What Did the Pioneers
As fundamental errors, we might class with this counterfeit sabbath other errors which Protestants have brought away from the Catholic church, such as sprinkling for baptism, the trinity, the consciousness of the dead and eternal life in misery. The mass who have held these fundamental errors, have doubtless done it ignorantly; but can it be supposed that the church of Christ will carry along with her these errors till the judgment scenes burst upon the world? We think not. (James White, September 12, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 6, No. 5, page 36, par. 8)
This book is a compilation of quotes from Adventist Pioneers which reflect the unanimous position of the early Adventist Church. Many are unaware of the teachings of the Adventist Pioneers. After reading this book, you will see for yourself what they believed. Has the Adventist Church, as a whole, shifted away from the truth revealed in Scripture, and taken up doctrines of the Catholic church, which are held by all of her daughters, the apostate Protestant churches. May God help us to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 4, 5) Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)
Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denominations Fundamental Beliefs.
More specifically, most would not be able to agree to belief number 2, which deals with the doctrine of the Trinity. (Famous author and Andrews University seminary professor, George Knight, Ministry Magazine, October, 1993, page 10)
This book is almost exclusively quotations, and therefore quotation marks
are not used. My own writing stands out in a different type style.
Italicized, underlined, and bold text emphasis is supplied by the compiler except where [Emphasis in Original] is found.
Compiled August, 1996, and updated January, 2006
by Lynnford Beachy
HC 64 Box 128 B
Phone: (304) 732-9204 Fax: (304) 732-7322
Sixth printing by Smyrna Gospel Ministries
Table of Contents
Ellen G. White: 1827-1915 1
Our Periodicals 1
Early Experiences 1
Salvation in the Truth 2
Protest against Removing Landmarks 2
Vindication of Our Message 3
Misunderstandings About God - New 4
The Son of God - New 4
Christs Equality with God - New 4
Christs Humanity - New 5
The Death of Christ - New 5
The Holy Spirit - New 6
Three Highest Positions in Heaven - New 7
Only Two - New 7
The Plan of Redemption - New 7
Creation of the World - New 8
Seemingly Contradictory Statements - New 8
Joseph H. Waggoner: 1820 - 1889 (father of E. J. Waggoner) 8
Doctrine of a Trinity
Joseph Bates: 1792 - 1872 10
W. W. Prescott 11
Merritt E. Cornell: 1827 - 1893 11
Who are Mormons? 11
Scriptural Investigation 12
James Springer White: 1821 - 1881 13
Catholic Reasons for Keeping Sunday 14
The Position of the Remnant 14
Alonzo T. Jones: 1850 - 1923 15
A. J. Dennis 16
John Matteson 16
J. M. Stephenson 16
Note: Although Stephenson made a statement promoting the idea that Christ is a created being (with which the publishers cannot agree and therefore it has been deleted), his article is included for its valuable Bible teachings. He, along with Uriah Smith and one statement by J. N. Loughborough in 1855 are the only early Adventists I know of who put this idea in print. In 1855, one year after Stephenson wrote this article he left the movement. Uriah Smith in his first printing of Thoughts on the Revelation in 1867 taught that Christ was created, but he soon revised his understanding, and in later printings of Daniel and Revelation he deleted all such statements and added strong statements against this idea, bringing him in harmony with the rest of the brethren.
Uriah Smith: 1832 - 1903 23
God The Father, And His Son Jesus Christ 24
J. N. Andrews: 1829 - 1883 26
R. F. Cottrell 27
D. W. Hull 28
Bible Doctrine of the Divinity of Christ 28
S. N. Haskell 34
J. N. Loughborough: 1832 - 1924 35
Questions for Bro. Loughborough 35
E. J. Waggoner: 1855 - 1916 36
Is Christ God? 37
Christ As Creator 37
Is Christ a Created Being? 37
M. C. Wilcox 38
G. W. Amadon 39
How Shall We Explain it? 39
Miscellaneous Writers 39
The Sunday God 40
Heathen and Orthodox Christian 40
Importance of a Correct System of Belief 41
Protestants not Guided by Scripture 42
Proved by Butlers Catechism 42
Fundamentals Beliefs of SDAs in 1889, 1931,
The Seventh-day Adventist
The 1909 and 1941 Versions of
The 1985 Version of Holy, Holy, Holy 45
Position of SDA Pioneers on the Trinity 45
Letter by J. S. Washburn 46
An Additional Bible Study
The Biblical View of God - New 47
Note: All article titles and subheadings are in the original except for
the section dealing with the
Ellen G. White: 1827-1915
God has given me light regarding our periodicals. What is it?He has said that the dead are to speak. How?Their works shall follow them. We are to repeat the words of the pioneers in our work, who knew what it cost to search for the truth as for hidden treasure, and who labored to lay the foundation of our work. They moved forward step by step under the influence of the Spirit of God. One by one these pioneers are passing away. The word given me is, Let that which these men have written in the past be reproduced. And in The Signs of the Times let not the articles be long or the print fine. Do not try to crowd everything into one number of the paper. Let the print be good, and let earnest, living experiences be put into the paper.
Not long ago I took up a copy of the Bible Echo. As I looked it through, I saw an article by Elder Haskell and one by Elder Corliss. As I laid the paper down, I said, These articles must be reproduced. There is truth and power in them. Men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Let the truths that are the foundation of our faith be kept before the people. Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. They talk science, and the enemy comes in and gives them an abundance of science; but it is not the science of salvation. It is not the science of humility, of consecration, or of the sanctification of the Spirit. We are now to understand what the pillars of our faith are,the truths that have made us as a people what we are, leading us on step by step.
After the passing of the time in 1844 we searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with the brethren, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, We can do nothing more, the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me. I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, his mission, and his priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.
During this whole time I could not understand the reasoning of the brethren. My mind was locked, as it were, and I could not comprehend the meaning of the scriptures we were studying. This was one of the greatest sorrows of my life. I was in this condition of mind until all the principal points of our faith were made clear to our minds, in harmony with the Word of God. The brethren knew that, when not in vision, I could not understand these matters, and they accepted, as light directly from heaven, the revelations given.
Many errors arose, and though I was then little more than a child, I was sent by the Lord from place to place to rebuke those who were holding these false doctrines. There were those who were in danger of going into fanaticism, and I was bidden in the name of the Lord to give them a warning from heaven.
We shall have to meet these same false doctrines again. There will be those who will claim to have visions. When God gives you clear evidence that the vision is from him, you may accept it, but do not accept it on any other evidence; for people are going to be led more and more astray in foreign countries and in America. The Lord wants his people to act like men and women of sense.
Salvation in the Truth
In the future, deception of every kind is to arise, and we want solid ground for our feet. We want solid pillars for the building. Not one pin is to be removed from that which the Lord has established. The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a departing from the faith. Where shall we find safety unless it be in the truths that the Lord has been giving for the last fifty years? (Ellen White, Review & Herald, May 25, 1905)
Let Pioneers Identify Truth.When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. No after-suppositions, contrary to the light God has given are to be entertained. Men will arise with interpretations of Scripture which are to them truth, but which are not truth. The truth for this time, God has given us as a foundation for our faith. He Himself has taught us what is truth. One will arise, and still another, with new light which contradicts the light that God has given under the demonstration of His Holy Spirit.
A few are still alive who passed through the experience gained in the establishment of this truth. God has graciously spared their lives to repeat and repeat till the close of their lives, the experience through which they passed even as did John the apostle till the very close of his life. And the standard-bearers who have fallen in death, are to speak through the reprinting of their writings. I am instructed that thus their voices are to be heard. They are to bear their testimony as to what constitutes the truth for this time. Preach the Word, p. 5. (Ellen White, 1905, Counsels to Writers and Editors, pages 31, 32)
Protest against Removing Landmarks
When men come in who would move one pin or pillar from the foundation which God has established by His Holy Spirit, let the aged men who were pioneers in our work speak plainly, and let those who are dead speak also, by the reprinting of their articles in our periodicals. Gather up the rays of divine light that God has given as He has led His people on step by step in the way of truth. This truth will stand the test of time and trial. Ms 62, 1905, p. 6. (A Warning Against False Theories, May 24, 1905.) (Ellen White, 1905, Manuscript Releases Volume One, page 55)
The Testimony of Pioneer Workers.I have had presentations regarding the deceptions that Satan is bringing in at this time. I have been instructed that we should make prominent the testimony of some of the old workers who are now dead. Let them continue to speak through their articles as found in the early numbers of our papers. These articles should now be reprinted, that there may be a living voice from the Lords witnesses. The history of the early experiences in the message will be a power to withstand the masterly ingenuity of Satans deceptions. This instruction has been repeated recently. I must present before the people the testimonies of Bible truth, and repeat the decided messages given years ago. I desire that my sermons given at camp meetings and in churches may live and do their appointed work. Letter 99, 1905. (Ellen White, 1905, Counsels to Writers and Editors, page 26)
I long daily to be able to do double duty. I have been pleading with the Lord for strength and wisdom to reproduce the writings of the witnesses who were confirmed in the faith in the early history of the message. After the passing of the time in 1844, they received the light and walked in the light, and when the men claiming to have new light would come in with their wonderful messages regarding various points of Scripture, we had, through the moving of the Holy Spirit, testimonies right to the point, which cut off the influence of such messages as Elder A. F. Ballenger has been devoting his time to presenting. This poor man has been working decidedly against the truth that the Holy Spirit has confirmed. When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. No after-suppositions contrary to the light God has given are to be entertained.
We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are Gods Word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar of the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God.
Elder Ballengers proofs are not reliable. If received, they would destroy the faith of Gods people in the truth that has made us what we are. We must be decided on this subject, for the points that he is trying to prove by Scripture are not sound. They do not prove that the past experience of Gods people was a fallacy. We had the truth: we were directed by the angels of God. It was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that the presentation of the sanctuary question was given. It is eloquence for everyone to keep silent in regard to the features of our faith in which they acted no part.
God never contradicts Himself. Scripture proofs are misapplied if forced to testify to that which is not true. Another and still another will arise and bring in supposedly great light, and make their assertions. But we stand by the old landmarks. [1 John 1:1-10 quoted.]
I am instructed to say that these words we may use as appropriate for this time, for the time has come when sin must be called by its right name. We are hindered in our work by men who are not converted, who seek their own glory. They wish to be thought originators of new theories, which they present, claiming that they are truth. But if these theories are received, they will lead to a denial of the truth that for the past fifty years God has been giving to His people, substantiating it by the demonstration of the Holy Spirit.
Let all men beware what is the character of their work. They would better be falling into line for their own souls sake and for the sake of the souls of others. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7). It is nothing to the credit of any man to start on a new track, using Scripture to substantiate theories of error, leading minds into confusion, away from the truths that are to be indelibly impressed on the minds of Gods people, that they may hold fast to the faith.Letter 329, 1905. (To J. A. Burden, December 11, 1905). (Ellen White, 1905, Manuscript Release No. 760: The Integrity of the Sanctuary Truth, pages 18-20)
The leading points of our faith as we hold them today were firmly established. Point after point was clearly defined, and all the brethren came into harmony. The whole company of believers were united in the truth. There were those who came in with strange doctrines, but we were never afraid to meet them. Our experience was wonderfully established by the revelation of the Holy Spirit.MS 135, 1903. (Ellen G. White, The Early Years Volume 1 1827-1862, page 145)
The record of the experience through which the people of God passed in the early history of our work must be republished. Many of those who have since come into the truth are ignorant of the way in which the Lord wrought. The experience of William Miller and his associates, of Captain Joseph Bates, and of other pioneers in the advent message, should be kept before our people. Elder Loughboroughs book should receive attention. Our leading men should see what can be done for the circulation of this book. (Ellen White, Counsels to Writers and Editors, page 145)
Vindication of Our Message
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. 1 Tim. 4:1, 2.
I am instructed that the Lord, by His infinite power, has preserved the right hand of His messenger for more than half a century, in order that the truth may be written out as He bids me write it for publication, in periodicals and books, Why?Because if it were not thus written out, when the pioneers in the faith shall die, there would be many, new in the faith, who would sometimes accept as messages of truth teachings that contain erroneous sentiments and dangerous fallacies. Sometimes that which men teach as special light is in reality specious error, which, as tares sown among the wheat, will spring up and produce a baleful harvest. And errors of this sort will be entertained by some until the close of this earths history.
There are some, who upon accepting erroneous theories, strive to establish them by collecting from my writings statements of truth, which they use, separated from their proper connection and perverted by association with error. Thus seeds of heresy, springing up and growing rapidly into strong plants, are surrounded by many precious plants of truth, and in this way a mighty effort is made to vindicate the genuineness of the spurious plants.
So it was with the heresies taught in Living Temple. [* A BOOK EXPRESSING PANTHEISTIC SENTIMENTS PUBLISHED BY J. H. KELLOGG.] The subtle errors in this book were surrounded by many beautiful truths. The seductive fallacies of Satan undermined confidence in the true pillars of the faith, which are grounded on Bible evidence. Truth is sustained by a plain Thus saith the Lord. But there has been a weaving in of error, and the use of scriptures out of their natural connection, in order to substantiate fallacies, which would deceive, if possible, the very elect.
Let not the days pass by and precious opportunities be lost of seeking the Lord with all the heart and mind and soul. If we accept not the truth in the love of it, we may be among the number who will see the miracles wrought by Satan in these last days, and believe them.Letter 136, April 27, 1906, to Brethren Butler, Daniells, and Irwin. (Ellen White, 1906, This Day with God, page 126)
Misunderstandings About God
After the passing of the time in 1844, we had fanaticism of every kind to meet. Testimonies of reproof were given me to bear to some holding spiritualistic theories.
There were those who were active in disseminating false ideas in regard to God. Light was given me that these men were making the truth of no effect by their false teachings. I was instructed that they were misleading souls by presenting speculative theories regarding God.
This is only one of the instances in which I was called upon to rebuke those who were presenting the doctrine of an impersonal God pervading all nature, and similar errors. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pages 292, 293)
In her mission to correct those who held false theories about God, Ellen White never corrected her brethren for boldly denouncing the trinity doctrine. Her own husband was one of the most vocal.
The Son of God
A complete offering has been made; for God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Fathers person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Ellen White, The Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895) Compare this with the following:
Before Christ came in the likeness of men, he existed in the express image of his Father. (Ellen White, Youths Instructor, December 20, 1900)
The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind. (Ellen White, Review and Herald, July 9, 1895, par. 13)
Christ is the Son of God in deed and in truth and in love, and is the representative of the Father as well as the representative of the human race. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, page 83)
In Him [Christ] was life, original, unborrowed, underived. This life is not inherent in man. He can possess it only through Christ. He cannot earn it; it is given him as a free gift if he will believe in Christ as His personal Saviour. (Ellen White, Signs of the Times, April 8, 1897; also in Selected Messages, book 1, pages 296, 297)
Modern spiritualism, resting upon the same foundation, is but a revival in a new form of the witchcraft and demon worship that God condemned and prohibited of old. Peter, describing the dangers to which the church was to be exposed in the last days, says that as there were false prophets who led Israel into sin, so there will be false teachers, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them. And many shall follow their pernicious ways. 2 Peter 2:1, 2. Here the apostle has pointed out one of the marked characteristics of spiritualist teachers. They refuse to acknowledge Christ as the Son of God. Concerning such teachers the beloved John declares: Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father. 1 John 2:22, 23. Spiritualism, by denying Christ, denies both the Father and the Son, and the Bible pronounces it the manifestation of antichrist. (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 686)
Christs Equality with God
The great Creator assembled the heavenly host, that he might in the presence of all the angels confer special honor upon his Son. The Son was seated on the throne with the Father, and the heavenly throng of holy angels was gathered around them. The Father then made known that it was ordained by himself that Christ should be equal with himself; so that wherever was the presence of his Son, it was as his own presence. His word was to be obeyed as readily as the word of the Father. His Son he had invested with authority to command the heavenly host. (Ellen White, The Signs of the Times, January 9, 1879; also in Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, pages 18, 19)
The Scriptures clearly indicate the relation between God and Christ, and they bring to view as clearly the personality and individuality of each. [Hebrews 1:1-5 quoted.] God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God. To Christ has been given an exalted position. He has been made equal with the Father. All the counsels of God are opened to His Son. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, page 268)
Those who claim that it was not possible for Christ to sin, cannot believe that He really took upon Himself human nature. But was not Christ actually tempted, not only by Satan in the wilderness, but all through His life, from childhood to manhood? In all points He was tempted as we are, and because He successfully resisted temptation under every form, He gave man the perfect example, and through the ample provision Christ has made, we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world through lust. (Ellen White, S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 7, page 929).
Christs overcoming and obedience is that of a true human being. In our conclusions, we make many mistakes because of our erroneous views of the human nature of our Lord. When we give to His human nature a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, we destroy the completeness of His humanity. (Ellen White, S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 7, page 929)
The obedience of Christ to His Father was the same obedience that is required of man. Man cannot overcome Satans temptations without divine power to combine with his instrumentality. So with Jesus Christ; He could lay hold of divine power. He came not to our world to give the obedience of a lesser God to a greater, but as a man to obey Gods holy law, and in this way He is our example. The Lord Jesus came to our world, not to reveal what a God could do, but what a man could do, through faith in Gods power to help in every emergency. Man is, through faith, to be a partaker in the divine nature, and to overcome every temptation wherewith he is beset. (Ellen White, S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 7, page 929)
When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. But He rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not as the Master of earth and sea and sky that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says, I can of Mine own self do nothing. John 5:30. He trusted in the Fathers might. It was in faithfaith in Gods love and carethat Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the storm was the power of God. (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, page 336)
Divinity and humanity are blended in him who has the spirit of Christ. (Youths Instructor, June 30, 1892 par. 3; also in Sons and Daughters of God, page 24)
The Death of Christ
In the death struggle the Son of God could rely only upon His heavenly Father; all was by faith. Manuscript 125, Dec. 9, 1901. (Ellen White, Upward Look, page 357)
Jesus said to Mary, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father. When He closed His eyes in death upon the cross, the soul of Christ did not go at once to heaven, as many believe, or how could His words be true I am not yet ascended to my Father? The spirit of Jesus slept in the tomb with His body, and did not wing its way to heaven, there to maintain a separate existence, and to look down upon the mourning disciples embalming the body from which it had taken flight. All that comprised the life and intelligence of Jesus remained with His body in the sepulcher; and when He came forth it was as a whole being; He did not have to summon His spirit from heaven. (Ellen White, S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pages 1150, 1151)
Men need to understand that Deity suffered and sank under the agonies of Calvary. (MS 153, 1898). (Ellen White, S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 7, page 907)
He humbled himself, and took mortality upon him. As a member of the human family, he was mortal. (Ellen White, Review & Herald, September 4, 1900)
When Jesus had opened before his disciples the fact that he must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die at the hands of the chief priests and scribes, Peter had presumptuously contradicted his Master, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee. He could not conceive it possible that the Son of God should be put to death. Satan suggested to his mind that if Jesus was the Son of God he could not die. (Ellen White, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, page 231)
The Holy Spirit
Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church. (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, page 671)
The Saviour is our Comforter. This I have proved Him to be. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, page 49)
The nights are long and painful, but Jesus is my Comforter and my Hope. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, page 296)
Christ is everything to those who receive Him. He is their Comforter, their safety, their healthfulness. Apart from Christ there is no light at all. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, page 372)
There is no comforter like Christ, so tender and so true. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. His Spirit speaks to the heart. The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul. (Ellen White, Review & Herald, October 26, 1897)
On June 11, 1891, Ellen White wrote to Brother Chapman in regard to his belief that the Holy Spirit is a separate being from Christ, namely, the angel Gabriel. She wrote, in part:
Your ideas of the two subjects you mention do not harmonize with the light which God has given me. 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. Christ tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, and the Comforter is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, which the Father shall send in My name. I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you [John 14:16, 17]. This refers to the omnipresence of the Spirit of Christ, called the Comforter. 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. I hope that you will seek to be in harmony with the body. You need to come into harmony with your brethren. (Ellen White, June 11, 1891, Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, pages 175-180)
Here Ellen White endorsed the teachings of her brethren in regard to the Holy Spirit in 1891. See pages 25 and 38 of this book to see what they taught in 1891 and beyond.
