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An Analysis of a
Offensive Against

With Appendices on
the Trinity, Daniel Chapter 4,
the Ten Commandments, Christmas,
War and Chaplaincy Interfaith


An Analysis of a
Offensive Against

With Appendices on
the Trinity, Daniel Chapter 4,
the Ten Commandments, Christmas,
War and Chaplaincy Interfaith

© 2018
This publication is not for sale.
Correspondence: gjtstrange1914@gmail.com


An anonymous publication.


To Our Reader 7
1 Trouble … and The Agreement 9
2 1914 and Here or Near? 31
3 Father to the Rescue 51
4 Bricks and A Debate 53
5 Answered Prayer 71
6 Paradise Restored 81
7 One God and Who Is Jehovah? 93
8 Questions 119
9 Baptised into Christ 125
10 Watchtower … 1975 127
11 Our Friends 131
Conclusions 157

1 The Adventist Change to Trinitarianism 159
2 Signs of the Times and Daniel Chapter 4 167
3 77 Questions 171
4.1 Seventh-day Adventists and War 177
4.2 Adventists in Nazi Germany 179
5 Adventist Chaplains and Interfaith Material 183

Index 187


“Ready always to give an answer.”––1Pe 3:15.


To Our Reader: not typical of Jehovah’s Witnesses that Lorna did not
know where the Ten Commandments were kept. Nor
is it true, as Nanna says, that they believe the tree(s) of
life and the river flowing from New Jerusalem to be
Seventh-day Adventists believe that they practise the
true religion. (Eph 4:5) They should, because there are
just two roads––a cramped one to life and a broad one Of course, at times people misrepresent the beliefs of
to destruction.––Mt 7:13, 14, 22, 23. their own religions but it would be unfair for anyone
to view this family as typical of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
More than 50 years ago a young Adventist minister
began to focus on Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1966, E.1 These days, Jehovah’s Witnesses hardly ever
Bruce Price published a booklet, God’s Channel of encounter Seventh-day Adventists who even identify
Truth–Is It the Watchtower? (GCT), and later Our themselves as Adventists, much less engage the
Friends: the Jehovah's Witnesses (OF). Witnesses in discussions, despite the fact that the
Witnesses are now more active than ever in the
He published several editions of each before his death
greatest witnessing campaign the world has ever seen
in 2015 in Australia. To the end, he taught that
on doorsteps, on the streets, in informal contacts and
Jehovah’s Witnesses are on that broad road to
using the Internet at jw.org.
destruction. Was he right? Were his untiring efforts to
discredit Jehovah’s Witnesses fair? For all his efforts, Seventh-day Adventists are not
actively promoting Price’s materials to Jehovah’s
Fairness is an issue here because Jehovah is the God
Witnesses. In fact, only once in the last 50 years has it
of fairness. “When I set a time, I judge with fairness.”
been brought to the attention of this writer despite
(Ps 75:2) Fairness is therefore related to Jehovah’s
thousands of hours spent in the public ministry from
lofty standards of justice. If a judgment or estimation
house to house and on the streets. That was in 1968.
is unfair, it cannot be God’s judgment.
Apparently, Adventists are using it mainly to convince
Fairly judging matters of religion is difficult. But the themselves and other opponents that Jehovah’s
prophet Daniel was told that God’s true servants and Witnesses are not God’s channel of truth rather than
His knowledge would be clarified in the final part of really trying to help the Witnesses.
the days, so the identity of true Christians should be
We refer mainly to the King James Version. Chapter
easier to discern today than ever before.––Da 12:3, 4.
and page numbers refer to the revised version of
In the 50 years since Price’s criticisms were first Price’s booklet, accessed on-line in 2016. Our study
published there have been developments in both expresses personal findings only, but it accepts the
religions. Jesus said: “wisdom is justified of her teachings and ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The
children [“works,” Greek].” (Mt 11:19) True wisdom use of “we” and “ours” is rhetorical only.
will eventually be proven by its works. So how have
Our study will show why Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot
both religions fared over the last 50 years?
agree with Adventists in key areas of doctrine and
Price contends that Jehovah’s Witnesses are in chaos practice. From their beginning as Bible Students in the
but that Seventh-day Adventists are heading onward nineteenth century, the Witnesses have been familiar
and upward under God’s hand. However, this with the beliefs and teachings of Seventh-day
assessment is unfair because very often the failings Adventists, so none of the arguments in Price’s
that he identifies in the Witnesses exist in his own writings are really new or surprising.2
denomination, and very often much worse.
The conclusions drawn in God’s Channel of Truth–Is
The booklet says “the experiences given are true.” It the Watchtower? and Our Friends: the Jehovah's
This may be true. Yet, some of the statements made by Witnesses can only be justified if they are also fair. So
those portrayed as Jehovah’s Witnesses show a we make the question of fairness an important issue in
surprising lack of understanding of their own beliefs. our study of Price’s writings. Can they pass that test?
Their lack of Bible knowledge and knowledge of their We will see. Let us “prove all things.”––1Th 5:21.
organizational history is puzzling. For instance, it is

1 Ernest.
2 For example, Adventists were mentioned in the Watch Tower issues of September 15, 1892, March 1, 1897 and April 1, 1897.


Trouble … and The Agreement
God’s Channel of Truth chapters 1 and 2 tell the story of Chapter 8, subheading “Church Outreach
how Bob Watson, a young Seventh-day Adventist (Missionary) Meetings.” (Emphasis ours.)
minister, calls on a woman named Clarice and convinces
However, it is rare these days for a Seventh-day
her that the Adventists have the truth. Clarice then
Adventist to visit one of Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door,
approaches her mother with Bob’s message. This may
or anywhere else, to speak directly about the Bible. At
seem unusual because Adventists hardly ever evangelize
best, colporteurs offer Church literature featuring
non-Adventists at their homes these days.
cooking, health and sometimes Bible stories and
Preaching is the great commission given to every prophetic literature for sale in door-to-door campaigns
Christian. Jesus commanded: that are often years apart. Often an appeal for money is
included if the sale is declined. And the Bible is seldom
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them
quoted. The ordinary Adventist does not participate in
... teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I
this work, though.
have commanded you.”––Mt 28:19, 20.
As a result, Jehovah’s Witnesses are almost never
Some say that Jesus’ commandment was restricted to the
mistaken for Adventists when they go preaching.
apostles, but note that new disciples had to observe “all
Preaching and teaching is the Witnesses’ primary work.
[the] things” that their teachers had been commanded.
All of them, young and old, participate if they are
Those “things” would therefore have included the
circumstantially able. They do not own health food
preaching and teaching command given to the first
companies or promote health foods or vegetarianism.
disciples, to “go ... and teach all nations, baptizing them.”
They do not operate sanitaria, hospitals, schools or
Each generation of Christians had to teach the next
universities. Their offices and factories are devoted
generation to preach and teach.
solely to spreading the good news.
Later, Acts 8:1 says that “they were all scattered abroad
As a recent example, one only has to compare jw.org, the
throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the
official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, with the official
apostles.” So when the text adds, “they that were
Seventh-day Adventist Church website. The reader can
scattered abroad went every where preaching the word,”
decide their relative values for himself.
it means that Christians other than the apostles also went
preaching. (Ac 8:4) These scattered preachers were not In their preaching work, Jehovah’s Witnesses find that
only ministers and pastors with a special gift. Once a Adventists hardly ever self-identify now. In the 1960’s it
Christian heard the gospel he became a preacher. “Let was common to have discussions with Adventists. It is
him that heareth say, Come.”––Re 22:17. unfortunate that something seems to have changed in the
Adventist dynamic resulting in a reluctance to discuss the
In theory, Adventists agree with this, as their Church
Bible with the Witnesses at the door.
Manual shows.
Still, Price’s story begins with young Bob Watson doing
“The Saviour’s commission lays upon the church the
what seldom happens now, visiting Jehovah’s Witnesses
task of heralding the gospel to all the world. This also
in their homes.
places upon each individual member the responsibility
of giving the message of salvation to as many others 1.1 Progressively Revealed Truth
as possible. The Saviour ‘gave authority to his
servants, and to every man his work.’ He appointed a Price’s first two chapters deal almost exclusively with the
meeting with His eleven disciples after His teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses that have altered over
resurrection for the purpose of giving them counsel the years. The Witnesses have always taken the view that
and encouragement, and at that time He gave the they are not in the full light of truth, that changes will be
gospel commission to the disciples and to the needed until “the perfect day.” (Pr 4:18) But Bob makes
assembled church, numbering more than five hundred great play of these changes as if they were solid evidence
brethren. That was the first outreach (missionary) that the Witnesses are not God’s channel of truth. Really,
meeting of the Christian church; it was certainly not to his reasoning is unscriptural and, in the case of
be the last.”––Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, Adventists, very inconsistent because both the Bible and


the Adventist religion give evidence of important What these examples demonstrate is that mistakes are
changes as we will see. certainly possible when well-intentioned humans try to
interpret God’s will. Today, as always, “the path of the
God’s imperfect people have always changed, adjusting
just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more
to new truths. So Noah and his family adjusted to the
unto the perfect day.” (Pr 4:18) What illuminates that
truth that the Flood was coming. (Ge 6:7) Later, the
path? Psalm 119:105 answers: “Thy word is a lamp unto
Israelite nation adjusted to a set laws given through
my feet and a light unto my path.” Prayerful and
Moses. When the Messiah arrived, changes followed.
progressive Bible study results in greater spiritual light
After the arrival of the holy spirit at Pentecost, new truths and ever clearer understanding of Bible truth.
replaced older ones as the congregation matured.
In the first century there were still many truths not clearly
Circumcision, animal sacrifices, cleansing rituals and
understood, so Paul says: “For we know in part, ... For
temple service were removed. For centuries the identity
now we see through a glass, darkly; ... now I know in
of the seed, or offspring, of Genesis 3:15 had been
part.” (1Co 13:9, 12) Partial knowledge was an ever-
unknown to God’s human servants and to angels, but
present reality in the early church. In the same letter Paul
eventually the time came for it to be revealed.––1Pe 1:12.
corrects mistaken interpretations in the Corinthian church
Some truths were understood gradually. According to about the resurrection. Despite those errors, Paul calls
John 2:22, the disciples understood Jesus’ saying at John them “beloved brethren.”––1Co 15:12.
2:19 only after Jesus was raised from the dead. They
Although he calls the Galatians “foolish” because they
“remembered” the Jesus’ statement and its fulfilment
mistakenly thought that works of the Mosaic Law could
resulted in a clearer understanding of that comment. John
establish their righteousness, Paul still accepts them as
12:16 speaks about another understanding that was
“children of God.” (Ga 3:1, 26) Today we accept that the
gradually revealed.
early church was the organization that God was using
“These things understood not his disciples at the first: despite misunderstandings like these. It is no less true
but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they today that God’s true church makes mistakes and needs
that these things were written of him, and that they had correction.
done these things unto him.”
Another factor is that the understanding of some truths
Acts 11:15, 16 says that it was only when the holy spirit needed to await God’s time to reveal them. As an angel
descended on Cornelius and his household that Peter said to Daniel: “for the words are closed up and sealed
“remembered” Jesus’ words about Christians being till the time of the end.” (Da 12:9) Any attempt to explain
baptized with spirit. So yes, early Christians learned the those prophetic words before God’s time for revealing
truth progressively. their meaning could easily result in error.
However, more relevant to our enquiry is this question: 1.3 Protestant Error
Did God’s people ever have to make changes because
some of their beliefs or expectations had been outright Christians in every generation have studied the Scriptures
errors? and have tried their best to explain them. However, in
varying degrees they believed the errors passed on to
1.2 Error among God’s Ancient People them through the great apostasy. So the Waldenses,
Wycliffe, Huss, Calvin, Zwingli, Tyndale, Knox and
Yes, God’s people of Bible times did make errors. When others spoken of favourably in Ellen G. White’s Great
David asked whether he should build a temple, Nathan
Controversy believed in eternal torment in hellfire. But
replied: “Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with
Adventists forgive them their errors.
thee.” But it was not God’s will for David to build a
temple, so God corrected Nathan’s statement. (1Ch 17:1- Some Protestant reformers fell deeply into sin when they
5) Was Nathan a false prophet? No. God would not have came to positions of power. For example, although
sent him back to David with the correction if he were. Martin Luther at first opposed coercing religious
dissidents, he later encouraged his political friends to
Similarly, after his resurrection Jesus said: “If I will that
execute by burning those who opposed infant baptism.
he [John] tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow
thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the Reading Luther’s book The Jews and Their Lies, one
brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said becomes aware of his outrageous anti-Semitic attitudes
not unto him, He shall not die…” (Joh 21:22, 23) Did this hundreds of years before Adolph Hitler held similar
misinterpretation make them all false prophets? There is views. The book The Jews and Martin Luther–Martin
no evidence that they were judged so harshly. Luther and the Jews, by Heinz Kremers, explains:


“At first Martin Luther was friendly toward the Jews, the judgment of others.”––Watch Tower, September
since he expected that they would convert to 15, 1909. (Emphasis ours.)
Christianity once the pure gospel was preached to
“We must admit that there are possibilities of our
them. When this hope went unfulfilled, he became a
having made a mistake in respect to the chronology,
vehement enemy of the Jews.”
even though we do not see where any mistake has been
Luther was given to unchristian excesses of many kinds.3 made in calculating the seven times of the Gentiles as
Although acknowledging his imperfections, Ellen G. expiring about October 1, 1914.”––Watch Tower,
White encouraged Christians to imitate him. 4 November, 15, 1913. (Emphasis ours.)
The followers of Luther, Calvin and Zwingli killed “The writers of the New Testament were clothed with
thousands of opponents. John Calvin’s relentless pursuit certain power and authority to write as the Lord
of Michael Servetus and his compliance with others in directed them. However, since the days of the apostles
the execution of Servetus are lamentable examples of the no man on earth has been inspired to write prophecy,
error of ‘Christians’ of the time. Still, Ellen G. White nor has any man been inspired to interpret
allows that, for all their errors, they were Christians. Bob prophecy.”––Prophecy, 1929, pages 61, 62.
is not as generous to Jehovah’s Witnesses (Emphasis ours.)
1.3 Jehovah’s Witnesses Disclaim Inspiration “We are not a prophet; we merely believe that we have
come to the place where the Gentile times have
Jehovah’s Witnesses have made many errors in ended.”––Light, Volume 1, 1930, page 194.
interpreting the Scriptures, and Bob is keen to list them (Emphasis ours.)
in detail and to emphasize them. What he does not admit
is that Adventists have made mistakes of their own.5 The “This pouring out of God’s spirit upon the flesh of all
difference is that Adventists have claimed the “spirit of his faithful anointed witnesses does not mean those
prophecy” for many of their errors. now serving as Jehovah’s witnesses are inspired. It
does not mean that the writings in this magazine The
The errors of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been the result Watchtower are inspired and infallible and without
of earnest Bible study and interpretation, not inspiration. mistakes. It does not mean that the president of the
From the first, the Witnesses positively disclaimed divine Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is inspired and
inspiration. Consider these statements. infallible, although enemies falsely charge us with
“We have not the gift of prophecy.”––Watch Tower, believing so. ... But we confess with the Scriptures that
January 1883, page 425. (Emphasis ours.) the day of such inspiration passed long before 1870,
as the apostle Paul showed it would… Inspired
“Nor would we have our writings reverenced or speaking and writing passed away with the last of the
regarded as infallible, or on a par with the holy twelve apostles, by whom the gifts of the spirit were
Scriptures. The most we claim or have ever claimed imparted to others. Yet God is still able to teach and
for our teachings is that they are what we believe to lead us. While confessing no inspiration for today for
be harmonious interpretations of the divine Word, in anyone on earth, we do have the privilege of praying
harmony with the spirit of the truth.”––Watch Tower, God for more of his holy spirit and for his guidance of
December 15, 1896. (Emphasis ours.) us by the bestowal of his spirit through Jesus Christ.”
“Someone may ask, Do you, then, claim infallibility ––Watchtower, May 15, 1947, pages 157, 158.
and that every sentence appearing in ‘The Watch (Emphasis ours.)
Tower’ publications is stated with absolute “The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its
correctness? Assuredly we make no such claim and utterances, nor is it dogmatic. It invites careful and
have never made such a claim. What motive can our critical examination of its contents in the light of the
opponents have in so charging against us? Are they not Scriptures.”––Watchtower, August 15, 1950, pages
seeking to set up a falsehood to give themselves 262, 263. (Emphasis ours.)
excuse for making attacks and to endeavor to pervert

3 For a discussion of Luther’s excesses, see Martin Luther–Hitler’s Spiritual Ancestor, Peter F. Wiener, page 28, at
4 The Signs of the Times, July 26, 1883, paragraph 18; The Great Controversy, 1911, page 129; Spiritual Gifts, Volume 1, 1858,

page 122.
5 See point 1.5ff below.


“In regard to how the truth is brought forth through “This ‘prophet’ was not one man, but was a body of
Jehovah’s organization, please note that if the Watch men and women. It was the small group of footstep
Tower Society were infallible there would be no need followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as
for future correction of viewpoints held; but because it International Bible Students. Today they are known as
is not infallible and has never claimed to be, from time Jehovah’s Christian witnesses.”––Watchtower, April
to time corrections are necessary. If Jehovah’s spirit 1, 1972, page 197. (Emphasis ours.)
operated in the way it did upon Bible writers, inspiring
The statement in this Watchtower article refers to them
them to write according to Jehovah’s thoughts, then no
as a prophet in a modified sense, as the inverted commas
future corrections in matters would ever be necessary.
imply: “prophet.” Collectively, they prophesy in the
But because the spirit does not operate in this way
sense of preaching God’s previously-inspired written
today some corrections are made from time to time.”
Word rather than being an inspired prophet themselves.
––Watchtower, October 15, 1954, page 638.
How do we know that this was the intent when the word
(Emphasis ours.)
“prophet” was used in that article? The inside cover of
“Our chronology, however, ... is reasonably accurate the very same issue, which Price does not quote,
(but admittedly not infallible).”––Watchtower, August explains:
15, 1968, page 499. (Emphasis ours.)
“No, ‘The Watchtower’ is no inspired prophet, but it
“The brothers preparing these publications are not follows and explains a Book of prophecy the
infallible. Their writings are not inspired as are those predictions in which have proved to be unerring and
of Paul and the other Bible writers. (2 Tim. 3:16) And unfailing till now.”––Ibid., page 194. (Emphasis ours.)
so, at times, it has been necessary, as understanding
Critics of Jehovah’s Witnesses like Price are never fair
became clearer, to correct views. (Prov. 4:18)”––
enough to point to this clarifying comment, which should
Watchtower, February 15, 1981, page 19. (Emphasis
have made it clear that “prophet” on page 197 was used
in the representative sense only. So Lorna’s comment
“It is not claimed that the explanations in this about Charles Russell and Joseph Rutherford is right, if
publication are infallible. Like Joseph of old, we say: we are talking about inspired prophets. She says:
‘Do not interpretations belong to God?’ (Genesis
“Those men [Noah, Elijah, Isaiah and Jeremiah] were
40:8)”––Revelation–Its Grand Climax at Hand, 1988,
prophets. Russell and Rutherford were not prophets.”
page 9. (Emphasis ours.)
––GCT, page 22.
“To one who wrote a letter of inquiry, Brother Russell
Correct. They were not inspired prophets. In response,
replied: ‘If it was proper for the early Christians to
Bob makes a particularly unfair claim when he refers to
prove what they received from the apostles, who were
page 378 of the 1917 book The Finished Mystery which
and who claimed to be inspired, how much more
applies Ezekiel 2:5 to Charles Russell. (GCT, page 23)
important it is that you fully satisfy yourself that these
The text says:
teachings keep closely within their outline instructions
and those of our Lord;––since their author claims no “And they, whether they will hear, or whether they
inspiration, but merely the guidance of the Lord, as will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall
one used of him in feeding his flock.’ Brother Russell know that there hath been a prophet among them.”
claimed no supernatural power, no divine
Fortunately, The Finished Mystery is on the Internet for
revelations.”––Jehovah’s Witnesses–Proclaimers of
all to read. In explaining the sense in which the word
God’s Kingdom, 1993, page 622. (Emphasis ours.)
“prophet” was thought to apply to Charles Russell, page
“Although the slave class is defined as ‘faithful and 378 continues:
discreet,’ Jesus did not say that it would be infallible.
This group of faithful anointed brothers still consists “With a voice of many waters, reverberating like
of imperfect Christians. Even with the best of thunder throughout the world, spoke Pastor Russell;
and ere long ‘they shall know that there hath been a
intentions, they can be mistaken, as such men
Prophet [preacher] among them.’” (Emphasis ours.)
sometimes were in the first century.”––Watchtower,
December 1, 2002, page 17. (Emphasis ours.) Bob wants to catch Jehovah’s Witnesses out calling
Russell a prophet. The important thing is that the
Price’s writings do not give proper weight to these
statements. Instead, he points to the following comment bracketed word “preacher” was in the original
to show that the Witnesses do claim to be a prophet publication. Russell was never thought of as, and never
claimed to be, an inspired prophet. He was a preacher.
organization.––OF, page 4.
This is the distinction Lorna notes.


The Finished Mystery was wrong in explaining Russell accumulated light which shines upon them.”––Review
to be the antitype of Ezekiel, but the Bible Students never & Herald, January 5, 1886. (Emphasis ours.)
understood him to be and never presented him to be an
“The truth of God is progressive; it is always onward,
inspired prophet like Ezekiel. Russell himself
going from strength to a greater strength, from light to
consistently denied inspiration. The square brackets
a greater light. We have every reason to believe that
show that, as applied to Russell, “prophet” had a
the Lord will send us increased truth, for a great work
qualified sense, that he was simply a “preacher.” Why
is yet to be done. In our knowledge of truth, there is
didn’t Bob share this important fact with Lorna, Clarice
first a beginning in our understanding of it, then a
and the family?
progression, then completion; first the blade, then the
Jehovah’s Witnesses draw doctrinal conclusions after ear, and after that the full corn in the ear. Much has
prayer and study, but not through any kind of inspiration. been lost because our ministers and people have
Clearly, this has not always guaranteed accuracy, but the concluded that we have had all the truth essential for
Witnesses are not embarrassed at all by changed us as a people; but such a conclusion is erroneous and
teachings. They embrace the fact that they are neither in harmony with the deceptions of Satan; for truth will
locked into their own errors nor into Christendom’s fixed be constantly unfolding.” ––Signs of the Times, May
creeds. 26, 1890. (Emphasis ours.)
Changing teachings is Scriptural. It is in harmony with “We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to
the Proverbs 4:18 principle and it is still true that “we see unlearn. …”––Review & Herald, July 26, 1892.
through a glass, darkly,” although lighter now than before (Emphasis ours.)
as the light on God’s Word grows progressively
“There is no excuse for anyone in taking a position
brighter.––1Co 13:12.
that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all
1.4 Adventist Error and “Present Truth” our [Adventist] expositions of Scripture are without
error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as
Although it is true that Jehovah’s Witnesses have made truth for many years by our [Adventist] people, is not
many changes, it is unfair for Bob to criticize the proof that our [Adventist] ideas are infallible. Age will
Witnesses for this because Adventists have also changed. not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be
Early Adventist writers used the term “present truth” to fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close
describe their understanding of the truth at the time. investigation.”––Review & Herald, December 20,
(Review and Herald, December 31, 1857, page 61) But 1892. (Emphasis ours.)
Ellen G. White taught that Adventist doctrine should not “The momentous issues at stake through neglect of the
be considered static or without the possibility of Word of God should be carefully considered. The
containing error. study of the Bible is worthy of the best mental effort,
“There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position the most sanctified ability. When new light is
that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all presented to the church, it is perilous to shut
our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you
fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for are prejudiced against the message or the messenger
many years by our people is not a proof that our ideas will not make your case excusable before God. To
are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and condemn that which you have not heard and do not
truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of
anything by close investigation.”––Counsels to those who are candid in their investigations of truth.
Writers and Editors, page 35. (Emphasis ours.) And to speak with contempt of those whom God has
sent with a message of truth, is folly and madness. If
Other Adventist publications make the same point. our youth are seeking to educate themselves to be
“God is leading out His people step by step. Truth is workers in His cause, they should learn the way of the
progressive. The earnest seeker will be constantly Lord, and live by every word that proceedeth out of
receiving light from Heaven. What is truth? should His mouth. They are not to make up their minds that
ever be our inquiry.”––Signs of the Times, May 26, the whole truth has been unfolded, and that the Infinite
1881. (Emphasis ours.) One has no more light for His people. If they entrench
themselves in the belief that the whole truth has been
“Those who walk in the light will progress… Truth is revealed, they will be in danger of discarding precious
progressive; and those who are preparing for the last jewels of truth that shall be discovered as men turn
great day will go forward in accordance with the their attention to the searching of the rich mine of


God’s Word.”––Testimonies to Sabbath School than that, his own Church cannot match his lofty ideal.
Workers, page 60. (Emphasis ours.) He is not taking into account adjustments in Adventist
teaching involving doctrines and practices resulting in
So the preamble to the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s
errors, many of which still cause tension in the
Fundamental Beliefs says:
denomination today. Price’s writings are specific about
“These beliefs, as set forth here, constitute the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ failures, so it is fair to shine the
church’s understanding and expression of the teaching light back on Adventism and to ask whether it has
of Scripture. Revision of these statements may be unfailingly progressed from light to light as he requires.
expected at a General Conference session when the
church is led by the Holy Spirit to a fuller 1.5.1 Changes in Adventism––War
understanding of Bible truth or finds better language Price claims that “Seventh-day Adventists believe in time
in which to express the teachings of God's Holy of war, Christians should not kill but should try to save
Word.” (Emphasis ours.) lives.” (OF, page 25; emphasis his.) In the Adventist
More recently, P. Gerard Damsteegt, Price’s co- Church, “should” is the active word, because Adventists
contributor to a book on modern Adventism, says: are free to join the armed forces in combatant roles and
many thousands actually do. This represents a significant
“Progressive revelation has played an important role change from early Adventism.
in the development of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church. By ‘progressive revelation’ I mean God’s In 1867 the fifth annual General Conference session of
continuous unfolding of previously revealed truth that the Adventist Church passed the following resolution.
we often refer to as ‘new light.’ Without God's “RESOLVED, That it is the judgment of this
shedding new light on His revealed Word––the Bible Conference, that the bearing of arms, or engaging in
––the Seventh-day Adventist Church would not war, is a direct violation of the teachings of our
exist.”––Here We Stand: Evaluating New Trends in Saviour and of the spirit and letter of the law of God.”
the Church, page 123. (Emphasis ours.)
Notwithstanding this clear historical position against
If the Adventist Church is also dependent on new light, participating in war, the Autumn Council of the General
how can it criticize Jehovah’s Witnesses over changes? Conference Committee recommended noncombatant
duties in 1972, but did not impose it as a firm position. It
1.5 Changes in Adventist Teaching
However, Price believes that Jehovah’s Witnesses
“This statement is not a rigid position binding church
misunderstand Proverbs 4:18.
members but gives guidance leaving the individual
“The Bible equates light with truth and darkness with member free to assess the situation for himself.”––
error. This ‘bright light’ is truth that is getting lighter Autumn Council of the General Conference
not error. God only leads His people into ‘bright light’ Committee: General Actions, October 14-29 1972,
or brilliant truth. These truths as time goes on, always Mexico City, page 17.6
prove to be truth not error!”––OF, page 6.
What is this? The Church can have a “rigid position
His point is that truth progresses to greater truth; that it binding church members” on the Fourth Commandment,
never stumbles back into error just as light never the Sabbath, but not on Sixth, on not killing! This 1972
becomes darkness. However, this fails to allow for the statement has never been withdrawn and must be
failings of the Christian church in every generation. More understood as the current official Church position. It is

6 Full text of the 1972 Autumn Council Statement:

“Voted, 1. That we accept as our basic view the 1954 General Conference Session action entitled, ‘The Relationship of Seventh-
day Adventists to Civil Government and War,’ as amended at the 1954 Autumn Council, and further amended as follows:
Genuine Christianity manifests itself in good citizenship and loyalty to civil government. The breaking out of war among men in
no way alters the Christian’s supreme allegiance and responsibility to God or modifies their obligation to practice their beliefs and
put God first.
This partnership with God through Jesus Christ who came into this world not to destroy men’s lives but to save them causes
Seventh-day Adventists to advocate a noncombatant position, following their divine Master in not taking human life, but rendering
all possible service to save it. As they accept the obligation of citizenship as well as its benefits, their loyalty to government requires
them willingly to serve the state in any noncombatant capacity, civil or military, in war or peace, in uniform or out of it, which will
contribute to saving life, asking only that they may serve in those capacities which do not violate their conscientious conviction.
This statement is not a rigid position binding church members but gives guidance leaving the individual member free to assess the
situation for himself.”


much weaker that the 1867 statement. The noncombatant inadequate the justification. Paul condemned those who
position is not binding on Adventists and many choose to say “let us do evil, that good may come,” but this is
serve and even go to war in combatant roles because their exactly what the Church was saying. (Ro 3:8) It was
personal consciences allow it. What a change! ‘evil’ to sacrifice these Jews for the ‘good’ of the Church.
However, compromise over war was evident well before While the Adventist attitude to war was faltering, the
1972 in the way the Church mistreated Jews in Nazi attitude of Jehovah’s Witnesses against participating in
Germany and generally supported the Nazi regime. war was strengthening.7 On October 7, 1934 every
congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany met at
In 2005 an official apology was issued by the German
9:00 am and then sent the following letter to the German
Church for its disgraceful compromise. The German
Adventist statement said:
“We deeply regret that the character of National
Socialist dictatorship had not been realized in time and “The Word of Jehovah God, as set out in the Holy
distinctly enough, and the ungodly nature of [Nazi] Bible, is the supreme law, and to us it is our sole guide
ideology had not clearly been identified ... in some of for the reason that we have devoted ourselves to God
our publications ... there were found articles glorifying and are true and sincere followers of Christ Jesus.
Adolf Hitler and agreeing with the ideology of anti- During the past year, and contrary to God’s law and in
Semitism in a way that is unbelievable from today’s violation of our rights, you have forbidden us as
[perspective].”––“Church Leaders Say ‘We're Jehovah’s witnesses to meet together to study God’s
Sorry,’” Adventist News, August 15, 2005. Word and worship and serve him. In his Word he
commands us that we shall not forsake the assembling
Kellner also notes that German Adventist leaders
of ourselves together. (Hebrews 10:25) To us Jehovah
expressed regret that
commands: ‘Ye are my witnesses that I am God. Go
“our peoples became associated with racial fanaticism and tell the people my message.’ (Isaiah 43:10, 12;
destroying the lives and freedom of 6 million Jews and Isaiah 6:9; Matthew 24:14) There is a direct conflict
representatives of minorities in all of Europe ... that between your law and God’s law, and, following the
many Seventh-day Adventists did not share the need lead of the faithful apostles, ‘we ought to obey God
and suffering of their Jewish fellow-citizens.”––Ibid. rather than men,’ and this we will do. (Acts 5:29)
Therefore this is to advise you that at any cost we will
German and Austrian Adventist congregations
obey God’s commandments, will meet together for the
“excluded, separated and left [church members who study of his Word, and will worship and serve him as
were] ... of Jewish origin to themselves so that they he has commanded. If your government or officers do
were delivered to imprisonment, exile or death.”–– violence to us because we are obeying God, then our
Ibid. blood will be upon you and you will answer to
Almighty God. We have no interest in political affairs,
Kellner quotes Rolf Pöhler, former North German church but are wholly devoted to God’s kingdom under Christ
area president who was the region’s theological advisor his King. We will do no injury or harm to anyone. We
and was involved with drafting the declaration, as saying: would delight to dwell in peace and do good to all men
“We had to realize that one wrong statement, one as we have opportunity, but, since your government
wrong move by a person meant he could end up in a and its officers continue in your attempt to force us to
concentration camp. ... [That was the] reason why we disobey the highest law of the universe, we are
excluded and disfellowshipped Jewish-born compelled to now give you notice that we will, by his
Adventists from our midst: If a local church had not grace, obey Jehovah God and fully trust Him to deliver
done this, [the Nazis] would have closed the church, us from all oppression and oppressors.”
taken the elder to prison, and it would have meant the On the same day, Jehovah’s Witnesses in 49 countries
whole church would be forbidden.”––Ibid. sent a cablegram to the Hitler government stating:
The German Adventist Church abandoned even its own “Your ill-treatment of Jehovah’s witnesses shocks all
Jewish members in their time of greatest need! And how good people of earth and dishonors God’s name.

7 “During World War I, the Bible Students generally understood that Christ’s followers should have no share in killing their fellow
humans. (Matt. 26:52) However, for many, the exhortation found at Romans 13:1 to be obedient to ‘the superior authorities’ meant
that they should join the army, wear soldiers’ uniforms, and even bear arms; however, when asked to kill the enemy, they should
shoot into the air.”––God’s Kingdom Rules, page 56.


Refrain from further persecuting Jehovah’s witnesses; possible for even a very small and politically
otherwise God will destroy you and your national powerless group of people to make a firm stand
party.” against what they quickly identified as evil. Whilst
Witnesses were strengthened and informed in their
On the basis of the record, Christine King compared the
behaviour by their beliefs and their membership of the
response of Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah’s
movement, it is important to acknowledge that each
Witnesses in the face of the Nazi Party in Germany.
Witness faced their own challenge as an individual
“Seventh Day Adventists offered an immediate public and made their own choices. We may or may not share
statement of nationalism and support for the Party. their beliefs, but the fact that the vast majority were
They implemented changes to remove Old Testament willing to face imprisonment and death rather than, as
language from their liturgy and arranged to co-operate they saw it, deny their God, did make a difference. It
with the state in their extensive church welfare and continues to make a difference to our analysis of the
medical care schemes. ... The Jehovah's Witness story difficult questions facing Christians during the Third
stands out as radically different in this context of Reich.”––“Responses Outside the Mainstream
confusion, political naivete and compromise. This Catholic and Protestant Traditions,” in The Holocaust
group made the decision from a very early date to and the Christian World, pages 64-67.
ignore the ban on their missionary work and meetings
The difference between Adventists and Jehovah’s
and to continue to preach and meet. In their literature
Witnesses was stark. The Church position on war that
they publicly identified the evils of the regime,
softened in 1972 to a recommendation of noncombatancy
including what was happening to the Jews. The
has resulted in thousands taking up arms as combatants.
consequences were severe as members met the full
In 1984, associate editor of the Adventist Review, George
force of police and Gestapo brutality. Initially
W. Reid, reported that each year
imprisoned in civil prisons, by 1935 they were
amongst the first Germans to be thrown into the “between 6,000 and 7,000 enlistees write ‘Seventh-
Labour camps. By 1945 there were Witnesses in the day Adventist’ in the blank where incoming trainees
major concentration camps all across Europe of the designate religious preference.”––“Adventists and
Third Reich. Here they were subject to special tortures Military Enlistment,” Adventist Review, June 7, 1984,
and humiliations, whilst maintaining their faith and page 14.
refusing even the smallest of compromises even when
Adventists have also been directly involved as
such could buy their freedom from the camp. ... Thus
combatants in the military in Burma and other Asian
they would not enlist in Hitler’s army or offer the
lands with the full knowledge of the Adventist Church.
Hitler salute as a sign of Nazi citizenship. They
Ronald Lawson, of Queens College, New York, notes:
continued to ‘witness’ in their door-to-door
missionary work and to meet and share bible readings “Asia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea
and teachings. Such a response to National Socialism have conscription. Adventists made a formal
hit at the very heart of what that movement professed. accommodation with the government of Singapore
National Socialism claimed the hearts and minds of all some years ago which granted them Sabbath
its citizens and it demanded a loyalty beyond political privileges and the right not to use weapons. In
compliance. The Witness resistance and their Thailand, most Adventist conscripts are also able to
continued and obstinate refusal to bow the knee, protect their Sabbath observance, but they train with
whatever the personal cost, was something the system weapons. On the other hand, Adventists in South
could neither understand nor tolerate. Thus it threw at Korea and Taiwan have no option but to bear arms …
this tiny movement, with a mere 20,000 members out The most remarkable involvement of Adventists with
of a population of over 60 million, the full brute force weapons and military conflict, however, is found
of the regime. Brutality was no answer in the face of among the Karen rebels against the Burmese
the Witnesses’ faith and their work continued, in and government, who have declared an independent state
out of the camps, even as Witness children were taken of Cawthoolie along the Thai border. Adventists are
away to be brought up in Nazi homes and families the third-largest religious group among these Karens,
were split by imprisonment and death. All Christians behind Buddhists and Baptists, but they provide much
in Nazi Germany had choices not open to Jewish of the military and political leadership. The general
citizens. It is very dangerous to make judgements, in who heads the state, Bo (General) Mya, three of his
retrospect, about the choices made by the religious top deputies, and several other leading military
minority groups and about the information and figures are Adventists.”––“Onward Christian
understanding available to them at that time. The Soldiers?: The Issue of Military Service Within
Witness story demonstrates, however, that it was International Adventism,” in Review of Religious


Research, 37:3, March 1996, pages 97-122. International organization, for one, coordinates support
(Emphasis ours.) for current Adventists who are actively homosexual. The
Glendale, California, Adventist Church has been
Of course, it is really not true that these Adventists ‘had
inclusiveness of active homosexuals for many years with
no option.’ They had the same option that Jehovah’s
the full knowledge of the General Conference. Its Pastor
Witnesses took, the option to be noncombatant. Writing
Lind says they “are affirmed and allowed to participate.”
about the Church’s recommendations that its members
(Advent Herald Ministry, viewed March 26, 2017 at
remain noncombatant, Adventist Douglas Morgan says:
www.adventherald.org) In Price’s home country, the
“The substantial number of Adventist combatants in Australian GLBT SDAS organization serves the same
the Persian Gulf conflict of 1990-1991 suggests that purpose.
the recommendation has carried minimal weight in
When the Adventist Church fails to follow through with
practice.”––“Between Pacifism and Patriotism:
counselling, discipline and ultimately disfellowshipping
Helping Students Think about Military Options,” in
for moral failures like the practice of homosexuality, this
Journal of Adventist Education, Summer 2003, page
is certainly a change for the worse by Scriptural
standards. (Ro 1:26, 27; 1Co 6:9; Jude 7) Again, the
Sadly, he has to conclude: change is in the direction of darkness, not increasing
light. It is the opposite of a ‘truth that is getting lighter
“Unanimity on this complex and momentous issue
not error’ as Price requires.
will likely continue to elude the Adventist Church, as
it has the Christian Church as a whole. Yet it touches 1.5.3 Changes in Adventism––Trinity
on matters so central to the gospel message that no
serious believer can avoid addressing it. Doing so with Nothing could be more fundamental than the identity of
intelligence and integrity will require recovery of a God but Adventist doctrine has changed here too. The
history that has to a large extent faded from our document The Trinity in Seventh-day Adventist History,
collective consciousness.”––Ibid., page 26. by Merlin Burt of Andrews University, says:

His words “faded from our collective consciousness” “Some have failed to recognize the dynamic nature of
point to a serious, negative change in Adventism. This Seventh-day Adventist theology. Adventists have
has not been a change from light to greater light as Price always sought a clearer understanding of Bible truth.
requires but from light to darkness. What good is Historically, their doctrines have developed in the
recommending noncombatancy if Adventists can ignore context of the original distinctive core of the Three
the recommendation with impunity and remain in good Angel’s Message and kindred concepts. A small
standing? See Appendix 5 for two articles written by though significant and growing segment of ‘historic’
Adventists on the Church and war. Adventists are advocating a return to an anti-
Trinitarian stance. Seventh-day Adventists have
1.5.2 Changes in Adventism––Homosexuality always been Bible-centered in their theology and
doctrine. They have rejected a static creed and have
The toleration of homosexuality is another example of
ever sought to study, understand, and follow the Bible
change in Seventh-day Adventist attitudes. The Church
as the source of doctrine and the guide for experience.
position in 1986 was that disfellowshipping was possible Consequently, it should not be surprising that
for active homosexuality. Adventist doctrine has developed over time building
“Reasons for which a person may be disfellowshipped upon previous and new Bible study.”––Page 1.
from the Seventh-day Adventist Church include
Two of the founders of the Adventist church, Joseph
‘homosexual practice and other perversions.’”––
Bates and James White, rejected the Trinity. There were
Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 1986, page
many others. Non-Trinitarianism flourished for most of
162. the time Ellen G. White served as its Prophet. She did not
The Church’s website still regards homosexuality as less sound a clear call to the Church about it. So Gerhard
than normative. In practice, though, many Adventists Pfandl of the Adventist Biblical Research Institute says:
remain actively homosexual because the Church often
“The first positive reference to the Trinity in Adventist
fails to follow the Biblical injunction to disfellowship
literature appeared in the Bible Students’ Library
unrepentant, sexually immoral members, heterosexual or
series in 1892.”––The Doctrine of the Trinity among
homosexual.––1Co 5:9-13; 6:9, 10.
Adventists, page 1.
There is unofficial but real, practical support offered to In fact, Ellen G. White never mentioned the word Trinity
practising Adventist homosexuals by parachurch
in her writings. Why did this prophet never defend this
organizations. The Seventh-day Adventist Kinship


supposed fundamental doctrine? Some of her statements Andrews’ biblical and historical presentation
can be interpreted as favourable to aspects of the influenced believers to adopt sundown as the correct
doctrine. Others clearly were not. She even stated in 1904 time to begin and end the Sabbath. Tithing first began
that Christ was “given an exalted position” and that he in 1859 as ‘Systematic Benevolence’ and had little or
was “made equal with the Father.” no link to the Biblical teaching of ten percent. It was
not until the 1870s that a careful restudy of the topic
“God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God.
led Seventh-day Adventists to adopt the tithing
To Christ had been given an exalted position. He has
framework we practice today.”––The Trinity in
been made equal with the Father. All the counsels of
Seventh-day Adventist History, page 1.
God are opened to His Son.”––Testimonies to the
Church, 8:268. (Emphasis ours.) The sundown Sabbath and ten-percent tithing were not
foundational teachings. They were changes.
How could he be “made equal” with the Father if he was
always equal with the Father as the current Adventist 1.5.6 Changes in Adventism––Sin Nature
Trinity teaches?
Another important change was introduced in the book
White’s teaching on the Trinity was so indistinct that Questions on Doctrine in 1957. White taught that, as a
Pfandl speaks about “ambiguous passages in Ellen human, Jesus Christ had a ‘sin nature’ that he resisted,
White.” (The Doctrine of the Trinity among Adventists, never acting on that nature by actually sinning. She says:
page 3) A 40-year record like hers reminds us of Paul’s
comment: “if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who “Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been
shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1Co 14:8) It was not weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every
until the 1931 Statement of Fundamental Beliefs that the child of Adam He accepted the results of the working
Adventist church finally and definitely decided in favour of the great law of heredity. What these results were is
of the Trinity. According to some, it was even later. shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came
with such a heredity to share our sorrows and
See Appendix 1 for an article sponsored by the Seventh- temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless
day Adventist Church that details the gradual acceptance life ... Christ took upon Him the infirmities of
of Trinitarianism among Adventists, a monumental degenerate humanity.”––Desire of Ages, pages 49,
change that Bob does not acknowledge. 117. (Emphasis ours.)
1.5.4 Changes in Adventism––Pork This doctrine of Christ’s ‘sin nature’ was Ellen G.
White’s personal view. She says:
Pfandl notes another example of “increasing light.”
“In him was no guile or sinfulness; he was ever pure
“Another case of increasing light leading to a clearer
and undefiled; yet he took upon him our sinful nature.”
understanding are her statements on the eating of pork.
––Review and Herald, August 22, 1907. (Emphasis
In 1858 she wrote, ‘If God requires His people to
abstain from Swine’s flesh, He will convict them on
the matter’ (1T 207). At that time most Adventists ate Adventist theologian Herbert E. Douglass says that
pork. After receiving more light on the subject, she White was ‘consistent’ about this, that it was her
wrote in 1868, ‘You know that the use of Swine’s flesh “constant theme.” (The QOD Earthquake–Attempted
is contrary to His express command, given not because Merger of Two Theological Tectonic Plates, page 31) But
He wished to especially show His authority, but in 1957, in an effort to present the Adventist Church as a
because it would be injurious to those who should eat conservative denomination, Questions on Doctrine
it.’ (CD 392).”––The Doctrine of the Trinity among changed her teaching in a move that has resounded
Adventists, page 3, footnote 13. through the Church for more than 50 years. It flatly
contradicted Ellen G. White.
Yes, for 5 years after the founding of the Church in 1863
Adventists allowed pork, but that teaching changed in “Although born in the flesh, He was nevertheless God,
1868. This is more evidence of changed teachings. and was exempt from the inherited passions and
pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of
1.5.5 Changes in Adventism––Sabbath/Tithing Adam. He was ‘without sin’ not only in His outward
Burt gives further examples of change. conduct, but in His very nature.”––Questions on
Doctrine, page 383; See also pages 61, 62. (Emphasis
“Two examples are the Sabbath and tithing. Early ours.)
Adventists initially concluded that the Sabbath should
begin and end at 6:00 p.m. It was in 1855, nearly a Was Ellen G. White right, that Jesus had a “sinful
decade after the initial Sabbath emphasis, that J. N. nature,” or was Questions on Doctrine right, that he was


“without sin … in His very nature”? Herbert Douglass iniquity. ... The papacy is just what prophecy declared
says this “shift in denominational thought” has caused that she would be, the apostasy of the latter times. 2
Adventists great difficulty because it goes to the heart of Thessalonians 2:3, 4. It is a part of her policy to
their understanding of the atonement.––The QOD assume the character which will best accomplish her
Earthquake–Attempted Merger of Two Theological purpose; but beneath the variable appearance of the
Tectonic Plates, pages 51-57. chameleon she conceals the invariable venom of the
serpent. ... It is not without reason that the claim has
Was Price really unaware of this very controversial
been put forth in Protestant countries that Catholicism
change in his denomination? Hardly. It was a hot topic of
differs less widely from Protestantism than in former
debate in Adventist circles at the very time that Bob was
times. There has been a change; but the change is not
preaching to Lorna and family. Yet he mercilessly
in the papacy. Catholicism indeed resembles much of
attacked Jehovah’s Witnesses over changes. No doubt he
the Protestantism that now exists, because
failed to raise the issue with family. How unfair!
Protestantism has so greatly degenerated since the
1.5.7 Changes in Adventism––Ecumenism days of the Reformers.”––The Great Controversy,
page 571. (Emphasis ours.)
There was also an alarming decision taken in 2003 to
provide false religious information to Adventist But when the Emergency Ministry document was printed
chaplains and members of other denominations for use in on Adventist presses contrary to White’s instructions, it
emergency situations such as end-of-life ministry. provided information to Adventist chaplains about
Catholic and Protestant rites containing false teachings,
A pamphlet entitled Emergency Ministry: Information including the “Hail Mary” for Catholics, a prayer to Mary
and Resource for Clergy: a Collection of Services and as if she were a living person. It gave ceremonial
Prayers from Distinctive Faith Groups was issued by the information about the baptism of Protestants by pouring,
Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries with a letter on General not immersion. This was also applicable to Catholics.
Conference letterhead. It contained services for many
faiths, including non-Christian faiths. Most of it For a Buddhist, the Adventist document contained the
contradicts Adventist doctrine. words: “I take refuge in the Buddha.” There were also
Jewish services for Jews, Islamic services for Muslims,
The problem with this is that Ellen G. White was clear Hindu services for Hindus and Orthodox services for
about issuing printed material that contained falsehood. Orthodox, all containing expressions contrary to
“I have a word to say to the workers in every Adventist practice and belief. This was a serious and very
publishing house established among us: As you love undesirable change from previous practice. See
and fear God, refuse to have anything to do with the Appendix 6 for the full text of the pamphlet.
knowledge against which God warned Adam. Let 1.5.8 Changes in Adventism––Women
typesetters refuse to set a sentence of such matter. Let
proofreaders refuse to read, pressmen to print, and The position of the Adventist Church at present denies
binders to bind it. … When matters containing errors ordination to women. However, the Church is seriously
that counteract the work of God are printed in our divided over the issue. During the Twelfth Business
houses of publication, God holds accountable not only Meeting that was part of the General Conference session
those who allow Satan to lay a trap for souls, but those on July 8, 2015, the following question was put.
who in any way co-operate in the work of
“After your prayerful study on ordination from the
temptation.”––Testimonies, Volume 7, pages 167,
Bible, the writings of Ellen G. White, and the reports
168. (Emphasis ours.)
of the study commissions, and after your careful
She also spoke very negatively about both the Roman consideration of what is best for the church and the
Catholic and Protestant churches, saying in 1888: fulfillment of its mission, is it acceptable for division
executive committees, as they may deem it
“The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the appropriate in their territories, to make provision for
world, covering with apologies her record of horrible
the ordination of women to the gospel ministry? Yes
cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christlike
or No?”
garments; but she is unchanged. Every principle of the
papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The During that meeting a total of 2,363 ballots were cast. 977
doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. Let voted Yes and 1,381 No. There were 5 abstentions. This
none deceive themselves. The papacy that Protestants means that 40 percent of the conference delegates voted
are now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the in favour of the ordination of women. The General
world in the days of the Reformation, when men of Conference is effectively the decision-making body of
God stood up, at the peril of their lives, to expose her


the Adventist Church. It sets policy, determines doctrine Shortly after the 2015 San Antonio Adventist General
and represents the church membership. Conference Session, James Standish, editor of the South
Pacific Division’s Adventist Record, wrote:
Clearly, the Adventist denomination at its very heart is
divided on the question of the ordination of women and “I also hope you don’t mind me sharing my concerns
it seems a matter of time before it follows so many other as one of just possibly 18.5 million Adventists. I say
Protestant churches down this unscriptural path. This is possibly, as the reports from the GC secretary’s team
certainly a time of Adventist change for the worse. made clear, our membership numbers are so deeply
unreliable that all we know for certain is that we have
1.5.9 Changes in Adventism––Services no idea how many members we really have. We have
Price himself was a contributor to the book Here We an inbuilt incentive to exaggerate. A disincentive to
Stand: Evaluating New Trends in the Church. It clean up numbers. And no global independent audit.
documents many important negative changes in This produces predictably distorted results. One of the
Adventism that are not clearly and unequivocally incentives to inflate numbers is that the number of
opposed by the leadership. Price was the author of [General Conference] delegates does, in part, turn on
chapter 2 which laments the development of a membership count.”––Quoted in Where Are We
‘pragmatist,’ ‘celebration-type’ church within the Headed?: Adventism after San Antonio, by William G.
Church along the lines of other Protestant churches with Johnsson, pages 72, 73.
highly charged, emotional meetings and raucous music So perhaps Price’s boast about membership is unwise.
and singing. (Pages 23-27) He mentions other changes
for the worse. In the same book, Samuel Koranteng- Jehovah’s Witnesses, by contrast, do not report
Pipim mentions rock, clowns, cafes and magicians in the membership numbers. They report “publishers,” a
Church.––Page 42. biblical term describing those who actively declare or
preach the good news. (Isa 52:7; Na 1:15) The 8 million
1.5.10 Changes in Adventism––Attendance publishers reported for 2016 did not include inactive
Price makes a point of the faster rate of growth of members who did not even attend meetings. They are
Seventh-day Adventists. (OF, pages 3, 9) However, those who participated in the public ministry regularly. If
another contributor to the book mentioned above the Witnesses counted members the way Adventists do,
comments on their poor retention rates. they would amount to many more than 8 million.

