AN EVALUATION AND TESTIMONY FROM A FORMER-SDA
I wrote this book over 21 years ago after leaving the Seventh-day Adventist Church to inform friends and all who would listen as to why I could no longer in good conscience continue on. Today I have finally published it for free and here online. It is very thorough and I believe it will prove to be a worthwhile read for all those that are struggling with the very things I struggled with. I did not leave Adventism because I was hurt, mistreated, or because of sin. I was treated very well and was serving in full time ministry right before I left. I still love the SDA people and have many fond memories during my years serving with them. But I want to praise and thank God for helping me to identify and understand the errors of SDA theology and for giving me the grace to leave and serve Him in Spirit and Truth.
Since then I have now been serving God for over 20 years as a full time church planter and pastor. This book is not a 10 minute read, but I think if you’ll take an hour or two or spread it out among a few sessions, you will be very glad you did when you finish! May God bless you!
This book is dedicated with love to all my Seventh-day Adventist friends everywhere. I realize that by writing this book I am jeopardizing our friendship, but I have no choice if I wish to be faithful in declaring to you the truth of God according to the dictates of my conscience. I only ask that before you judge me as an apostate, lost and without hope, please take off your glasses of partiality and study this writing objectively with a prayerful, open heart. Please believe me when I tell you that I only hunger for the truth of God´s Word, and if I believed that this truth was to be found within Seventh-day Adventism I would still be serving and preaching within your ranks today. May Almighty God lead us all into a fuller understanding of the Truth as it is in Jesus.
Thank you for taking the time to read this book. This work is in no way an attack upon Seventh-day Adventists, many of whom I believe are wonderful Christian people. Instead, it is an essay written with the sole motive and desire to proclaim truth and expose error. This was the motive behind almost all of the epistles of the New Testament as well. It is my prayer and desire that this study will serve to help establish sincere lovers of God on the solid rock of the New Covenant, and that Jesus Christ alone may be exalted as prophet, priest, and king.
I am convinced that Seventh-day Adventism, while possessing various points of truth, contains a twisting of truth as well as some gross errors that are contrary to the teaching of God’s Word. If you the reader are a Seventh-day Adventist, I would politely ask you to examine these words with an open and prayerful heart. Before continuing, let me share with you a little bit about myself.
I myself was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist organization for more than seven years. I was already a Bible-believing Christian when I came into the denomination through a series of prophecy seminars given by Peter Barkhuizen in Kingsport, TN. At that time, I was a very zealous Christian, but I had very little knowledge of fundamental Bible doctrine, especially regarding cults, the covenants, prophecy, the atonement, and the state of the dead. For this reason, I was easily convinced of the new teachings that Elder Barkhuizen presented each night of the seminar.
Elder Barkhuizen´s presentation at the beginning was very fundamental as Seventh-day Adventist prophecy seminars are during the first two weeks. The first lessons would receive a hearty “amen” from any evangelical. He started out by teaching the classic doctrines of “Sola Scriptura,” the trinity of God, justification by faith, and even attacked Jehovah´s Witnesses and Mormons. After a couple weeks he had won my confidence and I began to accept little by little certain teachings that I had never heard before. I found these new teachings fascinating because many of them were so different from the doctrines that I had been taught, and from the presentation and abundant literature that was given out each night at the seminar, it appeared to me that everything was squarely taught in the Bible. I never even thought that I could possibly be becoming involved with anything false, for I had been readily warned of the Mormons, and Jehovah´s Witnesses, (I will endeavor to draw many comparisons between these two cults and Seventh-day Adventism in this book) but had never even heard of this new group that taught such new, interesting things.
I became convinced during the last part of the seminar that in order to continue following Christ, I had to make my decision to join the “remnant church of Bible prophecy,” which I did. I soon found myself keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, believing in Ellen G. White as a special messenger of God, and believing that all other churches were part of spiritual “Babylon.” I received some minor opposition from my previous Christian acquaintances, who appeared to be sincerely convinced that I was involved with error, but they could not seem to defeat the Adventist arguments that I had learned from their little literature and booklets.
I see now that there is a great ignorance among evangelical churches and Christians in general regarding Seventh-day Adventism and its teachings, which are one of the reasons that I chose to write this study. I composed this book mainly to be read by Seventh-day Adventists as an explanation as to why I left the church and to reach them with the truth, but I´m sure that all Bible-believing Christians will find it a valuable resource.
I believe that if I had been presented from the beginning with the material that you are about to read, I never would have joined the SDA (abbreviation for Seventh-day Adventist. This term is used throughout the book) Church or ever come to believe its doctrine. However, I am not sorry for those seven years within the Adventist church, for if it were not for those seven years, I would have never been able to write this study and therefore help defend the truth of the Gospel of Christ from error. An eyewitness always gives the best testimony.
Because of the opposition that I mentioned, I found myself forced to take sides. I have never believed in doing anything half-heartedly, so believing that I was doing the right thing, and that I was following God´s truth, I plunged myself fervently into the spreading and defending of this “new light” as SDA´s have coined their doctrine. From the beginning I was very well treated and accepted by them and was immediately given a prominent place among them. During the next seven years, I frequently preached in their churches, sometimes as many as three times a week while in Mexico, where I spent the greater part of these seven years. I served as a full-time church worker on three different occasions, twice in the United States and once in Mexico. My salary was paid by the local congregation. (References are available.)
I have never had a personal problem in the SDA church and even to this day am in good moral standing among them. During most of those seven years I was totally convinced that the SDA church was God’s true “remnant church” that kept His commandments and possessed the “Spirit of Prophecy.”
I was always ready to defend my belief zealously as many today that knew me then can testify and usually came out of all arguments and discussions feeling that I had proven my point. I held to my belief of the church’s teachings until after six years the Lord brought me to the place where I could see things objectively from an unbiased point of view. I began to examine some arguments that challenged the three principal doctrines of Adventism, namely the Sabbath, the Investigative Judgment, and the prophetic gift of Ellen G. White. I found it quite impossible to defeat these arguments and came to the conclusion after many months that I could no longer preach or promote that which I could not conclusively prove.
After these many agonizing months of prayer and intense Bible study, I came to the firm conclusion that I had not been seeing many things from the correct angle, and that while I had been sincere, I had been sincerely wrong. I say that these months were agonizing months because of the fact that a Seventh-day Adventist usually has in his mind the belief that once the Sabbath is rejected by those that at one time held to it, he will be rejected by God in the final judgment. In the conscience it is a matter of eternal life and death. This fear is strengthened because of a submission of the conscience to the Seventh-day Adventist prophetess, Ellen G. White, who repeatedly stated that through visions from God, He had revealed to her that perdition and destruction would be the portion of those that “rejected God’s law,” principally speaking, the Sabbath commandment.
I myself was once a believer in Mrs. White, read her books zealously, and proclaimed her to many to be an “inspired Bible commentary” and “God’s end-time prophet.” But little by little, as I studied the evidence, I became convinced that far from being a messenger of God, she was a self-deceived woman that was greatly influenced by the men and ideas that surrounded her. I arrived to this conclusion after studying the clear, but widely unknown evidence among Adventists that she plagiarized much if not most of her writings, made false prophesies, taught false doctrines, contradicted science, and had visions that contradicted revelations that she later received. She was pronounced by many physicians of her day as having a mental condition called nervous hysteria. This condition has been identified and confirmed in modern times. More will be said of this later.
Much of this information has been suppressed and hidden from the SDA members, and when I learned these things and held in my hands the undisputable proof, my conscience was free to arrive to its own conclusions without submitting to the revelations of the “prophet” first. I call this submission “conscience control,” and now see that it is a tactic used by almost all cults to keep their followers in unquestioning submission.
In order for a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon to break free from their false doctrines, it is first essential for them to see the fallacies and errors of the Watchtower Society and, in the case of the Mormons, the falsity of Joseph Smith and the following “prophets.” Only when they arrive to this conclusion will they be able to freely consider all doctrines from the well of their own conscience. For this reason, I have included in this study an evaluation of Mrs. White, realizing that until a Seventh-day Adventist begins to see her errors, he will never be able to honestly consider the Sabbath, the investigative judgment, the nature of man, and other doctrines from the perspective of the “Bible and the Bible alone.” I can say this from experience.
I would like to say that for Seventh-day Adventist people as a whole I feel nothing but genuine love. I still admire their friendly demeanor and emphasis on clean, natural living. I am in no way bitter against them, for I was always treated very well while among them and would like to thank them once again for all those Sabbath lunches!
I made many good memories while with them as well as friends that are still my friends to this day. I hope that after reading this book they will continue to desire my friendship as I do theirs. I only ask them to please believe me when I say that I am sincere before God and them, only desiring the pure, soul-saving truth of God´s Holy Word.
The motive for my writing this book is threefold. First of all, as I mentioned above, I wish to give a full, written explanation to my many Adventist friends as to why I left the church. I prefer to not dispute, so this book will help them to understand my positions without arguing. Second, I wish to educate Bible-believing Christians concerning Seventh-day Adventism and how to meet its arguments from the scripture. And last and most importantly, I wish to see Seventh-day Adventists freed from error. Error can be damning to souls if it takes away from the foundational principles of Christ’s gospel, which I believe that traditional Seventh-day Adventism does.
It should be understood at this point by what is meant in saying traditional Adventism. Traditional Adventism refers to the doctrine that the Adventist pioneers originated, to what Ellen White saw in vision, and to what the General Conference of SDA´s officially teaches. But not all churches today in SDA circles can be called traditional. All SDA´s are aware of the fact that there is a shifting and a dividing going on within Adventism today. Many pastors, theologians, and lay members are moving closer toward mainstream evangelical Christianity. The Gospel is emphasized and the three pillars I already mentioned above are de-emphasized.
Today there are some SDA churches that could not be recognized as SDA churches if it weren´t for the sign in front of the building. Salvation by faith and practical, daily living are given prominent place while the three pillars are left to sleep in a dormant grave, not being supported or spoken against, but treated as if they didn´t exist. It could be that before long we will see an open division within Seventh-day Adventism, with one group becoming completely evangelical, and the other becoming even more settled in these three doctrines that can clearly be classified as cultic. This is what happened with another large Sabbath-keeping denomination, the World-wide Church of God, publisher of The Plain Truth Magazine. So please understand that this book deals with the doctrine of traditional Adventism, which I believe is cultic, not it´s (almost) evangelical counterpart. The term “Seventh-day Adventist” in this writing refers exclusively to the traditional aspect.
I believe that many Seventh-day Adventists are true, born-again Christians, but this is not because of the doctrines that are peculiar to their church, but because of those points of faith that they hold in common with the rest of the evangelical world, namely, faith in Christ, repentance, and the born again experience. There are some good and true things to be found within their teachings, but it should be noted once again that these good things are teachings that are found in all true Christian churches in general. But I believe and have endeavored to prove in this book that the doctrines that are exclusive to Adventism, such as Ellen White´s “prophetic gift,” the Investigative Judgment, soul sleep, vegetarianism for reasons of morality, and obligatory Sabbath-keeping are contrary to New Testament Christianity.
Let us remember that it is not accepting the Sabbath, the Investigative Judgment, vegetarianism, or Ellen White that sets one apart as God’s end-time people, but has always been and always will be the accepting of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and receiving the born-again experience that makes one part of God’s “remnant” in this or any other time. The “Remnant Church” idea sets up two classes of Christians, something that the Bible never does.
So once again, if you are a Seventh-day Adventist, I ask you to honestly and prayerfully consider the following pages. Please read all of the Bible verses I have mentioned in their entirety. You may or may not agree with my positions after finishing, but one thing I am sure of is this; you will have to admit that there is reason and support from the Bible for my conclusions, and I am compelled to believe that even the most dyed-in-the-wool Seventh-day Adventists will be forced to say, “I can understand why he now believes this way.”
1- INVESTIGATING THE INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT
Verily, verily I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:12
1844, THE CLEANSING OF THE SANCTUARY, AND THE
Of all teachings, the investigative judgment is the only doctrine that is unique to Seventh-day Adventism. Adventist doctrine, theology, and eschatology rests upon the foundation of this one teaching. If it fails, the SDA doctrine falls like a pile of stacked dominos. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and of all the links in the chain of Seventh-day Adventism, this one has to be the weakest because not only is it unscriptural, but it borders very dangerously on the line of heresy. It is this one teaching that caused me to question the infallibility of the Adventist doctrine, and has caused literally hundreds of SDA ministers to resign or be dismissed and thousands of members to leave the church.
The church would be a whole lot better off if it renounced this teaching, but to do so would be to oppose the visions of Ellen White, and to oppose the visions of Ellen White would mean that everything from the Sabbath to foot washing to the mark of the beast would be in jeopardy because members would then be led by their own understanding of the scriptures and not be bound by all the “I saw” and “said the angel” statements.
So, what is so barbarous about the 1844 investigative judgment teaching? Among other things it teaches that….
1. the atonement was not totally finished on the cross. (See chapter two for quotes from Mrs. White that teach this heresy)
2. God’s professing people will face a dreadful judgment where they will have to overcome every defect of character in order to receive the final atonement of Christ.
3. the Christian’s sins are not blotted out at the moment of repentance, but at the moment when his record comes up before Jesus in the pre-advent judgment and he sees that he proved himself worthy enough to merit his atonement.
4. Christians are on a criminal-like probation and that they can never have the assurance of eternal life until after they are proclaimed innocent at the investigative judgment.
5. God´s end-time people will one day live on earth during the greatest trial in the history of the world without an intercessor and will therefore have to live a perfect life in order to be saved.
6. confessed sins are transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Christ, thereby making that precious blood a polluting agent instead of a cleansing agent.
7. the veil of the temple in heaven was man’s sin-bearer for almost 1900 years.
8. the sins and guilt of the redeemed will finally be placed upon Satan, making that evil fiend man’s eventual sin-bearer.
9. Christ did not enter into the most holy place at his ascension into heaven, but in 1844.
10. that the only Sovereign, Omnipotent God is somehow on trial before the very universe that He created, and that the investigative judgment is necessary in order to acquit Him before the universe.
If any would oppose the fact that the above teachings are Adventist doctrine, I would simply direct him to the book The Great Controversy where each and every one of them are clearly taught in just a few chapters by the church’s infallible “Spirit of Prophecy.”
While the 27 Fundamental Beliefs book may not express all of the above thoughts, Adventists must still face up to the fact that Mrs. White taught them explicitly, therefore making them part of the belief system of everyone that would accept her claims of being inspired of God. I wish to add that the modern-day SDA church seems to recognize some of the errors of the Investigative Judgment teaching without confessing them publicly, for to do so would mean putting Ellen White´s writings and so-called inspiration in jeopardy. What the church has done instead is to quietly shift the emphasis of the Investigative Judgment from man´s trial before God to God´s trial before the universe.
The teaching goes something like this:
The Devil has accused God of being unjust because He gave man a law that is impossible to obey. But the searching of each man´s records during the Investigative Judgment will prove that there are indeed humans that live perfect lives in accordance to the Ten Commandment law, thereby proving that the law can be obeyed and that Satan´s accusation is a false one. God is acquitted before the universe! But the above explanation is only a part of what the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers like James and Ellen White, Joseph Bates, Hiram Edson, J.N. Andrews, and Uriah Smith taught and believed. For them, the Investigative Judgment was primarily just that; a judgment that determined man´s eternity which was based on the works that the angels had recorded in each professing Christian´s register. Anyone who knows SDA church history I´m sure will be compelled to agree with this.
Without ever having read an anti-Adventist book and during a time when I believed whole-heartedly in “the message,” I began to question the biblical basis of the 1844 investigative judgment while I was aboard a bus for a long ride and casually reading the book of Daniel. When I got to chapter 8, which is the foundation of “the Remnant Church,” as Adventists call themselves, I began to see that the contextual support for 1844, the cleansing of the sanctuary, and the investigative judgment were missing, and that assumptions without an exegetical, biblical foundation had to be made in order to make Daniel 8:9-14 fit the traditional, Adventist interpretation of these verses.
Then a brief study of Hebrews chapters 6-10 convinced me that I had to make a choice: to believe the Bible or believe the Adventist Church and Ellen White. At first, I thought that it could be I that was wrong and I endeavored to find a way to reconcile my doubts through Pastor friends and SDA books on the subject. The more I listened and studied, the more convinced I became that I was involved with a church whose foundational doctrine was a great error.
As Mormonism must stand or fall on the first vision of Joseph Smith, so must Adventism stand or fall on Daniel 8:14. If their interpretation of this verse is wrong, the whole doctrine must fall. It was when I saw this that Seventh-day Adventism came crashing down before my eyes. The only thing that was left standing was what I possessed before embracing their teaching- Christ. Yes, Jesus Christ, that rock that never moves was all that was left standing, and he looked more precious than ever to me!
This is not meant to be an exhaustive study, but I would like to examine this teaching with you. First of all, let’s identify this most peculiar of doctrines so that we will know how to discern between truth and error.
The teaching of the Investigative Judgment goes something like this: in 1844 Jesus entered into the most holy place of a literal sanctuary in heaven. This was in fulfillment of Daniel 8:14, “unto 2300 days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
The beginning of these 2300 days was supposed to be in 457 B.C. with the command to rebuild Jerusalem found in Daniel 9:25. The year 1844 is the year that these year-days came to an end and Jesus began the work of the investigative judgment, which is anti-typical to the Jewish Day of Atonement found in Leviticus 16. Since 1844, mankind has been living in the final, heavenly Day of Atonement where the cases of the professing people of God are brought one by one before Christ for investigation. During the investigation, Jesus carefully examines the register of the all the person’s works, good and bad, which have been faithfully recorded in detail by angels. If perfection of character was obtained and through repentance and faith in Christ perfect obedience to the Ten Commandment law is seen on the person’s record, Jesus will then make a final atonement for that person’s sins and blot them out of his register.
(Previous to this the person’s sins can be forgiven but are not blotted out until after he has passed the investigative judgment. It is hard to understand how it is that sins can be forgiven without being blotted out!)
The first case that Christ examined was probably Adam’s or Abel’s, and when he passes to the cases of the living and finishes with the last one, his intercession for man will cease. An indefinite period of time of tribulation and persecution then passes on the earth when Sabbath-keepers and all mankind will have to live without an intercessor prior to the Coming of Christ. The next event is the coming of Christ, the destruction of the living wicked, and the rescue of the Sabbath-keeping Christians that have not accepted the mark of the beast, which is a world-wide Sunday law. They are taken to Heaven, where the millennium starts and they will spend the next thousand years in Heaven examining the records of the sins of the wicked to see that God was indeed fair in His condemnation of them.
After the thousand years, the myriads of wicked dead are resurrected on earth to receive their final judgment and doom. They are annihilated by fire from heaven along with the Devil, but not until the sins and guilt of the righteous are placed finally and forever upon him. God’s character at last is vindicated before the universe because it is seen from the “judgment” that man can indeed obey the Ten Commandments and that God is not an unfair law-giver.
So this is the investigative judgment in a nutshell. Sound confusing? It should, because during my seven years in the Adventist Church I found that eight out of ten members didn’t understand or couldn’t explain this most important doctrine of their Church’s “last days’ message.”
I wish to now expose some of the fallacies in this un-biblical teaching.
Let´s read Daniel chapter 8, with special emphasis on verses 9-14.
“And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven: and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered. And then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, how long shall the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
Now that you have read the text, let me ask you the same questions that I asked myself on the bus that day.
1. According to the context of the verses, can you see that it is the little horn power that desecrates and casts down the sanctuary and the host, not the sins of God’s people?
2. Can you see that the angel’s question of “how long,” does not have to do with the time period that the heavenly sanctuary would be contaminated by the sins of God´s people, but everything to do with the time period in which the earthly sanctuary would be trodden down and made desolate by the little horn?
3. Can you see that the 2300 days (or 2300 “evenings and mornings” as the literal text reads which could make the time period actually 1,150 days) started not when the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given, but when the sanctuary and the host were first trodden down by the little horn?
4. Can you see by the context that the end of the 2300 days is not 1844, but when the sanctuary is finally “cleansed” of the little horn power? (a better translation of the Hebrew word “chatak” which is translated “cleansed” in this verse would be justified, set right, restored or liberated. This is how all the revised versions translate the word)
5. Can you see that the length of the 2300 “evenings and mornings” is the time period in which the little horn power would take away the daily sacrifice, cast down the truth and trample upon the sanctuary and the host?
6. What was trampled and made desolate in 457 B.C. that ceased to be trampled and made desolate in 1844?
7. Did you know that most all Bible Commentaries teach and even the Maccabean Jews themselves believed that Daniel 8:9-14 was strikingly fulfilled to the letter by Antiochus Epiphanes, between 171 and 164 B.C.? Why? Because he accomplished everything that Daniel 8 said would be done by the horn power. He……
a. Profaned the temple in Jerusalem by offering pigs to Zeus on the altar of sacrifice
b. Caused the daily sacrifice, which was the central part of God’s truth in the Old Testament, to cease
c. greatly persecuted the Jews, the people of God
d. Ruled and subjugated Jerusalem
e. Was overcome in the Maccabean revolt after 2300 days, after which the sanctuary was then “set right, justified, and cleansed” of his trampling power.
So amazing was Antiochus’ fulfillment of these prophesies that secular critics claim that Daniel 8 had to be written after these events took place because the details of the prophesies were fulfilled to the letter. These events were some of the most important in the history of the Jewish nation and certainly merit Old Testament prophecy.
By now you may be beginning to see some of the fallacies of the Adventist foundational doctrine that I began to see. In order for the SDA interpretation of Daniel 8:9-14 to be correct, the context must be twisted, history ignored, and wild assumptions must be made. Let us now observe one of these assumptions…
The SDA interpretation of these verses is totally dependent on making a connection between the vision of Daniel 8 and the vision of Daniel 9:24,5, where it is stated that 70 weeks are determined upon the Jews to make an end of sin. The 70 weeks started with the command to rebuild Jerusalem, which was given in 457 B.C. (Most scholars say that it was actually given a little later)
Adventists arrive to the date 1844 by piecing the vision of Daniel 8 and the vision of Daniel 9 together, that is to say that the 2300 days also started with the command to rebuild Jerusalem. They do this by virtue of saying that the 70 weeks that were “determined” in 9:24 actually mean “cut off.” They assume that this cutting off of the seventy weeks refers to them being cut off of the 2300 days in chapter 8. Upon this assumption the year 1844 must stand or fall, and Adventists are as dependent upon this year as Jehovah’s Witnesses are dependent upon the year 1914. But fall it must, because reasoning and context render it impossible to link Daniel 8:14 with Daniel 9:24,25 Why? Consider the following.
1. By the context, the word determined fits much better than cut off in verse 24. The angel is telling Daniel that seventy weeks are determined (ie- “given” or “allotted to” the Jews) to repent and anoint the most Holy. (The Messiah) “Cut off” has nothing to do with the context and would have to be explained with more detail. The term “cut off” is used in the same chapter in verse 26 and was translated from a different Hebrew word than the assumed “cut off” in verse 24.
2. at least six years had passed between the vision of chapter 8 and the vision of chapter 9.
3. The vision in chapter 9 comes as the result of Daniel’s prayer for understanding concerning Jeremiah’s vision and prophecy of the 70 years of desolation of Jerusalem. V. 2 Daniel knew that the seventy years were almost accomplished, and that God had afterward determined something specific for the Jews and Jerusalem. It was in this context that Daniel was seeking wisdom and the angel was sent to him. The 2300 days are not the issue in chapter nine.
4. Daniel’s prayer for wisdom in chapter 9 had nothing to do with the vision of chapter 8, but everything to do with the vision and prophecy of Jeremiah in verse 2.
5. The angel’s answer had nothing to do with the vision of chapter 8, but everything to do with what God had determined for Jerusalem and the Jewish nation in the future according to Jeremiah’s 70-year prophecy. And remember, that is precisely what Daniel was praying about, not the 2300-day vision.
6. The angel in chapter 8 told Daniel to “shut up” the 2300-day vision because it was to be in the future and was not to involve him. This is precisely what happened in chapter 12 where the prophet, in response to his inquiry for understanding, was told “go his way” because the vision was sealed until the end of time; hence it didn’t affect him and there was no reason for him to know about it. Therefore, if Daniel was told to shut up the vision in chapter 8, there would be no reason to explain the same vision later to him in chapter 9 because….
7. the 2300-day vision is clearly explained to Daniel in the same chapter 8. See verses 15-26 If it was already explained to him there, there would not be a reason to explain it again in the next chapter.
In conclusion, it can be easily proved from the Bible that Christ’s death on the cross provided a complete, eternal, and instantaneous atonement for believing, repentant sinners and that at his ascension to heaven he entered into the Most Holy Place to forever secure the merits of his blood before the presence of the Father. This would conclusively disprove the SDA teaching that Christ entered into the Most Holy Place in heaven in 1844 and began a final work of atonement. Read….
1. John 19:30 When Jesus cried from the cross just before dying, “It is finished,” do you think he was referring to his complete atonement for mankind or just a certain phase of his ministry?
2. Hebrews 6:19,20 Can you see that in Paul’s day Jesus had already “entered within the veil” as a high priest? In your study of the Bible, do you agree that the term “within the veil” always refers to the veil that separated the holy place from the most holy place? If you have any doubt, please refer to the Old Testament´s use of the term “within the veil.” If you look up the 5 references, you will find that each and every time the term refers exclusively to the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. Is it not therefore a sound, biblical conclusion to believe that “within the veil” in Hebrews 6:19 also refers to this veil?
3. Hebrews 9:7-12 After reading these verses, can you see that the context teaches that Christ, fulfilling the shadows of the previously mentioned O.T. priests that went into the “holiest of all” once a year with blood for the errors of the people, entered (past tense) in himself with his own blood to obtain eternal redemption for us? In order to obtain eternal redemption for man, would it not be necessary to first make an eternal atonement for man?
4. The New Testament writers declare repeatedly that at Christ´s ascension he “sat down at the right hand of God.” Would you not agree that the right hand of God in Heaven is no less than the Most Holy Place in Heaven? Would this not once again lead us to the conclusion that Christ entered into the Most Holy Place in Heaven not in 1844, but at his ascension?
5. Hebrews 10:19-24 In these verses first century Christians were invited to…”enter into the holiest…. through the veil.” How could they do this if Jesus were not already there?
6. The book of Hebrews is the New Testament counterpart to Leviticus. Its subject is the study of the fulfillment of Christ’s sacrifice, atonement, and priestly ministry that the book of Leviticus portrayed as shadows and types. After profoundly studying its message and context, can you see that the book’s thrust and conclusion is that the atonement of Christ in the most holy place in heaven was already an accomplished fact when the inspired writer penned its words around the year 64 A.D.? Do you agree that the book of Hebrews never even hints of a futuristic, second phase of Christ’s atonement? Do you agree that the context is always that the atonement of Jesus typified in Leviticus 16 is totally complete and forever finished?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to base my faith on wild assumptions that clearly contradict the whole context of the Word of God. No one in their right mind could possibly come up with the Adventist doctrine of the 1844 cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary and the Investigative Judgment by an honest, exegetical, contextual, and prayerful study of God’s Word. In order to believe such an interpretation, it must be received from exterior sources and “revelations.” I say that no one in their right mind could come to these conclusions because in my opinion, the people of the “little Advent band” of 1844 were not in their right mind! Let me explain why.
After the “Great Disappointment” of October 22, 1844, emotions, minds, and nerves were running wild among those that had expected to be translated into heaven that day. The ground was fertile for fanaticism, visions, and wild assumptions. Here were a group of people that had based their life’s hope on a supposed 1844 coming of Christ to rapture them away to heaven. They had sold their belongings, renounced their earthly work and business, and had not planted crops because to do so would show lack of faith in the “saving message.” In those days, the great majority of people were farmers and not planting meant not harvesting and not harvesting meant going hungry! But time, that great tester of all theories and prophesies proved the 1844 Advent message a false one.
October 22, 1844 came and went without Christ appearing. You can imagine the shame, confusion, desperation, and emotional turmoil experienced by these first “Adventists.” Most of them honestly admitted that they had committed a great error, and humbly confessed their sincere, but un-biblical calculation. Among this large group was William Miller himself, the originator and main propagator of the 1844 Advent teaching. Others would not admit defeat, and everything was set for an explanation that would “save the day.” Not even 24 hours passed after the “great disappointment” until that explanation was found, and Hiram Edson had his famous vision in the cornfield where he seemed to see heaven opened and the Son of Man entering into the temple in heaven to begin a “second phase” of his high priestly work of atonement. Edson´s new vision and teaching were written out in a paper by O.R.L Crosier (who later repudiated the theory) called the Day Dawn. This paper fell into the hands of James White and Ellen Harmon (later White). He immediately endorsed it and Ellen had a “confirmation” vision where she too endorsed Edson and Crosier´s theory. She saw in vision that the facts and numbers of William Miller’s prophetic charts were as God wanted them and were not to be altered, and that the Bridegroom had indeed come, but in a different way than expected. (Many striking similarities can be observed here between the Adventist´s “save the day” conclusions of 1844 and the Jehovah’s Witness’ “explanation” of why Armageddon didn’t occur in 1914 like they had predicted. Christ came all right, and even brought His kingdom they say. But it was an “invisible” coming you see. What? You can’t see that?)
