Will the Jews of Old’s Mistakes be Ours?

Jesus and Pharisees

About a year ago, I discovered an SDA online discussion site known as “Maritime Second Advent Believers Online”. The Spirit had me looking for more avenues to proclaim His current pleading message of Elijah. What I found was both good and bad.

Good,  because in rather quick fashion I was called out as a “Shepherd’s Rod” believer and certain ones commented how I was teaching falsehood and such. But unlike other SDA online sites, which usually boot people out who stand up for His Elijah message, the site stuck with me. And we’ve been able to receive some good and encouraging comments. Many reports have enlightened some on this site.

But the bad, is what this post will deal with. The experiences up to this point, on this Maritime site, have led me to notice a glaring HUGE mistake that is certainly widespread throughout the Seventh-day Adventist community. It’s an ancient mistake that we are told not to repeat.

In an article written by Stephen E. Robinson called “The Law after Christ” he wrote, “Among the Jews of Jesus’ day, esteem for the Law was so great that some even refused to accept anything but the five books of Moses as scripture. The Samaritans also rejected the idea of any scripture beyond the Law. Moreover, centuries of reverence for the Law as the revelation of God to Moses had created an almost fanatical devotion to its precepts in the hearts and minds of most Jews.

Thus, the Law of Moses was no longer perceived in Jesus’ day as an expression of God’s will; rather, for Jews the Law of Moses had gradually become identified as the divine will itself—perfect, absolute, forever unchanging and unchangeable. The Law was thought of as the will of God exactly, precisely expressed; therefore, any deviation at all from the letter of the Law of Moses was also deviation from God. There was no room for flexibility or “extenuating circumstances.”

Most of us would agree with that assessment. The underlying fact being that “Moses” was the end all for their guidance and even salvation. In other words, no matter how clear and truthful Christ’s teachings were, they could not be relied on because God had spoken through Moses, and that concluded all that was needed by the Jews!

How then does this serious mistake and spiritual blind spot apply to us today as SDA?

Many of us believe that Ellen White as founding prophetess of our church is a type of “end all”. Just as the Jews thought Moses was! What she says is all-encompassing, there is no more truth needed by our church.

“We know that God spake unto Moses:as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.”(John 9:29)

Are we today saying this exact sentiment to those who bring up the true end time spokesman for the Lord–Victor T.Houteff? “We know Ellen White but we don’t know this Victor Houteff “, many say.

On the SDA maritime website, I have seen several comments to this effect. No matter how much truth is revealed in Victor’s words, they bypass it as if to say “We are rich, and don’t need anything more, we have Ellen White and Scripture.”

How little do they realize that their own prophetess, they dearly hold on to,  said the following–

“Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented,many do not ask, Is it true–in harmony with God’s word? but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas that they will not examine the Scripture evidence with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices.”(Testimonies to Ministers, p.106-107)

“Truth is eternal, and conflict with error will only make manifest its strength. We should never refuse to examine the Scriptures with those who, we have reason to believe, desire to know what is truth. Suppose a brother held a view that differed from yours, and he should come to you, proposing that you sit down with him and make an investigation of that point in the Scriptures; should you rise up, filled with prejudice, and condemn his ideas, while refusing to give him a candid hearing?

The only right way would be to sit down as Christians and investigate the position presented in the light of God’s word, which will reveal truth and unmask error. To ridicule his ideas would not weaken his position in the least if it were false, or strengthen your position if it were true. If the pillars of our faith will not stand the test of investigation,it is time that we knew it. There must be no spirit of Pharisaism cherished among us.”(Ibid, p.108)

“When a message comes in the name of the Lord to His people, no one may excuse himself from an investigation of its claims. No one can afford to stand back in an attitude of indifference and self-confidence, and say: “I know what is truth. I am satisfied with my position. I have set my stakes, and I will not be moved away from my position, whatever may come. I will not listen to the message of this messenger; for I know that it can not be truth.” It was from pursuing this very course that the popular churches were left in partial darkness, and that is why the messages of heaven have not reached them.” (Testimonies on Sabbath School work, p.65)

The course of the Jews, at the leadership of the Pharisees, was to condemn the beautiful and powerful “new truths” that Jesus revealed to them. Only the few had the moral courage and deep love to listen hard and “investigate” the matter.

