, and inspired them to persecute those who remained true to God. None understood so well how to oppose the true Christian faith as did those who had once been its defenders; and these apostate Christians, uniting with their half-pagan companions, directed their warfare against the most essential features of the doctrines of Christ. (The Great Controversy, p. 45)
Where did the apostate Christians direct their warfare? It was not in persecuting the true Christians but, rather, against “the most essential features of the doctrines of Christ.”
It required a desperate struggle for those who would be faithful to stand firm against the deceptions and abominations which were disguised in sacerdotal garments and introduced into the church. The Bible was not accepted as the standard of faith. The doctrine of religious freedom was termed heresy, and its upholders were hated and proscribed.
After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the word of God. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls, and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and childrens children. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war. (Ibid.)
In the effort to have Christian unity, sometimes differences arise and if hearts are not yielded to the truth of the Scriptures, these differences may even led to spiritual war.
As we noted earlier in Revelation 12:7–9, war and conflict began in heaven, and Satan has brought physical and spiritual warfare to this earth, where we are all involved. God does not want his people ignorant of the issues in this war. He has told us:
In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned. (The Desire of Ages, p. 761; all emphasis in this article 2supplied unless otherwise noted)
The great controversy began over the law of God. Could the law be obeyed? This was not a charge that arose after man sinned upon this earth, but this had been the issue from “the opening of the great controversy.”
The charge was that God had a law that could not be obeyed and that if the law was violated, the transgressor could not be forgiven.
What term does the Bible use when one does not live in harmony with the law of God? What is defined by the transgression of God’s law? That is right—sin! Sin is defined as breaking the law of God. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). This is given in the form of a definition of a term, and we have been told that this is the only definition for sin given in the Bible:
Now, we want to understand what sin isthat it is the transgression of Gods law. This is the only definition given in the Scriptures. (Faith and Works, p. 56)
Similar references to this fact can be found in many of Ellen Whites writings. (See The Great Controversy, page 492; Our High Calling, page 141; Selected Messages, book 1, page 320; Bible Echo, June 11, 1894; General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 2, 1897; etc.)
It should be noted that 1 John 3:4 is not the only definition of sin, but it is the only biblical definition of sin. There are theologians who define sin differently, but those definitions do not square or match with the Bible.
The issue of the great controversy revolves around the law of God and if it can be obeyed, and this has been true from the beginning of the controversy.
The great controversy from Adams day down to our time has been on the point of obedience or opposition to Gods law; and every soul will be found on the side of the obedient or the rebellious. (The Signs of the Times, December 23, 1886)
We are either going to be obedient or rebellious. But to what shall we be obedient or rebellious? How does God define the pathway by which we are to walk, so as to please him? Beloved, he does it through his law. This point of obedience was also an issue in the time of Paul, and he wrote to Timothy concerning this:
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. (1 Timothy 1:1–11)
Here are some very important verses. We will focus on verses 8–11 later, but let us first go back and notice the verses leading up to verse 8.
In the first two verses of the chapter, Paul gives his usual greeting or salutation.
Verses 3 and 4 give some of the background of Paul’s life and ministry, as it related to Timothy before he wrote the epistle. The English Standard Version translates these verses as follows:
As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. (1 Timothy 1:3, 4 ESV)
There are many things that can be taught which bring about speculation and take us away from the faith as it is in Jesus. Paul warns Timothy to avoid these speculations.
Verse 5 states that the end of the commandment is charity. The Greek words translated the end are to telos. Telos means end in the sense of the goal or the purpose of the commandment. (Also see Romans 10:4.) It does not mean that the commandment has ended or has been abolished.
The specific commandment Paul is speaking of is not the Ten Commandments but the charge or command that he had given Timothy. (The Greek word for command here is paraggelia, and it means an instruction or a command. Paraggelia comes from the word paraggello which means to transmit a message or to give an order or charge. Paraggello itself is from the Greek words para, meaning beside, and aggello, meaning message. The latter word is closely related to the word for angel (messenger) and gospel (good message).) The goal or end of this charge is love, agape (1 Corinthians 13:). Paul’s charge to Timothy was based in love. Paul desired to bring a spirit of love into the hearts of the church members at Ephesus. There had been debates on myths and on endless genealogies which needlessly caused contention and did not result in love. Paul desired the believers to have a pure heart, for he knew that the pure in heart would see God (Matthew 5:8). Accompanying this pure heart would be a good conscience and genuine faith.
Continuing in 1 Timothy 1:6, Paul says that some had swerved or turned aside and did not have the pure heart, the good conscience, or the genuine faith mentioned in verse 5. The Greek literally says that they had missed the mark.
Now we come to verse 7. There were (and are) those who claim to be teachers of the law, both of the Ten Commandments and of the law in the broad sense of the whole instruction of God—the Bible—yet they were (and are) void of understanding. The very things they claim to teach they misunderstand. The ESV states it this way:
Desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. (1 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
These people made confident, even very bold, statements about the law of God. These statements, on the surface, may have sounded wonderful, but they were not true statements. Remember that Satan did not tell Eve things that sounded bad. His temptation sounded wonderful and good to her. The words of Satan seemed sweet and harmonious to Eve, and she desired to receive that which the serpent told her was her rightful possession.
The words of a teacher carry significant influence. But if a teacher, without adequate comprehension, uses words indiscriminately, the only result that can come is confusion! And we are going to see an example of this shortly that may be shocking, but is simply the logical conclusion to building upon a wrong foundation.
In 1 Timothy 1:8 Paul states that “the law is good.” According to the context of verses 8–10, it is clear that the law he is speaking of now is the Ten Commandment law. Paul is not speaking in a broad way of the system of law, as he does in other places, and he is not speaking of the ceremonial law, but specifically of the Ten Commandments.
Paul says that the law is good, and the Greek word for law is nomos. Nomos is used one hundred ninety-seven times in the New Testament and is translated law one hundred ninety-five times and is translated laws twice in the book of Hebrews.
Paul says that the law (Ten Commandments) is good. What does good mean? I might say I have a good dog or thank my mother for a good meal. What does this mean? Good means to be desired or approved of (New Oxford American Dictionary). Interestingly the Greek word for good in verse 8 is kalos. Kalos means beautiful or that which is excellent! Paul is saying that the law is beautiful. The law is excellent. Let us notice how kalos is used in the New Testament, so we can see the depth of meaning that it carries.
In Matthew 13:45 kalos is used to describe the goodly pearls for which the merchant was searching. The work of Mary Magdalene in anointing Jesus is described as kalos in Matthew 26:10. The good shepherd of John 10:11 is kalos. In the LXX kalos is used in Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31 and is translated good to describe the creation work of God.
Going back to 1 Timothy now, Paul says that the law is good and because these would-be teachers of verse 7 made a misuse of the law to teach unprofitable fables, he now presents the law in its correct perspective. However, Paul does not want his criticism of the teachers of the law to be misinterpreted as antinomianism.
Three times in Romans 7 Paul notes that the law is good, using kalos: Romans 7:16, 18, and 21. He also calls the law good in Romans 7:12, using the Greek word agatho.
The commandments are good because they represent God’s holy character, and anyone who tries to remove the law of God with any substitute in the Christian’s life is not doing a good, beautiful, or excellent thing!
In 1 Timothy 1:8 Paul writes that the law is good, if it is used lawfully. The Holman Christian Standard Bible translates this verse: But we know that the law is good, provided one uses it legitimately.” There is a lawful, or legitimate, use of the law, and there is an unlawful and illegitimate use of the law. If I were to tell you that you are saved by keeping the law and that you must now start to keep the law to be saved, would I be using the law lawfully? Of course not!
The law is not a means of salvation. The Bible is very clear on this. Paul also wrote, Therefore by the deeds (Greek: ergon–works) of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). The text literally says “out of works of law.” Paul is very strong and very clear on this when he writes “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).
Paul is not teaching that the law is done away with, and he cannot mean that the law is no longer needed, for he also writes: Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law (Romans 3:31). The we in this verse is not the sinner or unconverted person, but those who are saved by grace through faith. The Christian establishes the law! If the law is irrelevant for the Christian, why does Paul say that the Christian establishes the law?
Have you ever met someone who openly claimed that a person is saved by keeping the law? I doubt you have met many, if any. In my life I have met two such disciples of error. However, there are antinomians who want to live apart from Gods law, and they bring a charge against Gods people, saying that the people of God believe in salvation by obedience to the law. It may be said something like this: You keep the law to be saved or you have a relationship with the law. In doing this they build up a straw man, or false argument, and then proceed to cut it down with verses like Romans 3:20; Galatians 5:4; etc.
Jesus said, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18).
With this background we can better approach what Paul is saying in 1 Timothy 1:9: “The law was not made for the righteous man.” What does Paul mean? He does not mean something that cannot be harmonized with the rest of Scriptures and with volumes of references from the Spirit of Prophecy!
It is interesting to notice that Paul does not say the law was not made for the righteous man. Rather, he says that the law is not made for a righteous man (present tense, as opposed to past tense). This certainly puts the presence of the law in the present and not in the past. Paul does not teach that believers are no longer obligated to obey the Ten Commandments or that the Ten Commandments serve no function to the Christian. Notice this clear, scripturally-based statement:
There are many who cry, Believe, only believe. Ask them what you are to believe. Are you to believe the lies forged by Satan against Gods holy, just, and good law? God does not use His great and precious grace to make of none effect His law, but to establish His law. What is the decision of Paul? He says: What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law. . . . For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and [the commandment then ended?No.] I [Paul] died. . . . Wherefore the law is [standing directly in the way of my having liberty and peace?No.] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good (Romans 7:712). (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 347; bracketed text inserted by Ellen White)
When Paul says that the law is not made for the righteous man, he is not saying that the righteous man does not use the law or that it is not a part of his life, but that there is something about it that is different than before he became a Christian.
Jesus did not come to liberate men from obedience to the law of God, but to show man the possibility of obedience and to provide the necessary power for complete victory over sin.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:3, 4)
Paul says that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in all believers through faith in Christ. So what Paul is saying in 1 Timothy 1:9? Firstly, nothing that would be contrary to other scriptures. Secondly, he is saying that the law no longer condemns the Christian who is justified by grace through faith, although the law still remains as his standard of conduct. If we are living in sin, the law condemns us, but if we are not living in sin, the law does not, and cannot, condemn us. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). When you are walking in obedience to the law of God, sin does not have dominion over you and you are not under the law, condemned as a sinner, but you are walking in the law through grace by the power of Christ.
Paul says that the law was for the lawless and disobedient—those opposed to or uncontrolled by law. The law teaches them what sin is and to flee to Christ for the cure. Now some might think that if sanctification is immediate and instantaneous and if we nevermore sin, then we do not need the law, but we are never to feel we have arrived. The Bible is clear on the attitude of the Christian. John writes, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
Does the Bible make provision for overcoming all sin? Yes, it does! God declared Job to be perfect and upright (Job 1:1), yet Job said of himself:
If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. (Job 9:20)
The very moment that we claim to be without sin, we have, at that moment, sinned. How could God say Job was perfect and yet, Job felt very much otherwise? The answer is clearly laid out for us by the Lord’s servant:
None of the apostles and prophets ever claimed to be without sin. Men who have lived the nearest to God, men who would sacrifice life itself rather than knowingly commit a wrong act, men whom God has honored with divine light and power, have confessed the sinfulness of their nature. They have put no confidence in the flesh, have claimed no righteousness of their own, but have trusted wholly in the righteousness of Christ.