The reason why the churches are weak and sickly and ready to die is that the enemy has brought influences of a discouraging nature to bear upon trembling souls. He has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter, as one who reproves, who warns, who admonishes them, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it. (Ellen White, Review & Herald, August 26, 1890, also in Reflecting Christ, page 21)
True faith and repose in God are always accompanied by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, whose temple we are. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ; it is His representative. Here is the divine agency that carries conviction to hearts. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, pages 313, 314)
God help us that we may be sanctified through the truth; and that sanctification shall have its influence to leaven those that are around us. Not the leaven of malice; not the leaven of jealousy; not the leaven of evil surmisings, but it is the leaven of the spirit of Jesus Christ, which is sent down from heaven, called the Holy Ghost, and that Spirit affects the heart and the character. (Ellen White, Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, page 210)
Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to His father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the Omnipresent. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, pages 23, 24; written February 18 and 19, 1895)
According to The American Heritage Dictionary the word divested means, to strip, to dispossess, to free of; to rid. If the Holy Spirit is a third being it is certain that he never was a human, and therefore it would be impossible for him to strip, or rid himself of humanity. Sister White said the Holy Spirit is Christ Himself, divested of humanity. He [Jesus] would represent Himself by His Holy Spirit.
Three Highest Positions in Heaven
The Son of God was next in authority to the great Lawgiver. He knew that His life alone could be sufficient to ransom fallen man. (Ellen White, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, page 9, also in Lift Him Up, page 24)
Satans position in heaven had been next to the Son of God. He was first among the angels. (Ellen White, Selected Messages, book 1, page 341)
Satan, the chief of the fallen angels, once had an exalted position in Heaven. He was next in honor to Christ. (Ellen White, Review & Herald, February 24, 1874)
Speaking of Satan, our Lord says that he abode not in the truth. He was once the covering cherub, glorious in beauty and holiness. He was next to Christ in exaltation and character. It was with Satan that self-exaltation had its origin. He became jealous of Christ, and falsely accused him, and then laid blame upon the Father. He was envious of the position that was held by Christ and the Father, and he turned from his allegiance to the Commander of heaven and lost his high and holy estate. (Ellen White, Review & Herald, October 22, 1895)
In order that the human family might have no excuse because of temptation, Christ became one with them. The only being who was one with God lived the law in humanity, descended to the lowly life of a common laborer, and toiled at the carpenters bench with his earthly parent. (Ellen White, The Signs of the Times, October 14, 1897 par. 3)
The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associatea co-worker who could appreciate His purposes, and could share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. John 1:1, 2. Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Fatherone in nature, in character, in purposethe only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6. His goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2. And the Son of God declares concerning Himself: The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting. When He appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him. Proverbs 8:22-30. (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 34)
By the power of His love, through obedience, fallen man, a worm of the dust, is to be transformed, fitted to be a member of the heavenly family, a companion through eternal ages of God and Christ and the holy angels. Manuscript 21, Feb. 16, 1900. (Ellen White, The Upward Look, page 61)
Let the brightest example the world has yet seen be your example, rather than the greatest and most learned men of the age, who know not God, nor Jesus Christ whom he has sent. The Father and the Son alone are to be exalted. (Ellen White, The Youths Instructor, July 7, 1898)
The Plan of Redemption
The plan of redemption was arranged in the councils between the Father and the Son. (Ellen White, Review & Herald, May 28, 1908 par. 12)
Even the angels were not permitted to share the counsels between the Father and the Son when the plan of salvation was laid. (Ellen White, Ministry of Healing, page 429)
The plan of salvation devised by the Father and the Son will be a grand success. (Ellen White, The Signs of the Times, June 17, 1903 par. 2)
Before the fall of man, the Son of God had united with his Father in laying the plan of salvation. (Ellen White, Review & Herald, September 13, 1906 par. 4)
The great plan of redemption was laid before the foundation of the world. And Christ, our Substitute and Surety, did not stand alone in the wondrous undertaking of the ransom of man. In the plan to save a lost world, the counsel was between them both; the covenant of peace was between the Father and the Son. (Ellen White, The Signs of the Times, December 23, 1897, par. 2)
By Christ the work upon which the fulfillment of Gods purpose rests, was accomplished. This was the agreement in the councils of the God-head. The Father purposed in counsel with his Son that the human family should be tested and proved, (Ellen White, The Gospel Herald, June 11, 1902, par. 6)
Creation of the World
After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, And now God said to His Son, Let us make man in our image. (Ellen White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, pages 24, 25)
Seemingly Contradictory Statements
You may have read statements from Ellen White that seem to contradict her plain statements given here. Please do not lose faith in Gods leading of Ellen White. All of these statements can be harmonized. Every statement from the Bible and the SOP on this subject must be given the chance to speak, and we must go with the weight of evidence. Those who desire to doubt will have plenty of room. God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief. He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit, and all should decide from the weight of evidence. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, page 255)
Joseph H. Waggoner: 1820 - 1889 (father of E. J. Waggoner)
Doctrine of a Trinity
It will no doubt appear to many to be irreverent to speak thus of the doctrine of a trinity. But we think they must view the subject in a different light if they will calmly and candidly examine the arguments which we shall present. We know that we write with the deepest feelings of reverence for the Scriptures, and with the highest regard for every Scripture doctrine and Scripture fact. But reverence for the Scriptures does not necessarily embrace reverence for mens opinions of the Scriptures.
It is not our purpose to present any argument on the doctrine of the trinity, further than it has a bearing on the subject under consideration, namely, on the Atonement. And we are willing, confidently willing to leave the decision of the question with all who will carefully read our remarks, with an effort to divest themselves of prejudice, if they unfortunately possess it. The inconsistencies of Trinitarians, which must be pointed out to free the Scripture doctrine of the Atonement from reproaches under which it has too long lain, are the necessary outgrowth of their system of theology. No matter how able are the writers to whom we shall refer, they could never free themselves from inconsistencies without correcting their theology.
Many theologians really think that the Atonement, in respect to its dignity and efficacy, rests upon the doctrine of a trinity. But we fail to see any connection between the two. To the contrary, the advocates of that doctrine really fall into the difficulty which they seem anxious to avoid. Their difficulty consists in this: They take the denial of a trinity to be equivalent to a denial of the divinity of Christ. Were that the case, we should cling to the doctrine of a trinity as tenaciously as any can; but it is not the case. They who have read our remarks on the death of the Son of God know that we firmly believe in the divinity of Christ; but we cannot accept the idea of a trinity, as it is held by Trinitarians, without giving up our claim on the dignity of the sacrifice made for our redemption.
And here is shown how remarkably the widest extremes meet in theology. The highest Trinitarians and lowest Unitarians meet and are perfectly united on the death of Christthe faith of both amounts to Socinianism. Unitarians believe that Christ was a prophet, an inspired teacher, but merely human; that his death was that of a human body only. Trinitarians hold that the term Christ comprehends two distinct and separate natures: one that was merely human; the other, the second person in the trinity, who dwelt in the flesh for a brief period, but could not possibly suffer, or die; that the Christ that died was only the human nature in which the divinity had dwelt. Both classes have a human offering, and nothing more. No matter how exalted the pre-existent Son was; no matter how glorious, how powerful, or even eternal; if the manhood only died, the sacrifice was only human. And so far as the vicarious death of Christ is concerned, this is Socinianism. Thus the remark is just, that the doctrine of a trinity degrades the Atonement, resting it solely on a human offering as a basis. A few quotations will show the correctness of this assertion. (J. H. Waggoner, 1884, The Atonement In The Light Of Nature And Revelation, pages 164, 165)
We trust that we have shown to the full conviction of every one who trembles at the word of the Lord, that the Son of God, who was in the beginning, by whom the worlds were made, suffered death for us; the oft-repeated declarations of theological writers that a mere human body died are, by the Scriptures, proved untrue. These writers take the doctrine of a trinity for their basis, and assume that Christ is the second person in the trinity, and could not die. Again, they assume that death is not a cessation of life; and between the two unscriptural assumptions they involve themselves in numerous difficulties, and load the doctrine of the Atonement with unreasonable contradictions. We would not needlessly place ourselves in opposition to the religious feelings of any class, but in order to clear the doctrine of the Atonement from the consequences of these assumptions, we are compelled to notice some of the prominent arguments presented in favor of the doctrine of a trinity.
In the Manual of Atonement, 1 John 5:20 is quoted as containing most conclusive evidence of a trinity and of the Supreme Deity of Christ. It is there claimed that he is called the true God and eternal life. The whole verse reads thus: And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. A person must be strongly wedded to a theory who can read this verse and not see the distinction therein contained between the true God and the Son of God. We are in him that is true. How? In his Son Jesus Christ. The distinction between Christ and the true God is most clearly shown by the Saviours own words in John 17:3: That they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Much stress is laid on Isa. 9:6, as proving a trinity, which we have before quoted, as referring to our High Priest who shed his blood for us. The advocates of that theory will say that it refers to a trinity because Christ is called the everlasting Father. But for this reason, with others, we affirm that it can have no reference to a trinity. Is Christ the Father in the trinity? If so, how is he the Son? or if he is both Father and Son, how can there be a trinity? for a trinity is three persons. To recognize a trinity, the distinction between the Father and Son must be preserved. Christ is called the second person in the trinity; but if this text proves a trinity, or refers to it at all, it proves that he is not the second, but the first. And if he is the first, who is the second? It is very plain that this text has no reference to such a doctrine. (J. H. Waggoner, 1884, The Atonement In The Light Of Nature And Revelation, pages 167-169)
As before remarked, the great mistake of Trinitarians, in arguing this subject, is this: they make no distinction between a denial of a trinity and a denial of the divinity of Christ. They see only the two extremes, between which the truth lies; and take every expression referring to the pre-existence of Christ as evidence of a trinity. The Scriptures abundantly teach the pre-existence of Christ and his divinity; but they are entirely silent in regard to a trinity. The declaration, that the divine Son of God could not die, is as far from the teachings of the Bible as darkness is from light. And we would ask the Trinitarian, to which of the two natures are we indebted for redemption? The answer must, of course, be, To that one which died or shed his blood for us; for we have redemption through his blood. Then it is evident that if only the human nature died, our Redeemer is only human, and that the divine Son of God took no part in the work of redemption, for he could neither suffer nor die. Surely, we say right, that the doctrine of a trinity degrades the Atonement, by bringing the sacrifice, the blood of our purchase, down to the standard of Socinianism. (J. H. Waggoner, 1884, The Atonement In The Light Of Nature And Revelation, page 173) (This is also found in Review & Herald, November 10, 1863, vol. 22, page 189)
The divinity and pre-existence of our Saviour are most clearly proved by those scriptures which refer to him as the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. John 1:1-3. This expresses plainly a pre-existent divinity. The same writer again says: That which was from the beginning, the Word of life. 1 John 1:1. What John calls the Word, in these passages, Paul calls the Son, in Heb. 1:1-3. God hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power. In other places in this letter this same exalted one is called Jesus Christ. In these passages we find the divinity or higher nature of our Lord expressed. Indeed, language could not more plainly express it; therefore it is unnecessary to call other testimony to prove it, it being already sufficiently proved.
The first of the above quotations says the Word was God, and also the Word was with God. Now it needs no proofindeed it is self-evidentthat the Word as God, was not the God whom he was with. And as there is but one God, the term must be used in reference to the Word in a subordinate sense, which is explained by Pauls calling the same pre-existent person the Son of God. This is also confirmed by Johns saying that the Word was with the Father. 1 John 1:2; also calling the Word his Son Jesus Christ. Verse 3. Now it is reasonable that the Son should bear the name and title of his Father, especially when the Father makes him his exclusive representative to man, and clothes him with such powerby whom he made the worlds. That the term God is used in such a sense is also proved by Paul, quoting Ps. 45:6, 7, and applying it to Jesus. But unto the son, he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Heb. 1:8, 9. Here the title of God is applied to the Son, and his God anointed him. This is the highest title he can bear, and it is evidently used here in a sense subordinate to its application to his Father.
It is often asserted that this exalted one came to earth and inhabited a human body, which he left in the hour of its death. But the Scriptures teach that this exalted one was the identical person that died on the cross; and in this consists the immense sacrifice made for manthe wondrous love of God and condescension of his only Son. John says, The Word of life, that which was from the beginning, which was with the Father, that exalted, pre-existent One which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled. 1 John 1:1, 2. (J. H. Waggoner, 1884, The Atonement In The Light Of Nature And Revelation, pages 152-154)
Ques. What is Sunday, or the Lords Day in general?
Ans. It is a day dedicated by the Apostles to the honor of the most holy Trinity, and in memory that Christ our Lord arose from the dead upon Sunday, sent down the holy Ghost on a Sunday, &c.; and therefore it is called the Lords Day. It is also called Sunday from the old Roman denomination of Dies Solis, the day of the sun, to which it was sacred. Douay Catechism, page 143. (J. H. Waggoner, July 18, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 5, no. 24, page 86, par. 16-18)
Joseph Bates: 1792 - 1872
My parents were members of long standing in the Congregational church, with all of their converted children thus far, and anxiously hoped that we would also unite with them. But they embraced some points in their faith which I could not understand. I will name two only: their mode of baptism, and doctrine of the trinity. My father, who had been a deacon of long standing with them, labored to convince me that they were right in points of doctrine. Respecting the trinity, I concluded that it was an impossibility for me to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, was also the Almighty God, the Father, one and the same being. I said to my father, If you can convince me that we are one in this sense, that you are my father, and I your son; and also that I am your father, and you my son, then I can believe in the trinity. (Joseph Bates, 1868, The Autobiography Of Elder Joseph Bates, page 204)
One thing more: Much derision is made about those of our company that have joined the Shakers. I say it is a shame to them first, to have preached so clearly and distinctly the speedy coming of our Lord Jesus Christ personally to gather his saintsand then to go and join the Shakers in their faith, that he (Jesus) came spiritually in their Mother, Ann Lee, more than seventy years ago. This, without doubt in my mind, is owing to their previous teaching and belief in a doctrine called the trinity. How can you find fault with their faith while you are teaching the very essence of that neverno never to be understood, doctrine? For their comfort and faith, and of course your own, you say Christ is God, and God is love. As you have given no explanation, we take it to come from you as a literal exposition of the word;
We believe that Peter and his master settled this question beyond controversy, Matt. 16:13-19; and I cannot see why Daniel and John has not fully confirmed that Christ is the Son, and, not God the Father. How could Daniel explain his vision of the 7th chapter, if Christ was God. Here he sees one like the Son (and it cannot be proved that it was any other person) of man, and there was given him Dominion, and Glory, and a kingdom; by the ancient of days. Then John describes one seated on a throne with a book in his right hand, and he distinctly saw Jesus come up to the throne and take the book out of the hand of him that sat thereon. Now if it is possible to make these two entirely different transactions appear in one person, then I could believe that God died and was buried instead of Jesus, and that Paul was mistaken when he said, Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead out Lord Jesus that great shepherd of the sheep &c., and that Jesus also did not mean what he said when he asserted that he came from God, and was going to God, &c.&c,; and much more, if necessary, to prove the utter absurdity of such a faith. (A letter written by Joseph Bates to William Miller, 1848, Past And Present Experience, page 187)
W. W. Prescott
As Christ was twice born, once in eternity, the only begotten of the Father, and again here in the flesh, thus uniting the divine with the human in that second birth, so we, who have been born once already in the flesh, are to have the second birth, being born again of the Spirit, in order that our experience may be the same, the human and the divine being joined in a life union. (W. W. Prescott, April 14, 1896, Review & Herald, page 232)
Merritt E. Cornell: 1827 - 1893
Protestants and Catholics are so nearly united in sentiment, that it is not difficult to conceive how Protestants may make an image to the Beast. The mass of Protestants believe with Catholics in the Trinity, immortality of the soul, consciousness of the dead, rewards and punishments at death, the endless torture of the wicked, inheritance of the saints beyond the skies, sprinkling for baptism, and the PAGAN SUNDAY for the Sabbath; all of which is contrary to the spirit and letter of the new testament. Surely there is between the mother and daughters, a striking family resemblance. (M. E. Cornell, 1858, Facts For The Times, page 76)
Who are Mormons?
SOMETIMES our opponents, failing in argument, for effect, raise the cry of Mormonism. They cannot show that our views of spiritual gifts are unscriptural, or unreasonable, but because the Mormons professed to have those gifts, they think it a happy hit to excite prejudice against us, by calling us Mormons. But this charge loses all its force when we consider that faith in spiritual gifts is not peculiar to the Mormons. The most devoted and learned men of the Protestant sects have claimed the same thing both in theory and practice. [See work entitled Miraculous Powers, published at Review Office.] The truth is, we do not believe with the Mormons on a single point that is peculiar to them. But if to agree with the Mormons on leading points of doctrine, makes a man worthy of their name, then, verily the orthodox churches of the day are full of Mormons.
1. The Mormon Creed teaches the doctrine of the Trinity. That Christ was the God, the Father of all things. Mormon Bible, Book of Mosiah, par. 5.
Behold! I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. Book of Esther, ch. 1, par. 3.
Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?
Yea, he is the very Eternal Father. Book of Alma, ch. 8, par. 7.
2. They believe in an immaterial God. It is truth, light, and love, that we worship and adore; these are the same in all worlds; and as these constitute God, He is the same in all worlds; wherever you find a fullness of wisdom, knowledge, truth, goodness, love and such like qualities, there you find God in all his glory, power, and majestytherefore if you worship these adorable qualities you worship God. Mormon Seer pp. 24, 25.
Compare the above with Mr. H. W. Beecher in the Independent A. D. 1859. A dim and shadowy effulgence arises from Christ, and that I am taught to call the Father. A yet more tenuous and invisible film of thought arises, and that is the Holy Spirit. But neither are to me aught tangible, restful, accessible.
That Christ is the very and eternal God, and that God is immaterial, without body, parts or passions, is the teaching of most of the church creeds.
3. They believe in rewards and punishments at death.
Immortal spirit joined with the choir above at Benjamins death. Book of Mosiah, ch. 1, par. 8.
4. They believe the second death is endless torment.
Then cometh a death, even a second death, which is a spiritual death. They cannot die seeing there is no more corruption. Alma, ch. 9, par. 2, 3.
Lake of fire is endless torment. Book of Jacob ch. 4, p. 140.
5. The Mormons keep the Pagan, Sunday, so do Protestants in general. But why go farther? There is not a class of religious people in the world that differ with the Mormons in both theory and practice more widely than the Seventh-day Adventists. Those very men who charge us with Mormonism, agree with the Mormons in ten points to our one. We conclude therefore that such persons have simply mistaken the parties, and raise a charge applicable to themselves alone, to create prejudice against another class to whom it does not apply. (M. E. Cornell, April 7, 1863, Review & Herald, vol. 21, page 149, par. 5-16)
WHILE at West Union, I noticed that the doctrine of mans mortality produced a great stir among the people. In a discussion with Eld. R. Swearagen (Methodist) on the nature of man, the truth shone brighter for the scouring it received.
Proposition. Do the Scriptures teach that man possesses an immortal, conscious principle?
This question was discussed before Judge McClintock as moderator, for seven evenings. The investigation made sale for books and tracts, and I think the result is as good as the generality of discussions. The brethren thought we could not well avoid it, as the cause might suffer if we appeared to be afraid to meet their positions. As a full report would be tedious, I give but a brief selection from the many positions and arguments.
Swearagen. Christ gave up his soul, not merely his breath. He says, I have power to lay down my life, and have power to take it again. Something was conscious to take the life again.