“Today it is considered normal for a high percentage However, in the end, large numbers are no evidence of
(approximately 50%) of newly baptized converts to God’s blessing. Jesus himself said that “narrow is the
apostatize. It is considered normal for 50% or less of way ... which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find
the church membership to attend church regularly!” it.”––Mt 7:14.
––Here We Stand, page 81. 1.5.11 Changes in Adventism––the Bible
The Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual specifies Samuel Koranteng-Pipim advises that some Adventists
that “nonattendance at church services shall not be no longer support their traditional creation position.
considered sufficient cause for removal from church
membership.” (Chapter 14, subheading “Members Not to “Some Adventist scholars now:
Be Removed From Church Membership for (a) hold a long, rather than short, chronology for the
Nonattendance”) This means that the active membership age of our earth (i.e., they measure the age of the earth
of the Church is far less than the 19 million claimed for in millions, instead of thousands, of years); (b)
2015. Of course, the Adventist Church has a right to advocate views that reinterpret the days of Creation to
determine its own membership reporting method. represent millions of years, instead of the six literal
However, in the same 50-year period that Price has been days taught by the Bible; (c) argue for gradual,
criticizing Jehovah’s Witnesses uniformitarian deposit of the geologic column in
millions of years, instead of catastrophism (such as
“the Adventist Church … has lost at least 1 in 3 described in the Biblical account of the Flood in
Seventh-day Adventist members … Also, in this Noah's day); (d) maintain that Noah's Flood was a
century, the ratio of people lost versus new converts is local event, not a global, universal catastrophe; (e)
43 per 100.” insist that there was death in the animal kingdom long
This record is hardly worth celebrating.––Seventh-day before the creation and fall of Adam and Eve, and that
Adventist Church “News,” dateline November 19, 2013, there will even be death in the new creation.”––Here
viewed online at news.adventist.org. We Stand, page 241.


How is it that such scholars remain Adventists? Some of The Adventist Manual says that divorce is possible even
their positions are heretical from the Adventist point of on the grounds of abandonment.
view. The Church can withdraw membership from
“Scripture recognizes adultery and/or fornication
apostates, yet they remain in the Church. The result is
(Matt. 5:32) as well as abandonment by an unbelieving
disturbing and causes division in the Church. There has
partner (1 Cor. 7:10-15) as grounds for divorce.”––
even been a subtle but important official change recently.
Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, Chapter 15,
At the 2015 General Conference Session changes were subheading “Grounds for Divorce.”
made to Fundamental Belief 6. It now reads, in part:
Note that abandonment is cited as grounds for divorce
“God … created the universe, and in a recent six-day even though 1 Corinthians 7:10-15 is about separation,
creation the Lord ‘made the heavens and the earth, the not divorce. Samuel Koranteng-Pipim says:
sea, and all that is in them.’”
“From the 1970s, as an increasing number of pastors
Here is another Adventist change––one that has some have been reluctant to disfellowship offending
asking whether it now allows for a “gap” between God’s members, there have been attempts to find a ‘Biblical’
original creation of the universe and the 7 days of the justification (other than sexual infidelity) to
creative week beginning 6,000 ago.––Where Are We accommodate the un-Biblical divorce and remarriage
Headed?: Adventism after San Antonio, by William G. practices that were rampant in some quarters of the
Johnsson, pages 95, 96. church. In other words, instead of bringing our lives in
harmony with the teachings of Scripture, we were
If so, this would disagree with Ellen G. White who spoke
looking for a methodology that would bring the Bible
of the creation of the world as taking place about 6,000
into accord with our lives. By the 1990s, as church
years ago.––The Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 1, page 87;
publications began carrying articles that sought to
Spiritual Gifts, Volume 3, pages 91, 92.
liberalize the Bible’s teaching to accommodate un-
1.5.12 Changes in Adventism––Divorce Biblical divorce and remarriage, attempts were also
underway to revise the wording in the Church Manual
On moral matters, Ellen G. White was very clear. The to make its policy on divorce and remarriage more
following comments might be described as the Church’s ‘redemptive.’ The triumph of the new view divorce
historic position. and remarriage took place at the 2000 Toronto General
“Those who break the seventh commandment should Conference session when the Church Manual was
be suspended from the church, and not have its revised to include ‘abandonment’ as a new ground for
fellowship nor the privileges of the house of God. Said divorce. ... It also introduced another ground for
the angel, ‘This is not a sin of ignorance. It is a divorce, namely, ‘abandonment by an unbelieving
knowing sin and will receive the awful visitation of partner.’ Historically, Adventists have insisted that
God, whether he who commits it be old or young.’”–– the only ground for divorce is adultery and/or
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and fornication. But the document which the Church
Divorce, pages 248, 249, Manuscript 3, 1854. Manual Committee presented before us introduces a
new ground; they call it ‘abandonment by an
However, many Adventist writers note the decay of unbelieving partner. ...’ Even in our own Seventh-day
morals. One change has been in respect to acceptable Adventist Church the attitudes of some are changing
grounds for divorce. Ronald A.G. du Preez says: on the issue of homosexuality. We may find evidence
“For more than a decade now, voices have been heard for this change in Adventist discussions on the
suggesting and promoting a move away from our Internet, in written declarations by some scholars, in
historic Biblical position. For example, as far back as discussions at annual professional meetings of the
1994, articles were appearing in official Adventist church’s Bible teachers, in some carefully written, yet
magazines calling for a more accommodating view, in troubling, articles that have been published in our
which members would be allowed to divorce and church publications, and in the mumblings, if not
remarry for reasons other than sexual unfaithfulness. deafening silence, from our pulpits.”––Here We
... The illustrations mentioned at the start of this article Stand, pages 496, 502, 535. (Emphasis ours.)
demonstrate that new concepts are currently creeping All of these are changes for the worse, and one by one
into the Seventh-day Adventist Church––perspectives they are becoming entrenched in Church policy.
that seek to recognize polygamous, homosexual,
contra-faith unions, as well as lax divorce/remarriage 1.5.13 Changes in Adventism––Polygamy
standards as acceptable forms of Christian marriage.”
Ronald A.G. du Preez points out a change from a Biblical
––Here We Stand, page 483. (Emphasis ours.)
stance to one in which polygamists can now be baptized.


“The 1926 resolution stated that ‘in no case should a that White’s statements about the Lord ‘forbidding’
man living in polygamy be admitted into the alcohol are not quite true.
fellowship of the church.’ In a dramatic reversal of this
The 1982 issue of Adventist Review explains:
absolutist position, the 1930 Fall Council
unconstitutionally overruled the General Conference “Total abstinence is but one of a number of areas
policy and adopted a stand that, upon recommendation where the Bible gives no explicit directives.”––“Does
of responsible field committees, permitted the Bible Condemn ‘Moderate’ Drinking?,” Adventist
polygamists to be baptized into the church as Review, February 22, 1982.
probationary members, yet be allowed to continue
living in polygamy. Just over a decade later, the 1941 The book Seventh-day Adventists Believe ... A Biblical
General Conference session moved away from the Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines states:
more accommodating approach of 1930 to the “In interpreting such Scriptural passages, it is helpful
following somewhat ambivalent policy: A man living to keep in mind that God does not necessarily endorse
in polygamy who wishes to join the church is required all that he permits.”––Page 282. (Emphasis ours.)
to become monogamous by putting away all but one
of his wives. Alternately, ‘wives who upon accepting The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary reads
Christianity are still not permitted to leave their similarly. Commenting on Deuteronomy 14:26 it says:
husbands because of tribal custom, may upon “Thus it was with ‘wine’ and ‘strong drink.’ Neither
approval of the local and union committees become was strictly prohibited, except to those engaged in
baptized members of the church.’ This policy religious duties, and perhaps also in the administration
superseded all previous resolutions on polygamy. of justice (Lev 10:9; Prov 31:4, 5) … In times past God
Without substantial change, this has remained the often ‘winked’ at the gross ‘ignorance’ responsible for
official position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” practices He could never approve.”––Volume 1, page
––Here We Stand, pages 621, 622. (Emphasis ours.) 1002.
Price contributed a chapter to this 2005 book that details These statements mark a change in the Adventist Church
many changes in Adventism. Yet in the same year he toward intoxicating liquor, wine and strong drink. It now
republished his criticism of Jehovah’s Witnesses over says the Bible regards these as ‘permitted’ though not
changes in doctrine. (OF, pages 6-8) Working within a ‘endorsed.’
Church that was changing for the worse and that he
himself was criticizing, he continued to criticize Of course, some Adventists feel strongly about this and
Jehovah’s Witnesses for the very same thing. That was disagree with the change in their Church. They prefer
unfair, given his Church’s record. Ellen G. White’s original position.

Negative Adventist changes have not been the failings of 1.5.15 Changes in Adventism––Prophecy
individual members and scholars alone. On many of Accurate prediction is a hallmark of inspired prophets.
these issues there has not been a clear response from the
General Conference and its representatives. Sometimes, “How shall we know the word which the LORD hath
as we have seen, the Conference itself has authorized the not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of
changes or failed to correct errors already in place. the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass,
that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken.”––
It turns out that Price’s unfailing “brilliant light” has not De 18:20-22.
been shining so bright after all.––OF, page 6.
“The LORD” or “GOD” in capitals here represent the
1.5.14 Changes in Adventism––Alcohol Hebrew word Anglicized as Jehovah. Jehovah’s
In her book Temperance, Ellen G. White writes: “There Witnesses do not claim prophetic ability under any
are many solemn warnings in the Scriptures against the definition of inspiration, but Adventists do claim it for
use of intoxicating liquors.” She claims: Ellen G. White.

“The Lord has given special directions in His word in We should be able to test her prophetic claim by the
reference to the use of wine and strong drink. He has measure of accuracy specified in Scripture. First, did she
forbidden their use, and enforced His prohibitions actually claim the gift of prophecy and the Lord as its
with strong warnings and threatenings.” (Emphasis Source? Absolutely.
ours.) “I am just as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in
However, the Adventist Church has changed her position relating or writing a vision, as in having the vision. It
on alcohol. It still recommends abstinence but concedes is impossible for me to call up things which have been
shown me unless the Lord brings them before me at


the time that He is pleased to have me relate or write was a great work to do for them and but little time in
them.”––Spiritual Gifts, Volume 2, page 293. which to do it. ... Then I saw the seven last plagues
were soon to be poured out upon those who have no
The Adventist Church agreed, and described her
shelter.”––Ibid., page 64. (Emphasis ours.)
prophetic gift as similar to that of the ancient prophets.
“But now time is almost finished, and what we have
“Seventh-day Adventists hold that Ellen G. White
been years learning, they [“they who of late have
performed the work of a true prophet during the
embraced the truth”] will have to learn in a few
seventy years of her public ministry. As Samuel was a
months. They will also have much to unlearn and
prophet, as Jeremiah was a prophet, as John the
much to learn again.”––Ibid., page 67. (Emphasis
Baptist, so we believe that Mrs. White was a prophet
to the church of Christ today.”––Review and Herald,
October 4, 1928. In May of 1856, without condition she said:
Note that the Adventist Church considers that she was a “I was shown the company present at the Conference.
prophet for 70 years. This takes her prophetic ministry Said the angel, ‘Some food for worms, some subjects
back into the 1840’s, well before the official of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and
establishment of the Church in 1863. The Church agreed remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of
again in ‘The Dallas Statement’ of 1981 that she was a Jesus.’”––Testimonies for the Church, Volume 1,
prophet. pages 131, 132.
“One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This Of course, none of that company lived to be translated at
gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and Christ’s coming. In 1862 she said:
was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As
“This nation [the United States] will yet be humbled
the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing
into the dust. England is studying whether it is best to
and authoritative source of truth and provide for the
take advantage of the present weak condition of our
church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.
nation … When England does declare war, all nations
They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by
will have an interest of their own to serve, and there
which all teachings and experience must be tested.”
will be general war, general confusion.”––Testimonies
Examine now some of her prophecies, including those for the Church, Volume 1, page 259. (Emphasis ours.)
that predate 1863. Were they accurate?
England did not declare war on America and the United
In the 1850’s she said: States was not humbled.
“I was pointed to some who are in the great error of Today the Adventist Church tries to rescue Ellen G.
believing that it is their duty to go to Old Jerusalem, White from charges of false prophecy by arguing that all
and think they have a work to do there before the Lord prophecy is conditional and that God changed his mind.
comes ... I saw that Satan had greatly deceived some The cases of Jonah and others are cited. Well and good.
in this thing ... I also saw that Old Jerusalem never But we wonder whether Bob would have been as
would be built up; and that Satan was doing his utmost generous to the Watchtower Society as he and his Church
to lead the minds of the children of the Lord into these are to White. We know he would not, because he was not.
things now, in the gathering time.”––Early Writings, And, remember, Jehovah’s Witnesses have never
page 75. (Emphasis ours.) claimed inspiration of any kind. They have only ever
claimed deduction. Ellen G. White claimed much more.
Jerusalem has been greatly “built up” since then. In the
1850’s she also said: She also made this incredible claim about other worlds.
“Some are looking too far off for the coming of the “The Lord has given me a view of other worlds, wings
Lord. Time has continued a few years longer than they were given me, and an angel attended me from the city
expected; therefore they think it may continue a few to a place that was bright and glorious. The grass of
years more, and in this way their minds are being led the place was living green, and the birds there
from present truth, out after the world. ... I saw that the warbled a sweet song. The inhabitants of the place
time for Jesus to be in the most holy place was nearly were of all sizes; they were noble, majestic, and lovely.
finished and that time can last but a very little ... I asked one of them why they were so much more
longer.”––Early Writings, page 58. (Emphasis ours.) lovely than those on the earth. ... Then I was taken to
a world which had seven moons. There I saw good old
“In a view given June 27, 1850, my accompanying
Enoch, who had been translated.”––Early Writings,
angel said, ‘Time is almost finished.’ ... Said the angel,
pages 39, 40. (Emphasis ours.)
‘Get ready, get ready, get ready. ...’ I saw that there


Adventists will have to decide for themselves whether to Ellen G. White did claim that the Lord gave her the vision
accept this one. It is certainly an ‘inspired’ error (“the of other worlds, with Enoch on one of them. This was a
Lord has given me a view”) because the Bible is clear claim of inspiration that was manifestly untrue.
that Enoch died. “These all [including Enoch, verse 5]
died in faith.” (He 11:13) He could not be off on some 1.5.16 Changes in Adventism––The Shut Door
other world. After the Great Disappointment of 1844, Ellen G. White
In the face of White’s comments about “good old taught that there was no further opportunity for salvation
Enoch,” it is almost unbelievable that the author of for certain groups. Her First Vision in December 1844
Channel included the following comment in a later confirmed the shut-door theory that some Adventists
publication. were teaching. In part, the vision stated:

“My mother read in the book, Reconciliation page 14 “Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said
that the throne of Jehovah God was on one of the stars that it was not God that had led them out so far. The
of the Pleiades, in the Milky Way. She then knew that light behind them went out leaving their feet in perfect
she would have to look elsewhere to find truth.”––OF, darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the
page 2. mark and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down
in the dark and wicked world below. It was just as
Rutherford’s remarks in Reconciliation were based on a impossible for them to get on the path again and go to
suggestion based on Job 38:31 that he accepted as likely the city, as all the wicked world which God had
true. He writes: rejected.”––As printed in The Day Star, January 24,
“The constellation of the seven stars forming the 1846 and A Word to the Little Flock, by James White,
Pleiades appears to be the crowning centre around May 30, 1847.
which the known systems of the planets revolve even The White Estate today makes a case that there was more
as our sun’s planets obey the sun and travel in their than one shut-door theory in the middle 1840’s and early
respective orbits. It has been suggested, and with 1850’s and that Ellen G. White considered the door to be
much weight, that one of the stars of that group is the shut only to Adventists who rejected the ‘Midnight Cry’
dwelling-place of Jehovah and the place of the highest message, leaving the door open to potential worldly
heavens; that it is the place to which the inspired writer converts. But the last sentence in the quotation above
referred when he said: ‘Hear thou from thy shows that the door to salvation was considered shut both
dwellingplace, even from heaven.’ (2 Chron. 6:21); to the ‘Midnight Cry’ rejectors and to the world.
and that it is the place to which Job referred when
under inspiration he wrote: ‘Canst thou bind the sweet She claimed to have had another vision about the door of
influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?’ salvation being shut in February 1845. Note how she
––Job 38:31.”––Reconciliation, 1928, page 14. repeatedly uses the word “vision” in her description.
(Emphasis ours.) “At the time I had the vision of the midnight cry I had
Note the italicized words, “appears to be” and “it has given it up in the past and thought it future, as also
been suggested ... that.” It was only a suggestion, but most of the band had. ... After I had the vision and God
Rutherford certainly accepted it as most likely true, gave me light, he bade me deliver it to the band, but I
saying: “the Pleiades is the place of the eternal throne of shrank from it. I was young, and I thought they would
God.” (Ibid.) Some years later the Watchtower corrected not receive it from me. ... The view about the
the error. Bridegroom’s coming I had about the middle of
February, 1845, while in Exeter, Maine, in meeting
“Pleiades can no longer be considered the center of the with Israel Dammon, James, and many others. Many
universe and it would be unwise for us to try to fix of them did not believe in a shut door. I suffered much
God’s throne as being at a particular spot in the at the commencement of the meeting. Unbelief
universe. Were we to think of the Pleiades as his seemed to be on every hand. ... The Lord worked in
throne we might improperly view with special mighty power, setting the truth home to their hearts. ...
veneration that cluster of stars.”––Watchtower, Most of them received the vision, and were settled
November 15, 1953, page 703. upon the shut door.”––Letter B-3, 1847: Letter to
Yes, Joseph Rutherford interpreted Job 38:31 incorrectly, Joseph Bates, July 13, 1847, White Estate. (Emphasis
but at least he never claimed inspiration for it. No ‘the- ours.)
Lord-has-given-me-a-view.’ No ‘I-was-shown.’ No ‘I- Yes, Ellen G. White was still teaching the shut door in
was-taken.’ His was the language of interpretation based 1845. But was this only a shut door to apostate
on study. It was not the language of inspiration. Adventists?


She confirmed the vision on March 24, 1849, stating that ––Selected Messages, Volume 1, page 74. (Emphasis
it taught her that the door of salvation was shut and ours.)
warning the faithful not to allow their faith in the shut
At first she says she had such a vision and later she denies
door to be shaken by the apparent conversion of sinners
it. In the 1840’s and 1850’s she had not carefully
since 1844.
restricted her shut-door comments to apostate Adventists
Speaking of the events on March 24, 1849, she uses her as the White Estate contends. And even if she had meant
usual words for visions, like “I was shown.” this, on what authority could she say that these rejectors
could never repent and find the door open? Bob would
“I was shown that the commandments of God and the
never allow such equivocation in Jehovah’s Witnesses.
testimony of Jesus Christ, relating to the shut door,
could not be separated. ... I saw that the mysterious 1.5.17 Changes in Adventism––E.G. White
signs and wonders and false reformations would
increase and spread. The reformations that were Price’s comment that “Watchtower publications ... had
shown me were not reformations from error to truth, been changed radically” is breathtaking in the face of the
but from bad to worse, for those who professed a changes in Adventist doctrine outlined above.
change of heart had only wrapped about them a Even White’s own writings were subject to alteration and
religious garb, which covered up the iniquity of a rewriting, hardly a ringing endorsement of the “spirit of
wicked heart. Some appeared to have been really prophecy.” Speaking of herself, she stated in 1905:
converted, so as to deceive God’s people, but if their
hearts could be seen they would appear as black as “If any of the citizens of Battle Creek wish to know
ever. My accompanying angel bade me look for the what Mrs. White believes and teaches, let them read
travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but her published books. My labors would be naught
could not see it, for the time for their salvation is should I preach another gospel. That which I have
past.”––Present Truth, pages 21, 22, August, 1849. written is what the Lord has bidden me to write. I have
(Emphasis ours.) not been instructed to change that which I have sent
out.”––Review and Herald, January 26. (Emphasis
Note her usual language of inspiration and visions: “I was ours.)
shown,” “I saw.” In this vision she was teaching the shut
door, not only for those who were previously Adventists, Yet later, changes were made to her writings. Adventist
but for the unsaved who only seemed to be “converted.” scholar Samuele Bacchiocchi points out several of them.
Afterward, she claimed that she only believed in the “shut (“A Reply to Criticism: Part I, The Use of E. G. White’s
door” before her First Vision of December 1844. Writings in Interpreting Scripture,” in Endtime Issues,
Number 87, 1 August, 2002) For example, in 1911 the
“For a time after the disappointment in 1844, I did Church revised Ellen G. White’s The Great Controversy.
hold, in common with the advent body, that the door She had originally written:
of mercy was then forever closed to the world. This
position was taken before my first vision was given me. “This period [1,260 days] , as stated in the preceding
It was the light given me of God that corrected our chapters, began with the establishment of the papacy,
error, and enabled us to see the true position.”–– A. D. 538, and terminated in 1798. At that time, when
Selected Messages, Volume 1, page 63. (Emphasis the papacy was abolished and the pope was made
ours.) captive by the French army, the papal power received
its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled, ‘He
She claims her shut-door position was her position only that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity.’”––
before her First Vision. However, we have seen that in The Great Controversy, 1888 edition, page 439.
that first vision, in February 1845 and as late as 1849 she (Emphasis ours.)
maintained that teaching. Then she changed her mind,
denying that she ever had a shut-door vision. In a letter So originally White had said that the papacy was
dated August 24, 1874, she says: established in 538 and abolished in 1798. It was a
mistake, so the 1911 edition had to change it to the
“With my brethren and sisters, after the time passed in following.
forty-four I did believe no more sinners would be
converted. But I never had a vision that no more “This period, as stated in preceding chapters, began
sinners would be converted. And am clear and free to with the supremacy of the papacy, A. D. 538, and
state no one has ever heard me say or has read from terminated in 1798. At that time, the pope was made
my pen statements which will justify them in the captive by the French army, the papal power received
charges they have made against me upon this point.” its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled, ‘He


that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity.’”–– will be to retain faith on those things that I cannot deal
The Great Controversy, page 439. (Emphasis ours.) with on that basis. … If we correct it here and correct
it there, how are we going to stand with it in the other
By alteration and deletion Ellen G. White’s statements
places?”––Transcript of the 1919 Conference on the
were changed because the papacy was neither established
Spirit of Prophecy.
in 538 nor abolished in 1798. She was still alive and
agreed to the changes, but why were they necessary if she Having corrected her errors, Prescott’s faith in the rest of
had written ‘what the Lord had bidden her to write’? White’s writings was challenged. One justification for
making changes is that words, phrases, sentences and
However, at this point we are not really even questioning
even paragraphs can be changed because the Church
her qualifications as a prophet. We are simply pointing
does not believe in verbal inspiration––that as long as the
out that when Bob criticizes changes in the writings and
meaning is unchanged, the wording can be changed.
teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses he should also have
been open about the failings of his own prophet. However, when the wording was changed, often the
meaning was changed with it. For example, in Spiritual
Another inaccuracy pointed out by Bacchiocchi relates to
Gifts, Volume 3, page 301, 1864 edition, White writes:
Ellen G. White’s description of how Sunday replaced the
Sabbath in a series of church councils. She says: “The Lord first established the system of sacrificial
offerings with Adam after his fall, which he taught to
“Vast councils were held from time to time, in which
his descendants. This system was corrupted before the
the dignitaries of the church were convened from all
flood by those who separated themselves from the
the world. In nearly every council the Sabbath which
faithful followers of God, and engaged in the building
God had instituted was pressed down a little lower,
of the tower of Babel.”
while the Sunday was correspondingly exalted.”––The
Great Controversy, page 53. (Emphasis ours.) This has the building of the tower of Babel “before the
flood.” Yet Genesis chapters 6 to 11 places it after the
However, Adventist scholar Bacchiocchi says that this is
Flood. Correcting the error, the 1870 edition of Spirit of
not quite true. There were 7 church councils held between
Prophecy, Volume 1, page 266 changes the wording to:
352 CE and 787 CE and he checked every one.8 He says:
“This system was corrupted before the flood, and by
“The problem is with the second part of the statement
those who … engaged in the building of the tower of
which speaks of the Sabbath as being ‘pressed down a
Babel.” (Emphasis ours.)
little lower’ in almost every general council. I have not
found a reference to the Sabbath/Sunday question By adding a comma and an “and” that most readers
being debated in such councils. Presumably the reason would not even notice, the building of the tower is put
is that Sunday observance was no longer a debated into its proper chronological place, after the Flood. Ellen
question––it had become widely accepted by G. White’s work needed to be corrected.
Christians.”––“A Reply to Criticism: Part I, The Use
Whether these changes to White’s writings were justified
of E. G. White’s Writings in Interpreting Scripture,”
is not the point. Some things had to be changed; they
in Endtime Issues, Number 87, 1 August, 2002.
were just wrong. Some changes were even made after her
(Emphasis ours.)
death. Yes, while Bob and others criticize Jehovah’s
There was no discussion of the Sabbath or Sunday in Witnesses over changes, their own Church has a history
those councils as White claims. She was mistaken. of change, even to the ‘Spirit of prophecy.’
Again, the point is that Bob completely ignores mistakes
made by White while highlighting those of Jehovah’s 1.5.18 Changes in Adventism––Abortion
Witnesses. Unbelievably, the Adventist tolerance for change has
After her death in 1915 more changes were made. At a even reached the point where thousands of abortions have
1919 conference, W.W. Prescott said: been performed in Adventist hospitals. The Seventh-day
Adventist Church opposed the practice in the early days,
“Here’s my difficulty. I have gone over this [The calling it “a great sin,” “shocking” and “murder.”9
Great Controversy] and suggested changes that ought
to be made in order to correct statements. These In 1970 the Adventist Castle Memorial Hospital in
changes have been accepted. My personal difficulty Hawaii sought guidance from the Church when some

8 Nicea I 325 CE, Constantinople I 381, Ephesus 431, Chalcedon 451, Constantinople II 553, Constantinople III 680 and Nicea II
9 Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, November 30, 1869; See also A Solemn Appeal, 1870.


doctors at the hospital wanted to provide abortions. The “Does Jehovah view matters any differently if the
Church took no firm stand, so one after the other baby was the product of rape or incestuous relations?
Adventist hospitals began aborting children. Adventist Though the act against the mother was criminal, the
historian George Gainer gives statistics for the baby is not to blame. Terminating its life would only
Washington Adventist Hospital in Maryland, USA, as counter one act of violence with another.”––Awake!,
published in the Washington Post. May 22, 1993, page 11.
“As to numbers, participants in the ‘Pastors’ Protest The relevant Bible principle says:
Against Abortion’ supplied the figure of 1,494
“The one who sins is the one who will die. The child
abortions performed at Washington Adventist
will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the
Hospital from 1975 through July 1982. They said that
parent share the guilt of the child.”––Eze 18:20, New
the medical records office of the hospital supplied
International Version.
these statistics.”––Cp. Ministry, August, 1991.
Did the child sin? No. Then the child should not die. On
The hospital was averaging 213 abortions per year. A
this principle, abortion is never justified in cases of rape.
decade later, investigator Patrick Murebil found the same
It punishes the innocent with death. How fair is that?
hospital reporting at the rate of 547 abortions per year.
This was only one Adventist hospital and there are over Jehovah’s Witnesses clearly have the stronger position
50 in the USA and more than 100 others around the on abortion. Only if an unavoidable choice had to be
world, so abortions in Church hospitals must number into made between the life of the mother and child at the
the thousands. moment of birth might an individual Witnesses make that
choice. The softening of Adventist attitudes to abortion
In its “guidelines on abortion” that are still current, the
has resulted in thousands of deaths in their own hospitals.
Church could not state a clear position. Because the
denomination is divided, the Church concedes that 1.5.19 Questions on Doctrine and Change
“honest differences on the question of abortion exist
among Seventh-day Adventists.”10––Official Statements: It is absolutely clear, then, that the Seventh-day Adventist
Guidelines: Abortion, October 12, 1992. Church has an almost unbroken history of change. Back
in 1957, when the Church was under investigation by
Guideline 4 allows that “significant threats to the Walter Martin and other Evangelicals, the Adventist
pregnant woman’s life, serious jeopardy to her health, book Questions on Doctrine attempted to deal with
severe congenital defects carefully diagnosed in the fetus, accusations of change that are very similar to those
and pregnancy resulting from rape or incest” might be levelled at Jehovah’s Witnesses by Price. It asked:
reasons for abortion. (Emphasis ours.)
“Have Seventh-day Adventists changed from some
Based on this, doctors in Adventist hospitals and clinics of the positions advocated by certain adherents of
have performed many thousands of abortions, even for earlier years, from whom citations are still currently
non-therapeutic reasons––for non-medical, non-physical circulated? Do such citations misrepresent the
indications. Compare this with Jehovah’s Witnesses. present teachings of Adventist leadership?” ––Page
“If at the time of childbirth a choice must be made 29.
between the life of the mother and that of the child, it Given that Questions on Doctrine was in print at the
is up to the individuals concerned to make that very time that Price was making great play with the
choice.”––Reasoning from the Scriptures, page 26. Witnesses’ doctrinal changes, it will be instructive to
(Emphasis in the original article.) read how Adventists explain their own changes.
“What if the developing fetus seems to be abnormal
…? Deliberately terminating a pregnancy would be an “Seventh-day Adventists believe that the unfolding
abortion … That would be deliberate abortion, which light of Bible truth is progressive, and is to shine
is tantamount to murder.”––Watchtower, December ‘more and more unto the perfect day.’ (Prov. 4:18).
15, 2012, page 15. And we have sought to walk in the advancing light of

10One reason the Adventist Church tolerates abortion may have to do with its beliefs about when the human soul begins to exist.
A standard Adventist textbook says: “As we have already mentioned, in the Old Testament ‘soul’ is a translation of the Hebrew
nephesh. In Genesis 2:7 it denotes man as a living being after the breath of life entered into a physical body formed from the earth.
‘Similarly, a new soul comes into existence whenever a child is born, each “soul” being a new unit of life uniquely different and
separate from other similar units.’” (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, 2005, pages 94, 95; emphasis ours.) Adventists might not
consider abortion as serious as murder because the unborn are not souls. We offer this as a possibility only.


truth. We have never driven in formal creedal stakes, All this has made it desirable and necessary for us to
and said, ‘This is the truth; thus far, and no farther.’ declare our position anew upon the great fundamental
Ellen G. White, one of our leading writers, wrote in teachings of the Christian faith, and to deny every
1892: statement or implication that Christ, the second
person of the Godhead, was not one with the Father
New light will ever be revealed on the word of
from all eternity, and that His death on the cross was
God to him who is in living connection with the
not a full and complete sacrificial atonement. The
Sun of Righteousness. Let no one come to the
belief of Seventh-day Adventists on these great truths
conclusion that there is no more truth to be
is clear and emphatic. And we feel that we should not
revealed. The diligent, prayerful seeker for truth
be identified with, or stigmatized for, certain limited
will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth
and faulty concepts held by some, particularly in our
from the word of God.—Counsels on Sabbath
formative years.
School Work, p. 34.
This statement should therefore nullify the stock
The founding fathers of the Seventh-day Adventist
‘quotations’ that have been circulated against us.”
Church over a century ago came out of various
––Ibid., pages 29-32. (Emphasis ours.)
denominational backgrounds. While all were
premillennialists, some were Trinitarian; others were This statement seriously undercuts Bob’s accusations
Arian. The majority were Arminians; a few were against Jehovah’s Witnesses. Look again at the words
Calvinists. Some insisted on immersion; a few were we have italicized. The early Adventists held ‘diverse’
content with sprinkling. There was diversity on these beliefs. “Transition and adjustment” was not merely an
points. And as with various other religious groups, exceptional feature. It was “characteristic.” Error went
our early days were characterized by transition and “into print.”
adjustment …
Questions on Doctrine complains about critics
But with the passage of years the earlier diversity of ‘gathering up of quotations from some Adventist
view on certain doctrines gradually gave way to unity literature long since out of date.’ It says that the Church
of view. Clear and sound positions were then taken should not be “stigmatized for … certain limited and
by the great majority on such doctrines as the faulty concepts held by some, particularly in [the
Godhead, the deity and eternal pre-existence of Adventist Church’s] formative years.” More than that, it
Christ, and the personality of the Holy Spirit. Clear- states that lists of such faulty quotations from the past
cut views were established on righteousness by faith, should now be ‘nullified.’
the true relationship of law and grace, and on the
What a pity that Price is not as generous to Jehovah’s
death of Christ as the complete sacrificial atonement
Witnesses as Questions on Doctrine wanted Walter
for sin.
Martin to be to Adventists! He allows his own Church’s
A few, however, held to some of their former views, errors to pass unmentioned but highlights every out-of-
and at times these ideas got into print. However, for date error in the Witnesses’ literature. He nullifies
decades now the church has been practically at one nothing. Such fierce criticism reeks of double standards.
on the basic truths of the Christian faith.
1.6 Changes? Be Fair
The very fact that our positions were now clarified
seemed to us to be sufficient. Our teachings, we felt, In view of all the Adventist changes, it is not necessary
were clear. And no particular statement of change to go into detail regarding other changes that Bob raises
from those earlier ideas appeared necessary. Today because they are well known to the Witnesses.
the primary emphasis of all our leading While, on the one hand, Questions on Doctrine says that
denominational literature, as well as the continuous “no particular statement of change from those earlier
presentation over radio and television, emphasizes ideas appeared necessary,” Jehovah’s Witnesses list their
the historic fundamentals of the Christian faith. changes openly. Every year the Watch Tower Publication
But the charges and attacks have persisted. Some Index lists “Beliefs Clarified” since 1870 and directs the
continue to gather up quotations from some of our reader to relevant publications. At present it lists more
earlier literature long since out of date, and print. than 180 such changes. This list is freely available on the
Certain statements are cited, often wrested out of Internet. Price’s ‘gotcha’ list of ‘Watchtower changes’
context, which give a totally distorted picture of the may have shock value for his intended audience, but it is
beliefs and teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist no news to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Church of today …


Bob says: “I’d want to be in an organization that has a gradually and progressively. (1Co 13:12) In “the perfect
solid foundation of truth. From its organization the day” the light of truth will be perfectly bright. (Pr 4:18)
Watchtower has claimed to be God’s channel of truth. It is true that “God never changes.” (Mal 3:6) However,
But the recurring problem to me is that if what the as the examples of Nathan and Jesus’ early disciples
Watchtower once taught was truth, then it teaches error show, God’s servants do make mistakes and need to
today. On the other hand, if it teaches truth today, then it change to adjust to progressively revealed truth.
has taught many errors during the major part of its
God did not reject them but they needed to accept the
history. That’s not God’s way of doing things.”––GCT,
light he gave them. Price’s booklet implies that God’s
page 24.
channel of truth should always have taught Bible truth––
Well, let us review the Adventist Church by that that it should never have taught error––but this was not
standard. At one time combatant duties were wrong. true of the earliest Christians. (GCT, page 26) It has not
Today they are not necessarily wrong. The Church was been true of Jehovah’s Witnesses and it has not been true
originally against homosexuality but today it is often of Seventh-day Adventists either.
tolerated. The Church was non-Trinitarian but today it is
Today Adventist scholars speak of the ‘dynamic, fluid or
Trinitarian. It once allowed pork but now recommends
progressive’ nature of Adventist theology. It is changing
against it.
in a way that Bob does not concede––in a way that he
The Church taught that Christ had a sin nature but later does not hesitate to criticize in Jehovah’s Witnesses.––A
changed this teaching. It once forbade printing religious Search for Identity: The Development of Seventh-day
error but did that very thing by printing the Emergency Adventist Beliefs, G.R. Knight, pages 17-28.
Ministry document in 2003. It originally taught that
Today there are “liberal” and “progressive” Seventh-day
adultery was the only ground for divorce but now teaches
Adventists––even “‘liberal churches,’ ‘liberal colleges
that abandonment can be enough. It taught that polygamy
and universities,’ and even ‘liberal conferences.’”––
made a person ineligible for baptism, but now certain
“Progressive Adventism,” in Adventist Today, M. Jones-
polygamous people can be baptized.
Haldeman, September 2001.
The Church once taught that alcoholic drinks were
The Adventist Church was in the midst of great change
forbidden. Today they are permitted, not endorsed. The
throughout the whole period that Price was launching his
Church has abandoned certain prophecies of Ellen G.
offensive against Jehovah’s Witnesses, and still is. He
White that it once held were true. Some of her writings
knew it at least by the time he launched his 2005 attack
were changed over time. The Church once unequivocally
on Jehovah’s Witnesses. All of these Adventist changes
opposed abortion. Today it equivocates and thousands of
and the fact that he was aware of them blunt his attack on
unborn children have died in its hospitals as a result.
Jehovah’s Witnesses and call into question his fairness.
The latest festering sore is the ordination of women. The
2015 General Conference Session has not settled this
question. Women in China and elsewhere are ordained as
ministers but women in other lands are denied ordination.
God’s people of Bible times were led gradually to replace
With justification we could return Bob’s accusation. ‘If error with truth. Sometimes they even reverted into error
what the Adventists once taught was truth, they teach for a time. The Protestant reformers continued to teach
error today. On the other hand, if they teach truth today, error while emerging slowly from their Roman Catholic
then they have taught many errors during the major part past. Jehovah’s Witnesses commenced a study of the
of their history.’ Bob’s criticism fails the test of fairness. Scriptures in the 1870’s in an effort to rediscover Bible
That Price continued his attack on Jehovah’s Witnesses truth. Whatever truth they learn, there are still other
for over 50 years knowing full well these facts smacks of things that need correction, so changes are made from
hypocrisy. It was hasty to imply by criticizing the errors time to time. But the Witnesses never claim the “spirit of
of others that his own religion had no error. prophecy.” Seventh-day Adventists, on the other hand,
do claim it. Yet their errors and the changes their church
Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to “we see through a glass, has made are documented. The Adventist Church is in no
darkly” to a degree, although truth has been clarified position to criticize Jehovah’s Witnesses over changes.



l9l4 and Here or Near?
Chapters 3 and 4 of Channel consider the return of Christ. an invisible spirit person, and second, because of the
Has Christ already returned? If not, when will he come? difference between the words parousia and erkhomenon
If so, why is he unseen? Clarice––a virtual Adventist at that appear in texts relating to Christ’s return.
this point ––notes a reference to 588 BC in the margin
Adventists believe that Christ will return in his original
next to 2 Kings 25:1 in the King James Version published
body of flesh and that the parousia and erkhomenon
by the Watchtower Society, a date that she believes
mentioned in Matthew chapter 24 are a single event
confirms 586 BC as the date of Jerusalem’s fall. (GCT,
during which Christ will be visible to the world on literal
pages 29, 30) We will discuss dates in detail later.
clouds and take the remnant Church to heaven.
First, though, note that Lorna buys into Clarice’s fallacy
Jehovah’s Witnesses, on the other hand, understand the
when she exclaims: “Fancy two Watchtower publications
parousia to be an extended period already underway that
[From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained and the
will shortly culminate in the erkhomenon. They take
Watchtower reprint of the King James Version]
references to seeing Christ coming on the clouds as
contradicting each other like this!”––GCT, page 30.
symbolic of a future realization that he is invisibly here.
When the Watchtower Society published the King James We will discuss the meaning of the Greek terms shortly.
Version in 1942, it was the version that the Society had
the legal rights to publish, the one with marginal 2.2 Why Christ’s Return Must Be Invisible
references purchased from the A.J. Holman Company of First, there are many reasons for believing that Christ
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. There were many must return invisibly. They include the facts that Christ
errors in the main text of the King James Version as all sacrificed his right to human life in paying the ransom
scholars are aware, Adventist scholars included, and also price, that the types of the Law of Moses required the
errors in its marginal references. total destruction of the sin offering, and that direct and
However, Lorna’s conclusion about contradiction is not indirect statements of Scripture support this conclusion.
fair, because even now––more than 50 years later–– 2.2.1 To Pay the Ransom Price
Adventist Book Centres sell copies of the King James
Version complete with errors. For example, they include The first of these is the ransom price. According to
the spurious additions at Mark 16:9-20 and 1 John 5:7, 8. Matthew 20:28 Jesus gave “his life [Greek, psykhen,
We might as well say: ‘Fancy the Adventist Church soul]” as a ransom. Adventists are aware that the soul is
selling a Bible with well-known errors like this!’ the whole person rather than some spiritual part of it. So
when Jesus died, he “sacrificed” that soul––his whole
If Jehovah’s Witnesses are to be accused of self, including his perfect human body––as a ransom for
contradiction, the Adventist Church can be accused of the the world. (1Co 5:7) Something ‘sacrificed’ is given up,
same thing. They also sell the Clear Word paraphrase surrendered. It is not given away and then taken back.
which contains many errors––far more than they accuse
the New World Translation of containing.11 Christ died to counter the sin of Adam. As “the last
Adam,” his role was to undo the effects of Adam’s sin.
2.1 The Return of Christ Romans 5:14 describes an important likeness between
Seventh-day Adventists understand Christ’s return to be Adam and Christ. “Death reigned from Adam to Moses,
a visible, momentary, future event. Jehovah’s Witnesses even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of
believe this to be incorrect for two main reasons. First, Adam’s transgression, who is the figure [Greek, typos,
because there is compelling evidence that Christ is now type] of him that was to come.”

11 The Clear Word omits and adds words and expressions to conform with Adventist doctrine. For example, it completely omits
the words that appear at Mark 7:19 in the oldest manuscripts: “thus he declared all foods clean.” The omission makes it easier for
Adventists to sustain vegetarianism, but it is not faithful to the Bible text. At Colossians 2:16, 17 the Clear Word gives an aggressive
Adventist twist: “Don’t let anyone control your life by giving you a set of ceremonial rules about what to eat, what to drink and
which monthly festivals or special Sabbaths to keep. All these rules about ceremonial days were given as a shadow of the reality
to come and that reality is Jesus.” The words we have italicized are words that bear no resemblance to anything in the Greek text.


Originally, Adam and Jesus were both perfect humans. Just as the fleshly bodies of the sacrifices were totally
Once Adam sinned, he was under the penalty of eternal destroyed outside the camp, Jesus’ fleshly body was
death. It was never explained to Adam in Eden that his totally destroyed as if by fire. Christians now approach
death was temporary, that he stood the chance of a Jesus “outside the camp,” in the state or condition where
resurrection. his fleshly body has been destroyed. To teach that Jesus
later took back that original fleshly body would be
In fact, as a murderer of the entire human race and in
contrary to the Mosaic Law types, violate the approach
harmony with a principle incorporated into the Law
outside the figurative camp and negate the ransom.
covenant, no ransom could ever be applied for Adam.
(Nu 35:31) So his death was eternal. This was the Another type adds to the evidence. Hebrews 10:19, 20
heritage that Adam gave his offspring. As a result, all says Jesus passed “through the curtain, that is, his flesh”
humans are born as children of God’s wrath subject to the in going to heaven. The Israelite high priest did not take
penalty of eternal death.––Joh 3:36; Ro 9:22; Eph 2:3. the curtain with him when entered the Most Holy
compartment of the tabernacle but passed through it,
However, Paul calls Christ “the last Adam.” (1Co 15:45)
leaving it behind. Corresponding to the type, the
By giving his life, Jesus paid the price that satisfied that
antitypical High Priest Jesus left his body of flesh behind
penalty of everlasting death for the world. He stated:
when he went to heaven.
“The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give
for the life of the world.” (Joh 6:51) What Jesus gave for 2.2.3 To Agree with Clear Bible Statements
the world was his perfect fleshly life, totally and
permanently, forever. To take back that fleshly life would Apart from the types, there are the direct statements of
have been to take back the ransom price. At best, Jesus Scripture that Christ was raised a spirit.
would have paid three-days’ worth of the price required. “It is sown a natural [literally, ‘soulical’] body; it is
The human body of Christ had been prepared by God to raised a spiritual body. There is a natural [‘soulical’]
be given as an offering for sin. “Wherefore when he body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written,
cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last
thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: ... Adam was made a quickening spirit.”––1Co 15:44,
we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus 45.
Christ once for all.” (He 10:5, 10) Therefore, God’s Note the two types of bodies, the natural and the spiritual.
intended purpose was for Christ to surrender that fleshly In case anyone should misunderstand “spiritual body” to
body in sacrifice. For this reason, when describing the mean the fleshly body spiritualized, Paul clearly says that
ransom, Paul says: “the man [the human] Christ Jesus ... Christ––the last Adam––was “made” a spirit. Adventists
gave himself a ransom for all.”––1Ti 2:5, 6. have no difficulty understanding this. It means that he
“became a living soul.” (Ge 2:7) After his creation, he
2.2.2 To Fulfil the Types
was a soul.
The total and permanent destruction of Jesus’ fleshly
In the same way, for Christ to be “made” a spirit must
body was prefigured in the types of the Mosaic Law. The
mean that he became a quickening or life-giving spirit.
Atonement Day instructions were clear that every part of
After that, he was a spirit. Is this a correct conclusion?
the bodies of sacrificial animals had to be destroyed,
Yes. 1 Peter 3:18 supports it.
including the flesh.
“He being put to death in the flesh, but being made
“And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for
alive in the spirit.”––Revised Standard, New English,
the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to the
Douay, Jerusalem Bible.
holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and
they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, Here in the Greek “flesh” and “spirit” are contrasted, and
and their dung.”––Le 16:27. both are in the dative case. So a translator translating “in
the flesh” should consistently translate “in the spirit.” In
Hebrews 13:11-13 confirms that sacrificial animals were
fact, to agree with 1 Corinthians 15:45 “in the spirit” is
totally destroyed, fleshly bodies and all, and that they
the better reading. If the body in which Christ died was
pictured Jesus’ body given in our behalf.
“flesh,” the body in which he was raised was “spirit.”
“For the bodies of those animals whose blood is taken
We also know that Jesus could not have been raised in
into the holy place by the high priest for sin are burned
the flesh because, even at the end of the first Christian
up outside the camp. Hence Jesus also, that he might
century, the apostle John still did not know what the
sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered
heavenly resurrection body would look like. He writes:
outside the gate. Let us, then, go forth to him outside
the camp.”


“Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet wicked spirits. Clearly, the reference is simply to
appear [from ephanerothe, meaning ‘manifest’] what humanity, not wickedness.
we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear,
Similarly, at 1 Corinthians 15:50 “flesh and blood” is part
we shall be like him [God]; for we shall see him as he
of a contrast between two kinds of bodies, one “from the
is.”––1Jo 3:2.
earth” and the other “out of heaven;” one “natural [Greek,
Why “doth [it] not yet appear”? John had seen the ‘soulical’]” and the other “spiritual.” (1Co 15:44, 45) Not
resurrected Jesus. Peter says so. until the second half of verse 50 is sin––“corruption”––
mentioned as a factor in addition to the comment about
“Him [Jesus] God raised up the third day, and shewed
“flesh and blood” rather than in explanation of it. This
him openly [from the verb emphanizo, the same basic
means that “flesh and blood” is simply a reference to the
verb, meaning ‘manifest’].”––Ac 10:40, 41.
fleshly human person. Paul’s point is that humans with
The disciples had clearly and openly seen Jesus’ earthly, ‘soulical’ bodies cannot inherit the heavenly
‘manifested’ body of flesh. But was that body Jesus’ realm of God’s kingdom. This is stated as a general
resurrection body? If it were, the apostle John could not principle. The same is true of Jesus.
say that “it doth not yet appear what we shall be.”
This explains why Jesus, shortly before leaving the earth,
The resurrection bodies of Christians like John are to be said that the world would soon be unable to see him
the same as Christ’s resurrection body. (Ro 6:5) In that again. His disciples would see him because of their
case––if John had seen Jesus ‘as he is’––it should have resurrection to heaven.
been perfectly clear to John “what we shall be.” But John
“Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more;
did not know what his future body would be like. He
but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.”––Joh
would have to wait until his resurrection to find out what
that body would be like. It would be like God’s body and
like the body of Jesus, the image of God.––He 1:3. Note that Jesus did not say that the world would be able
to see him again at his return. Instead, they would see him
There is really only one harmonious explanation for the
“no more,” “no longer.” (Vine’s Complete Expository
uses of emphanizo in Acts 10:40, 41 and 1 John 3:2.
Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words) Note, too,
When Acts 10:40 says that Jesus was manifested it refers
the difference between the world and Jesus’ disciples.
to a body of flesh materialized for the purpose of
While the world would see him “no more,” his disciples
appearing to his disciples, similar to the materializations
would see him in the future, when “ye shall live,” at their
in pre-Christian times of angels when they appeared. (Ge
resurrection. There is simply no provision in this text for
18:2; 19:1) 1 John 3:2 therefore means that Jesus’ real
the world ever to see him again.
resurrection body, and the nature of the resurrection
bodies of John and other sons of God, was not manifested Also showing that Jesus Christ was not a man after his
in the first century because Jesus’ resurrection body was resurrection, Paul says:
not fleshly.
“Paul, an apostle, neither from men nor through a
The fact that Jesus does not now possess a body of flesh man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who
also harmonizes with Hebrews 5:7: “In the days of his raised him up from the dead.”––Ga 1:1.
flesh [Christ] offered up supplications and also petitions.”
He is no longer a man according to this statement.
This implies that at the time of writing Jesus was not “in
the days of his flesh.”––Cp. Mt 2:1; 23:30; Lu 3:2. Those who believe Jesus was raised in his original body
of flesh usually cite Luke 24:39, which says:
Paul confirms this conclusion at 1 Corinthians 15:50
when he says: “flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch
kingdom.” This means that humans with bodies of flesh me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones
cannot go to heaven. The expression “flesh and blood” just as you see that I have.”
does not mean sinfulness. It always refers simply to
humans as humans. What the disciples saw and felt on that occasion was
obviously not a spirit body but a body of flesh and bones.
For example, at Matthew 16:17 “flesh and blood” is Peter called it a ‘manifestation.’ (Ac 10:40) In past times
contrasted with God in heaven; no mention of sin or when angels materialized they were called “men.” (Ge
sinfulness in the context. At Galatians 1:16 there is again 18:2; 19:1) When the apostles saw Jesus they saw a man.
no indication that “flesh and blood” refers to anything but They did not see a spirit because flesh and bones are the
humanity and, again, no mention of sinfulness. At characteristics of a man, not a spirit. So Jesus correctly
Ephesians 6:12 “blood and flesh” is contrasted with says “a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me


have.” What they saw was a “man” in the same sense that How was parousia understood in the first century?
the angels were men. Consider some examples. The Jewish historian Flavius
Josephus used it to describe God’s invisible presence. He
However, heavenly angels, righteous or wicked, were
says that at Mount Sinai lightning and thunder “declared
really spirits manifested as men. (Ps 18:10; 104:4; Zec
God to be there present [from parousia].” (Antiquities of
6:5; Mr 1:23; Lu 4:33; 1Pe 3:19; cp. 2Pe 2:4) The same
the Jews, Book 3, chapter 5, paragraph 2) But God was
was true of Jesus. Luke 24:39 does not and cannot negate
not visible there.
the other texts presented above proving that Jesus was
raised a spirit. Josephus also says the manifestation in the Most Holy
compartment of the tabernacle “showed the presence
For all these reasons, and particularly because the ransom
[parousia] of God.” (Antiquities, Book 3, chapter 8,
could not truly have been paid if Christ’s body were taken
paragraph 5) God was not visible there either. When God
back, he can no longer be a human. Only the permanent
showed Elisha’s servant some heavenly chariots,
surrender of his perfect human life satisfied the prophetic
Josephus says he made “manifest to his servant his power
types of the Israelite sacrifices, providing a legal basis for
and presence [parousia].” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book
the transfer of his life-rights to faithful men.
9, chapter 4, paragraph 3) God was not visible then
2.3 Presence either.
Recall that the second difference between Seventh-day When the Roman Petronius tried to appease the Jews,
Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses has to do with the Josephus says that ‘God did show his presence [parousia]
that way Greek words are translated “coming” in the to Petronius’ by sending rain. (Antiquities of the Jews,
King James Version. Parousia is one of those words. Book 18, chapter 8, paragraph 6) It is clear that to
Josephus a parousia was not a momentary coming. It was
2.3.1 What Parousia Means a presence over a period of time, even an invisible one.
For help in understanding the meaning of parousia, Bob More importantly, the meaning of parousia can be
is happy with neighbour Tony’s informal example of the established 2 Corinthians 10:10, 11 and Philippians 2:12,
visit of Queen Elizabeth to Australia. (GCT, page 39) where it is contrasted with “absence.”
Even if we take that example, the Queens’s parousia
involved a period of presence for several days. It was not “His bodily presence [parousia] is weak ... such as we
a momentary coming. are in word by letters when we are absent [apontes],
such will we be also in deed when we are present
Without intending any disrespect to Tony, we are safer [parontes, related to parousia].”
with dictionary definitions and real examples of the use
of parousia in the Scriptures. The word comes from the “Ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence
prefix para (“with”) and ousia (“being”) and so it [parousia] only, but now much more in my absence
literally means ‘a being with,’ not a coming. It appears [apousia].”
24 times in the Bible, beginning at Matthew 24:3, and is The proper contrast with an “absence” is obviously a
often but not always used in connection with Christ’s “presence,” not a “coming,” and the King James Version
return. The dictionaries define the word as follows. acknowledges the correct translation by using “present”
“PAROUSIA ... Denotes both an arrival and a and “presence” in these texts.
consequent presence with. ... When used of Christ, it Paul makes a similar contrast when he refers to himself
signifies, not merely his momentary coming for His as “absent in body, but present in spirit.” (1Co 5:3) From
saints, but his presence with them from that moment this it is evident, not only that a presence is the opposite
until His revelation and manifestation to the world.” to an absence, but that is possible to be present in spirit
––Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, when not personally present. So the Appendix of J.B.
W.E Vine, under “Coming.” Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible, under “Presence,” says:
A standard lexicon says the word is used in Greek “The sense of ‘presence’ is so plainly shown by the
literature of contrast with ‘absence’ (implied in 2 Co. x. 10, and
“the visit of a royal or official personage.”––A Greek- expressed in Ph. ii . 12) that the question naturally
English Lexicon, by Liddell and Scott, page 1343. arises,––Why not always so render it?”

So parousia does not mean merely a “momentary Going on to discuss what happens during the parousia
coming” or the ‘arrival’ of a visiting king but a longer and how long it might last, Rotherham adds:
period of time, the “visit” itself during which various “The parousia ... may, in fine, be both a period,––
activities take place. more or less extended, during which certain things


shall happen,––and an event, coming on and passing of the various features of the “sign” described in Matthew
away as one of a series of divine interpositions. Christ 24:3-29 take place.
is raised as a firstfruit––that is one event; He returns
The erkhomenon (erkhetai), on the other hand, occurs at
and vouchsafes his ‘presence,’ during which he raises
the time of the destruction of the worldly system and the
his own––that is another event, however large and
erkhomenon completes the parousia. (Mt 24:30-44)
prolonged; and finally comes another cluster of events
Therefore, the “coming” of Revelation 1:7 corresponds
constituting ‘the end.’ Hence, after all, ‘presence’ may
with Matthew 24:30 and refers to the time of the “great
be the most widely and permanently satisfying
tribulation.”––Mt 24:21; Re 7:14.
translation of the looked-for parousia of the Son of
Man.”––Ibid. We are today in the parousia period marked by wars,
famines, earthquakes and the worldwide preaching of
Note especially that, according to its scriptural
God’s Kingdom, but the “coming” of Christ is yet future.
descriptions, Christ’s parousia is (1) a presence over an
extended period of time, (2) during which certain The distinction between Christ’s “presence [parousia]”
important events take place, including the resurrection. It and his “coming [erkhomenon]” must be carefully
is not a coming. And if Paul could say that he was observed for any accurate understanding of Christ’s
“present in spirit” when he was invisible to the return. The King James Version has done a grave
Corinthians, it is certainly possible for Christ to be disservice in translating these very different Greek words
present though invisible. with the one English word, “coming.”
2.3.2 Parousia and the Days of Noah and Lot 2.5 Brightness or Manifestation
At Matthew 24:37-39 Christ’s parousia is likened to “the Next we come to the expression the “brightness
days of Noe” before the Flood when humans “were [epiphaneia] of [Christ’s] coming [parousia]” at 2
eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,” Thessalonians 2:8 in the King James Version. Bob
when people did not see any obvious proofs of impending believes that this proves that Christ’s coming will be
disaster. Those “days” evidently covered a period of visible. There are two points to consider when it comes
many years when the world paid no attention to Noah. to this verse.
They “knew not.”
First, this manifestation will be invisible. The word for
In Luke’s account, the phrase “the days of the Son of “brightness” is epiphaneia, some modern translations
man” substitutes for the word parousia. (Lu 17:26) The rendering it “manifestation” and “spendor.” (New
“days” are plural, not a single ‘day.’ As in the time of Revised Standard Version, New International Version)
Noah, and later also in Lot’s time, this longer period of At 2 Thessalonians 2:8 the foretold “brightness” or
“days” culminated in a short “day” of destruction. ((Mt “manifestation” is associated with an end, an annihilation
24:38, 39; Lu 17:27, 29, 30) To match the days of Noah “with the spirit of his [Jesus’] mouth,” which locates the
and Lot the parousia begins many “days” before the final time of the manifestation at Armageddon when Christ
destructive “day.” attacks the nations with “a sharp sword” extending “out
of his mouth.”––Re 19:15-21; cp. 16:14-16.
It is wrong, therefore, to think of the parousia in terms of
the sudden, visible return of Christ in the clouds. The Will this manifestation be literally visible or will it be a
parousia relates to a period during which most people manifestion made obvious by Christ’s destructive acts? 1
carry on life normally, unaware of any miraculous events. Timothy 6:14-16 assists us here, referring to “the
appearing [same word, epiphaneias] of our Lord Jesus
2.4 Coming Christ,” but then adding that is impossible to see him
On the other hand, the erkhomenon (“coming”) at literally.
Matthew 24:30, 43, 44 is fulfilled according to its context “Keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable,
after the sign described at Matthew 24:7-14. It does not until the appearing [“manifestation”] of our Lord
correspond with the parousia which is mistranslated Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is
“coming” in the King James Version at Matthew 24:3, the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and
37, 39. The verbal form of erkhomenon that appears at Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in
Revelation 1:7 is erkhetai. the light which no man can approach unto; whom no
The Bible is clear about the distinction between Christ’s man hath seen [in that glorious resurrected st ate], nor
parousia and his erkomenon. As mentioned, the context can see.”
of Matthew chapter 24 shows that the parousia “King of kings” and “Lord of lords” makes it clear that
designates a lengthy period during which the fulfilment this passage refers to Jesus Christ. (Re 17:14; 19:16) It is


logical that Jesus is the Potentate here because Paul in refer to something other than their being made visible to
context is comparing Jesus with human kings. Jesus is the world. The apokalypsis of the sons of God at Christ’s
“King of [human] kings and Lord of [human] lords.” return will mean the revelation of their role in God’s
Compared to them, Jesus is the “only Potentate,” the purpose. It will then be perfectly clear who these true
King superior to them all. He has been given a kingdom sons of God are.––Ro 8:18.
over all on earth.––Da 7:14.
In a similar way, Peter speaks of “the revelation
Regarding the clause “who only hath immortality,” the [apokalypsei] of Jesus Christ.” (1Pe 1:13) This occurs at
comparison is still between Jesus and those human kings. the final destruction of the old world that corresponds
No human kings or lords have been granted immortality with the destructive “day” that befell the world of people
as Jesus has. He was the only one who had received of Noah’s and Lot’s time.
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in
Note that Paul says that this Jesus has not been seen in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank,
his resurrected, immortal state. Not only that, but that he they married wives, they were given in marriage, until
could not be seen. the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood
came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was
The “appearing,” “brightness” or “manifestation” of
in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they
Jesus Christ will therefore be ‘shown’ somehow without
bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the
any man literally seeing him. This suggests that the
same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and
“appearing” that Paul speaks about is figurative, a
brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even
conclusion that agrees with Jesus’ own words: “the world
thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is
seeth me no more.”––Joh 14:19.
revealed [apokalyptetai].”––Lu 17:26-30.
The second point to note is that the word for “coming” at
Note the word “revealed.” The revelation of the Lord
2 Thessalonians 2:8 text is parousia. The careful reader
takes place in a “day,” a very short period of time in
will note that the text is saying that Christ’s parousia––
comparison with the many “days” that preceded it. It is
his presence––will be manifested at some time. Given
the point at which Jesus Christ makes his role in the
that Jesus’ parousia is a long period of time during which
destruction of the wicked at Armageddon clearly known.
the majority “knew not” as discussed above, at some
The “revelation” of Jesus Christ no more requires a
point in the future it will need to be made obvious to all,
literal, visible appearance that the other uses of this term
manifested.––Mt 24:39.
So Price is not correct when he argues from 2
Thessalonians 2:8 that “the wicked are destroyed at his 2.7 The Order of Events in Christ’s Presence
… parousia.” (OF, page 12; Emphasis his.) They are Considering the Bible’s use of these terms as they relate
actually destroyed at the “manifestation” of that to the last days, Matthew chapters 24, 25 use the word
parousia. The manifestation will be the clear display of parousia four times to refer to Christ’s presence during
his presence which to that point had been invisible, an extended period preceding and including the
ignored and denied. (2Pe 3:3-5) It will at last be realized erkhomenon of Christ. The same chapters use
mentally by his enemies, ‘manifested’ at Armageddon erkhomenon, or its related forms based on the verb
but not visibly, in harmony with Paul’s 1 Timothy 6:14- erkhetai, eight times to refer to the coming of Christ in a
16 comments that Christ’s manifestation is consistent much shorter period of time to execute judgment on the
with his invisibility. wicked and to receive his remnant elect home to himself.
2.6 Revelation Here we arrive at the reasons for the failure of the
Adventist Church to arrive at the truth regarding Christ’s
The third important Greek word in connection with
return. First, Ellen G. White accepted without question
Christ’s return, apokalypsis, means ‘an uncovering.’ It
the King James Version in matters relating to Christ’s
usually refers to a revelation of spiritual truth. (1Co 14:6,
return. Second, she accepted as true the statements about
26; 2Co 12:1; Ga 1:12; Eph 1:17) Obviously, these
a visible second coming that had been taught in the
revelations are not detected by the literal eye.
Advent movement prior to the 1844 disappointment.
At Romans 8:19 Paul speaks of “the revelation Third, she made dogmatic statements confirming this
[inconsistently rendered ‘manifestation’ in the King expectation even after 1844 passed.
James Version] of the sons of God.” These sons of God
Fourth, Adventists accepted her statements as part of the
are already visible to other humans. What makes them
“spirit of prophecy” and committed themselves to the
different is a special action of the holy spirit––they have
visible second coming position. Fifth, when ‘new light’
been born again. So their “revelation” in the future must


became available about the difference between Christ’s “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall
parousia and his erkhomenon––that one meant see him, and they also which pierced him: and all
“presence” and the other “coming”––their commitment kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.”––
to White prevented them from accepting it. Revelation 1:7.
Of course, Adventists would deny being confused about Expressions like ‘clouds,’ ‘eyes,’ ‘seeing’ and ‘piercing’
the presence and the coming of Christ, but Bob confirms or persecuting someone appear in symbolic settings at
it on page 41 when he refers to what he says is other places in the Scriptures. How can it be determined
whether they are figurative in this text? Jehovah’s
“the fact that the signs are sent to warn us to be ready
Witnesses take Bible passages literally unless there are
for His presence or coming, as in verses 42 and 44.”
good reasons to take them figuratively. So why do they
(Emphasis ours.)
read these expressions figuratively at Revelation 1:7?
Note his mistake. He uses presence and coming
As a starting point, they accept that much of the
interchangeably. They are not. He thinks that Matthew
Revelation prophecy is symbolic. Revelation 1:1 says its
24:42, 44 support his point. They do not. Both verses use
message was “SIGNified”––shown in signs––and signs
erkhomenon, “coming,” not parousia, “presence.” The
are symbolic. (King James Version) Adventists would
Bible never uses these words interchangeably as
agree. Of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses agree that
Adventists do.
Revelation is sometimes literal. They understand the
Luke 19:12-15 explains that it was necessary for Jesus to 1,000 years of Revelation 20:2 to be literal, for instance.
go to heaven “to receive for himself a kingdom, and to And at times there are literal and symbolic terms in the
return.” Note that he would become King before same verse. Revelation 20:2 is an example in which the
returning. “When he was returned,” it was “having 1,000 years are literal but the “dragon” is symbolic.
received the kingdom.”
How is it possible to differentiate between literal and
Daniel chapter 2 confirms that the kingdom of God is in symbolic passages? The Bible should be allowed to do
place before the destruction of the wicked nations on that. First and most importantly, though, we cannot
earth. The kingdom is depicted as “a stone” cut out of a interpret a symbolic book like Revelation in such a way
mountain which then travels to the feet of an image as to contradict the Bible’s clear statements mentioned in
representing worldly powers. (Da 2:34, 45) This stone- points 2.2, 2.2.1, 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 above which demand an
kingdom exists as an entity before it hits the nations at invisible return of Christ.
Armageddon. The kingdom of God therefore functions
Suggesting the symbolic nature of Revelation 1:7 is the
during the parousia period.
fact that the similar text at Daniel 7:13 is surrounded by
For this reason, Jehovah’s Witnesses preach the kingdom prophetic symbols like beasts and a clearly figurative
as part of the sign of the presence of Christ, “this gospel presentation of God’s presence.––Da 7:9.
of the kingdom.” (Mt 24:14) They understand that
Another similar text at Matthew 24:29, 30 also contains
Christ’s presence began in 1914 when he became king of
expressions that in the ‘Old Testament’––the Hebrew
God’s kingdom and that since then it has been traveling
Scriptures––are figurative, like the sun and moon being
to its Armageddon crushing of the nations.––Da 2:44.
darkened and the stars falling from heaven. These things
Summarizing, “manifestation” is used in the Scriptures were fulfilled symbolically on Babylon and Pharaoh, not
with reference to various events during Christ’s presence literally.––Isa 13:10; cp. verse 13; Eze 32:7, 8; cp. verses
as he discloses or makes clear his actions as King. It is 3, 6.
positive for some and negative for others at the end.
The symbolic nature of Revelation 1:7 can be seen un its
“Revelation” refers to the final revealing of Christ in his key words.
destructive role at his coming when none will be in doubt
about the Source and authority for his actions. This 2.8.1 “Behold”
revelation corresponds to Revelation 1:7. Why is “behold” a significant word in this text? Take a
passage that most accept as symbolic, Revelation 12:3-
2.8 Revelation 1:7––A Visible Coming?
17. The dragon, the stars, the woman, the child and so on
Seventh-day Adventists point to Revelation 1:7 as are all symbolic. That symbolic vision is introduced by
evidence that Christ’s future coming will be visible. “behold.” (Re 12:3) “Behold” very often introduces
However, there are expressions within the text indicating symbolic passages in the Revelation. (Re 4:1, 2; 6:2, 8;
that it is symbolic. These elements deserve careful study, 7:9; 14:14; 16:15) It is likely that Revelation 1:7 is also a
so they are italicized below. vision with figurative features.


2.8.2 “He cometh” said, “there shall no man see me, and live.” (Ex 33:20) In
the same way, there is nothing in the word “coming” at
As mentioned at point 2.4 above, “cometh” at Revelation Revelation 1:7 that requires Christ’s coming to be visible.
1:7 is the Greek erkhetai. It corresponds to erkhomenon
(“coming”) at Matthew 24:30, 43, 44 which is fulfilled 2.8.3 “With clouds”
after the sign described at Matthew 24:7-14. It is not
Clouds are things we can see, so someone might assume
synonymous with the parousia, mistranslated “coming”
that clouds suggest something visible. Really, though, in
in the King James Version at Matthew 24:3, 37, 39.
the Scriptures clouds suggest invisibility. We have just
Remember, Matthew chapter 24 shows that parousia
discussed Jehovah’s coming invisibly in a cloud at Sinai
designates the whole time of the fulfilment of the various
as one example, but there are others.
features of the “sign” described in Matthew 24:3-29.
“The LORD went before them in a pillar of a cloud.”
The erkhomenon (erkhetai) occurs at the time of the
––Ex 13:19-21
destruction of the worldly system and it completes the
parousia. (Mt 24:30-44) The “coming” of Revelation 1:7 “The LORD looked ... through the pillar ... of the
corresponds with Matthew 24:30 and refers to the time of cloud.”––Ex 14:24.
the “great tribulation.”12––Mt 24:21; Re 7:14.
“A thick cloud upon the mount ... the LORD descended
Today we are living in the parousia period marked by upon it.”––Ex 19:16, 18; 20:21.
wars, famines, earthquakes and the worldwide preaching
“The LORD descended in the cloud.”––Ex 34:5.
of God’s kingdom. The “coming” of Christ foretold at
Revelation 1:7 is yet in the future. This difference “The LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud.”––
between Christ’s “presence [parousia]” and his “coming Nu 12:5.
[erkhomenon]” must be carefully observed to correctly
understand Christ’s return. “Fire ... clouds ... and the LORD spake out of the midst
of the fire.”––De 4:11, 12.
In fact, the distinction between them helps to answer
Lorna’s question. (GCT, page 33) She points to 1 “The LORD appeared in the tabernacle in the pillar of
Corinthians 11:26, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and a cloud.”––De 31:15.
drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” “The LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come
and asks “If Christ became present in 1914, then why do into Egypt.”––Isa 19:1.
we still hold the Memorial service each year?” Well, 1
Corinthians 11:26 is not talking about Christ’s presence. In these ‘comings,’ Jehovah was invisible. “Thou canst
not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.”
The Greek word for “come” in that text is elthe, a word (Ex 33:20) In fact, Acts 7:38, 53 and Paul’s comment at
related to erkhomenon and erkhetai, not to parousia. Hebrews 2:2 show that God was not personally present
Christians should memorialize the Lord’s death until his on Sinai but was represented by his “angel.” 13
“coming” which is yet future. Jehovah’s Witnesses
understand this distinction and continue to celebrate the The Most Holy compartment of the tabernacle was
Lord’s evening meal annually during the presence until it illuminated by a brilliant cloud over the ark of the
culminates in that future “coming.” covenant. So God says to Moses: “I will appear in the
cloud upon the mercy seat.” (Le 16:2) Does “appear in
The meaning of Jesus’ “coming” is also clear when the cloud” mean that God appeared visibly to the high
compared with his Father’s ‘coming’ to Sinai. Speaking priest every Atonement Day? No. The cloud represented
with Moses, God said: “I come unto thee in a thick his invisible presence among his people.
cloud.” (Ex 19:9) The account adds: “the LORD came
down upon mount Sinai.” (Ex 19:20) When God ‘came’ Isaiah 44:22 confirms that clouds do not highlight the
to Sinai Moses obviously did not see God. As Jehovah visibility of something but ‘blot out’ the vision.

12 See footnote 7. D.B Wallace explains in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: an Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament that
there is an “anaphoric” use of the article where the definite article “refers back to a previous instance of a noun, which was usually
introduced without the article.” The fact that the “great tribulation” of Matthew 24:21 appears without the definite article (i.e. is
anarthrous) and that the “great tribulation” of Revelation 7:14 appears with the article (i.e. is articular) suggests that they both refer
to the same tribulation.
13 The internal evidence suggests that Paul was the writer of Hebrews and that Italy was its place of writing. (He 13:24) Paul was

imprisoned in Rome along with Timothy until the latter was released. (He 13:23; Php 1:1; 2:19; Col 1:1, 2; Phm 1) The Chester
Beatty Papyrus No. 2 (P46) of about 200 C.E. records Hebrews among nine of Paul’s letters, and Hebrews is listed among “fourteen
letters of Paul the apostle.”


“I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy She interprets the ‘ascent,’ the ‘heaven,’ the ‘cloud’ and
transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins.” the ‘beholding’––all of them––figuratively. Bob would
not criticize White’s symbolic explanation, but he cannot
By means of that figurative cloud God made their sins,
concede as much for Revelation 1:7. Yet what is true in
not more visible, but invisible.
the symbolic settings of Revelation 10:1; 11:12 is also
When God spoke to Peter, James and John on the true in the symbolic setting of Revelation 1:7.
transfiguration mount, he spoke out of “a bright cloud”
All of these texts combine to show that ‘coming with
that overshadowed them. (Mt 17:5) None of them saw
clouds’ and ‘beholding those in the clouds’ is more
God literally on that occasion either.
suggestive of invisibility than visibility.
This was also true of the cloud at Jesus’ ascension to
heaven. According to Acts 1:9, at the time of Jesus’ 2.8.4 “Eye”
departure from the earth “a cloud received him out of ‘But surely “eye” is literal,’ some would say. However,
their sight.” Yes, that cloud took Jesus out of their sight, the question should be, How are eyes used in Revelation
made him invisible. As the angel said, “Jesus ... shall so and in the Scriptures generally? It is true that eyes are
come in like manner.” (Ac 1:11) When the angel spoke used literally, but the Bible also uses them figuratively.
these words, Jesus was already in the clouds, invisible.
There being no Scriptural indication that Christ will “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now
descend below cloud level at his coming, he can be mine eye seeth thee.”––Job 42:5.
expected to be invisible at that time. Job said this after gaining extra knowledge of God. (Job
In the book of Revelation, whenever “cloud” is used it is chapters 38-41) In this case it was not Job’s literal eye
always in a symbolic setting. (Re 11:12; 14:14-16) So at that was involved. “No man hath seen God at any time.”
Revelation 10:1 a cloud is associated with invisibility. (Joh 1:18) Rather, it was the eye of his understanding.

“I saw another strong angel descending from heaven, “For from of old men have not heard, nor perceived by
arrayed with a cloud, and a rainbow was upon his the ear, neither hath the eye seen a God besides thee,
head, and his face was as the sun, and his feet were as who worketh for him that waiteth for him.”––Isa 64:4,
fiery pillars, and he had in his hand a little scroll American Standard Version.
opened. And he set his right foot upon the sea, but his The Israelites had not seen a god equal to Jehovah with
left one upon the earth.” their natural eyes, but they had seen Jehovah figuratively.
The face, the feet and the hand were all visible in the Ephesians 1:18 speaks of “the eyes of your understanding
vision. Importantly, though, what was invisible? The rest [literally, “the eyes of the heart”] being enlightened.” So
of the body, because it was clothed, “arrayed with a the Bible does at times use “eye” symbolically. But
cloud.” The cloud made most of the body invisible. When which usage, literal or symbolic, is in play at Revelation
clouds are spoken of in connection with spirit persons 1:7?
they suggest invisibility.
Look at how ‘eyes’ and ‘seeing’ are used symbolically in
The next reference to a cloud is at Revelation 11:12 the Revelation.
which Seventh-day Adventists usually relate to the
period around the French Revolution. The passage “Anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest
mentions two witnesses who are killed but then come to see.”––Re 3:18.
life. The verse says: Yes, in the same Bible book as Revelation 1:7, we find
“And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their figurative “eyes” and “eyesalve,” and with the verb ‘to
enemies beheld them.” see’ in the same sentence at that!

Adventists explain the two witnesses to mean the Old and On the basis of the facts that (1) the verse is part of a
New Testaments silenced in the French Revelation. Ellen symbolic vision as determined by its introduction and
G. White says that after the Revolution they were that (2) vision-obscuring clouds accompany Christ, it is
reasonable that the “eye” in Revelation 1:7 is more likely
“honoured as never before. The Bible has been symbolic than literal. In this case, though, it would be a
translated into nearly every language spoken by men, mental “eye” of sudden, tragic realization.
and scattered over every part of the globe. After being,
as it were, thrust down to hell, it has, in truth, been 2.8.5 “See”
exalted to heaven.”––The Spirit of Prophecy, Volume The word for “see” is opsetai. It has a literal sense but it
4, page 193. is also used metaphorically. A Greek-English Lexicon


suggests as one meaning: “metaphorically ... of mental who do it figuratively during the parousia by persecuting
sight, to discern, perceive.” his followers. Again, the expression is figurative, not a
literal piercing by the same first-century individuals.
One example of figurative sight is at Romans 1:20: “the
invisible things of him from the creation of the world are 2.8.7 “All the kindreds of the earth shall wail”
clearly seen.” Here a prepositional prefix is used together
with a verbal form of opsetai, making the verb All of the “goats” will wail because they face what Jesus
kathoratai. Obviously, this kind of sight is metaphorical, calls their “everlasting punishment [‘cutting off,’
not literal. Greek].” (Mt 25:46) There will be no future resurrection
for any of these. With the words “even so, Amen” the
Then there is Revelation 3:18, mentioned above, which visionary snapshot closes.
also mentions seeing figuratively and it is an example
right within the same Bible book of Revelation. There are To misread Revelation 1:7 as other than a vision is to look
other examples at Isaiah 44:18; Jeremiah 5:21; Ezekiel for an incorrect revelation of Jesus Christ. The majority
12:2. Yes, “see” quite often refers to mental sight. Apart today, “all the kindreds,” have tragically incorrect
from Revelation 1:7; 3:18, there are other cases in which expectations for Christ’s coming.
“eye” and “see” occur together symbolically. 2.9 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17––Audible?
“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now Pressing on and arguing for an audible return, Bob refers
mine eye seeth thee.”––Job 42:5. to the following important words of the apostle Paul.––
“Blessed are your eyes, for they see.”––Mt 13:16. GCT, pages 31, 32.
In addition to the two previous points––that the verse is “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a
symbolic and that vision-obscuring clouds accompany shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the
Christ––there are now these two others, (3) that eyes and trump of God.”––1Th 4:16.
(4) sight are also often symbolic. Paul says this about the time of the resurrection, as the
2.8.6 “And they also which pierced him” context shows, but he is not talking about Christ’s
coming, the erkhomenon/erkhetai of Revelation 1:7.
If the words “they also which pierced him” were literal, Instead, “coming” at 1 Thessalonians 4:16 translates the
there would need to be a special resurrection of the word parousia. It really means ‘presence.’ Once again,
wicked ones who took part in killing Jesus. Adventists the King James Version mistranslates parousia and leads
entertain the idea but the Bible does not mention it. If the Adventists to expect that the resurrection will take place
men who literally pierced Jesus were to be raised at his in the future at Christ’s coming.
coming, they would have to be destroyed at Armageddon,
re-resurrected at the end of the 1,000 years only to be re- First, note that, according to the text, Jesus issues a shout,
destroyed. They would have lived and died three times! a loud voice and a trumpet blast to waken the dead from
their symbolic “sleep.” At John 5:28 also refers to a
There is a better explanation. The key to understanding symbolic voice. There the “dead” were hearing “the
the comment lies in Matthew 25:41-46, which is part of voice” of Jesus and coming to life. (Joh 5:25) He had not
Jesus’ great prophecy about the same “coming” in the performed a resurrection at this point, so the “dead” Jesus
clouds that Revelation 1:7 describes. (Mt 24:30) Jesus speaks of were still alive in a literal sense but they were
judges people as sheep or goats on the basis of what they dead spiritually.
did or did not do for his spiritual brothers.
For them, hearing Jesus’ “voice” was not just hearing
Speaking of the past, of the parousia period before his literal words––many did that––but appreciating and
coming, they ask him: “when saw we thee ...?” (Mt responding to Jesus’ message, obeying it and coming to
25:37-39, 44) This indicates that they had not seen him life spiritually. (Joh 5:24) In fact, in Biblical usage,
literally during the parousia because it is characterized ‘hearing God’s ‘voice’ more often refers to acting
by invisibility. obediently in response to God’s (usually written)
But then, at Matthew 25:45, Christ gives the key: commands than to hearing audible words.
“Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye There is also the obvious fact that at 1 Thessalonians
did it not to me.” What the goats do or fail to do to 4:13-17 Jesus is talking about Christians who are
Christ’s brothers he considers as done or not done to him. figuratively “asleep.” (1Th 4:14) An audible trumpet
They ‘pierce’ him by persecuting his brothers.––Mt 24:9. would only wake those literally asleep. A figurative
Given that both prophecies are about Christ’s “coming,” shout, voice and trumpet would be needed to wake a
it seems clear that “they ... which pierced him” are those person from a figurative sleep. So why, then, the


Trumpets symbolize authoritative commands or a call to that the second group, those who survive into Christ’s
action. So at Isaiah 58:1: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy presence, will be raised during the presence.
voice like a trumpet.” In other texts, the trumpet is even
“epeita [‘then,’ next in sequence] hoi [‘the ones’] tou
more clearly symbolic and, again, the ‘sound’ is
[‘of the’] khristou [‘Christ’] en [‘in’] te [‘the’]
inaudible.––Zec 9:14; Re 8:2.
parousia [‘presence’] autou [‘of him’].”
Adventists themselves interpret some trumpets as
The heavenly resurrection therefore takes place during
symbolic. They believe the trumpets of Revelation
the ‘in-the-parousia’ period, not at the momentary
chapters 8-10 to be symbolic messages and/or events that
coming of Christ at Armageddon. The heavenly
take place over 2,000 years. None of the trumpet blasts
resurrection takes place “in”––during––that longer
were literally audible. Even outside those passages that
period. This confirms our understanding of eis as “into”
are obviously symbolic, trumpets are used in a figurative
rather than “unto” as mentioned above. The ones already
sense at Matthew 6:2 and 1 Corinthians 14:8.
dead rise first. Those who survive into the parousia rise
Taking the trumpet at 1 Thessalonians 4:16 as symbolic later. When the ‘remaining’ group are resurrected they
agrees with the symbolic sleep in the context in verse 14. are caught up “together [hama] with [syn]” the ‘sleeping’
group.––1Th 4:17.
2.9.1 Timing
2.10 2 Thessalonians 2:8––Bright?
Clarice believes that dead and living Christians will rise
at the same time. She thinks that all anointed ones should Adventists point to 2 Thessalonians 2:8 which speaks of
have been raised together in 1914 if Jehovah’s Witnesses “the brightness of his coming.” We have discussed this
were right. (GCT, page 32) She discounts evidence that text above at point 2.5 but we can summarize it again
those who go to heaven are raised at different times. here. It is argued that Jesus’ coming will be unmistakably
bright and visible. (GCT, page 32) But 1 Timothy 6:14-
Some Christians are described as “asleep” in death at the
16 shows that this brightness or appearing will happen in
beginning of Jesus’ parousia, and they are immediately
such a way that no man will be able to see Christ.
raised to life in heaven at that point. (1Th 4:15,16) Others
are “living” when the parousia begins. 1 Thessalonians Clarice misinterprets the verse when she says to her
4:15 in the Greek describes this second group as mother: “According to Second Thessalonians 2:8 the
wicked are going to be destroyed by the brightness of the
“hoi [‘the’] zontes [‘living’] hoi [‘the ones’]
parousia, or coming.” Note that Clarice speaks of the
perileipomenoi [‘being left around’] eis [‘into’] ten
parousia and coming as if they were the same thing. As
[‘the’] parousian [‘presence,’ not ‘coming’] tou [‘of
we have seen, they are not. The parousia takes place over
the’] kyriou [‘Lord’].”
a long period of time corresponding to the pre-Flood
According to Paul, while the dead in Christ are period when people “knew not.”––Mt 24:39.
immediately raised to heaven, the living are not, because
If the parousia were obvious to the wicked, it would not
they survive into Christ’s presence, “into” being the
have to be manifested at all! But it is called “the
primary meaning of eis. The King James Version has
manifestation of his presence” because the invisible
done a disservice by translating eis as “unto.” The use of
presence will at last be manifested in the destruction of
eis shows that the parousia is an extended period of time
the wicked.––New World Translation.
that a Christian can live “into” and that those who live
“into” it are raised after those already dead. In fact, 1 2.11 Here or Near?
Thessalonians 4:16, 17 confirms that there is a sequence
involved in the heavenly resurrection. Chapter 4 of Channel argues that the signs of the times
prove Christ to be near rather than here. (Pages 40, 41)
“The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then [Greek, The argument is based on the Adventist explanation of
epeita] we which are alive and remain shall be caught Matthew 24:30-44. Bob points to verse 30, which speaks
up together with them in the clouds.” of Jesus’ “coming,” erkhomenon. The coming is still in
Epeita indicates order. It “marks sequence,” according to the future and, as mentioned, relates to events that occur
Liddell and Scott’s Lexicon. Christians already dead at in connection with Armageddon. Bob has Valmai read
the time that the parousia commences rise first. “Then verses 32 and 33.
[epeita]” those alive and remaining alive in the presence “Now learn from the fig tree as an illustration this
––not the coming––of Christ join them in heaven. point: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender
This sequence in the heavenly resurrection is not and it puts forth leaves, You know that summer is near.
simultaneous, instantaneous or immediate. Paul is clear Likewise also you, when you see all these things,
about this at 1 Corinthians 15:23 in the Greek. He shows know that he is near at the doors.”


John, one of the characters in the booklet, concludes from presence together with the coming as if they were one
this text that “these signs show that Christ’s coming is event and casts the presence off into the future.
near.” Jehovah’s Witnesses agree. The signs of our times
Luke’s version confirms that the presence is a longer
do indicate that Christ’s coming is near. What they do not
period ending in a short destructive day.
indicate is that his presence is near. As mentioned above,
Bob makes a classic mistake when he says: “And as it was in the days [plural] of Noe, so shall it
be also in the days [plural] of the Son of man. They
“the signs are sent to warn us to be ready for His
did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were
presence or coming, as in verses 42 and 44.”
given in marriage, until the day [singular] that Noe
By wrongly concluding that Christ’s presence and his entered into the ark, and the flood came [elthen,
coming are identical and interchangeable, Bob places the related to erkhomenon, “coming”], and destroyed
presence into the indefinite future. So he continues: them all.”––Lu 17:26, 27.
“It is too late if His parousia has already taken place. This is even more specific. What Matthew calls the
And in verses 36-41 we are told no one will know parousia Luke calls “the days of the Son of man.” The
when it [the parousia] will take place.” fact that these are days, plural, in contrast with a single
day of “coming” clearly indicates that Jesus enjoys an
Bob should know that in verse 36 Jesus does not mean
extended period of presence before he “comes” in a
the parousia when he says:
special, short, destructive act.
“But of that day [singular] and hour knoweth no man,
In a similar way, a few verses later Luke 17:28-30
no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
compares the “days” of his presence with an extended
What singular “day” does he mean? It is identified in the period of time called “the days [plural] of Lot.” By
following verses. contrast, the “day,” singular, that God destroyed Sodom
is likened to “the day [singular] when the Son of man is
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming
revealed.” It is obvious that Jesus’ presence or parousia
[parousia, “presence,” mistranslated “coming” in the
is always presented as an extended period that precedes
King James Version] of the Son of man be. For as in
his coming or erkhomenon, which is a much shorter
the days that were before the flood they were eating
and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until
the day [singular] that Noe entered into the ark, And During the parousia period before the “coming” of Jesus
knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; the features of the sign at Matthew 24:7-14 take place,
so shall also the coming [parousia, presence] of the but Christ remains invisible. Note the timing of events of
Son of man be.”––Mt 24:37-39. Matthew 25. Matthew 25:31 says, “the Son of man shall
come [elthe, from erkhetai] in his glory. This marks the
Jesus says the “presence”––which he likens to “days,” point of Jesus’ “coming.” The ‘sheep’ ask him three
plural––culminates in a final destructive act––which he
times, “when saw we thee …?” (Mt 25:34, 37-39)
likens to a “day,” singular. This illustrates again the
Clearly, at his coming true Christians on earth will say
important difference between presence and coming, that
that they not have seen Christ. The ‘goats’ will also ask
one is a longer period and the other shorter.
“when saw we thee ...?” (Mt 25:44) Clearly, Jesus is
Christ’s presence is compared to “the days of Noe ... invisible to everyone prior to the “coming.”
before the flood.” Note, “before.” Like the pre-Flood The significance of this conversation is most important.
period, the parousia occurs before the erkhomenon and
It is undeniable from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:37-
culminates in it. The presence is therefore an extended
39 and Luke 17:26-30 that his extended “presence”––
period allowing for “eating and drinking, marrying and
otherwise called “the days of the Son of man”––precedes
giving in marriage.” (Verse 38) By contrast, the “day
his final “coming.” But Jesus’ conversation with the
[singular]” that Jesus spoke about when he said, “of that sheep and goats proves that, in any period before his
day and hour knoweth no man,” corresponds to the “day coming, Christ is invisible. The only conclusion to be
[singular]” that Noah entered the ark and the pre-Flood
drawn is that Christ’s presence is invisible.
world was subsequently destroyed. The words are clearly
not synonymous as Bob supposes. 2.11.1 Here or Near?––the Answer
Jesus also says in verse 39 that at last “the flood came.” So then, is Christ here or is he near? Since two different
Here “came” is elthen, a verbal form of erkhetai and Greek words are used in relation to Jesus’ return, we need
related to erkhomenon, “coming.” Again, the parousia to ask whether Jesus is referring to his “presence” or to
period is the lengthy period culminating in a “coming.” his “coming” when he says, “when you see all these
It is only by totally missing this point that Bob lumps the things, know that he is near at the doors.”––Mt 24:33.


The answer is indicated at Matthew 24:36 where Jesus ended in the case in question by the Parousia ... the
adds: “But of that day [singular] and hour knoweth no kairoi ethnon [times of the Gentiles] would be the
man.” The words “that day” refer back to verse 33, to the kairoi [times], which were familiar to all from the
event that is near. What “day” was “that”? prophecies, and which had already begun to run their
course, so that at the time of Jesus and long before they
Jesus defines it in verse 38 as the one corresponding to
were regarded as in process of fulfillment. This is the
“the day [singular] that Noe entered into the ark,” which
reason for our having hoi kairoi [the times] with the
led directly to the Flood, or as Matthew 24:42 says, the
article (compare xix. 44).”––Pages 530, 531 (1884).
“hour [literally, “day”] your Lord doth come [erkhetai].”
(Cp. American Standard Version) Yes, when Jesus spoke As Meyer notes, the fact that kairoi is accompanied by
about his being “near” at the doors he was speaking about the article hoi, ‘the,’ indicates that the Gentile times were
his coming which is still future, not about his presence. times with which the Jews were already familiar.
This is in harmony with Jesus’ main point. “Watch In agreement with this, D.B Wallace explains in his
therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: an Exegetical
come [erkhetai].” (Mt 24:42) The signs prove that the Syntax of the New Testament that there is an “anaphoric”
coming is near, despite the fact that the presence is here. use of the article in which the definite article “refers back
This important truth has been held by Jehovah’s to a previous instance of a noun, which was usually
Witnesses in modern times from the very beginning.14 introduced without the article.” To what “previous
instance” might the article at Luke 21:24 be pointing?
2.12 1914
Daniel 4:16 in the Septuagint translation uses the same
The events of the Matthew 24:7-14 prophecy are in word “times” as Luke 21:24, but “without the article.” So
evidence all around us, so none should deny the presence it would be consistent for the article at Luke 21:24 to be
of Christ because that prophecy was given in answer to “anaphoric,” pointing back to those “times” in Daniel.
the question: “what will be the sign of your parousia ...?” This would agree with Meyer’s comment that the Gentile
(Mt 24:3) Yet Peter said that some would deny the times were understood by the Jews in Jesus’ day to be
evidence of the presence. “Where is the promise of his already under way.
coming [parousia, ‘presence’]?”––2Pe 3:4.
In fact, when Jesus delivered his discourse at Matthew
Jehovah’s Witnesses point to the comment by Jesus at chapters 24, 25; Mark chapter 13; Luke chapter 21 about
Luke 21:24 about “the times of the Gentiles” and connect his presence he often quoted from or referred to Daniel’s
it with the “seven times” of Daniel 4:16. “Times” at Luke prophecies. Compare Matthew 24:15 with Daniel 11:31;
21:24 comes from the Greek kairos. One dictionary says: Matthew 24:21 with Daniel 12:1 and Matthew 24:30 with
“when used of ‘time,’ [kairos] signified ‘a fixed or Daniel 7:13. The comment at Luke 21:24 was part of the
definite period, a season,’ sometimes an opportune or same discourse. So when Jesus used the word “times” as
seasonable ‘time.’”––Vine’s Complete Expository Daniel does, but with the article, it is likely that he had
Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, under Daniel 4:16 in mind.
“Time.” (Emphasis ours.)
2.12.1 The Tree Dream
As examples of other periods that were fixed and limited,
Even though Daniel chapter 4 applied originally to king
kairos is used to refer to the “harvest season,” “the season
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon at a time when he
of the fruits” and “the season of figs.” (Mt 13:30; 21:34;
temporarily lost his kingship for seven years, Jehovah’s
Mr 11:13) This indicates that “the times of the Gentiles”
Witnesses have seen a second application in the cutting
would be a definite period somehow assigned to the
down of the kingdom of God in the person of king
Gentiles to rule. So H.A.W. Meyer says, commenting on
Zedekiah of Judah for a period of 2,520 years (7 x 360
Luke 21:24:
symbolic day-years) from 607 BCE to 1914 CE.
“Till the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, that is,
This explanation does not satisfy Adventists. Clarice says
till the time that the periods which are appointed to the
that relating Daniel chapter 4 to 607 BCE is “Scripturally
Gentile nations for the completion of divine judgments
incorrect.” (GCT, page 30) Is this true?
... shall have run out. … Such times of the Gentiles are

14 Jehovah’s Witnesses were not the first to hold elements of these teachings. Isaac Newton wrote that Christ would return and
reign “invisible to mortals.” In 1856 Joseph Seiss, a Lutheran minister in Pennsylvania, wrote about a two-stage second advent––
an invisible parousia followed by a visible manifestation. In 1864, Benjamin Wilson published the Emphatic Diaglott with the
interlinear reading “presence” for parousia.


In Daniel chapter 4 an immense tree was felled as Gentile kingdoms and God’s kingdom. For example, the
commanded by an angel. Its stump was banded for seven vision mentions a “tree” of great height under which
times to stop it growing until by decree the bands were birds and fowls find protection. (Da 4:10-12) In the
removed and the tree began to grow again. The first Scriptures trees very often represent governments rather
application of the prophecy was to Nebuchadnezzar. (Da than individuals like Nebuchadnezzar. (Jg 9:6-15) For
4:28) That is not in dispute. However, there are sound example, the fall of Assyria is likened to the fall of a tree.
reasons to believe that there is a larger application to the (Eze 31:3, 5, 6, 12) Jehovah’s Messianic kingdom is also
tree dream. likened to a tree at Ezekiel 17:4-6, 22-24.
First, Daniel 2:31-45 presents a symbolic view of the Note the similarities in the following references. The first
succession of Gentile world powers. The only powers is from the Daniel chapter 4 prophecy.
presented are those that ruled during the period from 607
“The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof
BCE to 1914 CE. Egypt and Assyria, for example,
much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field
despite being Gentile world powers prior to 607 BCE, are
had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt
not listed. What Daniel chapter 2 presents is the march of
in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.”––
Gentile powers during the specific period of time in
Da 4:12.
which there was no kingdom of God on earth and when
Gentile powers ruled the earth.––Lu 21:24. The second is a prophecy regarding the restoration of
Israel as a nation.
Second, in all its many visions and prophecies, the book
of Daniel portrays the manoeuvrings of Gentile “That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift
kingdoms through long periods of time and always itself up ... In the mountain of the height of Israel will
climaxing with the triumph of God’s kingdom. (Da 2:36- I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit,
45; 7:3-12, 17-26; 8:3-14, 20-25; 9:2; 24-27; 11:2-45; and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl
12:7-13) Is Daniel chapter 4 the only exception? Is it of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof
alone a short-range prophecy with a moral lesson only? shall they dwell.”––Eze 17:14, 23.
It would certainly fit the wider context of the book of
Daniel for chapter 4 to have a long-range application like Ezekiel and Daniel were contemporaries. Their language
the other visions. is similar and in Ezekiel the Israelite kingdom is depicted
as a tree. Ezekiel 17:24 says: “I the LORD … have
Third, the vision was given just after God’s kingdom was exalted the low tree.”
overthrown––ideal timing for a prophecy concerning the
Consistent with the figure of Ezekiel 31:12, 13, the tree
overthrow and reestablishment of God’s kingdom.
being ‘hewn down’ at Daniel 4:14 signifies the fact that
Fourth, the vision was given to Nebuchadnezzar, the very God “hath thrown down in his wrath the strong holds of
person who had conquered God’s kingdom and begun a the daughter of Judah; he hath brought them down to the
period of uninterrupted Gentile rule. We know from the ground.”––La 2:2.
wording of Daniel 2:38 that Nebuchadnezzar was a
It also corresponds with Jehovah’s pronouncement to the
metaphor for the whole Babylonian empire. In the same
last Jewish king: “Remove the diadem, and take off the
way it is fitting that his kingship should be a metaphor
for God’s kingdom because, at the time of the vision, he crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low,
was considered world sovereign. and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn,
overturn, it [the kingdom]: and it shall be no more, until
Fifth, the theme of the vision is “that the most High ruleth he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” (Eze
in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he 21:26, 27) A definite break in the kingdom is indicated,
will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Da 4:17) but with a promise that it would resume at a later date.
The main point of the vision was how God’s rulership
Isaiah 10:32-34 also describes a tree representing the
affects the earth, not Nebuchadnezzar’s.
Davidic kingdom.
Sixth, as mentioned above, the same word kairoi
“He shall shake his hand against the mount of the
(“times”) appears in the Greek Septuagint version of
daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. Behold, the
Daniel 4:16 as appears in Jesus’ parousia prophecy at
Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with
Luke 21:24. Since in Luke account Jesus uses the definite
terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn
article “the” with kairoi, Jesus likely had the Daniel
down, and the haughty shall be humbled. And he shall
chapter 4 “times” in mind.
cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and
Seventh, certain features of the dream appear elsewhere Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one.”
in the Bible in connection with the contest between


After “seven times” the bands preventing the growth of In the year 1914 the “Branch,” or “sprout,” Jesus Christ,
the stump were removed. (Da 4:15, 26) Naturally, any became king of the Davidic kingdom “stump,” causing it
new growth would start with a sprout. So Isaiah 11:1 to grow again free of the bands that limited it during the
says: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Gentile times. In a secondary fulfilment of Daniel’s tree
Jesse, and a Branch [Hebrew, netser, “sprout”] shall dream prophecy, he was “established in [his] kingdom,
grow out of his roots.” Jesus was this sprout, descended and excellent majesty was added unto [him].”––Da 4:36.
from Jesse, David’s father. Isaiah 53:2 describes him as
a “a tender plant,” and both Jeremiah 23:5 and Zechariah 2.12.2 Ford on Daniel Chapter 4
6:12, 13 reinforce this figure. He is therefore the one Adventists cannot seriously ridicule this line of reasoning
“whose right it is.” in view of an article published in their Australian Signs
Evidently, then, Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot be charged of the Times magazine in July 1973. By then Clarice,
with a reckless interpretation of Daniel chapter 4. The Lorna and their families were all Adventists and Bob was
symbolisms inherent in the vision are common in God’s promoting his book criticizing Jehovah’s Witnesses and
Word for kingdoms and for God’s kingdom in particular. their understanding of Daniel chapter 4.