So will it be with all who behold Christ. The nearer we come to Jesus, and the more clearly we discern the purity of His character, the more clearly shall we see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the less shall we feel like exalting ourselves. There will be a continual reaching out of the soul after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the heart before Him. At every advance step in our Christian experience our repentance will deepen. We shall know that our sufficiency is in Christ alone and shall make the apostle’s confession our own: “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.” “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Romans 7:18; Galatians 6:14.
Let the recording angels write the history of the holy struggles and conflicts of the people of God; let them record their prayers and tears; but let not God be dishonored by the declaration from human lips, I am sinless; I am holy. Sanctified lips will never give utterance to such presumptuous words. (The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 561, 562)
Our sufficiency is not in the law, but “in Christ alone.”
Returning to 1 Timothy 1:9, Paul says that the law was made for the lawless and disobedient. The word disobedient here means rebellious. Sin is rebellion against God’s authority. When a creature refuses to live in obedience with the law of God, he presumes his judgment to be wiser than God’s. Rebellion against authority results in the terrible list of selfish sins which follows.
In verse 9 Paul mentions the ungodly, that is, the irreligious persons. He also speaks of the profane. Those who are profane fail to make a distinction between holy and secular things. The Greek word for profane literally means to trod upon. These people lose a sense of the living God and totally live on a carnal plane, as did Esau:
Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. (Hebrews 12:16)
The first part of the list in 1 Timothy 1:9 (lawless, disobedient, ungodly, sinners, unholy, profane) especially deals with the first table of the Decalogue, but in the latter part of verse 9 and then in verse 10, Paul describes mans transgressions against one anotherthe sins addressed by the second table of the Decalogue. Paul says that all of this is contrary to sound doctrine (v. 10). The expression sound doctrine literally means healthy teaching. Paul presents a sharp and clear image of those who defy God’s law and of the results of that violation in the deterioration of body, mind, and soul.
Jesus, through David, said: “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth” (Psalm 119:142). Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The law is the truth, and to say that the law is irrelevant to the Christian does not make good sense. We cannot, and we will not, be sanctified through error. Sanctification will only come through truth. Joining any program or group for the sake of unity is wrong, if truth is compromised.
Error is never harmless. It never sanctifies, but always brings confusion and dissension. It is always dangerous. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 292)
Error causes confusion but as the truth is lived, peace comes to the mind and vitality to the body.
Now we may come to 1 Timothy 1:11: “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” To read 1 Timothy 1:9, 10 without verses 8 and 11 certainly lifts this portion from the context for verses 8–11, and the entire section actually forms one sentence in the English translation and, more importantly, in the Greek also. To leave out such an important part of Scripture as verse 8, when quoting verses 9 and 10, is not healthy teaching.
The Seventh-day Adventist people for over one hundred sixty years have had a banner. It is the banner that his people are to have today, and they will have it when Jesus comes. It is Revelation 14:12: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Two aspects are here—the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. To take half of this away critically wounds and kills the third angel’s message.
God has placed in our hands a banner upon which is inscribed, Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:12. This is a distinct, separating message,a message that is to give no uncertain sound. It is to lead the people away from the broken cisterns that contain no water, to the unfailing Fountain of the water of life. (Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 11)
Who has placed this banner in our hands? Did Ellen White put it there or James White? No, friends; God placed this banner in our hands. Speaking at the General Conference in 1891, Ellen White said:
As the fourth commandment and those who observe it are ignored and despised, the faithful feel that it is the time not to hide their faith but to exalt the law of Jehovah by unfurling the banner on which is inscribed the message of the third angel, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (General Conference Daily Bulletin, April 13, 1891)
Ellen White said that the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus are the third angel’s message and when we take out half of this message, we disembowel Adventism.
It is important that we take time now to discuss the discipline called systematic theology. Systematic theology is a discipline of Christian theology that attempts to formulate an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the Christian faith and beliefs. It is a theology that brings all the pieces of truth together as interlocking parts, building upon foundational truths, with no doctrine truly standing alone or disconnected from other truth. If you affect one teaching, you will by necessity, if you are true to logic and to principles from the Bible, affect other teachings, which will then affect other teachings and the lower on the pyramid of theology you begin this process, the more the other teachings will be affected.
Let us see how an example of this works. If you believe that the soul is immortal, then that will affect the way you view death and the reward of the wicked. Since the dead do not die, the wicked dead live forever. However, since the wicked dead cannot live in heaven, there must be a place for them, and that place becomes an eternally burning hell. So you can see how one foundational doctrine affects other things and the more basic the doctrine, the more other things are affected.
Two of the most fundamental pillars of truth that systematic theology builds upon are the doctrine of Christ and the doctrine of sin. If you read textbooks on systematic theology, you will see this is true, and they are so fundamental because so much else builds upon them. This is why if we begin to change these vital truths, we can quickly end up with Babylonian doctrines. We look with shock and disbelief that the early church drifted into apostasy. This drifting took centuries to fully develop, but at the end of time—now, today—Satan is working with ten times the ability he had then:
I have been shown that Satan has not been stupid and careless these many years, since his fall, but has been learning. He has grown more artful. His plans are laid deeper, and are more covered with a religious garment to hide their deformity. The power of Satan now to tempt and deceive is ten-fold greater than it was in the days of the apostles. (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, p. 277)
This was not Ellen White’s opinion but something revealed to her from heaven. Satan’s ability to deceive you is ten-fold greater today than his ability was in the days of the apostles. What took Satan decades and centuries to accomplish in the deception of the early church, he has been able to accomplish in a few years here at the end of time.
For the last eight years among some who claim to believe the truth about God, there has been a new paradigm of thought, beginning with a new definition of sin and building upon that until the theology formed is hardly something that can fit under that banner of the third angel.
The next part of this study should be prefaced by noting that we are going to be quoting from a current source that has accepted this new paradigm of thought. We do this because honest souls are becoming confused and a clarification is needed so that all who wish to continue to stand upon the platform of truth may do so. We do this with malice to none. When an Adventist studies with a Catholic, he or she wants to make clear that the issues are truth versus error and are not about people or personalities. In the same way, we want to be very clear that we are not speaking about any person or personality. We will reference the quotations for the sake of documentation, without any reference to authors.
The November 2013 issue of Open Face magazine has some of the most shocking statements I have ever read from a publication that claims to be teaching the truth of the Advent movement, especially the truth about God.
As I was reading it, I began to notice statements that did not agree with inspiration and soon found that three key articles were full of confusing statements that contradict some of the plainest declarations of the Bible and of the Spirit of Prophecy. But you should not accept my thoughts. You will be able to decide for yourself. You can decide if this is the unfurling of a glorious new and improved Adventism or not.
Several different points of theology are addressed, and I will not touch upon all the points. Rather, I want to limit our discussion to the points concerning the law of God and the great controversy. Interestingly, the first article in Open Face is entitled Logical Progression. The truth is that the statements are the logical progression from accepting a new paradigm of thought.
Before I address some of these points, I want to make it clear that the law is not the Christians saviour. The law is not, nor has ever been, the focal point of my experienceChrist alone is and has been. The Christian does not have a relationship with the law.
The Christian’s relationship is with Christ, but the law is certainly a tool that God has given. According to Paul, it is a beautiful and excellent tool to understand God’s holiness and our wickedness.
We will set the most vital statements in Open Face in contradistinction to those of inspiration. The first statement we want to look at concerns the issue of the great controversy.
The Great Controversy over the Law of God
Open Face: Every question in the Great Controversy stems from the issue which Lucifer raised at the very beginning. What is this key issue, was it related to the law? Was the question, can the law of God be kept? It cannot be, because heavenly beings had been keeping the law for ages before the controversy began (Open Face, November 2013, “Foundation Principles,” p. 6, par. 1).
Inspiration: In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned (The Desire of Ages, p. 761).
From the very beginning of the great controversy in heaven it has been Satans purpose to overthrow the law of God (The Great Controversy, p. 582).
Is the Law of God Still Vital for the Christian?
Open Face: But if God alone is true and every man is a liar, then what the law causes us to do is to believe a lie. In Christ, my relationship with the law has come to an end. The law did its work when I was a sinner, but now, in Christ, I no longer need a schoolmaster to bring me to Christ so even though the law is not abolished, for me, it is irrelevant (Open Face, November 2013, p. 4, col. 2, par. 3).
Editors Note: You will never, under any context, find such a teaching in the Bible or in the Spirit of Prophecy!
Inspiration: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33; quoted in Hebrews 8:10).
The reverence of Gods people for His law is a constant rebuke to those who have cast off the fear of the Lord and are trampling on His Sabbath (Prophets and Kings, p. 605).
He [Satan] began to insinuate doubts concerning the laws that governed heavenly beings, intimating that though laws might be necessary for the inhabitants of the worlds, angels, being more exalted, needed no such restraint, for their own wisdom was a sufficient guide. They were not beings that could bring dishonor to God; all their thoughts were holy; it was no more possible for them than for God Himself to err (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 37).
Open Face: . . . if we are told that we are no longer under the law, then it must be that we really do not need the law in order to fulfill Gods will (Open Face, November 2013, p. 5, col. 1, par. 1).
Inspiration: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31).
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, And write it in their hearts; And will be their God, And they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33).
Editors Note: In the New Covenant, after conversion, after the old ways, the law is still there as the ruling direction of the heart.
The yoke that binds to service is the law of God. The great law of love revealed in Eden, proclaimed upon Sinai, and in the new covenant written in the heart, is that which binds the human worker to the will of God (The Desire of Ages, p. 329).
Mixing Truth and Error
Open Face: One of the major reasons why Adventists have insisted that we need a relationship to the law, is the Sabbath (Open Face, November 2013, p. 5, col. 1, par. 1).
Editors Note: Where is the documentation for this? If the author considers keeping the commandments to be in a relationship with them, then different and better words should be chosen.
Inspiration: The Sabbath is a sign of the relationship existing between God and His people, a sign that they are His obedient subjects, that they keep holy His law (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 198).
Our relationship is not with the law, but the keeping of the law, and specifically that of the Sabbath, is a sign of our relationship to God.
Open Face:The popular understanding is that God rested on the Seventh [sic] day in order to establish the day as a memorial of creation. However, the Bible does not say this. Therefore the seventh day is not primarily a memorial of creation, but rather, it is a memorial of Gods rest (Open Face, November 2013, p. 5, col. 2, par. 5; emphasis in original)!
Inspiration: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.…For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8, 11). “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion” (Psalm 111:4). “Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations” (Psalm 135:13).
The seventh-day Sabbath is a memorial of the creative power of God, and is to be sacredly observed throughout all generations (The Signs of the Times, March 12, 1894).
Christs purpose in parable teaching was in direct line with the purpose of the Sabbath. God gave to men the memorial of His creative power, that they might discern Him in the works of His hand. The Sabbath bids us behold in His created works the glory of the Creator (Christs Object Lessons, p. 25).
the Sabbath is a memorial of the work of creation, it is a token of the love and power of Christ (The Desire of Ages, p. 281).
Open Face: Now that we are righteous in Christ, we do not need the Sabbath of the law. We return to the Sabbath of Eden, the joyous fellowship of pure love, unspoiled by demands or prohibitions. The only demand is that which love impels, the only prohibition is that which stands in the way of love (Open Face, November 2013, “The Sabbath without the Law, ” p. 6, col. 2, 3).
Editors Note: Tell that to Eve!