It is important to note here that William Miller himself rejected these new theories and admitted that 1844 was not a fulfillment of prophecy in any sense. It seems very odd to me that if God were behind the 1844 Advent movement, why he didn´t reveal this “truth” to the man that He used to start the movement? And if Miller’s charts were as the Lord wanted them and not to be altered as E.G. White said, it seems even stranger to me that God would be behind this false prophecy because His Word says that if a prophet’s prophecy doesn’t come to pass, the Lord did not send him. Deut 18:22
Even harder to understand is the fact that Ellen White saw in a vision that “Jesus turned his face” from the churches that did not receive the 1844 Advent prophecy and the ministers that did not receive it had “the blood of souls on them.” Spiritual gifts Vol 1 p. 136, Early Writings p. 234
This is a shocking thing to say about people that simply did not believe a prophecy that later turned out to be false. Even Mrs. White admitted that these churches and ministers did not oppose the doctrine of Christ’s coming, but the time of his coming- 1844. It was also said by Ellen White that she saw in vision that God’s hand covered the figures of Miller’s prophetic chart so that error could not be seen. Are you kidding? God covering the truth so that a false prophecy could be preached and believed? If Adventists really believe that, I can understand why they think that God’s character needs to be vindicated!
Isn’t it time to face the truth that God was no more behind the Adventist’s 1844 than He was behind the JW’s 1914? Isn’t it time to admit that the Investigative Judgment is nothing but a cover-up and save-face for the false 1844 prophecy? It is this doctrine that justified the error 154 years ago and continues to justify the erroneous foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church today.
EXPOSING ELEN’S WHITE LIE
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him (her) Deut. 18:22
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8
25 reasons why Ellen White is a false prophet
The Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches that one of the characteristics that sets it apart as the “true remnant church” is something called the “spirit of prophecy,” which is a term mentioned in Revelation chapter 19. Adventists believe that Ellen White´s prophetic gift was the manifestation of this spirit of prophecy, for her writings are referred to by that term within their church circles.
Mrs. White was one of the early followers of the 1844 Millerite movement as well as the main precipitator of the SDA church. Her “visions” have helped define almost every aspect of Seventh-day Adventist doctrine.
During her life she was supposed to have had over 2,000 visions and prophetic dreams. These visions and dreams are accepted by traditional Seventh-day Adventists as revelations from God. Although Seventh-day Adventists will quickly admit that Mrs. White´s writings are not a part of the canon of Holy Scripture, it was always and still is difficult for me to understand how they can differentiate between the canon of scripture and Mrs. Whites revelations and “inspired” writings.
When I believed in Mrs. White, for me her writings were just as inspired as the Bible because I believed and still believe that there are not different levels of divine inspiration. If Ellen White truly had revelations from God, went to Heaven in vision, saw Jesus, talked with angels, etc, then my conclusion was that these visions were just as inspired as those of Daniel or John the Revelator. This is an inescapable conclusion, for how can one true prophet´s visions be more authoritative than another´s? Was Isaiah more inspired than Ezekiel simply because he lived more than a hundred years before? Was Joel more inspired and authoritative than Amos? Of course not! So if Ellen White´s writings and visions are truly inspired, then they too must be accepted as “the word of the Lord” every bit as much as the visions and writings of Moses, David, Peter, or Paul.
Adventist´s would meet this challenge by saying that the difference is that Mrs. White´s writings are to be judged by the Bible, and not the other way around. She is the “lesser light” that leads one to the “greater light” they say. To me this explanation seeks to evade the point. All it means for the Adventist is that if Ellen White passes all the “tests,” (stops breathing during visions, speaks according to the “law and testimony,” etc.) then she is fully authorized to interpret the Bible for them! So, we see that it is not the Bible that is the final authority for traditional SDAs, but Mrs. White´s interpretation of it that is the final authority. A classic example of this is the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment, which we have just studied. This doctrine is completely contrary to what the Bible teaches as any unbiased person can see, but Adventists are obligated to accept this false teaching as divine truth because, after all, Mrs. White had visions from God, and they have not. Their thought often is, “Who are we to question God´s revelations through His messenger?”
When pressed upon the issue, Adventists must admit that the Bible is not their source for the Investigative Judgment, but Mrs. White´s visions are. Her writings are frequently referred to as an “inspired Bible Commentary” and are called “a continuing and authoritative source of truth” in the SDA book 27 Fundamental Beliefs.
When I first joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I had little idea who Ellen White was. That is usually the way it happens with new members. They are very gradually introduced to the “end time prophet.” After coming into the church, I was given books to read that supposedly proved that Mrs. White possessed the true gift of prophecy, which told of her revelations regarding tobacco and vegetarianism that were later confirmed by modern health science.
Supposedly she would stop breathing for long periods of time during her visions and once held a heavy Bible over her head for close to an hour without tiring.
As supposed eyewitnesses testified, “Wild horses were said to have stood still at her command. Sick people were said to have frequently recovered after she prayed for them. Hidden sins of SDA ministers were revealed to her and exposed by her, many times publicly.”
This information was convincing to my young mind, and without examining the “cons” but only the “pros”, I gradually came to accept Mrs. White as the “Lord´s messenger.”
The first E.G. White book I was given to read after coming into the church was Steps to Christ. I could see no grave error in that book and found it quite solid theologically, so I continued to read more of Mrs. White´s works (she wrote 66 books) for several more years. I became a typical Seventh-day Adventist-E.G. White devotee who spewed out her quotes in sermons and during Sabbath School as if they were quotes from Jesus or Paul. After all, if she was inspired, then was she not just as inspired as they were? (I have already mentioned that there are not different levels of inspiration.)
I proclaimed Mrs. White as a prophet in the same way that Mormons proclaim Joseph Smith as one and defended her vigorously from the attacks of others. So you may ask, “What changed your mind? Why are you on the other side of the coin today?” I will be glad to answer!
I finally came to the conclusion that Mrs. White was a deceiver (Although unknowingly. I think that she believed in herself the same way that the Pope of Rome honestly believes that he is the Vicar of Christ) for the same reasons that many Mormons and Jehovah´s Witnesses leave those cults. I was not told the whole story. I did not know everything there was to know about Ellen White. As many books written by ex-Mormons and JW´s can testify, those cult members know only what their church hierarchy wants them to know. When a Mormon or JW investigates with a sincere heart the pros, cons, and the untold story of Joseph Smith or the Watchtower Society, they come to realize that they have been deceived. In like fashion, most Seventh-day Adventists do not know the whole story about their prophetess. Some, especially those in high positions, know of it but refuse to say anything, for to question or discard Sister White could mean termination from denominational employment. Others come to know the full story and leave the church. Among this large group are many hundreds of Seventh-day Adventist ministers and pastors, including many of the ministers who were contemporaries of Mrs. White and had the chance to personally observe her. When the whole story finally reached me, I realized that I had been “whitewashed!” (pun intended)
Today I praise the Living God that I know the truth and am free to let Jesus Christ be everything to me without the aid of any human being. If you are a Seventh-day Adventist, I pray that what you are about to read will set you free in Christ too.
This evaluation is not exhaustive, but I think that it will be enough to prove that Mrs. White was far from possessing the true gift of prophecy. It is very important to remember that the Lord Jesus warned us many times about false prophets. Let us remember that he said that if it were possible, they would deceive even the elect. Paul says they are transformed into ministers of righteousness. The most deceitful counterfeit money is that which is most like the real thing, and so it is with false prophets.
I have seen and experienced firsthand how believing in the SDA “messenger of the Lord” can cut off the illumination of the Holy Spirit in one’s life, cause perplexity and anxiety as far as one’s salvation, and bind one’s conscience in such a way that her follower can no more be open to anything that is non-SDA or EG White. Perhaps an SDA reader would say that this is untrue, but I experienced it myself, and can tell you that until you are free and have felt the true presence and direction of the Holy Spirit, you will never understand just how much bondage you were in! How wonderful it is to be free from all “prophets” and enjoy Jesus, our true prophet, priest, and king!
Ellen White proclaimed herself to be the voice of God on earth in the same way that the current Mormon prophet and the Watchtower Society´s “governing body” does today. She wrote, “In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of the prophets and apostles. In these last days He speaks to them by the Testimonies of His Spirit.”
By the Testimonies, Mrs. White is referring to her many volumes of writings called Testimonies to the Church. But the Bible seems to teach something different. Hebrews 1:1,2 says that “God….spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (but) hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” Ellen White rewrote this verse and took out the name of Christ and placed her own name in its place, thereby attributing to herself the place that belongs only to the Son of the Most High God. This is dangerous. Not only is it unscriptural but believing Mrs. White´s claims for herself can only lead to setting her up as the “Adventist Pope.” It was against this setting up of an “infallible interpreter” of the Bible between God and men that the reformation waged it´s uncompromising war. Here we see the same thing happening again.
As I already mentioned, the SDA Church teaches that Mrs. White´s writings are “an inspired Bible Commentary” and a “continuing and authoritative source of truth.” (See Fundamental Beliefs No. 23) This is untrue. It is now the Holy Spirit that is to guide the believer into all truth, not the prophet. He is the true Vicar of Christ. I am not saying that there are no prophets today, for the New Testament said that there would be prophets in the church (notice that it says “prophets” and not “prophet.” There must be more than one in order to judge, discern, and protect the church from deception. Read it. l Cor. 14:29-32), but I am saying that Christ’s Spirit alone operating in the inner man along with the Holy Scripture is to be the Christian´s final and true guide. Is this not the teaching of the New Testament?
Adventist claim that Ellen White was a true prophet because she passes all the tests. What you are about to read will destroy that argument. There is much, much more that could be written, but sufficient evidence will be given here to convince any honest person that Ellen G. White did not possess the “spirit of prophecy,” but the spirit of error. Consider the following.
Did you know that Ellen White…?
- had a vision where an angel told her that many of those alive in 1856 would not die, but be alive to be translated at the coming of Jesus?
The Bible says that if a prophet prophesies and the thing doesn’t come to pass, he or she is false and not to be regarded as a messenger of the Lord. This is a very simple test. Duet. 18:20-22 How does Mrs. White measure up? Let’s see. The following quotation, written in 1856, should settle the issue.
“I was shown the company present at the Conference. Said the angel: ‘Some food for worms, some subjects of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus.” Testimonies Vol l, p. 131 Here is a prophecy that didn’t come to pass. All the people present in that 1856 conference have been dead for years and would have to be at least 180 years old today in order for the prophecy to still come to pass. How many 180-year-old people do you know? This alone is enough to expose her as false.
- made false Civil War prophesies? – During the turbulent years of the Civil War, the pressure must have been heavy on Mrs. White. Here was an inspired prophet who was having almost daily visions about the length of women’s dresses, how to eat, etc. What did she say about the Civil War? Among other things, she prophesied that the slaves would not be set free, the war would never be conducted successfully, the nation would fall, there would be famine in the U.S., England would take sides and declare war on the North, and that there would be a world war involving many nations as a result of the civil conflict between the North and the South in America. These were all false prophesies as we well know today. Here is just one of these false predictions that she wrote in 1862 during the uncertain days of the Civil War.
“…when England does declare war, (against the north during the Civil War) all nations will have an interest of their own to serve, and there will be general war, general confusion…The result will be that this nation (USA) will…be humbled into the dust.” Testimonies Vol. l p. 259
England never declared war, there was no general war, and quite to the contrary, instead of being humbled into the dust, the North´s victory solidified the union and saved it from a disastrous dissolution.
3. had visions that taught that the door of salvation was forever shut to the world in 1844 when Christ supposedly entered in to the most holy place in heaven to begin the anti-typical Day of Atonement, and that some of these visions were later suppressed when it was seen that this teaching was erroneous?
If Jesus indeed began the anti-typical Day of Atonement in 1844, then I would agree with Mrs. White, because when the earthly Day of Atonement began every year for the Jews, it was too late for them to confess their sins. If we are to be consistent in our interpretation, we must arrive to the same conclusion as the early Adventists. But the teaching of the investigative judgment is utterly unbiblical and false, as we have already proved. The “shut door” teaching has been a thorn in the side and a lump under the rug for the Adventist Church since its commencement, especially since Mrs. White had more than one vision confirming it. ]
The shut door teaching said that in 1844 the “wise virgins” (which in this context means those that believed the 1844 sanctuary theory) were shut in with the Bridegroom and the door of mercy and salvation was closed to those who did not receive the message. No conversions of sinners could then take place after that year. In 1849 Mrs. White wrote,
“I was shown that the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, relating to the shut door could not be separated…. I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders and false reformations would increase and spread. The reformations that were shown me were not reformations from error to truth, but from bad to worse, for those who professed a change of heart had only wrapped about them a religious garb, which covered up the iniquity a wicked heart. Some appeared to have been really converted, so as to deceive God’s people, but if their hearts could be seen they would appear as black as ever. My accompanying angel bade me look for the travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not see it, for the time of their salvation is passed.” Present Truth pg 22 Or also Review and Herald 1849-08-01
The main vision that taught this horrific doctrine was “received” in Camden, N.Y. in 1851. This vision has been suppressed, and naturally so, for it plainly teaches the shut door and would forever discredit Mrs. White. But that she had the vision cannot be denied due to the fact that Uriah Smith and J.N. Loughborough, two of the “pioneers” that defended Mrs. White’s visions acknowledged it and tried to explain it away. The vision in its entirety is documented in the book, The Cultic Doctrine of Seventh-day Adventists. (Please see “for further reference” at the end of this book)
Another vision which taught the shut door was originally found in The Remnant Scattered Abroad and also A Word to the Little Flock by James White, both published in the late 1840´s. When this vision was later incorporated into the 1882 Edition of Early Writings, the part of the vision which taught the shut door had been neatly taken out. This reveals deception and shows that an effort was made to hide something. It is especially un-ethical when one realizes that the preface note in Early Writings declares that all the visions were printed in their entirety and that no changes from the originals had been made. (See pg. 3) The following is how the vision is published today in Early Writings.
“Others rashly denied the light behind them and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below. Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus coming.”
Now the original vision published in A Word to the Little Flock. All the bold-faced words are those that have been suppressed, and rightly so, for they teach the “Shut Door.”
“Others rashly denied the light behind them and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below. It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world that God had rejected. They fell all the along the path one after another, until we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and the hour of Jesus ‘coming.”
The shut door was abandoned, and these visions suppressed when, with the passing of time, that great tester of all theories and prophesies, it was seen to be ludicrous.
4. taught through her visions that in 1850 “time was almost finished” and that those who had recently received the third angel’s message had only months to get ready for the coming of the Lord?
The original teaching was that Day of Atonement in Heaven would last seven years, as symbolized by the seven drops of blood on the mercy seat. This was originally suggested by Joseph Bates, and the following will prove that it was also accepted by Mrs. White. After that time, Christ would judge the earth and come for the “little Advent band,” which would be sometime in 1851. This is why Ellen White wrote:
“In a view given me June 27, 1850, my accompanying angel said, “Time is almost finished. Do you reflect the lovely image of Jesus as you should?” Then I was pointed to the earth and saw that there would have to be a getting ready among those who have of late embraced the third angel’s message. Said the angel, ‘Get ready, get ready, get ready. Ye will have to die a greater death to the world than ye have ever yet died.’ I saw that there was a great work to do for them and but little time in which to do it…. time is almost finished, and what we have been years in learning, they will have to learn in a few months…. I saw that the time for Jesus to be in the most holy place was nearly finished and that time can last but a very little longer.” Early Writings pg. 64, 67, 57
Almost 170 years have passed since those statements were made. Judge for yourself. A prophet of God? A “continuing and authoritative source of truth?” I think not. As Christians, our faith should not be built on such sinking sand, but upon the words of Him who has said, “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Mat 24:35 Praise God! Jesus Christ and the Word of God is enough for me. How about you?
5. taught through her visions that Jesus would have come in 1890 to take his people to the Heavenly Kingdom if only the 1888 session of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference would have accepted the teachings of two SDA ministers, Jones and Waggoner?
I think that every Seventh-day Adventist has a hard time with this one. Are we to believe that Jesus ‘coming depended on the 1888 General Conference meeting of SDAs in Minneapolis? Is prophecy and the entire history of the world really centered on the SDA Church? This “I saw” statement from Ellen teaches that it does! Listen to this.
“I saw that Jones and Waggoner had their counterparts in Joshua and Caleb. Even as the children of Israel stoned the spies with literal stones, you have stoned these brothers with the stones of sarcasm and scorn. I saw that you intentionally rejected what you knew to be truth only because it was too humiliating for your dignity. I observed some of you in your private quarters ridiculing and working against these two brothers in every way. I saw too that if you would have accepted the message, we would have been in the Kingdom two years from that date. (1888)
I guess that it is good that Jones ‘and Waggoner´s message was rejected because according to Ellen White, if the Church would have accepted it, you and I would have never been born! But the above statement is erroneous. The day that the saints will be translated to the Kingdom does not depend upon the whims and correct judgment of men, but upon the judgment of Him who “hath determined the times appointed.” Acts 17:26 Another false prophesy. If Ellen White had the true gift of prophesy it is hard for me to understand why she made so many false predictions. All this is just the beginning. Keep reading on.
6. prophesied through vision that Jerusalem would never be built up? Here we have another false prophecy.
“I saw that the old Jerusalem would never be built up...” Early Writings pp. 75 When Mrs. White lived, Jerusalem´s future looked hopeless. But since then it has become the focal point of planet earth as well as one of the most important cities in the world. Not only has it been built up, it has once again become the Jews capital, with tens of thousands of new inhabitants arriving every year. The old part of the city has been almost completely restored. Mrs. White´s prophetic vision was as false as those that predicted a hundred and twenty years ago that man would never fly. She doesn´t pass the test of Deuteronomy 18 and only a willfully deceived person could possibly believe that she was the “Lord´s messenger.”
7. said that the brain contains “animal organs” and that wigs cause immoral behavior?
“The artificial hair and pads covering the base of the brain heat and excite the spinal nerves centering in the brain. The head should ever be kept cool. The heat caused by these artificial coverings induces the blood to the brain. The action of the blood on the lower or animal organs of the brain, causes unnatural activity, tends to recklessness in morals, and the mind and heart are in danger of being corrupted.” Healthful Living pg 185
I wonder what Loma Linda University School of Medicine would have to say about that statement. You had better warn your dear grandmother to not wear her wig anymore lest the “animal organs” in her brain become “excited” and cause her to become “corrupted” and “reckless in her morals!”
8. that babies who nurse from others will inherit the surrogate nurse’s morals?
“Mothers sometimes depend upon a hireling…. A stranger performs the duty of the mother and gives from her breast the food to sustain life. Nor is this all. She also imparts her temper and her temperament to the nursing child. The child’s life is linked to hers. If the hireling is a course type of woman, passionate and unreasonable; if she is not careful in her morals, the nursling will be, in all probability, of the same or similar type.” Healthful Living pg 145
9. said that Saturn is inhabited?
This ridiculous teaching can be found in J.N. Loughborough’s book The Great Second Advent Movement, on page 260. Elder Loughborough was an avid supporter of Mrs. White and defended her. The book was published with the consent of the Church many years ago before it was known that Saturn’s gaseous body, extreme temperatures, and lack of oxygen make life an impossibility there. Such a teaching would not be made or even less published today. Here Mrs. White borders close to Joseph Smith’s statement that the moon was populated. This crazy vision of Mrs. White´s was also mentioned in Early Writings, pp. 39,40, and also in A Word to the Little Flock, written by her husband James.
10. said that earthquakes and volcanoes were caused by coal and oil burning beneath the surface?
“At this time (after the flood) immense forests were buried. These have since been changed to coal, forming the extensive coal beds that now exist, and also yielding large quantities of oil. The coal and oil frequently ignite and burn beneath the surface of the earth. Thus rocks are heated, limestone is burned, and iron ore melted. The action of the water upon the lime adds fury to the intense heat, and causes earthquakes, volcanoes, and fiery issues.” Ellen White not only contradicted science, she frequently contradicted herself. Consider the following.
11. frequently contradicted herself in her writings?
Many examples could be given here, but this one alone is enough to prove the point. “Men need to understand that Deity suffered and sank under the agonies of Calvary” SDA Bible Commentary Vol 7A pg. 907 Did you get that statement? Now take a look at this one. “The Deity did not sink under the agonizing torture of Calvary.” SDA Bible Commentary Vol 7A pg. 1129
To contradict the Bible is one thing, but to contradict one’s self is evidence even to an infidel that such a person is walking down the wrong road.
Another example of Mrs. White contradicting herself is found in The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol 1, pages. 118-19 where she says that during Jacob´s struggle with the angel, he immediately recognized the divine origin of his antagonist and that the angel continually called his sins to remembrance audibly. But in Patriarchs and Prophets, pages 196,7, published many years later, she says that during the whole struggle not a word was spoken and that Jacob did not even realize that his competitor was of divine origin until the angel crippled him in the thigh. Ellen´s short memory of what she had already written proves that her writings are no more divinely inspired than those of William Shakespeare.
12. explicitly taught a false salvation by works gospel?
In Galatians 1:6-9 Paul speaks of a “different gospel,” and pronounces a curse upon anyone, even an angel, that would preach any other gospel than that which was revealed through Christ and his apostles. By reading the context in the book of Galatians, we find that this “other gospel” to which Paul referred is none other than a salvation by grace plus the works of the law. If it were a formula, it would be- faith +works=salvation. This is not only erroneous, it’s heresy because it negates and denies the true gospel. The correct formula would be: faith=salvation+works. Ellen White taught another gospel, the false gospel of works in many of her writings, thereby falling under the condemnation of Galatians 1:8.
But some SDAs might say, “That isn’t true! Haven’t you read Ellen White’s beautiful statements in Steps to Christ about grace and justification through faith alone?” Steps to Christ was always my favorite book as an Adventist. But this book was written for proselytizing purposes, especially for Colporteurs to distribute in order to gain confidence with people. Even to this day, when a person attends an Adventist prophecy seminar or evangelistic series, one of the first things that the speaker will say is that “salvation is by grace through faith alone.” Well said. Enough to get the hook in the jaw. But after a prospect is baptized, he is gradually introduced to the “Spirit of Prophecy” and to such “inspired” statements as these:
“Without perfection of character no one can enter the pearly gates of the city of God, for if, with all our imperfections, we were permitted to enter that city, there would soon be in Heaven a second rebellion. We must first be tried and chosen and found faithful and true. Upon the purification of our character rests our only hope of eternal life.” Manuscript Releases, Vol 15, pg. 36 Also Sermons and Talks, Vol. 2, pg 294
This is a gross misrepresentation of the gospel. Let me ask you, “Do you have a perfect and pure character? If you died right now, are you willing to be balanced and judged by the weight of that statement?” Praise God, my only hope of eternal life does not rest upon the purification of my character, but “my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus´ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” That famous hymn states the true gospel.
What is the true Gospel? It is simply the message that through genuine repentance and true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ´s sacrifice on Calvary´s cross I am instantly forgiven, declared blameless before God by merit of the imputed, substitutionary righteousness of His Son, become a child of God by virtue of the new birth, and receive the assurance eternal life.
The Gospel is also the good news that by trusting that Christ took my punishment on the cross, I am “sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,” and am “perfected forever” by virtue of His one sacrifice for sins. Hebrews 10:10-14
Does this mean that one can enter Heaven with evil in his heart? Of course not! Such a person was never born again to begin with, for the spontaneous result of the new birth is a longing after holiness and conformity to Christ. Those that have not this longing need to truly get saved. What Ellen White and many Seventh-day Adventists have not understood is that total Christlikeness is the supreme goal of the Christian, not the prerequisite to entering heaven. The thief on the cross died a saved man, but do you really think he possessed “perfection of character?” If we have to attain to perfection of character in order to have eternal life, then we must ask ourselves, “How perfect is perfect?” We can never know if we are perfect enough! Thank God that Jesus is perfect, and it is his perfection that covers the born-again Christian.
Do you want more proof that Ellen Whit taught the false gospel of salvation by works? It would take a whole book to cover all the statements, but here are just a few more.
“We shall individually be held responsible for doing one jot less than we have ability to do…We shall be judged according to what we ought to have done, but did not accomplish because we did not use our powers to glorify God…For all the knowledge and ability that we might have gained and did not, there will be an eternal loss.” Christ´s Object Lessons p. 363 Here´s another.
“Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or condemn. They go before us to judgment.” The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol 4 pg. 311
I do not deny that our works bear testimony to the fact that we have saving faith, but the above statement teaches that we will be judged for eternity on the basis of our works, not upon the fact that we are born again children of God. There is a judgment of gain or loss of rewards for the Christian, which is determined by works, (l Cor 3:11-15, ll Cor 5:10) but this is not to be confused with the Great White Throne Judgment, which is only for the unsaved. In fact, we are given eternal life and are assured that we will not come into judgment the moment we are born again! (John 5:24) Too bad that Mrs. White didn’t understand this. As a result, several million Seventh-day Adventists don’t understand it either and will fall under the very judgment and condemnation that they fear unless they renounce as dung their works and righteousness and trust in Christ alone to save them.
I noticed in my years in the Adventist church that many members were confused on this issue. I will admit that in recent years the Adventist Church, through the writings of certain pastors, has moved closer to a correct understanding of salvation by grace through faith, but for many the “gospel” still seems to be that Jesus showed that all the Ten Commandments could be obeyed and through faith we can obey them too. They readily admitted that salvation was only by faith through grace, but subconsciously believe that it is on the sole basis of their works that they will be determined worthy of eternal life. Why this contradiction in their own minds? I believe it is because of the contradictions in Ellen’s writings concerning this all-important issue.
One more statement from the “inspired pen”-
“Improve the short, probationary time given you by working with your might to redeem the failures of your past life. God has placed you in a world of suffering to prove you, to see if you will be found worthy of the gift of eternal life.” Testimonies Vol. 3, pg. 530
Probationary time? Probation is for criminals! I was declared not guilty before God the moment that Jesus Christ washed away my sins in his blood! Worthy of the gift of eternal life? The only thing that you and I will ever be worthy of is eternal condemnation! Such statements fly in the face of grace and deny the gospel of Jesus Christ. The meaning of the word grace is “undeserved mercy and favor.” You know that you will never be worthy of the gift of eternal life! These statements prove that Ellen White was not led of God! If the apostle Paul would have lived in her day, he would have been her sharpest critic.
13. taught that no one should ever say, “I am saved.”
Ellen White said: “We are never to rest in a satisfied condition and cease to make advancement by saying “I am saved.” When this idea is entertained, the motives for watchfulness, for prayer, for earnest endeavor to press forward to higher attainments cease to exist. No sanctified tongue will be found uttering these words until Christ shall come, and we enter through the gates into the city of God.”
So says Mrs. White. But the Bible says: He that believeth on the Son of God hath witness in himself: And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He thathath the Son hath (present tense) life, he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God: that ye may know that ye have eternal life. l Jn 5:10-14
(God), who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity. ll Tim 1:8,9
Once again, we see that Mrs. White contradicts the Word of God. Many of her statements cause great insecurity when believed and cut off the power of Christ’s salvation in the life of those struggling souls that have swallowed the “White lie.” As far as the statement that our motives for watchfulness and prayer cease to exist if we believe we are saved, let me just say that on the contrary, rejoicing in the full, eternal salvation of Jesus causes a believer to naturally watch and pray. “For the love of Christ constraineth us…” ll Cor 5:14 Here is the correct motive behind all Christian duties.
14. taught that the atonement of Christ was not finished on the cross and that a future atonement must be made in order to be saved?
As we have already proved,this false teaching has its roots in the 1844 “investigative judgment” doctrine that is nothing but a cover up of an embarrassing false prophecy. To say that the atonement was not completely finished 2000 years ago once again takes away the assurance out of salvation and belittles the power of the cross of Christ. If the atonement (which means in this setting “the price or sacrifice given in order to obtain ransom or reconciliation”) is not totally complete, then one cannot be totally saved obviously. This is sort of in line with Catholicism, which also denies the complete atonement by perpetually crucifying Christ during the mass. Ellen White’s teaching was a little different, but equally dangerous. She taught that your sins are not completely atoned for and blotted out until your case is reviewed in the “investigative judgment,” and even then you would not receive the gift of eternal life unless you were found worthy enough by your works registered in heaven to your account.
In other words, eternal life is a gift, but it is given only to those that are righteous enough to qualify! This is just another form of salvation by works, which is the common doctrine of every false religion and cult. Here are just a few of the many E.G. White statements that teach that the atonement 2,000 years ago was not complete and that a future atonement must be made.
“It is this coming, and not his second advent to the earth, that was foretold in prophecy to take place at the termination of the 2300 days, in 1844. Attended by a cloud of angels, our great High Priest enters the holy of holies, and there appears in the presence of God to engage in the last acts of his ministration in behalf of man, to perform the work of investigative judgment, and to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits.” Spirit of Prophecy Vol. 4, p.258
Entitled? Who is entitled? Make atonement? Wasn’t Calvary enough? What do you think Jesus meant when he cried aloud from the cross, “IT IS FINISHED?”
Another quote: “Thus those who followed in the advancing light of the prophetic word saw that instead of coming to the earth at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844, Christ then entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, into the presence of God, to perform the closing work of atonement, preparatory to his coming.” Spirit of Prophecy, Vol 4, p. 266
Here we find the incomplete atonement again. But here is what the Bible says: “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Heb 9:12 Eternal redemption for us can only be obtained by a complete atonement for us.
The Bible also says, “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Rom 5:11 Who are we to believe, the Bible or Mrs. White? I think I’ll stick with the Bible. How about you?
15. taught through her visions that those that do not believe that Jesus entered into the most holy place in 1844 to start the investigative judgment cannot be benefited by the priestly intercession and ministration of Jesus Christ?
In other words, this would mean that there is no salvation for those who do not accept or understand the false doctrine of the 1844 investigative judgment. Such a teaching causes me to wonder how I ever could have believed that Ellen White was God´s prophet. Well, I didn´t know these things then!
This teaching is more cultic that anything the Jehovah´s Witnesses teach, for at least they teach that almost every human being will be resurrected during the millennium for kind of a “second chance” to accept the false doctrine of the Watchtower. No second chance here. Those that don´t embrace the view of the 1844 cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary and Investigative Judgment will be shut out from Christ…forever!
