PART-TIME CHRISTIANS VS FULL-TIME SATAN


Someone once said, “part-time Christians can not defeat full-time Satan.” Who will deny this truth? Satan have a perfect understanding of our spiritual state and he will do all he can to prevent us from knowing our spiritual condition. We are in a Laodicean state of lukewarmness.

“Satan well knows that all whom he can lead to neglect PRAYER and the searching of the SCRIPTURES, will be OVERCOME by his attacks. Therefore he invents every possible device to engross the mind.”– The Great Controversy, p.519

YOU and I spend 3 hours a day, atleast, with our phone.

2 hours talking nonsense with people whom you should be leading to Christ.

2 hours watching soap operas, hollywood, nollywood, bollywood, gollyhood, robinhood, “porn-hood” and all the woods in the forest of worldliness.

We spend 6 hours atleast for sleeping and naps which it is a good thing to do.

10 hours working for our daily bread, some in banks, consulting firms, oil companies, schools, market place, shops etc

But less than 10 minutes with GOD and we expect to be overcomers!

Do you think Satan is a FOOL? He is perfectly studying your weak point? Like an hurricane or earthquake, he will come in like a flood to sweep us away.

“Satan is constantly at work; but few [Christians] have any idea of his activity and subtlety. The people of God must be prepared to withstand the wily foe. It is this resistance that Satan dreads. He knows better than we do the limit of his power and how easily he can be overcome if we resist and face him.”–Maranatha, p.60.

Leave all that you are doing NOW.

Spend just 10minutes with God NOW, asking him for grace and strength to be a full-time Christian. Confess to him your sins and acknowledge your sinfulness and weakness. Tell him about your struggles to overcome SIN, SATAN, and the WORLD.

Satan is watching you and he seeks to overcome you in your weakest point.

It is perfectly true that Satan is stronger than you. Infact who are we? If Satan could tempt Jesus, the Son of God, with the fiercest temptations man can never bear, he is able to tempt and harass us.

But read this, it is the promise from God to weak and fallen humanity:

“Through divine strength the weakest saint is more than a match for him (Satan) and all his angels, and if brought to the test he would be able to prove his superior power.”– Maranatha, p. 60.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

BE SERIOUS WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE, JUST AS MUCH AS SATAN IS SERIOUS WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE TO SIFT YOU AWAY.

Investigative Judgment and the Blotting out of sin


This is just a short study about the blotting out of sin. The reader is advised to do his or her own personal thorough study of this grand subject. There is a lot to include but that will be left for future study. This should be seen as an introduction to future studies on different aspect of this subject such as the time of the judgment of the dead and the living, when will probation close for the church of God and the general public, the mark of the beast and seal of God, the latter rain and loud cry etc. I will only focus on the blotting out of sin of the righteous during the investigative judgment time period.

The gospel without Judgement is an incomplete gospel. In fact it is “another gospel” which is different from what Paul preached (Gal 1:6-9). Paul preached the complete gospel of Christ which comprises of righteousness, temperance and judgment.

“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Acts 24:24-25.

The judgment brings fear to unrepentant sinners as it does to Felix, but peace of mind to the righteousness in Christ as it does to David. For David said:

“Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. 2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” Psalms 26:1-2.

Therefore, the Judgement is intrinsically part of the gospel. No wonder the everlasting gospel preached by the first Angel message of revelation 14:6, 7 include in it the judgement our message.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Rev 14:6-7.

But the question is: Which Judgement are we talking about? We have the investigative judgement, millennial Judgement and executive judgement. The first occupies our present focus, while the latter two will be discuss in future studies.

God shall judge both the righteous and the wicked at an appointed time. Every purpose and every work of both the classes shall be judged.

“And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. 17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” Eccl 3:16-17.

But both the righteous and the wicked shall not be judged at the same time. They shall be judge at different time. The judgment will begin with the dead righteous and move to the living righteous. Then when the righteous dead and living are judged and rewarded with the touch of immortality at Christ second coming, the judgement will pass to wicked, both humans and angels, during the millennial time period.

During the millennial time period, the saints shall partake in the judgement of the wicked. Thus this means that the saints must have pass the test of the judgement before they can sit in the judgement with Christ to judge the wicked. The following text proves that the saints shall partake in the judgement of the wicked humans and angels with Christ.

“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” 1 Cor 6:2-3

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Rev 20:4

“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” Dan 7:21-22

If the above is true, that means the saints do not partake of the judgment of the wicked until their own case have been decided and they have been given immortality and they are seated with Christ on his throne of glory. (1 Cor. 15:42-44, 51-53).

The righteous must have been tested and examined and screened before they can be accounted worthy of immortality. Therefore, those who are accounted worthy at Christ second coming must have been screened prior to his coming with his reward in his hand. This period when the saints are tested, screened, and examined is called the investigative judgment time period which must precede the savior’s coming in the mid-air and the gathering of the saints.

The righteous must have overcome all of their defects and their sins must have been blotted out at this investigative time period before Christ comes to reward the saints. When the sins of the righteous are blotted out, they can no more remember them. All our sins are written in a book called the book of sin, although it is not specifically called the book of sin but these text indicate a marking down of or sins in a book. (Jer 2:22; Deut 32:34; Rom 2:5, 6). When the sins are blotted out both in life and in the book before the coming of Christ, this signifies that the saints will live before Christ as holy and blameless and shall not remember the sins anymore.

David prayed that his sins shall be blotted out. (Ps 5:19). Nehemiah and David prayed that the wicked sins should be retained or remembered and not be blotted out. (Neh. 4:5; Ps 109:14). When our sins are blotted out, it brings newness of life which will lead to glorification (Isaiah 44:22, 23). And God remembers them no more when it is blotted out in life and in the book. (Isaiah 43:25).

It is this time of refreshing we need to send up our sins to Christ that they may be blotted out in life and in the book. Only those whose sins are fully blotted out will have their name retained in the book of life and be rewarded with immortality. (Rev 3:5). We must fully overcome all sins during this investigative judgement hour before we can partake in the millennial judgment of the wicked humans and angels. I pray the Lord make us fit through Christ righteousness. Amen!