Inspiration: In the time of the end every divine institution is to be restored. The breach made in the law at the time the Sabbath was changed by man, is to be repaired. Gods remnant people, standing before the world as reformers, are to show that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform and that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is to stand as a memorial of creation, a constant reminder of the power of God. In clear, distinct lines they are to present the necessity of obedience to all the precepts of the Decalogue. Constrained by the love of Christ, they are to co-operate with Him in building up the waste places. They are to be repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in. See verse 12 (Prophets and Kings, p. 678).
Open Face: Before Jesus came, God governed His people by the written law. After Pentecost, He governs them by the living law, His spirit within (Open Face, November 2013, beginning on p. 2, col. 3, last paragraph and continuing to p.3, col. 1).
I am under grace, not the law. I am continually directed by the spirit of the living God, not by a set of rules (Open Face, November 2013, p. 3, col. 1, par. 1).
Inspiration: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
Editors Note: God’s Spirit will never lead contrary to the word of God.
“The fanaticism was checked for a time; but several years later it broke out with greater violence and more terrible results. Said Luther, concerning the leaders in this movement: ‘To them the Holy Scriptures were but a dead letter, and they all began to cry, “The Spirit! the Spirit!” But most assuredly I will not follow where their spirit leads them.’ . . .
The fanatical teachers gave themselves up to be governed by impressions, regarding every thought and impulse as the voice of God; consequently they went to great extremes. Some even burned their Bibles, exclaiming: The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life (The Great Controversy, pp. 190, 191).
Editors Note: Systematic theology tells us that our views of sanctification are clearly related to our view of the law. It is no wonder we see the following statements:
Open Face: Beloved, in Christ we have been divorced from the flesh, the old man is dead, we are NEW creatures. We are not sinners anymore! Our sin-journey is over, dare to believe it! (Open Face, November 2013, p. 4, col. 3, par. 2; capitalized emphasis in original).
Inspiration: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse” (Job 9:20).
Let the recording angels write the history of the holy struggles and conflicts of the people of God; let them record their prayers and tears; but let not God be dishonored by the declaration from human lips, I am sinless; I am holy. Sanctified lips will never give utterance to such presumptuous words (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 561).
Open Face: Can we see this wonderful truth? The struggle with sin is in the past. Jesus did it for us and conquered sin completely. Now it is this victorious life which He gives to us. Sin is no longer a problem for Gods people, those who possess the life of Christ, because in this life, sin is in the past tense (Open Face, November 2013, p. 4, col. 1, par. 5)!
Inspiration: “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
“The followers of Christ are to become like Him—by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is Bible sanctification.
This work can be accomplished only through faith in Christ, by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God. Paul admonishes believers: Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12, 13. The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, but he will maintain a constant warfare against it. Here is where Christs help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims: Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 (The Great Controversy, pp. 469, 470).
The sanctification now gaining prominence in the religious world carries with it a spirit of self-exaltation and a disregard for the law of God that mark it as foreign to the religion of the Bible. Its advocates teach that sanctification is an instantaneous work, by which, through faith alone, they attain to perfect holiness. Only believe, say they, and the blessing is yours. No further effort on the part of the receiver is supposed to be required. At the same time they deny the authority of the law of God, urging that they are released from obligation to keep the commandments (The Great Controversy, p. 471).
The New Covenant experience does not replace the law of God with a spirit leading contrary to that law. No. The New Covenant places that same law, first written upon tables of stone, into a heart transformed from cold stone into warm flesh.
Our banner is to be the faith of Jesus and the commandments of God. We are told: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9). But right after this Paul notes, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (v. 10). While we look to Jesus, may we not forget the standard that tells us how much we daily need him and how wonderful he is to his people.
Finally, we need to note that the law of God was shown by Ellen G. White to be one of the great landmarks of God’s people:
One of the landmarks under this message was the temple of God, seen by His truth-loving people in heaven, and the ark containing the law of God. The light of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment flashed its strong rays in the pathway of the transgressors of Gods law. (Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 30)
Beloved, you do not move landmarks. “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28).
Jesus said, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10). Obedience from the heart is not legalism; it is love.
If we have been dishonoring God, we can change now. It is good to admit that we are wiser today than we were yesterday. If you have received much, or all, of this new paradigm of belief, do not let pride keep you attached to false teachings. Christ loves his people, and he truly wants to direct all of his people. If we have not seen clearly in the past, we have the promise of 1 John 1:9 that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That is a Bible promise, and Bible promises are what we need.
There are real issues and real conflicts, but we can have peace. We can have peace, if unity upon biblical truth is really desired. When the law is lawfully used and the truth of Jesus reigns in the hearts of believers, there will be peace. But to teach for truth that which is so contrary to truth, will only lead to differences. May our minds be open to truth and not to the suggestions of the Prince of Darkness.
We love the brethren at Open Face, and that has been true since these new paradigms of thought have arisen, and it will continue to be true. We pray that all the errors that have swept many off the platform of truth will be rejected and that Christ and he alone will be the focus of our attentions and that we will not jump from one extreme to another. May God have mercy upon Israel. Allen Stump
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)
DOES THE MOON REGULATE THE WEEKLY SABBATHS?
It is argued by lunar Sabbatarians that the weekly Sabbath is regulated by the moon. They compare a few texts and come to this conclusion. Let us investigate their view.
From Scripture we find that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the Creators week and that there is a luminary that regulates the appointed times, including the Sabbath (Genesis 1:14, Psalm 104:19, Leviticus 23:13). (Troy (Miller, The Moon Regulates the Weekly Sabbath, p. 2; emphasis in original; accessed 11–5–13 at http://creationcalendar.com/files/7-MoonRegulatesTheSabbath-SDA.pdf; article is in reverse order so that the first page of the article appears last)
Let us look at these texts and see what connections they are making.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. (Genesis 1:14)
He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. (Psalm 104:19)
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:1–3)
Yes, the word seasons in Genesis 1:14 and in Psalm 104:19 and the word feasts in Leviticus 23:13 are translations of the same Hebrew word mowed.
And mowed means an appointment, i.e. a fixed time or season; specifically a festival . . . an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation . . . (James Strong, Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, #4150).
Their conclusion is simply this: Based on Psalm 104:19, the moon is appointed to regulate the seasons (mowed), and the Sabbath is also a feast (mowed), so the moon regulates the seventh-day Sabbath.
Well, the word mowed is also used for different purposes and not just for the appointed feasts. In the book of Jeremiah, we see the prophet using the word mowed in reference to the timing of a birds travel:
Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7)
The Hebrew word translated appointed times is mowed. It has nothing to do with Gods sacred feasts. Mowed is her appointed time.
In the book of Judges, we see the word mowed used as a sign or signal:
Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the liers in wait, that they should make a great flame with smoke rise up out of the city. (Judges 20:38)
The Hebrew expression translated appointed sign is mowed and has nothing to do with the moon regulating it!
In the book of Daniel, the word mowed is used in prophetic language:
And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)
The Hebrew expression translated time, times is mowed mowadim, (plural form of mowed), and it has nothing to do with the sacred feasts. The total is three and one half years, and years are not regulated by the moon but by the sun!
Just because mowed is used in Genesis 1:14, in Psalm 104:19, and in Leviticus 23:1–3, concluding dogmatically that the moon regulates the weekly Sabbath because the Sabbath is also called a feast is not a sound method of interpretation, unless all other texts should say the same thing.
Illustration: Son of Man
Let me illustrate:
Jesus is called “Son of man” more than seventy-five times in the Bible. Here is an example:
And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. (Luke 6:5)
The prophet Ezekiel, too, is addressed “son of man” more than seventy-five times. Here is an example:
But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. (Ezekiel 2:8)
Because Jesus, who is called “Son of man,” is the “Lord of the Sabbath,” do we conclude that the prophet Ezekiel, who is also referred to as the “son of man,” is also “the Lord of the Sabbath”? Just because the same title is used doesn’t mean it refers to the same person. The context has to be checked.
The son of man in the book of Ezekiel was just human; the Son of man in the gospels is human and divine. To say both are the same is denying the other passages of scripture and is unsound interpretation.
Two Sets of Feasts
Though the seventh-day Sabbath is called a “feast,” God clearly differentiates, in the same way, between this feast and the other feasts.
Notice carefully that there are two lists of feasts in Leviticus 23. In the first list only the weekly Sabbath is mentioned:
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:1–3)
Now under the second list of feasts, the rest of the feasts are given:
These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. (Leviticus 23:4–6)
Why would God give two lists of feasts if all are of the same category?
Please notice that the feasts in the second list are connected with the month (or moon), but not the feast in the first list!
Feasts in the second list:
In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. (Leviticus 23:5)
And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread. (Leviticus 23:6)
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets (Leviticus 23:24)
Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement (Leviticus 23:27)
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34)
The feast in the first list:
Now notice the only feast in the first list has nothing to do with months (moons) at all:
Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:3)
The six working days revolve around the seventh-day Sabbath. There is no moon involved to regulate, control, or reset it!
Though some of the yearly feast days are called Sabbaths, just like the seventh-day Sabbaths, there is a huge difference between them both.
It was only on the weekly Sabbath that God personally rested! Also the seventh-day weekly Sabbath is the only Sabbath that is part of the creation record. The other Sabbath feasts came two thousand five hundred years later!
The seventh-day weekly Sabbath is also the only Sabbath that is part of the eternal Ten Commandment law.
Lest the people did not differentiate the two sets of feasts, the two kinds of Sabbaths, at the end of the lists of feasts, God emphasizes the difference:
These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations . . . Beside the sabbaths of the LORD. (Leviticus 23:37, 38)
So mixing both of the kinds of feasts, both of the kinds of Sabbath, is bluntly rejecting the counsel of the Lord Himself!
God has seen people doing this and has warned us against “handling the word of God deceitfully” (2 Corinthians 4:2).
Having seen how they have misinterpreted the word mowed in Leviticus 23, we will now see what they say about the first Sabbath on planet earth.
The First Sabbath
From the Genesis account of creation, we see that the moon was made on the fourth day and that the Sabbath rest began on the seventh day. Even a child who knows how to read can understand it plainly.
Now according to their theory, the first Sabbath is on the eighth day of the new moon. Even if God created a new moon on the fourth day, there are only three days between them.
And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. . . .And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Genesis 1:16, 19)
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:2, 3)
To come out of this terrible mess that the lunar Sabbatarians face in the very first chapter of the Bible and in the very foundational Sabbath of the Bible, they have interpreted scripture in the most irrational way.
The psalmist says, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do” (Psalm 11:3)?
The lunar Sabbatarians say that the moon was created (along with the sun and the stars), not on the fourth day but a day before the first day count began. That way it fits their theory that the Sabbath comes the eighth day from the new moon.
There is nothing said in the Bible about this. This is what they imagine. And they are doing their level best to make a new moon earlier than God made it!
What do they have to say about the scripture that clearly says that the sun and the moon were created on day four?
And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night . . . And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Genesis 1:16, 19)
This word made (Strongs H# 6213) is used several times during the creation week. This is the Hebrew word asah, (ah-saw). While it can mean that something was created from scratch, it can also mean advanced upon or appointed. (Miller, Ibid., p. 8; emphasis in original)
Though they state both meanings are possible, they hold on to only one of the meanings, as if the other meaning is impossible.
In fact, in the creation account, the word made has only one meaning. It is synonymous with the word created.
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:3)
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. (Genesis 2:4)
This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him (Genesis 5:1)
If they stress that the word created always comes before the word made, as in the above texts, then the order of the two words in the formation of man destroys their interpretation that made means advance upon and created means to start from scratch.