Since the tree in the second and more important We can only imagine their disappointment when they
application was God’s kingdom cut down in 607 BCE, it read in Signs of the Times Adventist scholar Desmond
is expected that the kingdom would lapse for “seven Ford’s statement that the message of Daniel chapter 4 is
times.” In the case of Nebuchadnezzar this was evidently not “mere homily,” that is, not a mere moral or spiritual
seven literal years, according to lexicographers Koehler lesson. He says it relates to a long succession of ungodly
and Baumgartner.––See also Brown, Driver and Briggs. worldly powers and that Nebuchadnezzar was a figure of
those powers.
“Times” in Daniel chapter 4 was originally an Aramaic
word, but when the Septuagint translators rendered it into Although some of the details differ, Jehovah’s Witnesses
Greek, they used the word kairoi. As mentioned, this is agree that Daniel chapter 4 includes a prophecy spanning
the exact word Luke used when he referred to the centuries. In his article, Ford quotes historicist writers
“Gentile times.” (Lu 21:24) This strengthens the case for Henry Grattan Guinness and his wife. They maintain that
a link between these Gentile times and Daniel chapter 4. the seven years relating to Nebuchadnezzar were typical
of 2,520 years of Gentile domination ending in the
Of course, if there were to be a larger application to restoration of God’s kingdom,
Daniel chapter 4, the “times” could not be ordinary years.
If Nebuchadnezzar’s experience was significant of “‘The times of the Gentiles’ constituted a week, each
something greater, the time period involved would also of whose days is a year of years, or 360 years, and
likely be greater. Seven years equals 2,520 days (7 x 360 whose entire duration is therefore 2,520 years. As we
days) according to the way years are counted in other wrote in the ‘Approaching End of the Age:’ ... ‘These
prophetic passages. episodes in Nebuchadnezzar’s life are clearly typical;
these features of his character have been stamped
At Revelation 11:2, 3 “forty and two months,” (three and indelibly on all his successors; these incidents answer
a half years) is said to be the same as “a thousand two to events on the scale of nations and centuries, with
hundred and threescore [1,260] days.” So one year would which history makes us familiar. So also does the
be 360 (1,260 divided by three and a half) days. seven years’ bestial degradation of the monarch during
Revelation 12:6, 14 uses the expression “times,” showing his insanity answer to the seven years of years of
that 1,260 days equal three and a half “times.” So a year Gentile rule, represented by the fourfold image and by
is a time and one prophetic year or ‘time’ amounts to 360 the four wild beasts of a subsequent vision. The king
days. “Seven times” would then amount to 2,520 (7 x himself represents the succession of imperial
360) days. sovereignty till the kingdom of Christ shall come; the
That these calculations would be similar in Daniel and “seven times” that passed over him similarly represent
Revelation is not surprising, given the prophetic nature the whole period of moral and spiritual debasement,
of the books. Applying the day-for-a-year rule of and consequent idolatry and persecution, in the
Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6, the “seven times” Gentile kingdoms, from the times of Nebuchadnezzar
amount to 2,520 years from 607 BCE to 1914 CE. till the full redemption of mankind.’ ... His campaigns
Adventists allow the day-for-a-year rule elsewhere in the consequently against Judah and Jerusalem are the
book of Daniel. They understand the “two thousand and specially important ones; and after the lapse of ‘seven
three hundred days” of Daniel 8:14 to be 2,300 years times’ from them, we are likely to reach the centre and
ending in 1844 CE. They also understand the “seventy crisis of Jewish restoration. From the date of his
weeks” of Daniel 9:24 to be 490 (70 x 7) years. overthrow of the nation and desolation of the land, we


may expect ‘seven times’ to lead to the restoration of Nebuchadnezzar II (43 years), (3) Evil-merodach (2
the people of Judah to their land; and from the date of years), (4) Neriglissar (4 years) and (5) Nabonidus (17
his overthrow of the throne of Judah, we may expect years), the sum of the last four figures of 43, 2, 4, and 17
‘seven times’ to lead to the restoration of that throne, years being 66 years.15
in the person of the Son and Lord of David, the true
Counting those 66 years back from the end of Nabonidus’
King of the Jews; while, from his burning of the
reign in 539 B.C.E. points to Nebuchadnezzar’s reign
temple and breaking down of the wall of Jerusalem,
beginning in 605 B.C.E. If this were correct, Jerusalem
we may expect ‘seven times’ to lead to the
would have been destroyed in 587/586 BCE since
rededication of the temple and city.”––Light for the
Nebuchadnezzar desolated that city in his 19th year. This
Last Days, 1888, Chapters 2, 10.
is the date that Adventists and secular historians accept.
In his article Ford essentially accepts the Guinness’ ––2Ki 25:8.
interpretation, showing that he too acknowledges a
How can Jehovah’s Witnesses account for the 20- or 21-
greater application for Daniel chapter 4. the fact that
year difference in the reigns of Babylonian kings between
Signs magazine accepted Ford’s article shows that it
the end of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and the first year of
found editorial acceptance in the Church’s Australian
Nabonidus in 556 BCE? The traditional secular
headquarters community at the time. Price is silent about
chronology accepted by Adventists follows Ptolemy in
Ford’s analysis, but ignoring it does not gainsay the
assigning Evil-Merodach a two-year reign, but his reign
may have been longer. Polyhistor (105 BCE-?) says Evil-
Does Bob disagree with Ford? Probably. He later wrote Merodach ruled for 12 years, not 2, and Josephus says 18.
about ‘the Ford apostasy.’ (Here We Stand: Evaluating (Antiquities of the Jews, 10.11.1) Another king,
New Trends in the Church, Chapter 2) Still, the July 1973 Neriglissar, may have ruled for more than the 4 years
Signs of the Times article clearly contradicts Bob’s assigned by Ptolemy. Even the reign of Nabonidus may
reasoning on page 30 of Channel. It is not enough to say have begun earlier than is currently thought. He may have
that Ford was later dismissed from his teaching position. ruled for longer than 17 years.
That decision dates to the 1980’s over a different issue.
That is to say, while Berossus and Ptolemy may have
See Appendix 2 for the Signs article in full.
been essentially accurate in their astronomical data, the
2.12.3 607 BCE or 586 BCE? historical information they attached to fixed astronomical
dates may not have been accurate.
Of course, Adventists do not agree that 607 BCE was the
date of the destruction of Jerusalem and the desolating of Speaking of the Royal Canon of Claudius Ptolemy, Leo
Judah by the Babylonians. They agree with secular Depuydt says:
chronology and the reckoning generally accepted in “It has long been known that the Canon is
Christendom that assigns the event to 586 BCE. It is astronomically reliable, but this does not
important to establish the correct date because it marks automatically mean that it is historically
the beginning of the seven times. dependable.”––Journal of Cuneiform Studies,
From the events beginning in 1914, including the Great Volume 47, 1995, pages 106, 107.
War, and from the Daniel chapter 4 calculations that While business tablets have been found supporting the
confirm it, we can dismiss Bob’s concerns about this secular chronology, they do so only indirectly. For
date. But can 607 BCE be established historically? example, they mention activities taking place during the
2.12.4 The Date of the Desolation of Jerusalem 4 years of Neriglissar’s reign but nothing for any years
after that. This is an argument from silence. It may just
Adventists do not agree that 607 BCE was the date of the have been that there were no records made in those later
destruction of Jerusalem and the desolating of Judah at years. There are years in later periods of the accepted
the hands of the Babylonians. They agree with secular reigns of Babylonian kings for which no business tablets
chronology that assigns the event to 587 BCE or 586 exist. No one has a problem in those cases.
BCE. The historians Berossus (circa 350-270 BCE) and
Ptolemy (circa 100-170 CE) mention five kings of the 2.12.5 VAT4956
Neo-Babylonian dynasty that reigned before Cyrus Adventists point to a Babylonian cuneiform tablet
conquered Babylon: (1) Nabopolasar (21 years), (2) designated VAT4956 made in the Seleucid period––the

It seems that Ptolemy based his historical information on sources dating from Berossus’ time, more than 250 years after 539
BCE. This would explain why Ptolemy’s figures agree with Berossus.


third century BCE, some 300 years after the event––that most likely scenario here is that a scribe having accurate
they believe confirms their chronology. lunar information for 588 BCE but believing the 37th
year of Nebuchadnezzar to be 568 BCE according to the
The information on the tablet was evidently copied from
Seleucid chronology of his day, made backward
an earlier tablet. It is supposed to link the 37th year of
calculations for 568 BCE.
Nebuchadnezzar’s 43-year reign to astronomical data
matching 568 BCE. A 568 BCE date would agree with But because the calculations of his day were not exactly
Nebuchadnezzar’s reign beginning in 605 BCE and this accurate, they resulted in approximate planetary data. In
would support the Adventist position. So Price is happy this way astronomical data from two separate years
to pose with the Babylonian tablet.––GCT, page 114. appear on the same VAT4956 tablet. However, the most
reliable and exact match, the lunar data, points to 588
However, a careful examination of the lunar data on
BCE as the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar II.
VAT4956 fits much better with 588 BCE, a year 20 years
earlier. This supports the chronology that Jehovah’s Yet, that even if VAT4956’s astronomical information
Witnesses accept, providing an explanation for the 20- unequivocally pointed to 568 BCE, which it does not,
year variation noted earlier. There are 13 sets of lunar there is still no proof that its writer was correct in
positions described on the tablet and many of them attaching the historical events in Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th
disagree with 568 BCE. year to the astronomical events. And from more than 250
years after the events, Berossus could not personally
For example, the four lunar positions for the dates Nisanu
verify that the events and dates matched.
9, Ayyaru 1, Simanu 5, and Addaru 2 are inaccurate by
more than two degrees for 568 BCE. The other nine lunar 2.12.6 Scriptural Evidence for 607 BCE
observations are an excellent match for 568 BCE, being
accurate within one degree. We might say VAT4956’s On the other hand, there is firm Scriptural evidence for
lunar accuracy for 568 BCE is only 9/13. 607 BCE. Wat the Bible says is of primary importance
for Christians. The key text is Jeremiah 25:11.
How do the same 13 lunar observations match with 588
BCE? Remarkably, in all 13 cases the positions of the “This whole land shall be a desolation, and an
stars and constellations in relation to the moon fit astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of
perfectly, to the very degree. VAT4956’s accuracy for Babylon seventy years.”
588 BCE is 13/13! The required order of events is, (1) a desolation, followed
What are the implications? The exact matches strongly by, (2) servitude to Babylon for 70 years. Jeremiah 25:1
suggest that the lunar information on the tablet was says the prophecy was given in the fourth year of king
copied from an earlier tablet that contained actual Jehoiakim––calculated at 604 BCE by Adventists and
observations from 588 BCE. And if VAT4956 points to 625 BCE by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both requirements are
588 BCE as the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar, his first difficult for the Adventist position. First, the prophecy
year would have been 625 BCE. In this case, the19th year says “the whole land shall be a desolation.” Helping
counting from his accession would have been 607 BCE, define the meaning of the desolation, Jeremiah 26:9 adds:
the date Jehovah’s Witnesses accept and Adventists “This city shall be desolate without an inhabitant.”
reject.16 The lunar positions on the tablet actually support
the chronology that Jehovah’s Witnesses accept. This means that it was not possible for the 70 years to run
while the city was occupied. Describing an event more
How is it, then, that the planetary data on VAT4956 than 10 years later, in the fifth year of the exile of
agree with 568 BCE? That fact is that they do not, at least, Jehoiachin, God says to Judah:
not exactly. If the planetary data were based on actual
observations, we would expect the kind of exact matches “In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid
that we find with the lunar data for 588 BCE. However, waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your
the planetary data match for 568 BCE is approximately altars may be laid waste and made desolate.”––Eze
but not exactly correct. There are many inaccuracies. 17 1:2; 6:6.
How can they be explained? To Adventists this was 592 BCE when the 70 years had
Astronomical records that are approximately accurate but already been running for 12 years, but note that the
not exactly accurate are evidence that they have likely desolation was still future: “shall be desolate.” The next
been calculated backwards from a much later date. The year the prophecy adds:

16 That is, 18 full years and some months.

17 Assyrian, Babylonian and Egyptian Chronology, R. Furuli, pages 300-316.


“The cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and Jews to complete 70 years of servitude. So when did
the land shall be desolate.”––Eze 12:20. Judah begin to “serve” the Babylonians?
Yes, even then it was still not desolate. So when did the Jeremiah 27:8, 11-13 is clear that Judah would not need
land become desolate? After the final destruction of to be destroyed at all if it served Babylon.
Jerusalem, when Jeremiah was in Egypt, word came to
“It shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom
him saying:
which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the
“Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon king of Babylon, ... that nation will I punish.”
Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah; and,
Yes, Judah could have served Babylon and prevented the
behold, this day they are a desolation, and no man
destruction and desolation of Jerusalem and the land.
dwelleth therein.”––Jer 44:2.
Much later, in the fourth year of Zedekiah, the year
Here for the first time the land was desolate. This is in Adventists would call 593 BCE, God says:
harmony with the words of Leviticus 26:31-35, 43 which
“I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these
show that the land could only be ‘desolate’ after it had
nations [including Judah], that they may serve
been abandoned without inhabitants.
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve
“I will bring the land into desolation: ... And I will him.”––Jer 28:14.
scatter you among the heathen, ... and your land shall
The service had still not begun at this point and yet
be desolate, and your cities waste … The land also
Adventists suppose it to be 11 years into the 70 years. As
shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths,
late as the eleventh year of Zedekiah, according to 2
while she lieth desolate without them.”
Kings 25:2 Gedaliah was exhorting the men of Judah:
By this definition, Adventists believe in a 50-year
“Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in
desolation at best. Jehovah’s Witnesses, on the other
the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be
hand, understand a full 70 years of actual desolation
well with you.”––2Ki 25:24.
“without them” as required by Scripture.
By Adventist reckoning, Judah was about 18 years into
There are a few texts that have been suggested by
the 70 years. But, remember, the 70 years could not even
Adventists to argue that the desolation began before the
begin until the ‘service’ began because Jeremiah is clear
final destruction of Jerusalem. They cite Jeremiah 12:10,
that Judah would “serve the king of Babylon seventy
11, dated before the eleventh year of Zedekiah.
years.” (Jer 25:11) So when did they begin to serve
“Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, ... they Babylon?
have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.
2 Chronicles 36:17-21 answers.
They have made it desolate, and being desolate it
mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, “They burnt the house of God, and brake down the
because no man layeth it to heart.” wall of Jerusalem, ... And them that had escaped from
the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they
We must understand this as a figurative desolation in
were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the
view of the texts quoted above and because in a literal
kingdom of Persia: To fulfil the word of the LORD by
sense the land was still occupied at the time, as the
the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her
context at Jeremiah 12:14 clearly shows. Some prophetic
sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept
statements in Jeremiah are spoken of as past when they
sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.”
are still future. Jeremiah 2:15; 13:19 are examples that
even Adventists would admit. In such cases, Daniel 4:17 It is perfectly clear that only after the final destruction of
would apply: “God ... calleth those things which be not Jerusalem did they become “servants” to the Babylonians
as though they were.” and that only these events fulfilled the Jeremiah 25:11
prophecy of the 70 years.
The second problem for Adventists is in calculating the
length of the 70 years of service. Jeremiah 25:11 reads as Adventists believe that Jerusalem was destroyed in
a prophecy: “these nations shall serve the king of 587/586 BCE. In that case, the Jews served Babylon for
Babylon seventy years.” That prophecy was spoken in 50 years at best. Their approach is unfaithful to Scripture.
the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the first year of The date 607 BCE, on the other hand, is firmly based in
Nebuchadnezzar––604 BCE for Adventists, 625 BCE for Scripture. So too is 1914 CE for the reestablishment of
Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Jer 25:1) There were simply not God’s Kingdom 2,520 years later at the end of the Gentile
enough years between 604 BCE and 537/536 BCE for the Times.––Lu 21:24.


While the author of Channel poses with the VAT 4956 Also in the Adventist archives is this comment by
tablet on page 114 of the revised edition of his booklet, astronomer Karl Schoch.
we are on firmer ground to rest on the chronology of
“I now come to the year 31 A.D. when the new moon
God’s Word. Ironically, though, the very tablet that he
for the Nisan new light came on April 10 … After 28
displays supports the chronology of the Bible––the one
hours, on the eve of April 11, at this time of the year,
Jehovah’s Witnesses accept––more than it does the
every new light is quite easily seen in Jerusalem … 1
compromising chronology of Seventh-day Adventists.
Nisan = April 12; 14 Nisan = April 25, Wednesday; 15
2.13 Adventists’ Own Chronological Problem Nisan = April 26, Thursday.”––The Crucifixion of
Christ on 14 of Nisan, as quoted in “Translations of
Although they are very critical of Jehovah’s Witnesses Various Scientific Documents: On Lunar Calendar
regarding 1914, Adventists have a problem of their own and the Crucifixion Date,” Box 2, Folder 5, Grace
in connection with the Jesus’ death. White claimed in The Amadon Collection, op. cit.
Great Controversy that Jesus died in 31 AD.
Ellen G. White’s 31 CE date fails the astronomy test
“In the midst of the seventieth week, Messiah was to because it does not provide for a Friday crucifixion.
be cut off. Three and a half years after His baptism,
Christ was crucified, in the spring of A.D. 31.”––Page The problem is even more difficult for Adventists
410. (Emphasis ours.) because they count from October 457 BCE in calculating
both the 2,300 day-years of Daniel 8:14 and the 490 day-
The ‘spirit of prophecy,’ so-called, is clear that Jesus died years of Daniel 9:24, 25.18 They employ a luni-solar
in 31 AD. She agreed with William Miller on this. calculation for arriving at October 22, 1844 as the end of
The Scriptures say that he was executed on the day of the the 2,300 years. But they do not use the same luni-solar
full moon, Nisan 14, and that it was a Friday, Preparation method to calculate the date of the death of Christ
day, the day before the Sabbath. (Joh 19:31, 42) In a because it leads directly to a Wednesday crucifixion.
lengthy article that considered the chronology of Jesus’ However, the US Naval Observatory’s Oceanography
death, C.J Humphreys and W.G. Waddington of Oxford Portal says that in 33 CE Nisan 14 was Friday, April 3
University concluded: (Julian), April 1 (Gregorian), the year that Jehovah’s
Witnesses calculate as the year of Jesus’ death.
“There is a striking unanimity from all sources that the
Crucifixion was on Nisan 14 and consequently the So there is a curious inconsistency about 607 BCE.
only two plausible years for the Crucifixion are AD 30 Adventists criticize Jehovah’s Witnesses on the basis of
and AD 33.”––“The Jewish Calendar, A Lunar what they think is strong secular evidence. The Witnesses
Eclipse, and the Date of Christ's Crucifixion,” in reply that they believe that the Biblical evidence for 607
Tyndale Bulletin 43.2, pages 331-351. BCE is strong and should be allowed more weight than
the secular. Adventists insist on their secular proof.
The problem for Adventists is that Nisan 14 in 31 CE was
not even a Friday. It was a Wednesday. According to the However, when it comes to 31 CE where the secular
US Naval Observatory’s Oceanography Portal, Nisan 14 evidence is against them, Adventists opt for Ellen G.
in that year was Wednesday, April 25 (Julian calendar). White over the secular evidence. There are even attempts
to wrestle the secular evidence in favour of the prophet,
The Adventist Church is aware of the problem because it to ‘make it fit.’ Even being generous, we must say at the
holds in its possession documents confirming it. For very least that Adventists are neither consistent nor fair
example, Oswald Gerhardt writes: in criticizing Jehovah’s Witnesses on secular grounds.
“In 31 the 14 Nisan came either on Wednesday, April 2.14 The Problem
25, or on Thursday, April 26, but not on a Friday.”––
Das Datum der Kreuzignung Jesu Christi, pages 74- The Adventist Church from the beginning was anchored
80, as quoted in “Translations of Various Scientific to the teachings of Ellen G. White, which were accepted
Documents: On Lunar Calendar and the Crucifixion as ‘the spirit of prophecy.’ Its doctrines had to bear a
Date,” Box 2, Folder 5, Grace Amadon Collection, resemblance to her teachings. Its main doctrines lie in its
(Collection 154), Centre for Adventist Research, name. A visible Advent was locked-in. Adventists could
Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. not receive ‘new light’ about the parousia.

18 Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept 457 BCE as the date for “the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build
Jerusalem” mentioned at Daniel 9:25 because Ezra 7:8ff. says nothing about restoring and building Jerusalem. The only account
describing an actual command to rebuild the city is Nehemiah 2:5-8. It is the event that Jehovah’s Witnesses use.


Charles Russell, by contrast, was wide open to new light explained by Jehovah’s Witnesses for decades. For
on the subject. Although he attended a meeting of the example, it was discussed in the Watchtower of August
Advent Christian Church (Second Adventists) in 1869, 15, 1940, pages 252, 253.
he was never a member. Bob says Russell took his beliefs
It was discussed in greater detail in the issue of July 1,
about an invisible presence from Nelson Barbour. (GCT,
1949, pages 196-203. If Lorna’s family only became
pages 37, 38) He is wrong. As far back as 1873 Russell
Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 1950’s, the 1952 edition of
published the booklet The Object and Manner of the
their study textbook Let God Be True discussed the same
Lord’s Return in which he taught that Christ would return
subject on pages 198-206.
invisibly. He did not even become aware of Barbour or
his magazine Herald of the Morning until 1876. There was an appendix about the parousia in all copies
of the Christian Greek Scripture edition of the New World
Long before Russell or Barbour came to this conclusion
Translation after its release in 1950. Lorna’s family
Isaac Newton wrote that Christ would return and reign
owned copies and they would have studied these other
“invisible to mortals.” As far as an invisible presence is
publications, but they seemed to know nothing about the
concerned, in 1856, Joseph Seiss, a Lutheran minister in
Scriptural arguments presented in them. They did not
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote about an invisible
discuss them with Bob in any detail. How might the
parousia followed by a visible manifestation.
conversation have developed if they had simply defended
In 1864 Benjamin Wilson published the Emphatic their faith? Their lack of Bible knowledge is surprising.
Diaglott using “presence” for parousia. Barbour was
Bob, though, is supposed to be an expert on Jehovah’s
alerted to this reading and later, after the two had met, he
Witnesses. “His knowledge of the Watchtower history
shared it with Russell. It is not true to say that Barbour
and teaching is devastating.” (GCT, page 89) So he
was the one who convinced Russell that Christ would
should have known why the Witnesses distinguish
return invisibly. Barbour’s contribution was to show
between Christ’s presence and his coming, yet he left
Russell that the Emphatic Diaglott used “presence” in
most of the points in their publications.
translating parousia.
As far as 1914 is concerned, British clergyman,
E.B. Elliott drew attention to it as the date for the end of
the “seven times” in 1844. Another Briton, Robert Seeley
arrived at the same conclusion in 1849. The truth about the return of Christ involves four
elements. First, his return is in a spirit body because he
Adventists have been unwilling or unable to concede the once and for all sacrificed his perfect human body of
difference between Christ’s extended presence and his flesh in providing the ransom. The Mosaic Law types
momentary coming. When Russell noted the difference, support this understanding. Second, Christ’s parousia
he was not committed to a previous view. He was a ‘Bible and his erkhomenon are clearly different, one relating to
Student’ not tied to a prophet’s teaching. He was in a the whole of the last-days period including his final
position to accept new light. Despite the evidence, coming, and the other to that coming itself. Third,
Adventists must remain attached to Ellen G. White’s passages of Scripture that apparently teach a visible and
teaching on the subject or deny both her prophetic status audible return contain expressions that are elsewhere
and the fundamentals of their denominational name. We used symbolically. Fourth, time calculations that point to
can hardly expect any new Adventist light on this subject. 1914 are supported by real-world events that began
occurring in that year. The teachings of Jehovah’s
2.15 A Lack of Knowledge Witnesses reflect all four of these elements.
As for Lorna, Clarice and family, they should have had a
clear understanding of the parousia because it had been


Father to the Rescue
Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse the transfusion of blood Along with blood, the decree commanded Christians to
products. This sets them apart from Seventh-day abstain from fornication, things sacrificed to idols and
Adventists. Chapter 5 of Channel contains a brief things strangled. These were laws never revoked. Some
exchange about blood transfusions. Probably the make convenient distinctions between eating blood and
Seventh-day Adventist sentiment is mirrored in the having it transfused. What can we say about this
words of one of the booklet’s characters, Paul: “I reckon argument? Adventists do not favour the use of alcoholic
it’s all wrong to say it would be the will of God for her to beverages. If an Adventist were to circumvent the
die. What has eating blood to do with placing blood in Church’s recommendation to abstain from alcohol by
veins to save a life?” having it transfused directly into his veins, could he
honestly argue that he was ‘abstaining’ from alcohol?
Problems arise with the “I reckon ...” approach, but Paul
No. Intravenous feeding is really just another form of
was right in saying it would not be God’s will for a person
eating. It is not abstaining.
to die. The real question, however, is ‘Would God want
a Christian to sustain his life by a direct violation of his Fornication is mentioned in the same text. It has different
law?’ To put the question to an Adventist: ‘If you were forms such as adultery and homosexuality, but all are
asked to deny that Jesus Christ is God or that the Sabbath fornication and all are forbidden. In the same way, the
is his sacred day, what would God expect of you? To command to abstain from blood would cover all of the
recant your faith to save your life, or to die if necessary?’ forms in which blood is consumed.
The Adventist publication speaks well of martyrs who 3.2 The Reason for the Prohibition
died in the Middle and Dark Ages “for even the little truth
they knew,” refusing to recant. (GCT, page 84) To be fair, Blood was not forbidden for dietary reasons but for
then, Bob would have to agree that obedience to God is spiritual reasons. The only use of blood ever authorized
more important that life itself. in the Scriptures was its use in sacrifice. The reason for
the prohibition is stated this way:
Until the time of Noah, there was no law regarding blood
because animals had not been killed for food. “I will even set my face against that soul that eateth
Interestingly, though, animals were used before the Flood blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For
for sacrifice. (Ge 4:4) After the Deluge, there may at first the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it
have been limited vegetation. God himself gave Noah’s to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your
family meat to eat and this command was never revoked. souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for
(Ge 9:3) Since Noah was our common ancestor, we retain the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel,
the right to eat meat, despite the Adventists’ dietary No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any
recommendations.––Ro 14:2, 3; 1Co 10:25-33. stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.”––Le
The limitation was that blood could not be eaten along
with the flesh because blood represented the creature’s In Israel, blood was for atonement and “therefore” it was
soul or life, which essentially belonged to God. (Ge 9:4) forbidden for other use. The prohibition was directly
The law against consuming blood continued into the related to atonement. Of course, Christians are not under
Mosaic Law covenant. (Le 17:11, 12, 14; De 12:23) The this particular Mosaic Law requirement. Still, the
Law simply required that blood be drained, not principle of ‘blood for atonement only’ remains because,
Pharisaically, but reasonably.––Le 17:13. once Christ shed his atoning blood in the antitypical
Atonement Day sacrifice, there is no other permissible
3.1 “Abstain from Blood” use of blood specified in the Christian Scriptures. It is
expressly forbidden.––Ac 15:20, 28, 29; 21:25; He 9:22.
In Christian times, the apostle and elders in Jerusalem
decreed: In ancient times, the prohibition included all blood, even
human blood. (Le 7:26, 27; 17:10) So David refused to
“But we write unto them that they abstain ... from
drink even water that to him represented human blood.
blood.”––Ac 15:20, 28, 29; 21:25.
(1Ch 11:18, 19) Blood could not be used even when
apparently lifesaving. (1Sa 14:31-34) If we are concerned


with saving human life, therefore, it is better to follow authored the 64-page booklet A Great Battle in the
Christ’s direction: “Whosoever will save his life shall Ecclesiastical Heavens defending Russell from a
lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall lawyer’s point of view against the attacks of his many
find it.”––Mt 16:25. religious enemies.
3.3 Russell and Rutherford Chapter 5 of Channel gives more examples of teachings
that Jehovah’s Witnesses have abandoned in favour of
John says Charles Russell and Joseph Rutherford “did not ‘new light.’ But remember that Adventists also believe in
get on too well together.” (GCT, pages 45, 46) This is new light and have changed many important teachings
untrue. At the time of Russell’s death, Rutherford was a before and since 1863.
serving member of the board of directors of the Watch
Tower Society. Russell had approved this appointment.
Russell had also named Rutherford in his will as one of 6
To Jehovah’s Witnesses, obedience to God takes priority
men designated to fill vacancies on the Editorial
even over the preservation of life. This has been
Committee of the Watchtower Society’s publications. As
demonstrated by their refusal to use blood products,
president of the Society, Russell could easily have
including blood transfusions. In God’s view, blood
sidelined Rutherford if they “did not get on too well.”
represents the life of the creature and he has not
From Rutherford’s side, he was a strong supporter of
authorized its use in any form by any other person.
Russell. In 1915, the year before Russell died, he


Bricks … and A Debate
Channel chapters 6 and 8 attempt to support the Commandments and all the other laws––and included
Adventist proposition that the Ten Commandments, them in “the book” that he wrote.
including the Sabbath, are binding on Christians.
In fact, Deuteronomy 30:10 refers to God’s
First, though, Lorna’s lack of knowledge is exposed “commandments ... which are written in this book of the
when she imagines Bob to mean that the Ten law.” (Cp. 1Ki 2:3; 2Ki 17:13) Adventists are usually
Commandments were stored in Noah’s ark. She does not keen to link the word ‘commandments’ with the Ten
seem to be aware of the existence of the ark of the Commandments. If so, the book that Moses wrote and
covenant. Bob says: “Remember, there are two arks placed at the side of the ark would have included the
mentioned in the Bible.” (GCT, pages 48, 49) Actually, whole law, including the Ten Commandments.
there are three. (Ex 2:3) Lorna’s family lacked even the
This book of the law that Moses wrote was to be read to
kind of basic Bible knowledge needed to engage Bob
the Israelites. (De 31:10, 11) There was no similar
instruction to read directly from the stone tables to Israel.
4.1 Storage Issues and the Question of Two Laws Surely God would have wanted the Ten Commandments
to be read to his people! It therefore seems certain that
Bob points out that after giving the Ten Commandments the book of the law that Moses wrote included the Ten
God “added nothing.” (De 5:22, GCT, page 50) The Ten Commandments.
Commandments were then placed in the ark. (Ex 40:20)
He believes this is very significant. He argues that these The Bible does not say that there were two laws given to
storage arrangements mean that the Commandments the Israelites. On the contrary, it specifically refers to
were a Law complete in their own right. Then he refers “one law.”––Ex 12:49; Nu 15:16.
to “the other law” written, not by God, but by Moses
4.2 “Christ Is the End of the Law”
which, when ‘finished’ and ‘completed,’ was stored at
the side of the ark. (De 31:24-26) Bob argues on this basis Bob is called on to explain Romans 10:4: “Christ is the
that there were two completed laws, separate and distinct end of the law.” (GCT, page 51) He describes “end” in
from each other. terms of a goal or objective. Jehovah’s Witnesses agree
that Christ was the objective of the Law but, as Paul also
However, the fact that God “added nothing” after writing
says, the arrival of Christ removed any need for the Law.
the Ten Commandments on stone is really no proof that
the Commandments were a discrete Law. It is feasible “The law ... was added ... till the seed should come ...
that God could add other regulations to the same Law at Wherefore the law [Greek, ho nomos] was our
a later time on different materials if he wanted to do so. schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ ... We are no
That would be his prerogative. Bob’s statement based on longer under a schoolmaster.”––Ga 3:19, 24, 25.
Deuteronomy 5:22 is an unproven assertion.
Note the words “till” and “no longer.” They show that the
He makes an equally unfounded assertion about “the Law had no authority once Christ arrived and then died
book of the law” that Moses wrote and placed at the side in our behalf, and Paul does not confine “the law” to the
of the ark. He assumes without proof that it included the ‘Ceremonial Law.’
Ceremonial Law but excluded the Ten Commandments.
There can be no refuge for Adventists in Romans 3:31.
Nothing in the Bible says that Moses excluded the Ten
“Do we, then, abolish law by means of our faith? Not at
Commandments from his writing. Actually, the
all! On the contrary, we uphold law.” Which “law” did
expression “the law” as used in Exodus and
Deuteronomy includes both the Ten Commandments and Paul mean when he wrote this? He uses “law” without
other laws that Adventists would call ‘Ceremonial.’ (Ex the definite article, “the,” showing that he is referring to
law generally.19 He is not saying that Christians continue
24:12; De 4:44; 17:11; 29:21; 30:10) So Moses no doubt
to uphold the Law––the Ten Commandments and other
wrote all of the laws of the covenant––the Ten

19 “The word ‘law’ requires individual attention. The [Greek] article indicates a particular law, or the Mosaic law; without the
article, reference may be to ‘law’ as a principle.”––The Bible Translator, Volume 1, January 1950, page 165.


auxiliary laws––but that they uphold law in principle. For so ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the
example, the teachings and life course of Jesus are a law law of liberty.”
for his followers, “the law of Christ.” (Ga 6:2) This
The relative pronoun that James uses in verse 10 is hostis,
Christian law means that Christ’s followers are still
“whosoever,” which implies indefiniteness, and James
subject to law despite the end of the old Law covenant.
adds two verbs in the subjunctive mood, “the mood of
Paul does not mean they are subject to any of the laws of
doubtful assertion.” Grammars call this an ‘indefinite
the old covenant––‘Moral’ or ‘Ceremonial.’
clause.’ (The Elements of New Testament Greek, page
So what of Bob’s explanation of Romans 10:4 about 160) James uses the word “if” twice, adding to the
Christ being the end of the Law? (GCT, page 51) We can evidence that his scenario is a theoretical construct, not a
take a cue from Paul’s other writings. At Romans 7:6 he real-life one.
says Christians have ‘died’ to the Ten-Commandment
James is saying, in effect: ‘If someone, a Jew, were
law and have been “delivered” from it. At 2 Corinthians
successfully keeping the whole Law except just one law,
3:11 he says the Ten Commandments are “done away.”
he would be keeping the Law partially.’ By this
In view of comments like these, Christ was not only the
imaginary scenario, he gives an example of what
end of the Law in the sense of being its objective, but the
partiality would look like.
Law was also terminated when he fulfilled it.
When James uses the expression “the whole law” he
4.3 The Law of Liberty includes the Ten Commandments and the ‘Ceremonial
Bob believes that “the law of liberty” at James 2:10-12 Law’ as James 2:8 clearly shows. Both are in view in the
refers to the Ten Commandments because James refers context. When Paul uses the expression “the whole law”
directly to two of those Commandments. (GCT, page 52) at Galatians 5:3 he says that it includes the circumcision
He should have noted that James also refers to the so- law. “Every man that is circumcised … is a debtor to do
called ‘Ceremonial Law’ just a couple of verses earlier at the whole law.” We can say, then, that “the whole law”
James 2:8. includes all of the Law given to Moses, without division.
Bob is not correct that “the whole law” in James is only
“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, the Ten-Commandment Law. Neither is the Ten-
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.” Commandment Law “the law of liberty.”
Here James quotes from Leviticus 19:18, which appears Missing this fact, Adventists misread James 2:12, as if
alongside a text that forbids the interbreeding of two the double “so [houtos]” refers back to the
kinds of animals and the wearing of garments with commandments in verse 11. Instead, verse 12 explains its
intermingled thread. By saying “ye do well,” is James own meaning. “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall
recommending that we adhere to those ‘ceremonial laws’ be judged by the law of liberty.” The double “so” points
just because they are mentioned in the immediate forward to that final clause, which relates to the law of
context? No. James’ point is not that we should keep the liberty. What is this law?
‘Ceremonial Law.’
Nothing could be clearer than that the law of liberty is not
In the same way, James is not teaching that we should the Ten-Commandment Law. Quite the opposite. The
keep the ‘Moral Law.’ James’ lesson is about “one” covenant that came from Mount Sinai resulted in
impartiality. (Jas 2:1-7) He illustrates the lesson with “bondage,” not liberty. (Ga 4:24) Did this old covenant
hypothetical situations, using the word “if” to show that include the Ten Commandments? Indeed, it did,
they are not actual situations. He describes a situation in according to Deuteronomy 4:13.
which a person tries to keep some laws––whether
‘ceremonial’ or ‘moral’––but fails to keep the whole “He declared unto you his covenant, which he
Law.––Jas 2:8, 9, 11. commanded you to perform, even ten commandments;
and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.”
James 2:10-12 describes one of those situations. Note the
“whosoever,” the “if” and the subjunctive verbal mood, And Paul confirms that the Ten Commandments were
all of which show that James is not discussing a real-life part of the old covenant at Hebrews 9:1, 4.
situation. “The first covenant had ... the tables of the covenant.”
“For whosoever [Greek, hostis] shall keep [Greek, By contrast, liberty is connected with another covenant,
subjunctive mood] the whole law, and yet offend one connected with the Jerusalem above. “Jerusalem
[again, subjunctive] in one point, he is guilty of all. which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” (Ga
For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do 4:26) “We are not children of the bondwoman, but of the
not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou free.” (Ga 4:31) “Stand fast therefore in the liberty
kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. Speak


wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled Law.’ Such is the confusion when Adventists try to
again with the yoke of bondage.” (Ga 5:1) Note that maintain a division that the Bible does not sustain.
Christian liberty is contrasted with the bondage of Sinai.
Also at point 1, Price notes as a difference the fact that
“The law of liberty” is therefore “the law of Christ” “God spoke” the ‘Moral Law’ whereas “Moses spoke”
mentioned in the context. It is not the first covenant with the ‘Ceremonial Law.’ Yet, the Scriptures also say that
its Ten Commandments. (Ga 6:2) “The law of liberty” is Jehovah spoke the ‘Ceremonial Law.’ For example:
also described as “the law of faith” and “the perfect law “Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake
of liberty.” (Ro 3:27; Jas 1:25) In recommending “the law unto you by the hand of Moses.” (Jos 20:2) Yes, God
of liberty,” James means that applying the law of Christ, spoke the ‘Ceremonial Law.’ Whether God spoke
including love, is the best way to avoid impartiality. personally, through Moses or even “by the disposition of
angels,” all of the Law was effectively spoken by God.
But could James have used the Ten Commandments in a
(Ac 7:53) The human involved in speaking God’s laws is
lesson on partiality if they had already passed away? Yes,
really not important, since “all scripture is given by
he could, just as he used the so-called ‘Ceremonial Law’
inspiration of God.”––2Ti 3:16.
for a similar purpose at James 2:8. And elsewhere, at 1
Corinthians 9:8-10, Paul quotes the ‘Ceremonial Law’ At point 5 Price says that the ‘Moral Law’ was
about not muzzling a bull while it threshes grain, even “complete.” He takes this from Deuteronomy 5:22 but
adding that this was said “for our sakes.” Did he mean the verse does not say that the Law was complete at that
that the ‘Ceremonial Law’ was still to be kept by point. It simply says that God added no more to the Ten
Christians? Clearly not. Commandments. No one challenges that. However, Price
believes there is a contrast with the ‘Ceremonial Law’
Quoting parts of the Law that are relevant because the
which was “added to and built up.” But Deuteronomy
principles that they teach are consistent with Christian
31:24 says that “Moses ... made an end of writing the
law is a proper teaching tool, but it does not prove that
words of this law in a book, until they were finished.” In
Christians are under the laws given in the Sinai period,
God’s time the Law was completed in its entirety. To take
‘Moral’ or ‘Ceremonial.’
time to complete it was God’s prerogative but, remember,
4.4 False Contrasts there was only “one law,” not two.––Nu 15:16.
On page 54 of Channel Price claims some contrasts At point 6 Price quotes Psalm 111:7, 8 regarding God’s
between the so-called ‘Moral Law’ and ‘Ceremonial “commandments” standing “for ever and ever,” and he
Law’ and he arranges them in parallel columns. His says this means the Ten Commandments. He takes
intention is to demonstrate two separate Laws. But the advantage of the King James Version’s use of a Hebrew
division of the Law into two Laws is unscriptural, so it is word that actually means ‘orders’ or ‘precepts.’ A simple
not surprising that many of his contrasts fail him. search of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
Consider a few examples. would have revealed that the original Hebrew word
translated “commandments” at Psalm 111:7, 8 hardly, if
In the right-hand column at point 1 he cites Leviticus 1:1- ever, refers exclusively to the Ten Commandments. It is
3 under the headings “Ceremonial Law” and “Laws of never used this way in Exodus or Deuteronomy where the
Offerings & Blood Sacrifices Circumcision etc ...” Ten Commandments are recorded. The word is used of
However, among the laws that Moses spoke in the book any of God’s orders or precepts, ‘Ceremonial’ included.
of Leviticus are some of the most ‘Moral’ laws of all. For
example, the sexual prohibitions in Leviticus chapter 18 Having incorrectly limited Psalm 111:7, 8 to the Ten
are moral. The command to respect one’s parents at Commandments, Price then contrasts it with Hebrews
Leviticus 19:3 is moral, as is the command to provide for 7:12, which says that a change in the priesthood makes it
the poor at Leviticus 19:9, 10. The command not to hate “necessary to change the Law.” Adventists think that this
one’s brother in the heart is also moral. (Le 19:17) And “Law” in Hebrews is the ‘Ceremonial Law.’ But in
what about the command that Jesus called the second Hebrews chapters 8, 9 Paul goes on to clarify what
greatest of all, to love one’s fellow as oneself? It is changes or passes away with the priesthood. After
moral.––Le 19:18. mentioning the end of the “old” covenant at Hebrews
8:13, he clearly shows at Hebrews 9:1-6 that the covenant
All of these laws Moses ‘spoke’ to the Israelites at God’s included the “tables of the covenant.” The Ten
command. How can they possibly be classified as Commandments were part of that old covenant that
‘ceremonial’ when they have absolutely nothing to do needed to “change.” Hebrews 7:12 is therefore speaking
with ceremonies, offerings, sacrifices, circumcision or about the whole Law, including the Ten Commandments,
anything of the kind? In fact, the majority of the laws of not only the ‘Ceremonial Law.’ The claimed contrast
a ‘moral’ nature are found in the so-called ‘Ceremonial between Psalm 111:7, 8 and Hebrews 7:12 does not exist.


Price’s point 7 is nonsensical. He argues that, because When the Sabbath for humans is first introduced in the
Colossians 2:14 says that the Law is “contrary to us,” it Bible record it is anarthrous––it lacks the Hebrew article,
must mean the ‘Ceremonial Law.’ Because it is “the.” (Ex 16:23, 25, 26) After this, beginning at Exodus
“contrary” Price categorizes that Law as “not good.” Is 16:29, it is articular––it takes the article. This is
this reasoning sound? Well, what of Romans 7:10: “the significant because in Hebrew and Greek a noun pointing
commandment [the Tenth Commandment, verse 7] ... led to something unfamiliar is usually introduced without the
to death”? Were the Ten Commandments also “not good” article. After that, the article appears with the noun
because they led to death? Any perfect law, even a good because by then it is something familiar.
one, is contrary to sinful humans. If “contrary” things are
There are other examples of this kind of language. At
“not good,” how does Price account for Galatians 5:17:
Genesis 8:20 we first read about “an altar” and then “the
“the Spirit [is] against the flesh: and these are contrary
altar,” meaning the one previously mentioned. At Exodus
the one to the other”? Is the spirit “not good” because it
12:11 where the Passover was introduced it is called “a
is “contrary”? Price’s argument simply does not follow.
Passover,” anarthrous. (Byington) Thereafter it is “the
At point 11, Price draws a contrast between the “perfect” passover,” the one previously mentioned and already
law of Psalm 19:7 and the comment at Hebrews 7:19 that known to the reader. (Ex 12:21) So the three anarthrous
“the law made nothing perfect,” as if this proves that Sabbath constructions that appear first in quick
there were two separate laws. But surely something can succession in Exodus chapter 16 suggest that the Sabbath
be perfect without imparting perfection to others. Did the at this point was an innovation, something new.
Ten Commandments make people perfect? The faithful
angels are perfect but cannot impart perfection to others. 4.6 “Commandments” Not Always the Ten

And who is to say that “the law of the LORD” at Psalm Adventists counter that even Abraham obeyed God’s
19:7 is the ‘Moral Law’? The surrounding verses speak “commandments.” (Ge 26:5; GCT, page 68) And Bob
of “statutes” and “judgments,” as well as a quotes Paul: “Until the law sin was in the world: but sin
“commandment.” All three of these terms apply in other is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death
texts to the ‘Ceremonial Law’ just as well as to the Ten reigned from Adam to Moses.” (Ro 5:13, 14; GCT, page
Commandments. (Le 18:5; 19:37; De 26:16) These are 67) No one denies that there was ‘law’ from Adam to
just a few examples of the faulty reasoning in his chart. Moses but the Bible never says that these laws included
the Ten Commandments.
4.5 No Sabbath for Humans Before the Exodus
If the Ten Commandments should be understood
Seventh-day Adventists believe the Ten Commandments everywhere that we read “commandments” there would
were given in Eden, but the evidence is that they were not be many more than ten. Even laws that were part of what
given for human observance before the Exodus. Seventh-day Adventists call the ‘Ceremonial Law’ were
Deuteronomy chapter 5 lists them in detail in verses 6 to called ‘commandments’ in the Hebrew Scriptures.
22, and Deuteronomy 5:3 is absolutely clear. Deuteronomy 6:1; 7:11; 8:1; 11:8, 22; 13:18; 17:19, 20
are examples. So it is unreasonable to use references to
“The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers,
commandments at texts like Genesis 26:5 and Revelation
but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this
14:12 as if they apply to the Ten Commandments. There
is absolutely no proof that they do.
Did this covenant include the Ten Commandments, or
What about Bob’s text at Romans 5:13, 14? Note Paul’s
were the covenant and the Decalogue different? As
language: “until the law.” While “law” existed in a
mentioned above, Deuteronomy 4:13 is clear that the Ten
general sense prior to Sinai and was reflected in various
Commandments were part of the covenant.
laws given to God’s people––such as the commands to
“He declared unto you his covenant, which he build an ark, to leave Ur and to be circumcised––none of
commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; this was “the Law.” At Romans 7:7 Paul shows that “the
and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.” Law,” with the definite article, included the Ten
The Ten Commandments were not different from the old
covenant but were part of it. Hebrews 9:4 calls the Ten By using the expression “the law” at Romans 5:13, 14
Commandments “the tables of the covenant.” They were Paul shows that there was a time “until” which the Ten-
an integral part of the covenant that was not there before Commandment Law did not exist. It did not exist from
Sinai. When was it introduced? There is something in the Eden.
Hebrew text that gives us a clue.
4.7 Decalogue for Israel and Proselytes


The text of the Ten Commandments shows clearly that 4.8 Sabbath a Sign Only to Israel
they were designed for Israel and Gentile proselytes to
the Israelite religion only. At Exodus 20:2, 3, 12, 17, note The purpose of the covenant that included the Ten
the words in bold type that show this. Commandments is outlined at Exodus 19:5. It also
identifies those under the Law.
“[First Commandment:] I am the LORD thy God,
which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out “If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my
of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me
gods before me … above all people.”