WHAT SHALL I DO ON THIS VALENTINE’S DAY?


For those who personally know me, I don’t believe in the Celebration of any pagan Holidays such as Christmas, New years, Easters, Sunday sacredness, even VALENTINE etc. But i have recently noticed the great importance of these pagan holidays to us as Christians.

Someone might rashly ask: “Why don’t you celebrate these holidays Mr Seyi?”

As I have humbly replied in the past, I reply again: “They are pagan and has satanic roots.”

But I have personally noticed over the years and also believe that God has allowed these pagan practices creep into the church for certain reasons:

1. To awaken the sleeping Laodicea Christians to the subtleness of Satan, the serpent of old, in making a shipwreck of our faith.

2. To give us opportunities in reaching out to the world but not to be partakers of its practices.

3. To make it a pleasant day for the poor and the afflicted by reaching out to them with foods, clothings, and Christian literatures.

4. To help family and friends keep their relationship burning as they live in the midst of this busy and occupied world where they often and tirelessly seek to make money and neglect quality time with each other.

Most professed Christians, like me, have not fully utilized the great opportunities of these PAGAN HOLIDAYS. All we rather see is Satan, negativity and how we can rashly teach others the satanic root behind them forgetting that this is a great avenue to win souls to Christ if properly done in the spirit of christ.

We can reach out to souls in a greater degree through this means than any other evangelistic method if we prepare our mind to do so through the help of Christ.

DO YOU KNOW?

Do you know that without the existence of these pagan holidays most Christians in nations, like my belove Nigeria, might not have days off at work. Many of us would be so preoccupied with ourself that we forget to have some days off from work for relaxation and to have precious time with families and friends?

Someone might say: “But we have the Sabbath as the day of rest.”

And I reply: “Yes it is true that the Sabbath is a day of rest if kept by the grace of christ. But who among us are actually keeping the sabbath as God ordained it in Eden?”

As an Adventist it is on the Sabbath day that the departments of the church fix all their meetings such as AYM, AMO, AWM, Singles ministries, sabbath school council meetings, and all other meetings that burdens the sabbath. Most times we do not find time to spend with our friends and family in nature as inspiration has instructed us to do, but we are often busy with church activities like Martha.

These holidays, though Pagan, have been given to us as an avenue to reach out to souls and tell them about Christ.

But it is unfortunate that many of us use this period of time only to condemn those practicing it without using this period to lead them to christ.

Don’t get me wrong.

It is good we tell the world the pagan link of all these holidays and teach them not to celebrate them as the world does.

But do you also know that the birthdays we celebrate in churches and in our houses have pagan origin? Nevertheless we all thank God on this day because our attention is not on self but on God for keeping us alive.

Therefore in like manner, we all can divert the attention of those who celebrates this pagan holidays from self to God by a determined effort to witness for Christ on this day.

PAUL USED THIS METHOD OF WITNESSING

Acts 17

22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

The Bible gave us the result of Paul using this method:

Acts 17

32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. . .

34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

ELLEN G. WHITE COUNSEL

“When you have a holiday, make it a pleasant and happy day for your children, and make it also a pleasant day for the poor and the afflicted. Do not let the day pass without bringing thanksgiving and thank offerings to Jesus.”– counsels on stewardship, 297.

“I saw that our holidays should not be spent in patterning after the world, yet they should not be passed by unnoticed, for this will bring dissatisfaction to our children.”– Adventist Home, 472.

“Would it not be well for us to observe holidays unto God, when we could revive in our minds the memory of His dealing with us? Would it not be well to consider His past blessings, to remember the impressive warnings that have come home to our souls so that we shall not forget God?. . .

The world has many holidays, and men become engrossed with games, with horse races, with gambling, smoking, and drunkenness….

Shall not the people of God more frequently have holy convocations in which to thank God for His rich blessings?”– Adventist Home, 476.

The holidays are approaching. In view of this fact, it will be well to consider how much money is expended yearly in making presents to those who have no need of them. The habits of custom are so strong that to withhold gifts from our friends on these occasions would seem to us almost a neglect of them. But let us remember that our kind heavenly Benefactor has claims upon us far superior to those of any earthly friends. Shall we not, during the coming holidays, present our offerings to God? Even the children may participate in this work. Clothing and other useful articles may be given to the worthy poor, and thus a work may be done for the Master.”– Messages to Young People, 311

In conclusion:

Let us avoid following the traditions and abominations of the world but let us use all opportunities in our disposal, even opportunities like this VALENTINE DAY, to tell someone about the sacrificial Love of Christ for the dying sinful world.

IDENTIFYING CHRIST BIRTHDAY: A BIBLE STUDY ON CHRISTMAS (Part 3)


WAIT A MINUTE! You need to study Part 1 and Part 2 before moving further.

In part 1 we identified the Priestly order among the 24 courses ordained by King David and we also saw from the Bible the various  months in the Jewish calendar. It would be advisable to study part 1 before studying part 2. The two tables in Part 2 summarizes part 1.

Also in part 1, we  clearly said that, “To understand Christ birth, we need to understand his cousin’s birth, John the Baptist. The Birth of John the Baptist will shed more light on Christ birth. Malachi wrote about John as the messenger that will prepare the way of the Lord.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” Mal 3:1.

Apostle John also wrote about John the Baptist:

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” John 1:6-8.

John was to bear witness of Jesus and we could see in part 1 and part 2 that his birth bore witness of Christ birth as well. We concluded that Jesus must have been given birth during the 7th month of Tishri (September-October) not the generally accepted month of December 25th which from our study could likely be the month of His conception not birth. But let us see other evidences from Scripture and History.

Q: Why was Jesus named Immanuel?

The various evidences we saw in part 1 and part 2 has destroyed December 25th theory of Christ birth but we have other evidences to prove that this December 25th theory is totally wrong.