Reply. His soul was the offering. Hath poured out his soul unto death. Isa. 53:10-12. The offering must die. The Son could take his life again when his Father gave it to him. We have testified of God that he raised up Christ. 1 Cor. 15:15. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death. Acts 2:24. Thou (God) wilt not leave my soul in hell (hades or grave) neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. Verse 27.
S. He is not satisfied when he says the soul of man dies with the body, but he rises higher in his blasphemy, and says, The soul of Christ diedthat divinity died! He even kills a part of God! What awful blasphemy!!
R. If it be blasphemy to say that the divine Son of God died, how much greater blasphemy is found in the Methodist DisciplineVery God and very man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, &c. Watson, speaking of Christs death, says, The death of One who partook of flesh and blood, in that lower nature he dies. Sufferings and death of the incarnate Deity.Institutes, pp. 219, 259.
Dr. Clarke says, A body was prepared for the eternal Logos, and in that body he came to do the will of God, that is, to suffer and die. Com. on Heb. 10:6.
This charge of blasphemy is not only against his own Discipline, and principal theologian, and commentator, but his hymn book is full of such blasphemy.
The incarnate God hath died for me.
Hymn 133, revised ed.
Christ, the mighty Maker, died.146.
The rising God forsakes the tomb.148.
Down from the shining seats above,
With joyful haste he fled;
Entered the grave in mortal flesh,
And dwelt among the dead.131.
But worst of all, this awful charge is against the Bible. In John 1:2, 14, we learn that the Word which was in the beginning with God, was made flesh. And in Heb. 1:2, 3, the Son of God, who was the express image of his person, did by himself purge our sins. That which was the express image of God, was the sacrifice, and of course had to die. In Phil. 2:5-8, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
There is nothing more clearly taught in the Scriptures than that he that came down from heaven died; that he was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, and was put to death in the flesh. Heb. 2:9; 1 Pet. 3:18. He hath poured out his soul unto death. Isa. 53:12.
If Christ died, soul and body, and was raised, soul and body, then man will be raised from the dead, soul and body, for Christ in his resurrection was the first-fruits (or sample) of them that slept. 1 Cor. 15:20.
If, as Clarke says, the Eternal Logos did suffer and die, it is folly to talk about an essential part of man not being subject to death. Such talk sounds much like the echo to that lie of the old serpent, Thou shalt not surely die. (M. E. Cornell, December 23, 1862, I vol. 21, no. 4, pages 25, 26)
James Springer White: 1821 - 1881
Jesus prayed that his disciples might be one as he was one with his Father. This prayer did not contemplate one disciple with twelve heads, but twelve disciples, made one in object and effort in the cause of their master. Neither are the Father and the Son parts of the three-one God. They are two distinct beings, yet one in the design and accomplishment of redemption. The redeemed, from the first who shares in the great redemption, to the last, all ascribe the honor, and glory, and praise, of their salvation, to both God and the Lamb. (James White, 1868, Life Incidents, page 343)
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for THE faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3, 4) The exhortation to contend for the faith delivered to the saints, is to us alone. And it is very important for us to know what for and how to contend. In the 4th verse he gives us the reason why we should contend for THE faith, a particular faith; for there are certain men, or a certain class who deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. The way spiritualizers have disposed of or denied the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ is first using the old unscriptural Trinitarian creed, viz., that Jesus Christ is the eternal God, though they have not one passage to support it, while we have plain scripture testimony in abundance that he is the Son of the eternal God. (James White, January 24, 1846, The Day Star)
The inexplicable Trinity that makes the Godhead three in one and one in three, is bad enough; but that ultra Unitarianism that makes Christ inferior to the Father is worse. Did God say to an inferior, Let us make man in our image? (James White, November 29, 1877, Review & Herald)
The Father was greater than the Son in that he was first. (James White, January 4, 1881, Review & Herald; found in EGW Review and Herald Articles, vol. 1, page 244)
We are told by those who teach the abolition of the Fathers law, that the commandments of God mentioned in the New Testament, are not the ten, but the requirements of the gospel, such as repentance, faith, baptism and the Lords supper. But as these, and every other requirement peculiar to the gospel, are all embraced in the faith of Jesus, it is evident that the commandments of God are not the sayings of Christ and his apostles. To assert that the sayings of the Son and his apostles are the commandments of the Father, is as wide from the truth as the old trinitarian absurdity that Jesus Christ is the very and Eternal God. And as the faith of Jesus embraces every requirement peculiar to the gospel, it necessarily follows that the commandments of God, mentioned by the third angel, embrace only the ten precepts of the Fathers immutable law which are not peculiar to any one dispensation, but common to all. (James White, August 5, 1852, Review & Herald, vol. 3, no. 7, page 52, par. 42)
Bro. Cottrell is nearly eighty years of age, remembers the dark day of 1780, and has been a Sabbath-keeper more than thirty years. He was formerly united with the Seventh-Day Baptists, but on some points of doctrine has differed from that body. He rejected the doctrine of the trinity, also the doctrine of mans consciousness between death and the resurrection, and the punishment of the wicked in eternal consciousness. He believed that the wicked would be destroyed. Bro. Cottrell buried his wife not long since, who, it is said, was one of the excellent of the earth. Not long since, this aged pilgrim received a letter from friends in Wisconsin, purporting to be from M. Cottrell, his wife, who sleeps in Jesus. But he, believing that the dead know not anything, was prepared to reject at once the heresy that the spirits of the dead, knowing everything, come back and converse with the living. Thus truth is a staff in his old age. He has three sons in Mill Grove, who, with their families are Sabbath-keepers. (James White, June 9, 1853, Review & Herald, vol. 4, no. 2, page 12, par. 16)
Catholic Reasons for Keeping Sunday
1. Because it is also called Sunday from the old Roman denomination of Dies Solis, the day of the sun, to which it was sacred. Sunday was a name given by the heathens to the first day of the week, because it was the day on which they worshipped the sun.
2. Because it is in honor of the blessed Virgin Mary.
3. Because it is a day dedicated by the apostles to the honor of the most Holy Trinity. (James White, April 4, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 5, no. 11, page 86, par. 16-18)
The Position of the Remnant
As fundamental errors, we might class with this counterfeit sabbath other errors which Protestants have brought away from the Catholic church, such as sprinkling for baptism, the trinity, the consciousness of the dead and eternal life in misery. The mass who have held these fundamental errors, have doubtless done it ignorantly; but can it be supposed that the church of Christ will carry along with her these errors till the judgment scenes burst upon the world? We think not. Here are they [in the period of a message given just before the Son of man takes his place upon the white cloud, Rev. 14:14] that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This class, who live just prior to the second advent, will not be keeping the traditions of men, neither will they be holding fundamental errors relative to the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. And as the true light shines out upon these subjects, and is rejected by the mass, then condemnation will come upon them. When the true Sabbath is set before men, and the claims of the fourth commandment are urged upon them, and they reject this holy institution of the God of heaven, and choose in its place an institution of the beast, it can then be said, in the fullest sense, that such worship the beast. The warning message of the third angel is given in reference to that period, when the mark of the beast will be received, instead of the seal of the living God. Solemn dreadful, swiftly approaching hour! (James White, September 12, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 6, no. 5, page 36, par. 8)
Here we might mention the Trinity, which does away the personality of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, and of sprinkling or pouring instead of being buried with Christ in baptism, planted in the likeness of his death: but we pass from these fables to notice one that is held sacred by nearly all professed Christians, both Catholic and Protestant. It is, The change of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment from the seventh to the first day of the week. (James White, December 11, 1855, Review & Herald, vol. 7, no. 11, page 85, par. 16)
The mystery of iniquity began to work in the church in Pauls day. It finally crowded out the simplicity of the gospel, and corrupted the doctrine of Christ, and the church went into the wilderness. Martin Luther, and other reformers, arose in the strength of God, and with the Word and Spirit, made mighty strides in the Reformation. The greatest fault we can find in the Reformation is, the Reformers stopped reforming. Had they gone on, and onward, till they had left the last vestige of Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday- keeping, the church would now be free from her unscriptural errors. (James White, February 7, 1856, Review & Herald, vol. 7, no. 19, page 148, par. 26)
Alonzo T. Jones: 1850 - 1923
He who was born in the form of God took the form of man. In the flesh he was all the while as God, but he did not appear as God. He divested himself of the form of God, and in its stead took the form and fashion of man. The glories of the form of God, He for awhile relinquished. (A. T. Jones, General Conference Bulletin 1895, page 448)
He was born of the Holy Ghost. In other words, Jesus Christ was born again. He came from heaven, Gods first-born, to the earth, and was born again. But all in Christs work goes by opposites for us: He, the sinless one, was made to be sin in order that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He, the living One, the Prince and Author of life, died that we might live. He whose goings forth have been from the days of eternity, the first-born of God, was born again in order that we might be born again. (Christian Perfection, paragraphs 53, 54 A Sermon By A. T. Jones, Review & Herald, July 7 - August 1, 1899) (This is also found in Lessons on Faith, page 154)
11. In accordance with this opinion then, what has been done? The Christian religion, that is, Christianity, general Christianity, is legally recognized and declared to be the established religion of this nation, and that consequently this is a Christian nation. With this also, in language more or less emphatic, there is justified as the meaning of the Constitution of the United States, (1) the maintenance of the discipline of the Churches by the civil power; (2) the requirement of the religious oath; (3) the requirement of the religious test oath as a qualification for office; (4) public taxation for the support of religion and religious teachers; (5) the requirement of a belief in the Trinity and the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments; (6) the guilt of blasphemy upon everyone who speaks or acts in contempt of the established religion; and (7) laws for the observance of Sunday, with the general cessation of all secular business.
12. Now what more was ever required by the papacy, and all phases of the old order of things, than is thus brought within the meaning of the national Constitution by this decision? What more was ever required by the papacy itself than that the Christian religion should be the national religion; that the discipline of the Church should be maintained by the civil power; that the religious test oath should be applied to all; that the public should be taxed for the support of religion and religious worship; that there should be required a belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, and the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament; that the guilt of blasphemy should be visited upon everyone who should speak or act in contempt of the religion professed by almost the whole community; and that everybody should be required by law to observe Sunday? Indeed, what more than this could be required or even desired by the most absolute religious despotism that could be imagined? (A. T. Jones, 1901, Ecclesiastical Empire, pages 837, 838)
Here is a distinctly religious qualification required. The applicant shall prove that he is a regularly ordained minister of some religious denomination and must be recommended by some authorized ecclesiastical body. It is true that he is not required directly by this law, to declare that he believes in the Trinity, or the communion of saints, or the resurrection of the dead. It is true he is not required to pass such a direct test as that. But he is required to be religious and to belong to a religious denomination. If he is not this, he cannot be appointed. This is nothing else than a religious test as a qualification for office under the United States, and is clearly a violation of that clause of the Constitution which declares that No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification of any office of public trust under the United States.
More than this: although, as stated above, no direct test as to a belief in the Trinity, etc., is required, the same thing is done indirectly. For in order to be an ordained minister in good standing in some religious denomination, he must necessarily pass a close and searching test upon many religious points. Therefore this requirement does indirectly what it does not do directly, and is just as certainly a violation of the Constitution, as though it were done directly. (A. T. Jones, 1891, The Two Republics, page 801)
Another, and the most notable of all the victims of Calvins theocracy, was Servetus, who had opposed the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, and also infant baptism; and had published a book entitled Christianity Restored, in which he declared his sentiments. At the instance and by the aid of Calvin, he had been prosecuted by the papal Inquisition, and condemned to death for blasphemy and heresy, but he escaped from their prison in Dauphine, in France, and in making his way to Italy, passed through Geneva, and there remained a short time. He was just about to start for Zurich, when at the instigation of Calvin, he was seized, and out of the book before mentioned, was accused of blasphemy. The result, as everybody knows, was that he was burned to death. The followers of Servetus were banished from Geneva. (A. T. Jones, 1891, The Two Republics, page 590)
A. J. Dennis
What a contradiction of terms is found in the language of Trinitarian creed: In unity of this head are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. There are many things that are mysterious, written in the word of God, but we may safely presume the Lord never calls upon us to believe impossibilities. But creeds often do. (A. J. Dennis, May 22, 1879, Signs of The Times)
Christ is the only literal son of God. The only begotten of the Father. John 1:14. He is God because he is the Son of God; not by virtue of His resurrection. If Christ is the only begotten of the Father, then we cannot be begotten of the Father in a literal sense. It can only be in a secondary sense of the word. (John Matteson, October 12, 1869, Review & Herald, page123)
J. M. Stephenson
In reference to his dignity, he is denominated the Son of God, before his incarnation. Hear his own language: He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true. John 7:18. Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God. Chap. 10:36. In this was manifest the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9, 10. The idea of being sent implies that he was the Son of God antecedent to his being sent. To suppose otherwise is to suppose that a father can send his son on an errand before that son has an existence, which would be manifestly absurd. To say that God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, is equivalent to saying that the Son of God assumed our nature; he must therefore have been the Son of God before his incarnation. (J. M. Stephenson, November 7, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 6, no. 13, page 99, par. 10)
But in the last place, on this point, What was the origin of this nature; or in other words, the origin of the Son of God. It is admitted by Trinitarians that the pre-existence, simply considered, does not prove his eternal God-head, nor his eternal Son-ship. Says Watson, a standard writer of the Trinitarian School, His pre-existence, indeed, simply considered, does not evince his God-head, and is not therefore, a proof against the Arian hypothesis; but it destroys the Socinian notion, that he was a man only. For since no one contends for the pre-existence of human souls, and if they did, the doctrine would be confuted by their own consciousness, it is clear, that if Christ existed before his incarnation, he is not a mere man, whatever his nature, by other arguments may be proved to be. This is an honest acknowledgment plainly expressed. And in reference to his nature, it has been shown to be Divine; and being such, it must have been immortal. Indeed this proposition is self-evident; for he who is Divine, must be immortal.
We cannot suppose that Christ was mortal, and, as such, would have been subject to death, had not the plan of redemption been devised; he must, therefore, in his original nature, have been deathless.
The question now to be considered, then, is not whether the only begotten Son of God was Divine, immortal, or the most dignified and exalted being, the Father only excepted, in the entire Universe; all this has been proved, and but few will call it in question; but whether this August Personage is self- existent and eternal, in its absolute, or unlimited sense; or whether in his highest nature, and character, he had an origin, and consequently beginning of days. The idea of Father and Son supposes priority of the existence of the one, and the subsequent existence of the other. To say that the Son is as old as his Father, is a palpable contradiction of terms. It is a natural impossibility for the Father to be as young as the Son, or the Son to be as old as the Father. If it be said that this term is only used in an accommodated sense, it still remains to be accounted for, why the Father should use as the uniform title of the highest, and most endearing relation between himself and our Lord, a term which, in its uniform signification, would contradict the very idea he wished to convey. If the inspired writers had wished to convey the idea of the co-etaneous existence, and eternity of the Father and Son, they could not possibly have used more incompatible terms.
And of this, Trinitarians have been sensible. Mr. Fuller, although a Trinitarian, had the honesty to acknowledge, in the conclusion of his work on the Son-ship of Christ, that, in the order of nature, the Father must have existed before the Son. But with this admission, he attempts to reconcile the idea of the Sons being properly eternal, as well as the Father; two ideas utterly irreconcilable. The idea of an eternal Son is a self-contradiction. He must, therefore have an origin. But what saith the Scriptures? They speak right to the point. The apostle Paul says, speaking of Christ, Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature. Col. 1:15. Notice, 1st. This cannot refer to his birth of the Virgin Mary, in Bethlehem of Judea, because millions of creatures, in connection with this world, had been born previous to that time. Cain and Abel had been born more than four thousand years previously.
2nd. The following verse makes his birth antecedent to the creation of all things in heaven and on earth, including all worlds, all ranks and orders of intelligences, visible and invisible. For by him. By whom? Ans. By the first born of every creature. The pronoun him refers to this being for its antecedent. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. Verse 16. All things in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, evidently include all the orders of created intelligences.
Now, he must have been born, i.e., had a real intelligent existence, before he could exercise creative power. But all the works of creation are ascribed to him as the first born of every creature; hence the birth here spoken of, must have been previous to the existence of the first creature in heaven or in earth. To be such, it must refer to his Divine nature, unless he had two distinctive natures before his incarnation; for which no one contends. But the 17th verse fixes the priority of the birth here spoken of. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Here the pronoun he refers to the same person for its antecedent, that the pronoun him does; and both refer to the first born of every creature. And the all things, he is before, in this verse, are evidently the all things named in the previous verse. Hence the point is fully established, that it is the Divine nature of our blessed Redeemer which is here spoken of; and that this nature was born: and in reference to his order, he was the first born.
Again, in John 1:1-3, 14, we have the same class of evidence. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In the beginning, evidently refers to the commencement of the series of events brought to view in these verses, which was the creation of all things. This gives the only begotten of the Father (see verse 14) intelligent existence before the first act of creative power was put forth, and proves that it is his Divine nature here spoken of; and that too, in connection with the creation of all things. In verse 14, this Word, who was in the beginning with God, who was God, and by whom all things were made, that were made, is declared to be the only begotten of the Father, thereby teaching that in his highest nature he was begotten; and consequently as such, he must have had a beginning.
Associate the many occurrences of the term, only begotten Son of God, with the person, nature, and time, brought to view in the foregoing verses; and if any doubts still remain, in reference to the Divine nature of the only begotten Son of God having had an origin, you may compare them with those texts which exclude the possibility of his being eternal, in the sense of his never having had a beginning of days; such as The blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords,: who only hath immortality. 1 Tim. 6:16. This cannot be understood in the sense of none having deathless natures, or being exempt from death, except the Father; for Christ at that time was immortal in this sense: so were all the angels who had kept their first estate; it must, therefore be understood in the same sense, that we all understand, his being the only Potentate; not that there are no other potentates; but that he is the only Supreme Ruler. There cannot be two Supreme Rulers at the same time.
Again, where it is declared, that there are none good except the Father, it cannot be understood that none others are good in a relative sense; for Christ and angels, are good, yea perfect, in their respective sphere; but that the Father alone is supremely, or absolutely, good; and that he alone is immortal in an absolute sense; that he alone is self-existent; and, that, consequently, every other being, however high or low, is absolutely dependent upon him for life; for being. This idea is most emphatically expressed by our Saviour himself; For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. John 5:26. This would be singular language for one to use who had life in his essential nature, just as much as the Father. To meet such a view, it should read thus: For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath the Son life in himself.
If as Trinitarians argue, the Divine nature of the Son hath life in himself (.e., is self existent) just the same, and in as absolute a sense, as the Father, why should he represent himself as actually dependent upon the Father for life? What propriety in representing the Father as conferring upon him a gift which he had possessed from all eternity? If it be said that his human nature derived its life from the Father, I would answer, It does not thus read; or even if it did, I would still urge the impropriety of the human nature of the Son of God representing itself as being absolutely dependent upon the Father for the gift of life. Would it not be much more reasonable, in such case, for the human nature of Christ to derive its life, and vitality, from its union with the Divine nature, instead of from its union with the Father? I understand this passage according to the natural import of the language: For as the Father hath life (i.e., existence) in himself, (i.e., self-existent,) so hath he given to the Son to have life (i.e., existence) in himself.
I know I will be referred to the declaration of our Saviour, I have power to lay down my life, and to take it up again. John 10:18. Read the last clause of this verse: This commandment (commissionCampbell) have I received of my Father.
I will conclude the evidence upon this point by quoting one more passage. Paul says, And again, when he bringeth the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. Heb. 1:6. He must have been his Son before he could send him into the world. In verse 2, the Father declares that he made the worlds by the same Son he is here represented as sending into the world. His Son must have existed before he created the worlds; and he must have been begotten before he existed; hence the begetting here spoken of, must refer to his Divine nature, and in reference to his order, he is the first-begotten; hence as a matter of necessity he must have been the first born of every creature. Col. 1:15. The first born of every creature.