[Fifth Commandment:] “Honour thy father and thy The old covenant was what separated Israel from other
mother: that thy days may be long upon the land nations. This would have been impossible if it had
which the LORD thy God giveth thee … applied to all nations. So Exodus 31:13, 17 calls the
Sabbath a special sign between Jehovah and Israel.
[Tenth Commandment:] “Thou shalt not covet thy
neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy “... a sign between me and [Israel] throughout your
neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his generations; ... It is a sign between me and the children
maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that of Israel for ever.”
is thy neighbour’s.” How could the Sabbath function as a sign on Israel if all
In the other version of the Ten Commandments in nations were under the Sabbath law since creation? No.
Deuteronomy, there are a few extra details. It only made Israel unique because other nations did not
have the sign.
“Hear, O Israel ...
The earliest reference to human Sabbath keeping is at
[Fourth Commandment:] Keep the sabbath day to Exodus 16:4 in reference to the Israelite nation and their
sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded associates. On that occasion, Moses gave specific
thee. Six day thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: instructions on how to keep the Sabbath because they
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy were not familiar with it. (Ex 16:13-30; 31:12-18)
God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy However, Bob points to the words: “How long will you
son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?” (Ex
maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy 16:27, 28) He believes this proves that the Sabbath had
cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that existed as one of the Ten Commandments for a long time
thy maidservant and thy maidservant may rest as well before the exodus. (GCT, page 68) What can we say?
as thou.”––De 5:1, 12-15.
First, this expression “how long” does not prove that the
Clearly, the Ten Commandments were given specifically time was very long at all. When God asked the same
to Israel, a nation that had been in bondage as slaves, a question “how long” of Pharaoh He was speaking about
nation brought out of Egypt. Not every nation had these a short period of time. (Ex 10:3, 7) And this is not the
experiences. The nation to whom the Commandments only example. “How long” very often applies to short
were given would have a specific land and would have periods of time in the Bible.––1Sa 1:14; 16:1; Neh 2:6;
servants. The Commandments did not apply to all Job 8:2; 18:2.
strangers or to Gentiles generally but to those Gentiles
who were in a relationship with Israel. They were ‘thy Second, the context shows that the Israelites had
strangers,’ Gentiles such as those living ‘within Israel’s repeatedly been disobedient to God’s commands during
gates.’ the month after the exodus, and not just concerning the
Sabbath. (Ex 15:25b; 16:2, 3, 8, 16, 19, 20) So when
It is only by changing the target audience of the Ten Jehovah asks: “how long will you refuse to keep my
Commandments that Seventh-day Adventists can apply commandments …?” there is no proof that Jehovah is
the Commandments to themselves. The majority of them referring to the Ten. For instance, the command at
are not Israelites, not ‘slaves brought out of Egypt’ into Exodus 16:19 not to leave manna over until the next day
another ‘land’ and not Gentile proselytes to the religion was not one of the Ten. Again, the problem comes back
of Israel as the Ten Commandments require. What gives to the Adventist tendency too easily to interpret
Adventists the authority to apply the Commandments to “commandments” to mean the Ten Commandments.
themselves instead of to the ones actually mentioned in
the text? There is no good reason. As a unique sign differentiating Israel from Gentiles, the
Law was part of what Paul calls “the middle wall of
partition ..., even the law of commandments contained in
ordinances.” (Eph 2:14, 15) Adventists are not so keen to


apply these “commandments” to the Ten because this be kept by “thy stranger [Gentile] that is within thy
wall of commandments has been “abolished.” But the gates.” They were virtually Jews, by religion.
text is in harmony with those quoted above that show that
The Jews in Paul’s day would have been well aware that
the Ten Commandments including its Sabbath was part
Gentile converts like this were considered Jews by
of the Law that divided Israel from the Gentiles. Gentiles
religion. They were familiar with the Septuagint at Esther
were never given those commandments unless they lived
8:17 which reads: “Many of the Gentiles were
in Israel or were proselytes to its religion. Otherwise, the
circumcised, and became Jews.”
commandments would never have been a divider.
At Matthew 23:15 and Acts 2:10; 6:5; 13:43 converts like
When the Ten Commandments were given, they were
these are called “proselytes.” Of course, these Gentiles
described in Deuteronomy as “statutes and judgments.”
kept the Sabbath but they were also circumcised. (Ex
(De 5:1) Yet Psalm 147:19, 20 is clear that the statutes
12:48, 49) And as circumcised proselytes, they had to
and judgments of the Law were given only to Israel.
keep the whole Law according to Leviticus 24:22 and
“He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his Galatians 5:3. Proselytes kept the Sabbath.
judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any
However, Isaiah 56:2, 6 does not refer to modern-day
nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known
Sabbath keeping. If it did, why does Bob not quote verse
7 and, as a Gentile himself, offer burnt offerings in
This could only have been true if Gentile nations as a Jerusalem? At least then he would have a more consistent
whole had not been under the Ten Commandments since argument for Gentile Sabbath-keeping.
Eden. This special Law divided Israel from Gentile
nations generally. It did not unite them. 4.10 Greek Proselytes to Judaism
Bob uses Acts 17:2, 4; 18:4, 11 to prove that Gentiles
4.9 Keeping Sabbath? Then Offer Sacrifices!
attended the synagogue to keep the Sabbath. (GCT, pages
Bob needs texts proving that the Sabbath was not 69, 70) But he misapplies these texts, giving the
confined to Israel. So he cites Isaiah 56:2, 6 to prove that impression that all Gentiles were under Sabbath law. For
Gentiles should keep the Sabbath. (GCT, page 69) example, he points out that Acts 17:2, 4 says that Paul
However, he does not use the passage fairly and in reasoned in a synagogue in Thessalonica on three
context. “Blessed is the man … that keepeth the sabbath Sabbath days with Jews and Greeks. The same thing
from polluting it, … Also the sons of the stranger happened in Corinth.––Ac 18:4.
[Gentile], ... every one that keepeth the sabbath from
Jehovah’s Witnesses agree that some Gentiles kept the
polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant.”
Sabbath, but they were converted Gentiles, proselytes to
The passage certainly shows that strangers kept the the Jewish faith, “devout Greeks,” as the record calls
Sabbath, but it does not seem important to Bob to take them. (Ac 17:4) Earlier in Acts, such Gentiles are called
verse 6 in context. Note the next verse. “religious proselytes.”––Ac 13:43.
“Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and The history of the period tells us that uncircumcised
make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt Gentiles were not allowed into a synagogue. In one case,
offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon the Jews falsely accused Paul of bringing Gentiles into
mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of the temple. They believed that uncircumcised Gentiles
prayer for all people.”––Isa 56:7. would defile the temple and the synagogue. (Ac 21:28;
24:6, 12) The Greeks that Paul preached to in the
As well as Sabbath-keeping, Jehovah says that Gentiles
synagogues in Thessalonica and Corinth must therefore
would offer sacrifices at the temple. This immediately
have been circumcised proselytes and therefore Jews by
makes clear that Isaiah 56:2, 6 has no reference to
religion. As mentioned, while individual Gentiles like
universal Gentile Sabbath-keeping. There was never a
these may have kept the Sabbath, this was never true of
requirement for all Gentiles in every land to offer the
whole nations.
animal sacrifices of the Law. Only particular Gentiles
kept the Sabbath and offered sacrifices. They were Bob’s inability to reason from the Scriptures is exposed
Gentiles “that hath joined [themselves] to the LORD.” (Isa most clearly when he discusses Acts 16:13. (GCT, page
56:3) They were converts to the Israelite religion. 70) Ordinarily, Paul would have gone to the synagogue
to preach on the Sabbath, but here in the Roman colony
There were always Gentile converts to the religion of
of Philippi there was none. So according to the text, Paul
Israel. They were mentioned in the Ten Commandments
went to the riverside outside the city where there was a
at Exodus 20:10 where it is said that the Sabbath was to
place of prayer and he preached to some women there.
Paul and his companions simply spoke to the women


exactly as they would have done had there been a clear by the laws he quotes. Not all of them were from
synagogue. There is nothing mentioned about Paul the Ten Commandments. Instead, he quotes two of the
observing the Sabbath. Ten Commandments and three ‘Ceremonial’ laws.
However, Bob thinks it significant that “Luke, ... many Specifically, he quotes, not only Commandments relating
years after Christ’s death calls this day ‘the Sabbath to murder and adultery, but ‘Ceremonial’ laws relating to
day.’” He wants us to believe that Luke used this offerings at the altar, divorce, vows and eye-for-eye
language because the Sabbath was still in force for punishment. He refers to all six laws under the one
Christians. Bob fails to realize that just a few chapters description, “the law.”––Mt 5:21, 23, 27, 31, 33, 38.
later Luke writes that Paul “hasted ... to be at Jerusalem
Jesus therefore viewed the whole Law as one united
the day of Pentecost.” (Ac 20:16) Does this comment
whole. In fact, when you think about the laws that Jesus
mean that Pentecost observance was still in force for
actually quoted, if Matthew 5:17, 18 proves that the Ten
Christians? No. Bob’s reasoning is exposed! Neither the
Commandments are eternal, it would prove equally that
Sabbath nor Pentecost are binding on Christians. Paul
the ‘Ceremonial Law’ was eternal. Clearly, this was not
went out to the riverside “because it was the Sabbath” as
his meaning. Jesus calls all of these laws––‘Moral’ and
Bob says, but to preach, not to keep the Sabbath.
‘Ceremonial,’ whatever we may call them––“the law,”
Nowhere do any of the texts that Bob uses state explicitly collectively, singular.
or implicitly that Paul or his companions kept the
There was no Moral Law/Ceremonial Law distinction to
Sabbath themselves. Every time they approached others
him. So W.E. Vine says:
on that day they preached to them. And significantly, all
of Paul’s Sabbath-day meetings were with Jews and “Circumcision belongs to the ceremonial part of the
proselytes, never with a Christian church. Why not? ‘Law.’ But, while the Mosaic Law is actually divisible
into the ceremonial and the moral, no such distinction
After the Pentecost day following Jesus’ death, we might
is made or even assumed in Scripture.”––Vine’s
have expected there to be at least one reference to a
Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New
Sabbath-day Christian church meeting in the Bible.
Testament Words, New Testament section, under
There is not a single one.20 This not to say Christians
“Law.” (Emphasis ours.)
never met on Friday/Saturday. They were as free to meet
on that day as any other day, but there was no such Evidently, Seventh-day Adventists have followed the
requirement. Protestant practice of ‘dividing’ the Law without
Scriptural warrant. The division of the one Law into two
The lack of evidence shows that it is not possible to prove
is entirely unscriptural.
a requirement for Sabbath-day church meetings in the
first century after Pentecost. The very fact that Bob has Jesus was specific. “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or
to cast around in texts that refer to Paul’s meeting with one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be
Jews and Greek proselytes demonstrates the weakness of fulfilled.” (Mt 5:18) He does not say that the Law would
his case. remain in force until heaven and earth would pass away.
Instead, he says the Law could pass once it had been
4.11 No Moral Law/Ceremonial Law Distinction fulfilled. And that was precisely why Jesus came, to fulfil
Jesus as a Jew kept all of God’s Law without dividing it it. “I am come ... to fulfil.” (Mt 5:17) So what did that
into sections. (Ga 4:4) But Adventists maintain a ‘fulfilling’ mean for the Law?
distinction between the Ten Commandments––their It is possible to resolve this by comparison with “the
‘Moral Law’––and the other laws given to Moses––their prophets” mentioned in the same verse. When Jesus
‘Ceremonial Law.’ They say the ‘Ceremonial Law’ was fulfilled the prophets’ words, they were not destroyed,
done away at the Cross but that the ‘Moral Law’ remains. but no one looks to them for further fulfilment. No one
Did Jesus say anything to suggest a distinction? still waits for a Messiah to be born at Bethlehem or for a
At Matthew 5:17, 18 he says: “Think not that I am come great light to shine in Galilee. These prophecies were
to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to fulfilled by Jesus but not destroyed. In the same way, the
destroy, but to fulfil.” These words are often quoted by whole Law including the Ten Commandments were
Adventists as if “the law” means the Ten fulfilled by Christ and no longer needs further fulfilment.
Commandments, and that therefore they are eternal. But
4.12 “Sabbath Days ... a Shadow”
what does Jesus really mean by “the law”? He makes it

20 Regarding Acts 13:42-44, see point 11.15.2.


According to Paul, the Sabbath was a type of future shorter form sabbaton used here in Colossians 2:14-17.
Christian realities rather than a permanent observance. In Paul was thoroughly familiar with the Septuagint. It was
discussing various features of the Law, he says that the the Bible that he quoted in his letters and it was the Bible
Law was “a shadow” and that “the body,” the reality of he knew his readers consulted. So when he chose to use
the Sabbath, was fulfilled in Christ. sabbaton at Colossians 2:16 rather than sabbata
sabbaton he must have known that those readers would
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink,
assume he was referring to the weekly Sabbath.
or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of
the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to Sabbaton in Colossians 2:16 is plural in Greek. Every
come; but the body is of Christ.”––Col 2:16, 17. other time, and there are more than 20, that this plural
appears in the ‘New Testament,’ it refers to the weekly
Adventists usually argue that these “sabbath days” are
Sabbath. Consistency would require that it means the
ceremonial sabbaths such as the Passover, Pentecost or
weekly Sabbath here too, but Adventists usually find this
festival of Tabernacles, but this cannot be.
point difficult to concede.
The “sabbath days” mentioned by Paul are weekly
At last Church scholar Samuele Bacchiocchi concedes it
sabbaths, not annual sabbaths. Just the descending order
in his book The Sabbath Under Crossfire, a Biblical
of the observances––“holyday” (annual), “new moon”
Analysis of Recent Sabbath/Sunday Developments.
(monthly), “sabbath” (weekly)––argues that the sabbaths
Under the heading “The Sabbath in Colossians 2:16” he
are weekly. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures––the
‘Old Testament’––this same formula of words is used,
both in ascending and descending order, and in these “The ‘regulations’ advocated by the Colossian
cases the “sabbaths” always refer to weekly Sabbaths. To ‘philosophy’ had to do not only with ‘food and drink’
try to make the Colossians passage refer to ceremonial, but also with sacred times referred to as ‘a festival or
annual festival sabbaths ignores the Hebrew background a new moon or a sabbath’ (Col 2:16). Commentators
of the expression and rips the formula from its wider agree that these three words represent a logical and
Biblical context. progressive sequence (annual, monthly, and weekly),
as well as an exhaustive enumeration of sacred times.
Consider these examples. “To offer all burnt sacrifices
This interpretation is validated by the occurrence of
unto the LORD in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on
these terms in similar or reverse sequence five times
the set feasts.” (1Ch 23:31) Note the ascending
in the Septuagint and several other times in other
sequence––weekly sabbaths, monthly new moons,
literature. Some view the ‘sabbaths––sabbaton’ as a
annual feasts. At 2 Chronicles 2:4: “on the sabbaths, and
reference to annual ceremonial Sabbaths rather than
on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts.” Again,
the weekly Sabbath (Lev 23:6-8, 21, 24- 25, 2728, 37-
weekly, monthly and annual. “Of the sabbaths, of the new
38). Such a view, however, breaks the logical and
moons, for the set feasts.” (Ne 10:33) Weekly, monthly,
progressive sequence and ignores the fact that in the
Septuagint the annual ceremonial Sabbaths are never
It does not seem to matter that these observances are designated simply as “sabbath” (sabbaton), but always
placed in descending order. “In the feasts, and on the new with the compound expression “Sabbath of Sabbaths”
moons, and on the sabbaths.” (Eze 45:17) Here we have (sabbata sabbaton). Indications such as these
annual, monthly, weekly observances in descending compellingly show that the word “sabbaton” used in
order, the same as Colossians 2:16. Wherever the Colossians 2:16 cannot refer to any of the annual
sabbaths are mentioned as part of a sequence––ascending ceremonial Sabbaths.”––Page 238.
or descending––they are always weekly sabbaths.
Then under the heading “Weekdays” he adds:
In fact, if the “sabbath days” that Paul mentions at
“The plural form ‘Sabbaths’ (sabbaton) is used in
Colossians 2:16 were annual “feast” sabbaths, then
Scripture to designate not only the seventh-day
mentioning them separately from the “feasts” would have
Sabbath but also the week as a whole (Greek
been tautologous, unnecessary.
Septuagint on Ps 23:1; 47:1; 93:1; Mark 16:2; Luke
Also, note that wherever the Hebrew Scriptures link new 24:1; Acts 20:7). This fact suggests the possibility that
moon celebration with the Sabbath, it always refers to the the term ‘Sabbath’ may refer to weekdays as a whole.
weekly Sabbath.––2Ki 4:23, 1Ch 23:31, 2Ch 2:4; Neh The latter view harmonizes better with the sequence
10:33; Isa 1:13; 66:23; Eze 45:17; 46:1; Hos 2:11; Am of the enumeration which suggests yearly, monthly,
8:5. and weekly festivities.”––Ibid.
The Greek Septuagint uses the special phrase sabbata This admission was ground-breaking for an Adventist,
sabbaton when it refers to annual Sabbaths, not the especially for a scholar of Bacchiocchi’s status. Even so,


he believes he can rescue the Ten Commandments and What does all of this mean? That having conceded that
the Sabbath by referring to Colossians 2:14. the usual Adventist explanation of Colossians 2:16 is
incorrect, Bacchiocchi has offered an alternative that is
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was
also incorrect. Paul was simply talking about the weekly
against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of
Sabbath when he said it was part of the Law that was
the way, nailing it to his cross.”
‘blotted out, taken out of the way, nailed to the cross
Bacchiocchi focuses on the word “handwriting,” from the [Greek, stauros, stake21].’
Greek kheirographon. He argues that this word
sometimes refers to a signed bill of indebtedness. So 4.13 “Delivered” From the Tenth Commandment
Bacchiocchi says kheirographon at Colossians 2:14 does At Romans 7:6 the apostle Paul makes clear that
not refer to the law but to “the instrument for the Christians are delivered from the Ten Commandments.
remembrance of sin” or “the record of our sins.” Where
does he get this idea? “We are delivered [Greek, katergetai] from the law,
that being dead wherein we were held.”
Not from the Bible but from non-Biblical “apocalyptic
literature.” He argues that the record of sin is what God Here “the law” definitely includes the Ten
blotted out when Christ died, not the law.––From Commandments, as Paul goes on to show by quoting the
Sabbath to Sunday, pages 350, 351; “A Reply to tenth Commandment against coveting. (Ro 7:7) That
Criticism: Part I, The Use of E.G. White's Writings in commandment was “holy,” “just,” “good” and
Interpreting Scripture,” in Endtime Issues, Number 87, 1 “spiritual,” but the Jews were totally incapable of
August, 2002. keeping it, so it came to be “unto death” to them. (Ro
7:10, 14, 12) So God loving arranged for something
However, Bacchiocchi’s is certainly not the usual described at Romans 7:2-4.
Adventist explanation, and a document of indebtedness
is only one possible meaning of kheirographon in “The law hath dominion over [Greek, kyrieuei.
nonbiblical Greek. Scholar Richard Lenski explains that ‘lording it over’] a man as long as he liveth ... For the
the word itself simply mean a handwritten document. woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to
(The Interpretation of St Paul's Epistles to the her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be
Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus dead, she is loosed [Greek , katergetai] from the law
and to Philemon, page 114) It is a compound of kheir of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth,
(“hand”) and grapho (“writing”), so it could be a she be married to another man, she shall be called an
handwriting of any kind. It might be a labour contract, a adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from
document giving authority to act or a business agreement. that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be
The kind of written document must be determined from married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye
the context. It does not have to mean an instrument for also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ;
remembering or recording a debt. Bacchiocchi arbitrarily that ye should be married to another, even to him who
uses a meaning convenient to his own preferred is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit
understanding of the passage. unto God.”

If kheirographon simply means a handwriting, what kind Paul uses marriage as an illustration. “The law” is the
of kheirographon is meant at Colossians 2:14? The husband or ‘lord,’ and Jewish Christians are the
context leaves no doubt. It is a “handwriting of “woman” or ‘wife’ of the Law. (Ro 7:1) To become part
ordinances.” The Greek for “ordinances” is dogmasin, of Christ’s “bride,” they had to be released from the Law.
meaning “decrees,” and the context shows what kind of Without being “loosed from the law,” they could never
decrees they are––feasts, new moons and Sabbaths––not come into a proper wifely relationship with Christ. An
a record of sins. Paul uses dogmasin again at Ephesians attachment to both ‘husbands’ would have been
2:15 where it’s meaning is absolutely clear. There he says adulterous and bigamous. But in the illustration a death
“the law of commandments [was] contained in takes place in their ‘marriage’ to the Law. Jewish
ordinances [dogmasin].” All these feasts, new moons, Christians die to the Law. ––Ro 7:4.
sabbaths and commandments were collectively the This death breaks the marriage bond, leaving the
handwritten document in the form of “the law,” the Christian free to marry Christ. So “we are delivered
divine requirements blotted out when Jesus died. [katergetai, ‘loosed’] from the law, that being dead
wherein we were held.” This figurative death of

21 Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, under “Cross.”


Christians frees them from the Law. “We are delivered What does this mean for the Ten Commandments? 2
[Greek, katergetai] from the law.” (Ro 7:6) Katergetai Corinthians 3:7 says that the glory of the Ten-
ties this statement to the one at Romans 7:2 in the Commandments’ ministry was to be “done away.”
marriage illustration. Just as death breaks a marriage
“If the ministration of death, written and engraven in
bond, so the Christian’s bond to the Law is broken by a
stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel
figurative death. From which law, then, are Christians
could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the
delivered? The ‘Ceremonial Law’?
glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done
No, the next verse says: away ...”
“I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not “The [Ten-Commandment] ministration” was inscribed
known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not on the stone tables, but it was a “ministration of death”
covet.”––Ro 7:7. because its “letter killeth.” (1Co 3:6) Paul made the same
point at Romans 7:10, 11 when speaking of the
The tenth Commandment was part of “the law” from
Commandments. Despite their being holy, righteous and
which Paul was delivered, so he is not only writing about
good, they were “found to be unto death” because those
the ‘Ceremonial Law,’ but he means to include the
trying to keep them, being sinful, could not do so.
‘Moral Law.’
Really, then, in view of the comments at 2 Corinthians
Elsewhere in Romans, the apostle Paul reinforces the fact
3:7 that their glory “was to be done away,” the Ten
that the Law, including its Sabbath, had ended and was
Commandments should no longer be glorious. But in
not compulsory for Christians to observe. He says:
Adventism they still have their former glory, and then
“Christ is the end [Greek, telos] of the law for
some. One of the Ten Commandments has even worked
righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Ro 10:4) As
its way to the very front of their denominational name.
mentioned, telos means, not only the accomplishment of
a certain purpose, but the finish of it. So Matthew 24:14 Some might say that only the glory is done away but that
uses it to mark “the end [telos] of the world”––not its somehow the Ten Commandments themselves remain.
accomplishment only but also its end. But this too is impossible. The apostle goes on.
And further along in his letter at Romans 14:5, 6 we read: “For if that which is done away was glorious, much
more that which remaineth is glorious.”––2Co 3:11.
“One man esteemeth one day above another: another
esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully “That which [was] done away” was not the glory. It was
persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, something other than glory, something that “was
regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not glorious.” In the Greek, “that which” is to, a neuter
the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.” pronoun. It cannot refer to “the ministration” or to the
“glory” because both of these are feminine, and it cannot
Keeping “one day above another” is not a requirement.
refer to the “stones,” which is masculine. What does to
One might keep it due to his background in Judaism and
refer to, then?
another might not. There were no compulsory days, but
it was a matter of personal choice. Paul does not specify The neuter pronoun can only refer to “the letter”––the
which day, so we must take him to mean any day. actual content of the Ten Commandments––because ,of
all the nouns in the immediate context, “letter” is a neuter
The overall message of Romans, then, is that Christians
noun. (2Co 3:6) Paul uses “letter” 4 times in connection
are delivered from the Ten-Commandment Law,
with the Law, twice in reference to circumcision and
including its special “day.”
twice in connection with the Ten Commandments. (Ro
4.14 “The Letter ... Done Away” 2:27, 29; 7:6; 2Co 3:6) Some might imagine Paul’s
meaning to be that the Ten Commandments should still
Another passage showing clearly that the Ten be kept, but in “spirit”––in a spiritual way––rather than
Commandments have been done away is in 2 Corinthians merely in “letter.” This would be a misunderstanding
chapter 3. Comparing the Christian ministry with the because in that case a similar explanation of the matching
ministry of the stone tables, Paul says: expression at Romans 2:29 would require that
“Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ circumcision still be practised.
ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Paul’s argument, then, is that all three––stones, glory and
Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in what was written on the stones––were “abolished.” This
fleshy tables of the heart.”––2Co 3:3. leaves Adventists ‘stedfastly looking to the end of that
which is abolished,’ something the passage does not


recommend. (2Co 3:13) How futile! They have “a zeal of 4.16 Not Anti-Law
God, but not according to knowledge.”––Ro 10:2.
Often people who believe that the Ten Commandments
4.15 Ten Commandment Covenant “Cast Out” have passed away are considered lawless, anti-law. Some
say that those without the Ten Commandments have no
The drama of Sarah and Hagar also teaches that
disincentive to become criminals.
Christians are not subject to the Ten Commandments. It
is instructive to “those who desire to be under the law.” Yet, in the “law of Christ” Christians have a rich legal
(Ga 4:21) Paul describes Hagar as a type of the “one” code on which to base their lives. (Ga 6:2) Reasoning on
covenant “from the mount Sinai.” (Ga 4:24) Note, one these very points almost as if he anticipated the objection,
covenant, not two. What was included in this covenant? Paul says at Galatians 5:13-23:
Did it include or exclude the Ten Commandments?
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only
The Bible is clear about this. The Ten Commandments use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love
were part of the old covenant and the handwritten laws serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one
dictated to Moses by God were also part of it. Exodus word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
24:7; Deuteronomy 4:13; 9:9; 10:10, 11 and Hebrews 9:4 thyself … But if ye bite and devour one another, take
make clear that all so-called ‘Moral’ and ‘Ceremonial’ heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I
aspects of the Law were part of the covenant. say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the
lust of the flesh … But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are
Paul quotes the type and then makes an antitypical
not under the law … But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
application that shows why Christians should not be
joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
under the Ten Commandments.
meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
“Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of
As Paul says, Christians, although not keeping the Law,
the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the
actually end up fulfilling it because love is the Law’s
freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of
fulfilment. For example, someone who loves God would
the bondwoman, but of the free.”––Ga 4:30, 31.
never worship another god or disrespect His name. And
The quotation is from Genesis 21:11. Hagar, representing someone who loves others does not murder them or
the old covenant that included the Ten Commandments, commit adultery or steal or lie or covet. And, of course,
was “cast out.” In Genesis, Hagar and her son never he honours his parents. True love automatically fulfils
returned from this eviction. Applying the type, Paul these laws. In a similar passage Paul says:
concludes that Christ “is become of no effect unto you”
“He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this,
if you become “entangled again with the yoke of
Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill,
bondage.”––Ga 5:1, 4.
Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
The lesson is that true Christians are not children of the Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other
old Ten-Commandment covenant which has been cast commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this
out. Paul even warns that the old covenant threatens a saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
Christian’s relationship with Christ. They should view it thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore
as Abraham viewed Hagar. love is the fulfilling of the law.”––Ro 13:8-10.
So at Galatians 5:18 Paul could go on: “Ye are not under So the Christian who is not under the Law ends up
the law.” By “under the law” he does not mean under the fulfilling it, not because he is under the Decalogue, but
Law’s condemnation because Paul had already stated that because he loves. Most of the Commandments were
Christ was “under the law” and he was certainly not framed as prohibitions against bad things. But because
condemned. (Ga 4:4) Not being under the Law simply “love worketh no ill,” it cannot perform the “ill”––the
means not being subject to it. The Law was a bad things the Law prohibits. Christians avoid them, not
“schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.”––Ga 3:24. because they are under the Commandments, but because
they love others.
Once Christ came, Christians were “not children of the
bondwoman [Hagar, her children being literal Israelites There are laws recorded in the Christian Scriptures that
under the Law covenant], but of the free [Sarah, the are similar to some of the Ten-Commandment laws. They
Jerusalem above, her children being spiritual Israelites are to be kept because they are part of the body of
under the new covenant].” (Ga 4:31) They were not to be Christian law, not because they are similar to the Ten
subject to Hagar’s law but to Sarah’s. Commandments. Consider the following examples.


Commandments Texts Christian Scriptures

1 No other gods Exodus 20:3 Matthew 4:10
2 No idolatry Exodus 20:4, 5 1 John 5:21
3 Not disrespect God’s name Exodus 20:7 John 17:26; Romans 10:13
4 Sabbath Exodus 20:8-11
5 Honour parents Exodus 20:12 Ephesians 6:1
6 No murder Exodus 20:13 Romans 13:9
7 No adultery Exodus 20:14 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10
8 No stealing Exodus 20:15 Ephesians 4:28
9 No lying Exodus 20:16 Colossians 3:9
10 No coveting Exodus 20:17 Ephesians 5:3

Of course, the requirements of Christian law in the last 21 (17 sins); and 2 Timothy 3:1-4 (18 sins), Sabbath-
column above do not exhaust that law. The commands breaking is never listed as a sin. Why not?
applying to Christians are incorporated in “the law of
It cannot be because the newly formed Christian church
Christ,” based on the example and teachings of Christ
already understood the need to keep the Sabbath because
himself. Some are framed positively, as commands to do
many of the first-century converts to Christianity were
certain things. (He 10:24, 25) Others are framed
Gentiles with no background in Sabbath-keeping. Many
negatively, as prohibitions.––Ro 6:12; 12:11.
were slaves for whom the Sabbath would have been a
Apart from direct laws, there are principles that apply in great challenge, given the fact that they had few rights in
all circumstances. Christians are certainly not without the Roman empire. It would be expected that the
law, even without the Ten Commandments. importance of the Sabbath would be thoroughly
explained in the letters to the churches in Rome, Corinth,
4.17 No Sabbath Law after Pentecost Galatia and so forth. But no, it is not.
However, the interesting exception in the “Christian Some Jewish Christians continued to observe certain
Scriptures” column is the Sabbath. Why? For certain, it requirements of the Law, including the Sabbath and
is not because Jehovah’s Witnesses have something circumcision. (Ac 21:20, 21, 24, 25) This helps to explain
against the Sabbath as Bob imagines. The Witnesses why some Christians judged one day above others while
regularly engage in public preaching and abstain from others did not.––Ro 14:5.
blood transfusions, things that are often far more difficult
than simply going to church and refraining from work Some Jewish Christians, including some former Gentile
one day a week. If the Witnesses were to find a clear proselytes to Judaism, may have reserved the seventh day
command in the law of Christ to keep the Sabbath they for spiritual purposes because of their cultural
would have no hesitation in keeping it. background or even because the local civil law required
it, even though there was no Christian requirement for it.
However, after Pentecost, there is no such command in Provided they did not insist that Sabbath observance was
the Bible. In fact, there are just two references to required by God, there was no objection to this in the
“Sabbath” between Romans and Revelation––one same way that there can be no objection to Saturday
concerning a spiritual sabbath in Hebrews and the other meetings today.
calling the weekly Sabbath a shadow that is blotted out,
taken out of the way, in Colossians.22 Compare this with However, showing that keeping the Sabbath at that time
Seventh-day Adventist literature which fairly overflows was not a divine requirement, Paul allows each Christian
with articles encouraging Sabbath-keeping. to decide about the day for himself. “Let every man be
fully convinced in his own mind.” (Ro 14:5b) The
Not only is there no positive command to keep the Adventist Clear Word paraphrase would have it that this
Sabbath after Pentecost, but failing to keep the Sabbath text refers to ceremonial holy days rather than the
is never described as a sin. In fact, although there are long Sabbath, but in doing so it goes beyond the original
lists of other sins in the Christian Scriptures at Mark 7:21, Greek text.
22 (13 sins); Romans 1:29-31 (19 sins); Galatians 5:19-

22Seventh-day Adventists do not allow that the latter reference is to weekly Sabbaths. If this were true, the references would reduce
from two to one. See point 4.12.


If the Sabbath were required to please God, even those Moses convicts the Israelites of their sins and the Sabbath
Jews and proselytes who had become Christians and is not even mentioned, although it would likely have been
whose custom was to keep the Sabbath would have one of their many sins.––See also Nu 14:10, 11; 16:2;
needed reminding that Sabbath-keeping was still 20:2-4; 25:1-3.
important despite the end of the Law.
How, though, can we answer Lorna? What indications
When the question was raised about whether are there that the creative days are thousands of years in
circumcision was still a requirement, the apostles and length? At Hebrews 4:4-9 Paul traces the ‘rest’ of God
elders in Jerusalem issued a clear statement about which first mentioned at Genesis 2:2 through a comment by
of the Mosaic laws should still be kept. This would have David at Psalm 95:11 to his own time in the first Christian
been a perfect opportunity to reinforce the Sabbath, but century.
nothing.––Ac 15:19, 20, 28, 29.
In Genesis, each of the first six creative days is spoken of
Adventists usually explain this by saying that the as ending. A formula like “and the evening and the
requirements mentioned in that statement were not morning were the first day ... second day ... sixth day” is
exhaustive, that there were many other laws that used to mark the completion of each day.––Ge 1:5.
Christians must keep and that the Sabbath was one of
For the seventh day, however, there is no terminating
statement. Instead, we simply read: “And on the seventh
However, the laws under discussion in Acts chapter 15 day God ended his work which he had made; and he
were not just any laws but specifically those recorded by rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had
Moses and read aloud in synagogues each week. (Ac made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified
15:5, 21, 24) Naturally, among them were laws about the it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which
Sabbath because, although God himself wrote the Ten God created and made.” Does the mean that the seventh
Commandments on stone tables, Moses wrote both day was not completed in the same way that the other six
Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21 where those days were completed? That is the implication.
Commandments are recorded for us to read. Of the laws
Bob is critical of the New World Translation at Genesis
that Moses wrote, the only “necessary things” to observe
2:2. He says it “changed” the text “from the past tense to
were regarding idolatry, fornication and blood. (Ac
a continuous tense.” (GCT, pages 98, 99) If Bob means
15:28) The Sabbath was not regarded as vital, necessary
that the New World Translation changed the King James
for Gentile converts.––Ac 15:3.
Version’s rendering of the verb “rested” to “proceeded to
Sabbath-keeping was really not an issue in the early rest,” he is wrong. The translators of the New World
church. There is no proof that the early church as a whole Translation were never in the business of changing the
was ever required to keep or ever did keep a weekly King James Version. They were only concerned with the
Sabbath day. true meaning of the original Hebrew verb and how to
render it accurately into English. So presumably Bob’s
4.18 A 7,000-Year Sabbath? criticism means to say that they changed the true meaning
Lorna asks for proof that each of the seven creative days of the Hebrew.
were 7,000 years in length. (GCT, page 71) Although it The truth is that there was never any effort to ‘change’
was true in times past that Jehovah’s Witnesses taught the meaning of the Hebrew verb. The New World
that each creative day was this long, they are now not so Translation is accurate when it renders the verse this
specific. So we find this comment in 1988. way.
“The Bible does not specify the length of each of the “And by the seventh day God came to the completion
creative periods.”––Insight on the Scriptures, Volume of his work that he had made, and he proceeded to rest
1, page 545. [or, ‘began to rest’] on the seventh day from all his
Yet there remains clear evidence that the days of creation work that he had made.”––Ge 2:2.
were at least several thousands of years in length. These New World Translation renderings––“proceeded
Hebrews 3:19–4:11 is the relevant passage about the to rest” and “began to rest”––accurately convey the true
seventh creative day and tracks it as continuous for four sense of the verb. The Hebrew verb for “rested” is in a
thousand years. It also discusses the disobedience of the verbal state called the imperfect state––a state that
Israelites for forty years. denotes incomplete action, or action in progress.
Bob argues that the issue in the wilderness was Sabbath- Describing the imperfect state, James Washington Watts
breaking. (GCT, pages 72, 73) This is incorrect because writes this in his work A Distinctive Translation of
in Deuteronomy chapter 1, at the end of the forty years,


Genesis, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1963), pages 129, “Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter
130. therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered
not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain
“The fundamental characteristic of all imperfects is
day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as
incompleteness … The incompleteness of these
it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not
imperfects, when they are in the indicative mood,
your hearts.”––He 4:6, 7.
appears either in a progressive form or a frequentative
form. The context is relied upon to indicate one or the Note Paul’s use of “To day” because it is vital to
other, for the structure of the verb is the same in both understanding the sabbath into which Christians “enter.”
cases. If the context indicates a single act or state, the It is a day that was called “To day” in David’s day. (Ps
force is progressive. The action is pictured in the 95:7) The very same day remained open for Christians to
process of development. In such case the primary idea enter in the first century.
of the verb in English is not sufficient to convey its
“There remaineth therefore a rest [a Sabbath] to the
full meaning. The addition of an auxiliary like
people of God.”––He 4:9.
‘proceed’ or an adverb like ‘gradually’ is needed if the
translator sees an occasion for bringing out the full Paul’s quotations from Genesis chapter 2 and Psalm 95
force. When a narrative is unfolding rapidly and the indicate that the rest day that “remaineth” is the Genesis
sequence of events is more important than the vivid 2:2 day. Is it a weekly Sabbath day as Bob suggests?––
portrayal of progress in some particular event, the GCT, page 72.
translator may depend solely upon conjunctive
adverbs like ‘afterward’ to indicate both sequence and No, because using the very same expression “To day” in
progress. Progress in this case is not brought out fully. the context, Paul says:
There is merely movement from one action or state to “Exhort one another daily [not weekly], while it is
another without definite portrayal of progress within called To day.”––He 3:13.
the second. The use of this limited translation means
that the translator sees no special reason for bringing To exhort and be exhorted to faithfulness is not
out the idea of progress more fully at that point. The something we need just weekly. Christians always need
account in English would become tedious if he did. On it. The Sabbath of Hebrews 3:13; 4:9 is therefore a
the other hand, if the translator sees that the account is “daily” Sabbath––a continual rest from works of self-
enriched by bringing out the full force of the verb, he justification, a continual rest of faith.
is at liberty to do so. If the context indicates more than Faith, after all, was the topic in Paul’s mind when he
one occurrence of the act or state, the force is introduced the word “To day” at Hebrews 3:13 in the first
frequentative. Again the primary idea of the verb in place, and faith or lack of it remains the topic throughout
English is not sufficient to convey the full meaning. Paul’s discussion of this special Sabbath rest. (He 3:12,
The addition of an auxiliary like ‘continued’ or an 19; 4:2, 3) According to Hebrews 4:10, entering into
adverb like ‘frequently’ is needed to reveal the full God’s rest includes resting from our own works. The
meaning of repetition or customary occurrence.” majority of Adventist scholarship concedes that Hebrews
This, together with the fact that the termination formula 4:9 refers at least partially to a Sabbath rest from works
used for the other six days is not used for the seventh, of self-justification.
means that the seventh creative day was not completed in A concession like this actually prevents it referring to a
one 24-hour period but continues. It is clear that when weekly Sabbath because the language of the text is
grammar and context are considered, the New World specific. “Rest” is singular. “There remaineth therefore a
Translation rendering has not “changed” Genesis 2:2. rest to the people of God.” There is just one Sabbath for
Consistent with these facts, Paul’s inspired argument is Christians that remains. If that Sabbath is a spiritual rest
that the seventh day is continuing. from works of self-justification, there is no place for a
weekly Sabbath because there would then be two
“For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on Sabbaths, one the outward sign of the other.
this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all
his works. [Ge 2:2] And in this place again, If they Bob believes that the New World Translation’s
shall enter into my rest. [Ps 95:11]”––He 4:4, 5. “proceeded to rest” and “has been resting” at Genesis 2:2,
3 contradicts its translation of Hebrews 4:4, 10, “God
He then says that there remains the opportunity to ‘enter rested” and “just as God did.” But the translators did not
into’ the very same day mentioned at Genesis chapter 2 ‘forget to alter the tense’ at Hebrews 4:4, 10 as Bob
and Psalm 95. suggests. The verbs in both Genesis chapter 2 and
Hebrews chapter 4 are translated accurately. In Genesis


chapter 2 they reflect the Hebrew imperfect state same day (“To day”) was still ongoing in David’s and
denoting continuing action as already discussed. In Paul’s day, that seventh day of the creative week was at
Hebrews chapter 4 they reflect the Greek aorist tense. least 4,000 years long. And according to Paul’s comment,
What does this mean? “it remaineth that some must enter therein,” so the
seventh day had longer still to run.––He 4:6.
Bob’s impression that the two contradict each other
shows that he misunderstands the meaning of the aorist The first six creative days had an ‘evening and morning.’
by limiting it to action that had been completed in the They were completed. (Ge 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31) This
past. According to W. Powers, the aorist can include “the formula was not used of the seventh day because it was
point of commencing ... an action.” (Learn to Read the not complete. When the sixth day ended, “God saw every
Greek New Testament, 4.31, page 51) One textbook calls thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
this “the ingressive aorist.” (Ge 1:31) But this was not said of the seventh day. It will
not be possible to call the seventh day “very good” until
“The Ingressive Aorist. The action signified by the
God’s original purpose for the earth is at last realized at
aorist may be contemplated in its beginning. This use
the end of the Millennium.
is commonly employed with verbs which signify a
state or condition, and denote entrance into that state Today we are more than 6,000 years from the creation of
or condition.”––A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Adam, who was created late on the sixth day. Sometime
Testament, H.E. Dana and J.R. Mantey, page 196. after his creation the seventh day began. By now we must
be nearly 6,000 years into that day. Allowing for the
Are the verbs at Hebrews 4:4, 10 verbs like this? Are they
1,000 years to come before the “very good” earth is
“verbs which signify a state or condition, and denote
realized, 7,000 years was thought to be a reasonable
entrance into that state or condition”? Yes, they are,
calculation for the length of the seventh day. If the
exactly. In verse 4 the verb is “rested”––denoting the
creative days were of equal length, they would all be
state of being at rest––and verses 3, 5 specifically
7,000-year days. But the Bible is not specific about this.
mention ‘entering’ this rest state. Verse 10 also mentions
entering the same rest. The texts exactly meet the 4.18.1 Counter Arguments
requirements of the ingressive aorist.
As Ron Roberts, the Witness, says: “many times ‘day’
This means that Hebrews 4:4, 10 does not refer to a refers to long periods of time.” (GCT, page 70) In fact,
completed rest but to the commencement or beginning of this is the case right there in the context at Genesis 2:4.
a rest, in agreement with the imperfect state of the
Hebrew verbs at Genesis 2:2, 3. Scholars F. Blass and A. Bob counters that this is never the case in Scripture where
Debrunner confirm that the ingressive aorist emphasizes an ordinal is placed before the word day, such as “first”
the “beginning ... of the action.” (A Greek Grammar of day. However, there is an exception. Some Adventist
the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, scholars believe that “the third day” at Hosea 6:2 is a
page 166) Therefore, “commencing” and “beginning” are figurative day, not a literal 24-hour day. So Adult
perfectly compatible with God’s beginning an extended Sabbath School Lessons explains:
state of rest. “Why does God tear us? The text says, ‘That he may
If Bob had checked Hebrews 4:10 closely, he would have heal us.’ Verse 2 expands this thought: ‘After two days
seen that the Christian entering into God’s rest “also hath he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up,
ceased [Greek, katepausen] from his own works.” The that we may live before him.’ Here is a prophecy often
Greek word is the same word used of God at Hebrews applied to Christ’s resurrection on the third day, but
4:4: “God did rest [katepausen].” If the Christian rest of it’s also talking about our experience. We may be
faith takes place over many years as Adventists would raised up to a new life with Jesus and ‘live before him.’
agree that it does, it should consistently mean something So in verse 1 we find the call to return and in verse 2
similar for God. God’s katepausen began when he rested the promise of revival.”––Adult Sabbath School
from creation and continues on over many years. Lessons: Love Never Fails, April, May and June 1988,
page 39. (Emphasis theirs.)
Bob’s criticism is unfounded. Genesis 2:2, 3 and
Hebrews 4:4, 10 are consistent both in their original The same Sabbath school lesson states that this ‘third
languages and in the New World Translation. day’ revival is still future for the Adventist Church.
(Ibid., page 43) It is certainly no 24-hour revival.
Having said this, Jehovah’s Witnesses concede that the
Bible is not specific about the length of the seven creative However, even if this Adventist explanation of Hosea’s
days. It is reasonable that the days were equal in length. “third day” were wrong, there are many instances of
Because God rested from Genesis 2:2 and because the exceptional references in the Bible. There is no statement
in God’s Word that says the interpretation of “first day,”


“second day” and so on must be restricted to the way therefore allows for an ongoing creation of vegetation,
other similar terms are used much later in the Scriptures. starting on Day 3 and continuing on into later days.
More important is conformity to the apostle’s inspired
For example, as late as Day 6, after the creation of Adam,
commentary on the seventh day at Hebrews 3:19–4:11
the account says that the Creator “planted a garden in
discussed above.
Eden” and “made to grow out of the ground every tree
Another argument Bob raises is that “evening and desirable to one’s sight and good for food.” (Ge 2:8, 9)
morning” would imply periods of 3,500 years of darkness This may mean that certain varieties of vegetation were
and light, and that vegetation could not have survived not created until then. As an example of ongoing
under those circumstances. Bob does not properly creation, Genesis 1:20, 21 tells about the creation of the
account for the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses view the “fowl [Hebrew, ohph],” a term that can include flying
term “day” figuratively, and so its component parts–– insects, on Day 5. Yet on Day 6 after the creation of
“evening and morning”––are also understood Adam Genesis 2:19 says: “the LORD God formed
figuratively. The Witnesses certainly do not teach 3,500 [imperfect state, literally ‘continued to form’] ... every
years of literal darkness and light. By the time Moses fowl [same word, ohph] of the air.” This seems to
wrote the book of Genesis the expression “evening and confirm that, once started, the creative process begun on
morning” was the semantic equivalent of a day. ––Ge one day continued into subsequent days.
49:27; Nu 9:15; De 16:4.
The imperfect state of the verbs in Genesis chapters 1 and
The King James Version translates the 2,300 “evenings 2 shows that Jehovah exercised his creative abilities
and mornings” at Daniel 8:14 as “days” and Adventists gradually, which was his divine prerogative. Bob’s
accept this meaning. In fact, they take these “evenings objection about pollination falters because it is certain
and mornings” figuratively, representing 2,300 years, but that the imperfect state of the Hebrew verb is not the same
they never imagine these 2,300 years to be six months of as the simple English past tense. It implies gradual action.
darkness and six months of light. When a “day” is taken
Perhaps, and no one can be sure of the exact order, God
figuratively, its “evening and morning” should also be
‘began to create’ vegetation on Day 3 that did not require
taken figuratively. There was not 3,500 years of total
pollination or that could be pollinated by the wind. Later,
after the creation of flying creatures including bees and
What about the argument that vegetation created on Day insects beginning on Day 5, he may have continued to
3 would not have had sufficient light to grow? (Ge 1:11- create vegetation that needed this form of pollination.
13) In fact, “light” existed much earlier, on Day 1. That The creation of vegetation and flying creatures then
“light” translates the Hebrew word ’ohr and refers to continued into Day 6 as suggested by Genesis 2:8, 9, 19.
light generally rather than to a specific light source. These are possible solutions to the problems Bob raises.
Vegetation would have been able to grow in this diffused
light just as it does today under cloud cover. (Ge 1:3-5) 4.19 International Date Line Conventions
The “lights” that appeared at Genesis 1:14-18 on Day 4, Adventists arbitrarily accept the International Date Line
on the other hand, were ma’ohr––sources of light, the sun (IDL), the 180o meridian with deviations, as the point at
and the moon––which became visible in the which the Sabbath begins. Despite claiming that “the
“firmament,” or atmosphere, of the clearer sky of Day 4. Biblical Sabbath was established by God at the time of
Bob’s imagined difficulty does not exist. There was creation,” that is, at Eden, “the Seventh-day Adventist
diffused light reaching the earth from Day 1. pioneers coming to the Pacific understood … the 180th
Bob’s also argues that vegetation created on Day 3 could meridian to be the natural date line and chose to keep the
not have been pollinated if bees and other creatures that Sabbath in accordance with that.”––Sabbath in the
assist in pollination were not created until thousands of Pacific Around the Dateline: Statement of Principles and
years later. (GCT, page 71) Some 85 percent of flowering Considerations, P. Petersen, [Seventh-day Adventist]
plants are at least partly dependent on insect pollination, Biblical Research Committee.
but not all vegetation requires pollination. At Genesis The 180th meridian was an artificial construct adopted at
1:11, after mentioning grass, seed plants and fruit trees, the 1884 International Meridian Conference. The
the Bible says: “and it was so.” The Hebrew verb for Adventist report concedes that accepting the IDL as the
“was” is in the same imperfect state mentioned above, starting point for the Sabbath day is a human decision.
indicating ongoing activity, so another translation might
be: “it came [‘gradually’] to be so.”23 The imperfect state

23 See point 4.18.


“The date line, which is necessary because the earth is the seventh day that begins on Eden’s longitude. They are
round, is not established by any divine principle, but sixth-day Adventists. Why should the Sabbath begin at
solely on the basis of historical and practical human the arbitrary International Date Line?
In Appendix 3, 77 questions about the Commandments
Ellen G. White herself taught that the Sabbath began at and the Sabbath are raised, listing in bold texts that are
Eden. used by Adventists, and with our suggested answers.
“The Sabbath and the family were alike instituted in
Eden.”––Education, page 250. (Emphasis ours.)
In the mid-nineteenth century, most Protestant
If the Sabbath originally began there, even today it should denominations were observing Sunday as the ‘Lord’s
start from there and follow the sunset as it progresses day.’ It was often referred to as the Sabbath. Many early
westward from the Middle East, ignoring any arbitrary Adventists noted that the seventh day of the Hebrew
International Date Line. The IDL has caused all kinds of week was not Sunday but Friday/Saturday and they
difficulties for Adventists. began promoting the observance of that day. They should
Because of the deviation of the line from 180o, Adventists have examined the more fundamental question, whether
in Wallis and Futuna, Western Samoa, Tonga and certain any literal Sabbath observance is required of Christians.
islands of Kiribati observe a Sunday Sabbath. There has If God no longer requires it, the question about the
been discussion, debate and division among Adventists particular day is moot. An examination of the Christian
over which day to keep in this part of the world. writings from Romans to Revelation shows a clear trend
away from an emphasis on the Sabbath. The spiritual
Worse, all Adventists living west of the Date Line, Sabbath required of spiritual Israel according to Hebrews
including Australian Adventists, keep the Sabbath before chapters 3, 4, not the literal Sabbath once required of
those living in the Middle East, where it is supposed to fleshly Israel.
have begun. So they are actually keeping the day before



Answered Prayer
In Channel chapter 7, Lorna, with a limited “is what the Bible means when it says, ‘Flesh and
understanding of the issues, “suddenly” prays for the blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom.’”––GCT, page
truth and then opens her Bible at random. Landing at 59.
Romans chapter 8, she concludes that she has been born
Lorna thinks “flesh and blood” refers to the carnal,
again. (GCT, pages 58, 59) This is called bibliomancy,
ungodly man, and that a person who is ‘born again’ is the
opening at random to a Bible passage expecting that the
contrasting spiritual man. However, as mentioned at
text that first meets the eye is special guidance from God.
point 2.2, “flesh and blood” never signifies the carnal
Two things can be said about bibliomancy. First, it is a man in the sense that she imagines.
superstitious practice without any guarantee that God is
The other references to ‘flesh and blood’ in the Christian
involved in guiding the person to the particular passage.
Scriptures prove this. At Matthew 16:17, “flesh and
The Roman Catholic ‘Saint’ Augustine engaged in it.
blood” has nothing to do with the carnal, sinful man. It
(Confessions, Chapter XII, paragraph 2) Many who
simply refers to humanity. At Galatians 1:16 “flesh and
practise it have become convinced of doctrines that
blood” also refers to humans. And at Ephesians 6:12
Seventh-day Adventists would deny. Second, once a
“blood and flesh” is contrasted with “wicked spirit
person finds their so-called ‘truth’ this way, the error can
forces,” showing that it simply refers to humans.
be impossible to shake.
As for the text that Lorna quotes, 1 Corinthians 15:50
Instead of bibliomancy, the Scriptural way to find truth is
uses “flesh and blood” as part of a contrast between two
described by Jesus at John 14:26.
kinds of bodies, one “physical [literally, ‘soulical’]” and
“The Comforter ... shall teach you all things, and bring the other “spiritual.” (1Co 15:44, 45) It is not until the
all things to your remembrance.” second half of verse 50 that sin––“corruption”––is
mentioned as a factor in addition to the comment about
Conviction to Christian truth is based on teaching and the
“flesh and blood,” as indicated by the word “neither.”
holy spirit’s recalling that teaching to the memory, not on
bibliomancy. “Flesh and blood” is a reference to humans who in their
physical bodies cannot inherit the heavenly realm of
It is clear that the holy spirit did not bring all things to
God’s kingdom. It has no reference to the pre-born-again
Lorna’s memory because she had not even considered
state as Lorna thinks.
many of the Scriptural points that we have discussed
before she decided in favour of Adventism. She had not 5.1 Born Again
studied the Trinity or the many other Adventist teachings
that appear later in Price’s booklet, for example. There On page 59 it is said that a person must be born again of
are also the issues that many Adventists themselves holy spirit to be saved. Bob also says that the “great
oppose, like the sanctuary doctrine and Adventist crowd” of Revelation 7:9 is born again because “all the
participation in war that Lorna had not considered. saved have a heavenly hope.” (GCT, page 60) The Bible
does not teach these things.
Bob certainly did not tell her about the changes in Ellen
G. White’s writings. And we wonder how Lorna must Jesus said: “Except a man be born of water and of the
have felt as a mother after 1970 as doctors in Adventist Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (Joh
hospitals began aborting innocent, unborn babies. 24 Bob 3:5) At John 3:3 he calls this being “born again.” The
probably did not tell her about this disgraceful state of Jews were familiar with the idea of being born again.
affairs either. They applied the idea of being born again––rebirth––to
Gentiles who converted to Judaism because for them it
Even after her prayer and reading of Romans chapter 8, was the beginning of a new life. So when Jesus spoke
Lorna still misinterprets the Scriptures. She says being about being born again, Nicodemus would naturally have
‘born again’ expected something similar. What was this new life?