It is no different today. Christ, who promised us the “Elijah” to come (Mal. 4;5), is going up against His people , through His spokesman the Elijah,  all over again. Except the names have changed, it’s Ellen White instead of Moses this time.

Inspiration has a few things to say about  following “man” or in this case “woman” to the neglect of advancing Truth.

“Every age has had its multitude who, instead of being baptized to follow Christ and His Truth, were baptized to follow man. They joined the multitude in the church instead of the multitude in heaven. Consequently, Christ is a stranger to them, and when truth unfolds, they call it error, then follow men and reject the truth. This folly has been repeated again and again, with the result that the few faithful ones who have followed Christ and His truth, have been cast out of the churches and compelled to start all over again.

So it is today. But to these outcasts of Zion, comes the solacing voice: “Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at His word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” Isa. 66:5. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Isa. 52:7.(Answerer, vol. 3, Q-55)

The following applicable Q and A should forever settle the question why we cannot expect our beloved prophetess to have spoken all the light that was to come to God’s people. While a bit long, it is well worth reading.

WILL THE KINGDOM BE SET UP BEFORE THE MILLENNIUM?

Question No. 42:

“The Great Controversy,” pp. 322, 323, teaches that “not until the personal advent of Christ can His people receive the kingdom….But when Jesus comes, He confers immortality upon His people; and then He calls them to inherit the kingdom of which they have hitherto been only heirs.” Will you please help harmonize the Bible and “The Shepherd’s Rod” with these and other passages in Sister White’s writings in regard to the setting up of the Kingdom?

Answer:

Although the doctrine of the Kingdom may not appear quite so complete under the lens of Sister White’s writings as under the lens of the Rod, one dare not thus superficially reject either, but must the more studiously compare both views of the doctrine under the super-lens of the Bible. He must keep in mind that we are not given license to harmonize the Bible with any other writings, but are charged to measure all others by It.

First of all, in order to do justice to the Scriptures, to Sister White’s writings, and to the Rod the position of each on the subject must be viewed in the light of the Scriptures, which incontrovertibly teach that the Promised Land will be reinhabited by the Lord’s own converted people. (See Isaiah 2; Micah 4, Ezekiel 36, 37 Jeremiah 3 1-33).

As to Sister White’s statement in The Great Controversy, she is there speaking of the Kingdom complete, after the dead are raised, at the time the saints receive it. This was the only phase of the subject–the consummate phase–that Providence had made known when she wrote. Now as the scroll of prophetic Truth has unrolled further since her day, the Kingdom in reality is seen to have an intermediate, Davidian phase, as well as the final one heretofore known.

Besides the prophecies relating to the literal–the Davidian–Kingdom, the Bible contains many other prophetic subjects which the writings of Sister White do not even mention, let alone treat of. And if the Lord does not now reveal them to the church to meet her need today she will not be prepared for their fulfillment but will be left to perish in her undone Laodicean condition. These prophecies must therefore be revealed in order to strengthen the church in her final warfare. Otherwise, for what purpose were they written?

No prophet of God has ever forged a complete prophetic chain of events, with no links missing. It has taken many inspired writers to complete the long chain of prophecy. The mind, therefore which takes the position that Sister White has done what no prophet in or out of the Bible has ever done, does so at the utter disregard of actual Biblical procedure and also of revealed Truth.

She herself says that “no man, however honored of Heaven, has ever attained to a full understanding of the great plan of redemption, or even to a perfect appreciation of the Divine purpose in the work for his own time. Men do not fully understand what God would accomplish by the work which He gives them to do; they do not comprehend, in all its bearings, the message which they utter in His name.”–The Great Controversy, p. 343.