“I saw that as the Jews crucified Jesus, so the nominal churches had crucified these messages (by context she is speaking of the 1844 investigative judgment), and therefore they have no knowledge of the way into the most holy, and they cannot be benefited by the intercession of Jesus there. Like the Jews, who offered their useless sacrifices, they offer up their useless prayers to the apartment which Jesus has left; and Satan, pleased with the deception, assumes a religious character and leads the minds of these professed Christians to himself…” Early Writings p. 261
What a horrendous teaching! Her vision teaches that Christ does not intercede for those that simply believe the Bible´s testimony that he entered into God´s presence in the Most Holy place in Heaven at his ascension two thousand years ago. It also teaches that the prayers of these Christians are “useless” and that they are answered by Satan!
Here is another quote. “It is those who by faith follow Jesus in the great work of atonement who receive the benefits of his mediation in their behalf, while those who reject the light (once again the context is this “light” is the 1844 message) which brings to view this work of ministration are not benefited thereby.” The Great Controversy p. 492 How anyone can believe that the above quotes are supported by scripture is beyond me.
16. taught that Christ´s blood does not cancel sin?
Here we have another cultic teaching from the pen of Mrs. White.
“The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel sin…It will stand in the sanctuary until the final atonement.” Patriarchs and Prophets p. 357
Until the final atonement? Was not the cross the final atonement? As for our sins not being canceled, the Bible teaches repeatedly that God blots out our sins (Is 44:22), removes our sins (Ps 103:12), washes away our sins (Rev 1:5), purges our sins (Heb 1:3), will not remember our sins (Heb 8:12), will not mention our sins (Ezequiel 18:22), and will subdue our sins by casting them into the debts of the sea (Micah 7:19). It is hard for me to understand how my sins can be blotted out, removed, washed away, purged, not remembered, not mentioned, and subdued without being canceled as well.
17. taught that Satan will eventually be man´s final, eternal, sin bearer?
This heresy comes from the “scapegoat” teaching that also stems from the investigative judgment doctrine. If there is one false teaching that could possibly qualify traditional Seventh-day Adventism and it´s prophet as cultic, it would be this one.
“When Christ, by virtue of his own blood, removes the sins of his people from the heavenly sanctuary at the close of his ministration, he will finally place them upon Satan, who, in the execution of the judgment must bear the final penalty.” The Great Controversy pp. 422
The sins and punishment of God´s people will be borne by Satan at the end? I think not. I joyfully believe and proclaim to all that my sins and punishment were forever borne once and for all at Calvary´s cross! Will anyone dare to deny that this is what God´s book teaches? According to Ellen White, Christ´s sacrifice only transferred sins and guilt to the heavenly sanctuary, where they will remain until the time when they will forever be borne by Satan.
It is interesting to note that every false cult´s doctrine takes away from the power of Christ´s atonement on the cross. The reason for this? The author of their doctrine…Satan himself! He will gladly give a little to get a lot! This is why cults “major in the minors and minor in the majors.” There is nothing more major than the blood atonement of the Lord Jesus and only true Christianity preaches that Christ “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Hebrews 9:26
18. taught that some races come from sexual union of man and beast?
Here is a Mrs. White teaching that will probably not be discussed in the Sabbath School quarterly any time soon. Examine these two quotes closely.
“But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God and caused confusion everywhere.” Spiritual Gifts Vol. 3 p 64
It is clear from the context that the term “amalgamation” refers to sexual union between man and beast. With this thought in mind, now read this statement.
“Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation (sexual union), were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in some races of men” Spiritual Gifts Vol. 3 p. 75 Mrs. White spent many years in Australia. Could she have had the Aborigines in mind when she wrote this quote? I wonder what they would think of it.
19. said that it is a sin to be sick?
“It is a sin to be sick; for all sickness is the result of transgression.” Health Reformer, 1866-08-13
This statement is cruel, uneducated, and un-biblical. Do you agree with it? I don’t think you’ll be hearing this quote in Sabbath School anytime soon. The church seems to pick and choose their quotes from the “Spirit of Prophecy” much in the way one picks and chooses apples or tomatoes; take the good and throw out what you don’t want. But when it comes to determining if a person possesses the gift of prophecy or not, we do not have the right to pick and choose. We either accept all or reject all. It can be no other way. Can you imagine Isaiah saying, “Well folks, I’m sorry I blew it in chapter 24, but chapter 25 is truly inspired?”
You may be thinking by now, “Why haven’t I heard these E.G. White statements before?” For the same reason that 90% of the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t know that The Watchtower Society has predicted the Battle of Armageddon five times, because their members would lose confidence and search for truth elsewhere. My friend, isn’t it about time that you stop being led by little maroon colored books and start letting yourself be led only by the Holy Spirit, the only One who leads into all truth?
20. said that those who question her will have to meet their work in the judgment?
Here is another infamous mind controlling tactic used by false cults to force their members into blind submission and obedience. The following statements bound me in fear for years, and when I finally did discover the White lie, even then my conscience had to struggle through a torturous battle in order to arrive to its own conclusions. This anguish can only be understood by those who have experienced it. Consider.
“Those who would in any way lesson the force of the sharp reproofs which God has given me to speak, must meet their work at the judgments.” Testimonies Vol 5, p.19
“Those who are reproved by the Spirit of God (in context, she’s talking about her reproofs in the Testimonies) should not rise up against the humble instrument [referring to herself of course]. It is God, and not an erring mortal, who has spoken….it is their duty to accept reproof, even though they do not themselves see the sinfulness of their course…. Those who despise the warnings will be left in blindness to become self deceived.” Testimonies Vol 5, p. 682
“If you lesson the confidence of God´s people in the Testimonies He has sent them, you are rebelling against God as certainly as were Korah, Dathan, and Abiram”. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 66
“It is Satan’s plan to weaken the faith of God’s people in the Testimonies….When the Testimonies, which were once believed, are doubted and given up, Satan knows that the deceived ones will not stop at this; and he redoubles his efforts until he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable and ends in destruction.” Testimonies Vol 4 p. 211
People will end in destruction for rejecting Jesus Christ, not for rejecting Ellen White. I remember when The Review published the question of a poor, elderly Adventist woman who asked if she would be lost if she ate three meals a day instead of two because that is what the doctor recommended for her health. Ellen White’s counsel of course was for certain people to eat only twice a day. This dear soul was afraid that she would be lost if she “went against counsel.” How ridiculous! The Bible tells us time and time again to try the spirits, test the prophets, and search the scriptures. The Bible commends the Bereans because they didn’t just swallow everything that even the great, miracle-working apostle Paul said. They “searched the scriptures daily, to see whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11
Well, myself and countless others (including many of the original 7th-day Adventist pioneers) have put Ellen White to the test and she has failed. Even if I wanted to believe in her, knowing what I know now, it would be impossible for me to be honest and continue to accept her writings as truth from God.
21. was greatly influenced by those that surrounded her?
This was the main reason that so many of the original Adventists rejected Mrs. White’s “gift.” In the early years of Adventism, there was much contention among the leadership of the church involving primarily James White (Ellen’s husband), elders Haskell, Waggoner, Butler, and others. Ellen’s “visions” always seemed to side with and support her husband. He could basically do whatever he wanted, for he had the voice of God to back him up. Those who were there gave testimony that most of the time it was James, and not God, that was the influence behind Mrs. Whites “inspiration.”
In fact, it has been unanswerably proven that Mrs. White´s book The Great Controversy was just a rehash of her deceased husband James´ book Life Incidents as well as some other writings from the pens of John Milton, Uriah Smith and J.N. Andrews.
Other eyewitnesses report that Ellen was present during the conversations between church leaders regarding new theories, doctrines, teachings, and prophesies. She would not speak but was silent as she would soak in all the debate and new propositions. It was shortly after that she would then have a vision about these latest ideas that would forever settle the issue. This is what caused many, including D.M. Canright, who was at the time the best defender of the SDA faith that the church had, to begin to doubt Mrs. White’s “inspiration.” His devastating book Seventh-day Adventism Renounced, speaks in detail of what he witnessed firsthand concerning the influential mind of Mrs. White. So convincing is his book, that the falsehood was started among the SDA church that Mr. Canright later repented and renounced his position, dying in sorrow as a lost man. This was told to me while I was in the church years ago. But after investigation, I found this to be untrue. Such a false rumor causes me to doubt the honesty of those that started it. Canright in his very last days was firmer in his position than ever and his daughter wrote after his death,
“Father was more firm in his conviction of the error of their teaching the longer he lived, in spite of Adventist claims that he repudiated his writings against them. I tell this in anticipation of your having such falsehoods to meet.” See the preface of Seventh-day Adventism Renounced.
It is clearly revealed that Mrs. White’s visions were influenced by other men due to the fact that no Adventist doctrine was ever originated by her. The Sabbath was taken from a Seventh-day Baptist tract found by Joseph Bates. The 1844 sanctuary teaching was started by Hiram Edson’s “vision” in a corn field as well as a paper written by O.L.R. Crosier (who later repudiated the teaching). The state of the dead was received from the first-day Adventists. Almost all her prophetic interpretations of Daniel and Revelation including the lamb-horned beast and the three angel’s messages came from the writings of Uriah Smith and J.N. Andrews, and even what she taught through “vision” about health, temperance, and vegetarianism were theories that were already rife at the time. As a matter of fact, her husband James and Joseph Bates had already written papers regarding health before Mrs. White’s “health vision” in Ohio.
By the way, the principal reason that Mrs. White obligated vegetarianism upon her followers was not necessarily because of health reasons, but in order to avoid masturbation because she believed that meat eating stimulated the “animal organs” and supposedly caused the blood to become polluted. The next point will make it even more apparent that Mrs. White was influenced not by God, but by other human beings.
22. copied and plagiarized a great deal of what she wrote?
This is so well documented that no official defense to my knowledge has ever been put forth by the church. Meetings have been held as to how to respond to the problem, but as of yet nothing has been decided. I suppose that they think ignoring the problem would be a wiser choice than responding to it. But the evidence is just too overwhelming.
In Mrs. White’s earlier writings, the copying was crude, sometimes even copying word for word. In her later years, she hired accomplished writers to “polish up” her manuscripts. When some of these writers like Fanny Bolton realized that she was copying and passing off the writings of others as her own began to question her ethics, they were immediately dismissed from their employment by Mrs. White. See the book mentioned below for confirmation.
The plagiarism is still there in later books like The Desire of Ages, and The Great Controversy, but more stealth is used to convey the idea without copying the words verbatim.
Walter Rea, an ex-Adventist pastor wrote a book called The White Lie. Mr. Rea was once an avid scholar and disciple of Mrs. White, but through his studies he began to compare notes and saw that she had copied copiously from other authors. His documentation in his book is astounding and unanswerable. I will only give a few examples of Mrs. White´s copying on the last pages of this book because there is just too much to include. I would recommend you to obtain a copy of Walter Rea´s book for a more complete documentation. See “for further reference” if you are interested.
I will admit that Ellen White´s writings do contain some very beautiful statements, but in all probability these statements were plagiarized from other others such as William Hanna, Alfred Edersheim, Daniel March, Hannah Smith, and even other SDA authors like J.N. Andrews, and her husband James!
Now for a real shocker. Try comparing Ellen White´s Testimonies Vol. 2 p. 594-7 with The Book of Mormon l Nephi 8:19-24 Also Early Writings p. 68-71 with l Nephi 8:26-30. Yes, that’s right! The Book of Mormon! Keep in mind that author Joseph Smith lived before Ellen White anddied in…….1844!
23. had a vision that taught that women should wear pants and a short dress….at the same time?
For eight years Mrs. White promoted this “reform dress.” She had more than one vision requiring its use and as eyewitness D.M. Canright put it on page 149 of his book, “husbands swore, brothers refused to walk with their sisters, men sneered, and boys hooted. Some of the sisters argued, some cried, some rebelled, but most submitted. I know, for my own wife wore it for eight years- had to…I was there and know how she urged it, heard her many times. Her testimonies at the time were full of it.”
As with most “revelations” that cause more problems than they solve, such as Joseph Smith’s “plural wives” revelation, it was quietly dropped and forgotten. But the truth remains that she had this vision, and the fact that her Testimonies speak of the “reformed dress” and countless people during those eight years referred to it, proves its embarrassing existence.
24. broke the Sabbath for eleven years?
For the first eleven years, Seventh-day Adventists (as they later came to be known) kept Sabbath from six pm Friday to six pm Saturday. This continued until it was finally determined that Leviticus 23 taught that the Sabbath should be kept from sunset to sunset. This meant that Mrs. White and the early Adventists broke the Sabbath for eleven years! Ellen White had her first vision confirming the Sabbath at the beginning of those eleven years.
If the Sabbath is such an important commandment as Adventists teach, it seems strange that God did not tell Ellen in that first Sabbath vision exactly when it should be kept. Perhaps an Adventist theologian would explain this problem by saying “their light was progressive.” This is the same explanation Jehovah´s Witnesses give when explaining why the Watchtower has changed its doctrine so much since its beginnings. I can understand how new light can build onto already existing truth, but when new light contradicts the already existing light as in the 6 pm Sabbath question, it is not light at all, but blight.
25. taught that no one should test or question Adventist doctrines by the Bible? Here Mrs. White shows the tyrannical submission she demanded by not allowing the doctrines that had been confirmed by her visions to be examined in the light of scripture. Take a look at this statement.
“We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the scriptures are God’s Word, and to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar of the foundation that God had sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God.” From the pamphlet, Call to the Watchman, 1910, p. 20
In this statement the term “the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit,” refers no doubt to her visions. This statement directly contradicts others that Mrs. White made. She did say on a number of occasions that we are to “test all by the Bible.” How do Adventists reconcile this contradiction? Easy. They test all doctrines by Ellen White´s interpretation of the Bible.
The moment that any religious group prohibits a personal examination or test of their doctrine from the scriptures, it’s time to run! Mrs. White´s statement above closes those that accept her as God’s messenger into the steel cage of conscience submission. Try convincing some Jehovah’s Witnesses of their errors with the Bible and you will see the same kind of brain-washed robotism. They can no longer think, question, or reason for themselves. This is the tactic used by all false cults in order to protect their false doctrine. The simple fact that they do this proves that their teaching cannot stand up to the “Berean test.” That Mrs. White also used this tactic is proof that many SDA doctrines stand on shaky ground.
*Conclusion– The evidence we have examined is convincing proof that Ellen Gould White doesn’t pass the test and cannot be accepted as a prophet, messenger of the Lord, or inspired writer. Someone may ask, “Then what was she? A liar? Led of the Devil?” Although I did not know Mrs., White personally, I agree with many of those that did personally know her that she was the sufferer of a psychological condition called nervous hysteria. This condition was medically diagnosed even before Mrs. White’s time but has been confirmed by modern medicine as well. Several physicians during her time pronounced her a sufferer of the disease as can be proved by Walter Rea’s and D.M. Canright’s documentation.
W.J. Fairfield, a well-known Adventist physician at the Battle Creek Sanitarium for years had the chance to observe Mrs. White firsthand. He wrote, “You are undoubtedly right in ascribing Mrs. E.G. White’s so-called visions to disease. It has been my opportunity to observe her case a good deal, covering quite a period of years, which, with a full knowledge of her history from the beginning, gave me no chance to doubt her “divine” attacks to be simply hysterical trances. Age itself has almost cured her.”
Dr. William Russell, another chief physician at the sanitarium also confirmed that Mrs. White’s visions were “the result of a diseased organization or condition of the brain or the nervous system.” Dr. Jackson, another SDA doctor that personally knew Ellen, also pronounced her a subject of hysteria.
I would encourage you to study this mental disease in medical books. Sufferers are frequently women. The condition can be caused by severe emotional distress or a blow to the head, which is exactly what, happened to Mrs. White at nine years of age when she was struck by a rock in the nose. She lay in a coma for three weeks as she herself admits in her writings.
Those that suffer from hysteria are known to go in and out of reality, sometimes in a series of semi-epileptic fits. They are known to enter into trances and lose consciousness. After these trances they frequently claim to have seen the supernatural. I have personally known people that suffer from this psychological condition. One young man I knew was always seeing wild animals, demons, and angels. I could see that his condition caused him to dream while awake. As dreams can be very realistic, I could see that my friend’s “visions” seemed even more the real because they occurred while he was awake. The subject of the visions is usually what the person dwells upon during their waking hours but may come from the subconscious as well.
While I am certainly not a physician, I, along with many others find that the characteristics of this hysterical condition fit Mrs. White’s case quite perfectly. She was not an outright liar and deceiver, (although her plagiarism, denials, and contradictions cause me to question her integrity) but was self-deceived. She no doubt did believe that she had visions, talked with angels, etc. just as Anne Lee, Swedenborg, Joanna Southcott, Mary Baker Eddy, Joseph Smith, and countless others believed. But sincerity is not always an indication of truth.
And what of the claims that Mrs. White stopped breathing during her visions or that she held up a ten-pound Bible over her head for more than half an hour? Surely these manifestations prove that she was a prophet!
In answer to this I will simply remind Adventists of their own continual warnings to never accept a person as a true prophet because of signs, miracles or strange phenomenon. The Devil can work miracles, and he does so readily in order to deceive. Even today in India gurus and “holy men” bury themselves alive for days, walk on hot coals, sleep on spikes and broken glass, and fast for unbelievable amounts of time.
But is this an indication of truth? Of course, it isn’t, and neither are Mrs. White’s signs legitimate reason to accept her as a messenger of God. And besides, I wasn’t there. I didn’t see her stop breathing or holding up that heavy Bible. Did you? I prefer to believe the Bible’s account of the miracles of Christ more than the Seventh-day Adventist´s testimonies of Mrs. White’s iron lungs and steel arms.
And what of her revelations regarding tobacco and meat eating that have been confirmed by modern science? And what of the fact that she spoke of the judgments of God looming over San Francisco before it´s great earthquake? Let me just say that everyone has been predicting earthquakes in California for the last hundred years. Also, if we are to accept these things as proof of her divine inspiration, then we must also accept Joseph Smith as a divine messenger since he predicted that there would be a war between the northern and southern states and the conflict would “probably begin in South Carolina.” Smith prophesied this event before it happened and was correct to the tee. Mormons proudly point to this prediction as proof of their prophet´s divine inspiration but seem to ignore all of his other false prophesies. The explanation? The Devil has insight too. How do you think Simon the sorcerer was able to make so much gain? Witch doctors, shamans, palm readers, and necromancers do have power indeed, but the source of their power is Satan himself. Are we to not think that this power cannot be manifested by so-called “followers of Christ” as well? Jesus said that it would be.
If all these facts cause you to begin to question Ellen White’s prophetic gift, then I have accomplished half of what I desired. The other half of my purpose is lead you to trust in only the Bible and the Holy Spirit’s personal revelation for guidance, doctrine, and admonishment. While I do believe that there are many inspiring Christian books and authors, I hold firm to the position that the Bible alone is sufficient and that anyone can read it with prayer and sincerity and come to a full knowledge of truth without the aid of some mystical prophet.
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit and not a person would lead us into all truth. John confirms this in his epistle when he writes that the Spirit abides in us and that we “have no need for any man to teach us because the same Spirit’s anointing teaches us all things.” l Jn 2:27
We are to recognize the gifts of the teacher, prophet, and pastor; however these gifts are not the foundation of our faith, but they themselves should be submitted and built upon the immovable rock of God’s Word. In other words, we should never believe a doctrine just because so and so said so, but because the words of the Bible and the confirmation of the Holy Spirit give testimony to the fact that a man is being used by God. This is not the case with Mrs. White in spite of what many Adventists say. We have already seen many of her teachings that contradict the Bible.
If you desire to read some truly inspiring Christian writings, there are many authors that I would recommend whose writings in my opinion are far superior to Mrs. White’s (They weren´t really her writings as we have already seen. Some say that she copied over half of what she wrote) in content, conviction, and edification. If you don’t believe me, just try reading some of the old writers like William Gurnall, Jonathan Edwards, David Brainard, John Bunyan and William Law. Study the classics of Andrew Murray, E.M. Bounds, Charles Spurgeon, and A.W. Tozer. I have read after these men and can tell you that even though I know that they are not infallible and have even at times disagreed with some of their conclusions, their writings have encouraged me in the Lord tremendously. None of the authors I mentioned above ever claimed to be a prophet or infallible, but as you will see their message is one of holiness, grace, and power that will cause the flame of zeal to burn in every sincere lover of God. How sad that millions of Adventists have been “whitewashed” and are not able to benefit from the powerful teachings of these men of faith.
So what if Ellen White is false and not to be received as a messenger of the Lord? Don’t despair as I almost did! The White lie doesn’t change the fact that the Bible is true, and that Jesus is real! Those that eventually reject the Bible and Christ just because E.G. White isn’t who they thought she was were, in my opinion, never saved or grounded on the immovable Christ to begin with. But a person that is truly a born-again child of God will continue to love His Word and trust in His Son even though televangelists fall, pastors offend, and so-called prophets turn out to be frauds.
WHAT COVENANT ARE
A declaration, a question and answer study, and twenty-four erroneous suppositions examined.
And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even Ten Commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. Deuteronomy 4:13
In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13
For we which have believed do enter into rest… Hebrews 4:3
THE 7TH DAY SABBATH AS OUTLINED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT IS NOT A COMMANDMENT OF GOD UNDER THE GOSPEL DISPENSATION AND ITS OBSERVANCE IS NOT OBLIGATORY FOR NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANS BECAUSE…….
1. the Bible teaches that the Sabbath was part of the handwriting of ordinances that was blotted out and nailed to the cross. Col. 2:14-16, Eph 2:14, 15, Gal. 4:9,10 *See notes on following pages to prove that the sabbaths mentioned in Colossians 2 include the 7th day Sabbath.
2. the Bible teaches that nobody should judge another Christian for not keeping a certain day. Rom 14:4-6
3. the Bible teaches that the weekly Sabbath was a shadow of the true rest that a believer enjoys every day by trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Heb 4:1-12 Col 2:16,17
4. the Bible teaches that the Sabbath was part of the Old Covenant that was made exclusively with the nation of Israel. It also teaches that this covenant “vanished away” and was abolished in Christ. Deut. 4:13 Duet 9:9 Ex. 32:16,17 Heb. 8:6-13 2 Cor. 3:5-13 Gal 4:21-26
5. in the New Covenant (Testament), there is no commandment to keep the Sabbath. Not even one verse can be found that would oblige a Christian to keep something that the apostle clearly said was blotted out and abolished. If it is necessary to keep the Sabbath in today’s Gospel dispensation, it would then also be necessary to find such a commandment in the New Covenant, that is to say, the New Testament. The silence in the New Testament regarding Sabbath keeping is devastating to the argument that it should still be kept. Acts 15:19, 20,28,29
6. the Bible teaches that “he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law.” The law of the New Covenant is a law of love. Any precept from the Old Covenant that has to do with loving one’s neighbor naturally finds its place in the New Covenant as well. But the fact that millions of born-again, non-Sabbath keeping Christians sincerely love God and their neighbor shows clearly that fulfilling the law of the New Covenant has nothing to do with keeping the seventh day or any other day. Rom 13:8-10 Gal 5:14
7. almost all the great men of holiness that have been used greatly by God in the Gospel age never kept the seventh-day Sabbath. If the Sabbath were a commandment of God under the New Covenant, then these men were sinners and God therefore would not have used them to convert millions since the Bible says that “he that keepeth not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
Who would dare say that this verse would apply to men like John Wesley, Charles Finney, or William Booth? Some of the great saints that were used mightily of God like Martin Luther and John Bunyan wrote and preached decidedly against the Sabbath, arriving to their conclusions after honestly hearing the arguments posed to them by the Sabbatarians of their time. These men “had the light,” but rejected the seventh day sabbath for the same reason that the great majority of the body of Christ rejects it now: it was part of an abolished covenant that was given only to Israel as a nation.
8. the eternal, moral laws of God that have always governed His creation have neither beginning nor end. The Sabbath has both and is not a moral law. It was a temporary law that was used to prove the obedience of Israel, much in the way that the commandment to not eat of the tree of knowledge was a temporary law given to Adam and Eve.
But moral laws are eternal and exist for all people for all times. The Ten Commandments are not the whole of God´s great moral law, but they did contain certain elements that were part of it.
The commandments regarding moral sins such as adultery, theft, and blasphemy are written on the consciences of all men in all lands. Were the sabbath a moral law for non-Jews, then all mankind everywhere would have a conscience about keeping it. That sabbath keeping is not written on any man´s conscience is proof that it was not intended for anyone except the Jews during their Old Testament dispensation.
Another proof that the Sabbath is not a moral law is that no man could possibly be a true Christian and break the commandments regarding adultery, idolatry, theft, etc, but even the great majority of Sabbatarians recognize the millions of true Christian believers that do not keep the seventh day as “born again.” How could this be if the Sabbath were a moral law of God for today?
More evidence to the fact that the Sabbath is not a moral law is the fact that there are no exceptions to a moral law. There is no permissible adultery, no lawful theft, and no honest false witness. But the strict commandment of not working on the Sabbath has many exceptions. Read Matt. 12:5, Mark 2:23,24 This shows that the Sabbath is not a moral law, but a part of the “law of commandments contained in ordinances” that was abolished by Jesus Christ.
9. It is impossible to know in which part of the earth the seventh day actually begins. The day officially begins at the International Date Line which is drawn across the Pacific Ocean. By whose authority was this line drawn? By the authority of man, which is the very thing that Adventists say they will not accept when it comes to doctrinal matters!
The International Date Line (which is not a straight line) divides one day from another. On the east side of it is 4 pm Sunday but move one foot to the western side of the line and it is 4 pm Saturday. Depending on where this line is placed is a vital issue for Sabbatarians. How do we know that the international community fixed the date line where God wanted? Shouldn´t the date line be placed where Eden supposedly existed? (Assuming that that´s where God began the first day) If we place the date line through eastern Africa, (once again assuming that is where Eden really existed), then the Sabbath in Australia and eastern Asia would begin six hours after it begins in California, not eighteen hours before since the earth rotates so that the day moves westward. This would make the present Sunday the seventh day for those people in that part of the world and would mean that the Seventh-day Adventists there are now keeping what they believe will be the mark of the Beast!
Depending on where we put the date line, the present Saturday in any part of the world could be Sunday! It seems to me that if we are to strictly keep the exact same day that God sanctified right after creation, then we had better have God tell us where to begin the day! Can you prove that the current, date line running through the Pacific Ocean was established by God? But the fact that we have no authority except man´s as to where to begin the day proves the fact that the Sabbath was a commandment given to a certain people, at a certain time, in a certain part of the world and does not pertain to us today.
A question and answer study of the law, the covenants, and the Sabbath
Please take your Bible and read all the given texts in their entirety.
l. THE OLD COVENANT
1. Read Gal. 4:21-31 Can you see that the Bible teaches that there are two covenants, an old and a new? Can you see by these verses that the Christian is not under the old covenant, but under the new?
2. Read Heb. 8:7-13 Can you see that the Old Covenant has come to an end?
3. Read Duet. 4:13, Duet. 9:9, l Kings 8:21, ll Chron. 6:11 Is it not clear by these verses that the Ten Commandments were the central part of the Old Covenant?
4. Read Heb. 9:15-20 Biblically speaking, do not the words “covenant” and “testament” mean the same thing? Can you find one verse in all the New Testament (covenant) that commands Christians to keep the Sabbath? Can we safely come to the conclusion that keeping the Sabbath is not a part of the New Covenant?
ll. THE LAW
1. Read Matthew 12:5, Acts 23:3, Luke 2:23, l Cor. 14:34, Rom. 7:7, Gal 5:3, Matthew 5:17-18, Gal 3:19, Gal. 4:21 Heb 7:5, John 1:17 Can you see by these verses that the term “the law” in the New Testament does not refer to only the Ten Commandments but to the whole system of moral, civil and ceremonial precepts that God gave to Israel through Moses? Is it not clear from these verses that the New Testament does not differentiate between the “moral law” and the “ceremonial law” but simply speaks of the law as a single unit of moral, ceremonial, and civil statutes that governed Israel?
2. Read Rom 7:1-4, Gal 2:19 Do these verses not teach that as Christians we should be dead to the law so that we may live unto Christ? What does it mean to be dead to something?
3. Read Gal. 3:23-25, Gal 5:18, Rom 6:14 Do these verses not teach that as Christians we are not under the law? Read Gal. 4:21, l Cor. 9:20-21, Gal. 4:4 Rom 7:1-3 Can you see that these texts teach that to be “under the law” means not to be under the condemnation or curse of the law, but to be under the authority of the law?
4. Read Acts 15:1, 5,24 Is it not clear that the gentile Christians were specifically not commanded to keep the law of Moses? Read Heb.10:28 Does not this verse call the Ten Commandments “the law of Moses” since men were stoned for violating the Decalogue commandments regarding murder, adultery, idolatry, etc.?
5. Read Exodus 20:1-2. The Ten Commandments were spoken and written by God Himself, right? Why is it, that when we see the Ten Commandments posted on the wall, the first part that God spoke and wrote, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, is never included? Did not God speak and write these words on the tables of stone as well? Why is this part never spoken by Adventists when they quote the words of the Decalogue? Could it be that it is because these words clearly indicate that the Decalogue was specifically given to the Jews that were brought out of Egypt?
If you are a Sabbath keeper or a Seventh-day Adventist, probably about now you are thinking, “yes, I can see from these verses why you believe that the Ten Commandments were part of the Old Covenant. Perhaps I can also understand why you believe that the term the law in the New Testament refers to the single unit of all the precepts that God gave Israel including the Ten Commandments and that Christians are not under the law. But there seems to be a serious contradiction here. What I don’t understand is that if the law, which you say also includes the Ten Commandments, is no longer binding on Christians, does this mean that one is free to commit adultery, steal, and live a sinful life? That sounds like the Devil’s teaching! I can’t believe something like that!”