24 See point 1.5.18.


The Scriptures teach that those who are born again in a Understanding the 144,000. On pages 8 and 9 he
Christian sense are sealed with the holy spirit. So 1 Peter correctly identifies the Israel of Revelation 7:4-8 as
1:3, 4 says: “God ... hath begotten us again ... to an “spiritual Israel or the church.” All Adventists would
inheritance ... reserved in heaven for you.” So those who agree with that, but then explaining why the number
are begotten or born again receive as an inheritance the 144,000 is literal, he says:
hope of a new heavenly life. All would agree that being
“Are the other numbers in Revelation literal or just
born again is connected with a guarantee or promise of
spiritual? For instance, will there be 12 gates and 12
life in heaven.
foundations? Are there really 12 different kinds of
Now note that Ephesians 1:13 adds another detail. “Ye fruit on the tree of life? Yes, of course. There are many
were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the prophetic time periods given in Revelation, but the
earnest of our inheritance.” The “seal” is essential for numbers are not just nebulas [sic] numerical symbols
those who have that heavenly inheritance. This is ––they are precise measures of time. The numbers
logically so because the seal is the holy spirit and it is by would be useless for reckoning if they were merely
the action of holy spirit that a person is born again in the symbolic. All of our understandings about the
first place. dimensions of the New Jerusalem are based on the
assumption that these numbers have real literal
Summarizing, a person is (1) born again, then (2)
value.”––Page 16.
receives a heavenly inheritance of which (3) the holy
spirit is the seal. Only this person has the hope of going Then Batchelor answers Price’s objection as to whether
to heaven. A person must be sealed to go to heaven. it is consistent to have a spiritual Israel and a literal
In Revelation chapter 7, two groups are mentioned, the
144,000 and the “great multitude.” There are important “Now you might be thinking, ‘How can you say that
distinctions between them. For example, the “great the names are symbolic and the number is literal?’
multitude” is introduced “after” the 144,000. (Re 7:9) Simple, Jesus did. It doesn’t seem to matter to the Lord
The word “number” is also distinguishes the two groups what tribes the 12 Apostles sprang from, but it did
from each other. The first group has a definite number–– matter that there were 12 of them. Also remember that
a fixed and exact number, 144,000. The second group, while most of the numbers in Revelation depict a real
the “great multitude,” has no definite number––“no man value, all the proper names in Revelation are symbols.
could number” it. (Re 7:9) Then there is their spiritual (e.g., The Lamb, The Dragon, the Lion, Balaam,
nationality. The 144,000 are from the 12 tribes of Jezebel, etc.).”––Page 17.
(spiritual) Israel, but the second group is out of “all
After mentioning other factors, Batchelor concludes:
nations, tribes and tongues.” In these ways the two
groups are different from and contrasted with each other. “For these reasons and others, I believe the number
144,000 is a precise figure.”––Page 22.
One of the most important differences between the two
groups is that only one is sealed. Revelation 7:3-8 Clearly, Price would disagree with his fellow Adventist
describes the 144,000 as sealed, while Revelation 7:9-17 on this point. However, Batchelor should be the least of
does not describe the “great multitude” as sealed. Given Price’s worries. Price never tires of pointing out
the other distinctions between these two groups, it is Jehovah’s Witnesses’ ‘changes’ and ’contradictions.’ So
difficult to believe that this fact too is not significant. If, how would he account for the following comments by
as we have said, only the sealed go to heaven, the only Uriah Smith in the Adventist magazine Review and
conclusion can be that the “great multitude” is not sealed Herald?
for heavenly life.
“The people of ‘Israel’ are not confined to the
Price challenges whether 144,000 is a literal number. descendants of Abraham after the flesh, but … true
Israelites … Jews inwardly (Rom. 2:29) … And all
“Revelation 7:4-8 states the 144,000 are 12,000 from
this pertains to Christians, who are in consequence of
each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Is this literal or spiritual?
their relation to Christ, ‘Abraham’s seed, and heirs,
To be consistent it can not [sic] be both! But the
and heirs according to the promise.’ … The number,
Society teaches it is a literal number of spiritual
144,000, must mean a definite number, composed of
Israelites.”––OF, page 14.
just so many individuals. It cannot stand for a larger
It is consistent, though, so consistent that in 2002 the but indefinite number, for in verse 9 another company
Adventist parachurch organization Amazing Facts is introduced which is indefinite in its proportions, and
Incorporated published a book on the subject by Doug hence is spoken of as ‘a great multitude, which no man
Batchelor entitled Who Will Sing the Song? could number.’ If the 144,000 were designed to


represent such an indefinite number, the John would “Because the minding of the flesh means enmity with
have said, in verse 4, ‘And there were sealed a great God, for it is not under subjection to the law of God,
multitude, which no man could number, out of all the nor, in fact, can it be. So those who are in harmony
tribes of the children of Israel.’ But instead of this, he with the flesh cannot please God. However, you are in
says, 144,000, twelve thousand from each tribe a harmony, not with the flesh, but with the spirit, if
number, which can easily be enumerated.”––August God’s spirit truly dwells in you.”
10, 1897, pages 1-4.
The way she understands it, if a person is not born again
Smith understands this as a spiritual Israel numbering “he doesn’t want to keep the law of God”––the Ten-
literally 144,000, exactly the explanation that Price Commandment Law. She believes that Jehovah’s
criticizes in Jehovah’s Witnesses. Uriah Smith and Doug Witnesses do not keep the Ten Commandments because
Batchelor are not the only ones to note the evidence for a they are not born again.
literal 144,000. Lexicographer E.W. Bullinger observed
Her conclusion is not logical because the Governing
this over 100 years ago.
Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is composed entirely of
“It is the simple statement of fact: a definite number in men who are born again. They oppose keeping the Ten-
contrast with the indefinite number in this very Commandment Law because of the Biblical evidence,
chapter.”––The Apocalypse or “The Day of the Lord,” not because they are not born again. Of course,
page 282. Adventists would not concede that they are born again,
so we need to examine the Romans passage carefully.
More recently, R.L. Thomas wrote:
What is “the law” at Romans 8:7? Is it the Ten-
“The case for symbolism is exegetically weak. … It is
Commandment Law? In the previous chapter Paul does
a definite number [at 7:4] in contrast with the
include the Ten Commandments as part of “the Law.”
indefinite number of 7:9. If it is taken symbolically, no
(Ro 7:7, cp. 13:9) On the other hand, he also uses “the
number in the book can be taken literally.”––
Law” in his letters to include the so-called ‘Ceremonial
Revelation: An Exegetical Commentary, Volume 1,
Law.’25 (1Co 9:8, 9; Ga 3:10, 12; He 7:5, 11, 28; 8:4;
page 474.
9:22; 10:8) So if Paul were referring to the Law given to
There is also the fact that Adventists themselves mix Moses when he speaks of “the law of God” at Romans
literal and spiritual interpretations in Revelation. At 8:7 he would most likely mean the whole law––‘Moral’
Revelation 1:11 and in Revelation chapters 2, 3 they and ‘Ceremonial.’
consider the literal 7 local churches in Asia Minor to be
However, he has already stated clearly in the previous
prophetic of the literal 7 periods of the symbolic church
chapter in speaking of the Ten Commandments that “we
(that is, the international church, not local churches) over
have been discharged from the Law.” (Ro 7:6, 7) It is
the following 2,000 years.
hardly likely that he would say on the one hand that we
At Revelation 11:2, 3 Adventists interpret the “holy city” have been discharged from this Law and then almost
to be symbolic of the saints, but the two witnesses to be immediately that we are subject to it.
literally two. At Revelation 20:2, 3 Adventists interpret
“The law of God” at Romans 8:7 must therefore refer to
the “dragon” and the “serpent” to be symbolic of Satan
a different law, one for Christians. The context supports
but the 1,000 years to be literal. So the mixing of the
this. In Romans 7:1-20 “the law” means the Law that
literal and symbolic is not as unusual as Price believes.
included the Ten Commandments, as verse 7 shows.
The facts require that those born again must be sealed by According to Romans 7:5, that Law applied to those who
the holy spirit, and the total number sealed are 144,000. “were in the flesh,” figuratively. However, Romans 7:6
The number must be literal because it is contrasted with flags a change from the authority of the “letter” of that
another unnumbered group. old Law, which had been like a husband to them, to a new
slavery under a new husband or master “by the spirit.”––
5.2 The ‘Light’ on Lorna’s Page Cp. Ro 7:1.
Lorna believes she has been guided through prayer to Note the contrast between flesh and spirit––the flesh
Romans 8:7-9 which she quotes from the New World signifying the imperfection of those who had been
Translation. (GCT, page 59) The passage reads: subject to the old Law, and the spirit the holy spirit

25Recall that Jesus also included both the ‘Moral Law’ and the ‘Ceremonial Law’ under the one description, “the Law.”––Mt 5:17,
21, 27, 31, 33, 38.


making them subjects of a new law as Christians. Which Timothy 2:14.––Cp. Ex 16:9; Le 24:8; Ps 11:4, 5; Pr
new law? 15:3.
Romans 7:21-25 mentions various laws, but the most The great multitude is described as “standing before the
important is “God’s law” which a few verses later at throne.” This is a contrast to others mentioned at
Romans 8:2 is called “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Revelation 6:17 who cannot stand and are to be
Jesus.” It is Christian law, the law binding Christians to destroyed. (New World Translation) “Standing” signifies
him. This is consistent with the fact that Christ will be the great multitude’s survival at the time of the “great
their new husband.––2Co 11:2. tribulation.”––Re 7:14.
With a new husband there is naturally a new law. All of Bob argues that the great multitude at Revelation 7:9 is
God’s requirements for Christians comprise his law for the same as the “much people” at Revelation 19:1 which
them and they are described variously as “the law of is certainly “in heaven.” As Bob says, the “great
Christ,” “the law of faith,” “the law of God,” “the law of multitude” and the “much people” come “from the same
the spirit,” and the ‘changed’ law.––Ro 3:27; 7:22; 8:2; word,”––actually words, plural––okhlos polys. (GCT,
Ga 6:2; He 7:12. page 60) However, this expression “great multitude”
does not apply uniquely to one group. It is used in the
This means that, by saying, “the minding of the flesh
Scriptures of other crowds. (Mt 14:14; 20:29; 26:47; Ac
means enmity with God, for it is not under subjection to
6:7) There is no proof that any of these multitudes are
the law of God, nor, in fact, can it be,” Paul means the
new law to which Christians are subject.––Ro 8:7.
More than that, there is a good reason to conclude that
Lorna and Bob have failed to follow Paul’s inspired
the multitudes at Revelation 7:9 and Revelation 19:1 are
argument as he plots the change from the letter of the Law
not the same crowd. It is from something not in the texts.
that included the Ten Commandments to the law of
At both Revelation 7:9; 19:1 the crowd is “a great
Christ delivered by the spirit.
crowd,” not ‘the great crowd.’ There is no Greek definite
5.3 The Great Multitude article––“the”––in either text. Why would this omission
be significant? If both texts referred to the same crowd
Who is the “great multitude”? Bob argues that the fact we would expect the second reference at Revelation 19:1
that the “great crowd” are “before the throne” proves that to have the definite article. This is called the ‘anaphoric’
they are a heavenly group.––Re 7:9, 15; GCT, page 60. use of the article.
The Greek reads: enopion tou thronou. Unfortunately for As mentioned earlier, D.B Wallace explains the
Bob, he has not checked his facts because the very same anaphoric use in his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics:
expression appears in the Greek at Revelation 20:12, an Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament. It is where a
which Adventists apply to the wicked dead who never go definite article ‘refers back to a previous instance of a
to heaven! Although the King James Version uses the noun, which was usually introduced without the
expression stand “before God,” the Greek reads enopion article.’26 If okhlos polys at Revelation 19:1 had the
tou thronou, “before the throne,” exactly as at Revelation article––‘the much people’––it would likely have been a
7:9. Once again, Bob’s reasoning fails his inordinate zeal reference back to the earlier multitude at Revelation 7:9.
to disprove Jehovah’s Witnesses. But the article is missing and so it more likely that this
The Greek word for “before,” enopion, literally means “people” is a different multitude, nothing to do with the
“in the sight of.” So the phrase literally reads: “having “multitude” at Revelation 7:9.
stood in sight of the throne and in sight of the Lamb.” (Re Bob fails to take into consideration that there is another
7:9) This does not necessarily mean that the great “great multitude” at Revelation 19:6. Would he argue
multitude is in heaven. When Matthew 25:3 says “before that this crowd is the same as the one at Revelation 7:9?
[enopion] him shall be gathered all nations,” should we It cannot be the same because it cries out, “Let us be glad
expect that all wicked earthly nations will be taken to … for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife
heaven to face Christ? No, they will be “before” him–– has made herself ready.” (Re 19:7) This multitude is not
‘in his “sight’––while they are still on earth. the bride of Christ, but speaks of the bride in the third
In harmony with this, there are many other texts that use person. So if the great multitude of verse 6 is not the bride
enopion of people who are on the earth, texts such as of Christ, how can Bob be sure that the multitude of
Romans 14:22; Galatians 1:20; 1 Timothy 5:21; and 2 Revelation 19:1 is the multitude of Revelation 7:9 and

26 See also A.T. Robertson’s A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, page 762ff.


that both of them represent Christians who comprise the day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of
bride of Christ? the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven
were opened.” (Ge 7:11) And in the same scroll of which
There are other reasons too to believe that the great
2 Kings was anciently a part we read: “The heaven was
multitude is an earthly group. First, they come “out of the
black with clouds and wind.” (1Ki 18:45) A “whirlwind”
great tribulation.” (Re 7:14) A similar expression is used
would naturally operate in these atmospheric heavens of
of Joseph in Egypt being delivered “out of all his
clouds and wind, not in the heavens of God’s presence.
afflictions [literally, ‘out of all his tribulations’]” when he
survived the experience on earth. He did not survive by Elijah’s ascension took place early in king Jehoram’s
being taken away to heaven. reign. (2Ki 1:17; 2:11) It was long in the past by
Jehoram’s fifth year. (2Ki 8:16) Yet in the seventh or
Second, “the Lamb ... shall lead [the great multitude]
eighth year of Jehoram’s reign the king received a letter
unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away
from Elijah judging him for his wicked ways. (2Ch 21:5,
all tears from their eyes.” (Re 7:17) This means that after
12) Is it likely that the letter was written before Elijah’s
surviving the great tribulation they are still not perfect in
ascension and then held onto somewhere for 7 years until
heaven. They need to be led to life. This would not be
being delivered to Jehoram?
necessary if they were in heaven immortal, imperishable
and incorruptible. Hardly. Elijah’s letter is not written in the form of a
prophecy. Instead, it shows an awareness of Jehoram’s
5.4 No One to Went to Heaven Before Christ recent wicked conduct. (2Ch 21:12, 13) So Elijah must
On page 61, Channel claims to have proof that Enoch and have been alive in another earthly assignment well after
Elijah went to heaven before Jesus. Did any humans go his temporary ascension into earth’s atmosphere. Elijah
to heaven before Jesus? It is certain that, for one, “David did not permanently go to heaven as Bob supposes.
is not ascended into the heavens.”––Ac 2:29. Then Bob turns to Enoch. His text is Hebrews 11:5:
And while John the Baptist was still living, Jesus “Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and
remarked that there had been no man greater than him. was not found, because God had translated him.” Lorna
This comment would have to include Enoch and Elijah. says: “It’s pretty obvious he must be in heaven.” She
Enoch and Elijah were lesser than John. Then Jesus adds: draws that conclusion because, she says, “he did not die.”
“He that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than Bob agrees: “That’s right.”
he [John].” (Mt 11:11) Yes, before John died Jesus was Yet, Enoch did die. In the very same chapter of Hebrews,
able to say that John––and by implication Enoch and after mentioning Enoch, Paul says: “These all died in
Elijah––would not go to heaven, that the least of those faith.” (He 11:13) “All” included Enoch. And at Hebrews
with a heavenly reward would be greater in this respect. 11:40 Paul adds: “God having provided some better thing
However, if any should think this vague, in unmistakable for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
terms Jesus himself says: Enoch is either imperfect in heaven, an impossibility, or
is not there at all in harmony with Jesus’ statement at
“No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came John 3:13 that no one had gone to heaven until that time.
down from heaven.”––Joh 3:13.
How can Enoch’s translation or transference be
“No man” must include Enoch and Elijah. They were explained, and why would the Scripture say that he did
men. Neither they nor David, John the Baptist––any other not “see death”? Enoch lived for 365 years at a time when
man––went to heaven before Christ. For this reason, the people lived for 800 or 900 years. The Septuagint version
Bible calls Jesus “the forerunner” of those who go to uses the Greek word for ‘translated’ or ‘transferred’ at
heaven. (He 6:20) A forerunner goes first. Enoch and Genesis 5:24. It does not mean to translate to heaven as
Elijah could not go to heaven before the forerunner. its other usage shows.––De 27:17; 1Ki 21:25; Ps 45:3; Pr
Yet Bob insists: “Elijah is already there.” (GCT, page 61) 23:10; Isa 29:14; cp. Ac 7:16.
His text is 2 Kings 2:11: “Elijah went up by a whirlwind Evidently, God spared Enoch the pain of death so that he
into heaven.” Can this text contradict Jesus? No. It must did not “see”––was unaware of––his death. So Genesis
harmonize with the texts just discussed. The word 5:24 says: “he was not; for God took him.” Since
“heaven” is used not only of God’s personal presence but Hebrews 11:5 says he was “not found,” God must have
also of earth’s atmosphere in which birds fly. So in the allowed Enoch gently to slip into death and then disposed
creation account we read: “God called the firmament of his body as He did in Moses’ case.––De 34:5, 6; Jude
Heaven.”––Ge 1:8. 9.
At the time of the Flood we read: “In the six hundredth
year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth


At Psalm 37:36 it is said that a man who “passed away Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
… was not.” So the expression “was not” suggests that says:
Enoch died. (Cp. Job 7:21; 8:22; Ps 39:13; 103:16; Pr
“The verb suggests forceful endeavour.”––(1981),
12:7) And when Genesis 5:24 says “God took him,” it
Volume 3, page 208.
implies that Enoch died. “Took” translates the Hebrew
laqah and in other places refers to death, not to being The endeavour is not necessarily violent and the biastai
taken or translated to heaven. (Ps 49:15; 73:24; Ho 13:11) are not necessarily violent enemies of the kingdom.
The evidence is consistent. “These all died in faith.”––He Regarding Matthew 11:12, German scholar Heinrich
11:13. Meyer states:
Bob points out that the city that the men of old were “In this way is described that eager, irresistible
awaiting was “heavenly Jerusalem.” (He 11:10; 12:22; striving and struggling after the approaching
GCT, pages 61, 62) Hebrews 11:10 says they “desired” Messianic kingdom ... So eager and energetic (no
it, not that they hoped to live in it as Bob asserts. They longer calm and expectant) is the interest in regard to
‘desired a better country, that is, an heavenly.” (He 11:16) the kingdom. The [biastai] are, accordingly, believers
“Heavenly [Greek, epouraniou]” in this verse is similar struggling hard for its possession.”––Critical and
to the word at Hebrews 11:10 but in the genitive case, the Exegetical Hand-Book to the Gospel of Matthew
case of possession. The “country” that they were (1884), page 225. (Emphasis his.)
awaiting was “of heaven”––belonging to––heaven.
The New International Version accurately captures the
Naturally, the earthly paradise in God’s new world will
meaning of the verse.
belong to heaven.
None of Jehovah’s ancient servants mentioned in “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the
kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and
Hebrews chapter 11 were ever promised heavenly life.
forceful men lay hold of it.”
The pre-Christian Scriptures only ever cultivated in them
the hope of earthly life. (Ps 37:11; Pr 2:21, 22) In fact, Taken together, Matthew 11:11, 12 indicate that faithful
Hebrews 11:39 says that “these all”––Enoch included–– men up until John the Baptist’s time, including Elijah and
“received not the promise.” Enoch, will not enter the kingdom of heaven, whereas
As mentioned, Hebrews 11:40 goes on: those from the days of John onward “lay hold of it” and
enter “in the kingdom.”
“... God having provided some better thing for us
[Christians], that they without us should not be made 5.5 Christ Resurrected as a Spirit
perfect.” On page 62, Channel takes up a discussion of Jesus’
How was a ‘better thing’ provided for Christians than for resurrection body. At point 2.2 we discussed why Jesus
those pre-Christian servants? Those Paul calls “us” were was raised as a spirit. Adventists understand Philippians
to be “partakers of the heavenly calling.” (He 3:1) This 3:20, 21 to mean that he was raised in his original fleshly
was the “thing” that pre-Christian servants of God would body. First, review the evidence that Christ was raised in
not enjoy. If Enoch and Elijah went to heaven, their a spirit body.
reward would have been equal to that of first-century The first text in this connection is 1 Peter 3:18.
Christians and Paul could not have told those Christians
that God had purposed something better for them. “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the
unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to
As mentioned above, Matthew 11:11 shows that John the death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
Baptist was not among those who were “in the kingdom
of heaven” and no one before him was greater than John. The Greek literally reads: “in [Greek, en] flesh, ... in [en]
If he could not enter the heavenly kingdom, neither could spirit.” If en in the first expression should be translated
they. According to Jesus, John’s time marked the “in the flesh,” the same word in the second should also
beginning of a change regarding the kingdom of heaven. be translated “in the spirit.” And just as “in the flesh”
So Matthew 11:12 adds: means that he had a body of flesh, “in the spirit” would
mean that his resurrection body was a body of “spirit.”
“From the days of John the Baptist until now the
kingdom of heaven suffereth violence [Greek, Second, at 1 Corinthians 15:45 Paul says:
biazetai], and the violent [biastai] take it by force.” “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last
It is unfortunate that most translations use the sense of Adam was made a quickening spirit.”
violence in this verse. Biazetai can have that meaning, If Adam was a soul, as Adventists believe, the resurrected
but it can also have another meaning. So Vine’s Jesus was a spirit.


Third, at 1 Timothy 3:16, the King James Version says: for the fact that Paul says in another place: “Paul, an
apostle, neither from men nor through a man, but
“God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit.”
through Jesus Christ.” (Ga 1:1) According to this text,
In this place the oldest and best Greek manuscripts read Jesus Christ is not a man. 1 Timothy 2:5 must therefore
“He who” instead of “God,” referring to Jesus, be taken together with the point being made in verse 6,
manifested during his earthly life and ministry as a man which shows why Christ is called “a man” in this limited
of flesh and then declared righteous in his resurrected context. It is because the ransom price Jesus paid was his
state as a spirit.27 These three texts, 1 Peter 3:18; 1 perfect human life.
Corinthians 15:45; and 1 Timothy 3:16, bear direct
All these lines of evidence converge to the conclusion
testimony to Jesus’ resurrection in a spirit body.
that Christ was raised in a spirit body.
Other texts teach the same in an indirect way. For
example, Paul says: “In the days of his flesh [Christ] 5.6 Philippians 3:20, 21
offered up supplications and also petitions to the One Bob believes he has strong evidence that Christ was
who was able to save him out of death,” implying that he raised in the flesh at Philippians 3:20, 21. (GCT, page 62)
was no longer flesh. (He 5:7) From Paul’s reference point “The Lord Jesus Christ: ... shall change our vile body,
decades after Christ’s death, ‘the days of Christ’s flesh’ that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.”
were past, implying that he was no longer flesh. Bob’s idea is that Christ’s fleshly body was re-fashioned
Later in Hebrews, Paul writes of “a new and living way, to go to heaven and that the same will be true for others.
which he [Christ] hath consecrated for us, through the However, although Adventists officially believe in the
veil, that is to say, his flesh.” (He 10:20) The “veil,” or resurrection of the physical body, there are practical
curtain, that separated the Holy and Most Holy absurdities that force some of them to depart from a strict
compartments of the tabernacle corresponded to Christ’s adherence to the teaching.28
“flesh.” The curtain was never taken into the Most Holy.
The high priest always passed through it and left it Philippians does not teach a physical resurrection. The
behind. Like that high priest, Jesus had to pass “through” Greek word for “change” is metaskhematisei which,
an antitypical curtain, leaving it behind, in order to enter according to Fritz Rienecker, means:
the Most Holy of God’s personal heavenly presence. “... to refashion, to change the outward form or
At his death, both the literal curtain in the temple and appearance. The meaning of the word would be
Jesus’ flesh were torn. Christ had to leave that torn flesh illustrated not merely by changing a Dutch garden into
behind to enter the Most Holy, God’s personal presence. an Italian garden, but by transforming a garden into
(Mt 27:51) So Paul’s explanation of the antitype of that something wholly different, as into a city...”––A
ancient tabernacle arrangement confirms that, even in Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Volume
Christ’s own case, “flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s 2, page 213. (Emphasis ours.)
kingdom.” This expression, “flesh and blood,” only ever So the Greek does not mean the original human body is
refers to the natural human body.––1Co 15:50. the same with added glory or attributes. Refashioning
1 Timothy 2:5 is sometimes used to prove that Jesus is implies “something wholly different,” consistent with a
still “a man” after his resurrection, but we need to account wholly different spirit body. So W.E. Vine explains:

27 Scholar A.T. Robertson says in his commentary on the verse: “He who (hos). The correct text, not theos (God) the reading of the
Textus Receptus (Syrian text) nor ho (neuter relative, agreeing with mysterion) the reading of the Western documents. Westcott
and Hort print this relative clause as a fragment of a Christian hymn (like Eph. 5:14) in six strophes. That is probably correct. At
any rate hos (who) is correct and there is asyndeton (no connective) in the verbs. Christ, to whom hos refers, is the mystery (Col.
1:27; 2:2).”––Word Pictures in the New Testament, Volume IV, pages 576, 577.
28 Marvin Moore, editor of the American edition of the Adventist magazine Signs of the Times, says that he was asked whether in

the resurrection God will use the identical bodily material that people had when they died. His answer: “God is certainly capable
of doing that, but I doubt that He will. To begin with, most people have numerous defects when they die––wrinkled skin, cancer,
tuberculosis, missing an arm or leg, and so on. If God were to put us back together using the exact same atoms we had when we
died, our resurrected bodies would have these same defects. But, as Paul said in a quote I shared with you a moment ago, we’ll be
raised imperishable. So God is going to have to use atoms and molecules that are different from the ones we had when we died, or
we’d be raised to life perishable and with all our diseases and missing body parts. Then think of this: when someone dies and
donates his heart, who’s going to get it back if God has to use the same atoms and molecules in the resurrection––the donor or the
recipient? ... He won’t be obligated to use the same atoms and molecules we had at the moment we died.”––Signs of the Times
(Australian edition), Volume 131, Number 6, page 58. (Emphasis his.)


“metaschematizo ... ‘to change in fashion or me have” because for that occasion he was a man in the
appearance’ ... A similar distinction holds good in same sense that those angels were men. He was not a
Phil. 3:21; the Lord will ‘fashion anew,’ or change spirit for that occasion.––Jg 6:20-22; 13:6, 20.
outwardly, the body of our humiliation, and ‘conform’
However, Jesus’ physical body after resurrection was
it in its nature (summorphos) to the body of his
different to his former body. Often, even his closest
glory.”––Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of
associates did not recognize him. (Luke 24:13-32; John
Old and New Testament Words, under “Fashion.”
20:14-16) Sometimes they recognized him only by
Yes, metaschematizo involves a change in the appearance manners and actions. And he entered a locked room,
or outward form of the body, but more. The change is in something he had never done before. (Joh 20:26-28) All
its very nature of the body itself, a change from human of these things suggest a resurrection in the spirit.
nature to divine nature.––2Pe 1:4.
Resurrection bodies are supposed to be imperishable and
Bob makes a classic mistake when he says: “Remember, incorruptible. Yet the body that Jesus showed Thomas
they are not spirits; they have bodies, just like Christ’s had wounds in its hands and side. (Joh 20:27) If Christ is
body,” implying that spirits do not have bodies. (GCT, God as Adventists teach, he is immutable and must carry
page 62) But Paul considers the question of resurrection those wounds in heaven today. But this is illogical. The
bodies in response to the enquiry: “How are the dead fact that Jesus displayed wounds is actually consistent
raised up? And with what body do they come?” (1Co with his being raised a spirit, just as on other occasions
15:35) In response, he explains that spirits do have he appeared as a man, sometimes being recognized and
bodies. “God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him.” other times not, to suit various occasions. Appearing with
(1Co 15:38) But what kind of body will they have? wounds helped Thomas identify Jesus.
Paul explains that there are different kinds of bodies just The spurious addition to Mark shows that some professed
as there are different kinds of flesh. (1Co 15:39) The Christians in early times believed that Jesus had appeared
earth, sun, moon and stars “are ... celestial bodies, and in “another form” after his resurrection.––Mr 16:12.
terrestrial bodies.” (1Co 15:40, 41) These physical bodies
What about Hebrews 10:20 as translated by the Emphatic
illustrate his point about the resurrection. He says: “There
Diaglott: “His flesh recently killed and yet is living”?
is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (1Co
(GCT, page 63) Bob imagines that he corners Jehovah’s
15:44) Paul speaks of the “spiritual [Greek, pneumatikon]
Witnesses because they publish the Diaglott. The
body [Greek, soma]” distinct from the “natural
translator of the Diaglott, Benjamin Wilson, was never
[psykhikon, or ‘soulical’] body [soma],” so there are two
one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He was a founding member
kinds of bodies––physical and spiritual. Soma does not
of the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith. His
refer only to physical bodies as Bob says. All existence
translation contains errors, and this is just one example.
is bodily, yes, but there is more than one kind of body.
(1Co 15:44b) Spirit persons have bodies, spiritual ones. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Adventist Book Centres both
distribute the King James Version that contains errors,
In the account at Luke 24:37-39, Jesus appeared visibly
but this does not mean that they agree with those errors.
to the disciples after his resurrection and some take this
Adventists sell the Clear Word, a uniquely Adventist
as evidence that he was not a spirit. (GCT, page 62) He
paraphrase that also contains many errors.
said: “a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me
have.” (Verse 39.) However, in ancient times when The interlinear left-hand column of the Diaglott gives a
angels materialized and were seen by Abraham and Lot, better picture of what the Greek says at Hebrews 10:20.
it is said that they appeared as “men.”––Ge 18:2; 19:1.
“He consecrated for us a way recently killed and yet is
Yes, angels sometimes appeared as men. When the living, through the vail (that is, the flesh of himself).”
apostles saw the resurrected Jesus, they saw him as a man
of flesh and bones, not as a spirit. A spirit is invisible and “Recently killed” is an ultra-literal rendering that
flesh and bones are the characteristics of a man. Jesus amounts to a mistranslation. The Greek word really
means “new.”29 There is no mention in the Greek that the
could say that “a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see
flesh is living. It is clear that it is the “way” that is living.

29 The Greek for “recently killed” is prosphaton. Although its root meaning is ‘freshly killed,’ it has another meaning in common
usage, ‘new.’ To insist on the root meaning would be to fall victim to the “root fallacy.” (Exegetical Fallacies, D.A. Carson, pages
28-33) Almost all translations render prosphaton at Hebrews 10:20 as “new,” or similar. Those who insist on the root meaning
would do well to explain the related word prosphatos translated “lately” at Acts 18:2 in describing Aquila’s recent arrival from
Italy. It is impossible that Aquila had been “recently killed.” Neither will “recently killed” fit the Greek Septuagint reading at
Numbers 6:3; Deuteronomy 32:17; Psalm 81:9 and Ecclesiastes 1:9.


The flesh corresponded to “the vail” separating the Holy None of these versions say Jesus’ flesh was still living
compartment from the Most Holy. after his ascension to heaven. Every one confirms that
what was “living” was the “way,” not the “flesh.” They
So Wilson’s translation in the right-hand column is
expose the fact that Bob’s interest is not in accurate
wrong. He was influenced to mistranslate the verse
translation but in finding fault with Jehovah’s Witnesses.
because, like Adventists, he believed that Jesus was
raised in the flesh. Even the King James Version As discussed earlier, if Jesus was raised in a body of
disagrees with Wilson’s forced rendering. It reads: flesh, the apostle John could never have written:
“By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not
for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.” yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when
he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see
There is no mention of the flesh still living. From the
him as he is.” (1Jo 3:2)
reference to the Paradise book, we know that Bob’s
discussions with Lorna’s family took place after 1958. John had seen the resurrected Jesus and he knew that
(GCT, page 28) Bob certainly had access to translations Jesus is “the express image of [God’s] person.” (He 1:3)
published before that date showing the Diaglott’s He would have known exactly what God and Jesus
translation of Hebrews 10:20 to be wrong. How do they looked like, and what he himself could expect to look
translate the relevant part of the verse? like, if Jesus’ post-resurrection body of flesh were Jesus’
true and permanent resurrection body. The fact that John
“By the new and ever-living way which He opened up
did not know is convincing evidence that Jesus was
for us through the rending of the veil––that is to say,
raised a spirit. It adds to and confirms other Scriptural
of His earthly nature.”––The New Testament in
evidence to this effect.
Modern Speech (1902), R.F. Weymouth.
“By the fresh and living way which he has opened up
through the curtain, that is, his flesh.”––The New The Bible has clear teachings regarding the spiritual
Testament: A New Translation in Plain English rebirth of anointed Christians, the identity of the 144,000,
(1952), C.K. Williams. the identity of the great multitude, and the resurrections
“By the new and living way which he opened for us of Jesus Christ and others. Any fair analysis of these
through the curtain, that is, through his flesh.”–– subjects presents no serious challenge to Jehovah’s
Revised Standard Version (1952). Witnesses.



Paradise Restored
The resurrection and the Millennium are important would judge the world and even the angels (1 Cor. 6:2,
themes in discussions between Seventh-day Adventists 3) will come to pass. The millennial judgment does not
and Jehovah’s Witnesses. In discussing Chapter 7 of decide who is to be saved or lost. God makes that
Channel, we considered who will go to heaven. Chapter decision before the Second Advent; all those who were
10 develops related themes. not either resurrected or translated then are forever
lost. The judgment in which the righteous participate
6.1 Kings in Heaven serves the purpose of answering any questions the
Revelation says those who go to heaven will be judges, righteous may have as to why the wicked are lost.”––
priests and kings for 1,000 years. Ibid., pages 366, 367. (Emphasis ours.)
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and So the Adventist Church claims that their kingship will
judgment was given unto them ... they shall be priests be in the form of serving as judges. But these judgments
of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a would not be real judgments. They would only be a
thousand years.”––Re 20:4, 6. review of judgments already made because God would
have made all final judgments at Christ’s coming. There
During the Millennium, those who rule as kings from would be nothing left to judge! And there would be no
heaven must rule over “people,” because kingship one left on earth to judge either.
implies subjects. The principle is:
What is more, to need a thousand years to review God’s
“In the multitude of people is the king’s honour: but in judgments beggars belief. Neither would there be any
the want of people is the destruction of the prince.”–– need for the kings to satisfy themselves about the
Pr 14:28. righteousness of God’s decisions. During the 1,000 years
A kingship without subjects is not a real kingship. The they will be immortal and incorruptible. (1Co 15:52, 53)
same applies to judging and priesthood. What kind of There is no possibility of their apostatizing because they
judge or priest does not serve people? There is a problem doubt the accuracy of God’s pre-Millennial judgments as
here for Seventh-day Adventists. Any Adventist kings one official Adventist publication contemplates. 30
ruling from heaven during the Millennium would have no Otherwise, ‘immortal’ and ‘incorruptible’ have no
subjects over whom to rule because the earth would be meaning.
desolate at the time. They would not really be kings at all. In any case, judging is not the same thing as reigning. Nor
Anticipating the problem, the Church publication is judging the same as being a priest. So during the
Seventh-day Adventists Believe ... A Biblical Exposition Millennium Adventists would have no real judges
of 27 Fundamental Doctrines asks: deciding real cases, no real priests performing real
priestly duties and no real kings really ruling. These roles
“But in what sense can the saints be said to reign if were all real in Israel, and none of them involved just
they are in heaven and all the wicked are dead?”–– reviewing old cases to satisfy themselves that God was
Page 366. right after all.
Answering, it goes on: 6.1.1 “Other Sheep”––Subjects
“John saw that during the millennium the saints would Christ likened his first-century followers to sheep in a
be involved in judgment; he saw ‘thrones, and they sat sheepfold, or pen. (Joh 10:7-15) The flock that he was
on them, and judgment was committed to them (Rev. gathering at the time was not natural Israel, but spiritual
20:4).’ This is the time of the judgment of Satan and Israel. All of those earliest disciples had a hope of living
his angels that Scripture notes (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). with Christ in heaven.––Joh 14:3.
It’s the time when Paul’s declaration that the saints

30 “Imagine you were in heaven and you found that one of your loved ones who you certainly expected to be there was not. Such a
case might cause you to question God’s justice––and that kind of doubt lies at the very base of sin.” (Seventh-day Adventists Believe
... A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines, page 367) Saying this means that Adventists entertain the impossible, that
an incorruptible person could be corrupted.


Jesus went on to speak of “other sheep” not of this remnant of Israel who became Christians. God chose
spiritual Israelite fold that he must bring at some future them because of their faith. At Romans 11:28 the “elect”
time. (Joh 10:16) As above, those who would go to are the faithful chosen remnant who, together with
heaven must be sealed with the holy spirit. Only 144,000 faithful Gentiles, comprise “all Israel,” spiritual Israel.
are described as sealed that way.31 (Eph 1:13; 1Pe 1:3, 4; (Ro 11:25, 26) And being spiritual Israelites, the elect are
Re 7:4) This means that the “other sheep” not of the necessarily the 144,000 Israelites of Revelation 7:4-8.
144,000 fold are not sealed and must remain on earth as
However, the “sheep” in Matthew’s account are
the subjects of those kings.
different. They are not Christ’s brothers but they treat
It is a common mistake to identify the “other sheep” as those brothers––the elect––hospitably before Christ’s
Gentile Christians distinct from Jewish Christians, but coming. (Mt 25:40) Since they are not his brothers, they
the passage itself shows why this could not be so. At John are not partakers of the heavenly calling. The distinction
10:1-4 Jesus calls himself the shepherd who enters between the two kinds of righteous ones is clear in
through the door of a sheepfold, or pen, and leads his Matthew chapter 25.
sheep out.
Hebrew-Scripture prophecies confirm that many who are
Note these two things: first, that Jesus is not described as not ‘Israelites’ spiritually would come to worship with
the door of this first sheepfold and second, that he did not spiritual Israel in the last days. Isaiah 2:2 speaks of “all
leave his sheep in the sheepfold but brought them out. nations”––Gentiles spiritually––coming to worship
That sheepfold must therefore represent the Mosaic Law with spiritual Israel. (Mic 4:2) And again, Zechariah
covenant that previously encompassed and confined 8:23 speaks of ten men of the nations––Gentiles
God’s people. As their shepherd, Jesus called his sheep spiritually––taking hold of the skirts of spiritual Jews
out of that covenant. to join them in true worship.
That Mosaic sheepfold was replaced with a new Bob’s claim about just one group of righteous ones at
arrangement of which Jesus was the “door.” (Joh 10:7) Christ’s coming is just not correct.
Jesus calls the new arrangement “this fold” at John 10:16,
so it is a second sheepfold comprised of his Christian 6.2 The Resurrection
followers. It must represent what replaced the Mosaic Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses also
Law covenant, namely the new covenant that includes all differ when it comes to the timing of the first resurrection.
anointed Christians.––He 8:13. To Adventists, the righteous who died before Christ’s
So when Jesus says he has “other sheep ... which are not coming are resurrected first and then Christians still
of this fold” he means sheep other than those in the new living at his coming are immediately taken––translated
covenant. The contrast is not between Jewish and Gentile ––to heaven.
Christians but between those who are in the new The Witnesses believe that Christ’s presence is an
covenant and those who are not. The other sheep are extended period of time concluding with Christ’s
therefore followers of Christ who are not parties to the coming. So they believe that those Christians who were
new covenant. dead when the presence began were resurrected at that
Bob argues that when Jesus returns there are only two point, while anointed Christians who live during the
groups, the righteous and the wicked, the “sheep” and the presence are raised either at their death during the
“goats,” and that there is no difference between the presence or at Christ’s coming at the latest.
144,000 and the “great multitude.” (GCT, page 81) Yet, Endeavouring to support the Adventist view, Channel
the Bible shows that there will be different kinds of considers two passages that relate to the heavenly
righteous ones. resurrection. (GCT, page 82) The first is 1 Thessalonians
For example, according to Matthew chapters 24 and 25 4:13-17. The Adventist interpretative error is in casting
when Jesus comes in his glory, he gathers his “elect,” or all the events in that text off into the future, to Christ’s
chosen ones, to heaven. (Mt 24:31) Elsewhere the elect future “coming.” They make the mistake because they
are called his brothers, “partakers of the heavenly accept “coming” as the correct translation of parousia in
calling.” (He 2:11, 12; 3:1) Paul uses the words “elect” 1 Thessalonians 4:15.
and “election” several times in Romans chapters 9 to 11. “We which are alive and remain unto [Greek, eis,
At Romans 9:11 he says that God elected Jacob over “into”] the coming [parousian, “presence”] of the
Esau. He uses similar language at Romans 11:5, 7 of the

31 See point 5.1 above.


Lord shall not prevent [phthasomen, ‘precede’] them “Afterward they that are Christ’s at [Greek, en,
which are asleep.” meaning “in”] his coming [parousia, ‘presence’].”
The events described in the passage are clearly about “The last trump” is therefore, not Christ’s “coming” as
Christ’s parousia. The group called “we which are alive” the King James Version has it, but his parousia.32 The
survives, not “unto,” but into the parousia. The parousia Adventists follow its error. The ‘change’ takes place
must therefore be longer than a momentary coming. It is during the parousia, not the erkhomenon.
a time period into which a person can survive.
Paul’s comments mean that those living into the presence
There is also a group called “the dead in Christ” that dies are raised in or during the presence, an extended period
before the presence. These dead ones “rise first.” (1Th of time. Nothing in Thessalonians or Corinthians about
4:16) None of these “dead” can be pre-Christian servants the resurrection mentions the Greek word for “coming,”
of God because every occurrence of the term “in Christ” erkhomenon. The Christians taken to heaven rise at the
from its first occurrence at Romans 8:1 through to 1 Peter beginning of and progressively during the parousia.
5:14 refers to anointed Christians. It never refers to those
Revelation 14:13 confirms that the resurrection begins at
who lived before Christ. So 1 Thessalonians chapter 4
a particular point in time before Christ’s coming.
teaches that the Christian dead rise at and during Christ’s
parousia. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from
henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest
The events of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 are not restricted
from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
to Christ’s coming, his erkhomenon. Again, the problem
is the Adventist failure to note the distinction between the So from a certain point in time (“henceforth”) there is
parousia and the erkhomenon. Observing the distinction something unique about the death of these Christians
enables a correct understanding of the return of Christ compared with those that died earlier. “Henceforth”
and the timing of the resurrection. How, exactly? translates the Greek arti, meaning ‘right now.’ The exact
time is before Christ’s coming. Adventists should agree
After the Christian dead rise, 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says:
because they explain the third angel’s message and the
“Then [Greek, epeita] we which are alive and remain keeping of the commandments that are in the context at
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to Revelation 14:9, 12 to apply before the coming.
meet the Lord in the air.”
There is therefore a time before Jesus’ coming that, when
Epeita means next in sequence, “hereafter.” (Greek- Christians die, their works “follow them [Greek, met’
English Lexicon, Liddell and Scott) It does not mean auton; literally, “with them”].” (Re 14:13) If this did not
‘next immediately.’ After the first group––those sleeping imply an instant resurrection, there would be no way that
in death––are resurrected at the beginning of the their works could follow “with” them. A dead person is
presence, those surviving and remaining alive “into” the unconscious and “there is no work … in the grave.” (Ec
presence are raised. They either die during Christ’s 9:10) Without a resurrection, no works can follow death.
presence and are raised “in the twinkling of an eye” or So Revelation 14:13 must mean that these particular
they remain alive until his coming and are raised then. Christians are instantly resurrected at their death.
(1Co 15:52) At his coming at latest, they are “caught up
together with them [those who have already been raised] 6.3 No Desolate Earth
in the clouds.” “Caught up together” cannot mean The illustration on page 83 of Price’s booklet portrays a
simultaneously because there would then be no epeita, no desolate earth and quotes Revelation 20:1-3 as a support
sequence. text. Adventists believe that the earth will be desolate
Bob uses 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 to prove that at Jesus’ during the Millennium. Revelation says Satan is to be
coming those who remain alive will be raised “in the “bound” and then “hurled ... into the abyss,” and in her
twinkling of an eye.” (GCT, page 82) But according to 1 book The Great Controversy, Adventist prophet Ellen G.
Corinthians 15:52 this change will happen, not “at the White links this “abyss” with the one at Genesis 1:2
last trump” (King James Version) but ‘in [Greek, en] the where the earth was an “abyss” before it was inhabited.
last trumpet.’ 1 Corinthians 15:23 says:

32As discussed above, Adventists themselves interpret the trumpets of Revelation chapters 8-10 to be symbolic of events taking
place over 2,000 years. None of them was audible to anyone. They are still awaiting the seventh trumpet which, for the sake of
consistency, must surely also be inaudible. But even outside those passages that are more obviously symbolic, trumpets are used
in a figurative sense as at Matthew 6:2 and 1 Corinthians 14:8. This understanding of the trumpet at 1 Thessalonians 4:16 as
symbolic is in agreement with such references.


However, the link is arbitrary because “abyss” is used in desolate earth without subjects would be shameful for a
other ways in the Christian Scriptures. The demons, for king.
example, urged Jesus not to “command them to go out
“In the multitude of people is the king’s honour: but in
into the deep [literally, ‘abyss’].” (Lu 8:31) That “abyss”
the want of people is the destruction of the prince.”––
existed in Jesus’ day when the earth was populated and
Pr 14:28.
not desolate. And Romans 10:7 says Jesus was in an
“abyss” when he was dead for three days. For him it So if the earth were desolate and without earthly subjects
meant absolute restraint in death, as if imprisoned. The as Adventists teach, the kings in heaven––Jesus and his
earth was not desolate then either. How, then, might we co-rulers––would be greatly dishonoured.
determine the meaning of “abyss” at Revelation 20:1-3?
The same can be said of their roles as priests and judges.
Especially in the Revelation, the “abyss” would be (Re 1:6; 5:10; 20:4, 6) If all the dead will by then have
expected to be symbolic of a state or condition rather than been judged by God as incorrigibly wicked, those in
a literal location, in harmony with the figurative tenor of heaven will have no one for whom to serve as priests and
the book. (Re 1:1) Compare other symbolic locations no one to judge. As mentioned at the beginning of this
such as Sodom, Egypt, the Euphrates, Armageddon and chapter, reviewing old judgment records is hardly
Babylon.––Re 11:8; 16:12, 16; 17:5. reigning as kings or serving as priests.
Adventists do not apply other references to “abyss” in the In several ways the Bible suggests that the earth will
Revelation to a desolate earth. For example, an abyss is always be populated. Genesis 8:22 ensures us: “While the
mentioned at Revelation 9:1, 2, 11 where many Adventist earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat,
commentators identify it as the deserts of Arabia during and summer and winter, and day and night shall not
the rise of the Arab empire. They apply it to a limited part cease.” And at Proverbs 2:21, 22 we read: “For the
of the earth, not to all of it. The same word at Revelation upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall
11:7; 17:8 is also considered to be symbolic, not a literal remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the
desolate earth. So the abyss is more likely a condition earth.” Only if the earth is always populated can this true.
imposed on the Devil than a physical location.
Again, in the great-image prophecy given to Daniel, the
It is also important to factor in the circumstances of those stone representing God’s kingdom that destroys the
who have been there, like Jesus, or those who are going wicked nations at Christ’s coming becomes a great
there, like the demons. Nowhere in the Christian mountain which immediately fills “the whole earth.” (Da
Scriptures is the abyss a desolate earth. At the very least, 2:35, 44) The new mountain does not fly off to heaven
given the examples cited above that have nothing to do for 1,000 years to rule from there. Clearly, the kingdom
with a desolate earth, the Adventist interpretation of is not restricted to heaven for 1,000 years after
Revelation 20:1-3 is impossible to prove. Armageddon. How could it ‘fill the whole earth’ if Satan
were the earth’s only occupant?
Bob argues that the Devil is to be bound on a desolate
earth “so he cannot deceive the nations for 1,000 years, Then again, the great multitude, “came out of great
for there is no one alive for him to tempt.” (GCT, page tribulation, ... The Lamb which is in the midst of the
84) We have to wonder why the Devil has to be bound at throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living
all if there are no nations on earth to deceive! Surely, fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears
being bound “so he cannot deceive the nations” implies from their eyes.” (Re 7:14, 17) These Armageddon
that there are nations on earth that might otherwise be survivors will need “living fountains of waters” to
deceived during the 1,000 years. continue living. They are not immortal and imperishable.
The expression “God shall wipe away all tears from their
A desolate earth is actually inconsistent with the kingship
eyes” parallels Revelation 21:4; 22:1, 2 which clearly
of Christians who go to heaven to be kings “over the
depicts an earthly scene.
earth.”33 (Re 5:9, 10) This suggests subjects on earth. As
mentioned earlier, the Scriptural principle is that a The evidence points in just one direction: the “great
multitude” is a group that survives on earth.