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Immanuel means “God with us” Matt 1:23. Jesus Christ is the son of God and in Him was the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9). Therefore Christ was God in verity. He came to dwell or Tabernacle with us by partaking of the seed of Abraham (Heb 2:16) and of our flesh and blood (Heb 2:14) and did not take the nature of Angels.

John wrote that Jesus Christ, “dwelt among us.” John 1:14. The very word “dwelt” in Greek is skenoo which means “to make tent or encamp. To Tabernacle among us.” We have identified the likely date of Christ birth as 15th Tishri which is the beginning of the feast of Tabernacle. The feast of Tabernacle was celebrated because of the deliverance of Israel from the Egyptian bondage.

“Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” Lev 23:42-43.

There is no coincidence with the Lord. He is a master planner. He sent his Son right on time to tabernacle with His people during the time of the feast of Tabernacle to become “God with us.”

Q: Why was there no room in the inn for Jesus earthly parents?

Luke 2:7-11 gives another strong evidence that the feast of Tabernacle was celebrated during Christ birth.

“And she [Mary] brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:7-11.

Why was there no room in the inn for Jesus earthly parents? The reason being that all the men in Israel has come to Temple in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacle/ booths that was required by the Law of Moses. All the rooms had been occupied.

“Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.” Ex 23:17

“And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end. 23 Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.” Ex 34:22-23.

Q: What were the Israelite to do when they attend the feast of in-gathering or tabernacle?

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD . . .  Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” Lev 23:33-34, 42-43.

During this feast of ingathering, everyone was to live in a temporary Booths (Tents or Sukkoth) as a memorial of their deliverance from Egypt.

Jesus birth typify the coming deliverance of God’s people out of the Slavery of Sin and worldliness because Jesus dwelt in a temporary place called a manger.

The feast of Tabernacle is an eight day feast (Lev 23:36, 39). If Jesus was born on the 15th day of the month of Tishri (September – October) which was the day the feast began, then this might be the reason why the Child Jesus was dedicated by performing circumcision on the 8th day. The 8th day was also the last day of the feast of Tabernacles, which falls on a Sabbath Day

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” Luke 2:21.

Q: What about the shepherd?

I hope we enjoyed the fascinating Bible facts and evidences. Am sure many have not taken their time to look into this prior to this time. The Old Testament is the key in understanding the New Testament, we cannot ignore the Old Testament. Let us now move to some other facts and this time we would look at the season during that period.

“It is well-know among Biblical scholars that Jesus was not born in December, because the shepherds were never out in the fields with their sheep at that time.”[1] “The Gospels do not indicate when Christ was born. That the shepherds were watching their flocks in the fields at night (Luke 2:8), eliminates December. Because of cold weather and chilling rains at that time, sheep would not be unsheltered in the open at night.”[2]

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11.

Adam Clark has this to say:

The reason why they watched them in the field appears to have been, either to preserve the sheep from beasts of prey, such as wolves, foxes, etc., or from freebooting banditti, with which all the land of Judea was at that time much infested. It was a custom among the Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts, about the passover, and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain: during the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As the passover occurred in the spring [March-April], and the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan [or Bul], which answers to part of our October and November, we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole of the summer. And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could he have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact, which casts considerable light upon this disputed point. See the quotations from the Talmudists in Lightfoot.”[3]

Charles J. Ellicott also commented on Luke 2:8 as follows:

“The fact has been thought, on the supposition that sheep were commonly folded during the winter months, to have a bearing adverse to the common traditional view which fixes December 25 as the day of the Nativity. At that season, it has been urged, the weather was commonly too inclement for shepherds and sheep to pass the night in the open air, and there was too little grass for pasturage. In summer, on the other hand, the grass on the hills is rapidly burnt up. The season at which the grass is greenest is that just before the Passover (Mark 6:39; John 6:10); and, on the whole, this appears the most probable date. The traditional season, which does not appear as such till the fourth century, may have been chosen for quite other reasons—possibly to displace the old Saturnalia, which coincided with the winter solstice. It is noticeable that the earliest Latin hymns connected with the festival of Christmas dwell on the birth as the rising of the Sun of Righteousness on the world’s wintry darkness.”[4]

To be continued in Part 4 . . .

 

 

 

[1] Vance Ferrell, The real story behind: Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, p. 4.

[2] Gerhard Pfandl, Seventh-Day Adventist and Christmas, Newsletter.

[3] Clarke, Adam. “Commentary on Luke 2:4”. “The Adam Clarke Commentary”. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-2.html. 1832.

[4] Ellicott, Charles John. “Commentary on Luke 2:4”. “Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers”. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-2.html. 1905.

 

IDENTIFYING CHRIST BIRTHDAY: A BIBLE STUDY ON CHRISTMAS (Part 2)


WAIT A MINUTE! You need to study Part 1 before moving further.

In part 1 we identified the Priestly order among the 24 courses ordained by King David and we also saw from the Bible the various  months in the Jewish calendar. It would be advisable to study part 1 before studying part 2. The two tables below in this present article summarizes part 1.

Also in part 1, we  clearly said that, “To understand Christ birth, we need to understand his cousin’s birth, John the Baptist. The Birth of John the Baptist will shed more light on Christ birth. Malachi wrote about John as the messenger that will prepare the way of the Lord.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” Mal 3:1.

John was the lesser light that was to shed light on God’s word for people of God in relation to Jesus ministry. Therefore, in God’s infinite wisdom, John’s birth will shed light on Christ birth.”

Again, i will encourage us to study the two tables below and part 1 before we continue the study. Therefore we will pick up from where we stop yesterday.

Q: When was John the Baptist conceived by Elizabeth? That is, when did Elizabeth became pregnant?

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia . . .” Luke 1:5.

“And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his [Zachariah’s] ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying” Luke 1:23-24.