Notice the word make (Hebrew: asah) comes before the word created (Hebrew: bara). Logically speaking, according to their interpretations of those words, “created” should come first and “make” come second.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image. (Genesis 1:26, 27)
Was God advancing upon (appointing man his work), before creating him?
As proved earlier, the words made and created in the creation account are synonyms—they have the same meaning, not as the lunar Sabbatarians claim.
So God didn’t advance upon the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day, but God on the fourth day created them and appointed them their work.
Doesn’t it sound absurd and irrational that God creating them on a particular day, and then God comes back to them four or five days later and then appoints them their work? Why? Did God forget to tell them their jobs?
God created and made man on the sixth day. God created and appointed his work on the same day. Again you see how irrational and unsound they are in their interpretation of scripture.
We shall still proceed to see what they say about the creation of the moon and when it was.
Eight days after the initial creation event (Genesis 1:1) Yah ordained the first Sabbath. Which was indeed the 7th day of the week, but it was the 8th period or cycle from the initial creation event in Genesis 1:1, again proving that the new moon is not a week day. (Miller, Ibid., p. 10; emphasis in original)
The evidence from Scripture reveals that the sun was ignited on DAY ONE! Friends, YHVH created the heaven and the earth on this un-numbered creation event that took place before the “first day”.
Earth was without form and void. Evidently the other heavenly bodies must not have been in much better shape. On this un-numbered creation event Yah put into place all the material He would need, then He advanced upon this material for six days before He rested. (Ibid., p. 7; emphasis in original)
What does Genesis 1:1, 2 say?
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. (Genesis 1:1, 2)
For the lunar Sabbatarians, the in the beginning creation of heaven and the earth was the day one of creation, when God created every raw material in the “darkness.” Since the sun, moon and stars are in the heaven, they say they were created at that time, but they were not ignited because it was “darkness” everywhere.
Heres the scenario: YHVH created the earth and other celestial bodies at a certain point in time. He doesnt call it a day because the time piece that regulates the day was not yet ordained as such. Then on day one, YHVH lights the sun creating light and, of course, day and night as a result. If the earth and sun were created during the initial event, it is plausible that the planets, moons, etc., were created at the same time as well. We are not wresting Scripture when we make this statement because the underlying Hebrew could have been (and we are suggestingshould have been) translated in this way. (Miller, Ibid., p. 8)
One more statement from them, before we prove them wrong:
So as strange as it sounds, it appears that the other heavenly bodies were created at the same moment that this blob of earth was initially created. This is made evident by the phrase: In the beginning, Elohim made the heaven and the earth. So YHVH lit the sun on the first day of creation therefore creating light (and Day and Night as a result). The proof for such an odd statement is found in the language used in the fourth day creation account . . . (Ibid.; emphasis in original)
It sounds strange not only to us, but also to them! It is an “odd statement” by their own confession. Yet they want to believe this “odd statement” of theirs and the “strange as it sounds” doctrine! And surprisingly there are many who believe they are right without examining them properly.
They place the moon (the dark moon) a day before God said “let there be light.” Thus they have eight days from the “darkness” of the moon until the first Sabbath.
Some other group of people say the darkness in Genesis 1:2 was Satan, the prince of darkness, the “prince of the power of the air” Ephesians 2:2. (Air is also referred to as heaven.)
These are all mere speculations. The darkness was neither the new moon darkness nor the devil’s presence.
We don’t imagine what truth is; truth declares itself plainly!
Let us assume that God created the sun, moon and stars in the Genesis 1:2 period of time. Now look at the conclusion in Genesis 2:1–3:
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:1–3)
Is Genesis 1:1, 2 Gods act of creation, just like the other accounts of creation in that chapter? Yes, of course. God says everything He finished creating and making in six days and says He rested on the seventh day, and that includes Genesis 1:1, 2, in the six days of the creation work week!
Look at the declaration of the law at Sinai and what God says about the creation work and rest:
For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:11)
Again, isnt Genesis 1:1, 2 a part of Gods creation act? Then it all happened only in six days. There is no extra day for the lunar Sabbatarians to place their new moon in the orbit of heaven; they can only place it in the orbit of their own minds!
If there is no gap between Geneses 1:1, 2, and the rest of the chapter, then it all took place in six days, and their hypothesis falls apart!
If there is a gap between Genesis 1:1, 2 and Genesis 1:3 onwards, then placing the dark moon in that first period means the dark moon was there not eight days before the Sabbath, but for the long period of time called “in the beginning.”
That means that if there were this so-called gap, there were possibly millions of dark moon days/periods before the first Sabbath was made. It does not fit the lunar calendar to have more than one new moon in the beginning of the month!
Also they state that Sabbath comes on the eighth day after the sighting of the crescent moon.
Biblically, the “new moon” was the first visible crescent seen in the Western sky after sunset . . . (Crescent Moon Sighting Instruction, www.worldslastchance.com; article no longer available, but the quotation is available on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=199053880132205&id=132685966794289; accessed 11–5–13)
First of all, who could sight the moon in that pitch darkness? So the first Sabbath itself is faulty!
The moon is not a self-generating source of light; it only reflects the light of the sun. The moon can start its function of being a source of light only after the sun is lit and not before. If the sun was lit on day one as they claim, then the moon starts its function as a luminary in the sky not before day one.
And secondly, since it was pitch darkness in Genesis 1:2 and if there were a moon hanging up there, it was definitely not a crescent new moon but the dark moon or astronomical new moon, the new moon at conjunction with the sun. And that will again blow up their theory! Their Sabbaths are counted from crescent moon and not from dark moon.
They try to say the position of the moon in the orbit was perfectly placed so that the first Sabbath came exactly on the eighth day, based on the crescent moon.
The position of the moon in the sky is immaterial to the arrival of the new moon. If the position is what matters, then the conjunction of the moon should be taken and not the crescent moon, and the position of the crescent new moon is not uniform.
Moon for Signs
One more point that they emphasize to prove that the moon regulates the Sabbath is the word sign in Genesis 1:14:
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. (Genesis 1:14)
The Hebrew word translated as signs is ôwth (Strongs H#226) and means signal or beaconlike the lights of a radio tower or a lighthouse. These lights turn on and off just like the moon, which just happens to enter a different phase approximately every 7 days. (Miller, Ibid., p. 9; emphasis in original)
Need more evidence? Read Ezekiel 20:12 and 20:20. These are two witnesses. The Sabbath is a sign between YHVH and His people. That word sign [ôwth] is the identical Hebrew word used in Genesis1:14 (signs, seasons, days and years). (Ibid., p. 10; emphasis in original)
Because the word sign is used in Genesis 1:14 in regard to the moon, to conclude it regulates the Sabbath because the same word sign is used for the Sabbath is not the method to interpret scripture.
If it were, what would they make of these texts?
And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. (Genesis 17:11)
The word token is the same Hebrew word ôwth used as sign in Genesis 1:14. So is circumcision also regulated by the moon?
And I will harden Pharaohs heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 7:3)
Were the miracles and the plagues which were called signs (ôwth) controlled by the phases of the moon?
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
Was that great sign (ôwth) of Jesus birth determined by the movements of the moon?
They tried their best to twist what they could in the creation account, but they could not twist everything. They stand exposed. Lies can appear to be the truth, but upon close examination will fail the test!
The Bible says that the moon rules the night, and not the day: “And the lesser light to rule the night” (Genesis 1:16). The lunar Sabbatarians say that the holy hours of the Sabbath are only from sunrise to sunset and not during the dark hours. How do they say then that the moon rules and regulates the Sabbath day if it rules at night and the Sabbath is only daylight part? It sounds very absurd to anyone who thinks.
Yes, we agree that the yearly feasts and yearly Sabbath which are on fixed dates of the year was regulated by the moon, but never the weekly Sabbath! The week count started before the moon was created on the fourth day, and it is independent thereof.
Only Two Phases of the Moon
The lunar Sabbatarians keep emphasizing that there are four distinct phases of the moon, as we see by Vornholt and Vornholt-Jones’s inclusion of a quotation from Emil G. Hirsch’s article in the online Jewish Encyclopedia entitled “Week: Connection with Lunar Phases” in their article entitled “Time by Design”:
dividing the interval between the successive new moons into four groups of seven days each. (eLaine Vornholt, Laura Lee Vornholt-Jones, Time by Design, p. 5; http://www.4angelspublications.com/articles/Time_by_Design.pdf; accessed 12–16–13)
Here’s another statement from another source:
These lights turn on and off just like the moon, which just happens to enter a different phase approximately every 7 days. ( Miller, Ibid.)
According to them the moon enters a different phase approximately every 7 days. The Sabbath is not approximately every seven days—it is exactly every seven days! So the phases of the moon cannot guide it.
If the days from one new moon to next new moon were perfectly divisible by seven, then we could probably think about it, but it takes about twenty-nine and one half days to complete its cycle. So that is one and a half days more than what they would like. I believe God purposely made it this way so that it would not be very easy to come up with a false theory, and yet people believe! How true is the statement of the apostle in this case:
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 . . . (2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12)
But the Bible only talks about two phases of the moon and not four, as the lunar Sabbatarians would have loved. The two phases are the new moon and the full moon.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. (Psalm 81:3 RSV)
The gap between the new moon and the full moon is approximately fifteen days. These are the only two phases to the moon the Bible mentions. If there are four phases, as they say, then what about the quarter moon and the three-quarters moon? We could have many phases, not just four. Every day is a new phase.
If the weekly Sabbath was to be regulated by the moon phases, where are the four phases mentioned in the sacred scriptures? Stick to the Bible—there are only two phases! The two phases comes approximately every fifteen days, and the Sabbath comes every seven days!
If the four phases of the moon were to be the correct way of identifying the weekly Sabbath, then God missed the best opportunity to teach an entire nation this secret for forty years!
If that were the case, God should have told them just look up at the sky and watch the phases of the moon, and you will, for sure, know which day is the Sabbath, week after week!
God did not use the moon to identify the Sabbaths, but he used manna! Why? Because with the moon you can’t identify the Sabbath! If it were possible, God would have done it.
And the manna came during the day, when the moon is hardly ever seen!
Evidence from Other Sources
In close to one hundred fifty ancient and modern world languages, the Gregorian Saturday is called Sabbath.
Also the Jews who were dispersed all over the world at various invasions—Assyrian, Babylonian, Roman, etc.—are all keeping the Gregorian Saturday as the Sabbath. This uniformity would not possible if it were not the true Sabbath that has come down.
Even the Muslims, who follow an exclusively lunar calendar, have their feasts based on the phases of the moon, but their worship day, the sixth day of the week, is independent of the moon phases. It is continuous cycle of seven even for them!
The pen of inspiration confirms the weeks and the Sabbaths have come down from creation to the end of time as “successive”:
Like the Sabbath, the week originated at creation, and it has been preserved and brought down to us through Bible history. God Himself measured off the first week as a sample for successive weeks to the close of time. Like every other, it consisted of seven literal days. Six days were employed in the work of creation; upon the seventh, God rested, and He then blessed this day and set it apart as a day of rest for man. (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 111)
According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, successive means “uninterrupted course.”
If Ellen White meant, as they say, future weeks, she should have used the phrase succeeding weeks, not “successive weeks.”
Successive weeks and Sabbaths mean the weeks and Sabbaths have never been interrupted in their cycle of seven from creation week till now!
The seventh-day weekly Sabbath is never regulated by the phases of the moon.
THE COUNT TO PENTECOST —50, 53, OR 103 DAYS?