Having investigated the original nature, glory and dignity of our Lord and Master; having gazed a few moments upon the face of him who is the fairest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely; having had a glance at the celestial glory he had with the Father, before the world was, and beheld that matchless form which is the image of the invisible God; and having looked with wonder and admiration upon this August personage, exalted far above angels and thrones and dominions, principalities and powers; we are prepared, as far as our feeble perceptions can comprehend, to appreciate that amazing love and condescension which induced our adorable Redeemer to forego all the glories and honors of heaven, and all the endearments of his Fathers presence.
Although all his Fathers treasures were his, yet he became so poor, that, he had not where to lay his head; oft-times the cold, damp earth being his only bed, and the blue heavens his only covering; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, scoffed at by the Jews, and mocked by the Gentiles; a houseless stranger, he wore out his life under the ignoble garb of a servant, and last of all died, the just for the unjust, and took his exit from the world under the infamous character of a malefactor. O! was ever love like this! Did ever mercy stoop so low? (J. M. Stephenson, November 14, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 6, no. 14, pages 105, 106)
I will select a few passages, in which, in the highest character ascribed to him [Christ] in the Bible, he is represented as humbling himself and becoming obedient unto death: where the same identical being who had glory with the Father before the world was, is represented as dying.
Paul, speaking of Christs highest nature, says, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Phil. 2:6. That this verse refers to his Divine nature, all admit, who believe he had a Divine nature; yet it is emphatically declared in the two verses following, that he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death. Here it is expressly declared that this exalted being who was in the form of God, humbled himself, 1st, by becoming man; 2nd, by becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (J. M. Stephenson, November 21, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 6, no. 15, page 113)
We are prepared at this point of the investigation, to understand the relation the sacrifice of Christ, or the atonement, sustains to the law of God. In presenting this part of the subject, I shall compare what I understand to be the Bible view, with the two theories upon this point, believed by most of Christendom. They are the Unitarian and Trinitarian views. These views occupy the two extreme points. Many of the most eminent writers, in the Unitarian school, deny the pre-existence of the Son of God, as a real personality; but take the position that he was a good, yea, a perfect man.
I would look with the highest degree of admiration upon the magnanimity and self-sacrifice of a king of spotless purity, just and good, and loved by all his subjects, who, for the forfeited lives of a few rebellious subjects in a remote province of his kingdom, would voluntarily descend from his throne, and exile himself in the garb of the meanest peasant, wear out his life in acts of kindness toward them, and last of all, die the most infamous and ignominious death, to save their lives, and bring them back in allegiance to his throne. Such an act of disinterestedness and love would fill the world with the loudest songs of praise and admiration; but, however great and praise-worthy such an act might justly appear, it falls almost infinitely below the claims of Jehovahs abused and violated law.
I cannot conceive how the life of one man, however good or perfect, or benevolent, could render an equivalent for the forfeited lives of all the millions of the human race, whose characters, in case of perfect obedience, would be equally exceptionless. I cannot conceive how the death of one good man could render an adequate atonement for the lives of so many millions. But, according to the views of these writers, we have only the death of a good mans body, while all that is noble, dignified, responsible, and intelligent, survives death, nay, by this very act, is exalted to higher degrees of bliss and glory.
The Trinitarian view, I think is equally exceptionable. They claim that the Son of God had three distinct natures at the same time; viz., a human body, a human soul, united with his Divine nature: the body being mortal, the soul immortal, the Divinity co-equal, co-existent, and co-eternal with the everlasting Father. Now, none of the advocates of this theory, claim that either his soul or Divinity died, that the body was the only part of this triple being which actually died the death of the cross; hence, according to this view (which makes the death of Christ the grand atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world) we only have the sacrifice of the most inferior partthe human bodyof the Son of God.
But it is claimed that his soul suffered the greater part of the penaltyyet it did not suffer the death of the cross: it deserted the body in its greatest extremity, and left it to bear alone the death penalty; hence, the death of the cross is still only the death of a human body. But even admitting that in his highest nature as a human being, he suffered, all of which his nature, as such, was susceptible, during his whole life, and then died the ignominious death of the crosseven then, such a sacrifice would come almost infinitely short of the demands of Gods just and holy law, which has been violated by all of Adams race, (infants excepted,) and trodden under foot with impunity, for so many thousands of years.
Of this Trinitarians themselves are sensible; hence, they represent his Divinity as the altar upon which his humanity was sacrificed; and then estimate the intrinsic value of the sacrifice by that of the altar upon which it was offered. But if I understand the theory under consideration, the Divine nature of Jesus Christ had no part nor lot in this matter; for this nature suffered no loss, indeed, made no sacrifice whatever.
Suppose a king to unite the dignity of his only son with one of his poorest peasants, so far as to call him his son; and then should subject this peasant under the character of his own son, to a life of poverty, privation and suffering, and then crucify him under the character of a malefactor, while his real son enjoyed all the blessings of life, health, ease, honor and glory of his fathers courtwould any one contend in such case, that because he was called after the name, and clothed with honorary titles of the kings son, and died in this character, that therefore his suffering and death would be entitled to all the dignity and honor of his real son? In this case, all the sacrifice is made by the peasant. The son has no part nor lot in the matter. It is emphatically the offering of a peasant, and worth just as much as he is worth, had just as much dignity, and no more. The same is true in reference to the sacrifice of Christ, according to the above view. His humanity suffered all that was suffered, made all the sacrifice that was made; his privation, suffering and death are, therefore, entitled to all the value, dignity and honor, this nature could confer upon it, and no more. Hence, according to this theory, we have only a human sacrifice; and the question still remains to be answered, How can the life of one human being make an adequate atonement for the lives of thousands of millions of others?
So, after all that has been said and written by these two schools, it appears that there is no real difference in their respective theories, in reference to the atonement; both have, in fact, only a human sacrifice: but with reference to their views of the highest nature of the Son of God, they are as far asunder as finitude, and infinitude, time and eternity. The former makes the only Begotten of the Father, a mere mortal, finite man; the latter makes him the Infinite, Omnipotent, All-wise, and Eternal God, absolutely equal with the Everlasting Father. Now, I understand the truth to be in the medium between these two extremes.
I have proved, as I think conclusively, 1st, that the Son of God in his highest nature existed before the creation of the first world, or the first intelligent being in the vast Universe; 2nd, that he had an origin; that he was the first born of every creature; the beginning of the creation of God; [Rev. 3:14;] 3rd, that, in his highest nature, all things in heaven and in earth were created, and are upheld, by him; 4th, in his dignity, he was exalted far above all the angels of heaven, and all the kings and potentates of earth; 5th, in his nature he was immortal, (not in an absolute sense,) and Divine; 6th, in his titles and privileges, he was the only begotten of his Father, whose glory he shared before the world was; the image of the invisible God; in the form of God; and thought it not robbery to be equal with God; the likeness of his Fathers glory and express image of his person; the Word who was in the beginning with God and who was God. This was the exalted, and dignified, personage, who was sacrificed for the sins of the worldthese are the privileges he voluntarily surrendered; and although rich, for our sake he became poor: he made himself of no reputation, and became man; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, to declare the righteousness of God, that he might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.
Here was real humility; not a mere pretense or show; here, we behold the amazing spectacle of the well-beloved and only begotten Son of God, the first born of every creature, voluntarily divesting himself of the glory he had with the Father before the world, coming down from heaven, his high and holy habitation, and though rich becoming so poor that he had not where to lay his head, the blessed Word who was in the beginning with God, and who was God, actually becoming flesh, in the ignoble garb of a servantsubjecting himself to all the privations, temptations, sorrows, and afflictions, to which poor fallen humanity is subjected; and then to complete this unprecedented sacrifice, we see this once honored, but now humbledthis once exalted, but now abased personage, expiring, as a malefactor, upon the accursed cross; and last of all descending into the depths of the dark and silent tomba symbol of the lowest degree of humiliation.
This, this, is the sacrifice, the only begotten of the Father offered as an atonement for the sins of the world; this is the being who was actually sacrificed, and this the price the Son of God actually paid for our redemption. Hence, in reference to its dignity, it is the sacrifice of the most exalted and dignified being in the vast empire of God; nay, the sacrifice of the Kings only begotten Son. In reference to its intrinsic value, who can estimate the worth of Gods darling Son? It is, to say the least of it, an equivalent for the dignity, the lives, and eternal interests of the whole world; nay further, it is equal in value to all the moral interest of the whole intelligent creation, and equal in dignity and honor to the moral government of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. In reference to its nature, it is Divine; hence we have a Divine sacrifice, in contradistinction to the Trinitarian and Unitarian views, which make it only a human sacrifice. In reference to its fullness, it is infinite, boundless. Yes, thank God, there is enough for each, enough for all, enough for ever more; enough to save an intelligent Universe, were they all sinners; and lastly, in reference to its adaptation to mans conditions and necessities, it is absolutely perfect. (J. M. Stephenson, November 21, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 6, no. 15, page 114, par. 1-6)
The position I have taken in reference to the nature, origin, and incarnation of the Son of God, will be objected to by many. I am willing to suspend all the Bible objections, which may be urged against these views, upon the evidence therein adduced, except one; that is the supposed evidence of his being absolutely equal with the Father, the Supreme and only true God. This view is urged,
1st. From the fact that the highest titles the Father ever claimed are applied to the Son. If this were true, it would be unanswerable; but that it is not, is evident from the following titles of supremacy which are never applied to the Son. I will quote the following from Henry Grews work on the Sonship, p. 48.
Although the Son of God is honored with appropriate titles of dignity and glory, he is distinguished from the only true God, by the following titles of supremacy which belong to the invisible God alone.
Jehovah, Whose name alone is Jehovah. (Ps. 83:18)
The eternal God. (Deut. 33:27)
Most High God. (Mark 5:7; Dan. 5:18)
God alone. (Ps. 86:10; Isa. 37:16)
Lord alone. (Neh. 9:6)
God of heaven. (Dan. 2:44)
Besides me there is no God. (Isa. 44:6)
Who only hath immortality. (1 Tim. 6:16)
The only true God. (John 17:3)
The King eternal, immortal, invisible. (1 Tim. 1:17)
The only wise God. (1 Tim. 1:17)
Lord, God Omnipotent. (Rev. 19:6)
Blessed and only Potentate. (1 Tim. 6:15)
One God and Father of all. (Eph. 4:6)
The only Lord God. (Jude 4)
There is but one God, the Father. (1 Cor. 8:6)
2nd. He exercised power and prerogatives which belong to the supreme God alone. I cannot answer this objection more forcibly than by presenting the Trinitarian view, and Bible view, in contrast. In doing this, I will avail myself of a list of quotations presented by the same author. pp. 66, 67.
CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES
To us there is but one God the Father. (1 Cor. 8:6)
My Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)
Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature. (Col. 1:15)
The Son can do nothing of himself. (John 5:19)
But of that day, &c., knoweth no man, no not the angels, &c., neither the Son, but the Father. (Mark 13:32)
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth, (Matt. 28:18) As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (John 17:2)
God who created all things by Jesus Christ.(Eph. 3:9)
The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him. (Rev. 1:1)
For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Tim. 2:5)
Denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 4)
Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and signs, and wonders which God did by him. (Acts 2:22)
For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. (John 5:26)
I live by the Father. (John 6:57)
This is my Son. (Matt. 3:17)
That they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:10, 11)
To us there is but one God, the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost.
The Son is as great as the Father.
Who is the invisible God, the uncreated Jehovah.
The Son is omnipotent [all powerful]. (Brackets Supplied)
The Son is omniscient [all knowing], and knew of that day as well as the Father. (Brackets Supplied)
No given power can qualify the Son of God to give eternal life to his people.
Jesus Christ created all things by his own independent power.
The revelation of Jesus Christ from his own omniscience [all knowing]. (Brackets Supplied)
There is one Mediator between God and man; who is also the supreme God and man in our person.
Denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who is also the only Lord God, and a distinct person
Jesus performed his miracles by his own omnipotence [all powerful]. (Brackets Supplied)
He is self-existent.
The Son lives by himself.
This is the only true God, the same numerical essence as the Father.
That they might know thee, who art not the only true God in distinction from the Word whom thou hast sent.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow; and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to his own glory.
4th. I will consider a few of those passages of scripture which are so frequently, and confidently quoted to prove that Jesus Christ in his essential nature, is the very and eternal God. In Col. 2:9, we are told, that in Jesus Christ dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. But a few verses before this, the same Apostle tells us, it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell. Chap. 1:19. This same Apostle represents even the saints as being filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:19) (J. M. Stephenson, December 5, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 6, no. 16, pages 123, 124)
Uriah Smith: 1832 - 1903
In 1 Cor. 15, I find that it is not the natural man that hath immortality; yet Paul assures the Romans that by patient continuance in well doing all could obtain immortality and eternal life. The doctrine called the trinity, claiming that God is without form or parts; that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the three are one person, is another. Could God be without form or parts when he spoke unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto a friend? [Ex. 33:11] or when the Lord said unto him, Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live? And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by; and I will take away my hand and thou shalt see my back parts; but my face shall not be seen. Ex. 33:20, 22, 23. Christ is the express image of his Fathers person. Heb. 1:3. (Uriah Smith, July 10, 1856, Review & Herald, vol. 8, no. 11, page 87, par. 33)
To the Lamb, equally with the Father who sits upon the throne, praise is ascribed in this song of adoration. Commentators, with great unanimity, have seized upon this as proof that Christ must be coeval with the Father; for otherwise, say they, here would be worship paid to the creature which belongs only to the Creator. But this does not seem to be a necessary conclusion. The Scriptures nowhere speak of Christ as a created being, but on the contrary plainly state that he was begotten of the Father. (See remarks on Rev. 3:14, where it is shown that Christ is not a created being.) But while as the Son he does not possess a co-eternity of past existence with the Father, the beginning of his existence, as the begotten of the Father, antedates the entire work of creation, in relation to which he stands as joint creator with God. John 1:3; Heb. 1:2. Could not the Father ordain that to such a being worship should be rendered equally with himself, without its being idolatry on the part of the worshiper? He has raised him to positions which make it proper that he should be worshipped, and has even commanded that worship should be rendered him, which would not have been necessary had he been equal with the Father in eternity of existence. Christ himself declares that as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. John 5:26. The Father has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. Phil. 2:9. And the Father himself says, Let all the angels of God worship him. Heb. 1:6. These testimonies show that Christ is now an object of worship equally with the Father; but they do not prove that with him he holds an eternity of past existence. (Uriah Smith, 1882, Daniel And The Revelation, page 430)
God alone is without beginning. At the earliest epoch when a beginning could be,a period so remote that to finite minds it is essentially eternity,appeared the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1. This uncreated Word was the Being, who, in the fulness of time, was made flesh, and dwelt among us. His beginning was not like that of any other being in the universe. It is set forth in the mysterious expressions, his [Gods] only begotten Son (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9), the only begotten of the Father (John 1:14), and, I proceeded forth and came from God. John 8:42. Thus it appears that by some divine impulse or process, not creation, known only to Omniscience, and possible only to Omnipotence, the Son of God appeared. And then the Holy Spirit (by an infirmity of translation called the Holy Ghost), the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the divine afflatus and medium of their power, representative of them both (Ps. 139:7), was in existence also. (Uriah Smith, 1898, Looking Unto Jesus, page 10)
When Christ left heaven to die for a lost world, he left behind, for the time being, his immortality also. but how could that be laid aside? That it was laid aside is sure, or he could not have died; but he did die, as a whole, as a divine being, as the Son of God, not in body only, while the spirit, the divinity, lived right on; for then the world would have only a human Saviour, a human sacrifice for its sins; but the prophet says that his soul was made an offering for sin. Isa. 53:10. (Uriah Smith, 1898, Looking Unto Jesus, pages 23, 24)
1. We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Matt. 28:19. By this we express our belief in the existence of the one true God, the mediation of his Son, and the influence of the Holy Spirit. (Uriah Smith, 1858, The Bible Students Assistant, pages 21, 22)
God The Father, And His Son Jesus Christ
Titles of the Father
The following titles of supremacy belong alone to Him who is from everlasting to everlasting, the only wise God:
Declarations Concerning the Son
With such inspired declarations before us, ought we to say that Jesus Christ is the Self-existent, Independent, Omniscient and Only True God; or the Son of God, begotten, upheld, exalted and glorified BY THE FATHER? (Uriah Smith, 1858, The Bible Students Assistant, pages 42-45, This is also found in Review & Herald, June 12, 1860, page 27, par. 3-48) [Emphasis in Original]
J. W. W. Asks: Are we to understand that the Holy Ghost is a person, the same as the Father and the Son? Some claim that it is, others that it is not.
Ans.The terms Holy Ghost, are a harsh and repulsive translation. It should be Holy Spirit (hagion pneuma) in every instance. This Spirit is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ; the Spirit being the same whether it is spoken of as pertaining to God or Christ. But respecting this Spirit, the Bible uses expressions which cannot be harmonized with the idea that it is a person like the Father and the Son. Rather it is shown to be a divine influence from them both, the medium which represents their presence and by which they have knowledge and power through all the universe, when not personally present. Christ is a person, now officiating as priest in the sanctuary in heaven; and yet he says that wherever two or three are gathered in his name, he is there in the midst. Mt. 18:20. How? Not personally, but by his Spirit. In one of Christs discoursed (John 14-16) this Spirit is personified as the Comforter, and as such has the personal and relative pronouns, he, him, and whom, applied to it. But usually it is spoken of in a way to show that it cannot be a person, like the Father and the Son. For instance, it is often said to be poured out and shed abroad. But we never read about God or Christ being poured out or shed abroad. If it was a person, it would be nothing strange for it to appear in bodily shape; and yet when it has so appeared, that fact has been noted as peculiar. Thus Luke 3:22 says: And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him. But the shape is not always the same; for on the day of Pentecost it assumed the form of cloven tongues like as of fire. Acts 2:3, 4. Again we read of the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. Rev. 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6. This is unquestionably simply a designation of the Holy Spirit, put in this form to signify its perfection and completeness. But it could hardly be so described if it was a person. We never read of the seven Gods or the seven Christs. (Uriah Smith, October 28, 1890, Review & Herald)
Five months after this article appeared in the Review & Herald, Uriah Smith delivered a sermon before the General Conference. In this sermon he comes to a place where he realizes the necessity of explaining some things about the Spirit of God.
It may not then be out of place for us to consider for a moment what this Spirit is, what its office is, what its relation to the world and to the church, and what the Lord through this proposes to do for his people. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God; it is also the Spirit of Christ. It is that divine, mysterious emanation through which they carry forward their great and infinite work. It is called the Eternal Spirit; it is a spirit that is omniscient and omnipresent; it is the spirit that moved, or brooded, upon the face of the waters in the early days when chaos reigned, and out of chaos was brought the beauty and the glory of this world. It is the agency through which life is imparted; it is the medium through which all Gods blessings and graces come to his people. It is the Comforter; it is the Spirit of Truth; it is the Spirit of Hope; it is the Spirit of Glory; it is the vital connection between us and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; for the apostle tells us that if we have not the Spirit of Christ, we are none of his. It is a spirit which is tender; which can be insulted, can be grieved, can be quenched. It is the agency through which we are to be introduced, if ever we are introduced, to immortality; for Paul says that if the spirit of Him that raised up Christ from the dead dwell in you, he shall quicken also your mortal bodies by that Spirit which dwelleth in you; that is, the Spirit of Christ. Rom. 8:11.
Uriah Smith described the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. He referred to this Spirit using the word it rather than He sixteen times in this one paragraph. Just seven paragraphs later he makes the following statement.