Following the Jewish calendar, Zachariah’s schedule of courses will fall on the 10th week of the month of Sivan because he is from the course of Abia (also called Abijah, 1 Chron 24:10). Sivan is the 3rd month in the Jewish calendar year which falls from mid of May to mid of June (May-June). Abijah is the 8th course which means two of the three major feast most have occurred before the 8th course, that is, the feast of unleavened bread (15-21 Nisan) and the feast of weeks or Pentecost (6 Sivan). Infact the course of Abijah (Abia) begins immediately after the Pentecost because the feast of Pentecost begins first week of the month of Sivan (May-June).

Zachariah’s duty in the temple must then begin on the second Sabbath of the third month (Sivan); this is Sabbath evening because the Pentecost will be ending to the evening of the Sabbath in the third week in the same month of Sivan.

We were told Zachariah ended his duty in the temple on the 3rd Sabbath in the month of Sivan after which he returned home “and after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five month.” Luke 1:23.

Therefore, John undoubtedly must have been conceived by Elisabeth in the month of Sivan (May-June) but the exact day is not known. But we are convinced without doubt, from scriptural evidence that Elizabeth conceived or became pregnant in the month of Sivan.

Q: When was Jesus conceived? Or when did Mary became pregnant with Jesus?

“And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” Luke 1:24-25

Take note: Elizabeth hid herself for 5 months after conception. This is very important in order to understand Christ birth.

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” Luke 1:26-27

The same Angel that appeared to Zachariah now appeared to Mary, a virgin in the city of Galilee in the Sixth month. This sixth month is also the sixth month of Elizabeth conception.

“And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.” Luke 1:36.

Notice the Angel explaining to us that the 6th month of Elizabeth pregnancy is the first month of Mary’s conception. Now let is carefully do the calculation:

The 6th month spoken of here is not 6th month of the Jewish calendar which is called Elul (August-September). The 6th month Angel Gabriel is talking about is the month of Kislev. Kislev is the 9th month in the Jewish calendar (Nov-Dec). When we count 6 months from the month when Elizabeth conceived (became pregnant) which is the month of Sivan (May-June) we will arrive late in the 9th month of Kislev (Nov-Dec).

Mary conceived Christ 6 months after Elizabeth conceived John.

Elizabeth conceived in the month of Sivan (May-June) which is the 3rd month of the Jewish calendar.

Mary conceived 6 months after in the month of Kislev (Nov-Dec) which is the 9th month of the Jewish calendar.

It is imperative to note also that the first day of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah which is also called the feast of Light or rededication of temples falls on the 25th day of December.

“The other postexilic holiday was Hanukkah, a festival which began on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev (Dec.) and lasted eight days. Josephus referred to it as the Feast of Lights because a candle was lighted each successive day until a total of eight was reached. The festival commemorates the victories of Judas Maccabeus in 167 B.C. At that time, when Temple worship was reinstituted, after an interruption of three years, a celebration of eight days took place. The modern celebration does not greatly affect the routine duties of everyday life. This feast is referred to in John 10:22, where it is called the feast of dedication.”—Holman Bible Dictionary.

This feast of light lasted for 8 days. Jesus certainly must have been conceived in the womb of Mary during this period because Jesus is the light of the world.

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. (see also John 9:15, 12:46)

Q: When was John the Baptist given birth?

Thank God for His word. Through His Apostles and Prophets, God have revealed enough to us that we might not err. We were told by Apostle Luke that Mary stayed with Elizabeth in her house for 3 months after she heard Elizabeth was pregnant.

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. 57 Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.” Luke 1:56-57.

This means that Mary was already pregnant for 3 months when she went visiting Elizabeth had been pregnant for 6 months in addition to the 3 months of Mary’s stay making it 9 months of Elizabeth pregnancy. No wonder vs 57 says, “Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.” Her full time came when Mary returned to her own house after she had stayed with her for 3 months.

To recap, Elizabeth conceived on the 3rd month of Sivan (May-June), when we project 6 months of her pregnancy forward plus 3 months of Mary stay making 9 months, we will arrive at the month of Nisan (March-April).

This proves that John the Baptist must have been born in the middle of the month of Nisan probably around the feast of unleavened bread which begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan/Abib.

Q: What about Jesus? When was He given birth?

We can now clearly see that answering this question would not be difficult given the conception month of John the Baptist. We have previously identified that Jesus was conceived six months after John the Baptist was conceived. We have also established the likely date of John’s birth was 15th Nisan (Abib). Also we know Mary had been in pregnancy for 3 month when John was given birth. All we need do is to project 6 months forward from the 15th of Nisan to arrive at a likely date of 15th day of the 7th month of Tishri or Ethanim (September-October). What happen on the 15th of Tishri? The feast of Tabernacles or the feast of ingatherings or the feast of booths.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.” Lev 23:33-34.

The feast began on the fifteenth day of Tishri (the seventh month), which was five days after the day of atonement. It lasted for seven days (Leviticus 23:36 ; Deuteronomy 16:13 ; Ezekiel 45:25 ).[1]

The Feast of Booths took place on Tishri 15, five days after the Day of Atonement, in what is now mid-October.[2] 

The feast of Tabernacles was the last of the feast to which all men of Israel were to gather in Jerusalem for temple services (Lev 23:34). It is also the 3rd of the major feast in the Jewish calendar year.

At this point, it would be imperative for us to study the tables below for more understanding. This two tables give us a better understanding of what we are discussion. Table 1 below gives the weekly schedule of priest. On the 3rd week all the priest will have to gather in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. This will also be done for the feast of Pentecost and the feast of Tabernacle (ingathering) which falls on the 7th month of Tishri as we can see in Table 2.

