"Did Ellen White Contradict the Bible Over
Index to the 53 False Charges:
46. WILL GOD PREVENT THE WICKED FROM KILLING HIS PEOPLE WHO REFUSE TO RECEIVE THE MARK OF THE BEAST?
Origins of the Apparent Contradictions:
The original list of alleged contradictions
was compiled by two gentlemen whom we will simply refer to as "Brothers
D&D" to protect their identities (these letters do not appear in either
of their real initials). It is our hope that these two men will one day
reconsider their position and we do not wish to do anything to jeopardize that.
We advise the reader to claim John 16:13 ("Howbeit when He, the Spirit
of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth") as you go over this
list. All quotes from both Ellen White and the Bible are shown here exactly
as they are on the original list.
The 53 Questions:
EGW: YES "The kingdom of grace was instituted immediately after the fall of man, when a plan was devised for the redemption of the guilty race" (Great Controversy, p. 347).
"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or
gold that you
were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the
precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake" (1 Peter 1:18-20).
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and
his sight" (Ephesians 1:4).
Here D&D quote Ellen White saying that the "kingdom of grace" was instituted and the plan was "devised" immediately after the fall. What they failed to quote was Ellen White's statements that the plan had actually existed long before that (see Desire of Ages, p. 22, third paragraph in particular): "The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam..." And this statement in the same book, p. 147: "...every act of Christ's life on earth was in fulfillment of the plan that had existed from the days of eternity." There are numerous statements like this in her writings. To get a balanced view of what Ellen White really said about this issue (and in its proper context) we recommend the chapter entitled "The Plan of Redemption" in the book Patriarchs and Prophets.
The Bible has several texts like the ones listed above placing the Plan of Salvation before the creation of the world, but Revelation 13:8 is a bit ambiguous and says that Jesus was slain at the foundation of the world not before (KJV, NKJV, NIV, AMP, Weymouth, Young's, LTV). Technically Christ was slain "from the days of eternity" was He not? Did the prophet John make a mistake? No. The plan had to go into effect at the Fall of Adam and Eve, but when did Infinite Wisdom foresee sin and the need for a Savior? From the days of eternity, of course.
(Some may point out that some versions of the Bible use "the foundation of the world" to refer to when the Lamb's Book was written as opposed to when the Lamb was slain. However, the majority of the Bible scholars who put together the English Bible translations did not come to this conclusion. Of the major Bible versions King James, New King James, NIV, AMP, Weymouth, Young's, and LTV (Green) all point to "slain;" (the NIV says in the margin that it could be written the other way, and the AMP renders it both ways in the text itself). NASB has it pointing to the "Book," with the margin stating that it could be referring to "slain." The RSV and Darby do word it so that the "foundation" is referring to the writing in the Lamb's Book. Yet even without this text, Ellen White's statements don't contradict anything the Bible says in this regard. She agreed that the plan had been in existence from "the days of eternity.")
The problem here has nothing to do with Ellen White, but with our finite minds trying to grasp how a God who knows the future ever "plans" anything and when? After all, no matter what He does, He already knew He was going to do it, so when did He really decide to do anything? God's ways are "past finding out." (Job 9:10) This infinite subject is too much for the human mind. We're talking about Omniscience here. There are many examples in the Bible where God does something, and it seems it is not what He had originally "planned" to do. For just a small sample:
— Casting Satan out of heaven (Rev.
12:7-9). (When was that plan "devised"?)
— God Rejecting King Saul (1 Sam. 16:1)
— The plan in heaven as to how to get King Ahab to perish at Ramothgilead (1 Kings 22:19-22).
— God deciding not to do what He originally planned to do to the evil man or nation that repents (Jer. 26:3; 18:8).
— God deciding to answer the prayers of those who persevere in their petitions (Luke 18:7,8; 11:5-9).
— God deciding to destroy the earth with a flood (Gen. 6:6).
— God allowing King Hezekiah to live an additional 15 years after telling him he was about to die (2 Kings 20:1-6).
Now, when were these plans "devised"?
God knew "from the days of eternity" exactly what He was going to
do, and when He would do it. It is hard for us to understand how God can
"make" any plans while already knowing the future perfectly.
This is not a contradiction at all, but rather a subject that simply cannot
be explained by (or to) mere human beings.
2. WAS ADAM WITH EVE WHEN SHE WAS TEMPTED IN THE GARDEN?
NO "The angels had cautioned Eve to beware of separating herself from her
occupied in their daily labor in the garden; with him she would be in less temptation than if she were
alone. But absorbed in her pleasing task, she unconsciously wandered from his side. On perceiving
that she was alone, she felt an apprehension of danger. ... She soon found herself gazing with mingled curiosity and admiration upon the forbidden tree" (Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 53, 54).
BIBLE: YES "When
the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the
eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also
gave some to her
husband, who was with her, and he ate it" (Genesis 3:6).
This is an argument over semantics, insisting that "with her" (KJV, NASB, RSV, Amp & Darby versions, among others, do not include the words "who was" [with her]) means that he had been with her during her entire walk to the Tree and conversation with the serpent.
Ellen White was certainly not the inventor of the belief that Eve was alone at the tree. Even without looking at the Hebrew, consider a few facts:
— In his conversation with Eve, the
serpent never acknowledges Adam's supposed presence (Gen. 3:1-5). In fact,
Adam's opinion of her decision is never mentioned until he "did eat."
— When confronted by God, Adam doesn't blame the serpent, but casts the blame on Eve (verse 12). Had he been at the Tree at the same time, it seems he and Eve together would have blamed the serpent.
— When confronted by God, Eve doesn't say "the serpent beguiled us, and we did eat" but rather, " the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." (verse 13).
3. WAS ADAM DECEIVED BY SATAN?
YES "Satan, who is the father of lies, deceived
Adam in a similar way, telling him that he
need not obey God, that he would not die if he transgressed the law" (Evangelism, p. 598).
"And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and
became a sinner" (1 Timothy 2:14).
The text here only builds the case against allegation #2 on this list. It was Eve who was at the tree, "deceived," and then her downfall led to Adam's. When we read all that Ellen White has to say about that event we see that her statement here is referring to "Satan" in the general terms of his plan for the couple's fall (much like when we talk of Satan tempting us when in reality it is probably one of the demons that are doing it since Satan is not omnipresent).
This one is like trying to explain if the Pharisees were "deceived" or not when they crucified Christ. In one sense they weren't; they knew that they were killing an innocent man who fit every biblical description of the Messiah (and they would be accountable for their sin). In another sense, they were deceived because they had hardened their hearts until they were self-deceived. Adam had to have been "deceived" in some fashion because after all, he did eat the fruit (had he not been deceived in any manner he would never have done so).
Ellen White made it clear, however,
that Adam was not deceived in the same way as Eve in Patriarch
and Prophets, pp. 55,56.
4. WHO SPOKE TO CAIN?
ANGEL "Through an angel messenger the divine warning was conveyed: 'If
thou doest well,
shalt thou not be accepted?'" (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 74).
BIBLE: LORD "Then the
Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If
you do what is right will you not be accepted?' ... So Cain went out from the Lord's presence"
(Genesis 4:6, 7, 10, 13, 15, 16).
D&D left out the sentence in Patriarchs and Prophets that appears just before their Ellen White quote. It says: "And the Lord said unto Cain, 'Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?' "
Here the issue is really that word "angel." The word "angel" means "messenger." The Bible has plenty of examples where the "Angel" of the Lord is referring to God Himself (see Gen. 16:7,13; 22:11-18; 31:11-13; 48:15,16; Ex. 3:2-6, Acts 3:25; 7:30-32; Num. 22:21 through 23:5; Judges 6:11-40; 13:3-22; see also Exodus 23:20,21)
D&D reject this explanation (previously
given by Adventists, apparently) insisting that since Moses said "the Lord,"
the word "angel" cannot be correct. The conclusion is
given then, that since Jesus said "Thy word is truth" (referring to
the Bible) and since Moses did not use the word "angel" (while Ellen
White did) then anyone who accepts this answer is calling the Bible, Moses,
and Jesus wrong. We feel that the dozen-plus texts listed above prove
5. DID PRE-FLOOD HUMANS MATE WITH ANIMALS AND GIVE BIRTH TO NEW SUB-HUMAN SPECIES AND RACES?
YES "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).
YES "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, 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 certain races of men" (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p.
BIBLE: NO "And God said,
'Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds:
livestock, creatures that move long the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.' And it
was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds,
and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was
good" (Genesis 1:24, 25).
There have been years of speculation in the Adventist church as to exactly what Ellen White meant by the above two statements (these are the only statements that address this issue in all of her writings). Many have concluded that the phrase "amalgamation of man and beast" (a problem occurring in each group) should not be confused to mean "amalgamation of man with beast" (humans and animals mating).
Here is a typical statement revealing Ellen White's views on the different races of human beings:
"No distinction on account of nationality, race, or caste, is recognized by God. He is the Maker of all mankind. All men are of one family by creation, and all are one through redemption."--Christ's Object Lessons, p. 386
For a detailed essay on this issue, please follow the link below. D&D declare in their conclusion that "the Ellen White Estate admits EGW was simply wrong." This is an untrue statement, as you will see by following this link, which goes directly to the Ellen White Estate's web site.
6. DID GOD OR AN ANGEL SHUT THE DOOR OF NOAH'S ARK?
ANGEL "An angel is seen by the scoffing multitude descending from heaven
brightness like the lightning. He closes that massive outer door, and takes his course upward to
heaven again" (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 68, written in 1864).
GOD "... God had shut it, and God alone could open it"
(Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 98,
written in 1890).
BIBLE: GOD 'Then the Lord shut him in" (Genesis 7:16).
Ellen White interchanges the words
"angel" and "God." See answer to #4 above. (If
we classified every time a prophet used the word "angel" for God as
a "contradiction", then the Bible itself would be in trouble.)
7. WAS THE TOWER OF BABEL BUILT BEFORE THE FLOOD?
YES "This system was corrupted before the flood by those who separated
the faithful followers of God, and engaged in the building of the tower of Babel" (Spiritual Gifts, vol.
3, p. 301).
"After the Flood ... they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city,
with a tower that
reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the
face of the whole earth" (Genesis 9:28 and 11:4).
One only needs to look in the table of contents in the book which contains the above quote (Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 3) to see whether or not Ellen White knew when the tower of Babel was built. Note the order of the following chapters of that book:
VI. Crime Before the Flood
VII. The Flood
VIII. After the Flood
IX. Disguised Infidelity
X. Tower of Babel
Ellen White writes in the chapter entitled "Tower of Babel" these words: "Some of the descendants of Noah soon began to apostatize.... They built them a city, and then conceived the idea of building a large tower to reach into the clouds..."
With this clear statement, along
with the order of the chapters, it seems quite apparent that Ellen White understood
when the Tower of Babel was built. So why the statement that seems to
indicate the Tower was built before the Flood? The statement should have
read "This system was corrupted before the flood, and by
those who separated themselves from the faithful followers of God, and engaged
in the building of the Tower of Babel." It was corrected to read
this way in the very next printing of the book. The typo was caught
by the editors long before any critic brought it up. In 1866 the editor
of Review and Herald magazine explained the typo and the needed correction
to his subscribers, thus clearing up the whole issue. Again, in light
of all that was written about the Flood and Tower in Spiritual Gifts,
no reasonable person could think that she, in one sentence, nullified the rest
of the book. The chapters speak for themselves.
8. WAS THE TOWER OF BABEL BUILT TO ESCAPE ANOTHER FLOOD?
"The dwellers on the plain of Shinar disbelieved God's covenant that He
again bring a flood upon the earth. Many of them denied the existence of God and attributed the
Flood to the operation of natural causes. ... One object before them in the erection of the tower was
to secure their own safety in case of another deluge. By carrying the structure to a much greater
height than was reached by the waters of the Flood, they thought to place themselves beyond all
possibility of danger. And as they would be able to ascend to the region of the clouds, they hoped to ascertain the cause of the Flood" (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 119).
"Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that
reaches to the
heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole
earth'" (Genesis 11:4).
It is not a contradiction to give
more information or details than the previous account (that is one of the purposes
of prophets). Ellen White in no way denies or contradicts what the Bible
says, she is just giving more information. All subsequent prophets would
be "contradicting" Moses if we judged them this way.
9. WAS MOSES' WIFE ZIPPORAH, A "CUSHITE?"
"(Miriam) complained of Moses because he married an Ethiopian (Cushite)
(Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4, p. 19). Note: parentheses in this quote supplied by D&D not EGW.
"Though called a 'Cushite woman' (Numbers 12:1, R.V.), the wife of Moses
Midianite, and thus a descendant of Abraham" (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 383).
BIBLE: YES "Miriam
and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he
had married a Cushite" (Numbers 12:1).
Here Ellen White even quotes the
Bible, affirming that Miriam had accused Moses of marrying an Ethiopian ("Cushite")
woman, so she's obviously not trying to hide her "contradiction."
She's saying that Zipporah was called a "Cushite" and was from Midian.
The Bible itself agrees that she was indeed a Midianite (see Exodus 2:15,16;
3:1; 18:1 where her own father is described as "priest of Midian").
Zipporah was raised in Midian, according to the Bible. No contradiction
here; rather EGW supports the biblical evidence.
10. WERE THE ISRAELITES DESTROYED BY GLUTTONY?
YES "God granted their desire, giving them flesh,
and leaving them to eat till their gluttony
produced a plague" (Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 148).
"But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be
the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague" (Numbers 11:33).
Do these statements contradict each other? D&D claim that no one had eaten or swallowed any food when God destroyed them, so their gluttony couldn't have been what angered God. The meat was "still between their teeth" for some of them. But do that many people (over a million) eat in perfect unison? Isn't it reasonable to think that while some people were taking their first bite thousands were already well into their second or third helping? The Bible said that God struck them with a plague "before it [the meat] could be consumed." This meant that the meat had not all been eaten/consumed. They, as a group, were still in the process of eating it when God struck them down (it was "still between their teeth" in other words).
In case there may be any doubt as to just what happened that day let us see what else the Bible has to say about this incident. In Psalm 78:26-31 (a cross reference in many Bible versions, including the New American Standard) we get a detailed description:
"He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea: And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations. So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire; They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel." —Psalm 78:26-31.
EGW: NO "There He honored Elijah by sending food to him morning and evening by an angel of heaven" (Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 288 written in 1873).
"He who fed Elijah by the brook, making a raven His messenger" (Testimonies,
4, p. 253 written in 1876).
BIBLE: YES "I have
ordered the ravens to feed you. ... The ravens brought him bread and meat"
(1 Kings 17:4, 6).
D&D conclude: In 1873 EGW contradicted the Bible when she said Elijah was fed by an angel. Then three years later in 1876 she changed her mind and agreed with the Bible that it really was a raven. Then, a year after her death, her editors tried to smooth things over by omitting any reference to either an angel or a raven -- they changed EGW's words to say Elijah was just "miraculously provided with food" (Prophets and Kings, p. 129 written in 1916).
The allegation that Ellen White "changed her mind" in 1876 is incorrect. She had already stated in 1851—22 years earlier—that God had sent ravens to feed Elijah (A Sketch of the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White p. 45, later to be included in Early Writings, and found on page 56), so she knew all about the ravens when she made the "angel" statement.
The allegation that editors tried to smooth things over by changing Ellen White's words after her death is also untrue for three reasons. 1) Ellen White oversaw and approved any changes that were made, and 2) Nothing would be "smoothed over" or gained by saying "miraculously provided with food" after the previous statements were in print. And finally 3) Even if editors had altered the statement to read this way they were not trying to cover up any reference to ravens, for in that same book (Prophets and Kings) on page 123 a statement about the ravens still remains. This shows clearly that there was no deception on anyone's part to "smooth things over."
But why did Ellen White originally
say "raven" and later mention the "angel"? Ravens
don't naturally bring food to people, and they certainly wouldn't bring "bread
and meat" without a miracle. The angel probably had a part in this
miracle just as angels have been behind the scenes of most miracles.
12. DID SAMSON DISOBEY GOD WHEN HE MARRIED A PHILISTINE?
YES "A young woman dwelling in the Philistine town
of Timnath engaged Samson's
affections, and he determined to make her his wife. ... The parents at last yielded to his wishes, and
the marriage took place. ... The time when he must execute his divine mission -- the time above all
others when he should have been true to God -- Samson connected himself with the enemies of
Israel. ... He was placing himself in a position where he could not fulfill the purpose to be
accomplished by his life. ... The wife, to obtain whom Samson had transgressed the command of
God, proved treacherous to her husband" (Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 562,563).
"Samson said to his father, 'Get her for me. She's the right one for me.'
did not know this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines.) ..."
(Judges 14:3, 4).
No Bible student can deny that Samson
had indeed "transgressed the command of God" (see above EGW quote)
by seeking a wife among the Philistines. God was quite clear in this respect
(see Ex. 34:11-16; Deut. 7:1,4; Judges 3: 5-6). The Lord knew that by
continual association with the Philistine's (and their women in particular)
Samson's life would fall far short of God's original plan.
But God uses us where we are. Was Pharaoh fulfilling God's will by not letting Israel go? Yes and no. No, He was not in harmony with God's will, when God clearly told him through Moses "let My people go." But yet the delay was God's will (see Exodus 4:21), because God knew that Pharaoh would harden his heart and by this continued act, God was even more glorified than if he had just said "okay." Was it God's will that Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery? Yes and no. It was God's plan to have Joseph in Egypt and ultimately make him second in command, but this in no way lessens the guilt of the brothers who did this. Even though this "was of God" it was still wrong on their part and they were held accountable. God would have fulfilled his purpose for Joseph's life without the "help" of his jealous brothers. It was the same with Samson.
Most would admit that although Samson is listed in faith's hall of fame (Hebrews 11) his weaknesses caused him much unnecessary hardship and misery during his life. Had Samson remained faithful to God he would have never been captured by the Philistines and had his eyes put out. Nevertheless, God turned even this pitiful situation into a victory through the strong man's final act of pulling down the pillars and killing more in his death than in his entire life. As with most of these allegations, when the statement is taken in its context (with no omissions) and the entire chapter is read, one can understand the point Ellen White was making.
Left out among the chopped quote
above are these words : "He [Samson] did not ask whether
he could better glorify God when united with the object of his choice, or whether
[and then D&D pick up the quote again] he was placing himself in a position
where he could not fulfill the purpose to be accomplished by his life."
The omitted first part of this statement summarizes Samson's problem in seeking
this woman. Note how differently it reads in its context as opposed to
how it was rendered on the "contradiction" list.
#13: DID THE HIGH PRIEST CARRY THE BLOOD OF SACRIFICED ANIMALS INTO THE HOLY PLACE EACH DAY?
EGW: YES "The most important part of the daily ministration was the service performed in behalf of individuals. ... By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary" (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 354).
Apart from the annual Day of Atonement, the priest only sprinkled blood "before
veil" in the Holy Place on two occasions: (1) when a priest sinned (Leviticus 4:3-12); (2) when the
whole Israelite community sinned (Leviticus 4:13-21). Blood was never taken into the Holy Place on a daily basis when a leader sinned (Leviticus 4:22-26), nor when an individual sinned (Leviticus
In regard to what happened to the blood after a sacrifice, there were (as D&D pointed out) four different situations. 1)A priest, 2) a leader, 3) a citizen, and 4) the congregation in general. Two of these four required the blood to be sprinkled before the veil, and two required the meat to be eaten so that through the priest's body, the sins would be transferred in figure into the sanctuary.
Where the confusion lies in Ellen
White's statement is when she says "the most important part of the daily
ministration was the service performed in behalf of individuals."
D&D imply that she means
an individual citizen as opposed to the congregation, the leaders, or the priests. But if one reads the entire chapter (or at least the preceding 2 pages) it becomes clear that she means the sacrifice for "individuals" (whether they be leaders or priests or common citizens) as opposed to the ongoing morning and evening sacrifice, the incense burning, and what was done with the shewbread. These were sacrifices and ceremonies that were performed morning and evening, and were different than when a priest, leader, common citizen or the congregation committed an additional sin on their own.
We know Ellen White was not confused about this by a vital statement that D&D left out. It is the very next sentence after they end the quote. It is unfortunate and confusing to readers that this statement was left out. The statement, for all to read, is "In some cases the blood was NOT taken into the holy place; but the flesh was then to be eaten by the priest, as Moses directed the sons of Aaron, saying 'God hath given it to you to bear the iniquity of the congregation.' Leviticus 10:17. Both ceremonies alike symbolized the transfer of the sin from the penitent to the sanctuary." (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 354,355).
How much more clearly could she have
stated it? Ellen White chose to play up on the method that was used for
one half of the four situations, because it most clearly points to Jesus' blood.
But she did not leave out the fact that this was not done on all of them.
This clear statement, coupled with a reading of the entire chapter, shows that
Ellen White by no means contradicted the Bible. Keep in mind that if she
knew that in some cases the blood was not to be sprinkled before the veil, then
she knew when it was not to be sprinkled before the veil. This
is in perfect harmony with the Bible.
14. DID CHRIST RESEMBLE OTHER CHILDREN?
Yes 1896 "He was to be like those who belonged to the human family and
the Jewish race.
His features were to be like those of other human beings, and he was not to have such beauty of
person as to make people point him out as different from others" (Christ Our Saviour, p. 9, Edition
EGW: No 1898 "No
one, looking upon the childlike countenance, shining with animation, could say
that Christ was just like other children" (Questions on Doctrine, p. 649, 1957).
Bible: Yes "He grew up
before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no
beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should
desire him." (Isaiah
In the first quote Ellen White is
talking about Christ's facial features (just as Isaiah 53:2 is). In the
second quote she is stating the obvious: that His ordinary face "shining
with animation" from the love that poured freely to all around Him, was
unlike the other kids. While they were most likely complaining about their
chores or arguing or doing all of the other things we all did as children, Christ
stood out in that He was constantly the picture of heavenly love. His
facial features were not extraordinarily handsome yet His countenance was always
kind and "shining with animation."
15. WAS THE MAN JESUS CHRIST ALSO TRULY GOD?
NO "The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty" (Letter 32,
1899, quoted in
the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1129).
BIBLE : YES "For to us
a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his
shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of
Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).
BIBLE: YES "Look,
he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who
pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. 'I am
the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is, and who was, and who is to come, the
Almighty" (Revelation 1:7-8).
BIBLE: YES "Therefore God exalted him (Jesus) to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name" (Philippians 2:9).
Both Ellen White and Seventh-day Adventists teach that Jesus was fully God even though He became a real man. We disagree with certain denominations that claim that Jesus was a "lesser God" created by the Father. We maintain that He was one with the Father from eternal ages past and Ellen White continually expressed this view. Now let's look at the quote above in its context:
"Christ left His position in
the heavenly courts, and came to this earth to live the life of human beings.
This sacrifice He made in order to show that Satan's charge against God is false--that it is possible
for man to obey the laws of God's kingdom. Equal with the Father, honored and adored by the angels, in our behalf Christ humbled Himself, and came to this earth to live a life of lowliness and poverty--to be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Yet the stamp of divinity was upon His humanity. He came as a divine Teacher, to uplift human beings, to increase their physical, mental, and spiritual efficiency. There is no one who can explain the mystery of the incarnation of Christ. Yet we know that He came to this earth and lived as a man among men. The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty, yet Christ and the Father are one. The Deity did not sink under the agonizing torture of Calvary, yet it is nonetheless true that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Notice in its context that Ellen White made it quite clear that Jesus was totally equal with the Father when He came to the earth. So what did she mean then that Jesus wasn't "Lord God Almighty"?