33Greek, epi tes ges. When epi is used with a verb of authority and with a noun in the genitive case as here, it means “over” rather
than “on.” The King James Version uses “over” in the same circumstances at Revelation 2:26; 9:11; 11:6; 17:18 and there is no
real reason not to use it at Revelation 5:10. It also uses “over” at Matthew 25:21; Acts 6:3 and Romans 9:5. A Greek-English
Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, by Arndt and Gingrich describes this as the “over of power,
authority, control of or over someone or something ... Rv 5:10.”––Page 286.


6.4 Jeremiah and Isaiah of Christendom which have similarly failed to stay true
to the new covenant. Christendom’s future demise and
Typical of Adventist reasoning, the booklet presents desolation are foretold elsewhere in the Scriptures. (Re
Jeremiah 4:23-27 as a “description of an empty earth.” 17:16) The Adventists’ literal application of Jeremiah
(GCT, page 83) This passage must be understood in its 4:23-27 to the whole earth is entirely arbitrary.
context. Jeremiah’s prophecy was about the desolation of
the land of Judah at the hands of the Babylonians, not of They also use Isaiah 24:1, 3 for a similar purpose.
the whole earth. The immediate context at Jeremiah 4:1 “Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh
has Jehovah addressing himself to “Israel,” and in verses it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth
5, 10, 11, 14 to Judah and Jerusalem. Jeremiah 4:15, 16 abroad the inhabitants thereof … The land shall be utterly
also shows that the prophecy relates to Judah and Israel. emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken
this word.” But verse 6 goes on: “the inhabitants of the
Adventists are dependent on the word “earth” meaning earth are burned, and few men left.”
earth, all of it. But the Hebrew word ’erets, or ’eres,
translated “earth” in the passage can also mean ‘land.’ Again, the prophecy relates to the “earth” or “land” of
The context certainly restricts it to the land of Israel. So Judah and Israel, not to the whole earth. Note “the priest”
one Bible dictionary explains: and “the everlasting covenant” in the context, confirming
that the prophecy related to that local Israelite area. (Isa
“’Eres does not only denote the entire terrestrial 24:2, 5) That land was temporarily desolated during the
planet, but is also used of some of the earth’s invasion by Nebuchadnezzar. Similar to Jeremiah
component parts. English words like land, country, chapter 4, any modern application of the prophecy must
ground, and soil transfer its meaning into our have a figurative application.
language.”––Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary
of Old and New Testament Words, “Old Testament 6.5 Bones
Section, under “Earth.” (Emphasis theirs.)
On pages 83, 84 Bob says that when Jehovah’s Witnesses
Confirming this meaning for ’erets, the empty land apply Ezekiel 39:12-16 to the burying of Armageddon
mentioned at Jeremiah 6:8 is specifically called survivors’ bones they contradict Jeremiah 25:33, which
Jerusalem’s land. says: “they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor
buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.” How can
“Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart
these texts be harmonized, not only with the beliefs of the
from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not
Witnesses, but with each other?
Comparing Ezekiel 39:4, 17-20 with Revelation 19:17-
Bob also disregards the fact that the fulfilment of the
21, the similarity is immediately evident. In both
prophecy is recorded later in Jeremiah where it does not
passages the birds devour the vanquished armies of the
relate to the whole earth.
wicked and their animals. The Revelation passage is
“Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, certainly fulfilled in the post-Armageddon period. There
and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets is no similar description matching the post-Millennial
of Jerusalem, and they are wasted and desolate, as at period. This suggests a post-Armageddon timing for the
this day.”––Jer 44:6. Ezekiel passage.
The entire earth was not desolated at that time. Only the In Israel, burial was afforded to all but the worst of
land of Israel and Judah was. criminals. (De 21:3; Jos 8:29) Burial implied hope of a
future resurrection, but those destroyed at Armageddon
However, Adventists will argue that there will be a
will be incorrigible; they will never be resurrected, not
secondary application of these prophecies that will affect
even at the end of the 1,000 years. “Everlasting
the whole earth. Sometimes prophecies have secondary
punishment” in the King James Version at Matthew
fulfilments. If this one has a second fulfilment, 25:46 is literally “everlasting cutting-off” and signifies
consistency would suggest that it apply in one of two their eternal death.
ways, either (1) to literal Judah and Israel or (2) to
something corresponding spiritually to unfaithful Judah They will be left unburied, unworthy of a decent burial,
and Israel. to be picked clean of flesh by birds. Since bones do not
rot and cannot be eaten, they would make the earth and
The first option does not suit Adventists because they do
its inhabitants unclean if left indefinitely.––Nu 19:16;
not restrict the future desolation to the territory of literal
Eze 39:14, 16.
Palestine. If there were to be a second application,
apostate Judah which failed to keep the old covenant However, the burying of the bones that must be done after
would compare best to the modern-day apostate churches Armageddon in no way contradicts Jeremiah 25:33,


which says: “They shall not be lamented, neither Ezekiel chapter 37 describes their regathering with two
gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the vivid illustrations, the valley of dry bones and the joining
ground.” The burying mentioned in this text is connected of two sticks. Its application is clear.
with lamentation. It is the kind of respectful burial
“I shall place you in your own land ... I will take the
performed by mourners at funerals.
children of Israel from among the heathen, whither
After being denied a respectful burial and after the birds they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and
have picked them clean, their bones will be disposed of bring them into their own land.”––Eze 37:14, 21.
unceremoniously, whether literally or symbolically. This
At this point, Israel is reorganized in its land. They come
is what Ezekiel 39:12-16 requires.
“from among the nations,” not from heaven. Then Gog is
Bob’s criticism of Jehovah’s Witnesses on this point has introduced and these words are spoken to him.
weaknesses of its own. Ezekiel 38:14-16 foretells an
“In the latter years thou shalt come into the land that
attack by Gog of Magog on God’s people. After God
is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of
destroys Gog, Ezekiel 39:12 specifies that for “seven
many people, against the mountains of Israel, which
months shall the house of Israel be burying of them.” Bob
have been always waste: but is brought forth out of the
connects this attack on God’s people with Revelation
nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.”––Eze
20:7-9, which describes another attack by Gog on God’s
people at the end of the 1,000 years.
This cannot be after the 1,000 years. The people that the
Lorna responds: “So here is Gog and Magog at last. …
Gog of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 attacks have been
Now I can see that Ezekiel 9 [sic, 39?] does not apply
restored from a war situation and from being scattered
directly after Armageddon to Gog and Magog having
among the nations. They are “people that are gathered out
their bones buried for 7 months, because they are
of the nations,” not from heaven. (Eze 38:12) Jehovah
depicted here as the wicked ‘like the sand of the sea’ who
speaks of how he would gather them “out of their
are destroyed after the thousand years.” Bob agrees:
enemies’ lands.” (Eze 39:27) The events that will take
“Right.”––GCT, page 85.
place at the end of the 1,000 years simply do not match
Really? If, as Lorna says, the 7-months period “does not these descriptions.
apply directly after Armageddon,” at what point “after
On the other hand, how would these descriptions apply if
the thousand years” does it apply? When exactly are Gog
this attack on God’s people were pre-Millennial? The
and his crowd to be buried for 7 months as the prophecy
book of Revelation alludes to the captive condition and
requires? Revelation 20:7-9 says that at the end of the
release of God’s modern-day people from Babylon the
thousand years all the wicked will be burned up in fire
Great at Revelation 9:14; 16:12. So Revelation 18:2-4,
from heaven and Adventists take this literally. Bob also
after noting the fall of Babylon, says: “Come out of her,
applies Malachi 4:1-3 to the end of the thousand years.
my people.” The time for the release of God’s people
(GCT, page 86) That text says the wicked will become
from the lands of their enemies is now, before
stubble and ashes. Surely, then, there would be no bones
Armageddon, not at the end of the 1,000 years. Clearly,
left to be buried at the end of the 1,000 years, only stubble
the Ezekiel Gog of Magog attacks God’s people before
and ashes. So for Adventists, Ezekiel 39:12 simply never
the 1,000 years begins.
comes true!
‘Gog and Magog’ is therefore a collective and pejorative
Look closely at the timing of the Ezekiel account. The
term for hardened enemies of the people of God both
context at Ezekiel chapters 36 to 39 says that Gog of
before and after the 1,000 years. The Gog and Magog
Magog will attack God’s people after those people have
before the 1,000 years and the Gog and Magog after the
been regathered from the nations, not after they have
1,000 years are therefore different groups. They are not
returned from heaven. In other words, these chapters can
identical. The Adventist explanation definitely does not
only refer to pre-Millennial events. From Ezekiel chapter
match the Ezekiel description and it leaves Ezekiel 39:12
36 onward, the regathering of Israel from Babylon and
surrounding nations is described. For example, Ezekiel
36:24 promises: 6.6 “The Rest of the Dead”
“I will take you from among the heathen, and gather Bob argues that those martyred at Revelation 20:4 must
you out of all countries, and will bring you into your be more than 144,000 because millions died during the
own land.” Dark Ages for their faith. (GCT, page 84) Certainly, there
were millions of victims during these periods but not all
victims are martyrs. And not all of those who were


executed for their faith and spoke about Jesus and God 24, 2 Peter chapter 3 and Revelation chapter 20, three
would be among those who go to heaven. things are clear. (1) The old heavens and earth will be
destroyed at a time paralleling the Flood, namely
Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses have died for their faith,
Armageddon. (2) Then the new heavens and earth come
yet Adventists would not even concede that they were
into existence, and (3) the earthly resurrection follows.
Christians. The main point is that God chooses who will
be his 144,000 spiritual Israelites. It is not for us to say In harmony with these texts, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe
how many genuine spiritual Israelites there were during that the earthly resurrection begins after Armageddon
the Dark Ages. during Christ’s 1,000-year reign. Seventh-day Adventists
have a 1,000-year interval or gap between the destruction
Bob next cites Revelation 20:5. “The rest of the dead
of the old heavens and earth and the creation of the new
lived not again until the thousand years were finished.”
heavens and earth. The Bible does not support this gap
He says this contradicts Jehovah’s Witnesses’ belief that
the dead will be raised during the 1,000-year reign of
Christ. Why do the Witnesses believe in a general It is important to note that Revelation is not always
resurrection during the Millennium? The main reason is written in chronological order. All commentators
that the earthly resurrection of the dead occurs after the recognize this fact. Often the order is topical and this is
destruction of the old heavens and earth. the case here. So in Revelation 19:11-20:10 the topic is
mainly the wicked––the end of the wicked world, the
“From before him [1] the earth and the heaven fled
abyssing of Satan and his destruction after 1,000 years.
away, and no place was found for them. And I saw [2]
the dead, the great and the small, standing before the Then Revelation 20:11 moves back in time to the
throne.”––Re 20:11, 12. destruction of the old heavens and earth 1,000 years
earlier. Noting this time reset is really the key to
From this it is clear that to establish the time of the earthly
understanding the timing of the earthly (the second)
resurrection we must first establish the timing of the
destruction of the old heaven and earth. 2 Peter 3:12
assists here because it foretells the end of that heavens “I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from
and earth. whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and
there was found no place for them.”––Re 20:11.
“The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the
elements shall melt with fervent heat.” This is a reset to the destruction of the old heaven and
earth at Christ’s “coming”––Armageddon––because that
When does that happen? According to Peter, not at the
is when Jesus and Peter said the old heaven and earth will
end of the 1,000 years, but at a time that parallels the
be destroyed. (2Pe 3:6, 7, 12) Having discussed the
destruction of the old heavens and earth in Noah’s day.
outcome for the wicked and then returned to the
He says:
beginning of the 1,000 years afresh, Revelation 20:12-
“The world that then was, being overflowed with 22:5 changes topic and deals with the outcome for the
water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which faithful and those given the opportunity to be faithful. “I
are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; ... And
unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and
ungodly men.”––2Pe 3:6, 7. hell delivered up the dead which were in them.”––Re
20:12, 13.
Jesus also draws attention to the Flood and parallels it to
his “coming [Greek, erkhomenon].” (Mt 24:38, 42) It is This resurrection occurs after the passing away of the old
therefore Armageddon’s destruction that wipes away the heaven and earth at Armageddon. This means that the
old heaven and earth. According to both Jesus and Peter Scriptures require a resurrection during the 1,000 years.
the destruction of the old heavens and earth takes place
During the Millennium faithful men like John the Baptist
before the 1,000 years, not after them.
and others will not be rulers in the Kingdom of heaven
Once the old heavens and earth are destroyed, a new but will be resurrected on earth. (Mt 11:11) They will not
heavens and earth appears! “We, according to his at first be perfect since they will still need to be “healed.”
promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein (Re 22:2) Healing will not be necessary for those who
dwelleth righteousness.” (2Pe 3:13) And because the old have gone to heaven because the resurrection for those
heavens and earth are gone, Revelation 20:11, 12 shows ones makes them incorruptible. (1Co 15:53) Others like
that the earthly resurrection can begin. John the Baptist who will live on earth will progress to
perfection by progressively being healed.
Summarizing the order based on all three passages
relating to the old heavens and earth in Matthew chapter


They will learn righteousness during the Millennium Zoe has to do with life par excellence and ultimately
according to the principle: “when thy judgments are in perfection of life. The dead of Revelation 20:5 will be
the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn alive biologically during the Millennium, but will ‘come
righteousness.” (Isa 26:9; 29:24) When will these to life’––to real life, perfection of life, zoe life––after
judgments take place? they pass the final test at the end of the 1,000 years and
are granted the right to everlasting life. Until then they
A comparison of Matthew 12:36 with Revelation 20:4, 6
are not fully alive in the zoe sense.
shows that Judgment Day is the 1,000-year reign. During
this period, texts like Isaiah 11:3-5 will be fulfilled. Their circumstances might be compared with Adam and
“With righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove Eve in the garden of Eden. Although they were
with equity for the meek of the earth.” Acts 17:31 also biologically alive, they were not alive in the zoe sense.
describes Christ’s judgments at this time. “He hath The Greek Septuagint uses zoe to refer to the life they
appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in could have received if they had remained faithful. The
righteousness.” The Greek for “world” at Acts 17:31, right to eat from “the tree of life [zoes] ... and live
oikoumenen, always refers to an inhabited land or earth. [zesetai, a verbal form of zoe] for ever” was reserved until
after they had passed their test of faithfulness. (Ge 3:22)
Really, then, God’s purpose for the earth to be
Of course, they did not prove faithful and were never
“inhabited” is never defeated by the Devil, not even for
given that zoe life.
1,000 years. (Isa 45:18) Entirely without proof Bob
inserts the word “wicked,” claiming that the dead of In a similar way, during the 1,000 years the resurrected
Revelation 20:5 are “the wicked dead.” (GCT, page 84) dead will be biologically alive but not in the zoe sense.
Really, what would be the point in resurrecting the Only after passing the final test and being allowed to eat
incorrigibly wicked dead? To destroy them again? This from the symbolic “tree of life [zoes]” mentioned at
could not be because Romans 6:7 says: Revelation 22:2 will they finally receive the endless life
––the zoe life––that Adam and Eve never attained.
“He that is dead is freed [Greek, dedikaiotai, “has been
justified”] from sin.” 6.7 New Jerusalem Symbolic
No one can be punished after their resurrection for sins Next the subject turns to “New Jerusalem” on pages 85,
committed in a previous life. Such ‘double jeopardy’ 86. Jehovah’s Witnesses view this as a symbolic city,
would not be just, and Romans 6:23 shows why. rather than a literal one.
“The wages sin pays is death.” “Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s
The penalty for sin is paid in full death. There are no more wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great
“wages” due and nothing left to punish. The Adventist and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the
idea of a hopeless resurrection for the incorrigibly wicked holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from
at the end of the 1,000 years just to re-destroy them God.”––Re 21:9, 10.
violates these important Bible principles. The Bible interprets itself here. New Jerusalem is the
Lamb’s wife, not a literal city of stones. It is where
6.6.1 “Lived Not Again”
“angels” reside, it rests on the “twelve apostles” and it is
Since the earth will be populated during the 1,000 years, connected with the twelve tribes of (spiritual) Israel. (Re
why does Revelation 20:5 say that the rest of the dead 21:12, 14) According to Paul, the Lamb’s wife is the
“lived not again” until the end of the 1,000 years? Christian church composed of anointed Christians.
Greek has two words for life, bios and zoe. Bios refers to “I have espoused you [the Christian congregation] to
matters related to biological life. But “lived” at one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin
Revelation 20:5 translates a different word, ezesan, to Christ.” ––2Co 11:2.
which is related to the other word for life, zoe. Zoe never
It is certain, then, that New Jerusalem is a symbolic city,
refers to mere biological existence in the Scriptures. W.E.
not a literal one. It is symbolic of the Christian church
Vine says zoe is
married to Christ.
“life in the absolute sense, life as God has it ... In
Just as Babylon the Great, the “great city” and woman of
Scripture zoe is ‘the nobler word, expressing as it
Revelation 17:18, is really a false religious organization,
continually does, all of highest and best which the
New Jerusalem, the “great city” and woman of
saints possess in God.’”––An Expository Dictionary of
Revelation 21:9, 10, is really a contrasting true religious
New Testament Words, under the subject heading


Bob’s literal interpretation for New Jerusalem is very city” at Revelation 11:2. There, the Gentiles are said to
inconsistent. Other physical locations in the Revelation ‘tread the city underfoot.’ Adventists generally and Ellen
such as Sodom, Egypt, the Euphrates, Armageddon and G. White herself take this holy city––New Jerusalem––
Babylon they regard as symbolic. (Re 11:8; 16:12, 16; to represent the true Christian Church which was
17:5) Ellen G. White wrote the following in explanation trampled by papal religion for a period of 1,260 years. 34
of the Egypt and Sodom at Revelation 11:8. This shows that even Adventists understand New
Jerusalem symbolically, at least in Revelation chapter 11.
“‘The great city” in whose streets the witnesses are
Why it must be considered literal in Revelation chapter
slain, and where their dead bodies lie, is ‘spiritually’
21 is unclear.
Egypt… When the message was brought him by
Moses, in the name of the Lord, Pharaoh proudly What about New Jerusalem “coming down,” or
answered, ‘Who is Jehovah, that I should hearken unto “descending” out of heaven? (Re 21:2, 10) Would this
His voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, and mean that it must literally sit on earth? No. This language
moreover I will not let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:2.) This is well-established symbolic language for action
is atheism, and the nation represented by Egypt would extending from heaven to earth. At Revelation 13:13, for
give voice to a similar denial of the claims of the living example, the two-horned beast makes fire “come down”
God, and would manifest a like spirit of unbelief and from heaven to earth. Commenting on this verse,
defiance. ‘The great city’ is also compared, Adventist scholar Angel Manuel Rodriguez says it is not
‘spiritually,’ to Sodom. The corruption of Sodom in the descent of literal fire but a “symbolism.” ([Adventist]
breaking the law of God was especially manifested in Biblical Research Institute, accessed online at
licentiousness. And this sin was also to be a pre- www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org on July 27, 2016)
eminent characteristic of the nation that should fulfil
It is arbitrary to interpret New Jerusalem’s “coming
the specifications of this scripture.”––The Great
down,” or “descending” as symbolic in one text and
Controversy (1950 edition), page 269. (Emphasis
literal in others without any apparent reason. So in what
sense will New Jerusalem descend?
So Adventist scholar Angel Manuel Rodriguez says:
The bride of Christ––New Jerusalem––will act toward
“There are various other examples from the book of the earth in its kingly capacity, extending its rulership
Revelation itself, but the best is probably Babylon. It earthward and in this sense symbolically descending to
is no longer a city in Mesopotamia but a symbol of the earth, but not literally. It can be compared with the
global apostasy and rebellion against God. This reference at Exodus 19:18 which says that “the LORD
interpretational movement from a limited [Jehovah] descended upon [Mount Sinai] in fire.” Are we
geographical area to a universal phenomenon is also to think of God as literally there on the mountain? No.
supported by Ellen G. White in the context of Rodriguez says:
apocalyptic prophecies. She takes the apocalyptic
“His fiery appearance indicates His presence in a
reference to Egypt to represent the spirit of the French
particular place while remaining distant and
Revolution that has now reached global dimensions in
unapproachable because of His holiness.”––Ibid.
the form of atheism.”––Ministry, January 2012, page
7. (Emphasis ours.) As an aside, this description sounds very much like an
invisible presence! Whatever, note that ‘coming down’
We can only wonder why New Jerusalem must be a
or ‘descending’ is not to be taken literally, especially in a
literal city when Adventists interpret Babylon the Great,
book of “signs” like Revelation. (Re 1:1) At Sinai
Egypt, Sodom and even Israel to be symbolic.
Jehovah visited or attended to his people without literally
Holding New Jerusalem to be literal is also unreasonable. descending. There are many other scriptural examples of
If its circumference is to be 12,000 stadia or 2,200 God visiting figuratively. (Ge 21:1; Ex 3:16; 4:31; 1Sa
kilometres and if its height is to be 550 kilometres, it 2:21; Isa 26:14; Zec 10:3; Lu 1:68) He is even said to
would cover a territory about 14 times as large as modern have ‘tented with’ and ‘dwelt in the midst of ’ his Israelite
Israel. (Re 21:16) It would be unliveable for humans and people symbolically. (2Sa 7:6; Zec 2:10, 11) None of this
Gog and Magog could not realistically attack it. was literal.
New Jerusalem is called the “holy city” at Revelation As far as God literally living on earth, Solomon asked:
21:2. This is not the first time. It is also called the “holy

34See the Adventist amazingdiscoveries.org website commentary on Revelation 11:2, viewed December 2, 2017; The Great
Controversy, page 266.


“Will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the “signs” in Revelation and to other parts of the Bible that
heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee.” help to explain them is a better approach to studying and
––1Ki 8:27. interpreting difficult passages. 35 (Re 1:1) Of course, the
Witnesses do not claim that their understanding of
God could not literally live on earth, but he could say that
Revelation or anything else is perfect. As mentioned
“mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually” in
earlier, their current commentary states:
a spiritual sense. (1Ki 7:16) God never dwelt literally in
the temple or in Israel but he did dwell there spiritually. “It is not claimed that the explanations in this
publication are infallible. Like Joseph of old, we say:
New Jerusalem is therefore a symbolic city, symbolic of
‘Do not interpretations belong to God?’ (Genesis
the bride of Christ––Christians resurrected to heaven.
40:8)”––Revelation–Its Grand Climax at Hand, 1988,
God dwells among them as if in a temple.
page 9.
6.8 The Camp of the Saints Earlier parts of God’s Word often provide just the clues
Bob asserts that “the camp of the saints” and “the beloved needed to understand its symbols. However, what Bob
city” at Revelation 20:9 are identical. (GCT, page 85) But says on page 86 shows that he does not adhere to his own
this is not likely in view of the two definite articles that rule of checking Scripture with Scripture.
appear before “camp” and “beloved city.” The articles set He says that Malachi 4:1-3 refers to fire coming out of
“the” camp of the saints and “the” beloved city as distinct heaven at the end of the 1,000 years. Read the passage:
from each other. “Behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; ...
It is true that a camp is “a temporary home,” but in and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the
Biblical usage a camp is a temporary home outside a city. LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor
It is not the city itself. Therefore, “the camp of the holy branch… And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they
ones” must represent those on earth outside the heavenly shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that
location of New Jerusalem––those outside the Kingdom I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.” Bob connects
headquarters––but who support it. this with Revelation 21:9.
Gog and Magog will attack the heavenly New Jerusalem However, Matthew 13:42 and 2 Thessalonians 1:8 also
and its earthly camp outside the city. They can attack the describe the destruction of the wicked at Christ’s coming
heavenly “holy city” in the same way that the Gentiles as destruction by fire. Why does Bob insist that Malachi
can tread the same city underfoot at Revelation 11:2. By chapter 4 refers to the end of the Millennium instead of
attacking the “holy ones” they attack “the beloved city” the Armageddon destruction? There is no good reason.
because any attack on his people Jesus counts as an attack Bob is credited in the Seventh-day Adventist community
on himself after the principle at Matthew 25:40, 45. with being an expert on Jehovah’s Witnesses. “His
6.9 Burning the Wicked––When? knowledge of the Watchtower history and teaching is
devastating,” says Clarice. (GCT, page 89) Yet when
Bob’s rule of interpretation is fine, to check Scripture Nanna misrepresents the Witnesses’ teachings on pages
with Scripture to avoid reaching “weird, fanciful 86, 87 Bob does not correct her misunderstanding.
conclusions.” But to imply that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Instead, he builds on it to further his argument.
doctrinal system is weird and fanciful is unfair.
Adventists are not unified in interpretation themselves. He asks whether the tree of life in the Paradise restored
is real, literal. (Re 22:2) She answers: “Yes, indeed.”
For example, there are “diversities of views” in the Then he asks whether the river is real. (Re 22:1) “Yes, I
interpretations of the 7 trumpets proposed by Adventists guess so.” Jehovah’s Witnesses believe neither. But Bob
U. Smith, E. Thiele, R. Naden, C. Maxwell, W. Shea, A. opportunistically takes advantage of Nanna’s
Treiyer and by J. Paulien, H. LaRondelle and R. misunderstanding to argue that therefore the city––New
Stefanovic.––Issues in the Interpretation of the Seven Jerusalem––must be a real, literal city. Bob has not
Trumpets of Revelation, by Angel Manuel Rodriguez. in proven his point. His argument is founded on an elderly
“Ministry,” January 2012, pages 6-10. woman’s misunderstanding, knowing full well that
Jehovah’s Witnesses are not tied to philosophical Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe what Nanna
theories of interpretation like the Adventists’ historicist supposes. This is unfair.
approach to Revelation. By paying close attention to the

35For example, 1 Kings 19:18 helps explain Revelation 11:13; 1 Chronicles 24:5-19 helps explain Revelation 4:4; and Isaiah 1:10
and Isaiah 19:19 help explain Revelation 11:8.


6.10 New Heavens and New Earth––When? years” they would have no one on earth to reign over?
Would such a rulership serve any real purpose? Would it
Bob claims that Isaiah 65:21-25 applies after the 1,000 bring glory to God, whose Kingdom it ultimately is?
years. (GCT, page 86) However, as discussed above, the Remember Proverbs 14:28:
new heavens and new earth come into existence right
after the destruction of the old heaven and earth. 36 The “In the multitude of people is the king’s honour: but in
timing of similar events at the Flood as discussed by Peter the want of people is the destruction of the prince.”
proves it.––2Pe 3:5-13. What a dishonour an Adventist Millennium without
So all the beautiful prophecies of Psalm 37:10, 11, 29 and earthly subjects would be to Christ and his resurrected
Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:21-25 are to be fulfilled during the bride! Instead, true Biblical resurrection and Millennial
1,000-year reign of Christ. God does not need to desolate teachings do bring honour to Jehovah.
the earth and leave it vacant for 1,000 years to fulfil his
Those who rule as kings have no one over whom to rule
“For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens;
under the Adventist scheme. It would be a meaningless
God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath
and shameful kingship. Adventists assign a meaning for
established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to
the abyss––a desolate earth––that they do not assign to
be inhabited.”––Isa 45:18.
the same word elsewhere in Revelation. They take the
Desolating the earth is Satan’s purpose, not God’s. It Isaiah and Jeremiah desolation of Jerusalem and Judah
would be a defeat for Jehovah to concede to Satan even out of context and apply it to the whole earth. They teach
1,000 years of an uninhabited earth contrary to His stated that parts of Ezekiel chapter 38 will not be fulfilled. They
purpose. We should never forget that if Christ and those also maintain that of all the cities and locations
taken with him to heaven reign “with Christ a thousand mentioned in Revelation, only New Jerusalem is literal.

36 See point 6.6 above.



One God … and Who is Jehovah?
Chapters 11 and 12 of Channel discuss the Trinity. word of the Father. His Son he had invested with
Seventh-day Adventists affirm and Jehovah’s Witnesses authority to command the heavenly host.”––Ellen G.
deny the doctrine. The booklet criticizes the Witnesses White, The Signs of the Times, January 9, 1879; also,
for their position but fails to concede and account for the Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 1, pages 18, 19.
fact that that the Adventist Church was not Trinitarian in (Emphasis ours.)
its earliest years. (See Appendix 1.) Even today non-
“The Scriptures clearly indicate the relation between
Trinitarianism is a minority movement within the Church
God and Christ, and they bring to view as clearly the
and those adhering to it are not disfellowshipped for
personality and individuality of each. [Hebrews 1:1-5
is then quoted.] God is the Father of Christ; Christ is
7.1 What Did Ellen G. White Believe? the Son of God. To Christ has been given an exalted
position. He has been made equal with the Father. All
Bob is very critical about changes in the teachings of the counsels of God are opened to His Son.”––Ellen
Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet, Adventist Denis Fortin of the G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Volume 8,
Baden-Wurttemberg Conference, Stuttgart, Germany, 1904, page 268. (Emphasis ours.)
speaks of
Today’s Adventists would never say that Christ was
“three periods of development in Adventist history: ‘ordained’, ‘invested’ or ‘given’ equality with the Father
1. Anti-Trinitarianism : 1846-1888 because their understanding now is that the Son was
always equal with the Father. Ellen G. White was not a
2. Dissatisfaction with Anti-Trinitarianism: 1888- conventional Trinitarian.
More than this, she was often very unsure about the holy
3. Paradigm shift: 1898-1915” spirit. On the one hand, she calls the holy spirit “the third
––Ellen G. White and God: One, Two or Three?,” July person of the Godhead.” (Special Testimonies for
2007. Ministers and Workers, Number 10, 1897, page 25; The
Desire of Ages, 1898, page 671) But then she says:
In 70 years, Ellen G. White never once used the word
Trinity in any of her many writings. Some of her “Let the brightest example the world has yet seen be
statements seem consistent with certain features of the your example, rather than the greatest and most
doctrine. So she says: learned men of the age, who know not God, nor Jesus
Christ whom he has sent. The Father and the Son
“This Saviour was the brightness of His Father’s glory alone are to be exalted.”––Ellen White, The Youth’s
and the express image of His person. He possessed Instructor, July 7, 1898. (Emphasis ours.)
divine majesty, perfection and excellence. He was
equal with God.”––Testimonies for the Church, “Alone”? What about the holy spirit? Was ‘he’ not
Volume 2, 1869, page 200. exalted? White’s statement does not show a keen
awareness of the Trinity.
This sounds Trinitarian, but at other times White said that
Christ did not always possess this equality, that he The examples cited above show that in 1898 she
possessed it only because the Father “ordained” or considered the Father and Son alone to be exalted––no
“invested” or ‘gave’ him equality and divine authority. mention of the holy spirit––and that in 1904 she was still
teaching that the equality of the Son with the Father was
“The great Creator assembled the heavenly host, that not inherent, but was something given to him by the
he might in the presence of all the angels confer Father. So Adventist Jerry Moon says:
special honor upon his Son. The Son was seated on the
throne with the Father, and the heavenly throng of “Her writings about the Godhead show a clear
holy angels was gathered around them. The Father progression, not primarily from anti- to
then made known that it was ordained by himself that protrinitarianism, but from relative ambiguity to
Christ should be equal with himself; so that wherever greater specificity. Some of her early statements are
was the presence of his Son, it was as his own capable of various interpretations, but her later
presence. His word was to be obeyed as readily as the statements, 1898-1906, are explicit to the point of


being dogmatic.”––As quoted in Ellen G. White and over doctrinal changes, but in his writings against the
God: One, Two or Three?”, July 2007. Witnesses he never once concedes the monumental
change in Adventist doctrine over the Trinity.
This explains why Ellen G. White never contradicted her
husband James White’s explicit anti-Trinitarian Apparently oblivious to the contradiction, he is very
statements. (The Day Star, January 24, 1846) She was certain of the Trinity and arraigns a list of texts in support
very tentative in the face of the non-Trinitarianism in her of the teaching which has only really been the official
church. It is true that some of her statements were more doctrine of his church since 1931 or even later, according
favourable to the Trinity toward the end of her life, but to some.
her Trinitarian message developed gradually. A Church-
sponsored article by Adventist scholar Gerhard Pfandl 7.2 Isaiah 9:6––One God or Two?
summarizes the beginning of the official acceptance of Bob claims that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in two
the Trinity. Gods, not one. One is Jehovah, the Father, the Almighty
“The first positive reference to the Trinity in Adventist God. The other is Jesus, the Mighty God. (GCT, page 90)
literature appeared in the Bible Students’ Library It is true that both Jehovah and Jesus are called God or a
series in 1892. The Bible Students’ Library was ‘a god in the Scriptures.––Isa 9:6; Joh 1:1, 18; 20:28.
series of pamphlets, designed for the public, However, Bob does not account for the fact that the Bible
containing brief and pointed essays on Bible doctrines, also calls prominent, created and faithful representatives
the fulfillment of prophecy, and other aspects of SDA of Jehovah––human and angelic––“God.” For example,
teachings.’ Pamphlet number 90 was entitled ‘The at Exodus 7:1 Moses is called “God.” At Judges 13:2, 21,
Bible Doctrine of the Trinity.’ What is significant is 22 an angel is called “God.” At Psalm 8:5 angels are
the fact that the author, Samuel Spear, was not an called “gods” and at Psalm 82:1, 6 human judges are
Adventist. The pamphlet was a reprint of an article called “gods.”
from the New York Independent of November 14,
1889. While teaching the doctrine of ‘one God If this were the sense in which Jesus is God, or a god,
subsisting and acting in three persons,’ Spear insists there would be no conflict with the Bible’s “one God”
on the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father. teaching because, like these others, he would be a God
‘The subordination of Christ, as revealed in the Bible’ acting only as a representative of the true and one God,
he says, ‘is not adequately explained by referring it Jehovah. Of course, God’s representatives are not him.
simply to His human nature. ... His subordination Could Jesus be a god in this restricted and representative
extends to His divine as well as His human nature.’ sense? Yes, very likely. For one thing, Deuteronomy
Although this pamphlet was certainly an improvement 18:18 describes Jesus as a prophet like Moses. If Moses
on previous positions it still fell short of the true is “God” in a limited sense, as he is, it would be expected
picture of the Trinity. Nevertheless, the fact that it was that Jesus would be God in the same limited sense. Of
printed by Pacific Press indicates that the concept of course, Jesus is greater than Moses and therefore more
the Trinity was beginning to be accepted by the deserving of the title than Moses. But neither Jesus,
church. The breakthrough came with the publication Moses nor any of these other Gods or gods is ever called
of Ellen White’s article ‘Christ the Life-giver’ in Signs Almighty God.––Ge 17:1.
of the Times in 1897, and the book The Desire of Ages
in 1898.”––“The Doctrine of the Trinity Among Adventists object that Isaiah 43:10 prevents any
Adventists,” Biblical Research Institute, June 1999. possibility of created gods.––GCT, page 90.

The “breakthrough” year was 1897, more than 50 years “Before me there was no God formed, neither shall
after White began her prophetic ministry and 34 years there be after me.”
after the establishment of the Seventh-day Adventist Consider the context because it is vital to understanding
Church! If Adventist ‘truth’ was originally non- the text. Isaiah chapters 42 to 44 argue for the unique
Trinitarian and the Church only gradually came to a Godship of Jehovah as part of a contrast with the pagan
position diametrically opposed to its original position, we gods of the surrounding nations. The contrast is between
can ask Bob the question he asks of Jehovah’s Witnesses. the true God and the pagan idol gods.
“If it [in this case, non-Trinitarianism] was taught as Note the important word “formed.” “Formed” how? The
truth then [until 1897] ... why should it be error context speaks about “graven images” and “molten
now?”––GCT, page 66. images” that were formed by the pagan nations. (Isa
Bob is ‘throwing stones in a his own glass house.’ For the 42:8, 17) So Isaiah 44:8-10 says:
past 50 years, Price has accused Jehovah’s Witnesses


“Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God: I Just as Jesus is a Father in a different sense to the
know not any. They that make a graven image are all heavenly Father, so he is a God in a different sense to
of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not Jehovah God. Jesus’ Godship is similar to, but greater
profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, than, the godship of the other loyal servants of Jehovah
nor know; that they may be ashamed. Who hath that we have already mentioned.––Isa 53:10.
formed a god, or molten a graven image that is
profitable for nothing?” 7.3 Matthew 1:23––Emmanuel

Note again the word “formed,” the same word used at Bob cites Matthew 1:23 to prove that Jesus is God.
Isaiah 43:10. That ‘formation’ is physical, the forming of “They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being
idols by their worshipers. (Isa 44:11-17) While the true interpreted is, God with us.”
God is the Former of others, the pagan gods form nothing
and need to be formed themselves by men. (Isa 43:1, 7, The verse quotes Isaiah 7:14. Regarding the quotation,
21; 44:2, 21, 24). Compare Isaiah 44:10, 12, where The New International Dictionary of New Testament
“fashioneth” also comes from the Hebrew “to form.” Theology (1986), Volume 2, pages 86, 87, states:

So when Jehovah says at Isaiah 43:10 that “there was no “The name Emmanuel which occurs in Isa. 7:14 and
God formed,” he was speaking about the ‘forming’ of 8:8 means lit. ‘God [is] with us’ ... In the context of
gods of the kind in the context, that is, the pagan gods the times of Isaiah and King Ahaz the name is given
formed, graven or molten as images by their worshippers. to a child as yet not conceived with the promise that
Of course, because Jehovah is eternal, none of these the danger now threatening Israel from Syria and
image-gods was formed before Jehovah and neither will Samaria will pass ‘before the child knows how to
any of them be formed after Jehovah. refuse evil and choose the good.’ Thus, the child and
its name is a sign of God’s gracious saving presence
However, the text is clearly not referring to Moses, the among his people ... [Emmanuel] could be a general
angels, or the Israelite judges when it says no gods were statement that the birth and naming of the special child
formed. Why not? Because the Bible calls them gods in will indicate that the good hand of God is upon us. …
a good way and we cannot just delete those references The point of the present passage [Matthew 1:23] is to
from the Scriptures. When the context is considered, see in the birth of Jesus a saving act of God,
then, there is no valid argument in Isaiah 43:10 against comparable with the birth of the first Emmanuel. Both
Jesus being a god of this kind either. births signify God’s presence with his people through
Jehovah is a “mighty God.” (Isa 10:21) More than that, a child.” "
he is “Almighty God [Hebrew, ’El shaddai],” without Yes, the first Emmanuel was a human who was not God.
peer as to mightiness. (Ge 17:1) Jesus, on the other hand, The meaning of that name does not force us to view him
is “mighty” but never “Almighty.” And so the difference as God. The mere application of the name to Jesus in a
between the Father and the Son is clearly seen. Both are secondary sense should not force that conclusion either.
mighty but only one is Almighty. It is the same
distinction mentioned at John 10:29: “My Father ... is Names were sometimes almost prophetic, expressing a
greater than all.” And “My Father is greater than I.” (Joh hope for a person’s life. The Jews also incorporated
14:28) “Mighty God” at Isaiah 9:6 is not a title that “God,” “Jehovah” and “Jah” into their children’s names
uniquely identifies Jesus as the Most High God.37 freely and so many Israelites came to be named after their
God. These parents were not claiming that their children
Bob believes that the title “mighty God” means that Jesus were God. Eliathar means “God has come.” (1Ch 25:4)
is Almighty God. How, then, does he deal with Jesus’ Elpaal means “God of doing [or, creating].” (1Ch 8:11)
other title, “everlasting Father,” in the same verse? (Isa Elihu means “God is he” and Jehu means “Jehovah is he.”
9:6) Would he consistently argue that Jesus is the same (Job 32:2; 2Ki 9:14) We can only imagine Bob’s delight
as the Father, or is part of the Father? Bob could not say if Jesus had been named Elihu or Jehu! But, really, this
so, for the Trinity doctrine specifically prevents that naming convention does not imply that anyone is God.
explanation. Jesus is not the Father.

37Ezekiel 32:21 uses the plural form of ‘mighty god.’ “The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell.”
The English Standard Version renders “strong among the mighty” as “mighty chiefs.” Other translations say “mighty leaders”
(New International Version) and “mighty ones” (New American Standard Bible). But the Hebrew reads ‘mighty gods.’ “Mighty
God” is therefore not a term unique to Jehovah.


7.4 John 20:28––My God simply required as a matter of grammar that ho be used
when addressing someone.
The Adventist booklet raises another important text on
page 90. As mentioned above, Jehovah’s Witnesses actually agree
that Jesus is theos––God or god––in the same sense as
“My Lord [ho kyrios] and my God [ho theos].” other prominent representatives were God. (Ex 7:1; Ps
Bob says that the New World Translation usually renders 8:5; 82:1, 6; Joh 10:34, 35) However his Godship is
ho kyrios as “Jehovah” in the Christian Greek Scriptures. “mighty,” not “Almighty.” (Ge 17:1; Isa 9:6) So the
He is not right in this. Ho kyrios usually refers to Christ. Father outranks him as to Godship.
It is the anarthrous kyrios––kyrios without the article–– Jesus himself says: “I ascend unto my Father, and your
that more often refers to Jehovah. So it is unsurprising Father; and to my God, and your God.” (Joh 20:17) The
that Jesus is called ho kyrios. Why, though, is Christ Father is Jesus’ God, but the reverse is never true. Jesus
called ho theos, a term usually reserved for God? is never the Father’s God.
Trinitarians usually emphasize that ho theos, “the God,”
7.5 Philippians 2:6––Equality?
is very different to theos, “a god.” Explaining why, A.T.
Robertson comments: Whether or not Philippians 2:6 supports the Trinity
depends on the translation of the verse and its context.
“Here we have an old Greek idiom intensified by the
(GCT, page 90) There have been alternative translations
Hebrew and the Aramaic usage in which tongues the
vocative regularly has the article. ... In Jo. 20:28 ho
kyrios mou kai ho theos mou the form is nominative, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery
but the case is vocative. Jesus receives the words as to be equal with God.”––King James Version.
direct address.”––A New Short Grammar of the Greek
“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count
Testament, page 282.
equality with God a thing to be grasped.”––Revised
In Greek, the vocative case––the form of a word used Standard Version.
when addressing someone––“regularly has the article.”
The King James Version inserts the pronoun “it,” which
Hebrew and Aramaic are similar. Since Thomas used one
is not in the Greek, saying he “thought it not robbery to
of these three languages when he spoke to Jesus and,
be equal with God.” Omitting the “it,” there would be no
since John recorded his comments in Greek, it is hardly
support for the Trinity. It would read: he ‘thought not
surprising that theos has the article. As Robertson says, it
robbery to be equal with God.’ The sense then would be
was idiomatic and to be expected. This means that
that Jesus did not even contemplate grasping equality
Thomas was probably not making a doctrinal point by the
with God.
way he addressed Jesus.
One commentary discusses the alternative translations.
As further evidence that the article used this way is not
doctrinally significant, C.F.D. Moule says: “Thought it not robbery is one translation of the key-
word Harames which may be taken actively as in [the
“Finally, note that the use or non-use of the article
King James Version] or passively as in [the Revised
may, in some cases, be due to the influence of Semitic
Version]: ‘counted it not a prize to be on an equality
idiom rather than deliberate desire to modify the sense.
with God’. Both versions are linguistically possible.
A noun in the construct case in Hebrew is never
The real difficulty is encountered in the question:
allowed to carry the article, and this may sometimes
Does it mean that Christ enjoyed equality with God
be sufficient to explain an anarthrous noun in a Greek
but surrendered it by becoming man, or that He could
equivalent phrase: angelos kyriou might be a
have grasped at equality with God by self-assertion,
Hebraism for the angel of the Lord; so doxa kyriou.
but declined to do so ... ?”––The Epistle of Paul to the
Conversely, the use of the article with a virtual
Philippians: An Introduction and Commentary, pages
Vocative (cf. John xx. 28 referred to above, and I Pet.
97, 98.
ii. I8ff.) may also be due to Semitic idiom.”––An
Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, page 117. This is the main question. The Greek is oukh harpagmon
hegesato to einai isa theo, which the Revised Standard
Moule cites the articular theos of John 20:28 as an
Version renders: “who, though he was in the form of God,
example of “the influence of Semitic idiom rather than
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.”
deliberate desire to modify the sense.” Really, then, the
Equality with God was a state or condition beyond being
ho-theos vocative is not necessarily intended to mean that
“in the form of God” and something for which Jesus did
Jesus was “the God.” The Greek and Hebrew languages
not attempt to ‘grasp [harpagmon].’