You will notice in these few verses the apostle brings to view the three great agencies which are concerned in this work: God, the Father; Christ, his Son; and the Holy Spirit. (Uriah Smith, March 14, 1891, General Conference Daily Bulletin, vol. 4, pages 146, 147)
This statement is very interesting as it explains that the Pioneers understood the use of the term, three great agencies in a way that is in harmony with the teaching that the Holy Spirit is not a third, separate being, but rather the Spirit of the Father and His Son.
J. N. Andrews: 1829 - 1883
The doctrine of the Trinity which was established in the church by the council of Nice, A. D. 325. This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The infamous, measures by which it was forced upon the church which appear upon the pages of ecclesiastical history might well cause every believer in that doctrine to blush. (J. N. Andrews, March 6, 1855, Review & Herald, vol. 6, no. 24, page 185)
Our knowledge of this remarkable personage is derived only from Genesis 14, Psalm 110, and what Paul has written concerning him in the book of Hebrews. Many things respecting him are purposely concealed by the Holy Spirit, and it would, therefore, be fruitless for us to attempt to bring them to the light. He was king of Salem; he was priest of the most high God; he was, by virtue of his office, even the superior of Abraham; Christ is a priest after his order. He once met Abraham and received tithes of him, and blessed him. This is the substance of our knowledge of Melchisedec. When it is asked whether he was not identical with this or that remarkable man of his time, or when it is inquired of what race he was, and who were his parents, and how long he lived, and when he died, the answer must be, that we are not informed touching these things. But the following language of Paul has given rise to many strange speculations concerning him. Paul says of him that he was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. (Hebrews 7:8)
Now, if these words be taken in an absolute sense, they can be true of no human being. Adam alone, of all the human race, was without father, and without mother, and without descent. But Adam had beginning of days and end of life. Enoch had no end of life, but he had all the other things which Paul says Melchisedec had not. So of Elijah, who, by the way, did not exist till long after the days of Melchisedec. Every member of the human family, except Adam, has had parents, and every one has had beginning of days; and indeed, with two exceptions, everyone has had end of life. Even the angels of God have all had beginning of days, so that they would be as much excluded by this language as the members of the human family. And as to the Son of God, he would be excluded also, for he had God for his Father, and did, at some point in the eternity of the past, have beginning of days. So that if we use Pauls language in an absolute sense, it would be impossible to find but one being in the universe, and that is God the Father, who is without father, or mother, or descent, or beginning of days, or end of life. Yet probably no one for a moment contends that Melchisedec was God the Father. 1. He is called the priest of the most high God. Hebrews 7:1. It is the business of the priest to make offerings to God. He surely did not make offerings to himself. 2. He is called by Paul a man, though greater than Abraham. 3. Paul speaks of him in Hebrews 7:6 as really having descent, though he does not know what it was. 4. Melchisedec in Genesis 14:20 blesses the most high God, a plain evidence that it was not himself he thus blessed. Melchisedec is said to be made like unto the Son of God. But this shows that he is not God the Father; for he is not made like his Son, nor indeed does he have existence derived from another. But the Son is said to be the express image of his Father. Hebrews 1.
What then do the words of Paul in Hebrews 7:8 really signify? We have seen that they cannot be taken in an absolute sense; for they involve us in contradictions and absurdity. But if they are taken in a limited sense, and interpreted according to the manner of speaking that was usual with the Hebrews, we shall find them easy of explanation. The Hebrews kept very exact genealogical registers. Particularly was this the case respecting their priests; for if the priest could not trace his genealogy back to Aaron, he was not allowed to serve in the priesthood. Those who could not show their record in such tables were said to be without father and mother, and without descent. This did not signify that they had no ancestors, but that the record of them was not preserved. This is exactly the case of Melchisedec. He is introduced in Genesis without record of his parentage, the Holy Spirit having purposely omitted that matter. He is said by Paul to have no beginning of days, nor end of life. This does not mean absolutely that there was no beginning of existence with him, for it is only true of one being in the universe, viz., God the Father. But the evident meaning of the apostle is this: that no record of his birth or of his death appears in the history which is given us of him. He appears without any intimation given us of his origin; and the story of this priest of the Most High ends without any record of his death. These things were purposely omitted that he might be used to represent, as perfectly as possible, the priesthood of the Son of God. And so the same Spirit of inspiration that led Moses to withhold these particulars concerning Melchise- dec, did also lead Paul to use that omission to illustrate the priesthood of Christ. We would do well to leave the case of Melchisedec just where the Scriptures leave it. (J. N. Andrews, September 7, 1869, Review & Herald, also found in the January 4, 1881 edition of Review & Herald)
R. F. Cottrell
He proceeded to affirm that man is a triune being, consisting of body, soul and spirit. I never heard a Disciple confess faith in the doctrine of the trinity; but why not, if man consists of three persons in one person? especially, since man was made in the image of God? But the image he said, was a moral likeness. So man may be a triune being without proving that God is. But does he mean that one man is three men? I might say that a tree consists of body, bark and leaves, and no one perhaps would dispute it. But if I should affirm that each tree consists of three trees, the assertion would possibly be doubted by some. But if all admitted that one tree is three trees, I might then affirm that there were ninety trees in my orchard, when no one could count but thirty. I might then proceed and say, I have ninety trees in my orchard, and as each tree consists of three trees, I have two hundred and seventy. So if one man is three men, you may multiply him by three as often as you please. But if it takes body, soul and spirit to make one perfect, living man; then separate these, and the man is unmade. (R. F. Cottrell, November 19, 1857, Review & Herald, vol. 11, no. 2, page 13, par. 13)
That one person is three persons, and that three persons are only one person, is the doctrine which we claim is contrary to reason and common sense. The being and attributes of God are above, beyond, out of reach of my sense and reason, yet I believe them: But the doctrine I object to is contrary, yes, that is the word, to the very sense and reason that God has himself implanted in us. Such a doctrine he does not ask us to believe. A miracle is beyond our comprehension, but we all believe in miracles who believe our own senses. What we see and hear convinces us that there is a power that effected the most wonderful miracle of creation. But our Creator has made it an absurdity to us that one person should be three persons, and three persons but one person; and in his revealed word he has never asked us to believe it. This our friend thinks objectionable.
But to hold the doctrine of the Trinity is not so much an evidence of evil intention as of intoxication from that wine of which all the nations have drunk. The fact that this was one of the leading doctrines, if not the very chief, upon which the bishop of Rome was exalted to popedom, does not say much in its favor. This should cause men to investigate it for themselves; as when the spirits of devils working miracles undertake the advocacy of the immortality of the soul. Had I never doubted it before, I would now probe it to the bottom, by that word which modern Spiritualism sets at nought.
Revelation goes beyond us; but in no instance does it go contrary to right reason and common sense. God has not claimed, as the popes have, that he could make justice of injustice, nor has he, after teaching us to count, told us that there is no difference between the singular and plural numbers. Let us believe all he has revealed, and add nothing to it. (R. F. Cottrell, July 6, 1869, Review & Herald)
D. W. Hull
Bible Doctrine of the Divinity of Christ
THE inconsistent positions held by many in regard to the Trinity, as it is termed, has, no doubt, been the prime cause of many other errors. Erroneous views of the divinity of Christ are apt to lead us into error in regard to the nature of the atonement. Viewing the atonement as an arbitrary scheme (and all must believe it to be so, who view Christ as the only very and eternal God), has led to some of the arbitrary conclusions of one or two classes of persons; such as Predestinarianism, Universalism, &c., &c.
The doctrine which we propose to examine, was established by the Council of Nice, A. D., 325, and ever since that period, persons not believing this peculiar tenet, have been denounced by popes and priests, as dangerous heretics. It was for a disbelief in this doctrine, that the Arians were anathematized in A. D., 513.
As we can trace this doctrine no farther back than the origin of the Man of Sin, and as we find this dogma at that time established rather by force than otherwise, we claim the right to investigate the matter, and ascertain the bearing of Scripture on this subject.
Just here I will meet a question which is very frequently asked, namely, Do you believe in the divinity of Christ? Most unquestionably we do; but we dont believe, as the M. E. church Discipline teaches, that Christ is the very and eternal God; and, at the same time, very man; that the human part was the Son, and the divine part was the Father.
We might here add that the orthodox view of God as expressed by them in several Articles of Faith, is, that God is without body, parts, passions, centre, circumference, or locality. It would be a very easy matter to prove that such a view is exceedingly skeptical, if not atheistical in its nature. It certainly appears that such a God as this, must be entirely devoid of an existence.
The many scriptures opposed to this view, ought, it would seem, to forever settle the matter. Adam and Eve heard the voice of the Lord walking; and they hid themselves from his presence. Gen. 3:8. By turning to Ex. 33:20-23, the reader will observe that the Lord does not try to give Moses the impression that he is a bodiless personage (if the term is allowable); but says he, Thou canst not see my face. If ever the Lord would correct an error, and deny his personality, we might expect it would be here. He does not, however, tell him that he should not see his face because he had no face; but tells him that no man shall see him and live, which would imply that he was a personage, having body and parts. And the Lord said, Behold there is a place by me. So he had a circumference, had he not? And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back parts; but my face shall not be seen.
In Acts 7:55, 56, Stephen, while looking into heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. This shows, at least, that God has a right hand. The very fact, however, of mans being created in the image of God ought to settle the matter forever with the candid. Gen. 1:27; 5:1; 9:6.
But to our subject. As we wish the opposite side to have a fair hearing, we will candidly investigate all the important passages claimed by Trinitarians.
Isa. 9:6. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Particular stress is here laid upon the expressions Mighty God, and Everlasting Father. If the term had been Almighty God, then the inference would have some weight; but as we read of mighty men, not one of whom were almighty, tho great in every particular above their fellows, we are led to believe that the word may be used in a limited sense; though we would not be understood here as limiting Christs power, though he plainly declared, My Father is greater than I. John 14:28.
In the 10th chapter of John, we find that although our Saviour did not say he was God, he said what the Jews claimed to be the same thing, that he was the Son of God (which they had before claimed was to make himself equal with God), and that he and his Father were one, and justified himself with the following language: Is it not written in your law, that I said ye are gods? But as I shall be obliged to refer to this passage hereafter we will pass it by for the present.
In the 18th chapter of Genesis, the reader will observe that an angel who is only acting as a servant or agent of the Lord, is frequently called Lord. The following expression, found in Gen. 32:30, has reference to an angel: And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
We now come to the term Everlasting Father. We reply that as Christ is to continue everlastingly, the name is very appropriate; at least there is nothing in the term which would make him (to use the expressive language of our opponents) very and eternal God.
If the reader will turn to the passage under consideration, he will find that this being is born; but if I understand our opponents rightly, the divine part (the Godhead, as they term it) was not born. Whatever part may have been born, it is the same part that is afterwards spoken of as the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, &c. I would not here be understood as denying the pre-existence of Christ; but I believe that Christ became a child; for we read that the child grew and waxed strong in spirit (Luke 2:40); which would imply that there was a time when he was not strong in spirit.
Our opponents find it difficult in attempting to reconcile this matter, to show how the Father developed himself so slowly. There must have been a season when there was no God, or else God must have divided himself, and administered portions of himself to the child, as its reasoning faculties became developed. They settle this matter however, by telling us, Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, &c.
As considerable capital is made out of this passage, taking only enough to destroy its meaning, we will quote the whole of it. 1 Tim. 3:16: And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest (or manifested, margin) in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. The remarks made upon the passage in Isaiah will apply with equal force here.
But we are led to believe that there never was a person in whom the Father manifested himself, more than in his Son. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, says John; and this is undoubtedly the same Word which was in the beginning with God, and which was God. John 1:1. Why was the Word called God? Read the third verse. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made, that was made. As Christ has always been known to cooperate with the Father, there is no doubt that through his agency the worlds were formed. See Col. 1:15, 16; Heb. 1:2; with which compare Gen. 1:26.
But the objector urges that God was manifested in the flesh, and is therefore incapable of suffering or being compared with humanity in any way. We will only remark that if God was the divine part of Jesus, and his humanity the other part, the world was three days without a God; for Peter tells us [1 Pet. 3:18] that, Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but quickened by the Spirit. If it was none other than the Father manifested in the flesh; it was the same which was put to death in the flesh. But enough on this point. In a proper place I shall attempt to show that Christ did positively diesoul and body.
Matt. 1:23. Behold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God with us. Another expression is found in John 20:28. And Thomas said unto him, My Lord and my God. By turning to Phil. 2:11, we read that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. There is here a clear distinction made between the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father. The distinguishing qualities are, that whilst one is called the Son, the other is known as God the Father.
John 10:30. I and my Father are one. The objector contends that Christ and his Father are one person, and in proof of his position quotes 1 John 5:7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. This is claimed as very strong proof in support of the trinity. The three persons are spoken of as God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Ghost. I believe I may safely say that, aside from scripture, no such license would be allowable. Men have been so used to perverting scripture, and taking advantage of terms, and pressing them into their service, that they do not realize the magnitude of the crime as they otherwise would. The same expression is frequently used about man and wife; yet no person doubts that a man and his wife are two separate persons, inasmuch as they may be separated by hundreds of miles. Dr. A. Clarke expressly says that this passage [1 John 5:7] is an interpolation. See his Commentary in loco.
But hear the Saviour on this point. John 17:20-22: Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.
No person will contend that Christ prayed for the unity of the disciples, and those that should afterwards become believers through their word, in person! He evidently wished them to be united in object. If this passage were properly appreciated, we should not, I think, hear persons thanking God for so many sects and divisions.
The inquiry here arises, How are the Father and the Son one? We answer, They cooperate together: they are united. Man and wife are said to be one, because their interests through life are blended together. The Father and the Son, too, have one common interest, and of course they are one. I again remark, that if we were to see such a phrase as this outside of the Scriptures, there would be no danger whatever of a misapprehension.
The Jews contended that the use of this expression made him equal with God. They could not think that he had a common interest with God; and they also thought it blasphemy that he should call himself the Son of God, and took up stones to stone him; but hear his justification of the matter: John 10:32-38. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of these works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. We have no evidence that the Jews believed that Jesus, in declaring himself to be the Son of God, made himself the very and eternal God; but it was as much as to say that he was God (not that God was his own Son), by asserting that he was his Son, and that their interests were united.
Hear the Lords answer: Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken), say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said am the Son of God? If there existed any doubt, heretofore, as to the Messiahs claims, and the charge of the Jews, this passage ought to settle the matter. The Jews did not charge Christ with asserting that he was the only and eternal God, much less did Christ ever make such a claim; nor did they believe it would inevitably follow that because Christ was the Son of God, he must be the only all-wise God. Christ does not in the above passage deny that he is God; and we have found heretofore that he has been called God; but that would no more make him the same person with the Father, than a father and a son, both named John, would be the same person. But read on:
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not; but if I do, though you believe not me, believe the works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him.
In John 5, the same accusation is made against the Lord. John 5:17-23. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. If to declare himself to be the Son of God made him the only Jehovah, the Jews would have made the charge; but as we find no such charge made, we have no idea that they so understood the Saviour.
By the way, it is a little singular, if Christ did ever assume such a title, that the Jews never once charged it upon him. How suddenly they would have seized upon such an expression, and accused him thus: Now we know this man is a blasphemer; for he hath said, I am the eternal and all-wise Jehovah. But our Saviour does not pretend to be as great as his Father; his power is only delegated.
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise; for the Father loveth the Son and sheweth him all things that himself doeth; and he will show him greater things than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father who hath sent him. Because, says the trinitarian, the Father and Son are one person. Will the reader, in the above quotation, substitute the words, divine part, for Father, and humanity for Son, and see what nonsense it will make. In confirmation of the statement above read verse 30.
I can of mine own self do nothing; as I hear I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. Please read trinitarianism in the following paraphrase:
Verse 26. For as my Divinity hath life in himself, so hath my Divinity given to my humanity to have life in himself.
Verses 36, 37. But my humanity hath a greater witness than that of John; for the works which my Divinity hath given me to finish, the same works that my humanity does, bear witness of my humanity that my Divinity hath sent my humanity; and my Divinity himself which hath sent my humanity hath borne witness of my humanity. Ye have neither heard my Divinitys voice at any time, nor seen my Divinitys shape.
Verse 45. My humanity is come in my Divinitys name, and my humanity ye receive not.
With such spectacles as these to look through, some parts of the Scriptures become a mere jumble of nonsense. The reader has, no doubt, ere this, observed that the Father and the Son are spoken of as two separate beings. Turn now to John 6:37-40.
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out; for I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. We might here stop to inquire who came down from heaven; the Divinity or the humanity. We have found before that it is claimed that the humanity was born (and so we believe); and our opponents will not, for a moment, concede that the humanity came from heaven. We then ask who was speaking? It was the same that came from heaven, which is said to be the divine part. If the divine part was the Godhead, or Father, then there is a discrepancy somewhere else; for our Saviour had just said, Ye have neither heard his voice at any time nor seen his shape.
Again, who was it that sent this divine part? For we have just read, I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. Let us take the Bible theory: that God sent his Son who partook of flesh and blood, that through death he might destroy him that hath the power of death, that is, the Devil, [Heb. 3:14], and all difficulty at once vanishes.
And this is the Fathers will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me: that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
These are precious promises. It is the Fathers will that his Son should lose none of his jewels; and the Son has declared that he will raise his jewels at the last day.
We have read over and over again, passages that show that Christ has been sent of his Father; which certainly implies that the Godhead is not united with the humanity. Why speak of being sent from the Father, when it was the Father himself that came and dwelt with human flesh? It either implies, as we have seen before, that God has sent the humanity, or else there are two distinct persons. We believe it is impossible for trinitarians to reconcile this matter. We find however, other expressions, that prove that they are not one person.
John 16:5. But now I go my way to him that sent me, and none of you asketh, Whither goest thou? It would be useless to talk about going to him that sent him, when the very person that sent him, composed a part of his being. But when he does go to the Father, he tells his disciples that they should see his face no more [verse 10], which implies that they are two distinct persons. A little while, says he, and ye shall not see me; and again, a little while and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.
Verse 27, 28. For the Father himself loveth you because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again I leave the world and go to the Father.
What would the reader think of a man who had moved from the State of Ohio to Iowa with his family and after enjoying their company for a season, talk of going back to Ohio where he could see his family? If you cannot allow such inconsistencies in men, how can you accuse the Saviour of leaving the world to go to the Father, and at the same time assert that the Saviour was Jehovah himself?
Matt. 20:23. And he said unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit on my right hand and on my left is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. Here Christ would not assume even so much authority as to make a promise, unauthorized by his Father; but tells them what is prepared for a certain class; but he had no power to bestow it.
Matt. 16:53. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father and he shall presently send me more than twelve legions of angels? It would be meaningless for Christ to pray to himself. Our friends must either claim that Christ was deceptive, or else that God and his Son were separate. For it would be a mere farce for Christ to pray to himself to send angels.
Matt. 23:32. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. We do not believe the Son never is to know because he did not know at that time; for he certainly will know, and perhaps did know immediately after his resurrection. It is supposable that after he had paid the debt which was to purchase mans redemption he would be informed of the time he was to reap the fruit of his harvest. At any rate he says after his resurrection: All power is given unto me in heaven and earth [Matt. 23:18]; and this must necessarily include knowledge. It appears, however, that this power was delegated. The very fact that he informs his disciples that all power had been given him, implies that hitherto (although he had great power) he had not possessed all power.
John 17:5. O Father glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. Here we find some part of Christ praying for glory; and it appears to be the same part that had glory with the Father before the world was. Verse 8. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me. If Christ and the Father are one person, we might justly ask, Why this earnestness in his prayer? (Concluded next week.) (D. W. Hull, November 10, 1859, Review & Herald, vol. 14, pages 193-195)
Bible Doctrine of the Divinity of Christ
We have found thus far that the Father and Son are spoken of as two distinct persons; we shall now bring other passages bearing directly upon that point.
Phil. 1:13-15. Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the image of the invisible God the first born of every creature. No, says popular theology backed by the decision of popes, he is himself the invisible God.