Some persons, being of the parrot kind, utter parrot-like statements, never stopping to think what they say, and seemingly never caring whether their statements stand or fall. Such are they who say that no other event or events can come before, between, or after those set forth in Sister White’s writings.

Should one insist that the continuity of events recorded in Early Writings, pp. 15-17, must be taken as absolute, and that no other event or events can be sandwiched in, then he is getting himself into deep water, for the pages mentioned in no wise even intimate either the seven last plagues or the millennium!

Again: the Jews rejected the Lord because not all of what the prophets taught and wrote was found in the teachings of Moses. “We know,” they said, “that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence He is.” John 9:29.

As no prophet’s writings ever predicted the entire Truth needed by the church to carry her clear through to the Kingdom, and as other prophets followed, either enlarging upon or adding to the prophecies already recorded in the Scriptures, then for anyone to turn down the good tidings of the Kingdom on the grounds that this phase of the Kingdom is not found in Sister White’s writings is for him to take the same inexcusable and fatal stand as did the Jews. It is to say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Rev. 3:17. It is this attitude that compels God to spue out of His mouth the lukewarm, satisfied Laodiceans.

The eleventh-hour message has been timed and designed to reveal the Davidian Kingdom rising a new before the appearing of Christ in the clouds. Having no direct light, however, on this phase of the Kingdom, The Great Controversy could no more have expressed itself in the definite terms which the message today uses, than could William Miller have expressed himself on the subject of the cleansing of the sanctuary, in such terms as we read in The Great Controversy.

Of necessity, any statements relative to a subject which is still out of sight in the unfolding of the Scroll, are made only in incidental terms of truth as it is at the time seen or commonly understood. And if the common understanding of these incidental statements be wrong, the writer cannot be held responsible for that which he has borrowed from others or seen but very dimly and therefore expressed very indefinitely.

For example, in Christ’s day “the doctrine of a conscious state of existence between death and the resurrection was held by many of those who were listening to Christ’s words. The Saviour knew of their ideas, and He framed his parable so as to inculcate important truths through these preconceived opinions. He held up before His hearers a mirror wherein they might see themselves in their true relation to God. He used the prevailing opinion to convey the idea He wished to make prominent to all….”–Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 263.

This circumstance is natural and common to every writer treating of Present Truth, beginning with the Old Testament writers, and continuing ever since, and will thus be until every component part of the Truth is made known. This is borne out in the work of John the Baptist. He was to proclaim, not the setting up of the Kingdom, but the coming of the King.

But in announcing the one, he incidentally had to answer questions concerning the other. When speaking of the coming King, he expressed himself in terms of revealed Truth. But when circumstantially alluding to the coming Kingdom, on which there was no special light in his day, he necessarily expressed himself in terms of the doctrines as then commonly understood.

Nevertheless, when the further unrolling of the scroll revealed that the Kingdom was not to be set up at that time, then the honest, truth-seeking ones did not accuse either John or Christ, but joyously watched the scroll unfold, and jubilantly marched on with the Truth. Not so, though, with the vast majority of the Jews. Their pride of opinion, forbidding them to forgo their errors and to embrace advancing Truth, led them deeper into error.

“Thus it was,” says the Spirit of Prophecy, “that the Jews did in the days of Christ, and we are warned not to do as they did, and be led to choose darkness rather than light, because there was in them an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.”–Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, p. 66; Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 30.

So The Great Controversy and Early Writings make the subject of the Kingdom just as clear as the partial unrolling of the scroll permitted the writer to view it, in only one of its phases, at the time she wrote both books.

While The Great Controversy may omit showing that the establishment of the Kingdom and the inheriting of it are two different events, elsewhere the Spirit of Prophecy does do so: While the apostles, it says, “were not to behold the coming of the kingdom in their day, the fact that Jesus bade them pray for it, is evidence that in God’s own time it will surely come.