We believe that the count to Pentecost that begins on the sixteenth of the first month ends on the fiftieth day. But some of the lunar Sabbatarians believe it’s a fifty-three-day count, and some of them believe it a one hundred three-day count.
Pentecost means fifty. So that settles the matter. But why are they saying fifty-three days or one hundred three days?
If Pentecost is exactly fifty days from the first fruits (sixteenth of Abib), then this is the biggest blow to the lunar Sabbath theory! This will prove that the weeks are continuous, unbroken cycles uninterrupted by the new moon. That is why they had to come up with figures other than fifty days.
Here is the biblical passage that says how many days after the first fruits is the feast of Pentecost.
And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. (Leviticus 23:15)
There is no disagreement between us and any of the lunar Sabbatarians as to when it starts. All are in agreement that it starts on the sixteenth of the first month. The difference is when it ends.
One Hundred Three Day Count?
One of the lunar Sabbatarian camps says there are two counts to Pentecost, while the other lunar Sabbath camp say it is just one count, like we do. Let us first see if the two counts are true.
There are two parts or two counts that must be made before Pentecost can be fully come. In addition to the 7 Sabbaths complete, we need to add 50 days, not just add one day for a total of 50 days. (Troy Miller, The Scriptural Count to Feast of Weeks when Pentecost really is Fully Come, p. 1; accessed 12–8–13 at http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CDEQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.creationcalendar.com%2FCalendarIssue%2F17-FeastOfWeeksSDA.pdf&ei=PCmlUoOXI5H8oASzv4GoCg&usg=AFQjCNG7VBemdK3yQxzOoWFTlYl9OAIPkw&sig2=Oc_EoMC9yOGHiUQI-uEZbw)
Let us look at the passage of scripture again, where they say we need to add the two counts:
And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. (Leviticus 23:15)
In addition to the 7 Sabbaths complete, we need to add 50 days . . . (Miller, Ibid.)
That will be around one hundred days! What we are told in Leviticus 23:15 is that after seven Sabbaths complete (forty-nine days), the next day, the fiftieth day, is the feast; but what they are saying is after seven Sabbaths complete, on the next day, add fifty days to arrive at the feast.
This two-counts theory can easily be proved wrong by comparing other passages of this same feast.
Moses, the author of Leviticus, also wrote Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy Moses uses the phrase “seven weeks” instead of the phrase “seven Sabbaths complete” which he used in Leviticus, for they are the same length.
Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn. And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God . . . (Deuteronomy 16:9, 10)
There is only one count—“seven weeks”—then comes the feast the next day which is the fiftieth day. So the book of Deuteronomy proves that there is only one count to the feast of weeks which in the New Testament is called Pentecost, meaning fifty days.
Look at the illustration given to the two-counts theory:
The most salient point here is that a Sabbath complete is one yardstick to measure time, a day is an entirely different yardstick. I am five feet, nine inches tall. Two separate units of measure are used. You dont measure the five feet from my heels then turn around and measure the nine inches from my heels too. You add the nine inches after the 12 inch of the fifth foot. Pentecost also has two separate units of measure. Seven weeks are counted or completed and then the 50 days are counted. If I am 5'9", this count is 7 feet, 50 inches (so to speak). There is no command in Leviticus 23 to begin the 50 day count at the same time as the seven week count begins, it says to number 50 days from the morrow AFTER the seventh Sabbath complete. (Miller, Ibid., pp. 1, 2; emphasis in original)
That is an irrational illustration. No one says he is 7 feet 50 inches. A foot is twelve inches. If someone is 7 feet 13 inches, we dont say it that way at all. We say he is 8 feet 1 inch. That measurement (of 7 feet 50 inches) would be told as 11 feet 2 inches and not as 7 feet 50 inches (50 inches is 4 feet 2 inches). Only someone who intends to trick us uses such methods of measurement. And God is not in the business of tricking anyone!
An additional proof from the New Testament that Pentecost could never be close to one hundred days is that we know Jesus’ resurrection was the fulfillment of the firstfruit, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the fulfillment of the feast of weeks or Pentecost.
In the book of Acts, we are told that Jesus spent forty days with His disciples after His resurrection and then ascended to heaven.
To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: (Acts 1:3)
The same author, a few chapters later, calls the period of forty days “many days”:
But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. (Acts 13:30, 31)
Now let’s see when Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit.
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:5)
If forty days is “many days,” then “not many days” should be less than forty days, right? This calculation again proves that Pentecost comes a little time after forty days (i.e., fiftieth day) but definitely not close to hundred days!
Fifty-three Or a Fifty Day Count?
Now we are left with only one challenge—is Pentecost fifty days or fifty-three days?
Different parts of scripture use different yardsticks to count the same feast. The account of Leviticus uses the yardstick of the Sabbaths, the account of Deuteronomy uses the yardstick of the weeks, and the account of Acts uses the yardstick of the days.
The Leviticus narration:
Seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days . . . (Leviticus 23:15, 16)
The day after seven Sabbaths are complete (7x7=49 days, plus 1 more) is the feast—that is the fiftieth day.
The Deuteronomy narration:
Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee . . . And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God . . . (Deuteronomy 16:9, 10)
That is, after seven weeks (7x7=49 days) is the feast, the fiftieth day.
The Acts narration:
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (Acts 2:1)
How do we know that the word pentecost is fifty? When we compare other words where fifty is recorded, it becomes clear from the Bible itself.
Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty [pentekonta] years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? (John 8:57)
The word translated fifty in John 8:57 is pentekonta.
And the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1 is pentekostes.
The lunar Sabbatarians agree that Pentecost is the fiftieth day.
Luke mentions in the book of Acts two periods after the resurrection of Jesus to the coming of the Holy Spirit.
The first is the forty days Christ spent with the disciples after his resurrection (Acts 1:3), and the second is from the resurrection of Jesus to the coming of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost (Acts 2:1).
When a figure is given in days everyday in the month is included—work days, Sabbath days and new moon days, etc. In the flood of Noah, we have this clearly demonstrated. The Bible states that it took one hundred fifty days for the waters to decrease.
And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. (Genesis 8:3)
Now Moses gives the starting point and the ending point of the one hundred fifty days.
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. (Genesis 7:11)
And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:4)
That is exactly five months—the seventeenth of second month to the seventeenth of seventh month.
So the one hundred fifty days included all the days in those five months—the work days, Sabbath days, new moon days, etc.
The lunar Sabbatarians also say that when a figure is given in days, the new moon or the translation day of the new moon is included in it. They say that only when a figure is given in the measurements of weeks or of Sabbaths are the new moon days or translation days not to be counted, since the new moon days or translation days are not a part of the week, according to them.
By counting 40 days and nights, we must count even the new moon days, because they ARE a day, just not week days. However, when counting Sabbaths complete we only count a six work day/Sabbath sequence, not the days of the rebuilding of the moon. (unknown author at creationcalendar.com, accessed 121013 at http://www.creationcalendar.com/HallOfShame/LarryJuneAchesonRebuttal.pdf, p. 59; emphasis in original)
Now in the book of Acts, this feast is measured purely in days. Week or Sabbath measurements are not involved in this calculation. So fifty days (Pentecost) is fifty continuous days. All the days are counted in this—work days, Sabbath days, new moon days, and translation days.
Remember this is not a new feast in the New Testament. This feast is an Old Testament feast called the Feast of Weeks, so the feast of Pentecost should perfectly synchronize with the calculation given in the Old Testament. From any of the three books of the Bible—Leviticus, Deuteronomy, or Acts—we should be able to count the length of the feast, and it should agree with the other two accounts.
Let us look again at this feast of Pentecost, as given in the Old Testament:
And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. (Leviticus 23:15)
In the account in Deuteronomy, this feast is not given as “seven Sabbaths complete” but is given in the measurement of “seven weeks”:
Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn. And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God. (Deuteronomy 16:9, 10)
Seven Sabbaths complete are seven weeks, so both of the Old Testament measurements match. The lunar adherents quickly add three extra days to accommodate the two new moon days and the one translation day. If they dont do that, then it will mean that they are agreeing that the weeks and Sabbaths are continuous even beyond the boundaries of a month. So they come up with the figure of fifty-three days and not fifty days. They have managed to synchronize the two Old Testament accounts with their new method of interpretation, but they are totally silent in comparing it with the New Testament text!
They do not use the New Testament calculation (interpretation) to this feast. Why? It will blow up their fallacy and unmask their lies! That would be the end of all arguments!
Comparing the New Testament and the Old Testament counting of this feast, they are in big-time trouble! All the three accounts should synchronize, but it doesnt fit with their newly-found theory! The New Testament count will fit only if the weeks and Sabbaths are continuous, without the new moon interrupting it!
According to the lunar Sabbatarians, the weeks and the Sabbaths are not a continuous, unbroken cycle. The cycle is continuous only for four weeks within a month because at the end of the month (translation day—if there is 30th day) and at the beginning of the month (the first of the month—the new moon), it is interrupted and reset.
According to their interpretation “Seven Sabbaths complete” or “seven weeks” cannot be continuous because the new moon interrupts it at the end/beginning of the months.
Since this count begins on the sixteenth of the first month, there are three new moon days—the thirtieth day of first month (translation day), the first day of second month (new moon day), and first day of third month (new moon day).
So for them, seven Sabbaths complete or seven weeks (plus one day to be added according to Leviticus) is not 7x7=49+1 day, but 7x7+3 new moon days=52 days+1 day which=53 days.
Now, the New Testament supports only a fifty day count—Pentecost—which should include all the categories of days. Here is their statement on this:
It is essential to understand Sabbaths complete and how they affect the count to Pentecost. Six work days plus one 7th day Sabbath equals one Sabbath complete. This was the template that Yahuwah ordained at Creation. These will never include New Moon days or translation days, because these are not the days specified in the equation.
. . . New Moon days and translation days are never counted. (Kerrie L. French, The Sacred Count to Pentecost, p. 4; emphasis in original; accessed at http://www.thecreatorscalendar.com/Articles/Sacred_Count/04_Sacred_Count.html on 12–14–13)
Here’s another statement from another lunar camp:
You, like most (and like me until three years ago) probably see seven Sabbaths complete (seven weeks) and immediately think 49 days. But there are not 49 days in this segment of time. These are Scriptural weekssix work days ending with a Sabbath. New moon days are a third category of day, they do not count against the week. There are three new moon days in this seven week count for a total of 52 days . . . (Miller, Ibid.)
Dear lunar Sabbath brethren, the inspired writer of the book of Acts does not support your theory that the weeks are not continuous!
Seven Sabbaths Complete
What is “seven Sabbaths shall be complete” in Leviticus 23:15?
And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days . . . (Leviticus 23:15, 16)
It is important to note that Moses did not just say to count “seven Sabbaths,” but “seven Sabbaths shall be complete” he wrote (Leviticus 23:15, 16).
Seven Sabbaths complete means seven full weeks. “Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee” (Deuteronomy 16:9).
The word weeks is from the Hebrew word shabuwa, a count of seven.
In the Bible we see the word week is interchanged with the word Sabbath because both have the root meaning of seven. A week is seven days, and the Sabbath is the seventh day.
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week. (Matthew 28:1)
The Greek word for Sabbath and for week is sabbaton; therefore, the phrase “seven sabbaths shall be complete” also means seven weeks to be completed. And the phrase at the “morrow after the seventh Sabbath” just means the next day after the seventh week completion.
Their twist to the Pentecost calculation is exposed. We could end the book here. But we shall proceed to uncover every lie of theirs!