Table 1

 

 

1st Month 2nd Month 3rd Month 4th Month
Abib – Nisan
(March – April)
Zif – Iyyar
(April – May)
Sivan
(May – June)
Tammuz

(June – July)

First Week Jehoiarib (1) Seorim (4) All Priests
(Pentecost)
Eliashib (11)
Second Week Jedaiah (2) Malchijah (5) Abijah (8) Jakim (12)
Third Week All Priests
(Feast of Unleavened Bread)
Mijamin (6) Jeshuah (9) Huppah (13)
Fourth Week Harim (3) Hakkoz (7) Shecaniah (10) Jeshebeab (14)

 

Table 2

Jewish month Begins the
New moon of
John the Baptist Jesus christ
1. Abib / Nisan March-April

(Feast of Unleavened bread)

Birth of John
15 Nisan
  4
2. Zif / Iyyar April-May   5
3. Sivan May-June

(Feast of Pentecost)

Conception of John
after 3rd Sabbath
  6
4. Tammuz June-July 1   7
5. Ab / Av July-August 2   8
6. Elul August-September 3   9
7. Ethanim / Tishri September-October

(Feast of Tabernacle)

4 Birth of Jesus
15 Tishri
8. Bul / Marheshvan / Heshvan October-November 5
9. Chisleu / Chislev / Kislev November-December 6 Conception of Jesus
25 Kislev ?
10. Tebeth / Tevet December-January 7   1
11. Shebat / Shevat January-February 8   2

Courtesy:  Michael Scheifler

 

 

 

 

[1] Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for ‘Festivals’. Holman Bible Dictionary. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/f/festivals.html. 1991.

[2] Elwell, Walter A. Entry for ‘Feasts And Festivals of Israel’. Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bed/f/feasts-and-festivals-of-israel.html. 1996.

IDENTIFYING CHRIST BIRTHDAY: A BIBLE STUDY ON CHRISTMAS (Part 1)


Christmas: Should We Celebrate It?

Among the faithful, those seeking to obey all that the Holy Spirit has revealed to humanity through the Scripture, there have been a never ending discussion that often spring up every year about CHRISTMAS. The question most Youths and Elders in Church often ask is: “Should we celebrate Christmas?” And I would say, “This is a sincere question which, if asked with the desire to know the truth, the Holy Spirit, through His revealed word will give an answer.” In this series of articles which I would divide in parts due to length, the reader will have an answer to the following questions:

  1. Can we know when Christ was given birth from the Bible?
  2. Is Christmas Biblical?
  3. Where does it come from?
  4. What does history and scholars have to say?
  5. What does Ellen G. White say?

Also my intention is not to make this topic too long to avoid boredom, thus I will divide them in parts for every day reading. To have an exhaustive discussion of the historical study, I will direct us to download a fascinating book written by Elder Vance Ferrell titled The real story behind: Christmas, Easter, and Halloween. Just click on the title of the book and it will download in PDF format. Before downloading, make sure you have adobe reader on your device. Some of what the reader will learn from these series of article will be extracted from the Book. My primary focus is to compare the Old testament with the New testament to give us an understanding. This present article is the first part and subsequent parts will be posted soon. I will welcome any criticism and comment  but let us base it on the word and in Love.

Q: Why this study?

As sincere Christian, there is nothing wrong when we ask questions about the prevailing customs in our day and we should not rest until he receives an answer because Christ will ask judge us according to our works (Rev 22:12).  We should be ready to give an answer to them that ask of the hope that is us. Apostle Peter wrote, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”1 Peter 3:15. As Bible Christians, we should say like the Psalmist, “I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed” Psalms 119:46. As Christians, when we as asked about Bible topic, we should with meekness and fear in the Lord give an answer to them and never walk out on them. But this reply can only come when we have the word abiding in us and the Holy Spirit teaching us. The Holy Spirit cannot remind you of what He has not taught you. He will bring all things to your remembrance when you have previously learn from Him in your private devotional time. When it comes to the issue of Christmas, you cannot give a true testimony with meekness and Love when you have not been under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit.

I once argued about this particular topic and I found myself doing more harm to the hearer than blessing them, all because I didn’t allow the Holy Spirit to teach me. I discussed the issue in the flesh and allowed my emotion to give way. I pray the readers of this article would not be like the old me. It is better we humble ourselves before the Lord and exalt His word, than exalting ourselves before the Lord which often leads to spiritual disaster.

Q: Was Christ born on December 25TH?

“The twenty-fifth of December is supposed to be the day of the birth of Jesus Christ, and its observance has become customary and popular. But yet there is no certainty that we are keeping the veritable day of our Saviour’s birth. History gives us no certain assurance of this. The Bible does not give us the precise time. Had the Lord deemed this knowledge essential to our salvation, He would have spoken through His prophets and apostles, that we might know all about the matter. But the silence of the Scriptures upon this point evidences to us that it is hidden from us for the wisest purposes.”[1]

It is true the Bible did not give us the precise time of Christ birth, but we can induce from Scripture evidences using the Old Testament feast days and types to locate the likely time period Christ was born.

Was He actually born on the 25th of December as generally accepted by the world both with believers and unbelievers? Can we determine the likely date of Christ birth from the Scripture? These and many more will be looked into in this fascinating question and answer study.

To understand Christ birth, we need to understand his cousin’s birth, John the Baptist. The Birth of John the Baptist will shed more light on Christ birth. Malachi wrote about John as the messenger that will prepare the way of the Lord.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” Mal 3:1.

John was the lesser light that was to shed light on God’s word for people of God in relation to Jesus ministry. Therefore, in God’s infinite wisdom, John’s birth will shed light on Christ birth.

Q: Of what course (class) was Zachariah, the father of John Baptist, from?

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. 8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, 9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.” Luke 1:5-9

As a priest, Zachariah was of the course of Abia. It was his duty to execute the priest’s office before God according to the order of courses. An angel appeared to him and gave him a message about his unborn son and after which he went home.

23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying” Luke 1:23-24

Q: Into how many groups did king David divided the sons of Aaron, Ithamar and Eleazar?

“Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office. 3 And David distributed them, both Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, according to their offices in their service. 4 And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus were they divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers, and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers.” 1 Chron 24:1-4.

Not that, sixteen chief me from the sons of Eleazar plus eight among the sons of Ithamar will give us 24 priests.