This argument is precisely what kept me believing in the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath for seven years. I felt very secure with my position until I discovered a small detail that I had overlooked. That little detail was that the Old Covenant with its conditions, laws, and promises was abolished and replaced by the New Covenant which naturally contained new conditions, new commandments, and new promises. The commandments under the New Covenant, that is to say in the New Testament, are much more exacting and require a hundred times more spiritual power, love, and morality to obey. Any dead man keeps all the Ten Commandments, but only a Holy Spirit empowered believer can “turn the other cheek, love his enemies, go the extra mile, and live by faith-seeking first the kingdom of God.” The Ten Commandments do not condemn unbelief, drunkenness, pride, selfishness, fornication, anger, gossip, hate, cheating or deceit. Where do the Ten Commandments call us to care for the widow and orphan, feed the hungry, visit the sick or clothe the naked? But the New Testament condemns all the above sins and enjoins all the good works just mentioned. It seems to me that the Ten Commandments are not even close to reflecting all the character and righteousness of God, but the words of Christ and His apostles are for the New Testament Christian a perfect guide to a holy, sanctified life.
Does this mean that we are to throw out the Old Testament? By no means! It should be received as the inspired word of God, but it should be read in the light of the New. The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, but the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed! As Christians, are we to live under the shadows, types, and symbols of the Old Testament, or in the glorious light and revelation of the New? I think that the answer is obvious.
Please understand this: the law of the New Covenant is a law of love. Any precept from the old law that has to do with loving one’s neighbor naturally finds its place in the New Covenant as well. Even though many of the moral principles of the Old Covenant are also found in the New, (such as honor your father and mother) this does not mean that we are under the authority of the old law, it just means that the New Covenant contains some of the same precepts of love and morality that were also found in the Old Covenant. Let me explain it by example to help you understand.
Are you subject to the law of Saudi Arabia? Of course not. It would be ridiculous for women in the United States to cover their heads and wear a veil in public simply because the law of Saudi Arabia requires it. Does the law of Arabia prohibit stealing? Yes, indeed, and even to a greater measure than does United States law. The thief just might lose his hand! Does Saudi Arabia´s law condemn rape, perjury, assault, and the like? Yes, sir! But are we subject to this law just because many of the civil ordinances that protect our society are also included in the law of that radical, Muslim country? No we are not! In order for something to be binding on us as American citizens, it must be found under the civil law of the United States. In like fashion, in order for something to be binding on the Christian, it must be found under the New Covenant. While we find in the New Testament time and time again every kind of commandment having to do with love and morality, the Sabbath commandment is suspiciously absent. Why? Because it was not a moral law. Let me give proof. Millions of Christians break the Sabbath but are still considered “moral” and even “children of God” by Adventists. How could this be if the Sabbath were a moral law? A person could not break any of the other nine commandments every week and be considered “moral.” The Sabbath is one of the “commandments contained in ordinances” that Ef. 2:15 declares was abolished in Christ. The next section will make this even clearer.
lll THE NEW COVENANT
1. Read ll Cor 3:6-17 Does this chapter not say that the glory and ministration of the Ten Commandments was done away and abolished and replaced by the ministration of the Spirit under the New Testament?
2. Read Rom. 13:8-10 Does not this verse say that to love your neighbor as yourself is to fulfill the law? Do you know any non-Sabbath keeping Christians that love their neighbor? If you do, let me ask you, do you think that they are fulfilling the law or not? According to the Bible, they are even though they do not keep the Sabbath.
3. Read John 14:23,24 l Corinthians 14:37 Do you think it is a sin for a Christian to disobey the words of Christ and the commandments that He gave through His apostles in the New Testament?
4. Read Jn. 12:48 After reading this verse, is it not clear that men will not be judged by the Ten Commandments, but by the words of Christ as revealed in the New Testament?
5. Read Gal 6:2 Is it not clear that Christ has a law? Do you believe Christians are obligated to keep the law of Moses, or the law of Christ?
6. Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not kill, and Thou shalt not commit adultery, but I say unto you...” Isn’t it clear from the context of these verses that Jesus is saying that His words supersede the Decalogue?
7. Do you believe that it is a sin to disobey God? Obviously, the answer is yes. Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit. Samson the Nazarite sinned by cutting his hair. The Jews had greatly sinned before the days of King Josiah by neglecting the Passover. Would it be a sin for you to eat a certain fruit, cut your hair, or disregard the Passover? Of course not! Why? Because these commandments were given to certain people at certain times. They are not applicable to all people. Even so, the Sabbath was clearly a commandment between God and Israel, (Ex. 31:13-17) but nowhere do we find that the Sabbath commandment was ever enjoined upon the Gentiles or even Jews in the N.T.
8. Do you believe that God can change the law if He so desires? Read Heb. 7:12. Does this verse not teach that a change was made in the law?
9. Read Gal. 5:18,23 What do you think Paul meant by “if ye be led of the Spirit ye are not under the law?” and “against such there is no law?”
My understanding of the above verses is that under the New Covenant God would write His laws in the hearts of His people. This was to be done by the Holy Spirit, who would make obedience a spontaneous reality. It is no longer necessary to look at exterior commandments posted on a wall somewhere in order to obey God. To please and obey God becomes the nature of those who are led of the Spirit under the wonderful New Covenant. This explains why new, born-again Christians automatically cease from immorality, stealing, cheating, swearing, and hating, but they never keep the seventh day spontaneously. This conclusively shows that the Sabbath is not a part of the New Covenant law that the Spirit writes in the heart of the believer.
lV. THE SABBATH
1. In all of the epistles of the apostle Paul addressed to the gentile believers, he instructed them concerning every Christian duty, but he never told them to keep the Sabbath. The only thing he said about the Sabbath in all of his letters was that it was one of the abolished shadows that pointed to Christ. Colossians 2:14-17, Galatians 4:9,10, Hebrews 4:1-11 Don’t you think that if the Sabbath were binding upon the New Testament gentiles the apostle would have taught them concerning its observance at least once? If Paul didn’t instruct people to observe the Sabbath in his day, do you think that we should today? Can you see why I believe that the Sabbath is not part of the Gospel?
2. Let´s read Colossians 2:14-17 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Does this verse not teach that “the sabbath days” were part of the handwriting of ordinances that was blotted out because they were only a shadow of the true essence, which is Christ?
3. Read Numbers chapters 28 and 29. You will find that these chapters speak of the different offerings and sacrifices that God commanded the Israelites to offer. Verse 1 of chapter 28 speaks of the daily offerings. Verse 9 speaks of the weekly, seventh-day Sabbath offerings. Verse 11 speaks of the monthly offerings, which were offered every new moon. Verse 16 begins to speak of the yearly offerings which were to be given on set days of the yearly, Jewish calendar. It cannot be denied that among this list of days of sacrifice we find the seventh-day Sabbath. It is grouped together with the daily, monthly, and yearly sacrifices. Notice how we find this same list of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly sacrifices in l Chron. 23:30,31, ll Chron. 2:4, ll Chron. 31:3, Neh. 10:33, Ezek. 45:17, and Hosea 2:11 After examining these texts, can you see that the same list of weekly, monthly, and yearly holy days is given? Is it not logical to conclude then that the “sabbath days” mentioned in these verses also include the seventh day sabbath? Did you know that virtually every Bible Commentary and even the Jews themselves understand that the sabbaths mentioned in these Old Testament verses included the weekly, seventh day sabbath? Now that we have established this fact, let me ask you, “Since Paul gives the same list of days again in Colossians, is it not reasonable to conclude that he also had in mind the weekly sabbath?”
4. Does not the term holy days, or feast days, (as the revised versions render it) in Col. 2:16 refer to all the yearly Jewish rest days, since after speaking of them all in Leviticus 23, it refers to them as the feasts of the LORD? V. 37 Since the holy days or the feast days mentioned in Col. 2 cover all the yearly rest days, can you see that we are left with no other conclusion but that the sabbath mentioned in the same verse must be the seventh-day sabbath? Would it not have been extremely redundant and unnecessary for Paul to write “the sabbath days” if he were referring to yearly rest days seeing that the term “holy days” already mentioned in the verse incorporates all of the yearly Jewish high days and rest days? If Paul were not speaking of the seventh-day Sabbath in Col. 2:16, don’t you think that his readers could have easily misunderstood him?
5. The word “sabbath” occurs in the New Testament 60 times. If you would look up each reference you will find that each time it refers exclusively to the seventh day. Even Adventist theologians will admit that 59 times it refers to the seventh day, but in Col 2:16 they say that it refers to something else. Don’t you think that this is inconsistent reasoning that twists the verse out of the context?
6. Read Romans 14:4-6 Can you see that these verses teach that keeping a day unto God is a matter of one’s own conscience and that we are not to judge those that esteem every day alike?
7. Read l John 2:4 This verse teaches that if someone says that he knows God, but does not keep his commandments, he is a liar and there is no truth in him. This verse causes a great problem for the Sabbatarians of today. Why? Let me ask you, “Do you think of Martin Luther, John Bunyan, and John Milton liars with no truth in them?” Did you know that each one of these men listened to the Sabbatarians of their epoch and their arguments and all came to the conclusion that the seventh-day keepers were in error and opposed them on the issue? Luther, the champion of God’s truth during the reformation wrote against the Sabbath keepers of his time. John Bunyan had a tender conscience toward God and spent many years in prison for obeying the Lord instead of men. From his cell he wrote the immortal works The Pilgrim’s Progress and Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. Ellen White said in the Great Controversy that he “breathed the very atmosphere of heaven.” But did you know that Bunyan wrote these words?
“As for the seventh day Sabbath, that, as we see, is gone to its grave with the signs and shadows of the Old Testament; yea, and it has such a dash left upon it by apostolic authority that it is enough to make a Christian fly from it forever.” Bunyan’s Complete Works p. 915
If the Sabbath is a commandment in the Gospel age, then Bunyan and many others like him were “liars with no truth in them,” since they not only disregarded the Sabbath, but greatly opposed it. Are you willing to say that Bunyan, Luther, and others like Wesley, Whitefield and Finney fall under the condemnation of l John 2:4? Remember, there were seventh-day keepers during their time and these men were well acquainted with the seventh-day argument, so the excuse “they didn’t have the light” will not suffice! The simple answer to this question is that the Sabbath is not a commandment of God in the Gospel age, therefore obeying God today has nothing to do with keeping the seventh-day Sabbath.
8. Read the Sabbath Commandment in Decalogue of Exodus 20. Now read the Sabbath Commandment in the Decalogue of Duet. 5. As you can see, the wording is very different. Why do you think that God changed the wording when He wrote the second set of tables of stone? The commandment that was changed the most was the sabbath commandment. Can you see that in the 4th commandment in Deuteronomy the word therefore indicated that the reason for keeping the Sabbath was to remind the Jews of their slavery and deliverance from Egypt? Were you literally ever a slave in Egypt? If not, how then does this commandment pertain to you?
9. Read Hebrews 4:1-11 As you can see, these verses teach that there remains a rest (the Greek literally reads a Sabbath rest) for the people of God. After studying the chapter carefully, you will see that various different kinds of rests are mentioned. Is it not clear from the context of verses 3, 8, 9, 10, and 11 that the sabbath rest that remains for the people of God is not the seventh day rest mentioned in verse 4, nor the rest of Joshua and Canaan mentioned in verse 8, but the rest a Christian enters into the moment he “ceases from his own works” (v.10) for salvation and “believes” (v. 3) in the perfect, complete work of salvation that Jesus Christ accomplished for him on the cross?
10. After creating the world in Geneses 2, did God rest because He was tired or because everything was perfect and His rest commemorated that perfect work of creation? Do you believe that Jesus Christ did a perfect work for you? Does not Col 2:14-17 and Hebrews 4 teach that the sabbath of creation was a shadow of the true essence which is Christ? Can you now see that the true “sabbath rest” of the New Covenant, of which the 7th day was a shadow and a type is to cease trying to work for your eternal salvation and to rest every day in the perfect, finished work of Christ consummated for you?
*Conclusion- The only true rest of God in the New Covenant is in Him who has said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
It was prophesied through Isaiah that “His rest shall be glorious,” and how glorious it is to know that the battle has already been won and the race has already been run. All we have to do is believe and rest in the victory, perfect righteousness, and keeping power of the Lord Jesus Christ! You need that kind of rest don’t you? But as long as you look to the shadow, you’ll never know the real essence and body of that shadow! No man could possibly continue to sacrifice lambs and at the same time rejoice in the one, eternal sacrifice of the True Lamb of God. And in the same fashion, the glorious rest of soul that is to be found in Jesus will never be found as long as a person rejects the true rest of Christ by holding on to the shadowy Sabbath of the seventh day. Pray honestly and open-heartedly about these things. It may be that very soon you will be experiencing the joy of the true Sabbath of the New Testament!
24 FALSE SUPPOSITIONS REGARDING THE LAW AND THE SABBATH
1. That there is a division between the “moral law” and the “ceremonial law.”. –
It is essential that Adventists establish this supposition. If their “dual law theory” is not established fast, they will quickly lose every debate and discussion. But the Word of God does not support this assumption. In fact, the biblical evidence is a most hostile witness against it. Judging from the way Adventists use the terms “moral law” and “ceremonial law,” you would think that the Bible was full of these phrases. But not one time does the Bible use the terms “moral law” or “ceremonial law.” It teaches that all the Old Testament law existed as a unit of civil, moral, and ceremonial precepts. To prove this, notice how moral and ceremonial laws are mingled together all through the Pentateuch. In fact, the most moral law in the Old Testament, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, is found in Leviticus 19:18, right in the middle of all kinds of ceremonial precepts. The Ten Commandments themselves are repeated time and time again in what Adventists call the “ceremonial law” that was written in the book of Moses and placed in the side of the ark. It is impossible to divide the Old Testament law into parts.
Notice also how in the New Testament the term “the law” refers not to just the Ten Commandments, but every commandment that was given to Israel under the old covenant.
“As it is written in the law of the Lord, every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy unto the Lord.” Luke 2:39
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” Cor. 14:34
“Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?” Acts 23:3
“And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law...” Heb 7:5
“…the law hath said, thou shalt not covet.” Romans 7:7
“…Gamaliel, a doctor of the law…” Acts 5:34
“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made…” Gal 3:19-25, Rom 7:7
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Matthew 22:36
After reading these verses, which are just a few of many, is it not clear that the term law in the New Testament refers to all the Mosaic precepts as a whole, both moral, ceremonial, and civil? To prove that the Ten Commandments are also a part of these Mosaic precepts, just read Hebrews 10:28, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses.” What were men stoned for? For breaking the Decalogue commandments regarding the Sabbath, worshiping of idols, adultery, murder, etc. Here the Ten Commandments are plainly called Moses’ law.
2. That the Ten Commandments alone constitute “the law of God.”– We do not read even one time in the whole Bible that the Ten Commandments themselves are called the “law of God.” As has already been showed, God’s law given to Israel was composed of all the law as a unit containing moral, civil, and ceremonial precepts. This law existed and was blotted out not in parts, but as a whole. The law of God in the New Covenant is a law of love summed up in the two great commandments, “Love God with all your heart,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” As before mentioned, any moral precept of the Old Covenant that has to do with loving God or one’s neighbor naturally will find its place in the New Covenant as well, and usually in a greater way. Jesus said many times “ye have heard,” (in the law) or “Moses said this, but I say unto you.” The commandments of Christ and his apostles are the law of God in the New Covenant, and greatly supersede the Ten Commandments. The righteousness of Christ’s sermon on the mount is as superior to the righteousness of Decalogue as Christianity is superior to Judaism.
3. That the Ten Commandments condemn all sin- Where do we find that the Ten Commandments condemn the sins of drunkenness, lying, fornication, pride, selfishness, bad temper, or hate? Where does the Decalogue command us to care for widows and orphans, visit the sick, or feed the hungry? Clearly this shows that the Ten Commandments are notthe perfect rule of God’s righteousness, but a brief summary of all the hundreds of laws that God gave Moses for governing the nation of Israel. It would have been very difficult to memorize all these hundreds of laws and ordinances. For this reason, it was necessary to take ten of the most important commandments for governing the nation and write them on stone, which served as a testimony between God and Israel. In this way the people were able to more easily memorize these principal commandments. But the law of God in the New Testament is so profound that it condemns every sin and calls for every good work, discerning even the motives of the heart. Praise God that He writes His New Covenant law on the hearts of Spirit-filled believers so that they can obey lovingly and spontaneously! The New Covenant is not so much a law as it is a promise, the promise that by having Christ living inside us we can obey God and do the works that please Him.
4. That when the Bible speaks of the commandments of God, it is speaking of the Ten Commandments. – It has already been commented that there are hundreds of commandments in the whole Bible. When the Bible speaks of “commandments,” it is necessary to look into the context to know just which kind of laws it is referring to and for whom. Circumcision, not cutting one’s hair, not eating from a certain tree, etc. are all commandments, but are not inclusive for all people.
The commandments of Christ and His apostles (l Cor. 14:37) are to be taken as law by the Christian. The apostle John, who also spoke of the commandments of God in Revelation 14:12 and 12:17 said in his epistle, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment”. l John 3:22, 23.
Therefore, considering the context exegetically, the commandments of God that His end-time people keep in the book of Revelation are not the ten commandments, but the great commandments of believing in Jesus Christ and loving one another that the same John wrote of in his epistle.
5. That Christ indicated that the Sabbath would be kept in the future by saying, “Pray that your flight be not in winter, nor on the Sabbath day.”– Would it have been sin for people to flee for their lives on the Sabbath day? Of course not! Then why did Christ tell them to pray that they would not have to flee on the Sabbath? The prophecy here refers to the besiege and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in the year 70 A.D. He told them to pray that their flight be not on the Sabbath day for the same reason he told them in the same verse to pray that their flight be not in winter- to avoid suffering and hardships. The cold of winter could have caused suffering since they would have fled without any preparation or even extra clothing. Even so fleeing on the Sabbath would have been just as difficult if not more since the gates of the city and all surrounding cities would have been closed. If the Jews would have seen them fleeing, they would have persecuted them or suspected them of being traitors. The sign to flee was when Jerusalem was seen surrounded by armies, and if this happened on the Sabbath, a day when the Jews didn’t travel, surely the fleeing Christians would have been identified with the Jew’s enemies. It would have been almost impossible to flee on the Sabbath. This is why Christ said what He said.
6. That the Sabbaths mentioned in Colossians 2:16, that Paul said were abolished, refer exclusively to annual Jewish rest days and not the seventh day Sabbath. – This verse in the plainest terms declares that the Sabbaths, or a Sabbath; singular, as the modern and revised versions put it (the word in Greek can be translated both ways), was only a shadow of the true essence, which is Christ. It clearly says that it was blotted out with the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, was nailed to the cross, and that nobody should judge another in regard to the keeping of it. Upon this verse the whole seventh day doctrine hinges. In an effort to save the seventh day theory, the argument is put forward that the Sabbath mentioned here does not refer to the weekly Sabbath, but to the yearly rest days mentioned in Leviticus 23. The argument to sustain this is very weak and goes against the whole logical context of the verse, but the argument must be put forth in order to save this Old Covenant institution from the clear abrogation of the apostle Paul. We will now examine the Biblical evidence.
It is easy to show that this verse includes the seventh day weekly Sabbath because…a. The Bible gives the same list of daily offerings, feast days, new moons, and Sabbath days in many parts of the Old Testament, sometimes even in the same order that Paul lists them in Col. 2:16 .
Please read Num 28 & 29 These chapters speak of all the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly sacrifices. The seventh-day Sabbath is a part of this list of holy days as no Seventh-day Adventist can deny. We read of the same list of holy days (including the weekly sabbath) in l Chron. 23:30-31, ll Chron. 2:4, 8:13, 31:3, Neh. 10:33, Ezek 45:17, Hos. 2:11. In each one of these verses, the Jews understood that the Sabbaths mentioned included the seventh day weekly Sabbath. By writing the same list again in Col 2:16, the apostle is confirming this understanding and leaving no other conclusion but that the Sabbaths here referred to include the weekly Sabbaths.
b. The “holy days” mentioned also in verse 16 cover all the annual Jewish rest days and high days, leaving the conclusion that the Sabbath mentioned in the same verse has to be the seventh day Sabbath. It would have been unnecessary, repetitive, and redundant to write “sabbaths” again if these referred to the annual rest days, since these rest days fall under the already mentioned category of “holy days,” or “feast days,” as some translations read. Examine Leviticus 23. Notice that after mentioning all the annual rest days in the previous verses, verse 37 gives a summary saying, “these are the feasts of the LORD.”
c. In the Bible, the word “Sabbath” was translated from a special Greek and Hebrew word that almost always referred to the seventh-day Sabbath. The annual rest days or in Leviticus 23 were translated from a different Hebrew word. That is to say, the word “Sabbath” in Lev 23:24 was translated from a different Hebrew word than “Sabbath” in Exodus 20:8 speaking of the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments. In actuality, Lev 23 is speaking simply of rest days, and this is how most all of the revised modern versions of the Bible translate them- “Ye shall have a rest.” What does all this mean? It means that if Paul were speaking of only annual rest days in Colossians 2:16 when he mentioned the Sabbath, he probably would not have chosen the Greek word that he did. The word that he used was “sabbaton”, which is the same word which is used all through the New Testament when speaking exclusively of the seventh-day Sabbath. If he were wanting to infer only the yearly rest days, he would not have chosen a word that the readers of his time would have understood as referring to the seventh day.
d. The Greek Septuagint, which is the oldest translation of the Old Testament in Greek translates the weekly sabbath of Exodus 20:8 as “Sabbaton,” which is the same word that Paul used in Col. 2:16. The conclusion is that there was no other way to say “the seventh day sabbath” than to say to say Sabbaton, and that is just what Paul said in Col. 2:16 (*Note- Seventh day proponents try to prove that the sabbath days of Col 2:16 are yearly rest days by saying that they are the “sabbath days which are a shadow.” But the Greek does not agree with them. The word which refers not only to the sabbath days, but also to the rest of the list of meat and drink offerings, new moons, and holy days. Therefore, the things which are a shadow are not just the sabbath days, but the rest of the things mentioned as well. This can be proven from the fact that the Greek word which, (normative plural neuter)does not agree grammatically with sabbath days. (genitive plural) No Greek scholar could favor such a meaning.) In Spanish and French Bible translations this is easily seen in Colossians 2:16 since these languages have gender grammar, something that the English language doesn´t contain.
e. In Colossians, Paul was writing mostly to Christian gentiles that did not possess much knowledge of Judaism, so he had to use simple and clear language in order for them to understand correctly. If Col 2:16 refers to only yearly rest days, don’t you think that they could have easily understood that he was speaking of the seventh-day sabbath since he used the same Greek word to say “sabbath” that is used in all the New Testament when speaking of the seventh day? Paul, knowing that his epistle was to be read in many places and for long periods of time, would have used another word in Col 2:16 if he believed that the seventh-day sabbath was still in effect in the days of the New Covenant. If I told you to bring me the watermelon in the refrigerator, I´m sure that you would go to the refrigerator in the kitchen since that is how you and I have consistently defined the word. If you found that there was no watermelon in that refrigerator, and I scolded you by saying “you numb-skull, you should have known that I was talking about the automatic cooler down in the basement!” you would say that I was being unfair since I did not specify the cooler in the basement. Why? Because the term “refrigerator” immediately conjures thoughts of midnight snacks in the kitchen! The same principle of interpretation is applicable in dealing with the sabbath question of Colossians 2:16. If Paul were talking about annual rest days in Col. 2:16, he surely would have had to delicately defined them as such.
The Bible says what it means, and means what it says, and in Col 2:16 it says that the seventh day was blotted out, was a shadow of Christ, and that nobody should judge you for not keeping it. Do you actually believe that God would condemn a person for accepting what His own word teaches? The answer is evident.
f. The word “Sabbath” occurs sixty times in the New Testament and always refers only to the seventh day. Even seventh-day theologians admit that fifty-nine times it refers to the seventh day, but in case number sixty, they say that it refers to something else! What inconsistent reasoning! To save the Sabbath from the clear abrogation of Col 2:15-17, they have to violate rules of interpreting by context, therefore twisting the scripture to say something that it really doesn’t. This is the same practice used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cults to save their false doctrines from those clear texts that condemn them. A text, taken out of context, is just a pretext! g. The clearest evidence that Paul had in mind the seventh day Sabbath when he wrote Col 2:16 is that in all his epistles he never gives instructions to gentile believers to keep it. He only touches the issue three times, and each time it is to condemn it! Read Gal 4:9-10, Rom 14:4-6, Col 2:14-16 Time after time he gives instructions regarding all Christian duties and doctrines and the will of God concerning believers but not even once does, he tell Christians to keep the Sabbath! In fact, there is not even one verse in the whole New Testament that teaches this! If the Sabbath were so important, or a commandment for today, don’t you think that the New Testament would have mentioned something of its observance? Of course! But the silence in the New Testament touching this point is overwhelming evidence that keeping the Sabbath day is not a part of the Christian’s duty under the Gospel.
The Gospel is not to preach the Sabbath or even to keep the Sabbath, but to preach Christ and Him crucified, rescue the perishing, love the unlovable, and to help the needy. It means to walk in the Spirit, live by faith, and to present yourself as a holy, sanctified vessel to God and His service.
It should be noted also that Samuele Bacciochi, the Seventh-day Adventist´s leading theologian and author of the book From Sabbath to Sunday, has been obligated to admit that the sabbaths of Colossians 2:16 DO include the seventh day sabbath! (See pp. 348 of his book) In this he goes against the traditional SDA argument for the verse but he tries to save the seventh-day from the clear abrogation of the verse by saying that the verse is not nullifying the sabbath, but teaching that we should not judge one another in regards to its regulations. He does admit that the sabbath is a shadow, but tries to prove the the shadow is still necessary. With this position taken, he is also obligated to also conclude that the yearly feast days are have significance today as well. This conclusion is very hard to understand for me considering the context of the passage which clearly speaks of these ordinances as having been “blotted out” in verse 14.
7. That the Sabbath should be kept because Jesus kept it and he is our example.
The Lord Jesus also kept the Passover, the Feast of Trumpets, the Feast of Tabernacles, and all the other holy days designated by the law of Moses. He was circumcised and lived as a Jew. The Bible said he was born “under the law.” Gal 4:4 Jesus lived under the Old Covenant of Israel, and this is why he kept the Sabbath day according to the law. But he came to establish a new covenant, and in this new covenant the emphasis is not on resting on certain days, but on resting every day in the finished work of Christ. (Heb 4) This is the true rest of which the seventh day was only a shadow. If we Christians are to keep the seventh day only because Jesus kept it, then we are also obligated to observe all the things that Jesus kept under the law such as feast days, animal sacrifices, circumcision, etc. We do not observe these things as Christians because we know that they were rites of the Old Covenant that were fulfilled in Christ. The Sabbath was also part of this Covenant, and for this reason its observance is not obligatory in the New Testament.
8. That the seal of God in the last days is the keeping of the Sabbath. – Any Biblical covenant had to contain three things, 1. a promise 2. a condition 3. and a sign or a seal. The sign or seal was the outward, physical manifestation that one was under a covenant. The outward sign of the Abrahamic Covenant was circumcision. (Gen 17:10) The sign of the Covenant made with the nation of Israel was the Sabbath. (Exodus 31:13-17) But the sign or seal of the New Covenant is clearly stated in the Bible as being the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. This is emphatically stated in Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30, and ll Cor 1:22. It is having the Holy Spirit and manifesting the precious fruit of the Spirit to others that is the indication, sign, or seal that a man is a participant of the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. To say that the Sabbath is the seal goes against the clear teaching of the above verses and takes us once again under a covenant that does not correspond to us as Christians.
9. That the Sabbath was changed to Sunday by the Pope- What the Roman Church claims is not that some Pope changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday several hundred years after the death of the apostles, but that the apostles themselves taught the abolition of the Sabbath and the establishment of the Lord’s Day on Sunday. Catholics claim that their “church” originated in the days of the apostles, therefore anything that the apostles taught as doctrine is Catholic Church doctrine. This is what their catechisms teach. There are no official Catholic documents that state that the change was made by a third or fourth century Pope. (The first pope did not actually come into being until 606.) No book of history has ever stated so either. What Adventists often quote to name the time and the place of the change of the Sabbath is the Council of Laodicea in 364 A.D. It is perplexing to me why they refer to this council to prove that the pope changed the Sabbath. Why?
1. It was not a Roman Catholic council, but a small, local affair of the Asia minor churches which were at the time completely separate from the Roman Church.
2. The Bishop of Rome was not present at the council. All of the bishops present were from the Eastern Orthodox churches.
3. At this time, 364, the Roman bishop did not yet exercise any authority over the other churches, especially these Asian minor churches.
4. This council was never recognized as one of the major, official, Roman Catholic councils. So how can this be the time and the place where the pope changed the Sabbath?
5. As already stated, the first Roman Catholic pope did not even exist until 606 AD, about 250 years after the council of Laodicea. So how could the pope have changed the day at this council?