The Pentecost of the Land
Based on the same principles of weekly Sabbath counting, God gave the children of Israel the Sabbath for the land to rest. This reckoning again proves their calculation is error.
Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land. (Leviticus 25:3)
That is exactly based on the weekly Sabbath principle of six days labor and seventh-day rest.
Just like we had in Leviticus chapter 23, the feast of Pentecost count—seven Sabbaths complete plus one day is the fiftieth day—two chapters later God gives a similar principle of counting the Jubilee feast:
And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.…A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: (Leviticus 25:8, 11)
If for them the seven Sabbaths complete of Leviticus 23 is not forty-nine days but fifty-two days, then how much would “seven times seven years” be? Fifty-two years? But the Bible says it is forty-nine years. In Leviticus 23, the next day was the day of the Pentecost. In Leviticus 25, the next year is the year of the Jubilee.
The Prophetic Weeks
Here is a third witness against their absurd calculations. One of the greatest prophecies of the Bible is the 2300 days prophecy of Daniel 8 and the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9.
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. (Daniel 8:14)
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city . . . (Daniel 9:24)
Even the lunar Sabbatarians agree the 70 weeks prophecy is part of the 2300 days prophecy. You have one given in days and the other given in weeks.
Remember when anything is given in days, every category of days (work days, Sabbath days, new moon days, translation days) is embraced in it. For a lunar Sabbatarian, there can never ever be more than four weeks in succession.
According to their principle of interpretation of weeks, let us see how many days are 70 weeks. For us it is straight70 weeks is 490 days because the weeks run continuously—but they add new moon days and translation days to the 490 days. That is around twenty-six days extra. For them, 70 weeks=490 days+26 days=516 days.
Since they also believe that one day is one year in prophecy, this would be 516 prophetic years and like us, they too believe the starting point of this prophecy is 457 BC. So the 70 weeks prophecy, according to their method of inserting the new moon days and translation days, would end in AD 60 (AD 34 plus twenty-six years extra).
Based on their method of calculating weeks, this prophecy of weeks would put the death of Jesus in the year AD 57! There is no church on earth that puts the death of Jesus in AD 57. All churches and scholars and historians agree it should be somewhere between AD 26 and AD 36, but not beyond.
In fact most, if not all, lunar Sabbatarians believe as we do, that Jesus died in AD 31 and that the 70 weeks of Daniel chapter 9 ended in AD 34. How could that be? It means they did not add the new moon days and translation days. Let us see what they have to say:
The first 70 weeks (Dan 9:2427) of this prophecy, cut off or allotted to the Jews, equals 490 years. The walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt in 1 week [sic—typographical error, should be 7 weeks] or 49 years (408 B.C.). Another 62 weeks brings us to the anointing of Christ for His mission in 27 A.D. 483 years are now past; only 1 week remains of the 70. In the midst of this week (Dan 9:26–27), 31 A.D., Messiah is cut off or crucified. A second half-week of 3 1/2 years brings us to 34 A.D., when at the stoning of Stephen the gospel is taken to the Gentiles. In 34 A.D. the 70 weeks, or 490 years, is completed. (www.worldslastchance.com; accessed 12–16–13 at http://www.worldslastchance.com/bible-prophecies/prophecies-of-daniel-cleansing-the-heavenly-sanctuary.html)
For the “seven weeks” count to Pentecost, they add three extra days and make the feast of Pentecost to fall on the ninth of that third month, instead of the sixth of that month, but for the “seventy weeks” they add nothing, even though this prophecy is given in weeks!
That is being inconsistent. Why aren’t they adding the extra days into the 70 weeks? Because if they do add those twenty-six years (according to their own principles of interpretation of weeks counts), they don’t have any historical support to show that those events ended twenty-six years later!
Listen to them again, and see that they are contradicting:
The prophesy [sic] of the coming Messiah begins: Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people (Dan. 9:24.) If that is taken as literal time before the days are changed into years, there would be 25.5 extra years due to the New Moons and translation days that would occur in 70 weeks. Calculation of time by weeks did not include new moons and translation days. Instead, multiply 7 days in a week X 70 years = 490 years. This reached exactly from the third decree to restore and build Jerusalem to the stoning of Stephen in A. D. 34. (www.worldslastchance.com, The Count to Pentecost; article no longer available at this site, but can be accessed at https://www.incpages.com/article/pentecost-the-sacred-count.html; emphasis in original; accessed 12–14–13)
The lunar Sabbatarians state that the “calculation of time by weeks did not include new moons and translation days,” yet they have included them in other places. They do not, however, include the extra days (25.5 days/years) in the 70 week prophecy and are, thus, inconsistent. They continue:
This time prophesy [sic] reveals how to count to Pentecost. Seven weeks complete are 49 days, then the next day, the 50th day, is Pentecost. The very definition of Pentecost is fifty. The Hebrew name for Pentecost was Feast of Weeks. The New Moon day and the translation day, if present, are not counted, just as they were not counted in the larger prophetic-time measurement. These days are not part of a week, or a Sabbath perfect. (Ibid.; emphasis in original)
The lunar Sabbatarians are inconsistent, and they don’t know what they are saying. They say the same thing about the count to Pentecost and add three extra days to arrive at the ninth of the third month:
Begin counting seven Sabbaths complete, and then add a day. Your answer should be the 9th day of Sivan . . . (French, Ibid.)
You don’t get the ninth day of Sivan if you don’t add three extra days!
If they have added three extra days to arrive at Pentecost because new moon days and translation days are not included in the count of weeks, why aren’t they adding twenty-five or twenty-six days to the “larger prophetic-time measurement”?
As noted earlier, the two prophecies of Daniel 8:14 and Daniel 9:24 are starting together and are linked to each other. For God to give one count in days and the other count in weeks proves that the weeks run continuously, just like the days do. The fulfillment of those prophecies proves that!
Comparing the New Testament count of Pentecost to the Old Testament count of Pentecost, we have seen that the weeks are a continuous, unbroken cycle that is uninterrupted by the new moon days.
Also, looking at feast of Jubilee (fiftieth year) which is similar to the count to Pentecost (fiftieth day), we have seen again that the weeks are a continuous, unbroken cycle.
If there can’t be more than four continuous weeks, then God was asking them to count wrongly!
Some of them try to use the Jubilee cycle to prove that the weeks can be broken by the coming of the Jubilee and reset again. Why, then, can’t it be broken by the coming of the new moon?
If they are taking that as an evidence to break the week, then they should break the continuous weekly cycle at the end of seven weeks and not four weeks! Doing that would need them to come up with a totally different calendar!
The Jubilee deals with weeks of years and not weeks of days.
If they are trying to use this as a proof that the weekly Sabbath can be broken, then what about the Sabbath being for just twelve hours? Does this passage of Jubilee say that the seventh year Sabbath is just six months? According to their parameters the Sabbath year should be a half year because the Sabbath day is only a half day—the daylight part—not twenty-four hours!
And finally, the grand prophecy, given in the parameter of weeks that talk about the crucifixion of the Messiah, destroys their hypothesis that the week doesn’t run continuously beyond four weeks. Here it runs continuously for seventy weeks! And within that prophecy are two other periods that are given in weeks again that run beyond four weeks continuously—seven weeks and sixty two weeks (Daniel 9:25).
How many more proofs do they need to show that the weeks are continuous in the Bible? The literal weeks, the yearly weeks, and the prophetic weeks all prove them wrong!
If the weeks, as proved, are continuous, unbroken cycles, then the Sabbaths are a continuous, unbroken cycle coming to us every seventh day, without interruption.
The Gregorian calendar of 1582 is more honest and truthful in this matter of weeks and Sabbaths coming continuously undisturbed than the so-called biblical calendar that the lunar Sabbatarians have invented of late!
If the weeks, as proved, are continuous, unbroken cycles, then the deceptive eighth, fifteenth, twenty-second, and twenty-ninth propaganda of being fixed Sabbaths is a fake, a fraud, and a counterfeit. It’s a Big Lie from the father of lies—the devil!To be continued
We Need to Rethink Statin Drugs
(Recently Americans have been advised to consider statins as being indispensable and needful for almost everyone. But do the facts agree? We certainly need to rethink the use of statin drugs, but in a different way. Editor)
On November 12, 2013, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) released new treatment guidelines which could more than double the number of people in the United States taking statin drugs in an effort to lower the risk of heart disease. Currently there are about 35 million people in the United States taking statin drugs. That is 11% of the total population! If this number were to approach the estimated 74 million who might be on statins under these new guidelines, we would have almost one fourth of the population on them, and if we factor out people under the age of 35, there would be a significantly higher percentage of the population who could be on statins.
But what are statins? Statins are “any of a class of lipid-lowering drugs that reduce serum cholesterol levels by inhibiting a key enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of cholesterol” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/statin, accessed 11–13–13). Some of the most popular statins are Lipitor, Zocor, and Pravachol. Statins work by “by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a central role in the production of cholesterol in the liver” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statin, accessed 11–13–13). Statins were very expensive when first introduced, but today most of the drugs are in generic forms, with “a three-month supply [costing] . . . $10” (http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/12/health/cholesterol-guidelines/index.html?hpt=he_c2, accessed 11–13–13).
What are the new guidelines recommended by the AHA and ACC? There are four factors which are to be considered. They are:
Do you have preexisting heart disease?
Do you have diabetes (type 1 or 2)?
Is your LDL Cholesterol over 190?
Is your ten-year risk of heart disease over 7.5%?
According to the new guidelines, if you answered yes to any of those four questions, you should be on a statin. Period (Ibid.). Currently there are over 25 million Americans who are diabetic, so this risk factor alone would account for 8% of the current population to be in need of statins. Last year it was noted:
If incidence rates remain the same, the number of youth with type 2 diabetes in the U.S. is projected to increase by a staggering 49 percent over the next 40 years, while the number with type 1 is expected to climb 23 percent, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in the December issue of Diabetes Care. However, if incidence increases, the number of youth with type 2 could quadruple and the number with type 1 could triple, the researchers concluded, with an increasing proportion of youth with diabetes from minority populations. (http://www.diabetes.org/for-media/2012/number-of-youth-with-diabetes-projected-to-rise-by-2050.html; accessed 11–13–13)
With the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, America greatly expanded its land territory but in the last generation, Americans’ waistlines have grown at an alarming rate! Today, two out of three Americans are overweight, and nearly half of those who are overweight are now clinically obese! The Western diet of high fat, processed foods has turned a once healthy people into one of the sickest in the world. This obesity greatly contributes to diabetes, as well as heart disease and a great host of other diseases.
God did not make man to be sick, but rather to be healthy and happy. Disease was not a part of God’s plan; it is not from God but is the natural result of disobedience to God’s laws. We are instructed that “the curse causeless shall not come” (Proverbs 26:2).
Disease is an effort of nature to free the system from conditions that result from a violation of the laws of health. In case of sickness, the cause should be ascertained. Unhealthful conditions should be changed, wrong habits corrected. Then nature is to be assisted in her effort to expel impurities and to re-establish right conditions in the system. (The Ministry of Healing, p. 127)
While some causes of disease are linked to genetics, most of the disease in humanity is caused by a lifestyle which makes void God’s laws of health. Even many of the genetically-based illnesses can be treated with a healthy lifestyle.