“11 Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, 12 And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: 13 Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD.” 1 Chron 28:11-13

King David divided them into 24 groups and setup a schedule by which the temple of the Lord was to be staffed and organized all year by the priests. Lots were drawn to determine the sequence in which each group is to serve in the Temple (see 1 Chron 24:7-19).

Q: When is each of the 24 courses of priests to begin and end their Temple services?

“So the Levites and all Judah did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest had commanded, and took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that were to go out on the sabbath: for Jehoiada the priest dismissed not the courses.” 2 Chron 23:8

“And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the LORD, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the LORD, and shewed them the king’s son. 5 And he commanded them, saying, This is the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you that enter in on the sabbath shall even be keepers of the watch of the king’s house; 6 And a third part shall be at the gate of Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard: so shall ye keep the watch of the house, that it be not broken down. 7 And two parts of all you that go forth on the sabbath, even they shall keep the watch of the house of the LORD about the king. 8 And ye shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand: and he that cometh within the ranges, let him be slain: and be ye with the king as he goeth out and as he cometh in. 9 And the captains over the hundreds did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest commanded: and they took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that should go out on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.” 2 Kings 11:4-9

The Priest in each course was to begin on the evening of the Sabbath and end the evening of the following Sabbath. That is, the tour of duty was to be for one week from Sabbath to Sabbath.

Q: How many times were the men of Israel to appear before the Lord in a year to celebrate God’s festivals?

Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. 15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) 16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. 17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.” Ex 23:14-17.

Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.” Ex 34:23.

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty” Deut 16:16.

They were to appear 3 times in a year to celebrate 3 major festivals which include:

  • Feast of Unleavened bread;
  • Feast of weeks (or Feast of Pentecost);
  • Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of ingathering or Feast of Booths.

Q: When does the Jewish Calendar begins and when does it end?

In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.”  Esth 3:7

“And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.” Esth 3:13.

Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)  . . . To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly.” Esth. 9:1, 12.

According to Holman Bible Dictionary:

“The earliest practice was to use the Canaanite month-names, of which four survive in the Bible: Abib (March-April); Ziv (April-May); Ethanim (September-October); and Bul (October-November) (Ex. 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; 1 Kings 6:1,37-38; 8:3). The other Canaanite months are known from Phoenician inscriptions. These are all agricultural names and reflect a seasonal pattern of reckoning, as in the Gezer calendar. . .

When the Jews returned from Babylonian Exile, they brought with them the names of the Babylonian calendar, at the same time counting the new year from the spring. Although the rabbis returned to an autumnal new year, Judaism retains these Babylonian names as its own: Nisan (March-April); Iyyar (April-May); Sivan (May-June); Tammuz (June-July); Ab (July-August); Elul (August-September); Tishri (September-October); Marcheshvan (October-November); Chishylev (November-December); Tebeth (December-January); Shebat (January-February); Adar (February-March). The intercalated year is called WeAdar, “and-Adar.”[1]

The Jewish calendar begins in the spring during the month of Nisan (or Abib) and the 12th month, which is the last month of the year, is the month of Adar.  We are presently using the Gregorian calendar which is different from the Calendar in Bible times. Therefore, in this study we are focusing on the Bible calendar.

Let us now go back to the 24 course of priest and their duties. The first course of priest would be the family of Jehoiarib (1 Chron 24:7). According to the instruction given from the Lord to David, this family of priest will serve in the first month of Nisan (Abib) from Sabbath to Sabbath making 7 days. This family will serve in the first week of the first month.

The second week will then be the the responsibility of the course of Jedaiah (1 Chron 24:7). The 3rd week would be the feast of unleavened bread. This is what the Lord said about this feast:

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.” Ex 12:18

“Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.” Ex 13:6-7.

“Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)” Ex 23:15.

“The Passover was also called the feast of unleavened bread (Ex. 23:15; Deut. 16:16) because only unleavened bread was eaten during the seven days immediately following Passover (Ex. 12:15-20; 13:6-8; Deut. 16:3-8).” —Holman Bible Dictionary.

The Month of Nisan is also called Abib (Ex 23:15; Esther 3:7). The month of Abib is the month of Exodus and Passover which is falls from March-April. Abib is the month of young barley ears or tender Crop. It is the first month of the Jewish calendar year.

Therefore, in the beginning of the third week at Sabbath evening, which is “fourteenth day of the month at even” in the month of Nisan or Abib, all priest were to gather in Jerusalem for the service and to celebrate the feast of unleavened bread.

After this week, the schedule will begin in the fourth week with the family of Harim in the evening of the Sabbath as the feast of unleavened bread is ending (1 Chron 24:8). The rotation will continue to the 24th course after which the priest the cycle will repeat its course.

51 weeks will be covered or 357 days. This means that, in one year, each course of priest would have served in the temple twice. When we add to their schedules the 3 major festivals, each of the priest duty in the temple would be 5 weeks because in the remaining 3 weeks added, all the priest must be present in Jerusalem to partake in the temple services.

Having this background and knowledge of the priestly service, duty and the major feasts let us now turn our attention to the life of Zachariah, Elizabeth and John the Baptist their son.

Continued in the next study . . . Watch out.

[1] Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for ‘Calendars’. Holman Bible Dictionary. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/c/calendars.html. 1991

[1] Ellen G. White, Adventist Home, 477

The Trinity VS Anti-Trinity: The Debate continues.


In recent times among the Seventh-day Adventist brethren, there have been a fast growing anti-trinitarian movements which are proposing to the flock of God that “the Holy Spirit is a force or energy of holy influence from the Father and the Son.” What is even more scaring is that, both camps (i.e, the Trinitarians and anti-Trinitarians) base their study and argument on the Bible and the writings of Ellen G. White making those who are not conversant with the scriptures and Sister White writings to feel uncomfortable and discouraged.

This present study is not an extensive one, but it is written for those who are willing to further their study and search for truth amidst the prevailing confusion in our beloved Church.

The original author of this article is Elder (Dr.) Dennis Priebe. The whole article and many more studied can be gotten from his website.