The key word here is "Almighty" (not whether or not Jesus was "truly God" as the heading of this allegation suggests). Before Jesus became a human, He had:
When He came to the earth He laid aside:
1) Omnipotence (He said "I
can of mine own self do nothing" [He needed the Father] John 5:30.)
3) Omniscience (He said that even He did not know the day or the hour of His own Second Coming, but only the Father knew [Mark 13:32])
16. WHILE TEMPTING JESUS, DID
SATAN CLAIM TO BE THE ANGEL WHO HAD
SAVED ISAAC FROM CERTAIN DEATH?
YES "As soon as the long fast of Christ commenced
in the wilderness, Satan was at hand
with his temptations. He ... tried to make Christ believe that God did not require Him to pass through self-denial and the sufferings He anticipated. ... He (Satan) also stated he was the angel that stayed the hand of Abraham as the knife was raised to slay Isaac" (Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 273).
You may read the Bible from cover to cover and you will not find any evidence
validate this supposed conversation between Christ and Satan.
Here D&D don't elaborate very long and offer no texts because there is no contradiction here. This is merely more detailed information. As with so many of these, when such details are given, the information is immediately classified as a contradiction. Even atheists who try to tear the Bible apart don't fault the Scriptures in this manner. For example:
In Jude verse 9 we read: "Yet
Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the
body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The
thee." Now imagine the argument "You may read the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi and you will not find any evidence to validate this supposed conversation between Michael and Satan."
Jude in no way contradicts the Old Testament, yet this contention over the body of Moses is never even mentioned in the Bible previous to this text. Jude also speaks of Enoch prophesying about the Lord coming "with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all..." [verses 14-16]. We have no record of Enoch saying any such thing in the writings of Moses, yet we believe Jude.
17. WHO CHOSE JUDAS TO BE ONE OF JESUS' TWELVE DISCIPLES?
CHRIST CHOSE JUDAS "When Judas was chosen by our Lord, his case was not
hopeless" (Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 41).
EGW: DISCIPLES CHOSE JUDAS "The disciples were anxious that Judas should become one of their number. ... They commended him to Jesus" (Desire of Ages, p. 294).
CHOSE HIMSELF "While Jesus was preparing the disciples for their ordination,
one who had not been summoned urged his presence among them. It was Judas Iscariot, a man who professed to be a follower of Christ. He now came forward soliciting a place in this inner circle of disciples. ... He hoped to experience this through connecting himself with Jesus" (Desire of Ages,
pp. 293, 717).
BIBLE: JESUS CHOSE JUDAS "When
morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose
twelve of them ... Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. ... Then Jesus replied, 'Have I not chosen
you, the Twelve? ... You did not chose me, but I chose you" (Luke 6:13-16; John 6:70; 15:16).
Ellen White's quotes simply say:
Judas sought out Jesus in hopes of becoming one of His disciples. The
other disciples, when they heard his plea, "commended him" (not "chose")
to Jesus, then Jesus chose him to actually become one, though knowing where
it would lead.
18. DID DOGS EAT JUDAS' REMAINS?
Yes " His weight had broken the cord by which he had hanged himself to
the tree. In falling,
his body had been horribly mangled, and dogs were now devouring it. His remains were immediately buried out of sight;" (Desire of Ages, p. 722).
Bible: No "So Judas threw
the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged
himself." (Mat 27:5 NIV)
"With the reward he got for
his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body
burst open and all his intestines spilled out." (Acts 1:18 NIV)
Again, there must be conflicting
accounts for there to be a contradiction and the Bible says nothing that would
cause us to think that dogs eating Judas' flesh would be unlikely. Ironically
these very texts are sometimes used by skeptics to point out a "contradiction"
in the Bible. One passage says Judas "hanged himself," the other
says he bought a field and "fell headlong, his body burst open and his
intestines spilled out." Critics cite the fact that in Acts 1:18
the hanging is never mentioned and in Matt. 27:5 there is no reference to his
intestines spilling out. On the surface there appear to be two different
accounts of how Judas actually died. Believers know that these two passages
do not contradict each other, but simply give different details. These
are the same types of allegations so often brought against Ellen White.
19. DID HEROD PLACE A TATTERED ROBE ON JESUS?
Yes "At the Suggestion of Herod, a crown was plaited from a vine bearing
sharp thorns, and
this was placed upon the sacred brow, of Jesus; and an old tattered purple robe, once the garment
of a king, was placed upon his noble form." 3 Spirit of Prophecy p.138, 1887 Edition. "Behold Him
clothed in that old purple robe" (1Testimonies, p. 241).
Bible: No "Then Herod and his
soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe,
they sent him back to Pilate" (Luke 23:11 NIV).
Ellen White describes the tattered
robe as "once the garment of a king." If the robe was
once the garment of a king, then it was probably made of very fine linen: an
elegant robe that had simply become tattered over time. Ellen White made
herself very clear here. It is doubtful the mocking Herod would have lent
one of his own new robes for such shameful treatment, especially considering
that the robe was going to go "back to Pilate" (on Jesus) and would
probably be lost and torn even worse in the process.
20. DID JESUS FAINT THREE TIMES UNDER THE CROSS?
"He was weak and feeble through pain and suffering, caused by the scourging
blows which he had received, yet they laid on him the heavy cross upon which they were soon to nail him. But Jesus fainted beneath the burden. Three times they laid on him the heavy cross, and three times he fainted" (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, p. 57).
"As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they
forced him to carry the cross" (Matthew 27:32).
"A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was
by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross" (Mark 15:21).
"As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way
the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus" (Luke 23:26).
Again we see that any details that
are given are called contradictions. There must have been a reason Simon
was compelled to carry the cross. Considering the obvious facts that Ellen
White presents in the first sentence of the quote and the three texts D&D
provided, her conclusion makes logical sense. This type of detail omission/addition
is common when one compares the four gospels.
21. DID SATAN TEMPT CHRIST AFTER HE FASTED FORTY DAYS?
No "As soon as the long fast of Christ commenced, Satan was at hand with
temptations...Satan told Christ ...that it was not necessary for him to endure this painful hunger and
death from starvation" (Redemption of the Temptation of Christ, p. 37 1874 Edition).
EGW: No "As
soon as Christ began his fast, Satan appeared as an angel of light, and claimed
a messenger of heaven. He told him it was not the will of God that he should suffer this pain and self
denial" (Christ Our Saviour p. 45. 1 Selected Messages p.273).
EGW: No "Forty days He was tempted of Satan" (Early Writings p.155).
EGW: Yes "
When Jesus entered the wilderness, He was shut in by the Father’s glory...But
glory departed, and He was left to battle with temptation. For forty days he fasted and prayed...
Now was Satan’s opportunity. Now he supposed he could overcome Christ." (Desire of Ages
Bible: Yes "After fasting
forty days and forty nights, he was hungry." (Matthew 4:2 NIV) "The
tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread"
(Matthew 4:3 NIV).
Bible: "Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread." Luke 4:2,3
Here we see a perfect example of why these allegations do not prove an error or contradiction. D&D quoted from the gospel of Matthew alone without mentioning what Mark, Luke or John had to say about this event. In the third Ellen White statement above she is quoting Luke almost word for word. With this particular allegation we are forced to make a decision: either Matthew was inspired and Luke and Ellen White were not inspired (and in error), or Luke and Ellen White give a more detailed account of what happened, revealing that some temptations began during the 40 days and not after. Matthew (like Ellen White in that fourth quote) simply focused on the first of the three main temptations listed in his and Luke's books. John doesn't mention this encounter at all, and Mark just says "And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him." (1:13).
D&D conclude: "Another example how E. G. White contradicts the Bible and confuses the mind. The Bible says nothing about Satan coming to tempt Jesus before his fast or tempting him for forty days, but after fasting forty days the tempter came to Jesus."
22. WAS MARY LED AWAY FROM
THE SCENE AND JESUS' BONES BROKEN
DURING HIS CRUCIFIXION?
"The mother of Jesus was agonized, almost beyond endurance, and as they
stretched Jesus upon the cross, and were about to fasten his hands with the
cruel nails to the wooden arms, the disciples bore the mother of Jesus from
the scene, that she might not hear the crashing of the nails as they were driven
through the bone and muscle of his tender hands and feet" (Spiritual Gifts,
p. 58, written in 1858).
EGW: NO "His
hands stretched upon the cross; the hammer and the nails were brought, and as
spikes were driven through the tender flesh, ..." (Desire of Ages, p. 744, written in 1898).
"A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and
for him. ... All those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood
at a distance, watching these things (the crucifixion). The women who had come with Jesus from
Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it" (Luke 23:27, 49, 55).
"Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the
Clopas, and Mary Magdalene" (John 19:25).
" ... These things happened so that the scriptures would be fulfilled:
'Not one of his
bones will be broken'" (John 19:25, 36).
There are two issues addressed here:
1) Mary led away from the Cross
No, the Bible doesn't say that Mary was led away from the scene. It also doesn't say that she stayed there for every part of the heartbreaking event. D&D use John 19:25 ("Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother...") to prove that she was never taken away even for a moment, but Ellen White didn't say Mary was never there; she just said that she was taken away. A continued reading of the reference above (Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1) reveals that the disciple John also brought her back to the cross again (p. 59; see also Desire of Ages, p. 752).
2) Jesus' bones "broken"
Ellen White stated that the nails were "driven through the bone and muscle of his tender hands and feet." Were they? When one was crucified, that is how it was done. Every Christian has seen illustrations of Jesus on the Cross and this is certainly not an Ellen White concoction (some claim the nails were actually driven through the wrists, but even this would require them to go "through" the bone). Jesus Himself backs up all of this when He appears to the hiding disciples after the Resurrection. They fear he is a ghost and he tells them to "behold my hands and my feet" and then "he shewed them his hands and his feet." (Luke 24:39,40).
Some may say that this was not to
show the nail prints, but rather to show that He had flesh. But
let's not forget what Thomas (who was not there for this first encounter) said after he heard about it: "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." (John 20:25) Where did he get that idea? They had told him that Jesus had shown them the nail prints in His hands and feet. Then when Jesus appears to Thomas He tells him to examine His hands and side (the spear scar), which Thomas does, and then believes (verse 27).
Now, having established that Jesus definitely had the nails go through His hands and feet (see also Isaiah 49:16; Psalm 22:16; Zech 12:10), we must ask ourselves if they ever went "through" the bone. No matter where the nails were driven they must have encountered a bone and thus they still had to go "through" bones somehow in order to pierce Jesus to the cross. When the Bible speaks of not one of Christ's bones being broken (Psalm 34:20), it clarifies just what it meant in John 19:31-36, where we see that when the soldiers came around to break the legs (bones) of those who had been crucified that day, they didn't break Christ's bones for He was already dead. The Bible makes no mention of what specifically happened biologically when the nails were driven through His hands and feet. But even if God miraculously preserved the bones in Christ's hands and feet, it doesn't change the biblical fact that the nails went "through" them. This again is really about semantics. Ellen White said "through;" the Bible said "pierced." According to Webster's Dictionary, the word "pierce" means: 1.a : to run into or through as a pointed weapon does : STAB b : to enter or thrust into sharply or painfully; 2. to make a hole through : PERFORATE; 3. to force or make a way into or through.
Ellen White never said that Christ's "bones were broken." When she said the nails went "through" His hands and feet she was in perfect harmony with Scripture—both Old and New Testament.
D&D claim Ellen White "changed her account" of what the nails did when she later wrote about it in Desire of Ages, but the wording of the entire scene is totally different. This is not a case where one sentence was changed to cover up a mistake, but simply telling the story again in a different book. Why would she need to change something that was in harmony with Scripture in the first place?
23. DID JESUS' HUMANITY AND DIVINITY DIE ON THE CROSS?
YES "Men need to understand that Deity suffered and sank under the agonies
(Manuscript 44, 1898, and the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 907).
EGW: NO "The
Deity did not sink under the agonizing torture of Calvary" (Letter: 1899,
the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, page 1129).
BIBLE: YES "We believe that Jesus died and rose again" (1Thessalonians 4:14).