Once again, official Catholic doctrine teaches that the keeping of Sunday started not with a third or fourth century pope, but with the apostles themselves. John Meiler; Catholic priest, wrote, “Having lived for years among Seventh-day Adventists, I am familiar with their claim that the Pope of Rome changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week. Such assertions are wholly unfounded. Catholics claim no such thing; but maintain that the apostles themselves established the observance of Sunday and that we received it by tradition from them. The councils and popes afterwards simply confirmed the keeping of the day as received from the apostles.” (See the book Seventh-day Adventism Renounced, pp. 213,214)
That the pope did not change the Sabbath to Sunday can be further proved by the fact that the earliest Christian writers from the first three centuries A.D. almost all agree that the first day of the week was already an established day of Christian meeting and worship. Read the testimonies of Pliny, Eusebius, Justin Martyr, Clement, Tertullian, Origin, and many others. While we are not to take their writings to establish doctrine, their writings do shed valuable light on what the practices of the early Christian church were. Their words are undeniable proof that Sunday was called the Lord’s Day and was designated as a day of meeting and worship hundreds of years before the Roman Papacy even existed. The quotes from these early Christian writers are too numerous to include in this chapter, but can be easily obtained from the internet on the web site www.bible.ca
The first Sunday “blue laws” were passed not by a pope, but by the Roman emperor Constantine. We should also note also that the Catholic Church does not teach that it is a sin to work on Sunday. No Catholic ever has to go to confession for simply working on Sunday. If the Sabbath were indeed changed by the pope, would not working on Sunday be classified as a mortal sin? But instead it is classified by the Roman Church as a day of gatherings, games, recreation, and if need be, work! Please do not misunderstand me. I am by no means a friend or supporter of the Church of Rome and its false gospel, but to say that the pope officially changed the Sabbath day several hundred years after the apostles is to say something that just isn´t true.
There is a common misunderstanding among Seventh-day Adventists which I would like to address. Adventists believe other evangelical churches hold to Sunday as the Sabbath. This is untrue. Most all evangelical churches today do not believe that Sunday is a Sabbath and that work cannot be done but is simply a day of meeting and Christian fellowship to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. They have not received this practice from the Catholic Church, but from the Bible (Acts 20:7, l Cor. 16:2, Rev 1:10) as well as the writings of the early church fathers that we have already mentioned. Christians meet together on Sunday in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, not because it is the “Sabbath.” They believe that the church can worship together on any day, even on Saturday. Once again, Sunday is not a Sabbath or a day of strict obligatory rest, but a simple day for meeting that started spontaneously with the primitive, apostolic church.
10. That the “Lord’s day” of Rev 1:10 is the seventh-day Sabbath. – The context of the verse proves the contrary, that it was not the Sabbath day. If John were referring to the seventh day, he probably would have said “Sabbath,” not “Lord’s Day.” Sixty times in the N.T. the Sabbath is called just that; the Sabbath. The term Lord’s Day designates something different. As already stated above, there is definite evidence that the early church worshipped together on the first day of the week. Early Christian writers refer to the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day, since this was the day that Jesus rose from the dead and Christians began meet on that day in celebration of this the greatest event in the history of the world.
The reason why John did not call the first day of the week the Lord’s day in his gospel is because all the verses that mention the first day are referring to the time before the church was established in the book of Acts and before the custom of meeting together on the first day was put into practice.
11. That the Sabbath should be kept now because in Isaiah 66 God says, talking about the new earth, that from “one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another shall all flesh come and worship before me.” – In order for this argument to be consistent, it would be necessary to keep the new moons as well, because this verse mentions them also as being observed on the new earth. Who keeps the new moons now? Almost nobody. Why? Because everyone understands that the new moons were part of the abolished ceremonies of the Old Covenant. Even a Seventh-day Adventist will admit to this. Paul lists the Sabbath together with the new moons in his list of things that were blotted out. So, what’s the difference?
So how are we to understand Isaiah 66? Would it not be better to understand this text in the light of the dispensation of the New Covenant? Have you noticed that Zechariah 14:15 prophesies that the feast of Tabernacles will be kept after the 2nd Advent of Christ? We know that these and other feasts were only types of Christ and that they were absolved in Jesus, the anti-type. Let’s remember that Isaiah and Zechariah were writing to the Jewish people in terms that they could understand. Speaking futuristically about the Sabbath or the feast of tabernacles would be a way of referring to Christ, the true rest and the true tabernacle. Remember too, that in the final home of the redeemed the book of Revelation teaches that there will be no need for the sun, so how are we to keep track of the days anyway? The time system in God´s eternal kingdom will be very different that this earth´s system, and it´s very possible that the concept of time will not even exist.
Once again let me repeat that if Isaiah 66:23 is teaching that we should keep the Sabbath today because it will be kept in the new Earth, the we are also obligated to keep the Jewish new moon festivals since they are also referred to as being kept in the same context. Let no Adventist use this verse as part of his argument until he starts to observe the new moons as well!
12. That the Ten Commandments are still in effect because the New Testament speaks of them in a positive way in l John 3:4, Romans 7:7-12, and James 2:10-12- This was my favorite argument as a Sabbath keeper. But as I looked deeper into these verses and sought to understand the meaning that the writer was trying to convey, I began to see them in a different light.
First of all, in l John 3:4, the best translation of the verse is not “sin is transgression of the law,” but “sin is lawlessness.” This is how the Greek reads and how almost all the revised and updated versions read. The meaning here is that sin is rebelliousness, contempt for authority, and a disdain for morality. This is the only translation that fits because the term “the law” in the N.T. and O.T. never refers to exclusively the Ten Commandments, but to the whole Mosaic law with its sacrifices, ceremonies, and civil precepts. Are we to think that it is a sin today to not be circumcised or keep the other Mosaic ordinances? These things were indeed part of the law.
Next, in Romans and in James, the object of both apostles is to prove how the moral precepts of the law are good in that they reveal sin and convince a man of his unjust condition before God. Many of their original readers were Jews, and they wrote in terms that Jews could understand. James addresses his epistle to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad. Paul wrote in Romans to them that know the law.
As James and Paul state, the moral principles of the law are good and have always been good. In this we are all in agreement. However moral principles are not limited to only the code of the Ten Commandments but are applicable to any code of ethics. The New Testament’s code is even stricter than that of the Old, but many of the basic precepts are the same such as “honor your father and mother.” Both apostles show how the law convicts of sin. Paul says that the moral demand of the law revealed his sinfulness, and James says that to break one moral commandment is to break them all. I believe that they are exalting the moral spirit of the law, but not the law itself, for if they were exalting the law itself, then we are obligated to keep “the whole law,” including its sacrifices, circumcisions, feasts, and hundreds of other things that no Adventist would even dream of keeping today.
In the New Covenant, there exists the same moral precepts to convince a sinner of his wretchedness, but in this case Paul and James quote from the Old in order to convince their Jewish readers. In Romans 7, Paul is “speaking to them that know the law.” V.1 It is possible, but not necessary to reveal sin by the Old Testament. But Paul and James used this approach for the Jewish minds reading their letters, they themselves also being Jews. Paul still lived as a Jew under the law. He made vows, kept the feasts, circumcised Timothy, and maybe even kept the Sabbath. But he did these things not because he felt that they were necessary in the New Covenant, but in order to reach the Jews with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. See 1 Cor. 9:19-22. This is what both apostles are doing here. They readily appeal to the old law in order to convince their law-oriented subjects that they are sinners and in need of the salvation of Christ. This has to be the only correct conclusion because Paul himself called the tables of stone of the Old Covenant a “ministration of death” and said that that ministration was abolished. (ll Cor 3:6-14) and James said that the apostles gave no commandment to the gentiles to “keep the law,” and instructed them to only “abstain from pollutions of idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication.” Acts 15:13-29 Does this all sound a bit contradictory? It very well could have been depending on whom the apostles were dealing with. Remember that even Peter was compelling the gentiles to live as Jews, (Gal 2:11-15) and Paul himself rebuked him for it. The apostles were trying to reach two very different classes of people, and sometimes with conflicting methods. This is why there may be apparently conflicting ideas in the New Testament regarding the Old Testament law.
13. That the Patriarchs from Adam to Moses observed the letter of the Ten Commandments. – That Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and other righteous men before Sinai were moral and holy persons is not to be denied, nor is it the question here. The question here is “Did they possess the Ten Commandments as a code, or did they obey God in whatever way He revealed Himself to them?” I believe it is the latter since Moses specifically said to the Jews at Sinai, just two verses before repeating the Ten Commandments,“The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us alive here this day.” Duet. 5:2-3 He then proceeds to repeat the Decalogue. John says, “The law was given by Moses…” Jn. 1:17 Jesus says the same, “Did not Moses give you the law…?” Jn 7:19 It couldn’t be any plainer. The Mosaic law including the Decalogue did not exist as a code until after the exodus of the Jews from Egypt.
The obedience of the Patriarchs was based on specifically doing what the Lord commanded them, and these commandments were much more comprehensive than the “thou shalt nots” of the Decalogue. Just ask Abraham, the man who was commanded to sacrifice his own son! The godly patriarchs obeyed God, and many of the moral precepts that they obeyed were precepts that were to be found later in the Decalogue, but the law that included the Ten Commandments as a unit was not given until 430 years after Abraham. Read it for yourself. “. the law..which was 430 years after…” Gal 3:17 This can be further proved by the fact that Neh. 9:14 says that the Sabbath was unknown to the Jews, and God made it known unto them at Sinai. Read the verse. It’s there for all who are willing to see it. There is no Biblical record that anyone from Adam until after the exodus ever kept the Sabbath. This silence is devastating to the Adventist argument that the Sabbath had always been kept by God’s people since Eden.
14. that the early church in the book of Acts kept the Sabbath. – I will not argue this point too much because the church set up on the day of Pentecost was made up entirely of Jews. They still observed almost all of the Old Testament rites, and when the first gentiles came into the church years later, most all of the Jewish Christians were wanting to circumcise them! Old traditions die hard. Even Peter was “compelling the gentiles to live as Jews,” and Paul said that he was in error and sharply rebuked him for it. Gal 2:11-14 Peter was also reprimanded just for having entered into a gentile´s house and eating with him! And who reprimanded him? The Holy Spirit filled leaders of the primitive church! This shows that truth was gradually still being revealed to the apostles, even years after their Lord had ascended to heaven! The question to be faced here is not “did the early Jewish Christians observe the Sabbath?” but “was the Sabbath a requirement for the gentiles that entered the church?” Acts chapter 15 specifically answers this question and declares that the apostles through the direction of the Holy Ghost did not enjoin upon the Gentiles the Jewish law. The Sabbath was known as a Jewish institution and if it had been enforced upon the Gentiles, the council in Acts 15 would have to have stated so. But once again, the silence is a loud declaration that “who art thou that judgeth another man’s servant? One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Rom 14:4-5
15. that we should keep the Sabbath because Jesus said that he was “Lord even of the Sabbath day.” The context of the verse proves just the opposite, that Jesus and his followers could break the Sabbath because of the fact that Christ is Lord of all, even of the Sabbath day. In other words, if he wanted to break it, he could. He’s saying in a sense, “I’m not just the boss of the factory, I’m the owner, and I can shut it down if I want to!” And that is just what he did.
16. that we should keep the Sabbath today because Jesus said, “the Sabbath was made for man.” Once again, the context is what is important. The object of Christ’s lesson here is not that man should serve the Sabbath, but the very opposite is meant, that the Sabbath should serve man and that he can break it if he must. This is what Jesus and his disciples were doing, and Christ justified their actions by teaching that the needs of men and even animals were to be put above the strict order of not doing any work on the Sabbath. The Sabbath had not yet been abolished since the New Covenant had not yet been put into effect, and Jesus here teaches its proper meaning and also exposes their abuses and hypocrisies.
17. that when Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commandments,” he is referring to the Ten Commandments. This is the verse (Jn 14:15) that Adventist ministers always appeal to when they give their firm invitation to keep the Sabbath, usually around the middle or latter part of an evangelistic or prophecy series. They earnestly quote the verse while putting up a heart-moving picture of Jesus on the overhead projector extending his hand out in invitation to obey him with a mountain-size set of the tables of the Decalogue in the background directly behind him. If a person has any kind of conscience at all, he will respond in the affirmative unless he understands that the context of the verse proves that Jesus is not talking about the Ten Commandments here, but about his own words and teachings that he had given to the disciples. This is made crystal clear in verses 23 and 24 of the same chapter where Christ reiterates what he said in verse 15 by declaring, “If a man love me, he will keep my words,” and “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings.” Even when I was still a zealous Sabbath keeper, I could see that this verse was being twisted out of its context, and now I believe that a crafty, psychological technique is being used to make people think they are bound to obey a precept that Christ nor his apostles ever commanded in the New Testament.
18. that the Decalogue has always been in force. The Bible says that “the angels sinned.” (ll Peter 2:4) What law did they transgress? Did it contain a Sabbath commandment? Do you think this law they transgressed was the Ten Commandments or was it a rebellion against the known will and authority of God? The latter is the obvious answer. That God has always ruled His universe with moral precepts of love and authority is undeniable. But the question is not if God has always governed the universe according to a moral law of love, but if this law was or was not the Ten Commandments. It is apparent that this law was not the Decalogue. Can angels commit adultery? Of course not. The Bible says that the angels are not sexual beings like humans. Can they kill? No, for only God can destroy a spirit- which is what angels are. They don’t have mothers, so the fifth commandment of the Decalogue certainly can’t apply to them. The law that the fallen angels transgressed was God’s great moral law of love and authority.
The fact that some of God’s eternal, moral principles were also in the Decalogue in no way proves that it was in itself the law of love that existed from eternity and continues today. When Cain killed Abel, he violated the principles of the law of Canada, but he certainly didn’t violate Canada’s law itself because it didn’t exist during his time. The same can be said of the Ten Commandments. That some of the same moral principles of the Decalogue were binding during the time of the patriarchs and even today is not to be denied, but the teaching of the New Testament is that they were and we today are no more under the authority and letter of the Decalogue than was Cain under the law of Canada. To be under some of the moral principles of the Decalogue does not mean to be under the Decalogue itself because the New Covenant contains some of the same moral codes that were found under the Old. Let the reader take note here. The Bible says that the covenant that included the letter of the Ten Commandments as a code was given exclusively the nation of Israel after their exodus from Egypt.
19. that we should keep the Sabbath because it is a memorial of God’s creation of the earth. This was another one of my favorite arguments as an Adventist. But then I realized that keeping the Sabbath is not the only way to worship God as the Creator. Simply by praising Him and recognizing Him as the Almighty Creator of the universe can one stand in awe and worship Him for His omnipotent, creative power. Baptists, Pentecostals, Church of Christ, and many other evangelicals all worship God as the Creator of the world even though they don’t keep the seventh day. The great majority of them believe in a literal six-day creation, and the best books challenging evolution and defending creation have been written by members of these evangelical groups.
And besides, this earth is under a curse and will soon be destroyed, so why should we continue to celebrate its creation anyway? That would be like painting a building that we know is going to be demolished tomorrow. Peter says that “we, according to His promise look for a new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.” ll Pet 3:13 I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of this old, polluted, evil world. My joy is not found in looking back to Eden, but in looking to the day when He who sits on the throne says, “Behold, I make all things new!”
20. that the Sabbath is still in force because John the Revelator saw “the ark of his testament” in the temple in Heaven. Inside the ark must have been the two tables of the Ten Commandments- Sabbath commandment included. – John indeed did see the Ark of the Covenant in Heaven, but my question is, “The ark of which covenant, the new or the old?” Obviously the new, since the Old Covenant had been made obsolete when John had his vision. Are we to believe that the tables of the Decalogue were in this heavenly ark? Do you think that the pot of Manna and Aaron´s rod that budded that were inside the earthly ark are also found inside this heavenly one? Is it not more in tune with scripture to believe that this heavenly ark contained better things than the letter of the Decalogue, and that it was a symbol of the true ark of God, which is the believer himself? Under the New Covenant, God´s commandments are not inside a golden box but written in the Christian´s heart. Heb 8:10 The manna inside the Old Testament ark was a symbol of Christ, the “true bread of God come down from Heaven,” who indwells the inner chambers of the saved person´s soul. Aaron´s rod that budded symbolized the new life that Christ imparts to the believer. The glory of God under the Old Covenant that was manifested above the mercy seat of the ark is now manifested under the New Covenant by the Holy Spirit in the life of the true followers of Jesus. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels” is the teaching of the apostles. All of this is made crystal clear by the apostle Paul in ll Corinthians chapter 3, where Paul declares that the letter and the ministration of the tables of stone had been abolished and replaced by the glory and ministration of the Holy Spirit.
21. that the Sabbath was a commandment before the giving of the law at Mt Sinai because the Jews were commanded to keep the Sabbath in Exodus 16, before they arrived to Sinai. – A careful reading of Exodus 16 will reveal that God commanded the Jews to not go out to gather manna on the seventh day because there wouldn´t be any due to the fact that he would only send the manna during six days of the week. God had just started to send them manna, and he knew that he would have to feed them in this way for many years to come- forty to be exact! Foreseeing this and in order to prepare the people for the Sabbath commandment, God told the Israelites to not look for the manna on the seventh day. It is interesting to note that in all the previous months before this, God did not command his people to keep the Sabbath. This proves that it was because of the manna that the children of Israel received this foretaste of the Sabbath commandment, not because it was a pre-existing law.
22. that the Decalogue and the Sabbath commandment found within it should be kept because Psalms 19:7 says that “the law of the Lord is perfect.” This argument is greatly flawed due to a misunderstanding of what is meant by the term “the law.” About any Bible dictionary or any orthodox Jew will tell you that the term “the law” refers not to the Ten Commandments, but to the entire law that was given through Moses to the Jews, which is basically the first five books of the Old Testament. This has already been proved. But that the Mosaic law was perfect in the sense that it accomplished what God intended is not to be denied. I readily agree with the words of Psalm 19:7. The apostle teaches in Galatians that the law of the Old Covenant with its ceremonies, sacrifices, and condemnation of death was given as a schoolmaster to bring men unto Christ. In this sense it was perfect, for it accomplished this purpose. The writer of Hebrews teaches that the law “made nothing perfect” in that it could save no one, but that this law was a perfect tool to convince man of his weakness, sinfulness, and need for Christ is obvious. The Mosaic law was perfect in its purpose and dispensation, and that is the idea that the writer is giving in this, and many other verses throughout the Psalms.
An understanding of this issue will clarify ninety-five percent of the SDA arguments for “the law.” For example, Jesus said, “Think not that I am to destroy the law, or the prophets. (not meaning the Ten Commandments, but the entire known Old Testament which was known in Christ´s day as “the law and the prophets”) I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or tittle shall in no way pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17-18 The law and the prophets, with its many shadows, symbols, rites, ceremonies, and prophesies was not to be destroyed by Christ, but fulfilled by him. There is a big difference between destroying and fulfilling. The Pharisees accused Jesus of violating and dishonoring the law of Moses, and in this verse, Jesus declares that far from disregarding the authority of the Old Testament law and prophets, he is actually the complete and perfect fulfillment of them both. This is why we as Christians no longer sacrifice animals according to the Mosaic law. It is not that Christ destroyed the laws concerning animal sacrifices, but that they all found their end fulfillment in him, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Christ said that “every jot and tittle of the law would be fulfilled” in like fashion. In the same way, the perfect fulfillment of the seventh-day Sabbath of the Old Covenant is found in Jesus who came to give us a deeper and more meaningful rest every day of the week.
23. that we must keep the Sabbath today because Psalms 111:7,8 says that “all his commandments are sure. They stand fast forever and ever and are done in truth and uprightness.”– This was another one of my favorite “proof texts” as a Seventh-day Adventist. In answer to it, let me simply ask, “Were feast days, circumcision, and animal sacrifices also commandments of God?” Of course, they were! According to the SDA interpretation Psalms 111:7,8 we should then still be observing these things since they were indeed commandments given by God and His commandments stand fast forever and ever. But no Adventist observes these things. Why? Because they believe correctly that these and hundreds of other commandments met their perfect fulfillment in Jesus Christ. It isn´t that the circumcision and the Passover commandments were destroyed, but that they met their glorious fulfillment under the Gospel and have taken on a new, more spiritual meaning. For example, the true Christian is “circumcised” according to Colossians 2:11 by the “circumcision made without hands, in putting of the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” The Christian does keep the commandment regarding circumcision, but in a different and more excellent way. In like fashion, the Word of God teaches in Hebrews chapter four that the Holy Spirit-filled New Testament Christian also keeps the Sabbath by “ceasing from his works” and that by “believing” enters into the glorious, new covenant Sabbath rest of God which is enjoyed every minute of every day! (Hebrews chapter 4)
I would also like to remind my Adventist friends of their own teaching regarding eternal punishment. They teach that the term “forever” in the Bible does not necessarily mean throughout eternity but can mean also a limited space of time: in this case until the perfect fulfillment had arrived. Almost all of the Old Testament feast days, sacrifices, and even the Sabbath were described as lasting “forever” or being a “perpetual covenant,” but are easily understood as coming to an end in the light of the perfect fulfillments of the Gospel Age.
24. that all mankind will be judged according to the Ten Commandments. – This supposition is found in almost all SDA literature, including Mrs. White´s writings. They often cite Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14 and James 2:12 to prove this. But a quick examination of both these verses reveals that neither one of them are referring to the Ten Commandments.
The verse in Ecclesiastes speaks about keeping God´s commandments in a general sense, without mentioning which ones. God has given many commandments that are not found within the ten. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is one example. Any good citizen doesn´t kill, steal, or commit adultery, but to love your neighbor as yourself means a whole lot more than just not stealing from him or having an affair with his wife. It means to sacrifice one´s time, help those in need, and give of one´s goods. It means to be patient and friendly to people, even though they are not patient or friendly to you. This is a much higher law then the Decalogue.
A close examination of James 2:12 reveals that the “law of liberty” by which we should speak and do is not the Decalogue, but the “royal law” mentioned in verse 8, which is, once again, to love your neighbor as yourself. The thrust and idea from verse 1 is the error showing respect of persons, which is in no way a violation of the Decalogue but is certainly a violation of the royal law.
In reality, the scripture teaches that it is not by the Ten Commandments that we will be judged, but by the words of Christ as revealed in the New Testament. Once again, we see that Christ´s commandments supersede the Decalogue. Here is the verse. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” John 12:48 I wish to make the point that we are not to obey Christ´s words in order to earn salvation. This is just another New Testament version of salvation by works. Obeying the teachings and commandments of Christ is the spontaneous result of true, saving faith. He that obeys Jesus proves that he has already obtained that precious faith which saves souls. The judgement according to the words of Christ is not to see if a person merits salvation, but to prove that the person indeed did have that genuine faith that takes hold of eternal life.
CHAPTER 4-TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT PROPHECY
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh…For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken…and half the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives…and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee…And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. Zechariah 14:1-9
Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Matthew 24:44
One of the major reasons that Seventh-day Adventists feel that theirs is the true church is because of their understanding of Bible prophecy. Every symbol has been decoded and explained, and every wing, horn, beast and trumpet are supposedly understood. Indeed, it is the SDA prophecy seminars that attract the majority of their new converts in the United States. Thousands of interesting leaflets depicting dragons, beasts, the pope, world leaders, and natural disasters are sent out, inviting the community to come and hear the exciting presentation on what is about to happen in the world. The public arrives, sometimes in droves, not knowing that the seminars are related in any way to the SDA church. The strange thing is these seminars actually have very little to do with Bible prophecy and a whole lot to do with Seventh-day Adventist doctrine. When this is made evident after about two weeks, the great majority of the people stop attending the conferences and seminars.
I remember one particular series of conferences that were given at the time when the Gulf War had just started. We the church members were all shocked when more than five-hundred people came the first night even though the weather was cold and rainy. But as the series progressed, the number was cut in half night by night because instead of talking about Armageddon, the middle east and prophecy, and other subjects that had to do with our turbulent time, the speaker introduced Seventh-day Adventist doctrinal subjects. As a result of these meetings, out of five hundred that first night, only two people eventually joined the church.
Many people are interested in Bible prophecy and go to the SDA seminars because in their churches the study of prophecy is quite often ignored. This is the reason why I started attending the SDA prophecy seminars and eventually joined the church. I was greatly interested in Daniel and Revelation and the church I was attending at the time put very little emphasis on these important books of God´s Word. If all Christian churches would systematically study Bible prophecy, I believe the attendance at the SDA seminars would be cut fifty percent.
During most of my seven years in the SDA church, I was convinced that I was in the truth because I accepted and believed the SDA interpretation of Daniel and Revelation, an interpretation that places the Seventh-day Adventist movement as the central part of Bible prophecy. But is their interpretation really correct? I believed it was until little by little the Lord began to open my eyes to other prophetic interpretations that I now see are more contextual, more realistic, and have much more to do with the evil days in which we are living. I wish now to examine with you some of the SDA interpretations of Bible prophecy that I believe to be erroneous. These teachings can all be found in Ellen White´s writings, namely The Great Controversy, as well as other well-known Adventist prophecy books like Daniel and Revelation by Uriah Smith, and God Cares by Mervyn Maxwell. Also, the Daniel and Revelation Seminar series teaches the following points that we will examine below.
1. God´s end time church will keep all the ten commandments and possess the Spirit of Prophecy– Seventh-day Adventists believe that theirs alone is the true “remnant church” because only they keep the ten commandments and have the Spirit of Prophecy in accordance with Revelation 12:17 and 19:10. We have already touched on the subject of the commandments. I am in full agreement that God´s end time people are commandment keepers, but as I pointed out in chapter three, the commandments mentioned here are not the ten commandments, but are in all likelihood the great commandments of faith in Christ and love for God and one´s neighbor that the same John, who was the author of this verse in Revelation, wrote of in his first epistle.
The term “testimony of Jesus Christ” in Revelation 12:17 is called the “Spirit of Prophecy” in Revelation 19:10. Adventists believe that the last-day church must also possess this Spirit of Prophecy. I will not object to this either, but I will object to the SDA interpretation of this term.
Adventists believe that “the Spirit of Prophecy” refers to Ellen White´s prophetic gift and writings. I have already proved that this is impossible because Ellen White was by no means a prophet. Refer to chapter two again for confirmation. The Spirit of Prophecy is not limited to only one person but refers to a general movement of the Spirit of God. I would like to point out that the term “prophecy” can also mean “proclamation,” or “preaching” and not just foretelling. Just check your Strong´s Concordance or any Bible dictionary for proof. I believe that this is the correct interpretation in this case. The ones that the Devil is angry with and persecutes in Revelation chapter 12 are the ones that have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Which is later said to be the same as the Spirit of prophecy in 19:10 as I stated above) What is this testimony that the Devil hates so much but the personal proclamation and preaching of the saving power of Jesus Christ? The Bible and history confirm this. Satan has always been wroth with the saints that testify to the world of the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and for a church or person to proclaim Christ through the power of the Spirit to a lost world is to have the true Spirit of Prophecy and to incur the wrath of the dragon in times past and in the end-times. This is the real Spirit of Prophecy that the last days church will possess.
2. The rider on the white horse of Revelation six is a symbol of early Christianity. – What an erroneous conclusion! The rider of the white horse is just the opposite of Christianity. It can be nothing less than the conquering power of the Antichrist! Consider…1. This rider is grouped together with four other riders on different colored horses. These other horsemen are called War, Starvation, Death, and Hell. Hardly fitting company for early Christianity! 2. The rider on the white horse is given a bow, which is a deadly weapon. How could Christianity be symbolized by such a weapon? 3. The chapter says that this horseman goes forth conquering. And what is it that he conquers? The answer is the nations of the world obviously. True Christianity is never said to “conquer” in an earthly sense, for wherever it goes, the great majority despise it and hate it. But the Antichrist power will do just what the verse predicts; he will conquer and head the governments of the world. See Revelation chapter 13.
3. The two witnesses of Revelation chapter 11 are symbols of the New and the Old Testaments during the French Age of Enlightenment- The Great Controversy and otherAdventist prophecy books teach that during age of French enlightenment at the end of the eighteenth century the Bible was banned and burned in the streets of Paris in favor of the worship of the goddess of reason. Is said that this rejection of God´s Word led to the bloody revolution that followed. This is taught to be the fulfillment of Revelation 11 where the two witnesses bring plagues on the earth, are killed, resurrect from the dead, and ascend into Heaven. This conclusion is hardly possible because…
1. They are able to destroy their enemies and send plagues upon the earth at their will. Once again, the two witnesses must be real men. 2. They prophesy for 1,260 days only, but the Bible has been, and will be proclaimed throughout all time. 3. They plague the earth by withholding the rain (like Elijah) and turning the water to blood (like Moses) Disobedience to the Bible brings tragedy, but the Bible itself does not send plagues. 4. They are killed by the beast that descends out of the bottomless pit, not by a bunch of French revolutionaries. 5. They are killed and then raised to life again, ascending up into Heaven in the sight of their enemies. Does this sound like the New and the Old Testaments to you? Why not take the Bible just as it reads? The two witnesses are real men (maybe Elijah and Moses) that really prophesy and really bring plagues upon the wicked world. They are really killed and are really raised to life and really ascend into Heaven. Read the chapter closely and you will see that in no way can the SDA interpretation be correct.
4. Jesus is the Archangel Michael- This erroneous doctrine has its roots in the ancient heresy of Arianism, which is the teaching that Jesus Christ is not the Creator God, but a created being. The foremost propagators of this heresy today are the Jehovah´s Witnesses. Why? The answer is interesting. The founder of the Jehovah´s Witnesses, Charles T. Russell began his study of the Bible with one of the Adventist splinter groups from the 1844 movement. This is admitted to in the Watchtower publications. Many of the early Adventists, including many from the Seventh-day Adventists were Arians in their Christology. Uriah Smith, one of the most prolific theologians and writers in the history of the SDA movement, was a staunch Arian. I will admit to the fact that the SDA Church does not hold to Arianism today, but the influence from the early years still remains in the fact that they teach that Michael the Archangel is really Christ. But this cannot be. Consider three biblical reasons why and decide for yourself.
A. In Daniel 10:13 Michael is called “One of the chief princes.” Jesus is not just one of the chief princes; he is Almighty God, the Lord of the Universe!