“The Kingdom of God’s grace is now being established, as day by day hearts that have been full of sin and rebellion yield to the sovereignty of His love. But the full establishment of the kingdom of His glory will not take place until the second coming of Christ to this world. ‘The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven,’ is to be given to ‘the people of the saints of the Most High.'”-Mount of Blessing, p. 159.

Every Christian should remember that as the Truth is ever-advancing, It will not be found today where It was yesterday, and that therefore Christ’s followers must advance with It. They will not follow the examples of the Jews and the Romans.

When Moses wrote the first part of the Bible, he was not given all the light which God intended to reveal to His people through the ages. With each approaching hour for the Truth to advance, came first one prophet, then another, in a long succession ending with John the Baptist. Then came Christ, the apostles, the reformers, William Miller, and Sister White, each one in turn teaching truths which could not be borne out entirely by the writings of any one predecessor. To find all the Truth thus progressively revealed, the writings of all must be collaborated.

For instance, in setting forth the law of the Passover, and in commanding its observance Moses wrote: “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.” Ex. 12:5, 6.

The reason which Moses assigns for the Passover observance is that it is to commemorate Israel’s going out of Egypt (Deut. 16:1-3). John the Baptist, however, imputes its significance to the coming of Christ, “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29), while the apostles assign it to His crucifixion: “For even Christ our passover,” says Paul, “is sacrificed for us.” 1 Cor. 5:7. And the significance of keeping the Passover, he then attaches to the ordinance of the Lord’s supper (1 Cor. 11 :26).

Similarly, Moses did not explain that the Levitical priesthood in the earthly sanctuary (Ex. 40:15) was only a provisional and thus a temporary one, a figure of Christ’s priesthood in the heavenly sanctuary, as the apostles explained (Heb. 6:19, 20; 9:12, 26).

Failing to advance with the advancing Truth, each generation of Jews found fault with its respective prophets, culminating with the apostles and the very Son of God Himself. The Jews justified their criminal actions on the ground that the claims of their prophets, of Christ, and of the apostles, were not founded upon Moses’ writings. So while boasting of Moses’ writings, they denied and killed the prophets who came after him–a solemn warning to us, lest doing as they did, we meet their fate!

The main question therefore is not as to whether Sister White’s or Moses’ or this one’s or that one’s writings contain all the messages for this day, but rather simply as to whether they are found in, and supported by, the Bible.

The Rod consequently does not claim that its message is found in its entirety in the writings of any one particular prophet, but rather in the writings of all the prophets–“here a little, and there a little.” Isa. 28:13.

Let none, therefore, treacherously use Sister White’s writings, as the Jews used  Moses’ writings, against the advance of Truth, and to their own eternal hurt. From every angle approached, the Bible clears the subject of the Kingdom, making impossible one’s erring if he follows precisely what the Word says concerning it….”(Answerer, vol. 2, Q-42)

Let us ask ourselves the following soul searching questions:

1) Do we really believe that the Lord stopped His messages through prophets, with Ellen White? If so, then we must throw out the Lord’s promise to bring a prophet to us “before the great and dreadful day of the Lord”–the “Elijah”(Mal. 4:5-6).

2) If we throw out His promise, then can we be held guiltless for ignoring the message that was promised to come? Did the Lord ever hold blameless any of His people for rejecting His prophets of the past? The Lord does not change (Mal.3:6)

3) if the Jews were lost because of failing to advance with the Truth, are we then to be considered safe, if we do the same by ignoring or rejecting, the man who professed to bring the Elijah message to our church? Investigate my dear brethren–Investigate!

In closing, let us remember that the Jews of old made a fatal mistake–they trusted in their “man” Moses to the exclusion of God’s advanced Truth. Ellen White brought us tremendous beautiful truths, of which we are eternally thankful for. But she was not the “Elijah” that was to come and “restore all things”. She set the table for the Lord’s last prophet to speak the truth of His soon to come church judgment and His soon to come Kingdom. Let us be ever ready to listen and heed–advancing Truth.

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One Response to “Will the Jews of Old’s Mistakes be Ours?”

  1. Wilfred Ondande Says:

    True!

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