Let's look at both Ellen White statements in their context:
" 'In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.' Men need to understand that Deity suffered and sank under the agonies of Calvary. Yet Jesus Christ whom God gave for the ransom of the world purchased the church with His own blood. The Majesty of heaven was made to suffer at the hands of religious zealots, who claimed to be the most enlightened people upon the face of the earth."
Here EGW is obviously referring to the Deity of Christ. Although the "fulness of the Godhead" dwelt in Him "bodily" it was the Son only who had to sink in death under the agonies of Calvary; every Christian knows this. Jesus "purchased the church with His own blood." He suffered "at the hands of religious zealots." The Father suffered in a different way: watching His beloved Son die helplessly on that Cross.
Now the next statement, in its entirety:
"There is no one who can explain the mystery of the incarnation of Christ. Yet we know that He came to this earth and lived as a man among men. The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty, yet Christ and the Father are one. The Deity did not sink under the agonizing torture of Calvary, yet it is nonetheless true that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Here she uses the word "Deity" to describe the Godhead—"Christ and the Father" (and the Holy Spirit of course). The Father and Holy Spirit did not "sink" into death like Jesus did. She is clearly saying that although Jesus and the Father are one, the entire Godhead did not sink under the torture of the Cross. Christians understand that when Jesus died, God the Father did not die also. The other two Persons of the Godhead or Trinity were still very much alive; it was the Son who was to die in our stead, not the entire Deity. She is saying, in the context, that although the "Deity" (Father included) did not suffer and die on the Cross, nevertheless God the Father gave His Son to die for us, and what agony that must have been --watching Him die. Here EGW is clearly contrasting the role of the Son with the rest of the Godhead and it is this Godhead to which the word "Deity" refers in this instance. In summary, was Jesus Deity? Yes. Did He sink/die on the Cross? Yes. Are the Father and Holy Spirit Deity? Yes. Did they sink/die on the Cross? No. This is simply a case where a word (like the word "law" for example) is used different ways.
24. DID JESUS DIE TO GIVE US A SECOND PROBATION?
YES "Death entered the world because of transgression.
But Christ gave his life that man
should have another trial. He did not die on the cross to abolish the law of God, but to secure for
man a second probation" (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 134).
"I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation"
BIBLE: NO "How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation" (Hebrews 2:3)?
"Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ
sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear
sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him" (Hebrews 9:2728).
The three Bible texts given are wonderful truths about the gospel, but they do not address (nor refute) the issue in Ellen White's statement at all. Here are four that support what she said:
"For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Cor. 15:21,22)
"And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." (1 Cor 15:14-18)
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. " (Romans 8:1-4)
"For if, when we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled,
we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God
through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so
death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." (Romans 5:10-19)
25. WAS THE ATONEMENT FOR SIN COMPLETED AT THE CR0SS?
EGW: NO "Instead
of ... Daniel 8:14 referring to the purifying of the earth, it was now plain
pointed to the closing work of our High Priest in heaven, the finishing of the atonement, and the
preparing of the people to abide the day of His coming" (Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 58).
EGW: NO "Jesus entered the most holy of the heavenly (sanctuary), at the end of the 2300 days of Daniel 8, in 1844, to make a final atonement for all who could be benefited by His mediation" (Early Writings, p. 253).
BIBLE: YES "When
he had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' With that, he bowed
head and gave up his spirit" (John 19:30).
BIBLE: YES "But now a
righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which
the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus and [sic] fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood" (Romans
BIBLE: YES "Since we have now
been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved
from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him
through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation" (Romans 5:9 11).
Bible: Yes "Not only is this
so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through
whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:11 NIV)
Again the texts chosen are wonderful truths, but they do not address what our High Priest is doing for us in heaven at this moment. Of the four texts:
The first one deals with Jesus saying "It [the job His Father gave Him to do] is finished!" He had lived the perfect life, and now He would yield up that life as a perfect Sacrifice.
The second one says that we are justified freely, and that Jesus was a sacrifice of atonement. He was definitely that. (This is the only text of the four that even has the word "atone" or "atonement" in it.)
The third and fourth texts say that we have been reconciled to God through Jesus. No one should ever question this fact.
All of these facts are embraced by Ellen White in her writings and Adventists in their beliefs. They are in perfect harmony with the Investigative Judgment (starting in 1844). The subject of the Investigative Judgmentin no way contradicts the Bible. It is a Bible study all in itself and for the sake of space we will not go through that entire study here. The "atonement" in regard to Jesus taking our sins completely from us when we confess them and cleansing us with His blood is indeed complete and Ellen White taught this (see Review and Herald, Nov. 11, 1890; The Youth's Instructor, Sept. 20, 1900 for two examples). But God has a plan to end the "sin problem" forever, and that does indeed involve more than blanket forgiveness. Christians readily acknowledge that Jesus' work for us isn't "finished" in every sense, for the Bible says He still makes intercession for us on a daily basis (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34). He still has a judgment to perform (Acts 17:31; Romans 14:10). And He still must rescue His faithful children from a dying planet (John 14:3; Matthew 24:30). What Jesus does with the record of our sins is completely His business and is foreshadowed in the sanctuary service of the Old Testament, particularly the Day of Atonement.
For more information on this, we recommend Clifford Goldstein's book 1844 Made Simple, available on our Book Links.
26. DOES THE BLOOD OF CHRIST CANCEL SIN?
NO "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).
BIBLE: YES "In him
we have ("have" is present tense) redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins" (Ephesians 1:7).
BIBLE: YES "And the blood of Jesus, his son purifies us from every sin" (1 John 1:7).
BIBLE: YES "Blessed
are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him" (Romans 4:7-8).
This allegation is a re-wording of
the last one and again, one needs to study the Investigative Judgment for one's
self to understand the validity of it. A few quotes will not shed much
light on the issue. The Day of Atonement was a wonderful shadow of the
conclusion to God's Plan of Salvation. Any Bible student would be blessed
by studying the matter. The texts D&D offer simply say that we have
(present tense [if confessed]) redemption and forgiveness and cleansing through
Jesus—one of the favorite themes of Ellen White and Adventists. Both Ellen
White and Adventists, however, do reject the teaching of "once saved always
saved" for the Bible does not teach it.
27. ARE CONFESSED SINS TRANSFERRED
TO THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY BY
THE BLOOD OF CHRIST?
EGW: Yes "As
the sins of the people were anciently transferred in figure, to the earthly
the blood of the sin-offering, so our sins are, in fact, transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the
blood of Christ." (Great Controversy p. 266 1886 Edition).
" As anciently
the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin offering and through
transferred in figure to the earthly sanctuary so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by
faith placed upon Christ and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary." (Great Controversy p.
421 1911 Edition).
Bible: No "But if we walk in
the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and
the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (1 John 1:7 NIV) "In him we have redemption
through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace" (Ephesians
28. WHO BEARS OUR SINS?
EGW: SATAN "It
was seen, also, that while the sin offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice,
high priest represented Christ as a mediator, the scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon
whom the sins of the truly penitent will finally be placed. ... Christ will place all these sins upon Satan, ... so Satan, ... will at last suffer the full penalty of sin" (Great Controversy, p. 422, 485, 486).
BIBLE: JESUS "He himself (Jesus Christ) bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed" (1 Peter 2:24).
Another Investigative Judgment statement.
If one rejects the Investigative Judgment (or the Sabbath, or soul sleep in
death, or the Flood for that matter) then that person will be able to find plenty
of Ellen White statements that are apparently "wrong". Jesus
paid the price for our sins, but Satan is responsible for tempting us
to sin. If Jesus wants Satan to pay a price for that, that is His decision.
Again, we suggest the reader study the Day of Atonement and read Clifford Goldstein's
book on this subject.
29. DOES GOD REQUIRE A TRESPASS OFFERING BEFORE HE PARDONS US?
EGW: YES "You cannot make every case right, for some whom you have injured have gone into their graves, and the account stands registered against you. In these cases the best you can do is to bring a trespass offering to the altar of the Lord, and He will accept and pardon you" (Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 339).
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins
and purify us
from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
We recommend reading the entire section of Testimonies, Vol. 5 from which the quote is taken to understand the setting. Ellen White was writing to a man who had a problem with money and dishonesty. Apparently he had wronged some people financially and some of them, over the years, had died. Ellen White then refers the man to Zacchaeus and his Christian act of vowing to pay back fourfold of all that he had wrongfully taken .
If we have gotten financial gain from taking advantage of others and breaking God's law in the process, of course we are to restore to them all that we have taken. And if they and their relatives are gone, then we should restore this money to God. There should be something coming out of what we have gained. We cannot steal from a wealthy man and then accept Christ, but insist on continuing to live the good life on money that we wrongfully acquired. Ellen White's point is that the money should first and foremost go to the one(s) that have been wronged, but if that isn't possible, then we should turn the money over to God. A reading of the entire section would clear up any confusion as to what Ellen White meant.
To disprove this very biblical principle,
D&D quote from 1 John 1:9, which says that if we confess
our sins God forgives us. That's not the issue here; EGW was talking to a particular individual who had a particular problem. She was by no means saying this is the way we come to Christ—with a financial offering. But D&D conclude:
"God tells you to confess your sins and you will be pardoned and purified. EGW contradicts the Bible by telling you to bring a trespass offering in order to be pardoned."
30. CAN WE SAY WE ARE SAVED RIGHT NOW BY CHRIST'S GRACE?
EGW: NO "Those
who accept the Saviour, however sincere their conversion, should never be
taught to say or feel that they are saved. ... Those who accept Christ, and in their first confidence
say, I am saved, are in danger of trusting to themselves" (Christ's Object Lessons, p. 155).
BIBLE: YES "I write
these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you
may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13).
Now let's see the quote in its context (this is long, but worth it -- very Christ-centered):
(above quote in italics below)
"Peter's fall was not instantaneous, but gradual. Self-confidence led him to the belief that he was saved, and step after step was taken in the downward path, until he could deny his Master. Never can we safely put confidence in self or feel, this side of heaven, that we are secure against temptation. Those who accept the Saviour, however sincere their conversion, should never be taught to say or to feel that they are saved. This is misleading. Every one should be taught to cherish hope and faith; but even when we give ourselves to Christ and know that He accepts us, we are not beyond the reach of temptation. God's word declares, "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried." Dan. 12:10. Only he who endures the trial will receive the crown of life. (James 1:12.) "Those who accept Christ, and in their first confidence say, I am saved, are in danger of trusting to themselves. They lose sight of their own weakness and their constant need of divine strength. They are unprepared for Satan's devices, and under temptation many, like Peter, fall into the very depths of sin. We are admonished, "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." 1 Cor. 10:12. Our only safety is in constant distrust of self, and dependence on Christ."
This passage places self where it
belongs—in the dust—and shows us our constant need of Jesus.
Peter is, as she said, a perfect example of what happens when we declare something to be fact, as if we are out of the range of falling. We can know our relationship is right with God today, but we do not know our weaknesses, or where we could fall and/or turn against God (see Jer. 17:9). We can have the assurance that if we were to die today we would be saved, but to boldly announce that come what may, we are saved is basically "once saved always saved" and that is really what she is warning against.
1 John 5:12 is a beautiful truth as we read above: "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."
There is nothing wrong with having
faith in the fact that we have accepted Jesus' free gift of eternal
life. This is the kind of assurance we need. But this text does not say that we should go out and proclaim that we cannot fall, as Peter did. We are warned by Paul to take heed if we think we stand, lest we fall (1 Cor. 10:12). And Jesus said that some of the "branches" that had "abided" in Him would be cut off and burned if they did not bear fruit (John 15:1-6). In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus describes a class of people who come to Him, convinced that they are "saved" and to them He says "I never knew you." They were looking to themselves, which is always a big mistake.
The beauty of all this is not that
we doubt God and His ability to save, but rather we doubt ourselves and
our ability to do any good thing or overcome sin in our strength. We aren't
strong enough to overcome. Only Jesus through us can overcome.