B. Jude 1:9 says that Michael the archangel, “when contending with the Devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring upon him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” This cannot be Jesus because the gospels teach that he did bring accusation against the Devil! He called Satan a thief, a murderer, and the Father of liars who abode not in the truth. He cast out devils and declared their doom in the “everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.” This hardly sounds like the Michael that would not even bring an accusation against the Prince of Darkness. Jesus had no reason to say “the Lord rebuke thee,” because he is the Lord God Almighty! Also, if the archangel in Jude´s epistle was really Christ, there would be no reason to call him “Michael.”
C. The celestial being that speaks to Daniel in chapter 10 and refers to “Michael your prince” can only be Christ himself. The description of him verses 5 and 6 is almost exactly the same as the description of Christ given by John in Revelation chapter 1. Therefore, if this being is Christ, and he refers to Michael as a separate person, how then could Michael be Christ?
5. The seals and trumpets from Revelation chapters 6-11 are mostly all historical events that have already been fulfilled. – A close examination of these chapters proves that the seals and trumpets must still be in the future since almost all of them affect the whole earth, not just little secluded parts of the planet as Adventism´s historical interpretation says.
The seals and the trumpets all follow a specific order of time sequence. The seventh seal cannot occur before the fifth seal. Not so with the Adventist interpretation. All the seals and trumpets are given a historical meaning with no regard to time sequence. For example, Adventist prophecy books teach that the sealing of the 144,00 during the fifth seal is one of the last events that is still to be fulfilled. However, the second trumpet, which is during the time of the seventh seal is said to be the fall of the ancient Roman empire. How can this be? It can´t!
All Adventist prophecy seminars teach that the great earthquake, the blackening of the sun, the blood red moon, and the falling of the stars mentioned in Revelation 6:12-13 after the opening of the fifth seal have already had their fulfillment many years ago. The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 was supposedly the great earthquake prophesied in verse 12. How can this be when that quake was only felt in Europe and Northern Africa? The quake of verse six will shake all the world because it announces the day of God´s wrath! The sun becoming black as sackcloth and the moon becoming as blood is taught by Adventists as having been fulfilled on May 19, 1780 when the Northeastern part of the United States experienced an unusually dark day. How strange that such a great event announcing the day of God´s wrath is limited to only a certain part of one country! Any unbiased person can see that such a conclusion is absurd. And what of the stars falling? This is said to have occurred on November 13, 1833 when there was seen in the night skies a wondrously impressive meteor shower. Let me point out that verse 13 says that the stars fall to the earth. These are not just a few pretty astronomic lights! This is a devastating, destructive, world-wide meteorite bombardment against the earth that will occur as part of the final apocalypse!
Why has Adventism taught such unrealistic things during its 150-year history? There is a very good reason. The reason is that most of these conclusions were originally taught by William Miller´s prophetic charts during the Advent movement of 1840-1844. “So what”? you say. “Miller blew it. He made false prophesies.” But what you might not know is that Mrs. White said she had a vision where God told her that Miller´s prophetic charts were correct and were not to be altered. The only mistake made was the understanding of the nature of the coming of Christ. So, to change these prophetic interpretations would mean to go against Mrs. White´s vision since she said that the Lord told her that Miller´s prophetic charts were correct and as he wanted them. Here is another good example of why accepting Mrs. White as a prophet will lead one to a blind, false interpretation of scripture.
6. The seven headed and ten horned beast of Revelation 13 is the Papacy and the lamb horned beast is the United States government– It is very obvious that it is the Great Whore of Revelation 17 that is the symbol of the Roman Catholic Church and its papacy. This cannot be denied after studying chapter 17. What I wish to point out is the fact that this impure woman is riding a beast with seven heads and ten horns. This can only be the same beast that we find in chapter 13, which also has seven heads and ten horns. If the whorish woman is the Roman Catholic system and its papacy, then the beast she is riding cannot be the papacy since Scripture declares that it will one day turn on the woman and destroy her.
What then is the beast? A quick examination reveals the only answer. Consider: 1. The beast is controlled by the woman the same way a rider controls a horse. 2. The beast has ten horns which reveals that it is a civil power. 3. The beast is given power over the entire known earth. 4. It persecutes the saints. 5. It is wounded almost to the point of death in one of its seven heads. 6. It comes alive again 7. After the beast is healed of its wound, the whole world is brought in subjection once again to it.
All of these identification marks can only refer to the civil power of the Roman Empire, which controlled the nations of the earth and was the catalyst that the papacy used to rule over kings and kill the saints. This is why the woman is pictured riding and controlling the beast. It has always been the Roman Church´s boast that she never put any heretic to death herself. She simply anathematized them and turned them over to the civil power, which then put the saints to death by the millions.
The deadly wound of the beast can only refer to the fall of the Roman empire, and its healing can only mean that this Roman civil power will once again be restored, which is what we are seeing being fulfilled right now by the uniting of the European Community nations. Even now there are plans for a United States of Europe having one monetary unit, one passport, and one army. Just read today´s newspapers and weekly magazines for proof! Even at this very moment Europe has just started using the “euro,” which will replace the old currencies to become Europe´s only monetary unit!
This ultimate superpower will not be one nation, but it will be a united group of separate nations under one common head. This is why the beast has ten horns, representing plurality under one common head. This restored empire will be nothing less than the antichrist and its evil system. The beast is coming alive again! It will exercise control over the nations of the world, pass the mark of the beast, and bring another bloody persecution against the saints of God alive on the earth during that dreadful time!
I am not alone in my identification of the whore and the beast. All of the reformers including Wycliff, Luther, Calvin, and Knox also held to the same conviction regarding these apocalyptic symbols. Also, almost every great Bible commentator from years past agrees with this conclusion, as well as the majority of evangelical Christians today that are not associated with the ecumenical movement. So we see the SDA interpretation is misapplied. How can the papacy be both the ten horned beast and the Great Whore? It can´t!
I would now like to address another one of the Adventists’ misapplications of prophetic symbols. It is taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church that the lamb-horned beast of Revelation 13 refers symbolically the government of the United States. I once believed this, but I can no longer for the following reasons.
1. The lamb-horned beast of Revelation 13 is to the first beast everything that the Great Whore is to the beast of Revelation 17. Therefore, they are the same symbol. The lamb-horned beast is none other than the papacy. Every mark of distinction given in chapter 13 applies perfectly to the papacy.
2. It came up out of the earth, not the sea, signifying that its beginnings were small- The papacy had humble beginnings, starting as simply the local Bishop in the city of Rome.
3. It has horns as a lamb, but speaks as a dragon- What better symbolism can be attributed to the papacy? John Foxe, the author of that classic, Foxe´s Book of Martyrs said, “When Rome (referring to the Roman Church) is in the minority, she is as gentle as a lamb, when in the equality, she is sly as a fox, and when in the majority, as fierce as a tiger.” Well said. The symbolism fits perfectly.
4. The lamb horned beast exercises all of the authority of the first beast- This is exactly what the papacy did. It was supported by the authority and armies of the civil governments of the divided Roman Empire for over a thousand years, causing almost the entire known world to be in subjection to the whims and desires of the bishop of Rome. The papacy was just as powerful in its heyday as Julius Caesar was in his. Is this not just what the prophecy said would happen?
5. The lamb horned beast deceives those that dwell on the earth by means of signs and wonders- The lying wonders of the Roman Catholic Church and its “man of sin” have deceived millions, are deceiving millions, and will deceive millions more in the future. How is the government of the United States going to deceive people through signs and wonders? The lamb-horned beast cannot be a civil power; it must be a religious power.
6. It causes all that dwell on the earth to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed- This will happen in the near future, when the papacy will be instrumental in causing the inhabitants of earth to worship (surrender to, honor, and obey as the supreme authority) the restored beast power by accepting the mark and authority of the first beast. We will examine the meaning of the mark below.
It should also be understood that the “false prophet” we read of in Revelation 19:20 and 20:10 that works miracles in the sight of the beast and deceives men to receive the mark is synonymous with the lamb-horned beast of Revelation 13. They are one and the same because they do the same work and have the same relation with the ten horned beast. This is admitted even within SDA circles. The fact that this power is called “the False Prophet” shows that it cannot be a civil power such as the United States government but must be a religious power in order to earn such a title. The Roman Papacy is just this. So, we see that once again the Adventist interpretation simply cannot be true.
7. The mark of the Beast will be a world-wide Sunday law– This is a gross misapplication of one of the most important subjects in the book of Revelation. Consider:
1. Do you really believe that over a billion Muslims will keep a Sunday law? And how about India´s uncountable millions of Hindus? And how about the Jews? In spite of the fact that they reject Christ, to believe that they would stop keeping the seventh-day Sabbath in favor of Sunday is unthinkable.
2. We have already shown that the Pope did not change the Sabbath, so it cannot be a mark of his authority anyway. Once again, what the Catholic Church and the pope’s claim is not that a fourth century pope changed the day, but that the apostles themselves, who they say were Catholics, (even though we know that this is untrue) left the keeping of the Sabbath in favor of the Lord´s Day.
3. Sunday laws have already been enforced in many countries throughout history, yet Adventists teach that no one has ever yet had the Mark of the Beast. If the pope´s sign of authority is truly Sunday, and keeping Sunday is showing homage to this authority, then everyone that has ever kept Sunday should have the mark of the beast. This would include men like John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, and D.L. Moody- all Sunday keepers in the strictest sense.
A much better conclusion would be to take the verse just as it reads. The Bible declares that the Beast will cause all to accept the mark on their forehead or their hand and that no one will be able to buy or sell unless they receive the mark. The mark will be just that- a literal computer bar code invisibly installed on the hand or forehead of every person. This mark will be the person´s permanent ID as well as his bank card for a cashless society where everyone purchases or is paid not with paper money, but through the person´s bar code. A simple “bleep” from a laser such as we already see in the supermarkets will automatically subtract or add to the person´s bank account depending on if he is purchasing, selling, or receiving wages for employment. Ungodly people will believe that this mark is a wonderful thing, and with good reason. Consider all the problems that will be apparently solved.
1. Because of the cashless society, counterfeiting, robbery, drug trafficking, money laundering, and tax evasion will be things of the past.
2. Because of the personal ID found on the bar code, the problems of illegal immigration, and falsification and losing of documents will be solved.
3. A tracking device could be included in the mark, thereby giving law enforcement the ability to find any person they desire through satellite tracking. Criminals will think twice!
These conclusions can be the only safe interpretation of the mark, for the Bible clearly states in Revelation 13 that no one is able to buy or sell unless he has the mark. It is chilling to see that everything is now in place and the mark could be a reality at any given day. All of the technology is now available. Only the mandate of a patient and loving God holds back the evil power of the Beast and his mark.
How could accepting a simple Sunday law hinder people from buying or selling? It can´t, that´s why the mark must be a literal sign of identification on the body that has to do with surrendering to the authority of the Beast. Those that believe that the mark of the Beast is a worldwide Sunday law are in grave danger of accepting the real mark, because instead of anticipating the bodily bar code, they are waiting for a Sunday law and will fall easy prey to the Beast´s true sign of authority.
However, I wish to say that if I am wrong and the mark of the Beast is indeed a world-wide Sunday law, I will rethink my position when I see that it is so. I am not talking about the statements that the Roman Pontiffs have made every now and then about how Christians should observe Sunday. The popes have made such declarations for years, but nothing has ever become of it. Even recently Pope John Paul ll made a statement regarding the sanctity of Sunday, but this is no reason to fly up in arms and expect the mark of the beast as Adventists do every time a pope makes such a comment. What I am saying is that when I see that a world-wide Sunday law is being enforced at the point of imprisonment and death, I will rethink my position. But I really, really, I mean REALLY don´t think that it will ever come to that! However, I also hope that Adventists will rethink their position when they see the inhabitants of the world accepting the bodily, digital bar code that makes them subjects of the Beast and it´s authority.
8. Zechariah chapters 12-14 is a conditional prophecy– What really made me begin to doubt the Seventh-day Adventist interpretation of prophecy was when I came across the fourteenth chapter of Zechariah during my personal Bible study. I was completely perplexed because the whole chapter deals with the end times and is totally contrary to the SDA interpretation of prophecy that teaches that literal Israel plays no part whatsoever in last-days Bible prophecy. In my confusion, I quickly consulted the SDA Bible Commentary and was shocked to find that the commentary invalidated the entire chapter by saying that the whole prophecy was conditionally given to Israel. This is untrue! Let´s read some of Zechariah 14. Does this sound like a conditional prophecy to you?
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished, and half the city shall go into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley, and half of the mountain shall move toward the north, and half of it toward the south…and the LORD my God shall come, and all his saints with thee…And it shall be in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem…And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”
This hardly sounds like a conditional prophecy. There is no if clause whatsoever. No conditions are given. As a matter of fact, if you notice you will see that the prophecy is a judgement against Jerusalem and the heathen nations that attack her just before the LORD establishes His millennial reign on earth. The prophecy is a thundering judgement as well as a divine decree as to what will happen in the end-times. How can this be called conditional? Seventh-day Adventists cannot admit to this, for if they did, they would be obligated to completely rearrange their interpretation of prophecy. But rather than to do this, God´s eternal Word and decree must be twisted and invalidated in order to accommodate the SDA prophecy scheme. This is not only dishonest, it’s dangerous.
9. Literal Israel no longer has a special place in God´s plans and plays no part in the prophecies of the end-times– In the SDA interpretation almost every prophecy is made to revolve around Seventh-day Adventists. Because of this, no place whatsoever can be given to literal Israel in prophecy. Adventists teach that Israel was forever rejected of God and only the church has a place in the end time scheme of things. It is true that many of the promises given to Israel now apply to Christians, especially those concerning the blessings of Abraham, but to say that Israel has ceased to fulfill a major part in God´s sovereign plan is to go against the plainest teachings of both the New and the Old Testaments. We have already seen how that the fourteenth chapter of Zechariah designates a place of utmost importance to Jerusalem and its inhabitants. This alone should be enough to convince anybody. But in case there is still doubt, please consider the following other texts.
Acts 1:6,7 “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power.”
Even up to the moment that their Lord was to be taken up to Heaven, the disciples were still pretty convinced that God would re-establish the sovereign government of Israel. In answer to their question as to when this would be, Jesus´ response was not that it wouldn´t happen, but that the disciples were not to know of the time. And sure enough, just as the Bible predicted in almost every one of the prophetical books, Israel was re-established as a sovereign nation once again in 1948 after almost 2,500 years of foreign dominion beginning with the envasion of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar´s armies in about 609 B.C. Even at this very hour Israel and Jerusalem stand firm and strong as a testimony of God´s prophetic word in spite of the millions of people and multiple nations that would love nothing more than to see her destruction, and also in spite of Mrs. White´s false prophecy that she “saw that the Old Jerusalem would never be built up.”
The Jews have been the most persecuted and killed people in the history of earth, but instead of being exterminated as were so many other nations before them, they today enjoy a prosperity and power that can be likened to the ancient kingdoms of David and Solomon. Not Rome, nor Hitler´s gas ovens, nor the many attacks by the Arab nations have been able to destroy this nation of people that God said would endure until the end of times. Do you actually think that Israel´s survival through all the bloody and torturous years of persecution is just chance? Can you possibly believe that the forming of the sovereign state of Israel in 1948 was just a fluke? Far from being a fluke, the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 has to be one of the most astonishing fulfillments of Bible prophecy in the last 2,000 years. To deny this is to shut your eyes to the facts of truth. Sadly, many people are more interested in defending their pet theories and doctrines than surrendering to God-confirmed truth. This was the great error of the Pharisees.
Romans 11 “I say then, hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite…I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness? For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved.”
In this chapter the apostle Paul states in no uncertain terms that Israel was given blindness by God until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. He calls this a “mystery.” Take special note of the word until. The verse says that as soon as the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, the blindness will be taken away from Israel and she will obtain her “fullness” as well. (verse 12) The chapter says that Israel will be “received” again one day. (verse 15)
Yes, the Bible declares that God has not forgotten about Israel. When their blindness is taken away, they will accept the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the blessings of God as his people once again. But one may say, “How could God take back the Jews again? Many of them are ungodly, even atheists.” Exactly. They have been blinded, but not forever. The scripture declares that one day they will see. But to say that all Jews are ungodly, or atheists is like saying that all Christians are Catholics or hypocrites. Many Jews today may be entirely worldly or secular even as many professing Christians are, but among them there are also many devout, zealous sons of Abraham that continue to worship the God of their forefathers.
Luke 21:24 “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
How strikingly was Christ´s prophecy fulfilled! Just as he said, Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 A.D. and the Jews were scattered into all nations. But Christ said that Jerusalem would not be dominated by the Gentile nations for all time, but “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” The term “times of the Gentiles” can only refer to the allotted time in which Jerusalem would be dominated by non-Jews. In perfect fulfillment of the prophecy, the Jews took back the entire city of Jerusalem in 1967 after the Six Days War. The “times of the Gentiles” have ended in Jerusalem. By not believing that the Jews still play a large part in God´s eternal plan, Seventh-day Adventists are deprived of recognizing one of the most wonderful fulfillments of Bible prophecy the world has ever seen. Perhaps if Ellen White would have lived in 1967 instead of 1867 her view of prophecy would have been different, and Seventh-day Adventists today would accept the fact that Israel does play a major part in the prophecies of the end-times.
Isaiah 11:11-12 “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left…And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
This is just one of the many Old Testament prophecies that declares what has already been proven, that the Jewish people will be gathered once again by the hand of the Lord into their own land. God does nothing without reason. He has a very special purpose for bringing the Jews into the land of Israel. The time of their fullness is has almost arrived. This time marks the end of all things, so the events of 1948 can be confidently accepted as a sign of the end. Also see Ezekiel 38:24-28
Revelation 7:4 “And I heard the number of them that were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”
That this select group of 144,000 are literal Jews is made apparent by the contrasting “great multitude of all nations, and kindreds, and tongues” which immediately follows. If the 144,000 were people from every nation, the Bible would have stated so as it does with the great multitude. But God´s Word specifically contrasts the 144,000 from the great multitude because they are said to be from “all of the tribes of the children of Israel.” Here we have another text proving that Israel occupies an important place in Bible prophecy.
Ezekiel 38:16 “And thou shalt come against my people Israel, as a cloud to cover the land, it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee O Gog, before their eyes.”
Ezekiel chapter 38 repeats what we have already proved in Zechariah 14, that the nations of the world will attack Israel at the battle of Armageddon. Christ himself will descend and stand on the Mount of Olives, the very place he ascended to heaven, and will defend Israel, according to this chapter, by destroying the attacking armies with a consuming judgment of fire and brimstone. It is then that the pious Jews will recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as their messiah. He will set up his millennial kingdom and reign from David´s throne over the nations of the earth for 1,000 years. The millennium is the next subject I wish to touch upon.
10. The “Bottomless Pit” where Satan is bound during one thousand years is the desolate earth and the saint´s millennial reign with Christ will be in Heaven- As far as I know, no other Christian church has this strange teaching except the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The reason that no other church has this teaching I am convinced is because it is not taught anywhere in the Bible. If it is, I wish someone could please show me where. Actually, this strange teaching can be traced all the way back to William Miller. Ellen White backed him with her visions; hence the teaching has become unchangeable SDA doctrine.
The Bible teaches clearly that the saint´s thousand-year millennial reign with Christ will be on earth, during which time Christ will reign from David´s throne with his saints over the nations of those that survived the battle of Armageddon. During this time period, Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit. I am not too sure exactly what or where the bottomless pit is, but one thing I am sure of is that it can´t possibly be the earth since that is where Christ´s millennial reign will be. Here are some texts that prove the point.
“And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” Rev. 20:3
This 1,000-year period is obviously the time of Christ´s millennial reign. The verse says that Satan is bound during the thousand years. Why? So that he will not deceive the nations! This proves that the “nations” are capable of being deceived and are on the earth, not in heaven since it would be impossible for Satan to re-enter that holy place again to deceive.
Revelation 20:6 “…they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years.” “And they sung a new song, saying, thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Rev. 5:10
Both verses are talking about the saints being made priests and reigning with Christ. One verse mentions the time- one thousand years, and the other verse mentions the place- the earth. The thousand-year millennial reign is on the earth. It´s there for all who want to see it.
Daniel 2:34,35,44 “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces…and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth….And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”
Daniel two is a chapter that is well studied by Adventists. For this reason, I would like to call their attention to the above verses. Adventists agree that the stone cut without hands that strikes the image´s feet, destroying it, is none other than the second coming of Christ. But I would like to point out that verse 35 says that the stone became a great mountain and filled the earth. The teaching of the chapter is that at the Lord Jesus Christ´s second coming he will destroy the corrupt governments of earth in order to establish his earthly kingdom of righteousness. This kingdom must be the millennial kingdom of Revelation 20, for the millennium starts as soon as all the earthly kingdoms are conquered by Christ. The chapter allows no place or time for a heavenly millennium. That it will be on earth is the unescapable conclusion.
Revelation 11:15 “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven saying, The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever.”
Contrary to SDA teaching, which says that the kingdoms of earth will cease to exist during the thousand years the saints are in Heaven, this verse plainly teaches that the kingdoms of the world will become the kingdoms of Christ on the earth. This is in perfect agreement with the teaching of Daniel 2, which we just studied. The nations of the world are not all to be destroyed but are to be subjected to the mighty rule of Christ and his saints. The seventh trumpet announces the coming of Christ´s millennial kingdom. I don´t believe that anyone can disagree with that. If the millennium is in Heaven, it is hard for me to understand how the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of the Lord Jesus.
Micah 4:1-3 “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
A careful reading of the above will reveal that the reference is to the millennium. The Lord is reigning on earth from Jerusalem and rebuking and judging strong nations that were accustomed to war. In spite of the presence of these war-like nations, there will be perfect peace on earth because Christ is reigning. This is the millennium.
Revelation 2:26,27 “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my father.”
I remember when I asked an experienced SDA minister who these nations are that the saints would rule over with a rod of iron. He truthfully told me that he didn´t know, and with very good reason because nowhere in SDA eschatology is there a place given to the saints to rule over the nations of the world. But as we have already seen, during Christ´s millennial reign on earth, the saints will indeed rule with him over the nations for one thousand years. This is the perfect explanation to the above verse and fits in perfectly with the teaching of the rest of the Bible. Also see Isaiah chapter 11 and l Cor. 15:24 for more proof that the millennium is an earthly reign over the nations of earth.
11. There is no chance of a pre-tribulation rapture of the church– The word “rapture” is sort of a dirty word in Adventists circles, almost like the word “trinity” is taboo for the Jehovah´s Witnesses. It is true that the word “rapture” is not found in the Bible, but this is no reason to discard its reality. If we used that reasoning then Adventists must also discard the doctrine of the trinity, for that word isn´t in the Bible either.
I, as well as millions of other honest, Bible reading Christians believe that the Scriptures teach the imminent, pre-millennial, and pre-tribulation rapture or “catching away” of the Church of Jesus Christ which is that invisible, mystical body of born-again, sanctified, and blood washed believers from every nation and gospel preaching denomination. As a Seventh-day Adventist, my argument against the pre-trib rapture was this: “There is not one verse in the New Testament that specifically teaches that there are two future comings of Christ. The resurrection and translation of the saints, and the destruction of the wicked in fiery judgment are all events of the same coming.” So teaches the SDA church. I firmly believed this until I began to see that the Bible speaks indirectly of two returns of Christ, one in which He resurrects the bodies of the righteous dead and translates the living righteous, catching away both classes to heaven to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and the other in which Christ comes with his saints to destroy the wicked armies that attack Israel at the battle of Armageddon and to set up his millennial kingdom on earth.
But an SDA may ask, “Where does the New Testament clearly speak of two separate comings of Christ in the future?” I will answer this question with another question: “Where does the Old Testament clearly speak of two separate comings? It doesn´t directly. Only a few people in Christ´s day were able to “read between the lines” and see that the Old Testament indirectly taught two Messianic comings: one as a babe to die on a cross, and another as a mighty warrior king to destroy Israel´s enemies and reign over the earth from David´s throne. One must admit that the details of both of these comings are taught in the Old Testament, but never once did the Old Testament differentiate between these two separate comings, or specifically say that they were two separate events. This is the very reason that the Jews in Christ´s day rejected him. They were convinced that the Messiah was to free Israel from enemy rule and bring glory back to Israel. Indeed, this is the idea taught all through the Old Testament, but the Jews did not grasp the fact that there had to be another coming first. Even today Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah because they claim he didn´t fulfill what the prophets foretold regarding him; that he would set up an invincible earthly kingdom at his coming. After all, didn´t Isaiah say, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of peace. Of the increase of his government there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgement and justice from henceforth even forever.” Here is a verse that speaks of the Messiah´s coming as a baby, and as a king. But where does it say that there would be two separate comings to accomplish these purposes? It doesn´t! That fact must be assumed through the evidence and contrasting details of the Messiah´s coming and mission.
I wish to prove that the same is true in the New Testament regarding the two future returns of Christ: one to catch away his church to heaven, and the other execute fiery judgement on his enemies and establish his earthly reign from Jerusalem for 1,000 years. The New Testament does not directly separate the two future comings of Christ, even as the Old Testament didn´t separate his coming as a babe and his coming as a king, but if we too “read between the lines,” we will see that just as with the two comings of the Old Testament, there are also two future comings in the New Testament. There is no other possible conclusion after studying the biblical evidence. There must be two future returns of Christ! Consider….
1. One coming is for his saints, the other is with his saints.
“Now we beseech you, bretheren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.” ll Thess. 2:1
“Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgement upon all.” Jude 14,15 “..and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.” Zech. 14:5 Also see Rev. 19:11-16
2. One coming is to take his church to the marriage supper of the lamb, the other is to make war with the Beast and the kings and armies of the earth. These two comings are perfectly contrasted in Revelation chapter 19.
3. One coming will be unexpected by the world and will even take the church by surprise. “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” “Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” Matt. 24:42,44 Luke 21:34,35
The other coming will occur during a time when all the world will fearfully be anticipating the great Day of the Lord. “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men´s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Luke 21: 25-27 No surprise here. Obviously, we have two different comings.
4. One coming will be during a time of peace and prosperity, when there is no indication that anything different is about to happen. “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matt. 24:37-39
The other coming will be preceded by wars, the seven last plagues, and a terrible persecution of those that refuse to receive the mark of the beast. This hardly sounds like the unexpected coming during times of peace and prosperity mentioned in Matthew 24:37 Once again the only conclusion is that these must be two different comings.
5. At one coming Jesus catches his saints away to heaven and his feet do not touch the earth. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so, shall we ever be with the Lord.” “In my Father´s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, ye may be also.” John 14:2,3
At the other coming he arrives to earth to fight the armies of the Beast and his feet will touch the earth. “Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations…And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west.” Zech 14:3,4 There are either two separate comings or we have some serious contradictions here.
6. One coming is called the “blessed hope” of the saints. They will be alive on earth at the time Christ comes to take them to heaven.
The other coming will happen after the mark of the beast and the bloody persecution and holocaust of those that refuse to take the mark. Almost everyone that stays faithful to God will be killed. (See Rev. 20:4) There will be almost no saints alive on the earth to be taken to heaven! How can this be called the “blessed hope” of the saints if almost all of them will be killed before that day? Once again, the conclusion can only be that there are two different comings.
The above is conclusive evidence of the case in point. Here are other verses that prove a pre-tribulation rapture. “For as a snare it (Christ´s coming) shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:35,36 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Rev. 3:10
Another strong argument for a pre-trib rapture is immanency. This means that it could happen at any moment without prior indication. The whole general idea of the New Testament is that we need to be constantly ready for Jesus ‘coming because it could happen at any second. His coming for his people is imminent. This is what Jesus, Paul, and John taught. This is what the early Church believed. But as we have already examined, the coming of Christ in relation to the end of the world and the beginning of the millennium must be preceded by many signs and events such as the mark of the beast, the final persecution, and the seven last plagues. If it were all the same event, the Bible´s statements about immanency would be false and misleading.
I would like to point out that Seventh-day Adventists do not believe in the imminent coming of Christ; that is to say, they do not believe that he could come for them at any moment. Ellen White and the SDA church teach that Jesus ‘coming for his saints will not happen until a great many number of things come to pass. Just look at all the events that they believe must occur before Christ´s coming for the church!
1. Church and State must unite all around the world.
2. The United States government must make an alliance with the Papacy in order to forcefully carry out its commands.
3. A world-wide Sunday law must be passed by all the world´s governments.
4. The message of the seventh-day Sabbath and the mark of the beast (Sunday observance) must first be heard by every ear on earth.
5. A world-wide persecution must first take place against the seventh-day keepers. 6. The seven last plagues must be poured out upon the earth.
What does all of this mean? It means that Seventh-day Adventists are not really waiting for Christ at all! They are waiting for all the events mentioned above to first become reality because until they do, they believe that Jesus can´t come again! Do you see how ridiculous this is? I woke up this morning wondering if today might be the day that I see Jesus and walk upon that heavenly street of gold! Many Adventists woke up this morning searching the newspapers about the latest news concerning the Papacy and the U.S. government. False doctrine brings sad results. We are told in scripture to wait for Christ and to look for the “blessed hope.” Adventists are waiting for a Sunday law. Adventists speak much of Christ´s coming but not a one of them in the world (if they truly believe what the church teaches) honestly believes that Jesus may come today because there is still no Sunday law, persecution, etc. However, my heart rejoices today because I see a world that is in the exact condition that Christ foretold would immediately precede his coming for the saints. There is much talk of prosperity, and people everywhere, even in the church, are thinking and talking about everything except that day that the Lord said would come as a snare upon all them that dwell on the earth. We are indeed living in the days of Noah that Christ foretold. The Lord Jesus could come for his faithful bride at any second. This is truly a “blessed hope!”