THE TRINITY

The contemporary anti-Trinity movement teaches that there is no third Person of the Godhead. They believe that the Holy Spirit is a force or energy of holy influence from the Father and the Son. One representative of this movement says, “The Bible teaches that there are only two who are worthy of worship.”

A corollary of this teaching is that Jesus is literally the Son of the Father, having a beginning in time when the Father brought Him into existence. One has stated, “The Father and Son are both divine but not absolutely equal.” They believe that only in this way could Christ die, since the Father is immortal and cannot die. In support of this teaching, they point to some Adventist pioneers who clearly taught this, from the 1840’s to the 1890’s.

As with all errors, there is a truth at the foundation of this teaching. After the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. the papal party took the title of Trinitarians. They said that the Godhead consists of three personalities and one essence or substance, using very philosophical and metaphysical terms.

Following is a sample of Catholic instruction for confirmation. “The Son proceeds from the Father by an act of the intellect and this is termed ‘Eternal Generation,’ by which we mean not only that there never was a time when the Father existed without generating the Son, but also that the act of Generation is a continuous act.” The manual teaches that there could be no separation between the Father and the Son on earth, since this would interrupt the act of generation. Thus the Son would not exist, which would mean that the Father would not exist. Since they are of one essence, neither the Father nor the Son could exist separately from the other. (Alfred Mortimer, Catholic Faith and Practice) Is there any wonder that the pioneers rejected this doctrine of the Trinity? J. N. Andrews said, “This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Review and Herald, March 6, 1855)

Part A–Three Persons

If we want to defend the truth that there are three persons with the family name of God, it might be better to use the Biblical name Godhead, as Ellen White consistently did.

Matthew 28:19 tells us to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” “Name” is singular here, and all three that follow are on the same level, with one name. The definite article is used for all three beings. The Three are God and yet they are one God.

In John 14:16 Jesus promises to send “another Comforter.” The word “another” means of the same kind as Christ, with equal rank.

In 2 Corinthians 13:14, we read of “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost.” These are three gifts from three individual beings.

1 Peter 1:2 tells of “the foreknowledge of God the Father,…sanctification of the Spirit,…and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” Here we find three functions of three individual beings.

The Spirit of Prophecy has many references to the three beings. “Three great powers of heaven.” (8T 254) “There are three living persons of the heavenly trio.” (Ev 615) “The eternal heavenly dignitaries–God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit.” (Ev 616) “The three highest powers in heaven–the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” (Ev 617)

Part B–Holy Spirit

There are indications in Scripture that the Holy Spirit possesses personality traits that only a individual Being could have.

In Ephesians 4:30 He can be grieved. In 1 Corinthians 12:11 He divides “to every man severally as he will.” In Acts 16:6,7 He forbids Paul to preach in Asia and Bithynia. In Acts 15:28 “it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us” to hand down a vital decision. Notice that the Holy Spirit has a personality similar to the personality of the apostles. In Acts 5:3,4 Ananias lied “to the Holy Ghost,” which is lying “unto God.”

“The Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person, is walking through these grounds.” “The Holy Spirit is a person.” “The Holy Spirit has a personality.” (Ev 616-617)

However, we must exercise caution here. The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to reveal the Father and the Son, not Himself, so we know very little about Him from inspiration.

Brethren should not feel that it is a virtue to stand apart because they do not see all minor points in exactly the same light. If on fundamental truths they are at an agreement, they should not differ and dispute about matters of little real importance. To dwell on perplexing questions that, after all, are of no vital importance, has a direct tendency to call the mind away from truths which are vital to the saving of the soul. Brethren should be very modest in urging these side issues which often they do not themselves understand, points that they do not know to be truth and that it is not essential to their salvation to know….Where these differences exist among us, those who stand outside will say, “It will be time enough for us to believe as you do when you can agree among yourselves as to what constitutes truth. “The ungodly take advantage of the divisions and controversies among Christians…

Some are ever seeking to be original, to bring out something new and startling, and they do not realize as they should the importance of preserving the unity of the faith in the bonds of love….We are to pray for divine enlightenment, but at the same time we should be careful how we receive everything termed new light. We must beware lest, under cover of searching for new truth, Satan shall divert out minds from Christ and the special truths for this time. I have been shown that it is the device of the enemy to lead minds to dwell upon some obscure or unimportant point, something that is not fully revealed or is not essential to our salvation. This is made the absorbing theme, the “present truth,” when all their investigations and suppositions only serve to make matters more obscure than before, and to confuse the minds of some who ought to be seeking for oneness through sanctification of the truth….

[What is one of these side issues, not essential to salvation?] The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery not clearly revealed, and you will never be able to explain it to others because the Lord has not revealed it to you. You may gather together scriptures and put your construction upon them, but the application is not correct….It is not essential for you to know and be able to define just what the Holy Spirit is….There are many mysteries which I do not seek to understand or to explain; they are too high for me, and too high for you. On some of these points, silence is golden…

Your mind is restless, and…you would make the mistake that many others have made, of thinking that you have new light, when it is only a new phase of error….You make take certain views of Scripture and, searching the Bible in the light of your ideas, may gather together a large number of texts and claim that they mean this and that, and call for anyone to prove to you that your views are incorrect….Here is your danger, of diverting minds from the real issues for this time….Now, my brother, it is truth that we want and must have, but do not introduce error as new truth. (14MR 175-180)

I believe that this counsel applies to all the “new light” issues that we are considering in this paper.

Part C–Jesus’ Pre-existence

What is the evidence that Jesus did not have a beginning at some point in time or before time?

In John 1:1-4 we find that Jesus was not only “with God,” He “was God.” He was not a God, but He was the Creator of everything. The life-principle was in Him, and He did not receive life from anyone.