Jude 4. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Here the only Lord God is distinguished from the Lord Jesus Christ. If ever language implies anything it certainly implies in this connection that the only Lord God is distinct being from our Lord Jesus Christ.
Phil. 2:5-11. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God (very God, our opponents would read it) thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant and was made (not his humanity, but he himself was made) in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death (No, says the Trinitarian, his body became obedient unto death, but the divine part never suffered) even the death of the cross. Wherefore (not his divine part, but) God hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
This confession will result in the Fathers glory, but if every tongue should confess that a part of Jesus only was Lord whilst the other part was human it would not be the confession that Paul desired to result in the Fathers glory.
1 Pet. 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The reader should bear in mind that in all the passages quoted above, the Father and the Son are spoken of as separate beings. Jehovah is called not only the Father of Jesus Christ, but is also termed his God. Hear our Saviour while suffering upon the cross [Mark 15:34]: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? We not only find that our Saviour calls his Father his God but that God had forsaken him. It is here asserted by Trinitarians that the God-head had left him. If this is the case then Christ was alive after the God-head had left him. Then it was only the humanity that died and we have only a human sacrifice. Gal. 1:3, 4 Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father AND from our Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God, and our Father. It would have been very easy here for Paul to have told the Galatians that Christ might deliver us from this present evil world according to his OWN will.
Heb. 13:20. Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, &c. Here again God is spoken of as a distinct being from Jesus Christ. We learn here that while Jesus was dead, the God of peace was living, else he could not have raised Jesus from the dead.
Having examined all the important passages of scripture on this subject, we will now take our leave of this part of it and proceed to show that Christ must needs die; and also what kind of a death he must die.
We have said that Christ must needs die. Our reason for this assertion, is, that man by transgression is subject to death; and unless there is a being who is not subject to death to pay the penalty, there is no hope of a resurrection. See 1 Cor. 15:26. Adam by transgression entailed death upon the whole human race; Christ by his death brings them back to life again. But he does not restore immortality to those who live all their lives in transgression of Gods holy law.
Heb. 9:27, 28. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him will he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Nothing short of the same death that men are subject to will ever bring a resurrection. Christ is here represented as an offering. If there was any part of the lamb that was offered that escaped out of the body, then did a part of Christ escape death. But we are told that Christs soul did not die. We remark that in order to pay the debt and restore men to life he must die the same death to which man is subject. If our Trinitarian friends are not careful they will have a compound of four elements instead of three; thus, Godhead (one) Humanity (twosoul and body), and holy ghost (one) which makes four.
Psa. 16: 9, 10. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh, also shall rest in hope; for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (or the grave) neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. It would have been nonsense to say that Christs soul should not be left in Sheol if it never was there. In proof that this has reference to Christ we refer the reader to Peters testimony; Acts 2:25-27, 31, 34. For David speaketh concerning him (Christ), I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand that I should not be moved. Then comes the quotation above. He then goes on to show that it was not David because his sepulcher is with us to this day (an evidence that Davids soul was left in hell) He continues, He seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ that his soul was not left in hell (adezthe grave) neither did his flesh see corruption. This was evidence that David had reference to Christ. But as further evidence, the Apostle continues, For David is not ascended into the heavens. We have evidence then, that either dead or alive, Christs soul entered the silent portals of the tomb.
Matt. 26:38. Then he saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death. If this implies anything, we should infer that it would imply that the Saviours soul was subject to death. It would be the worst of nonsense to talk about a never-dying soul being sorrowful unto death. On this point we shall be obliged to quote again 2 Pet. 3:18. For Christ hath once suffered for sins the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being PUT TO DEATH IN THE FLESH.
There is no chance of escape here: Christs soul and every part that dwelt in his flesh was put to death and buried in sheol, or hades. We now turn to Isa. 53; He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth.
We might here remind the reader that a lamb when slain is not partly killed and partly kept alive, but totally deprived of life.
He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken. We might ask, What was left of him after he was cut off? Suppose the body only was cut off, and the soul freed; then the only important part was not cut off. And he made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, &c. His soul was really made an offering for sin; this agrees with Peters testimony. He was put to death in the flesh. If the soul was the offering, it was the soul that was slain. He shall see the travail of his soul (his soul was sorrowful unto death), and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong. Why? Because he hath POURED OUT HIS SOUL UNTO DEATH! And he was numbered with the transgressors and he bear the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. This is so plain that it needs no comment.
If the reader will now turn to 1 Cor. 15, he will observe that Paul bases our whole hope upon the resurrection of Christ from the dead. If Christ be not risen then is our preaching vain, says the apostle. Modern theology would answer, Not so Paul, for the only important part of Christ returned to heaven at death.
Just here we might anticipate an objection. It is asserted that Christ promised the thief that they would that day be together in paradise. Luke 23:43. Verily I say unto thee to day, shalt thou be with me in paradise. The quotation as it stands above however, does not seem to imply so much. Christ only asserted on that day what he would do when he comes in his kingdom! As punctuation is no part of inspiration we have taken the liberty to alter the punctuation somewhat above. The reader will find the subject of Christs promise to the thief elaborately discussed in a work lately published at the Review Office, Battle Creek, Mich.
Let us now look at what the Saviour himself taught on this point. Matt. 12:40. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whales belly so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. How was Jonah in the whales belly? Was his soul in heaven and his body in the whales belly? How is the Son of man to get into the heart of the earth? We are answered that his body went into the grave, but his soul, divinity or something, went off to paradise. But we have still more positive testimony on this point.
John 20:17. Jesus saith unto her, touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. This was three days after the Lords promise to the thief. This surely is enough to settle the matter with the candid.
We trust we have now fairly investigated this subject having examined a majority of the scriptures referring to it. We have found positive testimony to show
1. That God is a personal being.
2. That Jesus Christ was his Son.
3. That he and his Father were distinct persons having one common interest, and
4. That Jesus Christ died soul and body and rose again.
May the Spirit of the living God wake the dear reader to a sense of his obligation to the Son of God, who has so dearly purchased our redemption with his own precious blood. Amen. (D. W. Hull, November 17, 1859, Review & Herald, vol. 14, pages 201, 202)
S. N. Haskell
The rainbow in the clouds is but a symbol of the rainbow which has encircled the throne from eternity. Back in the ages, which finite mind cannot fathom, the Father and Son were alone in the universe. Christ was the first begotten of the Father, and to Him Jehovah made known the divine plan of Creation. The plan of the creation of worlds was unfolded, together with the order of beings which should people them. Angels, as representatives of one order, would be ministers of the God of the universe. The creation of our own little world, was included in the deep-laid plans. The fall of Lucifer was foreseen; likewise the possibility of the introduction of sin, which would mar the perfection of the divine handiwork. It was then, in those early councils, that Christs heart of love was touched; and the only begotten Son pledged His life to redeem man, should he yield and fall. Father and Son, surrounded by impenetrable glory, clasped hands. It was in appreciation of this offer, that upon Christ was bestowed creative power, and the everlasting covenant was made; and henceforth Father and Son, with one mind, worked together to complete the work of creation. Sacrifice of self for the good of others was the foundation of it all. (Stephen N. Haskell, The Story of the Seer of Patmos, pages 93, 94, 1905)
Before the creation of our world, there was war in heaven. Christ and the Father covenanted together; and Lucifer, the covering cherub, grew jealous because he was not admitted into the eternal councils of the Two who sat upon the throne. (Stephen N. Haskell, The Story of the Seer of Patmos, pages 217, 1905)
Christ was the firstborn in heaven; He was likewise the firstborn of God upon earth, and heir to the Fathers throne. Christ, the firstborn, though the Son of God, was clothed in humanity, and was made perfect through suffering. He took the form of man, and through eternity, He will remain a man. (Stephen N. Haskell, The Story of the Seer of Patmos, pages 98, 99, 1905)
J. N. Loughborough: 1832 - 1924
Questions for Bro. Loughborough
BRO. WHITE: The following questions I would like to have you give, or send, to Bro. Loughborough for explanation. W. W. Giles. Toledo, Ohio.
QUESTION 1. What serious objection is there to the doctrine of the Trinity?
ANSWER. There are many objections which we might urge, but on account of our limited space we shall reduce them to the three following: 1. It is contrary to common sense. 2. It is contrary to scripture. 3. Its origin is Pagan and fabulous.
These positions we will remark upon briefly in their order. 1. It is not very consonant with common sense to talk of three being one, and one being three. Or as some express it, calling God the Triune God, or the three-one-God. If Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are each God, it would be three Gods; for three times one is not one, but three. There is a sense in which they are one, but not one person, as claimed by Trinitarians.
2. It is contrary to Scripture. Almost any portion of the New Testament we may open which has occasion to speak of the Father and Son, represents them as two distinct persons. The seventeenth chapter of John is alone sufficient to refute the doctrine of the Trinity. Over forty times in that one chapter Christ speaks of his Father as a person distinct from himself. His Father was in heaven and he upon earth. The Father had sent him. Given to him those that believed. He was then to go to the Father. And in this very testimony he shows us in what consists the oneness of the Father and Son. It is the same as the oneness of the members of Christs church. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. Of one heart and one mind. Of one purpose in all the plan devised for mans salvation. Read the seventeenth chapter of John, and see if it does not completely upset the doctrine of the Trinity.
To believe that doctrine, when reading the scripture we must believe that God sent himself into the world, died to reconcile the world to himself, raised himself from the dead, ascended to himself in heaven, pleads before himself in heaven to reconcile the world to himself, and is the only mediator between man and himself. It will not do to substitute the human nature of Christ (according to Trinitarians) as the Mediator; for Clarke says, Human blood can no more appease God than swines blood. Com. on 2 Sam. 21:10. We must believe also that in the garden God prayed to himself, if it were possible, to let the cup pass from himself, and a thousand other such absurdities.
Read carefully the following texts, comparing them with the idea that Christ is the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Supreme, and only self-existent God: John 14:28; 17:3; 3:16; 5:19, 26; 11:15; 20:19; 8:50; 6:38; Mark 8:32; Luke 6:12; 22:69; 24:29; Matt. 3:17; 27:46; Gal. 3:20; 1 John 2:1; Rev. 5:7; Acts 17:31. Also see Matt. 11:25, 27; Luke 1:32; 22:42; John 3:35, 36; 5:19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26; 6:40; 8:35, 36; 14:13; 1 Cor. 15:28, &c.
The word Trinity nowhere occurs in the Scriptures. The principal text supposed to teach it is 1 John 5:7, which is an interpolation. Clarke says, Out of one hundred and thirteen manuscripts, the text is wanting in one hundred and twelve. It occurs in no MS. before the tenth century. And the first place the text occurs in Greek, is in the Greek translation of the acts of the Council of Lateran, held A. D. 1215.Com. on 1 John 5, and remarks at close of chap.
3. Its origin is pagan and fabulous. Instead of pointing us to scripture for proof of the trinity, we are pointed to the trident of the Persians, with the assertion that by this they designed to teach the idea of a trinity, and if they had the doctrine of the trinity, they must have received it by tradition from the people of God. But this is all assumed, for it is certain that the Jewish church held to no such doctrine. Says Mr. Summerbell, A friend of mine who was present in a New York synagogue, asked the Rabbi for an explanation of the word Elohim. A Trinitarian clergyman who stood by, replied, Why, that has reference to the three persons in the Trinity, when a Jew stepped forward and said he must not mention that word again, or they would have to compel him to leave the house; for it was not permitted to mention the name of any strange god in the synagogue. (Discussion between Summerbell and Flood on Trinity, p. 38) Milman says the idea of the Trident is fabulous. (Hist. Christianity, p. 34)
This doctrine of the trinity was brought into the church about the same time with image worship, and keeping the day of the sun, and is but Persian doctrine remodeled. It occupied about three hundred years from its introduction to bring the doctrine to what it is now. It was commenced about 325 A. D., and was not completed till 681. See Milmans Gibbons Rome, vol. 4, p. 422. It was adopted in Spain in 589, in England in 596, in Africa in 534.Gib. vol. 4, pp. 114, 345; Milner, vol. 1, p. 519. (To be continued.) (J. N. Loughborough, November 5, 1861, Review & Herald, vol. 18, page 184, par. 1-11)
E. J. Waggoner: 1855 - 1916
Note: At the 1888 General Conference Session, A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner presented a series of presentations on Christ and His righteousness. Ellen White wrote, The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. (Ellen White, 1888 Materials, page 1336)
Shortly after 1888 E. J. Waggoner took the notes from his presentations, and printed them as a book, entitled, Christ and His Righteousness. Of these presentations, Ellen White wrote, That which has been presented harmonizes perfectly with the light which God has been pleased to give me during all the years of my experience. (Ellen White, 1888 Materials, page 164) Many of the following quotations are taken from this book.
The Word was in the beginning. The mind of man cannot grasp the ages that are spanned in this phrase. It is not given to men to know when or how the Son was begotten; but we know that he was the Divine Word, not simply before He came to this earth to die, but even before the world was created. Just before His crucifixion He prayed, And now, O Father, glorify thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. John 17:5. And more than seven hundred years before His first advent, His coming was thus foretold by the word of inspiration: But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity. Micah 5:2, margin. We know that Christ proceeded forth and came from God (John 8:42), but it was so far back in the ages of eternity as to be far beyond the grasp of the mind of man. (E. J. Waggoner, 1890, Christ and His Righteousness, page 9)
Is Christ God?
This name was not given to Christ in consequence of some great achievement, but it is His by right of inheritance. Speaking of the power and greatness of Christ, the writer to the Hebrews says that He is made so much better than the angels, because He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Heb. 1:4. A son always rightfully takes the name of the father; and Christ, as the only begotten Son of God, has rightfully the same name. A son, also, is, to a greater or less degree, a reproduction of the father; he has to some extent the features and personal characteristics of his father; not perfectly, because there is no perfect reproduction among mankind. But there is no imperfection in God, or in any of His works, and so Christ is the express image of the Fathers person. Heb. 1:3. As the Son of the self- existent God, He has by nature all the attributes of Deity.
It is true that there are many sons of God, but Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and therefore the Son of God in a sense in which no other being ever was or ever can be. The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7; Luke 3:38), by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Rom. 8:14, 15), but Christ is the Son of God by birth. The writer to the Hebrews further shows that the position of the Son of God is not one to which Christ has been elevated but that it is one which He has by right. He says that Moses was faithful in all the house of God, as a servant, but Christ as a Son over His own house. Heb. 3:6. And he also states that Christ is the Builder of the house. Verse 3. It is He that builds the temple of the Lord and bears the glory. Zech. 6:12, 13. (E. J. Waggoner, 1890, Christ and His Righteousness, pages 11-13)
Christ As Creator
A word of caution may be necessary here. Let no one imagine that we would exalt Christ at the expense of the Father or would ignore the Father. That cannot be, for their interests are one. We honor the Father in honoring the Son. We are mindful of Pauls words, that to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him (1 Cor. 8:6); just as we have already quoted, that it was by Him that God made the worlds. All things proceed ultimately from God, the Father; even Christ Himself proceeded and came forth from the Father, but it has pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell, and that He should be the direct, immediate Agent in every act of creation. Our object in this investigation is to set forth Christs rightful position of equality with the Father, in order that His power to redeem may be the better appreciated.
Is Christ a Created Being?
Before passing to some of the practical lessons that are to be learned from these truths, we must dwell for a few moments upon an opinion that is honestly held by many who would not for any consideration willingly dishonor Christ, but who, through that opinion, do actually deny His Divinity. It is the idea that Christ is a created being, who, through the good pleasure of God, was elevated to His present lofty position. No one who holds this view can possibly have any just conception of the exalted position which Christ really occupies.
The view in question is built upon a misconception of a single text, Rev. 3:14: And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God. This is wrongly interpreted to mean that Christ is the first being that God createdthat Gods work of creation began with Him. But this view antagonizes the scripture which declares that Christ Himself created all things. To say that God began His work of creation by creating Christ is to leave Christ entirely out of the work of creation.
The word rendered beginning is arche, meaning, as well, head or chief. It occurs in the name of the Greek ruler, Archon, in archbishop and the word archangel. Take this last word. Christ is the archangel. See Jude 9; 1 Thess. 4:16; John 5:28, 29; Dan. 10:21. This does not mean that He is the first of the angels, for He is not an angel but is above them. Heb. 1:4. It means that He is the chief or prince of the angels, just as an archbishop is the head of the bishops. Christ is the commander of the angels. See Rev. 19:14-19. He created the angels. Col. 1:16. And so the statement that He is the beginning or head of the creation of God means that in Him creation had its beginning; that, as He Himself says, He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Rev. 21:6; 22:13. He is the source whence all things have their origin.
Neither should we imagine that Christ is a creature, because Paul calls Him (Col. 1:15) The First-born of every creature for the very next verses show Him to be Creator and not a creature. For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created by Him, and for Him and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. Now if He created everything that was ever created and existed before all created things, it is evident that He Himself is not among created things. He is above all creation and not a part of it.
The Scriptures declare that Christ is the only begotten son of God. He is begotten, not created. As to when He was begotten, it is not for us to inquire, nor could our minds grasp it if we were told. The prophet Micah tells us all that we can know about it in these words, But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity. Micah 5:2, margin. There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father (John 8:42; 1:18), but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning.
But the point is that Christ is a begotten Son and not a created subject. He has by inheritance a more excellent name than the angels; He is a Son over His own house. Heb. 1:4; 3:6. And since He is the only-begotten son of God, He is of the very substance and nature of God and possesses by birth all the attributes of God, for the Father was pleased that His Son should be the express image of His Person, the brightness of His glory, and filled with all the fullness of the Godhead. So He has life in Himself. He possesses immortality in His own right and can confer immortality upon others. Life inheres in Him, so that it cannot be taken from Him, but having voluntarily laid it down, He can take it again. His words are these: Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. John 10:17, 18. (E. J. Waggoner, 1890, Christ and His Righteousness, pages 19-22)
Finally, we know the Divine unity of the Father and the Son from the fact that both have the same Spirit. Paul, after saying that they that are in the flesh cannot please God, continues: But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Rom. 8:9. Here we find that the Holy Spirit is both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. (E. J. Waggoner, 1890, Christ and His Righteousness, pages 23, 24)
M. C. Wilcox
Question 187: What is the difference between the Holy Spirit and the ministering spirits (angels), or are they the same?
Answer: The Holy Spirit is the mighty energy of the Godhead, the life and power of God flowing out from Him to all parts of the universe, and thus making living connection between His throne and all creation. As is expressed by another: The Holy Spirit is the breath of spiritual life in the soul. The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. It thus makes Christ everywhere present. To use a crude illustration, just as a telephone carries the voice of a man, and so makes that voice present miles away, so the Holy Spirit carries with it all the potency of Christ in making Him everywhere present with all His power, and revealing Him to those in harmony with His law. Thus the Spirit is personified in Christ and God, but never revealed as a separate person. Never are we told to pray to the Spirit; but to God for the Spirit. Never do we find in the Scriptures prayers to the Spirit, but for the Spirit. (M. C. Wilcox, 1911, Questions and Answers Gathered From the Question Corner Department of the Signs of the Times, pages 181, 182)
G. W. Amadon
How Shall We Explain it?
IN Rev. 1:8, occurs a passage which has presented some difficulty to those who reject the doctrine of the trinity. The text, with its foregoing connection, reads as follows: Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Verses 7 and 8. The question has often arisen here, In what sense is Jesus Christ the Almighty? To us this inquiry is very easily answered. We do not believe that Christ is at all meant by the phrase, the Almighty, and for this belief we will give a few short reasons.
1. We think there are two persons brought to view in these textsthe Saviour, in the seventh verse; and the Father, in the eighth.
2. There is another most August title in verse 8 which never refers to the Son. It is the phraseWhich is, and which was, and which is to come. This title points out the eternity of the being to whom it refers.