This constant awareness of our weaknesses is the only safeguard against presumption
and choosing sin over Jesus. Lack of faith in self is one of the most
important lessons we can learn.
31. CAN THE FAITH OF BELIEVING PARENTS SAVE THEIR CHILDREN?
"I know that some questioned whether the little children of even believing
should be saved, because they have had no test of character and all must be tested and their
character determined by trial. The question is asked, 'How can little children have this test and trial?'
I answer that the faith of the believing parents covers the children" (Selected Messages, vol. 3, p.
"If I bring a sword against that country ... and I kill its men and their
surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, even if these three men (Noah, Daniel and Job) were in it, they could not save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved. Or if I send a
plague into that land and pour out My wrath upon it, ... even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they
could save neither son nor daughter. They would save only themselves by their righteousness"
"The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the
guilt of the
father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be
credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him (Ezekiel 18:20).
BIBLE: NO "I will judge each of you according to his own ways" (Ezekiel 33:20).
The three texts above are not referring
to little children who are not yet accountable (even the first text which says
"son or daughter" does not specify little children who do not know
right from wrong).
Here are some texts that deal with accountability and light given:
James 4:17: "Therefore
to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
John 9:41: "Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth."
Acts 17:30: "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:"
And what about the salvation of our children?
Isaiah 49:25: "But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children."
Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
These texts do not mean that any accountable person has a blanket covering of forgiveness based on a relative's faith. But they are no more contradictory or confusing than the Ellen White quote in question.
It would not be logical to believe
that God judges adults by the light that they have, but condemns little babies
who know nothing. God "winks" at their ignorance because "ignorant"
is all they are.
Don't the prayers and faith of the parents make a difference to God until the child is old enough to
make his/her own decisions about God? The Bible says those prayers and faith do make a difference (see James 5:16). As for what happens to the babies (who die) of wicked parents, we don't know how all of that works, and it is not our business. Fortunately God alone is Judge and He will work it all out, we can be sure.
32. WILL THE SINS OF THE SLAVE BE TRANSFERRED TO THE SLAVE MASTER?
"I saw that the slave master will have to answer for the soul of his slave
whom he has kept in ignorance; and the sins of the slave will be visited upon
(transferred to) the master" (Early
Writings, p. 276). (Note: the words "transferred to" are D&D's parenthetical addition, not EGW's)
BIBLE: NO "I will judge each of you according to his own ways" (Ezekiel 33:20).
"The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the
of the wicked will be charged against him" (Ezekiel 18:20).
Ezekiel 33:8 "When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand."
Luke 17:2 "It were better
for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into
the sea, than that he should offend [cause to stumble] one of these little ones."
The greek word for "offend" here means to cause to stumble/sin as the NIV, NASB, RSV, Darby, Amplified and other versions render it in modern language.
Although this text is talking about causing someone to stumble as opposed to preventing them from knowing truth—as in the case of the slave—the text supports the fact that God does require us to answer for our influence in the sins of others. Ezek. 33:8 (above) clearly states that if we do not "warn the wicked of his way" then although he dies for his own iniquity, his blood will be required at our hands.
D&D mistakenly interpret Ellen
White's words "visited upon" to mean "transferred to."
But there is a biblical precedent for "visited upon" which shows that
this is not what the words mean. In the Second Commandment, God Himself
says "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the
children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." (Exodus
20:5) God clearly is not saying that He will literally "transfer"
a man's sins onto his own children and grandchildren to the fourth generation.
The man will die in his own sin, but there is a cause and effect going on.
"Transferred to" is an inaccurate interpretation of Ellen White's
words. She was merely supporting the principle of Ezekiel 33:8, and using
a phrase right out of the Second Commandment. Would God welcome a slave
owner to heaven with open arms who has intentionally kept the gospel from his
slave? Since God loves the slave as much as the slave owner then such
an action would no doubt sadden and anger God. He loves all of His children
33. CAN IGNORANT SLAVES BE SAVED?
"God cannot take to heaven the slave who has been kept in ignorance and
degradation, knowing nothing of God or the Bible, fearing nothing but his master's lash, and holding a lower position than the brutes" (Early Writings, p. 276).
BIBLE: YES "The
true light (Jesus) that gives light to every man was coming into the world"
Here Ellen White is not talking about just any "ignorant" slave, but the same slave whose sins would be "visited upon" the slave master in the above argument. God "winks" at ignorance; yet this does not mean He ignores chosen evil characteristics. If a person disobeys God's counsel while ignorant of that counsel, God winks at it. But if a person (ignorant slave in this case) harbors an evil spirit and goes against even what little light/conscience that he has, then this is different. Ellen White explains this by saying that God "does the best thing for him that a compassionate God can do. He permits him to be as if he had not been, while the master must endure the seven last plagues and then come up in the second resurrection and suffer the second, most awful death. Then the justice of God will be satisfied." Early Writings, 276.
In other words, this slave, although
not saved, will not face the punishment of the lost either. He will
simply stay "asleep" for all eternity, while the slave master suffers in the lake of fire before he is
consumed. Ironically the very text that D&D use to argue against EGW is the one that helps her case. They quote John 1:9 "The true light (Jesus) that gives light to every man was coming into the world." This light that was given to every man was in the conscience of this slave. His master kept him from the Bible and from God, so the slave's hateful attitude (or whatever sins he had) was never overcome. Yet God does not punish the slave, either.
The question that heads the alleged contradiction is also inaccurate. The issue isn't whether or not an "ignorant" slave can be saved. It is whether one who has not lived up to the light that he has can be saved. The thing that breaks God's heart is knowing what would have happened had that hardened slave read the Bible. That is why the slave master is going to suffer.
A few pages after this very statement
she states: "I saw the pious slave rise [in the resurrection] in
triumph and victory." (p. 286) She was quite clear in her writings that many slaves would be saved.
Some critics object to the idea that
some will remain in their graves in light of John 5:28,29 which states that
all who are in their graves will come forth. But the Bible has several
instances in regard to the end time events where all-inclusive language contains
definite restrictions. The best example of this is found in Revelation
6:15,16 which says that at the Second Coming "every bondman [slave]
and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the
mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks Fall on us, and hide us from
the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb."
Obviously not every slave and free person is going to be lost (see also
34. CAN WE LEGITIMATELY SAY "I HAVE CEASED TO SIN?"
EGW: YES "Christ died to make it possible for you to cease to sin, and sin is the transgression of the law" (Review and Herald, vol. 71, No. 35, p. 1, August 28, 1894.)
"To be redeemed means to cease from sin" (Review and Herald, vol.
77, No. 39,
p. 1, September 25, 1900).
"Those only who through faith in Christ obey all of God's commandments
the condition of sinlessness in which Adam lived before his transgression. They testify to their love of
Christ by obeying all his precepts" (Manuscript 122, 1901, quoted in the Seventh-day Adventist
Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1118).
"To every one who surrenders fully to God is given the privilege of living
without sin, in obedience to the law of heaven. ... God requires of us perfect
obedience. We are to purify
ourselves, even as he is pure. By keeping his commandments, we are to reveal our love for the
Supreme Ruler of the universe" (Review and Herald, September 27, 1906, p. 8).
"The blood of Jesus, his son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to
be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess
our sins, he is faithful and just and will
forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make
him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives" (1 John 1:8, 9).
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not
yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
Note the question raised with this allegation: "Can we legitimately say 'I have ceased to sin'?"
Now considering the evidence presented, let's look at two facts.
1) Not one of the listed Ellen White quotes tells us to say that we have ceased to sin. Ellen White did address this issue in other places though, and here's a sample of what she said:
"Those who are really seeking to perfect Christian character will never indulge the thought that they are sinless. Their lives may be irreproachable, they may be living representatives of the truth which they have accepted; but the more they discipline their minds to dwell upon the character of Christ, and the nearer they approach to His divine image, the more clearly will they discern its spotless perfection, and the more deeply will they feel their own defects." And again: "Those who take pains to call attention to their good works, constantly talking of their sinless state and endeavoring to make their religious attainments prominent, are only deceiving their own souls by so doing." (The Sanctified Life, p. 7 & 12)
"But we shall not boast of our holiness. As we have clearer views of Christ's spotlessness and infinite purity, we shall feel as did Daniel, when he beheld the glory of the Lord, and said, "My comeliness was turned in me into corruption." (Selected Messages 3, p. 355)
"Why is it that so many claim to be holy and sinless? It is because they are so far from Christ." Manuscript 5, 1885
2) Not one of the Bible texts tells us that we cannot overcome, by God's grace. (which is all that the Ellen White quotes were saying)
The first text (1 John 1:8,9) simply says that if we claim we have not sinned God's word has no place in us (and we are in error). Ellen White consistently expressed this view as shown above.
The second text (Eph. 2:8,9) simply says that we are saved by grace and not works. Again, Ellen White consistently expressed this view:
"When men learn they cannot earn righteousness by their own merit of works, and they look with firm and entire reliance upon Jesus Christ as their only hope, there will not be so much of self and so little of Jesus. Souls and bodies are defiled and polluted by sin, the heart is estranged from God, yet many are struggling in their own finite strength to win salvation by good works. Jesus, they think, will do some of the saving; they must do the rest. They need to see by faith the righteousness of Christ as their only hope for time and for eternity." (1888 Materials, p. 818)
"...for nearly every false religion has been based on the same principle—that man can depend upon his own efforts for salvation." (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 73)
(see also Testimonies 1, p. 163; Christ's Object Lessons, p. 117; Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 97, 456; Steps to Christ, p. 61; Testimonies 6, p. 372; Evangelism, p. 596; Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 431-2; Acts of the Apostles, p. 298, 553, 563; The Sanctified Life, p.87...)
We have seen that Ellen White fully supported what the Bible taught on salvation by grace through faith. But does the Bible support what she said about overcoming? With no additional commentary, consider the following texts in light of the Ellen White quotes.
"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." 1 John 3:3-6
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." Galatians 5:16
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy" Jude 1:24
35. WILL OBEYING THE COMMANDMENTS EARN ME GOD'S FAVOR?
YES "To obey the commandments of God is the only
way to obtain (earn) His favor"
(Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 28). Note: the word "earn" is a parenthetical addition by D&D not EGW.
BIBLE: NO "All our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).
"Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, 'The righteous
by faith'" (Galatians 3:11).
To obtain something does not always mean to "earn" it. Obtain can simply mean to "come into possession of." After reading the passage in Testimonies 4 we quickly discover that Ellen White was contrasting those who obey God by stepping out in faith with those who wait in doubt until "all is made clear and plain before them." (T4, p. 27) Obeying God in faith as opposed to doubting Him is the issue. But what about that wording "obtain His favor"? If the Bible uses language like this, then we cannot fault Ellen White.
"For whoso findeth [wisdom] findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death." Proverbs 8:35
Here we see not only the exact same wording Ellen White used, but the same principal set forth. Finding wisdom (thus obtaining the favor of the Lord, according to this text) is contrasted with sinning (transgressing God's law — 1 John 3:4). Ellen White says just what Solomon did, and his wisdom and inspiration few would question.
But are there any biblical examples of a person obtaining God's favor?
"But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (Gen 6:8)
"And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." (Gen. 26:4,5)
"Moses said to the LORD, "See, thou sayest to me, 'Bring up this people'; but thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.'" Exodus 33:12
"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." (Hebrews 11:5)
"So it was until the days of David, who found favor in the sight of God" (Acts 7:45,46)
"And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." (1 John 3:22)
36. DOES OUR OBEDIENCE AND FAITH RECONCILE US TO GOD?
"Man, who has defaced the image of God in his soul by a corrupt life, cannot,
mere human effort, effect a radical change in himself. He must accept the provisions of the gospel; he must be reconciled to God through obedience to his law and faith in Jesus Christ" (Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 294).
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not
yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because
your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to
present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation" (Colosians 1:21, 22).