In John 8:58 Jesus claimed the name “I am” as His own. Exodus 3:14 tells us that God’s chosen name is “I am.” “The name of God, given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence, had been claimed as His own….He had announced Himself to be the self-existent one,…whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.” (DA 469-470)

“All through the pages of sacred history, where the dealings of God with His chosen people are recorded, there are burning traces of the great I AM….All the communion between heaven and the fallen race has been through Christ….Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last.” (GAG 43) Whatever we read about Yahweh in the Old Testament we are reading about Christ. In Isaiah 40:28 Yahweh is “the everlasting God,” “the Creator of the ends of the earth.”

“In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.” (DA 530) “Christ is the pre-existent, self-existent Son of God….He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God….He is the eternal, self-existent Son.” (Ev 615) “From all eternity Christ was united with the Father.” (5BC 1115) “Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity.” (RH April 5, 1906)

PP 63-64 tells us that only one equal with God could make the atonement; that only the Creator could redeem man. If Christ had received life from the Father at some point in eternity; if His life was borrowed or derived from the Father; if He was dependent on the Father for His existence; if the Father appointed Him to the Godhead, then Christ was not self-existent; He was not God in the highest sense; He is not eternal; and He could not make atonement for the fallen race and redeem mankind.

The phrase “only-begotten” is a faulty translation. Hebrews 11:17 tells us that Isaac was Abraham’s “only begotten son.” Clearly this means uniquely begotten, one-of-a-kind, unique. Acts 13:33 tells us that Christ was “begotten” from the dead.

It is of passing interest that Mary of Agreda, a visionary Catholic nun in the 1600’s, said that the Word was conceived by eternal generation from the Father. In other words, Christ was born before time existed. (The Venerable Mary of Agreda) Perhaps the belief that Christ had a beginning and was given life from the Father is really a Catholic position.

Part D–Nature and Function

Here is a suggestion for keeping this issue in balance and resolving some apparent contradictions. The nature of the Godhead is not a central theme in Scripture. Where it is discussed it reveals three equal beings, all existing from eternity, one in purpose and mind in ways impossible for created beings.

The central issue in Scripture is the function of the Godhead. This is always described in descending rank from the Father to the Son to the Spirit. This is the way the Godhead wants all created beings to approach them. The Father is the ultimate authority; the Son is the visible representative to created beings; the Spirit is the invisible presence with all created beings.

The Father even had to explain to angels the difference between Christ and Lucifer, since both had similar functions. If this could be misunderstood in heaven, it is easy to see why we have problems understanding the Godhead.

Christ always directs attention to the Father. He takes a secondary role. The Spirit always directs attention to the Father and the Son. He is almost invisible most of the time.

The members of the Godhead are equal in nature and attributes, but are unequal in function and rank as they relate to created beings.

Part E–Adventist History

The Godhead has chosen to reveal itself gradually to the human race. This was apparently not one of the crucial issues for the redemption of mankind.

In the Old Testament Yahweh was the personal name for God. The name was interchangeable for the Father and the Son. The Spirit was unknown. There were indications of plurality in the Godhead, but the emphasis was on one God–Yahweh.

In the New Testament Christ was revealed as the Word of God, the Son of God. The Holy Spirit was revealed as the Comforter, the Advocate. The emphasis was on three Beings in one Godhead, descending in rank and function from the Father to the Son to the Spirit.

Early Adventists were concerned with the sanctuary and the 2300 days, the Bible over tradition, the seventh-day Sabbath, and there was not much study or revelation about the Trinity.

The Trinity in the early 1800’s was a mixture of Bible, medieval philosophy, and early church councils. The Christian Connection, a Protestant organization, concluded that the Trinity was Catholic and unscriptural. Joseph Bates and James White were associated with the Christian Connection. Because the Trinity doctrine apparently made the Father and the Son identical, it was rejected by our pioneers.

God was apparently satisfied to leave things this way until the 1890’s, the time when the final generation was to be formed.

Ellen White was in Australia, when W.W. Prescott visited there. He developed a new style of evangelism based on righteousness by faith and the character of God (the 1888 message). He spent time working with Ellen White, and he began to question the pioneeer’s teaching on the deity of Christ and the Godhead. A.G.Daniells supported his new direction. At the same time Ellen White was putting Desire of Ages together, in which she differed sharply with the pioneers on the preexistence of Christ.

M.L. Andreasen had just become an Adventist four years earlier. He said later that some leaders doubted that Ellen White had really written “original, unborrowed, underived.” In 1902 he made a special trip to California to investigate this for himself, and he found these statements in her own handwriting. Because of her influence and the new studies on the Godhead, Adventist theology on the Godhead took a different direction from some of the pioneers.

Why did this happen so late in Adventist history? Apparently God had an order of priority for introducing truth to the new church. He introduced publishing work in the 1840’s, church organization in the 1850’s, health reform in the 1860’s, and righteousness by faith in the 1880’s. God paced the introduction of new truth to preserve the unity of the church. Knowing the character of God was a higher priority than knowing the nature of God.

Now some are advocating a return to the pioneer’s anti-Trinity position. The most dangerous aspect of this is the question raised by its chief advocate. Did Ellen White really write all that has been published under her name? Whenever we find something in her writings which contradicts our beliefs we find some acceptable reason to set her aside. This is the heart of higher criticism. It makes her writings of none effect, since our beliefs take priority over inspiration. This is the essence of the churches of Babylon. One person commented, “Ellen G. White was inspired by God in almost all her writings, but either she or someone messed with her writings.” In this case everyone is free to pick and choose whatever agrees his or her opinions.

Perhaps even conservative Adventists will have to decide between the authority of God and the authority of men.

Dennis Priebe is a Seventh-day Adventist minister, with 50 years experience as a pastor, a teacher, and seminar speaker. Eleven years were spent as a college professor at Pacific Union College, and 30 years as a seminar speaker for Amazing Facts. He has been married for 50 years to Kay, and they have one son, Matthew. Over 900 seminars have been held in churches and schools around the U.S. He has written several books and booklets, with many audio and video tapes on these topics. His one desire is to prepare people for what he believes to be the very soon return of Jesus to this world.