Disease never comes without a cause. The way is prepared, and disease invited, by disregard of the laws of health. Many suffer in consequence of the transgression of their parents. While they are not responsible for what their parents have done, it is nevertheless their duty to ascertain what are and what are not violations of the laws of health. They should avoid the wrong habits of their parents and, by correct living, place themselves in better conditions. (Ibid., p. 234)
America today is facing a health crisis, and many, perhaps most, health care givers know it is caused by lifestyle, but they make little effort to deal with disease from a cause and effect basis. Many doctors apply the Laodicean method of healing by only dealing with the symptoms of disease, without dealing with the causation of the disease.
Today in the United States, the average person consumes far more fat and protein than needed. In addition to eating too much fat, both saturated and unsaturated, and too much protein, the carbohydrates consumed are refined, as opposed to unrefined. Guidelines given by most health organizations fail to restrict the fat calorie intake substantially enough to help reduce disease. Many recommended fat consumption estimates are given in the range of 25% to 30% of total calories. But this number is far too high. A value of 10% to 12% fat, as measured by the percentage of total calories, is a far better goal to have.
When your total fat consumption is lowered through a lifestyle management program, the risk for heart disease is dramatically reduced, as your cholesterol levels drop. By reducing fat intake, obesity is cured and with it, diabetes either is eliminated or is reduced in severity. Some studies and clinical work have shown a low fat, plant-based diet helps type 1 diabetes to be more manageable. Please follow these two easy ways to be sure your fat consumption is low:
1. Avoid all animal products. Eat nothing with a face or mother.
2. Avoid eating processed foods, including processed oil, such as olive oil and canola oil (not a drop).
Though I had been a vegan for several years, when I stopped consuming processed oil, my cholesterol level dropped from, what would have been considered a healthy, 150 mg/dl to 100 mg/dl in just a year. With a diet that is composed of fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds, health will be improved. A plant-based, whole-food lifestyle is the plan designed by our Creator and cannot be improved upon. It helped me, and it can help you, too!
Are statins in your future? If you are willing to follow a heart-healthy lifestyle, statins need not be a part of your daily agenda. For some people they have proven to be helpful in quickly lowering cholesterol levels. After a short time on the medication, the patient, if he or she has adopted a healthy lifestyle, may be able to discontinue the medicine. But let it be clear that the statins alone do not help like a change in lifestyle can help. Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., in his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, noted:
The New England Journal of Medicine reported on a study in which massive doses of cholesterol-lowering drugs were used to reduce total cholesterol well below 150 mg/dl. Three out of four of the heart patients involved seem to do very well under this regimen. But it was not a complete success. Even with their cholesterol levels satisfactorily reduced, one out of every four of the patients in the study sustained a new cardiovascular event or died within two and a half years of starting this treatment. (p. 40; referencing Christopher P. Cannon, et al., New England Journal of Medicine, April 8, 2004: “Intensive versus Moderate Lipid Lowering with Statins After Acute Coronary Syndromes”)
As with all drugs, statins have side effects. The most common are inflammation of the muscles (myositis) and various other muscle issues (myopathy), including the potential for rhabdomyolysis (the pathological breakdown of skeletal muscle), leading to acute renal failure. This proverb is certainly true: How much better to exercise an ounce of prevention than to pay a pound of cure.
Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power—these are the true remedies. Every person should have a knowledge of nature’s remedial agencies and how to apply them. It is essential both to understand the principles involved in the treatment of the sick and to have a practical training that will enable one rightly to use this knowledge.
The use of natural remedies requires an amount of care and effort that many are not willing to give. Nature’s process of healing and upbuilding is gradual, and to the impatient it seems slow. The surrender of hurtful indulgences requires sacrifice. But in the end it will be found that nature, untrammeled, does her work wisely and well. Those who persevere in obedience to her laws will reap the reward in health of body and health of mind.
Too little attention is generally given to the preservation of health. It is far better to prevent disease than to know how to treat it when contracted. It is the duty of every person, for his own sake, and for the sake of humanity, to inform himself in regard to the laws of life and conscientiously to obey them. All need to become acquainted with that most wonderful of all organisms, the human body. They should understand the functions of the various organs and the dependence of one upon another for the healthy action of all. They should study the influence of the mind upon the body, and of the body upon the mind, and the laws by which they are governed. (The Ministry of Healing, pp, 127, 128)
From the File Cabinet of History
Letter of March 18, 1966 from LeRoy Froom to Algie Gallagher:
Youth’s Corner — Young Pioneer Missionaries of the American Colonial Frontiers
(This month we continue a series based upon the book Youthful Witnesses by W. A. Spicer, published in 1921. This months story is Chapter 15.)
THE frontiers were close to the coast line when John Eliot, the young Puritan pastor, began his work, about the year 1645. His first mission was in the wilds five miles west of Boston. Concord and Pawtucket were outposts, deep in the forests.
There were not many who gave their lives to Indian evangelization in those early days, but a few missionary names stand out conspicuously in the history of the colonial frontiers. Eliot was the first, and his Indian version was the first Bible ever printed in the New World. He was a worker. The keynote of his life was written at the end of his Indian grammar: “Prayer and pains, through Jesus Christ, will do anything.”
HORTON AND BRAINERD
A century after John Eliot began, Azariah Horton was sent to the Indians at the eastern end of Long Island, and about the same time David Brainerd began his work sixteen miles east of Albany. Young Brainerd toiled in the wilderness between Albany and the lower Delaware, only wishing that he had more than one life to devote to service. This was his prayer:
“Here I am, Lord, send me; send me to the ends of the earth; send me to the rough, the savage pagans of the wilderness ; send me from all that is called comfort in the earth; send me even to death itself, if it be but in thy service and to promote thy kingdom.”
Results followed these early efforts. But as the settler’s ax pushed back the wilderness, and wars desolated the frontiers, the very people for whom labor was put forth all but vanished, and the fruitage in later times is difficult to trace.
Christian Rauch was the pioneer of Moravian missions to the Indians. He had heard at Herrnhut, in Germany, of the sad need, and to hear the call was to go. The young man landed in New York in 1740, determined to find some way to bring the gospel to the Indians. He met two Mohicans, who could speak a little Dutch, and proposed to return with them to their village as a teacher. They were under the influence of drink when they accepted his offer, and when they became sobered on the journey, they dodged into the forest and left their companion. Rauch pushed on and managed at last to reach Shekomeko, their village, on the boundary between New York and Connecticut.
Two years after Rauch began work, Count Zinzendorf visited his station and baptized the first Indian converts. The count’s guide on this, as on all three of Zinzendorf’s visits to the Indian country, was Conrad Weiser, the colonial interpreter.
Those were no easy missionary trails to follow. In 1744 John Mack and Christian Froelich, young colonials, were sent from Bethlehem, the Moravian headquarters in Pennsylvania, to the Wyoming Valley, where Zinzendorf had arranged for a mission. It is a three-hour journey now. The young men clambered over the rocks and forded streams for a week in following the winding Lehigh [River]. The daily text of the Moravian calendar—after the manner of the Morning Watch Calendar—was a strength and comfort to them on their journey. The day they started, the watchword was:
“I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.” Eze. 34: 25.
On their return journey they had an experience thus related in John Mack’s journal:
“The woods were on fire all around us. . . . After dinner we came between two great mountains. . . . Before us there was sent such a great flame that we were a little afraid to go through it, and we could find no other way to escape it. Brother Christian went through first. The flame Went quite over his head ; it looked a little dismal. He got through, but I did not know it, because I could not see him for the smoke. I called to him; he answered me immediately. I thought I would wait, but the fire grew fiercer. He called me again and prayed me to come through, saying our dear Saviour promised, ‘When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned.’”
Mack plunged safely through, and then they thanked God that he had kept them through perils by water and fire. “When we came to Bethlehem,” the journal says, “we found that the watchword for that day had been Isaiah 43:2.”
Foremost of all the Moravian missionaries among the American Indians was David Zeisberger. He had had discipline in the school of hardship from childhood. He was five years old when his parents fled from Moravia to Herrnhut, in Saxony, where Count Zinzendorf welcomed the refugees on his estate?
At seventeen Zeisberger was in the New World, studying and learning the ways of frontier life. He was no mean student. Before leaving Herrnhut, at the age of fifteen, he was skilful in Latin, and in Holland he mastered the Dutch. But his life was unsettled. The turning point came when he was twenty-two. The elders at Bethlehem had chosen him to be one of an escort to accompany Count Zinzendorf back to Europe. He was in the boat, disconsolate at the thought of leaving. Bishop Nitschmann was there, saying good-by to Zinzendorf, and noticed the young man’s dejected look.
“David,” said he, “do you not return to Europe willingly?”
“No, indeed,” was David’s reply, “I would much rather be in America.”
“For what reason?”
“I long to be truly converted to God, and to serve him in this country.”
“If this be so,” said the surprised and delighted bishop, “and I were in your place, I would at once return to Bethlehem.”
David got out of that boat quickly and went back to Bethlehem. But he longed for the experience of conversion. It came simply, blessedly. While at the table, as the Moravian hymn of grace was being sung before eating, the thought of the love of Jesus for him, David, a sinner, came into his heart. He left the table, and in prayer gave his heart to God, and found the joy and peace of forgiveness. It always comes by the asking and the taking. Never since Adam left Paradise has the Lord ever refused one who came to him.
Now but one thought was histo carry the good news to the Indians. On the first record of students in the school at Bethlehem is written: David Zeisberger, destinirter, Heidenbote [purpose, messenger to the heathen].”
He took charge of the Wyoming Valley work. He lived in the “wigwams, and learned the Indian languages. The greatest Indian power in those times was the Iroquois confederacy, the Six Nations. These were the Onondagas (who headed the league), Mohawks, Oneidas, Cayugas, Senecas, and Tuscaroras. The capital of the confederacy was Onondaga, in western New York
Zeisberger was adopted into the Onondaga tribe of the Turtle clan. This adoption saved him more than once in the fierce border warfare that followed, first between the English and the French, and later between England and the colonies. Rum had worked havoc among the Indians. Young Zeisberger found vice rampant in the villages. But hundreds of Indians found the Lord, and hardened, stoical hearts were made tender. One old warrior said:
“Whenever I saw a man shed tears, I used to doubt his being a man. I would not have wept if my enemies had even cut the flesh from my bones, so hard was my heart at that time; that I now weep is of God, who has softened the hardness of my heart.”
Zeisberger bore witness to many a deliverance when in perils in the wilderness. Once he was traveling with several Christian Indians, when they stopped at a traders post for the night. They were permitted to sleep on the straw in a storeroom where gunpowder was stored, some of it in open casks with grains of powder scattered all over the straw-strewn floor where the trader had measured out sales for his customers. On this account Zeisberger preferred to retire without a light.
But a stranger came in, who insisted on having a tallow candle, promising to be careful. Zeisberger fell asleep quickly with weariness. The stranger was still using his light. But he too fell asleep, leaving the candle burning. In the morning Zeisberger called the trader aside, and taking a little piece of candle from his pocket, said:
My brother, had we not had the eye of him upon us who never slumbereth nor sleepeth, we would all this night have been sent into eternity, and no one would have known how it happened. I slept soundly, being fatigued, and was in my first sleep, when I felt as if someone roused me. I sat up and saw the wick of the candle hanging down on one side in a flame, and on the point of falling into the straw, which I was just in time to prevent. I could not fall asleep again; but lay awake, silently thanking the Lord for the extraordinary preservation we had experienced.
Another incident of providential deliverance told in Zeisbergers Life (by Dr. Schweinitz), we may also repeat, as it shows how rigorous were these missionary journeys in the wilds in seasons when food was scarce.