We will notice the use of this title, as the passages in which it occurs very plainly show that it belongs to the High and lofty One which inhabits eternity. Beginning with verse 4 of this chapter it readsJohn to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne; AND FROM Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness, and the first-begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Here are two personages pointed outthe everlasting God under the fitting title, Which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty, and Jesus Christ by the no less appropriate titles of the faithful Witness, the first-begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
We will now present three other texts where this phrase is found, and which all readily admit speak of the immortal Father.
Rev. 4:8. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
Chap. 11:16, 17. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
Chap. 16:5, 7. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be; because thou hast judged thus. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord, God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
With these passages we dismiss the point, as it can serve no purpose to the trinitarian, and to us seems so plain that the wayfaring man need not err therein. (G. W. Amadon, September 24, 1861, Review & Herald, vol. 18, pages 136, par. 1-10)
BRO. E. Everts writes from Round Grove, Whiteside Co., Ill.: We find some who have ears to hear, some who acknowledge the truth as we present it, and some half dozen have decided to keep all the commandments. We find more who are looking for the coming of the Lord than we expected; and we find some who were keeping the Sabbath, who appear to delight in so-doing; but O how deformed they appear with their errors, of the Spirit-Land, the conscious, living dead, and a Triune God. How incomprehensible to attempt to comprehensible to attempt to comprehend living dead men; and, Father and Son, one person! (March 20, 1856, Review & Herald, vol. 7, no. 25, page 199)
Did Christ die? All readily admit, that his body did, and the Scriptures expressly say, that his soul was made an offering for sinthat he poured out his soul unto deaththat his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto deathand that his soul was not left in hell, or, correctly, the grave. That the very same Jesus that died, was raised from death to life, is evident from his own words. After his resurrection, he said to his disciples, Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I, MYSELF. Luke 24:39. This word, myself, is full of meaning and interest. It clearly and incontrovertibly identifies Jesus after the resurrection, with Jesus before the crucifixion: they are one and the same person, I, myself, with no other difference than he was mortal before death, but immortal after death: he dieth no more, but ever liveth. (July 4, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 5, no. 22, page 169)
The Sunday God
We will make a few extracts, that the reader may see the broad contrast between the God of the Bible brought to light through Sabbath-keeping, and the god in the dark through Sunday-keeping. Catholic Catechism Abridged by the Rt. Rev. John Dubois, Bishop of New York. Page 5. Ques. Where is God? Ans. God is everywhere. Q. Does God see and know all things? A. Yes, he does know and see all things. Q. Has God any body? A. No; God has no body, he is a pure Spirit. Q. Are there more Gods than one? A. No; there is but one God. Q. Are there more persons than one in God? A. Yes; in God there are three persons. Q. Which are they? A. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. Q. Are there not three Gods? A. No; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, are all but one and the same God.
The first article of the Methodist Religion, p. 8. There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness: the maker and preserver of all things, visible and invisible. And in unity of this God-head, there are three persons of one substance, power and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
In this article like the Catholic doctrine, we are taught that there are three persons of one substance, power and eternity making in all one living and true God, everlasting without body or parts. But in all this we are not told what became of the body of Jesus who had a body when he ascended, who went to God who is everywhere or nowhere. Doxology.
To God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, three in one.
Again: Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze, Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees. Lives through all life, extends through all extent, Spreads undivided and operates unspent.Pope.
These ideas well accord with those heathen philosophers. One says, That water was the principle of all things, and that God is that intelligence, by whom all things are formed out of water. Another, That air is God, that it is produced, that it is immense and infinite, &c. A third, That God is a soul diffused throughout all beings of nature, &c. Some, who had the idea of a pure Spirit. Last of all, That God is an eternal substance.
These extracts are taken from Rollins History, Vol. II, pp. 597-8, published by Harpers. We should rather mistrust that the Sunday god came from the same source that Sunday-keeping did. Sunday was a name given by the heathens to the first day of the week, because it was the day on which they worshipped the sun.Union Bible Dictionary. Afterward modified by the Roman Catholic Church, in the form we now find it taught through the land. (J. B. Frisbie, Review & Herald, March 7, 1854)
Heathen and Orthodox Christian
A WRITER undertook to give his friends at home some idea of the trials and difficulties which the missionaries found in their efforts to instruct the heathen in the evangelical doctrines of Christianity. He related that, on an occasion when he had been earnestly laboring to enforce the holy doctrine of the trinity and vicarious atonement upon a goodly audience assembled in a grove, one of their leading men came forward and confronted him thus:
Hindoo. You say that Jesus Christ was God?
H. What, and Jesus Christ die?
H. Then Jesus Christ couldnt be God; for God never died.
I then, says the missionary, explained to him the mystery of the incarnation of Christ, his double nature, how that God took on himself the nature of man, being born of woman, and that nature suffered and diedwhen the dialogue was thus renewed:
H. Then you say that Jesus Christ was born of a woman?
H. Then Jesus Christ couldnt be God, for God was never born of a woman.
M. That wouldnt follow, of course, for many of your gods were born of women, and some of them died.
Then, says the missionary in his letter referred to, they all squalled out, He dont know nothing! he dont know nothing!
And sure enough the letter itself betrays the fact that the missionary didnt know nothing. The Hin- doos had the most common sense on religious matters in general, and they saw he was ignorant of their mythology. They believe in self-existent, supreme, unchangeable deity, who appoints subordinate petty gods over different departments of the worlds affairs. And these petty-deities were they whom their mythological writings regard as having been born of woman, or begotten by other methods, and having passed through the change called death, and the like. But they understood the missionarys God that he was preaching to them, to be the supreme God. It was so. And of course, this attempt to parry the force of their objection to his theory of God born of a woman, and dying, by referring to their fables concerning their subordinate deities, was either a piece of stupidity, or else of criminal evasion. And the Indians were right in squalling out, He dont know nothing! he dont know nothing! (August 19, 1858, Review & Herald, vol. 12, no. 14, pages 106, 107)
On the subject of immortality in this life, I never believed we had it here. I was brought up by Methodist parents, but never believed in creeds, nor the doctrine of the trinity. When I came from the State of New York I was twenty years of age. I came to Ohio, and after two or three years joined the Huron Christian Conference, was ordained by that body, and preached in Ohio six years. I came to this place two years ago this Fall. (Bro. Rockwood, October 29, 1857, Review & Herald, vol. 10, no. 26, page 207, par. 10)
Importance of a Correct System of Belief
[SINGULAR as it may seem, the writer of the following article is a believer in Sunday-keeping, Immortal-soulism, Infant Sprinkling, the Trinity, Reward at death, &c., &c. How can he harmonize all these with the sound remarks presented below?] (Editorial Note, October 7, 1862, Review & Herald, vol. 20, page 150, par. 4)
If it be said that the Spirit of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost is one Spirit, with this we all agree. But if it be said that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three persons in one person, making in all one God without body or parts, with an idea so inconsistent we cannot agree.
The oneness of Christ with the Father may be plainly seen by any one who will refer to John 17:22. That they (that believe) may be one, even as we are one. Who could believe that Christ prayed that his disciples should be one disciple? Yet this would be no more inconsistent than the idea of some that Christ and his Father are one person.
In accordance with the doctrine that three very and eternal Gods are but one God, how may we reconcile Matt. 3:16, 17. Jesus was baptized, Spirit of God descended like a dove, and the Fathers voice heard from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, &c. The Father in heaven, the Son on earth, the Spirit of God descending from one to the other. Who could ever suppose for a moment that these three were one person without body or parts, unless it was by early training. See other texts which appear equally absurd, if such doctrine be true. Matt. 28:18; Acts 10:38. How God anointed Jesus with the Holy Ghost, &c. First person takes the third person and anoints the second person with a person being at the same time one with himself.
That three are one, and one are three,
Is an idea that puzzles me;
By many a learned sage tis said
That three are one in the Godhead.
The Father then may be the Son,
For both together make but one;
The Son may likewise be the Father,
Without the smallest change of either.
Yea, and the blessed Spirit be
The Father, Son and trinity;
This is the creed of Christian folks,
Who style themselves true orthodox,
All which against plain common sense,
We must believe or give offense.
(J. B. F. March 12, 1857, Review & Herald, vol. 9, no. 19, page 146, par. 20-25)
Jesus asked the Jews, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Now if the fourth commandment has been changed, or abrogated, the record of it must be in the New Testament; and if so, it can be found. But in vain have we searched for it; it is only inferred; and who can draw an inference that will do away with an express command of God and make it of none effect? Some say the day was changed by Constantine; but read the following testimony from the Doway Catechism, p. 143:
Question. What is Sunday, or the Lords day in general?
Answer. It is a day dedicated by the Apostles to the honor of the most holy Trinity, and in memory that Christ rose from the dead on Sunday, sent down the Holy Ghost on a Sunday, and therefore it is called the Lords day. It is also called Sunday from the old Roman denomination of Dies Solis, the day of the sun, to which it was sacred. (August 19, 1858, Review & Herald, vol. 13, page 30)
This is the first instance we find on the pages of history of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul being taught. It was the first god that was deified after they had set aside the doctrine of Noah, who was a teacher of righteousness. From this point we can trace this corrupt doctrine that fills the church. The immortality of the soulthe transmigration of the souland the trio of godsGod the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost; and that of the spirits of holy men coming and dwelling in men in the millennial state, to convert the world. It is all Paganism from beginning to end. (Mark E. Green, January 29, 1857, Review & Herald, vol. 9, no. 13, page 98)
Protestants not Guided by Scripture
Ques. HAVE you any other proofs that they are not guided by the Scriptures? Ans. Yes; so many that we cannot admit more than a mere specimen into this small work. They reject much that is clearly contained in Scripture, and profess more that is nowhere discoverable in that Divine Book.
Q. Give some examples of both? A. They should, if the Scripture were their only rule, wash the feet of one another, according to the command of Christ, in the 13th chap. of St. John;they should keep, not the Sunday, but the Saturday, according to the commandment, Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath-day; for this commandment has not, in Scripture, been changed or abrogated.
Q. Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept? A. Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her;she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.
Q. Do you observe other necessary truths as taught by the Church, not clearly laid down in Scripture? A. The doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine the knowledge of which is certainly necessary to salvation, is not explicitly and evidently laid down in Scripture, in the Protestant sense of private interpretation. (February 24, 1859, Review & Herald, vol. 13, page 107, par. 11-14)
THE Dr. next considers the doctrine of the Trinity, and frankly admits it to be a doctrine of faith [credulity], not of comprehension. The Dr. is very positive that we are wrong and he right, but does not bring forward his proof. I will not stop to make assertions, but will inquire what God does say of the manner of his own existence. (S. B. Whitney, March 4, 1862, Review & Herald, vol. 19, page 110, par. 7)
BRO. DANIEL BAKER writes from Tioga Co., Pa.: After contending against the Trinitarian doctrine and all sectarian disciplines for about sixteen years, and against the doctrine of the souls immortality eight years, and for the seventh-day Sabbath three years, it is truly refreshing to find in your paper the same views proved by Scripture. I therefore enclose, &c. (March 13, 1856, Review & Herald, vol. 7, no. 24, page 190, par. 37)
Proved by Butlers Catechism
NOT long since, during an interview with a Papist, he made a statement of what he regarded as being the true definition of the word, soul, and of what he believed would be its condition after death, and after the judgment. These views did not differ materially from the popular theology of the day. In vindication of which, he added, And if you have read Butlers Catechism, you have found it there. I remarked that the Bible did not endorse such sentiments. I know that said he, neither can you prove the Trinity from the Bible.
Here then, thus far, we have an acknowledgment or confession of the faith of the Romish Church, for which its advocate laid no claim to any scriptural proof. Neither do Romanists regard the Bible as a sufficient rule of faith. But contrariwise: The Bible does not contain all things necessary to salvation, and, consequently, can not be a sufficient rule of faith. Sure Way. (E. R. Seaman, August 15, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 6, no. 1, page 4, par. 27, 28)
The following is a copy of three statements of beliefs from 1889, 1931, and 1981. It is clear that the Adventist church no longer believes the truths that were laid out in the first fifty years of her existence.
Fundamentals Beliefs of SDAs in 1889, 1931, and 1981 Yearbooks
Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-Day Adventists
As elsewhere stated, Seventh-day Adventists have no creed but the Bible; but they hold to certain well-defined points of faith, for which they feel prepared to give a reason to every man that asketh them. The following propositions may be taken as a summary of the principal features of their religious faith, upon which there is, so far as we know, entire unanimity throughout the body. They believe,
I. That there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal; infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by his representative, the Holy Spirit. Ps. 139:7.
II. That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom he created all things, and by whom they do consist; that he took on him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race; that he dwelt among men, full of grace and truth, lived our example, died our sacrifice, was raised for our justification, ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in heaven, where, through the merits of his shed blood, he secures the pardon and forgiveness of the sins of all those who penitently come to him; and as the closing portion of his work as priest, before he takes his throne as king, he will make the great atonement for the sins of all such, and their sins will then be blotted out (Acts 3:19) and borne away from the sanctuary, as shown in the service of the Levitical priesthood, which foreshadowed and prefigured the ministry of our Lord in heaven. See Lev. 16; Heb. 8:4, 5; 9:6, 7; etc. (Fundamental Principles Of Seventh-Day Adventists no. 1, page 147) [This statement is clearly not a trinitarian statement, and is the belief that the entire church was in unity upon, including Ellen White.]
Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-Day Adventists
Seventh-day Adventists hold certain fundamental beliefs, the principal features of which, together with a portion of the scriptural references upon which they are based, may be summarized as follows:
1. That the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, contain an all-sufficient revelation of His will to men, and are the only unerring rule of faith and practice. 2 Tim. 3:15-17.
2. That the Godhead, or Trinity [this is the first time this term was ever used to define the Seventh-day Adventists beliefs], consists of the Eternal Father, a personal, spiritual Being, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, infinite in wisdom and love; the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, through whom all things were created and through whom the salvation of the redeemed hosts will be accomplished; the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, the great regenerating power in the work of redemption. Matt. 28:19. (Text in brackets supplied)
3. That Jesus Christ is very God, being of the same nature and essence as the Eternal Father. While retaining His divine nature He took upon Himself the nature of the human family, lived on the earth as a man, exemplified in His life as our Example the principles of righteousness, attested His relationship to God by many mighty miracles, died for our sins on the cross, was raised from the dead, and ascended to the Father, where He ever lives to make intercession for us. John 1:1, 14; Heb. 2:9-18; 8:1, 2; 4:14-16; 7:25. (Fundamental Beliefs Of Seventh-Day Adventists no. 2, page 377)
Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-Day Adventists
Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. These beliefs, as set forth here, constitute the churchs understanding and expression of the teaching of Scripture. Revision of these statements may be expected at a General Conference session when the church is led by the Holy Spirit to a fuller understanding of Bible truth or finds better language in which to express the teachings of Gods Holy Word.
1. The Holy Scriptures: The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of Gods acts in history. (2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Ps. 119:105; Prov. 30:5, 6; Isa. 8:20; John 17:17; 1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 4:12.)
2. The Trinity: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:46; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim. 17; Rev. 14:7.)
3. The Father: God the Eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also revelations of the Father. (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 4:11; 1 Cor. 15:28; John 3:16; 1 John 4:8; 1 Tim. 1:17; Ex. 34:6, 7; John 14:9.)
4. The Son: God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested Gods power and was attested as Gods promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead and ascended to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things. (John 1:1-3, 14; Col. 1:15-19; John 10:30; 14:9; Rom. 6:23; 2 Cor. 5:17-19; John 5:22; Luke 1:35; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 2:9-18; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4; Heb. 8:1, 2; John 14:1-3.)
5. The Holy Spirit: God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christs life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth. (Gen. 1:1, 2; Luke 1:35; 4:18; Acts 10:38; 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:11, 12; Acts 1:8; John 14:16-18, 26, 27; 16:13-15.) (Fundamental Beliefs Of Seventh-Day Adventists no. 3, page 5)
The Seventh-day Adventist
There is an interesting story behind song number 73, Holy, Holy, Holy, found in the Seventh-day Adventist Church Hymnal. This song is found in the 1909 Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, Christ in Song, and also in both the 1941 Church Hymnal (pictured above, right), and the 1985 Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal of today.
This song was originally written in 1826 by Reginald Heber. In its original form it was a trinitarian song, which read as follows: God in three persons, blessed Trinity! The 1909 and the 1941 Adventist version read as follows: God over all who rules eternity!
The 1909 and 1941 Version of
This song was purposely changed into a non-trinitarian song by Seventh-day Adventists, reflecting their views on the Trinity at the time of the change. In the 1985 Adventist Hymnal this song was changed back to its original, reflecting the views of the Adventist Church at this time. Please notice the changes at the end of the first stanza in the song found in the 1985 version.
The 1985 Version of Holy, Holy, Holy
The Adventist church was Non-Trinitarian, and has changed into a Trinitarian church.
Position of SDA Pioneers on the Trinity
[This article written by R. F. Cottrell published in the Review of June 1, 1869, sets forth well the attitude of the pioneers and believers on the question of the trinity.A. L. White.]
This has been a popular doctrine and regarded as orthodox ever since the bishop of Rome was elevated to the popedom on the strength of it. It is accounted dangerous heresy to reject it; but each person is permitted to explain the doctrine in his own way. All seem to think they must hold it, but each has perfect liberty to take his own way to reconcile its contradictory propositions; and hence a multitude of views are held concerning it by its friends, all of them orthodox, I suppose, as long as they nominally assent to the doctrine.
For myself, I have never felt called upon to explain it, nor to adopt and defend it, neither have I ever preached against it. But I probably put as high an estimation on the Lord Jesus Christ as those who call themselves Trinitarians. This is the first time I have ever taken the pen to say anything concerning the doctrine.
My reasons for not adopting and defending it, are 1. Its name is unscriptural the Trinity, or the triune God, is unknown to the Bible; and I have entertained the idea that doctrines which require words coined in the human mind to express them, are coined doctrines. 2. I have never felt called upon to adopt and explain that which is contrary to all the sense and reason that God has given me. All my attempts at an explanation of such a subject would make it no clearer to my friends.
But if I am asked what I think of Jesus Christ, my reply is, I believe all that the Scriptures say of him. If the testimony represents him as being in glory with the Father before the world was, I believe it. If it is said that he was in the beginning with God, that he was God, that all things were made by him and for him, and that without him was not anything made that was made, I believe it. If the Scriptures say he is the Son of God, I believe it. If it is declared that the Father sent his Son into the world, I believe he had a Son to send. If the testimony says he is the beginning of the creation of God, I believe it. If he is said to be the brightness of the Fathers glory, and the express image of his person, I believe it. And when Jesus says, I and my Father are one, I believe it; and when he says, My Father is greater than I, I believe that too; it is the word of the Son of God, and besides this it is perfectly reasonable and seemingly self-evident.
If I be asked how I believe the Father and Son are one, I reply, They are one in a sense not contrary to sense. If the and in the sentence means anything, the Father and the Son are two beings. They are one in the same sense in which Jesus prayed that his disciples might be one. He asked his Father that his disciples might be one. His language is, that they may be one, even as we are one.
It may be objected, If the Father and the Son are two distinct beings, do you not, in worshipping the Son and calling him God, break the first commandment of the Decalogue?
No; it is the Fathers will That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. We cannot break the commandment and dishonor God by obeying him. The Father says of the Son, Let all the angels of God worship him. Should angels refuse to worship the Son, they would rebel against the Father. Children inherit the name of their father. The Son of God hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than the angels. That name is the name of his Father. The Father says to the Son, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever. Heb. 1:8. The Son is called The mighty God. Isa. 9:6. And when he comes again to earth his waiting people will exclaim, This is our God. Isa. 25:9. It is the will of the Father that we should thus honor the Son. In doing so we render supreme honor to the Father. If we dishonor the Son we dishonor the Father; for he requires us to honor his Son.