With these solemn thoughts in mind, I sincerely ask Seventh-day Adventists, please…take another look at prophecy!
CHAPTER 5- GRAVE OR GLORY?
What really awaits the Christian after death?
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches that death is a dreamless sleep, and the at death man ceases to exist until the resurrection of the just or the unjust. The church also teaches that man´s spirit is simply his breath, or at best his emotions or will. These teachings are half-truths as I will prove on the following pages.
The belief that man is a spirit that lives in a conscience existence apart from the body at death has been the faith of sincere, Bible believing Christians since the days of Acts and also of the Jews even before the time of Christ. (See the apocryphal books of l and ll Maccabees and the writings of Josephus) While this doctrine is not vital to salvation, it is nevertheless extremely important to correctly understand what the Bible teaches about man’s conscious spirit that continues to survive after the death of the body. A misunderstanding of this biblical teaching can not only cause a fear and dread of physical death, but also limit the growth and maturity of a person’s inner-spiritual man since the denial of it demotes the spirit of man to simply the breath, the mind, or an impersonal life force.
As a Seventh-day Adventist, I was taught that this doctrine originated with Greek and Babylonian paganism and was incorporated into the Church during the dark times of apostasy. I was sure of this until I honestly began to examine the reasons given by the opposing side as to why classical, orthodox Christianity has always held to this doctrine. What I found was that the evidence for this belief is, for Christians, none other than the Bible, especially the New Testament!
The greatest soul winners in the history of the post-Acts church strongly believed in and zealously preached the doctrine of spiritual existence after death. None other than D.L. Moody, John Wesley, Charles Finney, Hudson Taylor, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, David Brainard, William Booth, C.T. Studd, George Müller, Charles Spurgeon, and countless other men and women of anointing and power sincerely believed that man’s conscious spirit continued to live on after death with Christ in glory, or, in the case of the lost, separated from Christ in that dreadful place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth to await the final judgement. As I said before, these men, who knew their Bible ever so well, did not accept this doctrine because of paganism, church tradition, or even because the early church fathers wrote of it, but because they believed that it was plainly taught in the Word of God.
Is it really taught in the Word of God? After months of study and prayer, I became convinced that it was. Take a long, hard look at the following reasons why I, the men mentioned above, and multiple millions of other born-again Christians believe that it is so.
The Bible teaches that the word “spirit” is not just the breath of life, but a conscious, immaterial being that can inhabit a body or live apart from it.
Consider the following verses.
John 4:24 God is a spirit– Here, the word spirit means a whole lot more than the SDA interpretation of the breath of life or mind. Jesus says that God is a spirit. We know that God is a personal being having emotions, will, and thoughts. The Bible teaches that God, who is a spirit, is not limited to a body, but can so occupy one if He desires. Many of the prophets such as Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah, and John saw the form of God’s heavenly body seated upon His throne. This is not to say that he has a body of flesh and bones as the Mormons affirm, but as we shall see, the Bible teaches that there are also heavenly and spiritual bodies. So, we see that God, even though He is a spirit, can take the form of a body. We will see as well that man, who is made in God’s image, is also a conscious spirit that can live with or without a body.
Luke 24:36-39 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
Again, we see that even the Lord Jesus himself speaks of a spirit as a living being having neither flesh nor bones. This is what man is apart from his body.
Hebrews 1:7 Who maketh his angels spirits… Here the Bible calls angels “spirits.” Angels are spiritual beings that are not limited to a fleshly body, even though they can materialize themselves into one such as the angels did when they spoke with Abraham in Genesis 18. Once again, we see that spirits, in this case, angels, can live with or without a body.
Mark 5:2,7,8,9 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit…and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, what is thy name? And he answered saying, my name is Legion, for we are many.
In this account an unclean spirit was living inside the man and even speaking through him. Obviously, this unclean spirit was one of the fallen angels that had followed Lucifer. The fact that there were many spirits inside the man proves that spiritual beings are not measured by size or space. Again, these verses teach that spirits; in this case demons, can speak, think, and inhabit a body or live outside of a body.
l Kings 22:21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, saying, I will persuade him.
Here again the Bible teaches that a spirit is a being in itself that thinks, decides, and wills. So, if Almighty God, the angels, and the demons are spirits that can live inside a body or without a body, why can’t man exist in the same way? We will see that he indeed does.
l Peter 3:18-19 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by the which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison: Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah….
There are various ways to understand this verse. Some believe that it teaches that Christ´s spirit went to Hades and proclaimed his victory to the spirits of those that were alive on earth during Noah’s time. Support for this is found in Ephesians 4:8,9 where it says that Christ descended into the lower parts of the earth and led captivity captive. Another interpretation says that Christ proclaimed his victory to the demons that ravaged the world during the evil days in which Noah lived. No matter which interpretation is correct, the one thing that is sure is that the “spirits in prison” in this verse are conscious beings and not just minds, emotions, or sparks of life.
Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
If the word “spirit” in this verse simply means “life force” or “emotions” or “mind,” then we must arrive to the conclusion that God died! Is Jesus Christ God? Yes indeed, even Seventh-day Adventists admit to his deity. If then Jesus is God, and the spirit mentioned in this verse simply refers to his breath, life force, emotions, or mind, then the second Person of the Godhead ceased to exist for three days. God died! But can God die? The Bible says that He can’t. This poses a real problem for those that believe in soul-sleep.
How did Jesus Christ exist before his incarnation? As a spirit! He was one with the Father since eternity. Do you believe that Christ ceased to exist as a spirit when he became a man of flesh and bones? Of course not! How could his eternal spirit cease to exist? A much better conclusion is that his Divine, eternal spirit inhabited his earthly body of flesh and bones, just as man´s spirit inhabits his body. This is why the body is often referred to in the Bible as a tabernacle, a house, or a temple.
We know that Christ’s body, which was human, died. But his spirit, which was divine, didn’t die, but was very much alive after the cross. The Bible declares that he preached to the spirits in prison, was in Paradise with the thief, and descended into the lower parts of the earth and that upon ascending, he led captivity captive. (Eph. 4:8,9) If Christ’s spirit was only his breath, etc., then exactly what part of him was the eternal God? This, however, is not a problem at all for those that believe in spiritual existence apart from the fleshly body. Jesus’ spirit was the eternal, divine, conscious, God part of him.
Acts 23:8 For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees confess both.
No other meaning for the word “spirit” will do here but the conscious, immaterial existence of man after death. In this verse it certainly can’t mean life, mind, emotions, or even angel since the two words “spirit.” and “angel” are clearly distinguished. Paul said in verse six that regarding this question he was a Pharisee, so he believed in spirits.
Many interesting things can be learned from this verse. First of all, the Sadducees did not believe in any afterlife at all. How could this be considering they accepted the Old Testament as the Word of God and held to it strictly? The answer is that in the Old Testament God had not made many mysteries known that are clearly revealed in the New. The afterlife was one of these. The Old Testament speaks so little of life after death, especially in the Pentateuch, that the Sadducees claimed that it taught that all ended forever when one dies. The Pharisees no doubt read between the lines a little more in books like Psalms, Daniel and Job and believed that there was an afterlife. But the division between these two orthodox Jewish groups is evidence that the Old Testament is rather vague concerning this issue and that the New Testament is where we are to look as Christians for clarification of the many mysteries of the Old.
The few groups that teach soul sleep, namely the Seventh-day Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses rely heavily and primarily on texts from the Old Testament to prove their doctrine. The Old Testament is to be received as the inspired Word of God just as the New but let us remember that the Old is the mystery while the New is the revelation. The O.T. texts that Adventists use to teach soul sleep (most all of them are found in Job or Ecclesiastes) are easily understood by examining the context of the verses. This we will do on the following pages.
Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?- Here the Word of God contrasts the “fathers of our flesh” with the “Father of spirits.” The context teaches that our earthly parents give us our fleshly body, but our Father in Heaven gives us our spirit. What exactly is this “spirit” that our Heavenly Father begets within us? Is it only our breath or emotions? The context of the verse would say no. The term “Father of spirits” can only mean that man´s spirit is a being in itself. As our earthly fathers, which are flesh, gave us our flesh, so our Heavenly Father, which is spirit, gave us our spirit.
l Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Here the spirit and the flesh are perfectly contrasted. This verse teaches without a doubt that even though the flesh is destroyed, the spirit can be saved and live on. What is this spirit that can be saved but a conscious being that can exist apart from the destroyed flesh? Paul is saying here that the most important thing is for a man´s spirit to be found in a saved condition in the day of the Lord Jesus, even if it means death or destruction to the flesh. This is the same thing that Christ taught on several occasions.
The Bible teaches that man’s spirit is a conscious being that thinks, wills, and even prays.
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.
What exactly did Jesus say was willing in this verse? The spirit! Christ says that the spirit is directly contrary and opposed to the flesh. The Bible often contrasts the flesh and the spirit as being opposed to one another. Clearly, it was the disciple’s spiritual man that was willing, but was hindered by the weakness of their flesh. This verse teaches that the spirit is much more than an impersonal breath of life because it wills. Breath cannot, but a conscious being can. This verse teaches that there are two separate wills in the Christian, the will of the flesh, and the will of the spirit. This is also Paul’s teaching throughout his epistles. Hence, the spirit is a conscious being in itself.
l Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
Try substituting “the breath of life,” for the word “spirit” in this verse. As you will see, such a substitution is impossible. Adventists say that the word spirit can also mean “mind.” It may in some cases, but in this verse not only does “breath of life” not fit the context, but the word “mind” does not work either considering that Paul said that his “spirit prays,” but his understanding (his mind) was unfruitful. What was this spirit that prayed within Paul but his inward, spirit man that prayed to God in a language that could not be understood by his fleshly mind?
l Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Here again, the body in contrasted with the spirit. We are told to glorify God in our outer man, (the body) and in our inner man. (our spirit) The physical as well as the immaterial man of the Christian belong to God, and we are to serve him with both. How could we do this unless the spirit were a thinking, willing entity?
ll Corinthians 12: 2-4 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for man to utter.-
Of all verses, this is without a doubt the one that perplexed me most as a Seventh-day Adventist. I, nor my fellow SDA’s with their booklets and commentaries could never come up with a satisfactory explanation. Whenever I gave a Bible study as an Adventist about the state of the dead, I always hoped that this verse never came up in the conversation. In this text, Paul, speaking of his own experience, clearly says that he was caught up into paradise, or the third heaven. His doubt was if he went there in his physical body, or if his spirit only was caught up to paradise, therefore leaving his body. This is plainly the meaning for the term “out of the body.” By the context of this verse, Paul obviously believed that a man could exist outside of the body, go to heaven without the body, and in this form hear words, experience revelations, etc. No other explanation fits the verse. It is only by twisting the context that one is able to come up with other conclusions. None of the interpretations offered by Jehovah’s Witnesses or Seventh-day Adventists for this verse explain or comprehend the term, “out of the body.”
The Bible teaches that the soul can also refer to the life of man apart from the body.
Matthew 10:28 And fear not then which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Here Jesus speaks of the body and the soul as two separate entities that can exist apart from one another. If the soul is simply the life of the body and ceases to exist at death as Adventists say, then men can kill the soul as well as the body. But Jesus says specifically that they cannot kill the soul! It cannot then, die with the body. When the spirits of wicked men take their bodies again at the resurrection of the unjust, their soul as well as their body will be destroyed by God in the final judgment of hell fire.
Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the alter the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.
What exactly did John see in this vision? He said that he saw souls of the slain.Where are they? Under the altar, which is surely in Heaven. God allowed him to see souls in Heaven. So, the souls of dead saints are in heaven. This is not symbolism. The souls speak, are told to rest, and are given robes.
The Bible teaches that the Christian’s spirit at death immediately departs his physical body on earth and takes a spiritual body in heaven where he enjoys the glory, pleasures, and presence of God.
When I began to see that the Bible truly taught the above, joy flooded my soul. Those that live and believe in Jesus will truly never die! Isn’t that just what our Lord said in John 11:26? Now I no longer see death as a ceasing of existence until the unknown day of the resurrection. How terrible! Just imagine, according to the belief of soul sleep poor Abel has not existed for close to 6,000 years. He that believes this way does not see the martyr’s stake or the deathbed as the gateway to glory, but as the gateway to perhaps thousands of years of non-existence in a cold, dark grave! How different was the belief of the early martyrs! Just read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs or Martyr of the Catacombs and you will see that those faithful thousands that sealed their testimony with their blood believed whole-heartedly that their death was simply, as Bunyan put it in his Pilgrim’s Progress, “a river that must be quickly crossed in order to arrive to the Celestial City.” Where did these faithful saints get this belief? From Greek or Roman paganism? From Church tradition or the Church fathers? Far from it. Their authority was none other than the same authority that we cling to today- the infallible Word of God. Consider well the context of the following verses.
ll Corinthians 5:1-9 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle was dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
The apostle’s teaching is too clear to be misunderstood. He calls our physical body an earthy house of this tabernacle, and says that if it dissolves, (dies, obviously) we will be clothed with an eternal, heavenly building. This house which is from heaven is a heavenly body that our spirits will occupy until the redemption of our physical body of flesh and bones on earth. We will not be bleeps of light or vapory ghosts in heaven but will have a heavenly body as does God and the angels. Paul refers to these two kinds of bodies in l Cor. 15. This is what the verse says. “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (our fleshly body) were dissolved, we have a building of God…in the heavens (a heavenly body). For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which from heaven.” Paul calls this transfer of earthly to heavenly bodies “being clothed” and says that in doing so, we shall not be found “naked.” The term “naked” can only refer to the “unclothed” spirit of man without any kind of body. He further says, and here is the clincher, that to be “absent from the body” is to be “present with the Lord.”
All this sort of language seems pretty ridiculous if at death a person simply ceases to exist as Adventists affirm. According to the doctrine of soul sleep, a man is never absent from the body because he cannot live without one. But Paul says we can be absent from the body!” What could terms such as clothed, unclothed, in this tabernacle, naked, and absent from the body and present with the Lord possibly mean if death is nothing more than an unconscious, dreamless sleep?
Peter’s belief was the same as Paul’s. Hear him. “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.” ll Peter 1:13,14 When was the last time that you heard a Seventh-day Adventist use such terms when referring to death? Their belief regarding death is obviously quite a bit different than the doctrine held to by the Lord’s two foremost apostles.
Hebrews 12:22,23 But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.
In these two verses the writer of Hebrews makes the point that as Christians we have not arrived to Mt. Sinai and the dreadful scenes there, but to the heavenly new Jerusalem and the wondrous glories that are found within her gates. After describing several of the things at Mt. Sinai when the law was given through Moses, the writer then mentions various things that are found in the heavenly New Jerusalem. Included in this list are “the spirits of just men made perfect.” So clearly, the spirits of just men are in Heaven in the presence of God and Christ. There is no way around this conclusion, for this is what the verse plainly says. Yes, it is very biblical to believe that the Christian’s conscious spirit goes to God in Heaven immediately after the death of the physical body.
Luke 23:42,43 And he said unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” And Jesus said unto him, “verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
These verses drive a nail into the coffin of the doctrine of soul sleep. Jesus plainly told the thief, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” The thief asked to be remembered when Christ would come into his kingdom, but in response Jesus was communicating the idea, “Dear one, you won’t have to wait until I come into my kingdom to be remembered, even this day you will be with me in the glory and pleasures of paradise!” What a comfort that must have been to that malefactor to know that he was just a couple hours or so away from being with Christ in eternal glory! There is no other reason why Jesus would have used the word today in his answer to that dying, tortured, yet repentant man.
In order to save their doctrine from disaster, Adventists offer the explanation that the comma was misplaced in the translation and what Jesus was really saying was “Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” In other words, he was telling the thief, “Believe me, I’m telling you right now today, you will one day be with me in paradise.” This explanation is absurd when one considers the facts.
1. It goes against the entire context as to why Jesus would use the word, “today.”
2. Never in any of the other sayings of Christ in scripture do we find the word “today” accompanying the term Verily, verily I say unto you, which is used over and over again by Christ.
3. Obviously, the thief on the cross knew what day it was. There was no reason for Jesus to tell him, “Today I’m saying to you.” Such a term is extremely ambiguous, unnecessary, and awkward. When was the last time you heard anyone use it?
4. In virtually every Bible translation in every language, the Greek scholars that translated the verse always placed the comma before the word today. To put the comma after the word today not only goes against the context of the verse, but also against the scholarly opinion of hundreds and even thousands of scholars and Bible translations. In the Spanish translations of the Bible, this verse is even harder for Adventists to explain because every one of them read “De cierto, de cierto te digo que hoy”- “Truly, truly I say to you that today…” Spanish speaking Adventists not only have to explain away the comma, but also must face the word “that,” which makes even clearer the idea that Jesus was telling the thief “today thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”
Adventist booklets that attempt to harmonize the verses that contradict SDA theology affirm that the comma must be placed after the word today because Jesus didn’t go to Paradise that day. After all, didn’t Jesus tell Martha, “touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father?” The answer to this is easy. Jesus was referring to his body as not having ascended to heaven, not his spirit, which did go to the Father. Just before dying, Jesus said “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” It was his body that Martha was about to touch, and this is what had not yet ascended.
It is also said that the thief did not die that day considering the fact that the soldiers had to break his legs so that his body would not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath. Actually, this conclusively proves that he did die the same day as Jesus. The legs weren’t broken so that the thief wouldn’t run away after being taken down from the cross, (I’ve actually heard this ridiculous explanation) but in order to hasten death. With the legs being broken, the hanging victim was not able to push himself up to breath and therefore quickly died by suffocating. The Jews wanted all the victims dead and taken down from the cross before the Sabbath started, and this was the purpose of the Roman soldier’s cruel deed. That the thief died the day before the Sabbath started, being the same day that Jesus died, is conclusive from the evidence given in Holy Scripture.
Philippians 1:20-24 ….so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. For if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better: Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
This text is another one that I dreaded to meet as a Seventh-day Adventist when defending the doctrine of soul sleep as do Adventists dread it today when they defend the doctrine. All sorts of dodges away from the context had to be made in order to correctly “interpret” it.
But no matter what twist you give these verses, the idea is the same: Paul said that to die would be better than to live because at death he would depart and be with Christ. If death meant ceasing to exist for, in Paul’s case, about a couple thousand years, why would he refer then to death as gain and say that it is far better? If death ends consciousness and existence until the resurrection, wouldn’t Paul have desired to live as long as he possibly could? But he says just the opposite, saying that death is better, because it means to depart and be with Christ! He goes on to say however, that it was more needful for the Philippians that he abide in the flesh. The word abide in this case means to continue, live or dwell. So, Paul believed that he could depart and be with Christ or continue to dwell in his flesh by staying on earth and not departing. All this is impossible for SDA’s to explain. If Paul in these verses were referring to the resurrection as Adventists try to affirm, he certainly would have stated so. But instead he uses terms that indicated that at death he would immediately be in glory. Listen to him; “to die is gain,” “having a desire to depart, and be with Christ,” and “to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” This was Paul’s faith, and mine too.
Death is not to be feared by God’s child but welcomed! Why? Because the moment that earthly life ceases for the Christian, he departs to that beautiful place where there is joy unspeakable, holy pleasures unimaginable, and glory indescribable! He will “be with Christ” in that holy place where God is all in all. Such a sublime thought causes this life and this world to seem as a delicate, empty bubble. It makes me long even more for Christ, his holiness, and conformity to his will. It takes away all the fear of death, and causes me to think that if ever a gun or the like were held to my head and I was ordered to renounce Christ or die, I would embrace death joyfully, because now I know that it cannot blot me out of existence for even one second. It is simply the river that must quickly be crossed so as to arrive to that city where the Lamb is the light!
John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
Obviously, Christ here is not speaking of physical death since most every Christian in history has experienced that He must be speaking of another kind of death- spiritual death! Spiritual death can be defined as being separated from God. The promise of Christ is that those that keep his saying will never be separated from the love and presence of God, not even because of physical death. Even though the body may die, for the Christian the death of the body is only the beginning of the greatest joy imaginable- to be in the literal, physical presence of the Almighty! The sweet promise for the Christian is that he will never see death (separation from God or non-existence). If death were non-existence until the resurrection as Adventists propose, then it would indeed be a separation from God. But this verse as well as Romans chapter eight plainly tell us that death cannot separate us from God and his love! The moment a man is born again his eternal life begins- literally! This is the only correct conclusion of John 8:51.
Luke 16:22,23 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Whether the account here is a parable or a real story is not the issue in my opinion. No matter which it is, the teaching given by Christ is that after physical death men continue to live in a conscious existence in one of two places, having no doubt a spiritual body which accounts for the bosom, eyes, and tongue we read of. If spiritual existence after death is a pagan doctrine used by the devil as Adventists say, then Christ here is confirming this “pagan belief” by his account. As already stated, it can be proved from the ancient writings of the Jews and Josephus that the general belief at the time of Christ was that men received at death their eternal reward or condemnation. This would have been a good time for Jesus, who always spoke the truth and exposed all false beliefs, lies, and hypocrisy, to set them straight on the issue. But instead, he confirms the belief by his story!
In Christ’s account….
1. both men are dead and buried, but…
2. Lazarus is carried by the angels to his reward. What exactly was carried by the angels if his body was dead and buried? His spirit of course! It does not say that the “breath of life” was carried to its reward, but that Lazarus was carried there! Obviously Lazarus does not have a spirit, he is a spirit!
3. The rich man is tormented
4. The rich man speaks with Abraham, who is also alive.
5. While all of this is going on, the rich man’s brothers are still alive on the earth!
6. Abraham’s statement, “though one rose from the dead” in verse 31 shows that the bodies were dead, but in spite of this, here is Lazarus- alive and comforted, and the rich man- alive and tormented.
Once again I affirm that Christ’s words in Luke 16 either confirmed to the people a false, pagan belief prevalent at the time, (which is absolutely unimaginable!) or teach the truth that the spirits of men continue to live in a conscious existence after the death of the body.
l Samuel 28:12-19- And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, what form is he of? And she said, an old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped himself to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said unto Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by the prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known to me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbor, even to David: because thou obeyed not the voice of the LORD, nor executed his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto this day. Moreover, the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hands of the Philistines: and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel.
In this Old Testament account, we plainly see that Samuel, though his body was dead and buried, appeared alive to Saul. Adventists are forced to say that it was not really Samuel that appeared, but an evil spirit which was imitating the deceased prophet. But this conclusion is impossible because
1. The Bible repeatedly says that it was Samuel. “And when the woman saw Samuel,” (v. 12) “And Saul perceived that it was Samuel” (v. 14), “And Samuel said unto Saul,” (v. 15) “Then said Samuel,” (v. 16) “because of the words of Samuel” (v. 20). This alone is enough reason to prove that it was indeed the real prophet´s spirit that appeared. If it were really an evil spirit, the Bible would have stated so. To not state so would be a false representation of the event.
2. The woman screamed in terror. Why did she scream? She was a medium, and was used to seances, and communicating with “familiar spirits.” The reason she screamed is because this case was very different. She was not dealing with her “familiar spirit” here, she was dealing with the power of God and the prophet of God! As soon as she saw Samuel, she realized that her disguised petitioner was King Saul.
3. Take a close look at the prophetic message that Samuel delivers to the king. Does it sound like the message of an evil spirit to you? Not only does Samuel reprove Saul for disobeying God, but he also prophesies the defeat of Israel and the death of Saul and his sons (even righteous Jonathan) the very next day. The devil is limited in this kind of knowledge. Only a sovereign God can control and foretell world events, especially concerning the welfare of the Jewish nation. The message that Samuel delivered contains information that only God or his prophets would know, and sure enough, everything that Samuel prophesied came true to the letter.
But would God really send the spirit of Samuel to earth at the conjuring of a sorcerer? Wouldn´t this be contrary to his nature? Actually, the Bible doesn´t say the woman did any conjuring. The account simply states that Samuel appeared and terrified the woman. It wasn´t because of her magic that Samuel appeared, but because a sovereign God who can anything, desired in this dreadful moment to send His prophetic word through Samuel to the apostate king.
As far as the meaning, “tomorrow thou and thy sons shalt be with me,” Samuel was simply prophesying the death of the king and his sons and their arrival to the place of the dead. Jesus spoke of this place, calling it “Hades” in Luke 16. The word Hades meant a lot more than just “the grave,” as SDA´s teach. It was known in Christ´s time as the netherworld, or place of the dead. Consult any Bible dictionary or lexicon for confirmation. Jesus taught in Luke 16 that there were two parts of Hades, one part which is called paradise and was the place of comfort for the saved until Christ took them to heaven according to Ephesians 4:8-9. He also taught that the lost go to the other part of Hades which was a place was a place of torment, while they awaited the final judgment before the Great White Throne. This is also taught in Isaiah 14:9,10.
- But doesn’t the Bible teach that “the dead know not anything?”– Here is a classic example of the necessity of reading the entire verse in its context without grabbing just a few words. Let’s read the whole verse and the one that follows it. “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also, their love, and their hatred, and their envy is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun”.
This verse is easily understood in its context and in the context of the entire book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon’s theme in the entire book is not the afterlife, but the insignificance and vanity of man’s short life on sinful earth. In this verse he is saying that the dead know nothing in regard to what is done under the sun, since their body is dead and their love, hatred and envy are no more a part of earthly life. Think about it. When Solomon wrote this verse, do you think that his intention was to teach doctrines concerning death and the after-life, or was his intention to show the vanity of earthly life in light of the fact that death brings an end to all worldly plans and purposes? Obviously, the answer is the latter.
I wish to also point out that if this verse teaches that death ends all consciousness, both physical and spiritual, then it also teaches that man must remain forever dead without any hope of reward in the afterlife. “Neither have they any more reward.” Only an atheist believes such a thing! But if we understand that the reward, consciousness, love, hatred, and envy mentioned in the verse refers only to man’s reward, consciousness, love, hatred, and envy during his physical life on earth, this verse is easily reconciled with the rest of the Bible’s teaching that man’s conscious spirit continues to exist after death.
2. But doesn’t the Bible teach in Psalms 146:4 that the thoughts of man perish at death? – Once again, context is everything. The whole idea begins at verse 3: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the sons of man, in whom there is not help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Here, the meaning is very clear. We should not trust in man or even in rulers. Why? Because their thoughts (the Hebrew reads purposes) regarding earthly life are gone at death and they can no longer help us. Verse 5 tells us that it’s better to put our trust in God, who is always involved with what is happening on earth.
3. But the Bible says that “David is not ascended to the heavens!”- The subject of Acts 2:25-35 is the prophesy of the resurrection of the body of Christ found in Psalms 16:10. “…because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” v. 27 Peter makes the point in his sermon to the Jews that the prophesy cannot possibly refer to its author, David, because his body and grave were still among them. For this reason, the prophecy must refer to another, which is Christ, whose grave was empty. Knowing this, we can now see that Peter had in mind David’s body in saying that David had not ascended to heaven since the prophecy about not seeing corruption in the grave had to do with bodily resurrection. Since David’s body was still buried, the prophecy could not be pointing to him, but to Jesus Christ, whose body was indeed resurrected from the dead. The verse in no way refers to David’s spirit, which could never see corruption.
Here is an important point. Almost all the proof texts that are used by Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses to prove soul sleep are easily made to agree with the Bible’s teaching of spiritual existence after death by understanding that these texts are talking about the body. This is the context of l Corinthians 15 and l Thessalonians 4 where the subject matter is the resurrection of the body. Therefore, what is “asleep in Christ” is the body of man, not his spirit, which is declared by the many scriptures already mentioned to be conscious after death. The following verse proves this: “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. (Referring to his conscious spirit that would be received by Jesus) And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Referring to his physical body) Acts 7:59-60
4. But didn’t Jesus say that he would raise up his people “at the last day?” That can’t be immediately after death! – Jesus’ promise in John 6 to raise up those that believe in him at the “last day,” refers to the redemption and resurrection of the body at his coming. The body is what is raised up on the last day, not the spirit, which goes to be with Christ at death as already proved. Let’s carefully examine this verse in John 6, verse 54: “Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath (present tense, meaning never ending spiritual life) eternal life; AND (that is to say, in addition to this) I will raise him up (referring to the resurrection of the body) at the last day.” (when Christ returns) The word and shows that here in this verse Jesus gives two separate promises- 1. never ending life that begins the moment when one partakes of his flesh and blood by trusting in his sacrifice for sins, and 2. the resurrection of the body at the last day. This verse proves that eternal life does not begin with the resurrection of the body, but in the moment that a sinner genuinely trusts in the shed blood and broken body of Jesus Christ offered as the perfect sacrifice and atonement for his sins on the cross. Praise God! Hear the Savior again- “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” John 11:26 Jesus said it, I believe it, and that settles it.
5. If a saved person goes to Heaven when he dies, then what is the purpose of the resurrection of the dead? – The purpose of the resurrection is the redemption of the body. Those whose bodies “sleep in Jesus” will return with Christ from Heaven to receive their glorified body of flesh and bones. It will be with this glorified body that the saints will celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb and inherit the eternal kingdom. Since the saints will dwell on the earth during their millennial reign with Christ, they will need these glorified bodies of flesh and bone.
6. Doesn’t believing this doctrine leave one open to being deceived by spiritualism, demons, mediums, and necromancers?– In answer to the question presented, I would like to say that any person who believes and knows the Word of God realizes that all communication with the dead is not only prohibited by God, but is also impossible. All Bible-believing Christians know that the devil and his fallen angels are powerful beings and masters of illusion. He has and does deceive people by imitating the person of a deceased relative or loved one. But the protection against this deception is not the belief that the dead no longer exist until the resurrection, but in accepting the Bible’s teaching that the spirits of the righteous dead are no longer on earth, but in the presence of Christ, and the spirits of the wicked are separated from earth and God’s presence in that dreadful place of punishment mentioned by Christ in Luke 16. The spirits of the dead are not present on the earth, (with the rare exceptions of Moses and Elijah in the transfiguration account and the account of Samuel that we just mentioned) nor are they looking down at us sadly. They may think of earth as did the man in Luke 16 and the souls of the righteous in Revelation 6, but in no way are they able to speak, appear to, or have contact with those living in the physical, earthly realm. Their portion “under the sun” has perished.