The first sentence in the Ellen White quote speaks for itself. "Man...cannot, by mere human effort, effect a radical change in himself." Her language seems quite clear here. She goes on: "He must accept the provisions of the gospel..." The "provisions" of the gospel are what reconcile us to God, and those provisions include empowerment to obey God's law. The full gospel provides both forgiveness and power, according to the Bible.
If we take issue with Ellen White's reference to obedience then we must take issue with the following texts:
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." 1 Peter 1:22
37. AS A CHRISTIAN DO I STILL STAND CONDEMNED BEFORE GOD?
"At the time the light of health reform dawned upon us, and since that
questions have come home every day, 'Am I practicing true 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" (Counsels on
Diet and Foods, pp. 19, 20).
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but
to save the
world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned" (John 3:17, 18).
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent
eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24).
D&D correctly show two of the conditions for us to remain out of condemnation. 1) To be "in Christ Jesus" and 2) to "believe" in Christ and the Father. Now let's consider what "in Christ" and "believe" really mean.
Ellen White's statement was about health. The Bible says:
"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Corinthians 3:17
This command is clear. Adventists believe that it is a sin to destroy your body through intemperance (smoking, drinking, destructive eating habits, etc.). This belief is based on the sixth commandment (Thou shalt not kill) as well as a host of other texts like the one above. The Bible definitely promotes Christian health, which is a study all in itself. In light of the above text, would one still be "in Christ" if he or she is intentionally defiling the temple of God. This goes back to the teaching of "once saved always saved" which is not supported by the Bible. Christ Himself taught that there will be those who were at one time "in Christ" but who chose not to maintain that relationship (see John 15:1-5; Matt. 7:21-23; Ezek. 18:24; Rev. 22:19). This relationship is not a one-time decision, but must be maintained daily (see 1 Cor. 15:31).
For many Christians the word "believe"
takes in far too little. The Scriptures tell us that even the devils "believe"
and tremble (James 2:19), but they are eternally lost. God isn't asking
us to merely believe that He is real and that Jesus was crucified 2,000 years
ago. He wants us to believe "every word that proceedeth
out of the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4). Do we believe that Jesus
is able to empower us (Jude 24, 1 Cor 10:13; 2 Cor 10:5; etc.)? If so,
then He will; if not, then we don't have faith, and thus do not really "believe"
(Matt. 9:29). It's quite simple. It is not for us to decide which
portions of God's promises we will believe and which we will doubt. The
condition that keeps us out of condemnation is to believe them all.
38. MUST I BE PERFECT BEFORE CHRIST WILL ACCEPT ME?
EGW: YES "From what was shown me, there is a great work to be accomplished for you before you can be accepted in the sight of God" (Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 84).
"You have a great work to do. ... It is impossible for you to be saved
as you are"
(Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 316).
"As you are, you would mar all heaven. You are uncultivated, unrefined,
unsanctified. There is no place in heaven for such a character as you now possess. ... You are further today from the standard of Christian perfection ... than you were a few months after you had
received the truth" (Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 465).
"Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive
Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians
"Accept. one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring
God" (Romans 15:7).
BIBLE: NO "God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them (the Gentile converts) by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith" (Acts 15:8-9).
The question asked was "Must I be perfect before Christ will accept me?" Of the three quotes listed only one has the word "perfection" in it and it says nothing about this being a condition before Christ accepts us. The other two quotes are not talking about perfection but about conditions which will be understood when we look at the quotes in their context.
Ellen White time and time again repeated the fact that we cannot change ourselves, and that we need to come to Christ just as we are for any changes. In fact, she even said we do not need to repent before coming to Christ, for it is He who gives us repentance (see Steps to Christ, p. 14,15; pocket version). Here she says that many err by thinking that they cannot come to Christ until they repent. Then on page 18 she says "If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better...There is help for us only in God." There are many examples just like this. On that same page she says that if we wait to be "good enough" to come to Jesus, we will never come, but to come as we are. Anyone who has read Ellen White's writings knows her very decisive position on this.
In all three cases she is talking to individuals, for their particular situation. We need to see what that situation is before we can know what she meant in the condensed quotes above.
Quote #1 "From what was shown me, there is a great work to be accomplished for you before you can be accepted in the site of God." (Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 84)
She goes on to say to this individual "Self is too prominent. You possess a hasty, passionate temper, and are arbitrary and overbearing in your family." Is Christ abiding in us if self is too prominent? (Can we serve two masters?) Does Christ consider a selfish heart (the essence of Satan's problem) "acceptable" or does this man need a great work to be accomplished for him by Christ? Did she say "you have a lot of work to do before you can go to Jesus"? No. Who does the work for us? Jesus does. This is in perfect harmony with the Bible. Not one person is "acceptable to Christ" in a selfish, overbearing condition. Only Universalists would debate this point. Did a "great work" need to be done for King Nebuchadnezzar before he was "accepted" by God, or was he just fine when he was setting up an idol and trying to burn God's faithful servants? The "great work" was accomplished for him by God in Daniel chapter 4.
Quote #2 "You
have a great work to do. ... It is impossible for you to be saved as you are"
(Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 316).
This page (316) clearly lays out what "great work" they (a couple) need to do. Not saving themselves, but quite the opposite: "Now Jesus invites you to come to Him, and to learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly in heart." When did EGW say they should go to Christ? Now. How much clearer can it be? Listen to this from the same page: "Oh, how important that you see the work to be done for you, before it shall be forever too late!" We do have a work in our salvation: coming to Christ and keeping our eyes on Him; He won't do that for us; He never forces the will. But all growth and victories in our lives come directly from Him. EGW continues: "The promise He has given you is sure, that you will find rest in Him." This hardly sounds like she is instructing them to work their way to perfection before going to Jesus. And the statement "It is impossible for you to be saved as you are" has nothing to do with perfection, but rather supports the biblical teaching that "Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts" (Hebrews 3:15). It was impossible for the Pharisees to be saved as they were; they needed Christ desperately. It was impossible for Saul/Paul to be saved as he was; he needed Christ desperately. It was impossible for you and I to be saved as we were before Christ, for all of our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). This is all in harmony with the Bible.
Quote #3 "As you are, you would mar all heaven. You are uncultivated, unrefined, and unsanctified. There is no place in heaven for such a character as you now possess. ... You are further today from the standard of Christian perfection ... than you were a few months after you had received the truth' (Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 465).
With this quote the subject changes from "Christ accepting me" to "perfection" or victory over sin. Here Ellen White is talking about the transformation of character that comes along after a person has come to Christ. Jesus clearly taught that those who come to Him, and even abide in Him for a while, but do not continue, will ultimately be lost (see John 15:2&6). Peter talks about those who accept Christ and then turn away. He says that it would have been better for them if they had never known the truth and likens them to a dog returning to his vomit (see 2 Peter 2:20-22). Jesus Himself talked about being "perfect." "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48) And Paul: "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you." (2 Cor. 13:11); "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" (Eph. 4:13); Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Philip. 3:12,15) And James: "But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:4) And Peter: "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." (1 Peter 5:10)
Adventist and non-Adventist Christians alike have debated just what is meant by these statements, but none denounce the prophets as being false for using such language. And no one in Adventism, including Ellen White, has ever taught that one must be perfect before coming to Christ. No such statement exists.
The issue here in quote #3 is victory over sin and the perfection of character which Christ (not us) works out in His children. But with this quote—as with the previous 2—if one reads the whole passage it is clear that Ellen White teaches that the help comes from Christ and we don't change ourselves.
In light of all EGW says about how
one comes to Christ, there is no more reason to attack her on these statements
than there is to call Paul a false prophet for admonishing us to "work
out our own salvation with fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12). We
need to look at all Paul said on the subject before we say he contradicts
the rest of Scripture.
39. DID JESUS ENTER THE MOST
HOLY PLACE OF THE HEAVENLY TEMPLE
BEFORE OCTOBER 22, 1844?
EGW: NO "I was
shown that ... the door was opened in the most holy place in the heavenly
sanctuary, where the ark is, in which are contained the ten commandments. This door was not
opened until the mediation of Jesus was finished in the holy place of the sanctuary in l844. Then
Jesus rose up and shut the door of the holy place, and opened the door into the most holy, and
passed within the second veil, where he now stands by the ark" (Early Writings, p. 42).
BIBLE: YES "The
point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat
down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the
true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man" (Hebrews 8:1, 2 written in 60 AD).
BIBLE: YES "He did
not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most
Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption"
written in 60 AD).
This first text listed says nothing about Jesus being in the Most Holy Place. God's "throne" can be wherever He wants it to be. It is a movable throne (can you imagine God being confined to any one place?), described as having "wheels" (Dan. 7:9). God's presence was not just manifest in the Most Holy Place in the Old Testament either. He was seen by the outer door of the Holy Place with Moses, for one thing (see Ex. 33:8-11). There needs to be some text that declares that God the Father was and is always in the Most Holy Place compartment of the heavenly sanctuary for Ellen White and Adventists to be wrong on this one. No such text exists.
The New International Version of the Bible renders the second text to say "Most Holy Place" while the King James simply says "Holy Place." What does it say in the Greek, though?
The only time the book of Hebrews speaks of the second apartment (Most Holy Place) specifically and on its own is in Hebrews 9:3, where it uses the Greek hagia hagion, and translates it correctly as "the holiest of all." In this text it does not say Jesus went there at His ascension; it is simply describing the earthly sanctuary. Nowhere in the entire book of Hebrews is hagia hagion used to tell us where Christ is in heaven. If He entered into the hagia hagion, why didn't Hebrews mention this even once?
40. ARE THE FORGIVEN SINS OF
THE SAINTS NOT BLOTTED OUT UNTIL THE
GREAT DAY OF FINAL AWARD?
YES "The blood of Christ, while it was to release
the repentant sinner from the
condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement. ... In the great day of final award, the dead are to be 'judged out of those things
which were written in the books, according to their works' (Revelation 20:12). Then by virtue of the
atoning blood of Christ, the sins of all the truly penitent will be blotted from the books of heaven"
(Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 357).
"I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more"
"I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and remembers
sins no more" (Isaiah 43:25).
BIBLE: NO "I will forgive their
wickedness and will remember their sins no more"
The Day of Atonement in Old Testament times pointed ahead to Christ's work in the Investigative Judgment. The Bible, Ellen White, and Adventism are all three correct in proclaiming this doctrine.
D&D again use texts which don't
prove the EGW quote wrong. These texts all say, in essence, that God will
forgive us and remember our sins no more. Forgiveness comes when we come
to Christ (1 John 1:9), but God does not wipe the memory of them from existence
until after the close of probation. These texts say nothing about when
this happens. Proof that their memory has not yet been blotted out is
found in the Bible stories themselves. Has David's sin with Bathsheba
been wiped from existence? Millions of people read about it every year.
Yes, when the great controversy between Christ and Satan finally ends, God will,
for all eternity, remember our sins no more; they will be wiped from existence.
As stated previously, what Jesus does with those sins in the meantime is His
business. We just need to give them to Him now.
41. DID PAUL LEARN THE GOSPEL FROM MEN IN THE CHURCH?
"Paul must receive instruction in the Christian faith and move accordingly.
sends him to the very disciples whom he had been so bitterly persecuting, to learn of them. ... Now
Paul was in a condition to learn of those whom God had ordained to teach the truth. Christ directs
Paul to His chosen servants, thus placing him in connection with His church. The very men whom
Paul was purposing to destroy were to be his instructors in the very religion that he had despised and persecuted" (Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 430).
"I want you to know, brothers, that the Gospel I preached is not something
made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation
from Jesus Christ. ... I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were
apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. Then
after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen
days. I saw none of the other apostles -- only James, the Lord's brother. I assure you before God
that what I am writing you is no lie" (Galatians 1:11-12, 16-20).
The Ellen White quote comes just after EGW had been describing the biblical account of Paul being struck blind on the road to Damascus. Listen to the words from the Bible itself:
"And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." Acts 9:6
This is never mentioned by D&D.
The fact is, Ellen White was correct that Christ did tell Paul to go
to the Christians and they would tell him what to do and help instruct him.