But though the Son is called God yet there is a God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. 1:3. Though the Father says to the Son, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, yet, that throne is given him of his Father; and because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity, he further says, Therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee. Heb. 1:9. God hath made that same Jesus both Lord and Christ. Acts. 2:36. The Son is the everlasting Father, not of himself, nor of his Father, but of his children. His language is. I and the children which God hath given me. Heb. 2:13. (R. F. Cottrell)
Other pioneers also expressed their understanding of the Godhead and dangers of the Trinitarian belief.
J. N. Loughborough:
Moreover, he [Christ] is the beginning of the creation of God. The language does not necessarily imply that he was created; for the words may simply signify that the work of creation, strictly speaking, was begun by him. Without him was not anything made. Others, however, and more properly we think, take the word (for beginning in Greek) to mean the agent or efficient cause, understanding that Christ is the agent through whom God has created all things, but that he himself came into existence in a different manner, as he is called the only begotten of the Father. (Insert A-1, Lest We Forget, Volume 4, Number 2, Second Quarter, 1994)
Letter by J. S. Washburn
The doctrine of the Trinity is a cruel heathen monstrosity, removing Jesus from his true position of Divine Savior and Mediator. It is true we can not measure or define divinity. It is beyond our finite understanding, yet on this subject of the personality of God the Bible is very simple and plain. The Father, the Ancient of Days, is from eternity. Jesus was begotten of the Father. Jesus speaking through the Psalmist says: The Lord (Jehovah) has said unto me, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.Psalm 2:7.
Again in Proverbs (where Jesus is spoken of under the title of wisdom, See 1 Cor. 1:24), we read: The Lord (Jehovah) possessed me in the beginning of his way.v. 22
Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth.v. 24
The Son says he was brought forth, begotten, born of His Father (Jehovah).
Satan has taken some heathen conception of a three-headed monstrosity, and with deliberate intention to cast contempt upon divinity, has woven it into Romanism as our glorious God, an impossible, absurd invention. This monstrous doctrine transplanted from heathenism into the Roman Papal Church is seeking to intrude its evil presence into the teachings of the Third Angels Message.
And the fact that Christ is not the mediator in the Roman Church demonstrates that the Trinity destroys the truth that Christ is the one, the only mediator. The so-called Christian Church, the Papacy, that originated the doctrine of the Trinity, does not recognize him as the only mediator but substitutes a multitude of ghosts of dead men and women as mediators. If you hold the Trinity doctrine, in reality, Christ is no longer your mediator.
Seventh-day Adventists claim to take the word of God as supreme authority and to have come out of Babylon, to have renounced forever the vain traditions of Rome. If we should go back to the immortality of the soul, purgatory, eternal torment and the Sunday Sabbath, would that be anything less than apostasy? If, however, we leap over all these minor, secondary doctrines and accept and teach the very central root, doctrine of Romanism, the Trinity, and teach that the son of God did not die, even though our words seem to be spiritual, is this anything else or anything less than apostasy, and the very Omega of apostasy?
However kindly or beautiful or apparently profound his sermons or articles may be, when a man has arrived at the place where he teaches the heathen Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, and denies that the Son of God died for us, is he a true Seventh-day Adventist? Is he even a true preacher of the Gospel? And when many regard him as a great teacher and accept his unscriptural theories, absolutely contrary to the Spirit of Prophecy, it is time that the watchmen should sound a note of warning. [Portions of a letter written by J. S. Washburn in 1939. This letter was liked by a conference president so much that he distributed it to 32 of his ministers.]
The Biblical View of God
by Lynnford Beachy
Let us open our Bibles and see what it actually says about God. In Isaiah 44:6 God said, Beside me there is no God, and in verse 8 He continued, Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. This is very precise language to indicate that the speaker is alone. All of the pronouns are singular, indicating that only one person is speaking. Who is this one person?
Paul clarified this in his first letter to the Corinthians. He wrote, we know that there is none other God but one. (1 Corinthians 8:4) To make it abundantly clear who he was referring to as the God beside which there is none other, Paul continued. In verse 6 he wrote, To us there is but one God, the Father. Paul understood the one God of the Bible to be God, the Father, and no one else.
Jesus had the same understanding. After Jesus said, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord, a scribe told Him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he. (Mark 12:29, 32) Who is the one God the scribe was referring to? Was he referring to Jesus as the one God? Certainly not! He was referring to God, the Father, and Jesus knew it.
At another time, while Jesus was talking to the scribes and Pharisees, He said, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God. (John 8:54) Jesus knew that when the scribes and Pharisees said God, they were referring to His Father. When this scribe said, There is one God; and there is none other but he, Jesus knew that he was talking about His Father.
Did Jesus correct the scribe by saying, Youve got it wrong, I am really the one God of the Bible? Absolutely not! To the contrary, Jesus complimented him for his good answer by exclaiming, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. Jesus knew that this man was correct, that there is one God, the Father, and there is none other God but He.
The Father is called the only true God (John 17:3), the Most High God (Mark 5:7), the only Potentate [the only supreme ruler] (1 Timothy 6:15), the one God and Father of all who is above all (Ephesians 4:6), and it is said several times that there is none other God but He. (Mark 12:32; See also Isaiah 44:6; 1 Corinthians 8:4; etc.) The Bible is very clear that the one God of the Bible is God, the Father. (1 Corinthians 8:6)
In the Bible, the Father declares that He is the only God, and there is none other god beside Him. Jesus taught the same truth, yet, in the New Testament, we find that Christ is also called God. (Hebrews 1:8) How can that be?
In the Bible, the word god has several different meanings. In a very limited sense, men are called gods. Both the Greek word theos and the Hebrew word elohim, which are most often translated god are used in reference to men. (See Exodus 7:1; Psalm 82:6; John 10:34) When the word god is used in that sense, then there are hundreds and thousands of gods.
In a less limited sense, angels are called gods. David wrote about man, For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels [elohim]. (Psalms 8:5) The word angels in this verse comes from the Hebrew word elohim. The way elohim is used here it denotes a type of being that is higher than man, but it is still used in a limited sense, and with this definition there would still be many gods.
In reference to Christ, the word god is used in a much less limited sense, to denote His nature as being on the same level as His Fathersomething that cannot be said about any other being in the universe. The Bible says that Christ was in the form of God. (Philippians 2:6)
But even when the word god is used of Christ, it is used in a limited sense, because Christ has a God who is the head of Christ, above all, and greater than He. (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 4:6; and John 14:28) When the word god is used in its absolute and unlimited sense, there is only one person to whom it can apply, and that is God, the Father, alone. Jesus said that His Father is the only true God. (John 17:3) Paul said, there is none other God but one God, the Father. (1 Corinthians 8:4, 6) Of the 1,354 times the word god is used in the New Testament, more than 99% of the time it refers exclusively to God, the Father, while it only applies to His Son four times. (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:16)
So, to clarify, there are many gods when the word god is used in a limited sense, to include men and angels. When the word God is used as an adjective to describe the nature of God, as in the last part of John 1:1, then there are only two divine beings, God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. The Son of God is completely divine by nature because His Father is divine, just as I am completely human, because my parents are human.
When the word God is used in its absolute sense, to denote the most high God, the Sovereign of the universe, or the only true God, then there is only one God; God, the Father, beside which there is no God.
The Love of God
Not only must we know the identity of God in order to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), but we must also know His character of love. In the most well-known verse of the Bible, Jesus said, God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) When Jesus said God so loved the world He was saying, This is how much God loves you, He loves you so much that He did something for youHe demonstrated His love for you by giving up His most precious possession, His only begotten Son.
If God had loved the world so much that He gave a goat, you and I would seriously question Gods love for us, because a goat would be an almost meaningless gift for God to give up, since it is something He created. If God had loved the world so much that He gave a human, what would we think then? Well, that is a little better than a goat, but it is still a small gift, because humans were also created. What if God had loved the world so much that He gave an angel? That is a better gift than a human, but it still falls far short of demonstrating how much God loves us. You see, our understanding of Gods love depends upon the value of the gift He gave up for us. The more valuable the gift He gave, the more we can see His love for us.
God gave His only begotten Son for us. There are others whom He calls sons, but He only has one begotten Son. We can be sons of God by adoption (Romans 8:14), angels are sons of God by creation (Job 1:6; 2:1), but Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. What sets Jesus Christ apart from everyone else in the universe, and by which we know Gods love for us, is the fact that He was begotten. This puts Him in the closest possible relationship with God.
God knows, from firsthand experience, the most valuable possession a person can have. He knows that nothing is more valuable to a person than a child whom they love. This is precisely where God tested Abrahams love and loyalty when He asked him to offer his beloved son, Isaac, for a sacrifice. Abrahams willingness to obey Gods command proved that he loved God with all his heart. It proved that he would be willing to give up every possession he had for God.
The same thing is true with God. When He gave up His only begotten Son it proved that He is willing to give up every possession, suffer any amount of pain, and endure any hardship in order to save those whom He loves. This is what Paul meant when he said, He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
God truly loves us, yet this love can only be comprehended by understanding that God gave His only begotten Son. Understanding Gods love as demonstrated in the gift of His Son is vitally important for us, for it is the key that enables us to overcome the world. John wrote, Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5) Believing that Jesus is the begotten Son of God enables us to overcome the world by elevating our perception of Gods love and enabling us to love Him with all our hearts in return. John expressed it this way: We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
The Only Begotten Son of God
What did Jesus mean when He said He was begotten? Jesus, speaking of Himself, said, When there were no depths, I was brought forth [born]; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth [born] Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. (Proverbs 8:24, 25, 30)
According to the Bible, Jesus Christ was begotten, which literally means born, before anything was createdlong before God sent Him into the world. (See Hebrews 1:1-9; Colossians 1:15; John 3:16, 17; 18:37; and 1 John 4:9.) How He was begotten is not for us to know, but God wants us to realize that He and His Son have a close, genuine, father-son relationship that is not just a role or an act.
My friends, God really means what He says. He says that He gave His only begotten Son. If Jesus Christ was not the begotten Son of God before God sent Him into the world, then what did the Father give up? Many sincere Christians believe that Jesus Christ is an exactly equal, same-aged companion of the Father. If this were true, then all the Father gave up was a friend; a companion! If this were true, then the One who loves us the most is Christ, because He is the One who willingly died for us.
It is true that Jesus Christ loves us very much, and we praise and thank Him for that love. However, the Bible teaches that God, the Father, suffered tremendously when His Son was suffering under the weight of our sins. (Compare Psalm 18:4-11 with Matthew 27:45-51) In Abraham and Isaacs story it was obviously the father, Abraham, who suffered more than Isaac when he gave up his beloved son. Jesus said, the Father himself loveth you. (John 16:27) John wrote, Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us. (1 John 3:1) We cannot behold the love of the Father if we do not know what He gave up for us. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9) God has an only begotten Son whom He willingly gave up so that you could be forgiven of your sins and live for eternity. Praise God for such wonderful love!
Some people think that God is beyond the possibility of having a Son, but Jesus said, with God all things are possible. (Mark 10:27) The Bible refers to Christ as Gods Son at least 120 times. The Bible does this by using the phrase Son of God forty-seven times. Regarding the genuineness of Christs Sonship, He is called the only begotten five times, the firstborn three times, the firstbegotten once, and Gods holy child twice. Four verses say He was begotten prior to His incarnation. Four verses say that He proceeded forth from, came out from or camest forth from the Father. The evidence on this subject is overwhelming. Christ truly is the literal begotten Son of God, brought forth from the Father before all creation. If God expected us to believe anything different, He did a poor job of presenting it in the Bible. In fact, if God had wanted us to believe differently, He purposely confused us by making so many clear statements indicating that Christ is literally the begotten Son of God, without the slightest clarification to indicate that we should not take His words in their common meaning. Yet, God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33)
Any writer or public speaker knows that when they use a word or a phrase that could be easily misunderstood, clarifications need to be made to prevent people from coming to the wrong conclusions. Yet, throughout the New Testament, where Christ is said to be the begotten Son of God, there is never any type of correction or clarification so that these words would not be taken in their natural sense. Jesus said that He is the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18) Concerning another subject, but the principle can be applied with equal force here, He said, If it were not so, I would have told you. (John 14:2)
You might be thinking, I have always believed Jesus is the Son of God. Great! You might also be thinking, Dont all Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God? The reality is that most who profess to be Christians actually do not believe Jesus to be the real Son of God. (Please request the book Gods Love on Trial for a demonstration of this fact.)
The Death of the Son of God
Our salvation was accomplished by the death of the Son of God. We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. (Romans 5:10) Notice, it was not the death of the Son of man (the human nature), but the death of the divine Son of God that reconciled us to God.
These few words of Paul mean much more than we can fathom with just a brief reading of them. God loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son into this world to die for wretched sinners like you and me. This is more than a cliché. The thought contained in these words demonstrates the immense sacrifice that God made in our behalf. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32) If God was willing to give up His own Son for us, it proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He is willing to give up all that He possesses for our benefit, because His Son meant more to Him than anything in the universe. When we understand what took place at the cross, it will melt our hearts like nothing else can.
The extreme anguish Christ experienced at the cross is described in the following verses: Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah. (Psalm 88:6, 7) Christ suffered the worst death that anyone has ever, or will ever, suffer. Others have suffered equally or even greater if we limit His suffering to His physical pain alone. Yet His death was the worst in that His relationship with His Father was so close that the loss of that relationship caused Him the greatest anguish that anyone will ever suffer. Christs emotional turmoil was great when He realized His Fathers displeasure. Though He had not sinned, He was tempted to believe that He would suffer eternal death for the salvation of you and me. Christ made the conscious decision that if it meant He must die for eternity so you can live with God forever, then He was willing to do it.
At any moment the Son of God could have cried to His Father to deliver Him, but He went on, knowing that some would be saved. When a group of soldiers came out to capture Christ, Peter began to fight for Him, but Christ rebuked him saying, Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53) He was determined never to give up, even if it meant He would never live again. He had decided to surrender His will to His Father. And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. (Mark 14:36) The Son of God was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:8) Finally, He cried out in anguish, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46) The Son of God suffered a real death for our sins, when the sins of the whole world were placed upon Him. (See Isaiah 53:6 and 1 John 2:2.) It was not pretend, it was not an act, it was real.
There are some who claim that Christ came down from heaven and inhabited a human body and that, when it came time to die, only the human body died while the divine being who came down from heaven remained alive. With this view we would have to conclude that there was only a human sacrifice made for our redemption. No matter how exalted the pre-existent Son was, no matter how glorious, how powerful, or even eternal, if the manhood only died, the sacrifice was only human. It is contrary to reason to believe that a human sacrifice is sufficient to redeem mankind, and it is contrary to Scripture to say that only half of Christ died. Let us see from the Bible why this is so.
In Hebrews chapter one, Paul portrays Christ as being highly exalted, the one who was begotten in the express image of His Fathers person. Then, in Hebrews chapter two, Paul explains the necessity of Christ becoming a man so that He could redeem us. In verse nine of this chapter he explains, But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9) Paul explains the importance of Christ becoming a man, made a little lower than the angels, so that He could die; not so that a human body could die, but so that the divine Son of God could die. This verse would mean absolutely nothing if the Son of God did not die completely.
The fact that Christ did die is brought out even more clearly in the following verses: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation [Greek: emptied Himself], and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. (Philippians 2:5-9)
These verses are very clear. The same identical Being who was in the form of God in verse six, died in verse eight. Jesus Christ Himself made it very clear to John that He was dead. Jesus said, I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1:18)
In Isaiah 53 we read the following account: it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:10-12)
According to the Scripture, the soul of Christ died; the soul of Christ was made the offering for sin. The soul of a person constitutes the entire being. If a soul dies, the entire being is dead. The soul is more than just the body. Jesus said, fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)
We are told that the soul of Christ was in the grave. On the day of Pentecost Peter said, He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. (Acts 2:31) The word hell in the preceding verse was translated from the Greek word hades. This word means grave in every case. The soul of Christ rested with His body in the tomb.
The Spirit of Christ inspired David to write concerning Christs death, I am shut up, and I cannot come forth. (Psalm 88:8) Christ was shut up in the tomb, and He could not come forth. The Bible says more than thirty times that God, the Father, raised Christ from the dead. Paul wrote that he was an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God, the Father, who raised him from the dead. (Galatians 1:1)
Paul also emphasized, in Ephesians 1:19, 20, that the exceeding greatness of the Fathers mighty power was demonstrated when he raised Christ from the dead. If Christ had actually raised Himself from the dead, as some people believe, then Pauls words could not have been true. It would not have been the Fathers power, but the power of Christ which would have been demonstrated.
Christ did not raise Himself from the dead or else He would not have been dead to begin with, and His words could not be true, I can of mine own self do nothing. (John 5:30) When the Son of God was asleep in the tomb, He was as the rest of the dead who know not anything and whose thoughts have perished. (Psalm 146:4)
Of Christ we read, Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared. (Hebrews 5:7) Who was Christ praying to with strong crying and tears? Was He praying to Himself? Absolutely not! He was praying to His Father, and He was praying to the only One that was able to save him from death.
It would have been a mockery for Christ to have cried out to His Father to save Him from death, if all the while He was immortal and able to save Himself from death. Christ died completely, Friends, and He relied upon His Father to resurrect Him. He said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46), indicating His complete dependence upon His Father to save Him out of death, and His willingness to entrust His eternal life into the hands of His Father.
It was an immense sacrifice for God to yield up His only-begotten Son for us, yet He was willing to do it. If there was any other way that the human race could have been redeemed, God would have done it.
The Holy Spirit
The Bible speaks of many spirits. There are spirits of men, spirits of beasts, spirits of devils, etc. In fact, every living being has a spirit. In the book of Job, we read, There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. (Job 32:8) The Bible says that a spirit is where a person thinks, reasons, is troubled, etc. David wrote, My spirit was overwhelmed within me. (Psalms 142:3) Isaiah wrote, With my spirit within me will I seek thee early. (Isaiah 26:9) Of Jesus it was said, When Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? (Mark 2:8) Based on the testimony of Scripture we can conclude that the spirit of a man is the thinking, conscious, reasoning part of man.
We know that man has a spirit, but does God have a Spirit? Notice how Paul likened the spirit of man to the Spirit of God in 1 Corinthians 2:11: For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. God has a Spirit, and that Spirit is holy, for God is holy. That is why Gods Spirit is sometimes called, the Holy Spirit. The word Holy is an adjective in every case, whether in English or in Greek. Holy Spirit is not a name, but a description of the Spirit of God.
The Holy Spirit is continually referred to as the Spirit of God, or the holy Spirit of God. (Ephesians 4:30) As we noted earlier, the one God of the Bible is the Father, so the Holy Spirit of God is the Spirit of the Father. This is precisely what Jesus taught when He said, For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. (Matthew 10:20) In Lukes account of the same conversation this statement is recorded like this: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. (Luke 12:12) When we compare these two verses we find that the Spirit of your Father is used interchangeably with the Holy Ghost. Therefore, the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, is the Spirit of the Father.
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit proceedeth from the Father. (John 15:26) The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father, and He sends His Spirit to us through His Son Jesus Christ. Paul expressed it this way: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. (Titus 3:5, 6) In this process we gain the added benefit of receiving the Spirit of Christ, who was in all points tempted like as we are, and is able to help us when we are tempted. (Hebrews 4:15; 2:18) We find this truth proclaimed in Galatians 4:6, And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. When we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, we receive both the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9-11), not a third being or person, separate and distinct from the Father and His Son.
The above Bible study was taken from my book, Gods Love on Trial. For a detailed explanation of the Trinity, Tritheism, Modalism, etc., along with their history, I highly recommend this book.
If you would like written Bible studies that cover these subjects in detail or to receive our monthly newsletter, please contact Lynnford Beachy at the address below. Please let me know how this book has affected your life.
HC 64 Box 128 B
Welch, West Virginia 24801, USA
Phone: (304) 732-9204
Fax: (304) 732-7322
Web Sites: www.smyrna.org; www.presenttruth.info