Bishop Spangenberg, Zeisberger, Conrad Weiser (colonial guide and Indian interpreter, of whom we must tell later), and two Christian Indians, Chief Shikellimy and his son, had visited the Onondagas. Weiser was called to take a different route homeward, leaving the others to return by the way they had come. Their food gave out, and the country was suffering famine. On the banks of the Susquehanna they sank exhausted. The history says:
Faint and silent, the bishop and his young companions waited to see what God would do; while Shikellimy and his son, with the stoicism of their race, resigned themselves to their fate. Presently an aged Indian emerged from the forest, sat down, among them, offered his pouch, and gave them a smoked turkey. They could not but recognize in this meeting a direct interposition of their heavenly Father.
Enduring hardness as a good soldier, Zeisberger and others built up a substantial work. Then came the wars—the French and Indian and the Revolutionary—in which the Christian Indians were suspected and attacked by both sides, French and English, and by their pagan tribesmen.
In later, years Zeisberger moved with the Christian converts into northwestern Pennsylvania, and then into Ohio. At last he was driven with a little remnant into Canada, where he founded Fairfield, as a Christian Indian village. After the Revolution he returned to the scenes of his former labors south of Lake Erie. He had established thirteen Christian villages, but at the close of his sixty years of missionary service, only a remnant was left. His Onondaga and Delaware grammars and lexicon, chiefly the labors of his youth, and other books in manuscript were never published. According to his wish, Zeisberger, at death, was buried in the Indian graveyard of his last mission (Tuscarawas County, Ohio), “that he might await the resurrection among his faithful Indians.”
Those early colonial missions came to an end along with the Indian’s vanishing hunting ground. But the men who labored in them, and the Christian converts who found the way of life through them, left a bright testimony to the power of divine grace; and here and there, among the scattered remnants of the Indian peoples, the seed sowing of the young pioneer missionaries of colonial times may still be bringing forth fruit.
CONRAD WEISER: HELPER TO THE MISSIONARIES, COLONIAL INDIAN AGENT, AND INTERPRETER
The man who first interested the Moravians in mission work among the Indians of the great Iroquois league, or Six Nations, and who accompanied Zinzendorf in his three missionary journeys in the American wilds, was Conrad Weiser, Indian agent and interpreter of colonial times.
Conrad Weiser was a Sabbath-keeper. The part he played in the history of the colonies is of interest. It was not as a soldierthough he did serve later as a colonel in the French and Indian Warbut as a peaceful ambassador, that he did his great work. His religious earnestness, and the confidence the Indians had in his sterling character, enabled him to accomplish much more than some whose names are written larger across the history of those times. In those days it was being decided whether Catholic influence from France or Protestant influence from England, should predominate in shaping the American colonies. Harpers Encyclopedia of United States History sums up Weiser’s part in colonial history as follows:
Through his influence with the Six Nations on the one hand, and the colonial governments of Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina on the other, he succeeded in deferring the alliance between the French and the Indians until the American colonists had grown strong enough to successfully defend themselves.
We may count him in with the young pioneers of missions, for it was in his youth that he found the Lord on the colonial frontiers, and he was only in his thirties when he found the Sabbath truth, having already gained the languages and the influence with the Indians which made him one of the historic characters of colonial times.
Conrad Weiser was born in Germany in 1696. His father landed in New York in 1710, a widower with eight children. They first settled near Schenectady, where young Conrad pleased a Mohawk chief, who was allowed to take the lad to live with his tribe for a time. He suffered torture from the cold in the Indian camp that winter, but says he forgot the cold with hunger. He learned the Mohawk language, however, which was a preparation for his work as Indian agent in later years.
The family removed with other German colonists to Pennsylvania, where a stepmother made home a very unpleasant place for Conrad. His troubles cast him upon the Lord. “I frequently did not know where to turn,” he said, “and learned to pray to God, and his word became my most agreeable reading.”
When he grew up and was married, he secured a farm at Tulpehocken, in the wilds three or four days’ journey west of Philadelphia. The study of that Bible which had been his comfort in boyhood, prepared him to receive the Sabbath truth in 1735. He learned of this through Beissel, of the German Baptist Sabbath-keeping settlement at Ephrata, who also baptized him.
His talents soon attracted the attention .of the government, says Dr. J. J. Mombert, in his History of Lancaster County. “He attended all the principal Indian treaties held for a period of more than twenty-five years.” The same authority says that he “was a man of unbounded benevolence, and disposed to hope all things.” This gave him his influence with the Indians.
In 1737 the government sent him to treat with the Iroquois. Their capital was at Onondaga, N. Y., and the journey of five hundred miles was beset with hardship and peril. One day, exhausted, Weiser fell to the ground under a tree and expected to die. The three Indians leading on the trail before him, pagans of the forest, turned back, and one exhorted him to be of good courage; for “good days cause men to sin, and God cannot extend mercy to them; but contrariwise, when it goeth evil with us, God hath compassion upon us.” Ashamed of his discouragement, Weiser rose up and pushed on.
It was after the return from this trip that he met the Moravian Bishop Spangenberg, and urged the cause of missions to the Iroquois. Spangenberg drew the attention of Zinzendorf to the information given him, and one day, in 1742, Zinzendorf felt a definite impression that he should go and see Weiser, a journey of several days. He arrived just in time to meet an embassy of Iroquois chiefs who were returning from Philadelphia, and had stopped at Tulpehocken to visit Weiser’s home. Count Zinzendorf addressed the chiefs, asking permission to establish missions among the Six Nations. Weiser interpreted the speech, and added: “This is the man whom God hath sent, both to the Indians and to the white people, to make known his will unto them.”
Zinzendorf confirmed his words, after the Indian custom, by presenting the chief with a piece of red cloth. The chief made a stately reply:
Brother, you have journeyed a long way from beyond the sea, in order to preach to the white people and the Indians. You did not know that we were here; we had no knowledge of your coming. The Great Spirit has brought us together. Come to our people, you shall be welcome. Take this fathom of wampum; it is a token that our words are true. (Conrad Weiser, and the Indian Policy of Colonial Pennsylvania by J. S. Walton)
Shortly afterward, Weiser guided Zinzendorf to the Wyoming Valley, which had never before been entered by the white man. The interpreter here left the party to go on without him to the Shawanese village (now Plymouth), under the guidance of Andrew Montour, a half-French Indian. Weiser returned to engage in business elsewhere. But he was seized with the conviction that Zinzendorf was in danger. Hastening back, he arrived just in time to thwart a plan to massacre the missionaries.
He served with the governor and Benjamin Franklin and several others on educational work in York, Lancaster, and Reading, and altogether seems to have been a busy man in the affairs of his time. The only hint we have of the personal appearance of this colonial frontiersman at this time is in the pleasant remark of the governor, at a treaty council, that inasmuch as the Indians had cut off one part of Conrad Weiser’s beard, because he frightened their children—the Indians being beardless—he would see to having the rest removed.
It is evident that Weiser loved the Indians, and he won an influence over them that saved much trouble and bloodshed in the frictions and conflicts of the time. The Moravian missions to the Indians, which he aided Zinzendorf in establishing, developed Indian converts who were true even to the martyr’s death. But that work, as we have seen, was almost completely wrecked by the cruel scenes of the French and Indian War, as well as by the strife between English and colonials in the American Revolution that soon followed.
Weiser died in Germany in 1760, a few weeks after the death of Zinzendorf.
PETER MILLER’S INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE WASHINGTON
While we are in these times of the early American frontier, one story ought to be told, of a witness borne to George Washington by a colonial Sabbath-keeper named Peter Miller.
Young Peter had come from Germany with others to seek freedom of faith and a field of usefulness in the New World. He was a graduate of Heidelberg and an exceptional linguist, having gained fair mastery of the leading languages of Europe. At twenty-one he was pastor of a Reformed church in Pennsylvania. He found the Sabbath truth four years later through the German Baptist Sabbatarians of the Pennsylvania settlement at Ephrata, near Lancaster. On account of his well-known linguistic gifts, he was called upon years afterward to translate the Declaration of Independence into various languages, and to assist the Continental Congress in the diplomatic correspondence with the governments of Europe.
How George Washington was moved to grant Peter Miller’s plea for the life of an enemy is the story repeated here, even though it is not a story of missions and though Miller was now no longer young.
The American army was in camp at Valley Forge. Their prospect was dark, with the British in possession of Philadelphia. One Widman, who kept a tavern near Ephrata, had been a trusted friend of the colonial cause, and was in possession of secrets regarding supplies and plans. He decided to betray these secrets to General Howe, and went to Philadelphia for the purpose. The British general, however, scorned the spirit of the man in offering to betray his friends, and refused to have any dealings with him. He was sent back to the American lines, where he was arrested and condemned to death as a traitor.
Peter Miller knew Widman. They had once belonged to the same German church. But ever since Miller had left his former church to join the Sabbatarians, Widman had let pass no opportunity to persecute and insult him. He used even to spit in Miller’s face.
On hearing of the sentence passed on his enemy, Miller set out at once for Valley Forge to see General Washington. Washington was well acquainted with the Ephrata settlement, which had received and cared for the wounded after the battle of the Brandy-wine. So Peter Miller needed no introduction. The following story of the interview, from an original manuscript account, is quoted by Dr. Sachse in his German Sectarians of Pennsylvania:
Washington requested him to be seated, but Miller replied that his business with him would not admit of a moment’s delay—that it required immediate dispatch—and instantly proceeded to plead for mercy toward Widman, most forcibly, most eloquently.
It was a majestic tableau to look upon, the commander in chief, General Lee, and several other staff officers, and Peter Miller, in his monastic robe, standing in front, forming a most imposing group. Rev. Peter Miller was a tall man, of much grace.
All began to regard the commander in chief as disposed to exercise his prerogative of mercy, but rallying to the responsibilities of his station, he replied:
“Friend Miller, there is scarcely anything in this world that I would deny to you, but such is the state of public affairs that it would be fatal to our cause not to be stringent, inexorable in such matters, and make examples of renegades to the cause of liberty; otherwise I should most cheerfully release your friend.”
“Friend!” exclaimed Miller, interrupting General Washington, and at the same time throwing up both his hands, as if in attestation to the Searcher of hearts, “He is my worst enemy—my incessant reviler. For a friend I might not importune you; but Widman being, and having been for years, my worst foe, my malignant, persecuting enemy, my religion teaches me to pray for those who despitefully use me.”
The tears coursed down the brave old commander’s cheek, and taking Miller by the hand, he replied: “My dear friend, I thank you for this lesson of Christian charity. I cannot resist such a manifestation of our divine religion; the pardon shall be granted on one condition, and that is, that you be the bearer of it yourself, and hand it to the commanding officer at Turk’s Head in Widman’s presence.”
To make the story short, Miller hastened away on foot that night to Turk’s Head, or Westchester, about twenty miles distant. Early next morning he went to the grounds where the troops had formed in a hollow square about the gibbet prepared for the execution. Widman, on the scaffold, had acknowledged his guilt, and was asking mercy from Heaven, as Miller stepped forward and handed the commanding officer the message from General Washington.
Widman thought the man whom he had persecuted had come merely to witness the fate of his enemy. Conscience smitten, he summoned courage to address Miller, saying: “Peter Miller, whatever has prompted your presence at this place, I avail myself of the occasion to acknowledge my great and multiplied abuse and persecution with which I have followed you, and to crave your forgiveness.”
At this point the officer interrupted Widman by announcing that the commander in chief had granted him a pardon, and, presenting Peter Miller, he added, “Here is your deliverer.”
Thus Peter Miller followed the instruction, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” W. A. Spicer
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