In the proof text given by D&D Paul is saying that he received what he did "by revelation from Jesus Christ." Does Ellen White deny this? No. From the same page that their EGW quote is taken from, she says this:
"Jesus directs him [Paul] to
His agents in the church for a further knowledge of duty. Thus He gives
authority and sanction to His organized church. Christ had done the work of revelation and conviction, and now Paul was in a condition to learn of those whom God had ordained to teach the truth. Christ directs Paul to His chosen servants, thus placing him in connection with His church." (Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 430)
Notice she said that Christ had done a work of "revelation and conviction." Ellen White and Paul are in perfect harmony that the truth about who Jesus really is (the "gospel") was revealed to Paul by Christ and the Holy Spirit. Ellen White didn't say that Paul learned all about the gospel from the disciples, but that Christ sent Paul to the organized church that he had been fighting to "receive instruction." Can a prophet of God who gets revelations directly from the Holy Spirit receive instruction from other humans? Of course. Just look at Samuel and Eli, David and Nathan, Moses and his father-in-law, and even Peter being corrected by Paul on one occasion. Paul is talking about the essence of the gospel, making it clear to the Galatians that he wasn't duped by the fables of men into believing what he did about Jesus, but that this was given to him supernaturally by the Holy Spirit. Does that mean that he received no instruction by the early church in regard to the practical things that they were doing and the direction in which they were going? Jesus could have healed Paul of his blindness just moments after afflicting him. He could have told him everything he needed to know right then and there, forgetting about the early church. But He did not do this. He wanted to connect Paul to them just as soon as possible, and it was through Ananias' miracle (by God's grace) that Paul's sight was restored. If one reads the pages before and after the EGW passage quoted, this becomes quite plain.
In Summary: Two things were
left out of the evidence: 1) EGW's statement about Paul receiving
revelation and conviction by Jesus Himself, and 2) The Bible text (Acts
9:6) which has Christ
telling Paul to go into the city to learn from the believers what he should do next. There is no contradiction when these portions are included.
42. WHAT IS "THE SEAL OF GOD"?
SABBATH "The enemies of God's law, from the
ministers down to the least among them, have a new conception of truth and duty.
Too late they see that the Sabbath of the fourth
commandment is the seal of the living God" (Great Controversy, p. 640).
BIBLE: HOLY SPIRIT "You
were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit"
BIBLE: HOLY SPIRIT "Do
not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the
day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30).
Most Bible translations other than NIV have Ephesians 1:13 in agreement with 4:30 on the fact that the Holy Spirit does the sealing. Adventists use these same texts all the time in Bible studies, for they help explain what the seal really is and Who does the sealing. God's seal involves the Holy Spirit in our hearts, Christ's character formed within, and God's name in our "foreheads"/minds (see Ephesians 1:13 & 4:30; Colossians 1:27; Revelation 7:3 & 14:1). When the mark of the beast is enforced, those who have the above three characteristics will choose to obey the Word of God rather than the laws of men even when faced with death (see Isaiah 24:1-6; Psalm 119:126; Revelation 14:12 & 12:11). They will keep God's Sabbath day holy. The Seal of God—like the Investigative Judgment—is a Bible study all in itself. The texts listed here do not disprove the belief that the Sabbath is God's seal in the final days. Ellen White summed up the relationship of the Holy Spirit and the seal of God this way:
43. ARE WE REQUIRED TO KNEEL EVERY TIME WE PRAY?
YES "Where have our brethren obtained the idea
that they should stand upon their feet
praying to God? One who has been educated about five years in Battle Creek was asked to lead in
prayer before Sister White should speak to the people. But as I beheld him standing upright upon his feet while his lips were about to open in prayer to God, my soul was stirred within me to give him an open rebuke. Calling him by name, I said, "Get down on your knees! This is the proper position
always" (Selected Messages, book 2, p. 311).
"Both in public and private worship, it is our duty to bow down before
we offer our petitions to Him" (Selected Messages, book 2, p. 311).
"To bow down when in prayer to God is the proper attitude to occupy"
Messages, book 2, p. 312).
"We need not wait for an opportunity to kneel before God. We can pray and
with the Lord wherever we may be" (Selected Messages, book 3, p. 266).
"It is not always necessary to bow upon your knees in order to pray"
Messages, book 3, p. 267).
BIBLE: NO "But
the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven,
beat his breast and said, "God have mercy on me, a sinner" (Luke 18:13).
BIBLE: NO "And
when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him so
your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25).
In the "Yes" quotes she is talking about corporate and private worship and in the "No" quotes she obviously means as we go about our daily business. The apostle Paul told us to "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thess. 5:17) Clearly he meant that we should have a frame of mind of prayer even when we are walking, working, or doing anything in life. We don't have to be on our knees every second of every day. This is what Ellen White meant here in the "No" references.
One reason Ellen White gives for
the necessity of kneeling is that of Bible examples. In Selected
Messages 2, p. 311 Ellen White gives 8 examples from both the New and Old Testament where people knelt to pray (and there are many more she didn't list).
Some argue that Ellen White herself stood many times when offering prayer at church, but let's look at one example of this and see if we can understand why they were standing:
"Ellen White and Audience Standing for Consecration Prayer.--Who now, I ask, will make a determined effort to obtain the higher education. Those who will, make it manifest by rising to your feet. [The congregation rose.] Here is the whole congregation. May God help you to keep your pledge. Let us pray." (Selected Messages 3, p. 269)
Is there not a difference between the way Ellen White did this and the pastor who just non-chalantly started into prayer while standing? EGW was asking them to stand to make a pledge before the Lord and they would then pray that the Lord would help them keep their pledge.
The Bible does have plenty of examples of kneeling in prayer (Psalm 95:6; Eph. 3:14; Dan 6:10; 2 Chron. 6:13; 7:3; 29:29; Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; 17:14; Luke 22:41; Acts 20:35,36, etc.). But what about those two texts D&D offer?
In the first text the tax collector not only stood but "beat his breast" also. Was Jesus giving a discourse in the proper manner to pray during worship or was He making a point about a self-righteous attitude in prayer versus one who recognizes his unworthiness?
And in that second text, the Greek word rendered "stand" (steko) is used — in every other text in the Bible — as a figure of being firm or stationary ("stand fast in the Lord" usually). The Greek word used to show that a person is literally on their feet as opposed to sitting is a totally different word (histemi). People do not always kneel when praying or speaking to God in the Bible, but Mark 11:25 is not referring to a physical position. If it were, then Christ's instructions would not apply to believers when they kneel in prayer, and obviously Christ was referring to anytime we pray.
There is no question that worship
services in most of our denominations today are becoming far less reverent than
in the past (in what we wear, how we act, what we say, the common chit-chat,
and the attitude in general). Ellen White wished to stem this tide by
promoting the biblical idea of reverent kneeling in the house of worship.
In light of the trends in church today, we would do well to heed her advice.
Ellen White and all of the Bible examples are correct that kneeling is quite
44. WILL PEOPLE BE LOST BECAUSE THEIR PASTOR IS UNTIDY?
"The loss of some souls at last will be traced to the untidiness of the
(Selected Messages, book 3, p. 25l).
BIBLE: NO "I will judge each of you according to his own ways" (Ezekiel 33:20).
"The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the
guilt of the
father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be
credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him" (Ezekiel 18:20).
Does Ellen White say here that the
person is lost strictly because of the minister's untidiness
in spite of the person's close relationship to the Lord? No. EGW is not saying that anyone can, in the judgment day, say "I'm lost solely because that pastor was untidy." But the point EGW is making is that the first impression is an important one and that some people, because of the untidy appearance of the pastor, may not want to come back to that church. The decision is theirs, but had he not been so unkempt and ungroomed they would have never taken those first steps down the trail they chose (which led to perdition and neglect of spiritual things). Ellen White only stated that the loss of this soul would be "traced" to that pastor's untidiness. She never said that he would be the sole cause of their lost condition. Ellen White is addressing the issue of being a stumbling block to someone and Paul talks about this himself (see 1 Cor. chapter 8).
We highly recommend reading the passages
before and after the EGW quote that was given here. This will clear things
right up and put them in their proper perspective (Selected Messages 3,
p. 251). Such ultra-short quotes usually tell us very little about the
45. IS IT A SIN TO BE SICK?
YES "It is a sin to be sick; for all sickness is
the result of transgression" (Counsels on
Health, p. 37).
"So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with
sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. ... In all this, Job did not sin" (Job 2:7, 10).
Here is the very next sentence after the above Ellen White quote.
"Many are suffering in consequence of the transgression of their parents. They cannot be censured for their parents' sin" (Counsels on Health, p. 37)
Here we clear up any notion that
everyone who gets sick is just paying the price for their own sins.
Many things are handed down and we have no control of that. If our parents and ancestors abuse their health (a pregnant mother on drugs or alcohol, for example) we end up being affected by it, fair or not. This is all still the result of violating God's laws of health and nature. In fact, there would BE NO SICKNESS if Adam and Eve hadn't sinned in the first place. God doesn't invent sickness, it is the result of living in a sinful world and is amplified by our own unhealthful practices. This is what she meant by calling it "sin." As we saw in her very next sentence, she didn't mean that by getting sick one has then and there committed a sin. All of the human health problems are the result of an accumulation of sins and violations of the health laws, no honest person can deny that.
The listed Bible text (Job 2:7,10)
shows Satan inflicting Job with sores, and obviously this was not
Job's fault. If Ellen White were saying what D&D are trying to prove that she's saying, then this text
(along with many others) would prove her wrong; but she's simply not saying that.
D&D add "It
is a matter of record that Ellen White was sick a lot --does that mean she sinned
a lot?" Much of Ellen White's poor health conditions
were the result of that tragic and nearly fatal accident as a child, but even
for the other times when she was sick, we need to understand what she was saying
(by reading the next sentence) before we call her a hypocrite or accuse her
of contradicting the Bible.
46. WILL GOD PREVENT THE WICKED
FROM KILLING HIS PEOPLE WHO
REFUSE TO RECEIVE THE MARK OF THE BEAST?
"God would not suffer (allow) the wicked to destroy those who were expecting
translations and who would not bow to the decree of the beast or receive his mark. I saw that if the
wicked were permitted to slay the saints, Satan and all his evil host and all who hate God, would be
gratified. ... The swords that were raised to kill God's people broke and fell powerless as a straw.
Angels of God shielded the saints" (Early Writings, pp. 284, 285).
"I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony
Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a
thousand years" (Revelation 20:4).
This has less to do with "contradictions"
and more to do with eschatology. Adventists believe in a close of probation.
Once probation closes then the death of God's faithful ones would serve no purpose,
for no one lost after their probation closes will go to the other side and be
(by the very definition of "probation"). The blood of martyrs would after that point sow no seed for the gospel (see Great Controversy, 634). Thus the Ellen White statement that D&D quote (Early Writings, 284,285) about God not allowing His faithful ones to be slain by the wicked is correct, for this is after the close of probation. The martyrs portrayed in the listed Bible text (Rev. 20:4) are those who are killed before the close of probation (see Manuscript Releases20, p. 14).
47. DO THE WICKED TRY TO REPENT
AS THEY EXPERIENCE THE SEVEN LAST
YES "The plagues were falling upon the inhabitants
of the earth. Some were denouncing
God and cursing Him. Others rushed to the people of God and begged to be taught how they might
escape His judgments (repentance). -- Those who had not prized God's Word were hurrying to and
fro, wandering from sea to sea, and from the north to the east, to seek the Word of the Lord
(repentance). ... What would they not give for one word of approval from God (repentance)! But
no, they must hunger and thirst on" (Early Writings, p. 28l). Note: the word "repentance" was added three times by D&D.
"They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God,
control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify Him. ... Men gnawed their tongues
in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to
repent of what they had done. ... and they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the
plague was so terrible" (Revelation 16:9-11, 21).