6. But I don’t understand. How can man’s spirit live on after death? A conscious spirit in man has never been seen or scientifically proved to exist! – The same can be said of God. Do you believe in Him? Classical Christianity believes in spiritual life immediately after death not because it can be seen or proved scientifically, but because the Bible teaches it. The decision you must make is not “what makes sense to me?” but “what does the Bible teach?” Isn’t it about time you accepted what the Word of God teaches about life after death?
CHAPTER 6- THE ISSUE OF MEATS
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Ghost.
THE ISSUE OF MEATS
Another peculiar point of the SDA doctrine is their teaching regarding the eating of meat. Through the visions of Mrs. White, vegetarianism is urged, and even made to be a moral issue. All of the animals listed in the Old Testament as unclean are taboo for Adventists, and I am sure that almost every one of them would feel that they are sinning if they ever ate pork, catfish, shrimp, rabbit, and the like.
I believe that the Holy Spirit will call all true believers to temperance in eating and drinking. I am certainly not opposed to that. I also agree with Adventists that a heavy diet of meat, especially those that the Jewish law determined as unclean, is unhealthy. There certainly is nothing wrong with wanting to eat a healthy diet, but when a man or religious group makes foods an issue of morality, they are once again opposing the teaching of the apostles in the New Testament.
Adventists often say that it is strictly for health reasons that they are vegetarians and especially avoid the meats mentioned above. This is true I believe in part, but my seven years with them also leaves me convinced that most of them believe that if they ever did eat pork or the like, it would be just as much a sin to them as lying or stealing. I can say this because this was my own personal conviction while I was an SDA. What other conviction could I have? Ellen White, the Adventist’s “end-time prophet,” called meat eating “evil” and made diet a matter of being “condemned before God.” She wrote, “At the time the light on health reform dawned on us, and since that time, the questions have come home every day: “Am I practicing temperance in all things?” “Is my diet such as will bring me in a position where I can accomplish the greatest amount of good?” If we cannot answer these questions in the affirmative, we stand condemned before God, for he will hold us responsible for the light which has shone upon our path…” Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 20
Not only does this quote contradict the teachings of the apostles as we shall see in a moment, but it once again teaches the false gospel of salvation by works in communicating the idea that we are saved by “living up to light,” and not through faith alone in the one Great Light of the World, Jesus Christ. Living according to God´s light is a result of true salvation more than a requirement in order to obtain it. A truly born-again person will naturally live according to God´s truth.
For Ellen White, the term “living up to the light of health reform” meant a whole lot more that abstaining from just meat. It meant also abstaining from butter, eggs, and many other foods that most Christians use of every day. If fact, she went as far to say that partaking of these things will hinder prayer! Here is another one of her “inspired” statements. “You place upon your tables butter, eggs, and meat, and your children partake of them. They are fed by the very things that will excite their animal passions, and then you come to the meeting and ask God to bless and save your children. How high do your prayers go?” Ibid pp. 366 Strange. In Luke 11 Jesus called eggs and fish good gifts. There seems to be a discrepancy here. Who are we to believe, Ellen White- or Jesus? I think the answer is obvious.
Here is another statement. “Let none of our ministers set an evil example in the eating of flesh meat. Let them and their families live up to the light of health reform.” Ibid p. 399 If this statement is correct and meat eating is “setting an evil example,” then the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest minister in history, also set an evil example. Did he not eat the Passover Lamb? Did he not eat fish in front of his disciples? Is it not reasonable to believe that Jesus’ diet as a man on earth was that of all Jewish men living at the time, which was no doubt a diet that regularly included fish, beef, lamb and goat? Why could the perfect Son of God eat meat if it were truly “evil” as Mrs. White said?
Mrs. White’s supposed vision concerning health reform was a whole lot more than good suggestions on how to be healthy. It made foods an issue of morality and created a legalistic, dietary righteousness that condemned the person that did not live up to its demands. In doing this, Mrs. White personally, but unknowingly fulfilled the words of 1Timothy 4:1-4 where God’s Word prophesied,
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
What are some of these “doctrines of devils” that came from “seducing spirits” that were to infiltrate the church? One is forbidding to marry, which we see clearly fulfilled by the Catholic Church in denying monks, nuns, and priests the blessing of holy wedlock. But what of the part about commanding to abstain from certain items of food? Who has given this devilish commandment of which the Spirit warned the church? None other than Ellen White! Who else has done so in the history of Christianity?
But the argument is, “Mrs. White’s counsels were for health reasons. Our body is the temple of God and we are to take care of it.” If you are a Seventh-day Adventist, let me ask you, “Do you think that eating shellfish or bacon one time would destroy your health?” Of course, it wouldn’t! But now answer this question. “If you knowingly ate shrimp or ham just one time, do you believe that you would be sinning?” Come on! Tell the truth! Just a matter of health? Let me ask you another question to get to the heart of the issue.
Suppose that your non-SDA “Aunt Mary” served you a delicious looking dinner salad. But upon examining it closely, you noticed that ground-up bacon bits with an almost dust-like consistency have been generously sprinkled throughout the salad. Would you spare Aunt Mary’s feelings and eat it? If your answer is yes, then I would say that you indeed avoid eating unclean meat strictly for health reasons. If your answer is no, then you must arrive to the conclusion that your choice is a moral one since eating that one bacon-bit salad would no more harm your health than would eating one piece of birthday cake. (There are some Seventh-day Adventists that won’t even eat that! There might be an egg in the cake! I´m serious!)
Circumstances such as the bacon-bit salad controversy happened to me on many occasions and was just one of my many conscience battles at the dinner table. How well I remember the terrible struggles I had while eating with friends, family, and other Christians. Every casserole, every potato salad, and every rice dish had to be scrutinized and examined meticulously before I could eat lest there be any of that cursed swine’s flesh therein. There I was eating with family and non-Adventist Christians, feeling like the weak one in Romans 14 that ate only herbs. I honestly believed that I could be “damned if I eat.” Rom. 14:23 It’s not that I wanted to eat pork, catfish, etc. No, the matter was much more involved than that. It was as if the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil were constantly before me and my justification before God was on the line. However, I wish to say with Pharisee-like pride, (As Paul said once, “I speak as a fool”) that during these struggles, I can never remember compromising or violating my conscience.
But as with the other points of doctrine that I have already mentioned, God closed my eyes to Adventism and Ellen White and opened my eyes to the Bible! Now I am free- not to gorge myself with unhealthful foods, but free in the sense that I know longer determine my righteousness or condemnation before God by what I eat or don’t eat. I still do my best to avoid unhealthy foods, but now I can say two things…
1 My decision is strictly because of health reasons alone, and…
2. I now can, with a clear conscience before God, eat “Aunt Mary’s bacon bit salad!” Let me share some of the verses from God’s Word that enabled me to stop judging Christians by what they eat and helped me to realize that “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Ghost!”
Mark 7:15- There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. –
These are the very words of Jesus. Referring to foods, he says that nothing that enters into a man from outside him can defile him. I believe that we are to take the verse just as it reads- NOTHING ENTERING INTO A MAN FROM OUTSIDE CAN DEFILE HIM. Verse 19 of the chapter clarifies the fact that Jesus is speaking of food. He says that nothing entering into the belly can defile a man because it does not enter into his heart. The teaching of Christ here is in agreement with what Paul wrote in Romans 14:17, that holiness is not a matter of diet, but a matter of the heart.
Acts 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden that these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well, Fare ye well.
Once again, we will refer to the apostle’s council at Jerusalem. The gentiles had just been received into the church and there were disagreements among the Jewish believers concerning which of the Jewish precepts should be enjoined upon them. These verses are extremely important to the subject that we are dealing with. If it were necessary for the gentiles to regard the Jewish dietary laws regarding clean and unclean meat, the council of the apostles in Acts 15 would have had to state so. But the silence concerning the unclean meat issue is an aggressive witness to the fact that the Holy Spirit, speaking through the apostles, did not see reason to command the new, gentile believers to keep the Mosaic dietary laws. The gentiles commonly ate meats that the Jews, because of the Mosaic law, classified as unclean, and if God had designed the gentiles to completely abstain from these meats, then the apostles would have said so in Acts 15, for this was the whole reason for the council. I still agree with Adventists that pork, shellfish, etc. are not the healthiest things to ingest, but to teach that their consumption is totally prohibited by God in the Gospel age is to make the New Testament say something that it just doesn’t say.
Romans 14:1-3 Him that is weak in faith, receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let him that eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
Notice the term, one believeth that he may eat all things. All things mean just that: all things that relate to articles that can be classified as food! The ones who are strong in these verses are the ones who understand that their purity before God is not a matter of what they eat, but a matter of what is in their heart. The ones that ate only herbs are called “weak” by the apostle Paul. Why? Is there anything wrong with a vegetarian diet? Certainly not. If you wish to be a vegetarian, more power to you! But the reason in the text that these “weak” ones ate only herbs was not because of health reasons, but because they believed that eating certain meats was sin! Their consciences falsely accused them of something that in no way was sinful!
The church at Rome, to whom the epistle was addressed, was no doubt made up mostly of gentile believers who had been accustomed to eating all kinds of meat. Paul does not tell them to refrain from any kind of flesh food. On the contrary, he seems to say that the ones who ate all things were stronger than the ones whose consciences allowed them to eat only herbs. However, he does instruct them to respect each other and not put a stumbling block in each other´s way by flaunting dietary liberties.
The message of the entire chapter is this: There is nothing unclean or immoral in eating any kind of meat, but if your conscience is still “weak” and does not allow you to freely eat all things, you should abstain so that you bring no condemnation upon yourself. Paul says, “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” v. 14 God wishes us to be faithful to what we believe is right, even if such a belief is not in reality a commandment of God. Regarding meat, the thrust of the chapter is; if you believe it’s OK, it is OK. But if you believe it is sin, it is sin. Paul says that we should respect each other’s convictions about food and not judge one another.
The main purpose in my writing this chapter is not to convince my Adventist friends to eat certain meats, but to show them that the Bible teaches that Christians are not to judge one another as being in sin, nor to separate from one another because of foods. If your conscience does not allow you to eat something, by all means, don’t eat it! But hopefully this chapter will enable some to see that there is indeed freedom in the body of Christ regarding dietary issues, and that such things should never separate the followers of Christ. The strict vegetarian Christian that enjoys his Brussel sprouts and refrains from milk and butter should love and respect his Christian brother who adores his greasy breakfast of sausage, ham and eggs. This is a modernized version Paul’s teaching in Romans 14.
Sadly, however, this is not the case in the SDA Church. Food is very much a moral issue and a person cannot even be baptized into Christ until he has adopted at least some of the Adventist dietary norms. Why? Because part of the baptismal vow is to refrain from pork, shellfish, and the rest of the list of unclean meats given to the Jews during the time of Moses. I wonder what would happen if the baptismal candidate would refuse? Could he still be baptized into Christ? If not, then they are doing the very thing regarding the eating of meats that the apostle said not to do.
1 Corinthians 8:8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
Once again, the teaching of the Word of God is that eating or not eating meat no more justifies us or condemns us that does wearing red as opposed to blue. I would like to point out here that the first and foremost reason that Ellen White urged vegetarianism was not for health reasons, but because she believed that meat eating “excited the animal passions” and led to sensual thoughts and practices such as “moral pollution.” (masturbation). There is no evidence to prove this and my personal experience has led me to believe that this conclusion is totally untrue. I felt no more spiritual as a vegetarian than I do now as an occasional meat eater. As a matter of fact, I feel much freer and spiritually strong now than I did then. But this is not because there is meat in my belly, but because the Holy Ghost is in my soul! Being filled with the Spirit is the true key to victorious living and overcoming the flesh, not vegetarianism. The most anointed, loving Christians I have ever known have all been meat eaters. By the way, did you know that Adolph Hitler and many other infamous tyrants, murderers, agnostics, and atheists were strict vegetarians?
1 Corinthians 6:12-13 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them.
The apostle says, referring especially to foods, that all things are lawful for him, but not all things are expedient. Here is the perfect biblical understanding in the New Testament concerning steak, ham, chicken, snake, squirrel, opossum (yuck!)- you name it. They may not be expedient, which is to say beneficial or good for health, but they are lawful in the sense that it brings no condemnation to eat them. Why? Because both meats and our physical stomachs will soon be no more, and in eternity it won’t make a bit of difference anyway.
Answers to Questions
1. But didn’t God differentiate between the clean and the unclean animals during the time of Noah? That was long before the Jews even existed! How can you say that these were only Jewish dietary laws?
I’m sure that God made a difference between the clean and the unclean even before Noah. Why? Because the system of animal sacrifices was instituted immediately after Adam and Eve fell into sin. We find Abel sacrificing the best of his flock in Genesis four. Only certain animals were to be used as sacrifices in accordance to the foreshadowing of Jesus, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. It was therefore because of the ancient sacrificial system and that same sacrificial system that would be used by the Jews later that God classified the animals as clean and unclean before the law was given at Mt. Sinai. Noah was told to take seven pairs of the clean animals into the ark and two pairs of the unclean. The principal reason behind this was not because of dietary issues, but because of sacrifices. Immediately after Noah exited the ark, we find him offering sacrifices to God of every one of the animals and even birds that were classified as clean. So, we see that God made a difference between the clean and the unclean animals for sacrificial purposes, and not dietary purposes.
This is made crystal clear by Genesis 9, where God tells Noah,
“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.”
Let’s stop a moment and ask a question. When God said that every animal would be subject to man in this verse, do you think he meant just that- every animal? Of course he did! Now that we are understanding the context, let’s read the very next verse, which is Genesis 9:3 “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have, I given you all things. But the flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” What is understood by the term “every moving thing that liveth?” Obviously, it means just what it says! It is true that some animals are poisonous, even as some herbs are poisonous, but what God is telling Noah here is that any animal that can be eaten, may be eaten. The only prohibition that Noah receives is to not eat the blood. This would have been a good time for the Lord to have told Noah to not eat certain animals, but instead He uses the all inclusive “every moving thing that liveth” in telling Noah which animals he was permitted to eat. Some people may not like this conclusion, but if we are going to take the Bible as it reads, such a conclusion is inescapable. I myself am an animal lover and cringe just to see a chicken slaughtered, but I will not let my personal feelings interfere with what God’s Word clearly teaches.
- But doesn’t the Bible teach that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that if we defile His temple God will destroy us?
Let us examine this verse, which I believe has been greatly misunderstood. In l Corinthians 6:19 Paul calls our body the temple of the Holy Ghost. This is not to be denied. But in l Corinthians 3:16, the temple of God referred to that should not be defiled is not our fleshly body, but the spiritual body of believers, which is Christ’s Church. The context from chapter one is that there were divisions and contentions among this body, therefore he that would defile the Church would be subject to the destruction of God. This is what happened exactly to Ananias and Saphira in the book of Acts. The verse reads: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defiles the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
I would like to point out that the pronoun ye is the second person plural, meaning “you all.” This crystallizes Paul’s thought, which is- you all, that is to say all the saved believers, are the temple of God. This same thought is found in Ephesians, where Paul calls the church, “an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Infecting the church body with division, impurity, or dishonesty is serious business, and God promises to destroy those that do so without repenting. I’m not saying that we as Christians have permission to harm our bodies through unhealthful practices. Any addicting habit that destroys health such as smoking, or drinking will not be practiced long by the true, born-again Christian. The Holy Spirit will see to that. But to eat meat in moderation as did Jesus and the apostles does not fall into this class and will not destroy health.
3. What about this verse? “For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many. They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 66:16-17
More than any other, this verse is the one that made me conform to the Adventists dietary regime. The message is a very serious one. Then one day I began to wonder if this verse was teaching that every Christian that ate pork would be destroyed by God. That would mean that about all of the great men and women of God that are being used to preach the Gospel and transform lives would fall into this category! Something did not seem right. How could God slay the millions of people that have been transformed by his love and grace just for eating an Egg McMuffin with ham? Is this really what this verse is teaching? Not at all! The warning here was originally for the Jews that were practicing pagan worship rites, which included sacrificing and eating pigs and mice at the shrines of pagan worship.
Isaiah 65:2-4 gives the same idea as chapter 66 and sheds more light on the meaning of the text.
“I have spread out my hands all day to a rebellious people, which walk in a way that is not good, after their own thoughts; a people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrifice in gardens, and burneth incense on alters of brick; which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and the broth of abominable things is in their vessals.”
The gardens, the sacrifice, the alters of brick, the graves, the monuments, and the eating of swine and broth of abominable things mentioned in this verse and in chapter 66 all had to do with the rituals of the pagan Canaanite peoples. The parallel verse in chapter 66 also mentions those that “sanctify and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst.” The term gardens and trees are synonymous with the high places of paganism throughout the Old Testament. Just read any Bible commentary for confirmation.
During the time of Isaiah’s prophecy, Israel was in bad shape. Many of the people were worshipping the false gods of the “ite” peoples and angering the LORD by practicing many of the abominable rituals of paganism. Isaiah pronounces warning and judgment against such ones, frequently referring to the dreadful day of God’s judgment throughout his book. In chapter 66, he includes the eating of swine’s flesh and mice among these pagan rituals. The verse in chapter 65 indicates that pigs and mice were first sacrificed on the pagan alters, and then were eaten by the worshipper. The warning Isaiah gives is against practicing these pagan rites and worshipping false gods. His warning has to do with the eating of swine’s flesh in relation to pagan worship, not eating for the sake of hunger. When was the last time you saw anybody eat a mouse? Obviously, eating mice was considered a pagan ritual in the days of Isaiah and eating the little rodent or a pig was to identify oneself with the false religions of the heathen peoples.
God prohibited Israel from eating swine, snakes, hawks, etc in order to separate them completely from the practices of the pagan nations. For the same reason, men were not to round their beards, shave their heads, wear a garment of two different cloths, etc. To do so would be identifying oneself with the surrounding nations and would have been sin to them. But today, under the New Covenant and the spiritual kingdom, none of these things are associated with false religion or ungodliness. Therefore, for this reason such things were never prohibited by Christ or his apostles.
As Christians we are to be separate from the modern paganism of the world but eating pork in no way can be considered worldly or pagan today. Isaiah 66:17 is also applicable for God’s professing people today, not in the sense that they are commanded to abstain from pork, but in the sense that we are to not love or practice the customs of this modern, ungodly world.
If the grave warning of destruction in Isaiah 66 is applicable to Christians that use pork simply as an article of food, don’t you think that the apostles would have mentioned something of its abstinence at least once in the New Testament? Once again, I will refer to Acts 15. The whole reason for the meeting was to determine which of the precepts of Moses’ law were to be kept by the gentiles. Here would have been a perfect time for the Holy Spirit to call the gentile believers to observe the clean and unclean meat regulations, but instead we read, “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication.”
The apostles themselves gave no order to observe the meat regulations of Leviticus 11. Their thought must also have been that the warning of Isaiah 66 was against the worshipping of false gods through pagan rituals, not against the use of animals for food, for in that time pork was widely used among the gentile nations. The teaching of Isaiah 66 that is applicable for today is: Those that live worldly, carnal, idolatrous lives will be consumed in the fire of God´s wrath when the “Great and Dreadful Day of the LORD” finally does come.
A final word to my Adventist friends
The objective of this writing is not necessarily to convince Seventh-day Adventists to eat pork or stop keeping the Sabbath. The New Testament teaches that such things are left up to the liberty of the conscience, even though they should never be imposed upon another. My burning desire in composing this work is simply to share good news with Seventh-day Adventists! The good news that….
1. contrary to the SDA doctrine of the Investigative Judgement, Christ´s atonement for your sins was forever finished on the cross. The Scriptures also condemn the doctrine of the Investigative Judgement by declaring that salvation is all of grace, through faith, and that a man is instantly declared righteous and worthy of eternal life the moment he repents and believes the Gospel. There is no future judgement to determine if a Christian is worthy of eternal life. To the contrary, a person is considered worthy of eternal life the moment he is born again through saving faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. the Bible alone, as interpreted by the Holy Spirit to every sincere believer, is to be the only true and final guide in determining truth. There is no need to submit your conscience to a “prophet,” especially Ellen G. White, who is no prophet at all, but a plagiarer who was not influenced by God, but by her own imagination and those influential men that surrounded her.
3. the Christian is under a better covenant than that of the Old Testament Jews. They had only the shadow, but the born-again Christian enjoys the real body of that shadow, including God´s New Testament Sabbath, which is the daily spiritual rest that he experiences in the perfect, complete work of Jesus Christ accomplished for him/her on the cross.
4. Bible prophecy is of “no private interpretation” and that the Scriptures teach that Christ could come at any moment, even today, to take his people out of this evil world of suffering and translate them to his glorious, heavenly kingdom!
5. the Bible teaches that death for the Christian is not the ceasing of existence for an undetermined amount of time, but the beginning of heavenly joy in the lovely presence of Christ.
6. a man´s justification and peace with God is not determined by what he eats, but by being washed in the blood of the Lamb and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
After carefully studying the contents of this book, I believe that a Seventh-day Adventist will arrive to one of these four opinions….
Opinion 1. “You (meaning me, the author of this book) have been deceived and are being used of the Devil to fight against God´s truth.”
To you I would respond……
Please read the book again and consider the evidence prayerfully and objectively, trying to respond to its arguments. If you do so, I believe that eventually you will be led to admit that it is not I that have been deceived by the Devil, but you, by the Seventh-day Adventist Church!
Opinion 2. “I feel confused. A lot of what you say makes sense, but I still have questions about some things. I´m afraid of being deceived and lost in the judgement. I need to pray and investigate more.”
To you I would respond…
By all means, pray and investigate more! It took me a couple of years to fight through my fears and arrive to the firm conclusions that you have read. But God has promised to lead us into all truth, if that is indeed what we desire. The truth can stand up to any test, so you should not be afraid. Fear is what every cult uses to keep their members from leaving. Please realize that your eternal life does not depend on what you do with Ellen White or the SDA Church, but on what you do with Jesus Christ!
Opinion 3. “This book has helped to answer many doubts and questions that I have had for a long time. I was praying for a confirmation concerning what my heart has been telling me for quite a while. I now see clearly that the Seventh-day Adventist Church promotes some false doctrines and a false prophet. I am now free to look to Christ and his Spirit alone for guidance in doctrine, living, and which church to attend.”
To you I would respond…
It was for those such as you that I spent more than a year writing this book!
Opinion 4. “If what you say is true, then I am greatly disappointed and perplexed. To know that the church that I have loved and supported for so long teaches falsities is almost more than I can bear. My family, friends, food, and schools are Seventh-day Adventist. The church has been the center of my life for so long. I feel devastated. What am I to do?
To you I would respond…
You need to realize that your great mistake was making the Church the center of your life instead of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. Being a good Adventist won´t get you to Heaven. Christ alone will get you there. If you continue to love and serve Jesus in spite of your “shattered Adventist world,” then I would say that you are a true child of God, because his true disciples won´t draw back into perdition, but will “continue in his word,” and “endure to the end.” But if your disappointment causes you to grow skeptical of everything and cold towards God as so many Adventists become after they are convinced of these errors, then you must come to the hard conclusion that you were never truly born again to begin with and that you would have been finally lost even if you would have never discovered the church´s errors. Disappointed one, keep seeking God!
A FEW EXAMPLES OF MRS. WHITE´S PLAGIARISM
I´ll just give a few examples of the hundreds that could be given of Mrs. White´s plagiarism or “borrowing” as her defenders refer to it. Such borrowing not only proves that Mrs. White was not inspired of God, but that she is quite fortunate to never have been legally prosecuted in a court of law by the original authors, many of whom were her contemporaries.
Ellen White, The Ministry of Healing pp. 471 (1905)
The potter takes the clay, and molds it according to his will. He kneads it and works it. He tears it apart, and then he dries it. He lets it lie for a while without touching it. When it is perfectly pliable, he continues the work of making it a vessel. He forms it into shape, and on the wheel trims and polishes it. He dries it in the sun and bakes it in the oven. Thus, it becomes a vessel fit for use.
Hannah W. Smith, The Christian´s Secret of a Happy Life pp. 24 (1883)
The potter takes the clay thus abandoned to his working, and begins to mold and fashion it, according to his own will. He kneads and works it; he tears it apart and presses it together again; he wets it and then suffers it to dry. Sometimes he works at it for hours together; sometimes he lays it aside for days, and does not touch it…He turns it upon the wheel, cleans it and smooths it, and dries it in the sun, bakes it in the oven, and finally turns it out of his workshop, a vessel to his honor and fit for his use.
Ellen White, Testimonies Vol. 3 pp. 141 (1872)
I was shown (please notice that she claims to have received this information from a vision from God, but the quote below proves that she indeed was shown, however not by God, but by L.B. Coles!) that one great cause of the existing, deplorable state of things is that parents do not feel under obligation to bring up their children to conform to physical law. Mothers love their children with an idolatrous love and indulge their appetite when they know that it will injure their health and thereby bring upon them disease and unhappiness….They have sinned against heaven and against their children, and God will hold them accountable. The managers and teachers of schools….
L.B. Coles Philosophy of Health: Natural Principles of Health and Cure pp.144,145 (1849)
Parents are also under obligation to teach and oblige their children to conform to physical law for their sakes….How strange and unaccountable that mothers should love their children so tenderly as to indulge them in what they have occasion to know may injure their constitutions and impair their happiness for life. Many children be delivered from such mothers and from such cruel kindness! The managers and teachers of schools….
Ellen White, Selected Messages, bk 1 pp.27
If you refuse to believe until every shadow of uncertainty and every possibility of doubt is removed, you will never believe. The doubt that demands perfect knowledge will never yield to faith. Faith rests upon evidence, not demonstration. The Lord requires us to obey the voice of duty, when there are other voices all around us urging us to pursue an opposite course. It requires earnest attention from us to distinguish the voice which speaks from God.
Daniel March, Night Scenes in the Bible pp. 201,202 (1870)
We must not defer our obedience until every shadow of uncertainty and every possibility of mistake is removed. The doubt that demands perfect knowledge will never yield to faith, for faith rests upon probability, not demonstration….We must obey the voice of duty when there are many other voices crying against it, and it requires earnest heed to distinguish the one which speaks for God.
Ellen White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing pp. 44 (1896)
Trials patiently borne, blessings gratefully received, temptations manfully resisted…, are the lights that shine forth in the character in contrast with the darkness of the selfish heart, into which the light of life has never shone.
Daniel March: Night Scenes in the Bible pp. 336 (1870)
Every trial patiently borne, every blessing gratefully received, every temptation faithfully resisted, carries us higher on the shining way that leads to glory and to God.
Ellen White, Selected Messages Vol 1 pp. 21
It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man´s words or his expressions, but on the man himself.
Calvin E. Stowe, Origin and History of the Books of the Bible pp. 19 (1868)
It is not the words of the Bible that were inspired;it is the men who wrote the Bible that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man´s words, not on the man´s thoughts, but on the man himself.
Ellen White, The Desire of Ages pp. 483,4 (1898)
“Therefore, doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” That is, My Father has so loved you, that He even loves me more for giving My life to redeem you. In becoming your substitute and surety, by surrendering my life, by taking your liabilities, your transgression, I am endeared to My Father.
John Harris, The Great Teacher pp. 66 (1836)
“Therefore doth My Father love me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again”…in other words, My Father loves you with a love so unbounded, that He even loves me the more for dying to redeem you. He so loves you, that whatever facilitates the expression of His love receives an expression of His divine esteem: by sustaining your liabilities, by surrendering My life as an equivalent for your transgressions…and for thus concurring, the Father loves Me.
Ellen White, Testimonies to Ministers pp. 15 (compiled in 1923)
…the church of Christ, enfeebled and defective as it may be, is that only object on earth on which he bestows His supreme regard….While He extends to all the world His invitation to come to Him and be saved, He commissions His angels to render divine help to those that come to Him in repentance and contrition, and He comes personally by His Holy Spirit into the midst of His church.
John Harris, The Great Teacher pp. 160 (1836)
…the church of Christ, enfeebled and defective as it may be, is that only object on earth on which he bestows His supreme regard….While he extends His scepter and dispatches His angels to every part of the world, he engages to come personally into the midst of His church…
Ellen White, The Spirit of Prophecy Vol. 4 pp. 265 (1884)
On the Day of Atonement the high priest, having taken an offering from the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood of this general offering, and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, directly over the law, to make satisfaction for its claims. Then, in his character of mediator, he took the sins upon himself, and bore them from the sanctuary. Placing his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, he confessed over him all these sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the goat. The goat then bore them away, and they were regarded as forever separated from the people.
Uriah Smith, The Sanctuary pp. 212 (1877)
On the Day of Atonement, the priest, taking an offering from the people, appeared with the blood of this general offering for the people, and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat directly over the law, to make full satisfaction for its claims….Then the high priest, if we may so express it, gathered the sins all upon himself and bore them from the sanctuary. Placing his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, he confessed over him all these sins, thus transferring them from himself to the goat. The goat then bore them away, and with him they perished.
As already mentioned, these are just eight examples of perhaps thousands that could be demonstrated. It should be noted that the copying was not just of ideas and quotes, but of the general text itself. Some books, like The Desire of Ages and The Great Controversy, were almost copied in entirety from other works. Proof and a more extensive (but not complete) documentation of Ellen White´s plagiarism is found in The White Lie, by Walter Rea. If you would like to obtain a copy of the book, please see “for further reference” on the following page.