Notice the three places where D&D
insert the word "Repentance." This isn't talking about true
repentance at all, but rather trying to get out of the punishment that they have brought upon themselves. And even if Ellen White had used the word "repentance" this would not contradict the Bible, for it says of Esau "for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." (Heb. 12:17). This again is not sincere repentance or God would have forgiven him. This is the same sort of "repentance" that came from Judas' lips when he saw that Christ was not going to deliver Himself from condemnation (Matt. 27:3,4). This is the type of false repentance the lost will experience after the close of probation (see also Amos 8:11,12; Matt. 25:11,12).
D&D quote from Rev. 16:9-11 &
21 where the lost "curse God" because of the plagues, but this by
no means rules out the fact that millions of them will be trying to change their
tune after they see it's too late. This is human nature. Ellen White
doesn't contradict truth here any more than the Bible does when it speaks of
the "repentance" of Esau and Judas.
48. CAN SATAN ANSWER PRAYERS DIRECTED TO GOD?
EGW: YES "Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them (Christians) look up to the throne, and pray, 'Father, give us Thy Spirit.' Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence ..." (Early Writings, p. 56).
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your
much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11).
"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you
ask for, it will
be done for you by my Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:19).
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matt. 7:22,23)
If Jesus Himself claims He "never knew them" and yet they were casting out devils and doing wonderful works in His name, who was giving them the power to do this?
"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Psalm 66:18)
But Satan loves to listen to those who regard iniquity in their hearts.
"And he [the beast power] doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men" (Rev. 13:13)
This beast power is a religious, "Christian" power. Who is he "praying" to when this miracle happens?
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." (2 Cor. 11:14,15)
These are ministers of "righteousness"
and yet they are called "his" (Satan's). Who are they really
"Even him, [the beast/anti-christ power] whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thess. 2:9-12)
Again, the beast power is a religious power and yet he is able to work signs and wonders in the power of Satan. Then those who go along with this receive "strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." This means that they actually believe they are worshiping (and praying to) the true God -- the God who is answering all of their prayers with these marvelous signs and wonders.
"They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." John 16:2
Do you suppose these sincerely deceived people ever pray during this time mentioned? And who do you suppose is "hearing" them and helping them persecute the faithful ones?
D&D add: "The idea that Satan answers prayers address to our heavenly Father not only contradicts the Bible -- it also makes a complete mockery of the power of God." The Bible teaches that when Revelation 13 is fulfilled we will see lots of prayers miraculously answered by Satan.
Summary: Yes, Satan
can hear and send false miracles upon self-deluded "Christians" who
receive not a "love of the truth" (2 Thess 2:10). D&D list
two texts that say God answers our prayers. We readily agree, and Ellen
White consistently taught this.
49. WILL WE KNOW THE EXACT DAY AND HOUR OF CHRIST'S COMING?
YES "As God has shown me in holy vision ... we
heard the voice of God like many
waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming" (Early Writings, pp. 15, 34, 285).
"Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour"
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angles in heaven, nor
but only the Father" (Matthew 24:36).
Jesus Himself didn't know the "day
or the hour" when He was on the earth (Matt. 24:36), but He certainly does
now. Ellen White in the above quote is simply stating that God
will reveal this information to His "sealed" servants during the time
of trouble to give them comfort that their deliverance is near. There
are no Bible texts that say the redeemed will never know the day and
the hour of the Second Coming after the close of probation.
50. DOES JESUS RETURN TO EARTH AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT?
"It was at midnight that God chose to deliver his people. As the wicked
mocking around them, suddenly the sun appeared, shining in his strength, and the moon stood still"
(Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, p. 205).
"Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour"
"It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his
This is just not a contradiction.
It is not declaring the day or the hour in any sense of letting
us in on a specific time to look for the cloud coming down through the sky. This gives us no clues as to when Jesus will come—something Ellen White warned against doing time and time again. Are we going to stumble over the word 'hour' in Christ's statement? "Midnight" was the time that God went through Egypt during the tenth plague and killed all of the firstborn there (and in Israel if they did not have the blood on the doorpost) (Ex. 11:4; 12:29). In Christ's parable of the ten virgins, it was at midnight that the cry was made "Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him." (Matt. 25:6), and 5 of the virgins were unprepared. Job says "In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken without hand." (Job 34:20) Bible prophecies that use such symbolic language are scattered all through the Scriptures.
We need to understand that "midnight" has a deeper significance than just 12 AM in a certain time zone. First of all, if she meant a literal "midnight," then for which time zone? When it is midnight in Battle Creek it will be noon on the other side of the world (and if we really want to be technical, it will be midnight somewhere on the earth, no matter when Jesus comes: she is, however, talking about something much more than this).
Amos describes the end of the world thus: "And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day." (Amos 8:9) This text uses an "hour" in a way similar to Ellen White.
When Jesus literally comes to earth with all the holy angels our whole world will be thrown into such chaos that the sun and moon will not exactly be reliable as far as what time of day it is. The entire earth will be shaken and "turned upside down" (see Isaiah 24:1-6).
Ellen White's statement here is only
giving prophetic/symbolic information, and in Early Writings and Great
Controversy, similar statements show that she is talking about deliverance
from the death sentence, not Jesus returning to the earth at that moment.
This statement is in no way setting the "day or the hour" of the Second
Coming, this is quite plain.
51. WILL THE SAVED HAVE WINGS IN THE RESURRECTION?
"We gathered about Jesus, and just as He closed the gates of the city,
the curse was
pronounced upon the wicked. The gates were shut. Then the saints used their wings and mounted to
the top of the wall of the city" (Early Writings, p. 53).
"Who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control,
transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body" (Philippians 3:21).
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9
"Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Psalm 37:4
While it's true that the redeemed will be transformed to possess bodies like Christ's, this doesn't rule out the possibility of having wings. Paul was quite clear in the above text that God has prepared things for us beyond our limited imagination. Can we really picture, when we get to the New Jerusalem, watching the angels fly up to the top of the wall and knowing that we can never do such a thing?
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
52. COULD JESUS SEE THROUGH THE PORTALS OF THE TOMB?
EGW: NO "The
Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present
to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s
acceptance of the sacrifice"
(Desire of Ages p. 753).
Bible: YES "The Son of Man must
be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the
third day be raised again." (Luke 24:7 NIV) "Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will
raise it again in three days." (John 2:19 NIV) "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my
life--only to take it up again." (John 10:17 NIV) "No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my
own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I
received from my Father." (John 10:18 NIV)
Bible: YES ""Yes,
it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the
future you will
see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of
heaven."" (Mat 26:64 NIV)
Yes, Jesus did know the outcome throughout His ministry; that is not the issue. At that moment on the Cross, however, Satan was tempting Him far beyond anything that other humans will have to go through, and the Savior cried out "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Had God forsaken Him? The beauty of this is that Christ was willing to die for each one of us personally and never come out of the tomb again—He loved us that much. He did go through with the Plan because He knew that forsaking it would guarantee our loss of salvation, but His human feelings were telling Him that sin was so offensive to God that He might not come out again. Sin separates a soul from God (Isaiah 59:2). Now these are deep issues, of course. It's like trying to explain how God never had a beginning, and making it crystal clear. It's more than we can really grasp, but we do know that there was a terrible battle going on within Christ at that moment, and fortunately for us, He was faithful, come what may. We will stand behind EGW and the church's belief that Christ could not at that moment see through the portals of the tomb. We should remember that when He became human, He gave up (temporarily at least) some of His capabilities. In one place He revealed that He did not know the time of His own Second Coming, but the Father alone knew that (see Mark 13:32). This in no way lessens His position as God on earth.
Christ had to die the death that we should have died—the same death that the lost will die at the end of time. Do the lost at the end of time have a sense that their death will just be temporary and that they will soon be resurrected again? Or do they have a strange and horribly painful sense that they are being eternally separated from God, their Creator? If Jesus was truly to die our death — the death of the lost — then He had to experience exactly what they will and nothing less.
The chosen D&D texts are where
Jesus predicted that He would rise again, but as stated earlier, it was at
this moment on the Cross that Christ experienced this sensation and temptation
of being totally—in His own words— "forsaken" by the Father.
53. Did Enoch think to save Sodom?
EGW: Yes " He
[Enoch] did not make his abode with the wicked. He did not locate in Sodom,
thinking to save Sodom. He placed himself and his family where the atmosphere would be as pure
as possible. Then at times he went forth to the inhabitants of the world with his God-given message.
Every visit he made to the world was painful to him. He saw and understood something of the
leprosy of sin. After proclaiming his message, he always took back with him to his place of
retirement some who had received the warning. Some of these became overcomers, and died before the Flood came. But some had lived so long in the corrupting influence of sin that they could not endure righteousness (MS 42, 1900). S.D.A. Bible Commentary Vol. 1, page 1087, paragraph 10.
Bible: NO This statement contradicts
the Bible, as there is no reference to Sodom existing before
the flood. The first reference to Sodom is after the flood. There is no Bible truth that Enoch was
thinking about saving Sodom when it did not exist in Enoch's day. Why did the publishers of
Maranatha, leave out all EGW references to Enoch and Sodom? "He [Enoch] did not make his
abode with the wicked. . . . He placed himself and his family where the atmosphere would be as
pure as possible. Then at times he went forth to the inhabitants of the world with his God-given
message. . . . After proclaiming his message, he always took back with him to his place of retirement some who had received the warning." Maranatha p. 184.
This Ellen White statement was written in 1900. Patriarchs and Prophets (1890) and Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1 (1870) as well as a host of other sources, all show that Ellen White knew—long before this statement was made—the correct chronology of Enoch and Sodom. As in the case of the "Tower of Babel" allegation (see #7), we must ask ourselves one question: Would Ellen White negate all of what she had previously written in great detail with one sentence like this? Did she somehow after years of commentary on the book of Genesis, suddenly decide to put the literal city of Sodom before the Flood for some reason? The honest researcher would have to say no.
Ellen White used the word "Sodom" symbolically in this statement just as she did elsewhere and just as the Bible itself did:
"Let it be your study to select and make your homes as far from Sodom and Gomorrah as you can. Keep out of the large cities. If possible make your homes in the quiet retirement of the country, even if you can never become wealthy by so doing. Locate where there is the best influence." Adventist Home, p. 139. (Note: This was written to Adventists in 1897: three years before the "Enoch and Sodom" statement and thousands of years after literal Sodom had been destroyed. She was referring to spiritual Sodom in both instances.)
"And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." Revelation 11:8. (also written thousands of years after literal Sodom had been destroyed)
Considering 1) Ellen White's previous books which detail Enoch and Sodom in the correct chronological order, 2) Her symbolic use of the word "Sodom" elsewhere, and 3) The Bible's symbolic use of the word "Sodom," it seems clear that Ellen White understood the correct relation of Enoch and Sodom and in this statement does not contradict the Bible.
So why did the publishers of Maranatha
leave out this statement? This has nothing to do with the validity of
Ellen White's writings and neither does it prove that the Maranatha publishers
were being deceptive. The statement is confusing on the surface
and especially to those who may not have read Ellen White's other symbolic references
to Sodom or the use of the word in Revelation 11:8. The fact that this
statement was selected for inclusion in the widely read SDA Bible Commentary,
however, shows that the church has never tried to conceal it from anyone.
Of the 53 alleged contradictions not one was shown to actually contradict the Bible. Many of the statements were taken out of their context. Others were rejected by D&D because of the chosen wording. Still others were simply additional information. Some of the allegations were accurate representations of what Ellen White said, but her conclusions were rejected by D&D (the gluttony of Israel, the Seal of God, the Investigative Judgment, 40 days of temptations, etc.). Ellen White made mistakes, as all humans do (Rom. 3:23), but this list does not contain the evidence to prove she was a false prophet. We wish to extend the benefit of the doubt to brothers D&D and assume that they were simply not aware of the information provided herein (see Statements, Context, and Why We Shouldn't Misjudge the Critics). May God continue to lead us all into the truth and may we all press together as we near the final crisis.
—the Volunteers at Ellen-White.com