A Trinitarian would usually argue for a meaning for a humble submission to God as superior––demonstrates
harpagmon like ‘retain’ or ‘hold onto,’ so that Christ held the real meaning of humility for humans, to exercise
onto something he already possessed, namely “equality humility even when faced the option of grasping for
with God.” higher authority.
The non-Trinitarian would argue that harpagmon means However, regardless of the meaning of harpagmon, who
‘seize’ or ‘grasp,’ so that Christ did not consider seizing receives the greater glory in the final analysis? Look at
something he did not already possess, namely “equality Paul’s conclusion.
with God.” In the latter view, despite being in God’s
“Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is
“form,” Christ was not originally equal with God and
Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”––Php 2:11.
took no interest in grasping for equality. Clearly, the
meaning of harpagmon is crucial to understanding the When all is said and done, the Father is clearly supreme.
meaning of Philippians 2:6.
7.6 1 Timothy 3:16––God or He?
So what does harpagmon mean, ‘hold onto’ or ‘seize’?
One Greek scholar makes the following comments. Almost unbelievably, Bob endorses a very poor
translation in support of the Trinity, (GCT, page 90) The
“It is questionable, however, whether the sense of the King James Version reads: “God was manifest in the
verb can glide from its real meaning of ‘to seize’, ‘to flesh.” The trouble for Bob is that “God” is not in the
snatch violently’ to that of ‘to hold fast;’ and the original Greek at this place. The Revised Standard
second interpretation hardly does justice to the Version reflects the manuscript evidence better.
structure of the whole sentence as well as to the force
of ‘exalted to the highest place’ in verse 9.”––The “He was manifested in the flesh.”
Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, The Epistle of In a lengthy comment, B.M. Metzger notes that “God”
Paul to the Philippians, R. Martin, page 101. was a very late edition to the Bible text.
Martin shows that the real meaning of harpagmon is “to “The reading which, on the basis of external evidence
seize,” a meaning inconsistent with the notion of and transcriptional probability, best explains the rise
retaining or holding onto something already possessed. of the others is hos. It is supported by the earliest and
Even clearer are the following comments. best uncials ... Furthermore, since the neuter relative
“We cannot find any passage where harpazo or any of ho must have arisen as a scribal correction of hos (to
its derivatives has the sense of ‘holding in possession,’ bring the relative into concord with mysterion), the
‘retaining’. It seems invariably to mean ‘seize,’ witnesses which read ho ... also indirectly presuppose
‘snatch violently’. Thus it is not permissible to glide hos as the earlier reading. The Textus Receptus reads
from the true sense ‘grasp at’ into one which is totally theos ... Thus, no uncial (in the first hand) earlier than
different, ‘hold fast.’”––The Expositor’s Greek the eighth or ninth century ... supports theos; all
Testament Volume 3, pages 436, 437. ancient versions presuppose hos or ho; and no patristic
writer prior to the last third of the fourth century
Not a single Biblical example can be given of harpazo testifies to the reading theos. The reading theos arose
meaning ‘to hold onto’ something already possessed. either (a) accidentally, through the misreading of OC
Trinitarians need such a meaning to prove that Jesus as C, or (b) deliberately, either to supply a
‘held onto’ his Trinitarian equality. But the word substantive for the following six verbs, or, with less
invariably means ‘to seize’ or ‘grasp’ something not probability, to provide greater dogmatic precision.”––
already held. Why would Paul have used harpagmon if A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament,
Christ were already equal to God? He would not because page 641.
Jesus could not be tempted to ‘seize’ something he
already possessed. Only if he did not already possess This shows that the earliest reading of theos occurred, not
equality might he have been tempted to grasp it. in Biblical texts, but in patristic writings from the end of
the fourth century when the Trinity was an issue in the
Then there is the matter of context. The lesson is one of Church. Again the New World Translation is found
humility. Because he was humble, far from grasping accurate in a contested rendering, in this case: “He was
upward for equality, Jesus chose to go the other way, made manifest in flesh.”
lowering himself. (Php 2:7) If Jesus were already equal,
and never surrendered that equality when he came to 7.7 Titus 2:13––God and Saviour?
earth, he would not have exemplified humility as well.
We assume that the Titus 3:14 cited on page 90 of the
On the other hand, the fact that Jesus had opposing online edition of Channel is meant to be Titus 2:13. In
options––(1) a proud thrust for equality with God, or (2) 1798 Granville Sharp proposed what he believed to be a


consistent grammatical rule involving the Greek 7.8 Hebrews 1:8––O God?
conjunction kai, meaning “and.” He found that, where
two singular nouns are linked by kai, they apply to the Bob criticizes the New World Translation over its
same person if the first noun is preceded by the definite translation of Hebrews 1:8. (GCT, pages 90, 97, 98) The
article “the” and the second noun is not. Titus 2:13 has booklet’s character David finds its rendering hard to
this word order. understand and Bob says: “If you knew Greek and
Hebrew, you would be still more displeased.” The King
“of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” James Version and New World Translation translate the
Adventists and others say that this word order shows that text this way.
“God” and “Jesus Christ” are the same person here “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and for ever.”––King
because “God” is preceded by the article and “Jesus James Version.
Christ” is not. “God is your throne forever.”––New World
However, as explained by Henry Alford, there are Translation.
reasons to believe that “the great God” and “our Saviour This is a quote from Psalm 45:6, which in the first place
Jesus Christ” are different persons and that Granville was addressed to a king. The psalmist obviously did not
Sharp’s Rule does not apply in this case. They include consider the king to be God, and would not have
these. (1) Soter (“Saviour”) was a word which gradually addressed him as such. It calls into question whether “O
dropped the article and became a proper name. (1Ti 1:1; God” is really the correct translation.
4:10) Sharp’s Rule specifically excludes proper names.
(2) Hemon (“our”) is connected to the words “Saviour The writer of Hebrews quotes from the Greek Septuagint
Jesus Christ” and where hemon is connected to nouns the (LXX) version of Psalm 45:6 rather than from the
article is often absent, meaning that its absence may not Hebrew. From a purely grammatical perspective there are
be significant at Titus 2:13. (Cp. Lu 1:78; Ro 1:7; 1Co two ways to translate the passage. The Greek reads: “ho
1:3; 2:7; 10:11; 2Co 1:2) (3) Prefixing an appositional [the] thronos [throne] sou [of you] ho [the] theos [God].”
designation like “Saviour” to a proper name like “Jesus” Bob says Jehovah’s Witnesses incorrectly translate it.
frequently causes the omission of the article. (2Co 1:2; But Greek scholar A.T. Robertson says:
6:18; Ga 1:3; Eph 1:2; 6:23; Php 1:2; 2:11; 3:20; 2Th “It is not certain whether ho theos is here the vocative
1:12; Jude 4) (4) Jesus Christ is nowhere else called ‘God (address with the nominative form as in John 20:28
and Saviour.’ (The Greek Testament, Volume III, pages with the Messiah termed theos as is possible, John
420, 421) So it may not be significant that the article is 1:18) or ho theos is nominative (subject or predicate)
missing before “Saviour.” with estin (is) understood: ‘God is thy throne’ or ‘Thy
There are two other factors showing that Titus 2:13 does throne is God.’ Either makes good sense.”––Word
not identify God and Christ as identical. First, the Pictures in the New Testament, A.T. Robertson,
Septuagint rendering at Proverbs 24:21, ton theon ... kai Volume V, comments on Hebrews 1:8.
basilea, speaks about two different individuals, ‘the God Bob is not right. The Greek allows both translations. In
and king.’ This is the same article-noun-kai-noun fact, “God is thy throne” is a ‘sensible’ translation!
construction as Titus 2:13 with an article before “God” Regarding the choice between vocative and nominative,
but none before “king.” God and the king were neither the following comments by B.F. Westcott are relevant.
identical nor equal, so it is a clear exception to Granville
Sharp’s rule. “The LXX. admits of two renderings: ho theos can be
taken as a vocative in both cases (Thy throne, O God,
Second, the third-century Sahidic Coptic version at Titus ... therefore, O God, Thy God ...) or it can be taken as
2:13 reads noute.mn penswthr ihsous pecristos, “God, the subject (or the predicate) in the first case (God is
and our Savior Jesus Christ.” Its translator(s) understood Thy throne, or Thy throne is God ...) ... It is scarcely
“God” and “Jesus Christ” to be two entities, not one. The possible that Elohim in the original can be addressed
Coptic translators did not know of Granville Sharp’s rule to the king. The presumption therefore is against the
even though they were familiar with Greek. 38 belief that ho theos is a vocative in the LXX. Thus on
the whole it seems best to adopt in the first clause the
rendering: God is Thy throne (or, Thy throne is God),

38 Commentator N.J.D. White also arrives at this conclusion. “The grammatical argument––‘the identity of reference of two
substantives when under the vinculum of a common article’––is too slender to bear much weight, especially when we take into
consideration not only the general neglect of the article in these epistles but the omission of it before soter [‘Saviour’] in I Tim. I.I,
iv. I0.”––The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Volume 4, page 195.


that is ‘Thy kingdom is founded upon God, the “God’s Spirit will not always be grieved. It will depart
immovable Rock.”––The Epistle to the Hebrews, if grieved a little longer.”––Testimonies to the Church
pages 25, 26. 1:124. (Emphasis ours.)
This is not the only evidence in support of the New World “Unless the Holy Spirit shall do its office work
Translation’s rendering.39 The idea of God being Jesus’ upon the human heart, the character will not be
throne is no more difficult to understand than God being developed after the divine similitude.”––1888
called a person’s Rock or shield. Materials, page 1249. (Emphasis ours.)
God is the ultimate authority underpinning Jesus’ “The Holy Spirit takes possession of every one who
authority, as Jesus admitted: “All power [literally, has a willing mind, not that that person may work
‘authority’] is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Mt the Holy Spirit, but that the Holy Spirit may work
28:18) Jehovah is the Source of Jesus’ delegated its miracle through the grace that is poured upon the
authority. human agency. ... The Holy Spirit does not work
upon the human heart to compel you to give
The very next verse at Hebrews 1:9 is clear that the Father
yourself to Christ, to force you to yield your
is God, and Jesus’ God at that. The Father is “thy God.”
conscience: but it shines into the chambers of the
Jesus is never once called the Father’s God in the Bible.
mind in a way to convict of sin, and to entice you
When it comes to godship the Father is superior.
unto righteousness. If you do not confess Christ
7.9 Holy Spirit––Impersonal now, the time will come when, overwhelmed with
a sense of the great things that you have lost, you
Bob criticizes Jehovah’s Witnesses for denying the will make confession.”––The Youth’s Instructor,
personality of the spirit. He says that the holy spirit is a August 1, 1895. (Emphasis ours.)
person because it guides, pleads and grieves, and it is true
that the Bible does use this kind of language. (Page 91; According to Ellen G. White, the holy spirit can be called
Joh 16:13; Ro 8:26, 34; Eph 4:30) The question is “it.” It is unfair to hide these important quotations. Or is
whether this is literal or figurative. Bob ignorant of them? Jehovah’s Witnesses for their part
can only agree that the spirit is impersonal.
What is clear, though, is that Bob does not tell the whole
truth about Ellen G. White’s teachings on this subject. White sometimes spoke of the spirit as the “power” of
Christ or God.40 This is not quite correct because spirit
7.9.1 Holy Spirit––Ellen G. White’s Views and power are separate at Luke 1:17; Acts 10:38 and 1
Her references to the holy spirit are confusing, to say the Corinthians 2:4. Still, power is an inanimate quality.
least. As a result, the identity of the spirit is a hot topic in Why, then, she sometimes refers to the spirit as a person?
Adventism today. Sometimes White referred to the holy It seems to be because she thought of the spirit as Christ
spirit as a person, and at other times as “it.” Here is a himself. She says:
“Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in
“We should pray as earnestly for the descent of the every place personally; therefore it was altogether for
Holy Spirit as the disciples prayed on the Day of their advantage that He should leave them, go to His
Pentecost. If they needed it at that time, we need it father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on
more today.”––Colporteur Ministry, page 104. earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself, divested of the
“When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, personality of humanity, and independent thereof. He
it transforms the life.”––Ibid., page 106. would represent Himself as present in all places by His
Holy Spirit as the Omnipresent.”––Ellen G. White,
Letter 119, February 18, 1895. (Emphasis ours.)

39 J. Beduhn says: “... on the basis of linguistics, ho theos is more likely to mean ‘God,’ as it does hundreds of times throughout the
New Testament, than ‘O God,’ a meaning it has in only three other places in the New Testament. Furthermore, there is no other
example in the Bible where the expression ‘forever’ stands alone as a predicate phrase with the verb ‘to be,’ as it would if the
sentence were read ‘Your throne is forever.’ ‘Forever’ always functions as a phrase complementing either an action verb, or
predicate noun or pronoun. Moreover, there is no other way to say ‘God is your throne’ than the way Hebrews 1:8 reads. There is,
however, another way to say ‘Your throne, O God,’ namely, by using the direct address (vocative) form thee rather than the subject
(nomi”native) form ho theos.”––Truth in Translation, page 99.
40 Signs of the Times, November 23, 1891; Review and Herald, November 19, 1908.


Note that she believed that the spirit is Christ acting apart Like wisdom, holy spirit is an extension of God’s
from his humanity. This explains why White sometimes personality in the sense that what it does is what God
represented the spirit as a person––Christ “Himself” –– causes it to do. As Jesus states at John 16:13: “He [the
and at other times called it an “it.” She referred to the spirit] shall not speak of himself.” If the holy spirit itself
spirit as a “power” representing Christ. Christ’s does not speak, who is the source of the spirit’s speech?
personality, she believed, is represented by the spirit and
At John 15:26 Jesus says the spirit “proceedeth from the
in that sense it is a person.
Father.” The Father is the ultimate Source of the spirit, so
It also explains why she said that Satan was next in references to its ‘teaching,’ ‘testifying,’ ‘reproving,’
authority after Christ, and why at times she speaks ‘guiding,’ ‘hearing’ and ‘speaking’ actually tell us about
without apparently being conscious of the spirit. God’s actions using the holy spirit instrumentally.
“Satan, next to Christ, was … highest in power and The Greek pronouns for “he” and “himself” that are
glory.”––Signs of the Times, July 23, 1902. (Emphasis sometimes used of the spirit are masculine only for
ours.) grammatical reasons, to agree with the word “Comforter”
which is masculine in Greek. (Joh 16:7) So they do not
“Satan, who was once a beautiful angel in the
mean that the spirit is a person.
heavenly courts, became a fallen angel because he did
not want to occupy a secondary place, but to be next In a similar way, to agree with the neuter Greek word
to God. He would have the Lord Jesus become second “spirit” the Greek pronoun for “it” is used at John 14:17.
to him, for his own glory was precious in his own Even the King James Version refers to the spirit as ‘itself’
sight. He was jealous of Christ, the Saviour … at Romans 8:16, 26. But too is a grammatical agreement
Although in the beginning Satan was an exalted angel only. It does not prove that the spirit is not a person.
of great glory in the heavenly courts, that glory Personal and impersonal pronouns are not helpful in
became extinguished through his craving to be the deciding the question either way.
highest one next to God.”––Ellen G. White,
Manuscript 74, March 20, 1910. (Emphasis ours.) 7.9.3 Verbs That Seem Personal

“Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one When Paul ascribes ‘grieving’––a personal emotion––to
with the eternal Father––one in nature, in character, in the holy spirit he uses the kind of language that is used
purpose––the only being that could enter into all the figuratively of impersonal things in other texts. (Eph
counsels and purposes of God.”––Patriarchs and 4:30) It is understandable that someone believing the
Prophets, page 33. (Emphasis ours.) spirit to be a person will see proof here.

The holy spirit does not seem to figure in White’s mind. However, will he see proof that the roadways of
There is God, Christ and Satan. Would the spirit not Jerusalem were persons in the question: “The ways of
“enter into all the counsels … of God” too, if a person? Zion do mourn”? (La 1:4) Or that the land of Judah is a
person? “For this shall the earth mourn?” (Jer 4:28; Cp.
7.9.2 Holy Spirit––Pronouns Isa 3:26; Jer 12:4; 14:2; La 2:8; Ho 4:3) Mourning is a
personal function too, but it also applies figuratively to
Sometimes the holy spirit is referred to in the Scriptures
things that are not personal.
using personal pronouns like “he” or “himself.” Why?
Wisdom is an excellent example. Although impersonal, The Scriptures say that non-personal things like the
wisdom is sometimes and rarely personified. Proverbs heavens, earth, mountains, fields and trees experience
1:20-33; 8:1-36 are examples where feminine forms are joy. (Ps 96:11, 12; Isa 14:8; 35:1, 2; 44:23) Does anyone
used for wisdom in the Hebrew. argue that these things are persons because they mourn
or are joyful? No, because no one has a doctrine
The King James Version uses “she,” “her,” “I” and “me”
presupposing roadways, mountains and trees to be
in rendering these forms when speaking of wisdom. So
persons. When the mind-set is not there presuming them
do other English translations. (Revised Standard Version,
to beyersons, it is easy to recognize figurative language.
An American Translation) It is also said to have very
personal-sounding attributes. It ‘cries out,’ ‘utters her But assuming the spirit to be a person, Trinitarians apply
voice,’ ‘calls,’ ‘speaks,’ ‘dwells,’ ‘finds out knowledge,’ very similar figurative language literally. In Greek,
‘hates,’ ‘has strength,’ ‘loves’ and ‘leads.’ Jesus himself “grieve” must be allowed a figurative meaning. There is
personifies wisdom at Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:35, documented evidence that the Greeks used “grieve” this
where he says it has “children.” Despite these way. In the “Epistle to Diognetus,” a professed Christian
personifications, no one argues that wisdom is a person work of the second or third century, “grieve” is used of
because no one presupposes wisdom to be a person. something inanimate.


“The grace of the prophets is recognized … If thou something inanimate is counted as if it were done to a
grieve [same verb, lypeo] not this grace thou shalt person.
understand.”––“Epistle to Diognetus,” The Apostolic
Trinitarians hardly ever notice that in the same chapter of
Fathers, pages 499 (text) and 510 (translation); See
Acts wise Gamaliel shows that opposing something
also Early Christian Writings, page 183.
impersonal can be the same as opposing someone
Yes, according to this Greek writer, grace could be personal. Gamaliel’s counsel is:
‘grieved,’ and grace is certainly impersonal. For
“If this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to
something to “grieve” does not necessarily imply
nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest
personality. Really, if something like grace is known to
haply ye be found even to fight against God.”––Ac
be impersonal, no confusion results if verbs like “grieve,”
5:38, 39.
“mourn” or ‘be joyful’ are used when speaking about it.
But a casual reader's preconception can affect his Gamaliel counted fighting the impersonal “counsel or …
understanding. But “grieve” does not of itself imply work … of God” as fighting the personal God, not
personality of itself because can be figurative. because the “work” was God but because it came from
God. The comparison with Acts 5:3, 4 is clear. Opposing
Ellen G. White herself saw no inconsistency in referring
something impersonal––like God’s work or his holy
to the holy spirit as a neuter “it” that could be “grieved.”
spirit––is opposing God, but neither are God.
“It will depart if grieved a little longer.”––Testimonies
There are other examples. Malachi 1:7 says that the
to the Church 1:124. (Emphasis ours.)
Israelites showed that they considered Jehovah’s table to
When we remember Jesus’ comment that the holy spirit be “contemptible” by presenting polluted bread on his
“proceedeth from the Father,” anyone who disregards the altar. In the process they polluted Jehovah. God’s altar
promptings of the holy spirit grieves it figuratively and was an inanimate object but it was essential to true
grieves the Father who sent it. (Joh 15:26) He feels that worship and disrespecting it was disrespect for God, the
grief in a very personal way. His spirit is an expression person. No Trinitarian would even make the case that the
of the his concern for his creation and any disregard is altar was God because they do not presuppose that it was.
disregard for God himself.––Ps 95:10; 1Th 4:8.
There are similar references in which actions taken
For the same reason, it is not surprising that the spirit against humans are counted as actions against God
“pleads” or “maketh intercession,” as does Jesus. (Ro because they represented him. Numbers 14:2 says Israel
8:26, 34) The holy spirit, proceeding from the Father, murmured against Moses and Aaron, but Numbers 14:26,
intervenes in our behalf when we have “infirmities” and 27 says they murmured against Jehovah. They were not
difficulty being specific in prayer. Very often the Jehovah. They acted in his behalf.––Cp. Ac 9:5; Php 3:6.
prayerful thoughts that we need are contained in prayers
At Acts 5:3, 4 the point is not that the holy spirit is God,
already recorded in God’s Word under the influence of
but that lying to the spirit amounts to lying to God since
holy spirit. They express God’s mind on the matter and
God uses his spirit to deal with men.
he accepts them in our behalf.
Even so, is it possible to lie to the holy spirit if it is not a
However, to say that “the Spirit itself maketh
person? Yes. James 3:14 says: “lie not against the truth.”
intercession” no more makes the spirit God than the
Or consider Job 34:6: “Should I lie against my right?”
similar expression “the scripture saith” in the very next
Job’s right––his judgment––was also impersonal. It is
chapter makes Scripture God.––Ro 9:17.
possible to lie against something impersonal.
7.10 Lying to the Spirit
7.11 The Spirit Is Impersonal
Using Acts 5:3, 4, Bob argues that the holy spirit is God
Think now of the many reasons to view the holy spirit as
because lying to the spirit is the same as lying to God.––
impersonal. The Bible says that people were “filled with,”
GCT, pages 91, 92.
‘baptized with’ or ‘anointed with the Holy Ghost.’ (Lu
“Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy 1:41; Mt 3:11; Ac 10:38) Can a person be filled with
Ghost … ? … thou hast not lied unto men, but unto another person? There are no other Bible examples of
God.” this. There are references to being “filled” with
impersonal qualities, but never to being filled with a
This is the only passage Bob is able to quote that seems
person.––Lu 2:40; 4:28; 5:26; 6:11; 15:16; Joh 16:6; Ac
clearly to call the holy spirit God. If he misunderstands
3:10; 5:17; 13:52; Ro 1:28, 29; 15:14; 2Co 7:4; Php 1:11.
this text his premise is on shaky grounds. The problem
with the Trinitarian argument is that the Bible often uses Just as John baptised Jesus “with water [en hydati,
this kind of language where something done to a Greek],” God baptised Jesus ‘with holy spirit [en


pneumati hagio] and fire [pyri].’ The constructions are 7.12 Matthew 28:19––Three Persons, One Name?
the same for water as for holy spirit and fire, the
preposition en (meaning “with”) being used with the On page 92, Bob argues from Matthew 28:19 that the
words for water, holy spirit and fire in the instrumental three members of the Trinity are collectively one God,
case. Obviously, water and fire are not persons. called by one name.

In their textbook, H.E. Dana and J.R. Mantey point out “Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the
that the instrumental case in phrases like this specifically Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
relates to impersonal things. However, J. McClintock and J. Strong’s Cyclopedia of
“The Instrumental of Means. Quite obviously this is Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
the use lying closest to the root meaning of the case in places this text with Matthew 3:16, 17; 1 Peter 1:2; 2
the New Testament. It is the method for expressing Corinthians 13:14 and John 14:26 as texts that cannot of
impersonal means, while personal agent is usually themselves prove the equality of the Father, Son and holy
expressed by hypo with the ablative.”––A Manual spirit.
Grammar of the Greek New Testament, page 890. “The first class of texts, taken, by itself, proves only
If the spirit were a “personal agent,” hypo with the that there are the three subjects named, and that there
ablative case would have been expected, but en is there is a difference between them; that the Father in certain
instead. The Bible never uses en with ‘baptise’ in the respects differs from the Son, etc.; but it does not
instrumental case where persons are the instrument of prove, by itself, that all the three belong necessarily to
baptism. “Baptized into Jesus Christ” is found, but never the divine nature, and possess equal divine honor.”––
‘baptised with Jesus Christ.’ (Ro 6:3) The expression Volume X, page 552.
suggests impersonality. It is a fallacy to interpret a Bible passage in support of a
The references to being ‘anointed with the Holy Ghost’ teaching like the Trinity that developed centuries later.
imply impersonality because oil was the instrument of When other texts with similar grammatical constructions
anointing and, of course, the oil was inanimate. (Ex 27:7; are interpreted, they are never explained as Trinitarians
30:25; Le 8:10; Nu 35:25) The Bible never associates an explain Matthew 28:19. No one explains “Abraham, and
anointing instrument with anything personal. Isaac, and Jacob” at Matthew 8:11 to be a trinity. And
“God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels” at
It should be noted too that at Acts 10:38 Peter says that 1 Timothy 5:21 are never explained as a Trinity or a
Jesus was anointed “with the Holy Ghost and with multi-personal unity.
power.” The link of power with holy spirit suggests that
the spirit is not a person just as power is not a person. Regarding the singular “name” at Matthew 28:19, this
kind of language is used elsewhere of multiple unequal
Some “of the spirit” can be taken from one person and persons. We discuss this at point 7.18.1 below. For now,
given to another. (Nu 11:17, 25) And Acts 2:17 according we can note just one example at Genesis 48:16.
to the Greek speaks about God pouring out, not ‘his
spirit,’ but “of [his] Spirit” upon all flesh. Why the “The name [singular] of my fathers [plural] Abraham
genitive case, “of my Spirit” here? It implies that it is and Isaac.”
possible for God to give some part of his spirit but not Note, one “name” for two persons different in substance
some other part. and age, persons who were certainly no Trinity.
In the heavenly visions the holy spirit never appears as 7.13 Illustrations that Do Not Fit
an independent person. In the Hebrew Scriptures at Isaiah
chapter 6, Ezekiel chapter 1 and Daniel chapter 7 there is There are no illustrations that adequately explain the
no mention of the spirit as a person. In the Christian contradictions inherent in the Trinity, but Bob attempts
Scriptures at Acts 7:55, 56 Stephen makes no mention of one when he argues that a married couple are “one”
seeing the holy spirit as person. In John’s vision of despite being “two different persons.” (GCT, page 90)
heaven at Revelation chapters 4 and 5 the spirit is seen His illustration does not fit the Trinity because a married
but not as a person. It is described as “the seven Spirits couple, while “one flesh” in a figurative sense by virtue
of God,” seven lamps of fire and the seven eyes of the of their marriage covenant, are not only two distinct
Lamb. (Re 4:5; 5:6) It is never once a distinct and persons but two distinct substances––two separate
independent person. Beings. The Trinity does not allow two substances.
This is the Bible’s presentation of the holy spirit if we Substance is supposed to be the uniting element in the
view the subject as a whole. Despite the occasional Trinity, and unless the Father, Son and holy spirit share
personification, the spirit is not a person. exactly the same substance or Being there is no Trinity.


At one point Ellen G. White seemed to agree with the designated in a number of passages in the O T by the
traditional Trinity teaching that Jesus and the Father and pl[ural] melakhim ‘kings,’ i.e., The Great King, and
the Son share the same substance. She says: the Persian Empire by the pl[ural] mamlakhoth,
‘kingdoms,’ i.e., The Great Kingdom… Various
“Jesus said, ‘I and my Father are one.’ The words of
theories have been advanced to explain the use of the
Christ were full of deep meaning as he put forth the
plural form elohim as a designation of the God of
claim that he and the Father were of one substance,
Israel. Least plausible is the view of the old
possessing the same attributes.”––Signs of the Times,
theologians, beginning with Peter Lombard (12th
November 27, 1893, page 54. (Emphasis ours.)
century), that we have in the plural form a reference to
“Substance” is the English equivalent of the Greek ousia, the Trinity. ... That the language of the O T has entirely
meaning “being.” When White says “one substance” she given up the idea of plurality in elohim (as applied to
agrees with Protestant Trinitarianism. “One substance,” the God of Israel) is especially shown by the fact that
or ‘one Being,’ comes from the Greek homoousios. There it is almost invariably construed with a singular verbal
cannot be one substance and at the same time three predicate, and takes a singular adjectival attribute …
Beings. Modern Adventism generally agrees with this. elohim must rather be explained as an intensive plural,
denoting greatness and majesty, being equal to The
But White elsewhere and some Adventists today refer to
Great God. It ranks with the .plurals adonim
the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as three Beings. This
[“master”] and baalim [“lord”] employed with
variant view is not the Trinity that was formulated in the
reference to human beings.”––The American Journal
fourth century. For a discussion of this contradiction, see
of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Volume XXI.
point 11.6 below.
At Judges 16:23 a form of elohim is used to describe the
Bob attempts another illustration when he says that there
god Dagon, but the verb there is singular where the
are three persons in one God in the same way that several
reference is to a single god. At 1 Samuel 5:7 Dagon is
members make up a government. “No single member is
again referred to by a plural form of “god.” There is no
the government, but all go to make up that government
evidence that this Dagon––this elohim––was a trinity.
as single members.” (GCT, page 92) Again, the problem
is that Bob’s illustration does not fit the Trinity. As he The nouns “God” as applied to Chemosh of the Moabites
says, no single member is entitled to be called the “the and Milcom of the Ammonites at 1 Kings 11:33 are also
government” but the Trinity doctrine teaches that each plurals. As applied to Baal-zebub at 2 Kings 1:2, 3 it is
member of the Trinity is entitled to be called God. And also plural. None of these gods were trinities. And at 2
no two members are equally old, have equal knowledge Kings 19:37 a plural form of “god” is used of the
and equal authority as the members of the Trinity should Assyrian god Nisroch who was also a single god. So is
have. Marduk at Daniel 1:2.
This is the problem that bedevils all Trinitarian The consequence of viewing Elohim as a plural of
illustrations, including the triangle, the head with three number rather than a “plural of majesty” is that it
faces and the three-leaf clover. No one part has any claim suggests that “gods” (plural) made heaven and earth. But
to being called the whole. this would be pure polytheism. The fact that Elohim is
not a plural of number is confirmed when Genesis 3:5
7.14 Genesis 1:26––Elohim reads “God knows,” with a singular verb, as of one
When Bob says on page 92 that the plural Hebrew word person, rather than ‘God know’ as of three. Does “us”
for “God,” Elohim, suggests a multi-personal God, he mean that there were multiple persons in Elohim? Noted
unintentionally makes himself a polytheist, a worshipper nineteenth-century scholar F. Delitzsch states:
of plural gods. He also argues that “us” at Genesis 1:26 “A plural cannot be shown in Holy Scripture where
implies three members in the Trinity. God is speaking of himself.”––A New Commentary on
“God said, Let us make man in our image, after our Genesis.
likeness.” So it is unlikely that God is speaking just of himself at
A writer familiar with the Hebrew language, Aaron Genesis 1:26. Rather than “us” referring to multiple
Ember, examined the issue maintains that it is unlikely persons within God, there is a simpler explanation.
that Elohim is a plural in any ordinary numerical sense. Normally, a person uses “us” to include himself and some
entirely different person. In the same way, God––Elohim,
“Several phenomena in the universe were designated one person––is speaking to an entirely separate person.
in Hebrew by plural expressions because they inspired
the Hebrew mind with the idea of greatness, majesty, This is how “let us” is used in other places in the book of
grandeur, and holiness … the Persian king … is Genesis. At Genesis 11:3 people of the land of Shinar


“said one to another, Go to, let us make brick.” In this their image and, of course, once he was created Adam did
case, “us” surely does not imply that they were some kind not share their substance. Much later the apostle Paul
of multiple personality in unity. speaks about Christians being renewed “after the image
of him that created him.” (Col 3:10) Again, their being in
At Genesis 11:4 “they said, Go to, let us build us a city.”
God’s image does not them of one substance with him.
They were simply different beings speaking to each
So “image” does not imply substance.
other. They were obviously not trinities, not equal in any
trinitarian sense. In agreement with these examples, who 7.15 God’s Name––Jehovah
is the person of a different substance that God was
speaking to at Genesis 1:26? On page 93, Bob says: “Even if we could be sure about
the exact name [of God], I don’t think I’d be using it a
A clue is found in the latter part of the clause: “Let us great deal.” Why then, does the Bible use the name over
make man in our image, after our likeness.” The six and a half thousand times?
heavenly person mentioned by Paul as being in the image
of God before the creation of mankind is his only- Especially when reading from the Hebrew Scriptures, the
begotten Son, Jesus Christ in his pre-human existence. so-called ‘Old Testament,’ why would Bob not want to
use God’s personal name when it is right there in the
Ellen G. White agreed that “us” was not used to indicate original text? The name Jehovah is used more often than
a multiplicity of persons in one Being, as the Trinity is all other forms of reference such as God, Lord and
usually defined. She says: Saviour combined. Surely this must be significant. 41
“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, The reason usually given for abandoning the name is that
the Father and Son carried out their purpose … And it appears only in the so-called ‘Old Testament.’ But the
now God said to His Son, ‘Let us make man in our use of God’s name among his people was not just an ‘Old
image.’”––The Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 1, pages Testament’ practice. Consider Christian-Scripture, or
24, 25. (Emphasis ours.) ‘New-Testament,’ references to the name.
White means that, in saying “let us,” God is not talking Jesus says: “Hallowed be thy name.” (Mt 6:9) “I have
to himself as a multiple Being, three-in-one. No. God is manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me
simply the Father talking to his Son. ... Holy Father, keep through thine own name those
At Colossians 1:15, 16 Paul says: “He [the Son] is the whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we
image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in
creature: For by him were all things created, that are in thy name … I have declared unto them thy name, and will
heaven, and that are in earth.” (He 1:2) The one that God declare it.” (Joh 17:6, 11, 12, 26) The Christian church is
refers to as being in his “image” and who would assist to be “a people for his [God’s] name ... upon whom my
him to “make man” was that mighty spirit Son. Logically, [God’s] name is called.”––Ac 15:14, 17.
it is to this Son that Almighty God is speaking at Genesis Given Bob’s attitude, it is little wonder that Seventh-day
1:26. The foregoing applies equally to other texts that Adventists are not known as a people for God’s name.
Bob uses, Genesis 3:22; 11:6, 7.––GCT, page 96. But Seventh-day Adventists today are certainly not
The expression “our image” at Genesis 1:26 in no way imitating Jesus and his first-century apostolic church that
suggests that the Father and the Son share the same gave due attention to the divine name.
substance. The verse says that man was to be made in

Psalm 138:2 in the King James Version says that God ‘hast magnified [his] word above all [his] name,’ and editions of the New
World Translation prior to its 2013 revision were similar. At least one Seventh-day Adventist has explained this to mean that the
Ten Commandments are more important than God’s name Jehovah. However, apart from the fact that there is no indication
whatever in the psalm that David had the Ten Commandments especially in mind, it is noteworthy that some modern scholars
believe the King James rendering may be in need of correction. There is a problem with the Hebrew text at this place, so a footnote
in the New Jerusalem Bible says: “Text uncertain.” The New Revised Standard Version reads: “you have exalted your name and
your word above everything.” In a footnote it says that this rendering is by way of a “Cn,” a correction. The “Abbreviations” table
at the front of this Bible explain that a correction is “made where the text has suffered in transmission and the versions provide no
satisfactory restoration but where the Standard Bible Committee agrees with the judgment of competent scholars as to the most
probable reconstruction of the original text.” The New International Version agrees with the corrected rendering. The latest edition
of the New World Translation also agrees, “For you have magnified your saying and your name above everything else.” This verse
does not imply that the Ten Commandments are greater than Jehovah’s name.


However, the first-century focus on the divine name was times in the Scriptures, which should be enough to get a
not just to be something temporary. The book of good picture of its meaning.
Revelation shows that true Christians would to the end be
Never once is arkhe used in the sense of ‘beginner.’
clearly identified by God’s name. At Revelation 3:12
Respected scholar and commentator Albert Barnes says
Jesus says that he would write “the name of my God” on
regarding arkhe:
them. It would be the name of the Father that would
identify them. “The word properly refers to the commencement of a
thing, not its authorship, and denotes properly
The original Greek text at Revelation 14:1 shows that
primacy in time, and primacy in rank, but not primacy
true Christians have “his [Jesus’] name and his Father’s
in the sense of causing anything to exist … The word
name written on their foreheads.” (Revised Standard
is not, therefore, found in the sense of authorship, as
Version) The forehead was the place that the name of a
denoting that one is the beginning of anything in the
person’s master was prominently displayed. This
sense that he caused it to have an existence … If it
indicates that the name of Jesus’ Father, described as
were demonstrated from other sources that Christ was,
different from Jesus’ own name, would be associated
in fact, a created being, and the first that God had
prominently with true Christians.
made, it cannot be denied that this language would
How is the name of the Father written on Adventists’ appropriately express that fact.”––Barnes’ Notes on
foreheads? How is it prominently displayed? It is not. the New Testament, page 1569.
Remember Bob: “I don’t think I’d be using it a great
Of course, being a Trinitarian, Barnes does not accept
deal.” But the Father’s name Jehovah is intimately
that Christ was a created being but he at least concedes
associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses.
the true meaning of the word. C.F. Burney states that
The Adventist objection that Jehovah is not the correct those insisting on the meaning ‘originator’ or ‘beginner’
pronunciation of God’s name is not a valid concern.
“have not a shadow of authority for limiting [arkhe] in
Adventists have no problem calling the Son of God Jesus,
meaning to ‘the source of God's creation.’”––“Christ
which is only an approximation of its Greek
as the APXH of Creation,” in Journal of Theological
pronunciation, Iesous, and quite different from the
Studies 27, page 177.
pronunciation Yeshua that was most likely used in the
first-century by Jewish Christians. So Revelation 3:14 clearly teaches that Jesus was God’s
original creation. As such, his existence is derived from
Is it fair to make an issue of the pronunciation of God’s
the Father and therefore could not be described as equal
name but then to accept without question an inexact
with God in age.
pronunciation of Jesus’ name? Adventists believe Jesus
to be God, so why would they not be as fussy about the 7.16.1 Jesus as the Beginning
exact pronunciation of Jesus’ name as they are about the
name Jehovah? There is a helpful passage at Proverbs 8:22-24 that helps
us understand the meaning of the word “beginning.”
Although Jehovah may not be the original pronunciation
of God’s name, it preserves its four consonants, JHVH, “The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way,
because the letters J and V are virtual equivalents for Y before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting,
and W in many European languages. Ellen G. White from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there
made reference to God’s name hundreds of times and was were no depths, I was brought forth.”
happy to use its Anglicized form, Jehovah. 42 Bob This passage applies to the wisdom of God. (Pr 8:1, 12)
contradicts the example of his own prophet! However, note that the particular wisdom described was
7.16 Revelation 3:14––the Beginning of Creation “possessed,” “set up” and “brought forth,” so it is not a
wisdom that always existed such as God’s own wisdom
Jesus is described at Revelation 3:14 as which always existed. That wisdom was never created or
produced; it was not “brought forth.” (Job 9:4; 12:13;
“the Amen, ... the beginning [Greek, arkhe] of the
28:20, 23; Ro 11:33-36) But the wisdom of Proverbs
creation of God.”
8:22-30 is different. It is a wisdom capable of being “set
Bob tries to explain “beginning” as if it means beginner, up” at a particular “beginning.”
originator or source. (GCT, page 94) Arkhe is used 58

Jehovah Is Our King, page 12; See also point 11.7.


So what is the wisdom that had a beginning? The makes this meaning certain in that qanah is parallel to
Christian Scriptures identify Jesus as the essence of asah, ‘to make.’: ‘Is he not your father, who created
divine wisdom. Colossians 2:3 says of him, “in him are (qanah) you, who made (asah) you and established
hid all the treasures of wisdom.” 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30 (kun) you?’ (RSV) Ps. 78:54; 139:13; and Prov. 8:22-
goes further, calling him “the wisdom of God.” So is 23 also suggest the idea of creation. The cognate
Proverbs saying that Jesus was that created wisdom? languages usually follow the Hebrew in the basic
meaning of ‘to get, acquire.’ Ugaritic, however, attests
Seventh-day Adventists cannot avoid the application of
the meaning ‘create.’ In fact, qny is the primary
Proverbs 8:22 to Jesus because, before quoting that text,
Ugaritic term to express creation. The close
Ellen G. White herself writes:
relationship of Hebrew and Ugaritic and the
“The Son of God declares concerning Himself …”–– contextual meaning of qanah as ‘create’ in the Old
Patriarchs and Prophets, page 33. (Emphasis ours.) Testament passages cited above argue for the use of
qanah as a synonym for ‘create’ along with bara,
It is not only White and Jehovah’s Witnesses that make asah, and yasar.”––Vine’s Complete Expository
this connection. The early Christians understood that Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, under
Proverbs 8:22-30 applied to Christ. Scholar E.J. Fortman
“To Create.”
Yes, “created” is valid and the Septuagint is justified in
“Paul applied it [Proverbs 8:22-31] to the Son of God.
its translation. The wisdom of Proverbs 8:22 was created.
The Apologists used it to prove to Gentile and Jew the
pre-existence of the Word and His role in creation.” Bible translators understand Revelation 3:14 to be
derived from Proverbs 8:22 because both texts use the
Paul’s application of Proverbs 8:22-30 to Jesus was not words ‘created’ and ‘beginning.’
by direct quotation, but Fortman sees an allusion to it in
Colossians 1:15. Commenting directly on the Proverbs 7.17 Colossians 1:15-18––the Firstborn of …
passage, early Christian Apologist Justin says:
Jesus is described in Colossians chapter 1 as
“The Scripture has declared that this Offspring was
begotten by the Father before all things created; and “the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all
that which is begotten is numerically distinct from that things created.”
which begets, any one will admit.”––Dialogue with Adventists point to verse 18, “that in all things he might
Trypho, quoted in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, edited by have the pre-eminence,” and explain the comment about
A. Roberts and J. Donaldson, American Reprint of the Jesus being “firstborn” in terms of pre-eminence rather
Edinburgh Edition, 1885, Volume I, page 264. than being first created.––GCT, pages 94, 95.
By applying Proverbs 8:22-30 to Jesus as the “offspring” However, Bob’s pre-eminence argument fails to note that
of the Father, Justin indicates that he understood Jesus to a son’s pre-eminence was usually based on his being the
be the “wisdom” discussed there. first born; that he was firstborn in both senses, first in
What does the word “possessed [qanah, Hebrew]” at order and therefore in pre-eminence. In any case, the
Proverbs 8:22 mean? When the Septuagint translated it, word “firstborn” should not be looked at in isolation. At
it used the Greek verb ‘created [ektisen].’ Was this Colossians 1:15 “firstborn” is part of a phrase. Jesus is
correct? If so, there are obvious and profound not just “firstborn” but “firstborn of every creature.”
implications for Christ. H would be a created wisdom, When a person or animal was the firstborn “of”
personified. A respected dictionary defines the meaning something, he was part of that other thing. So the
of qanah. Septuagint at Genesis 4:4 reads: “And Abel also brought
“‘to get, acquire, earn.’ These basic meanings are of the first born of his sheep.” The firstborn was a part of
dominant in the Old Testament, but certain poetic that flock. This is the usual meaning of the phrase
passages have long suggested that this verb means “firstborn of [something].”43––Ex 11:5; 12:29; 13:13, 15.
‘create.’ In Gen. 14:19, Melchizedek blessed Abram In harmony with such language, Christ was be a part of
and said: ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, ––a member of––creation, irrespective of what
maker [KJV, ‘possessor’] of heaven and earth (RSV). “firstborn” might mean as a word in isolation. So even if
Gen. 14:22 repeats this divine epithet. Deut 32:6 were true that “firstborn” signified pre-eminence, the

The only other way the Scriptures use the expression ‘firstborn of something’ is in calling someone the firstborn of a parent. For
example, at Genesis 46:8 Reuben is called the firstborn of Jacob. But this usage is irrelevant to our discussion because Colossians
1:15 is not implying that “every creature” was the parent of Jesus Christ.


longer expression “firstborn of every creature” would therefore part of creation. (Col 1:15) “Of every creature”
still mean that the person with the pre-eminence was part marks him as part of creation.
of creation. Jehovah’s Witnesses take into consideration
Further, if “firstborn” referred only to pre-eminence, it
the whole expression “firstborn of every creature” in
might be expected that the Father and the holy spirit
understanding the meaning of “firstborn.”
would also be firstborns, but this is never the case. Would
On the other hand, Adventists focus on the word they not also be pre-eminent? Really, the primacy
“firstborn” alone and look for an example of “firstborn” explanation, even if valid, cannot negate the fact that the
used figuratively. As Trinitarians usually do, Bob refers firstborn “of ” something is part of that other thing.
to Psalm 89:27 which calls David God’s “firstborn.”
What about Bob’s argument that at Colossians 1:18 Jesus
(GCT, page 94) His point is that David was neither God’s
was not “first-born [sic] from the dead” literally? He
first creation nor even Jesse’s firstborn son. He was
argues that others were resurrected before Christ, so in
firstborn in the sense that he became Jesse’s pre-eminent
this case being called “firstborn” must mean pre-
son. Bob argues that this is the sense in which Jesus was
eminence. (GCT, page 95) However, in a similar but not
identical reference, Acts 26:23 describes Christ as “the
But Psalm 89:27 is not really comparable with Colossians first that should rise from the dead.” “Firstborn” is not
1:15 because it uses “firstborn” in isolation, not as used here, so it should be clear that pre-eminence is not
Colossians 1:15 does, as part of the longer phrase involved in this case. What does “first” mean?
“firstborn of [something].” If Psalm 89:27 refers to
Paul did not mean that Jesus was the first ever to rise
David, it is because his role as firstborn was something
literally. But this does not mean that he was not first in
given to him. “I will make him my firstborn, higher than
some sense. There were many ways in which he was
the kings of the earth.”
“firstborn” or “first” in order. He was the first raised to
For David it was an appointment to a position he had not immortality.44 (1Ti 6:16) He was the “forerunner” of
previously possessed. This is quite different to Jesus’ those who will go to heaven and a forerunner always goes
position as firstborn mentioned at Colossians 1:15. first. (He 6:19, 20) He is the “firstfruits” in the “order” of
the heavenly resurrection, according to Paul.––1Co
Psalm 89:27 may be a prophetic reference to Jesus as
15:20, 23.
God’s “firstborn” Son who was to be more exalted than
any other king. At Ezekiel 34:24 the Messiah is referred So “first,” “firstborn” and “firstfruits” all include the
to as “my servant David” and the same may be true at thought of first in order, not pre-eminence alone. In any
Psalm 89:27. case, does not “firstborn from the dead” prove that Christ
was once dead? If so, “firstborn of every creature” proves
Bob points to Ephraim and Israel as firstborns at
that he was once created.
Jeremiah 31:9 and Exodus 4:22, but the same is true of
them. (GCT, page 94) Both Ephraim and Israel became On page 98 Bob objects to the word “other” in the New
firstborns by specific appointment. According to Genesis World Translation at Colossians 1:16, 17. Prior to 2006,
48:17-20, Ephraim was not a firstborn by nature but was this translation bracketed “other.”
assigned that role by special appointment.
“By means of him all [other] things were created in the
Although similar, the case of Israel was slightly different. heavens and upon the earth, ... All [other] things have
Deuteronomy 32:18 describes Israel as the nation that been created through him and for him.”
God “begat.” He “formed [Israel] from the womb” as a
From 2006 the New World Translation stopped enclosing
nation. (Isa 43:1; 44:2) Therefore, in a sense he was the
“other” in brackets because ‘other’ is a sense inherent in
“Father” of that nation. Being called firstborn indicates
panta, not an arbitrary insertion. Blass and Debrunner
that Israel was the ‘first’ nation God chose in harmony
call this ellipsis in their Greek Grammar.
with his promise to Abraham.––2Sa 7:23, 24; Ps 147:20.
“Ellipsis (brachylogy) in the broad sense applies to
However, none of these firstborns pointed to by Bob were
any idea which is not fully expressed grammatically
firstborns “of [something].” Even if they had been, they
and leaves it to the hearer or reader to supply the
would still have been part of that ‘something.’ And even
omission because it is self-evident.”––A Greek
if “firstborn” certainly meant pre-eminence, Jesus would
Grammar of New Testament and Other Early
still be ‘the pre-eminent one of every creature’ and
Christian Literature, Section 479, page 253.

44 See point 2.5.


These scholars note that “other” is one of the elliptical role for Jesus? Consider these comments about en by
‘ideas’ often left unexpressed. H.E. Dana and J.R. Mantey.
“The omission of the notion ‘other, whatever’ “With the instrumental case: with, by means of.”––A
(§306(5)) is specifically Greek.”––Ibid., Section 480, Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, page
page 254. 105.
So it is no surprise to find that panta often has this sense The better translation of en in this setting would be ‘by
of “all other.” Luke 13:2 is an example in the Revised means of him all things were created.’ Is this very
Standard Version. “Do you think that these Galileans different from ‘by Jesus all things were created’? Yes,
were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because very different, as an ‘instrument’ is different from the one
they suffered thus?” In this place the Jerusalem Bible, that wields it. As Dana and Mantey go on to say:
Living Bible, Today’s English Version, New
“En is used in Heb. 1:1, 2 with about the same force
International Version, English Standard Version and The
that dia with the genitive has, ho theos lalesas tois
New Testament in Modern English (J.B. Phillips) also use
patrasin en tois prophetais ep’ eskhatou ton hemeron
“other” although it does not appear in the Greek. Why?
touton elalesen humin en huio, God spoke through
“Other” is “self-evident.” (Ibid., page 253) It is vital to prophets then, but now through a son (cf. Mt. 12:27,
the true meaning of the text. Some Galileans had died but 28).”––Ibid., page 106.
“other Galileans” had not. Both groups were Galileans.
These scholars advise that en with the instrumental case
Not to use “other” would mean that ‘these Galileans were
is essentially the same as dia with the genitive case. So
worse sinners than all the Galileans,’ implying that the
Hebrews 1:1 says “God spoke through [en] the prophets
first group somehow were not Galileans. So “other” is
[instrumental case, Greek].” If fact, in this case Dana and
vital here. It includes something inherent in panta––all
Mantey translate en “through” rather than “by” because
other than those already mentioned. It distinguishes
the prophets did not originate their messages. They were
between the two groups of Galileans. Translations using
the instruments through whom God spoke.
“other” at Luke 13:2 are never criticized because it is
valid. If this is what en with the instrumental means at Hebrews
1:1, Colossians 1:16 it would correspondingly mean that
At Matthew 26:35; Luke 21:29; 1 Corinthians 6:18 and
things were created “by means of” or “through” Jesus as
Philippians 2:21 “other” appears in many translations to
God’s intermediary.
complete the sense already there in panta. Does Bob
object to these too? No. He is only criticizing the New Regarding en, F. Blass and A. Debrunner say:
World Translation because he has the Trinity to defend.
“Instrumental en. The use of en owes its extension
What about Colossians 1:16, 17? “All things” clearly has especially to the imitation of Hebrew constructions ...
a limited meaning here because Christ and his Father are It is used for the simple instr. ... , but (1) also to
exceptions to the “things” that were created, so “all designate a personal agent: en to arkhonti (‘by means
things” cannot mean absolutely all things. In this case, of’) ton daimonion ekballei ta daimonia Mt 9:34 (,
then, panta must be allowed its elliptical sense, “all 12:24).”––A Greek Grammar of the New Testament
other.” The same points apply to John 1:3, 4. and Other Early Christian Literature, pages 117, 118.
7.18 Who was the Creator? Note that en with the instrumental case can designate
personal agency. “By means of” is a good translation in
Bob moves quickly from saying that “God created all this situation, as the grammar suggests.
things by Jesus Christ” to the more dogmatic “God the
Son ... created man” and “Christ ... was the Creator.” In agreement with this, reputable translations accept that
(GCT, page 95) But the Bible never uses this kind of en with the instrumental case points to agency rather than
language. It never calls Jesus the Creator and never uses authorship at Colossians 1:16a. Some even translate en
‘create’ of Jesus as Bob does. Ellen G. White herself as “through.” (The New Testament in Modern English
never uses the expression “God the Son” as Bob does. (J.B. Phillips), New Berkeley Version) Others like the
This kind of language is a modern Adventist ‘change.’ New English Bible, Jerusalem Bible, New International
Version and the New American Bible use “through” to
What about the way the King James Version renders translate en with the instrumental case at Hebrews 1:1
Colossians 1:16? “By [Greek, en] him [auto, where the prophets were intermediaries. Why not accept
instrumental case] were all things created.” Does en a similar translation at Colossians 1:16a? God created
really mean “by” when it is used with a noun or pronoun using Jesus as his instrument but Jesus was not the author
in the instrumental case like this? Does it imply a creative of that creation, the Creator.


As mentioned, the Bible never uses the title ‘Creator’ of accusative case meaning “the name” and tou patros in the
Jesus. Paul is specific in his use of prepositions at 1 genitive case meaning “the Father.” Exactly the same
Corinthians 8:6 to show that he regarded Christ as the word order appears at Matthew 10:41 where Jesus says:
agent in creation rather than the Creator.
“He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of [ex, from shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth
ek, meaning ‘out of ’] whom are all things, and we in a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall
him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by [di’, from dia, receive a righteous man’s reward.”
meaning ‘through’] whom are all things, and we by
“In the name of a prophet” translates the Greek eis
[preposition] onoma [noun in the accusative case]
While both ek and dia are used of the Father, ek is never prophetou [noun in the genitive case]. Similarly, “in the
used of Jesus in connection with creation because Jesus name of a righteous man” in Greek is eis [preposition]
was not the Creator. Although Bob insists that Genesis onoma [noun in the accusative case] dikaiou [noun in the
1:26 implies that Jesus created man, creation was not genitive case]. These use onoma (“name”) exactly as
“of,” or “out of,” Jesus as the Creator. (GCT, page 95) Matthew 28:19 does with precisely the same preposition-
Creation was “out of ” the Father, the Source of creation. accusative-genitive word order. Why is this significant?
Jesus was his agent.
No one would argue that Matthew 10:41 is talking about
7.19 Who Is Jehovah? the personal name of a particular prophet or righteous
man. Instead, “name” in this setting points to his
Bob and his Adventist Church hold that each member of authoritative position or role. This is so clear that modern
the Trinity is Jehovah. Naturally, Jehovah’s Witnesses translators do not use the word “name” at all.
are very interested in Jehovah’s identity because it goes
to the meaning of their own name. “He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet.”
––Revised Standard Version.
7.19.1 One “Name,” Three Persons? “Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a
On page 96, Bob argues that “since the Father, Son, and prophet.”––New International Version.
Holy Spirit have the one ‘name’ (Matthew 28:19),” “Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a
Jesus’ name must be Jehovah. But as mentioned above, prophet.”––Jerusalem Bible.
“name” in this verse does not refer to a literal name. 45 So “Whoever receives a prophet as a prophet.”––New
at Genesis 48:16 we note Jacob speaking of English Bible.

“the name [singular] of my fathers [plural] Abraham Jesus commends those who receive a prophet because of
and Isaac.” his role as a prophet, confirming that “name” refers to
authority or position rather than to a personal name.
Note, one “name” in respect of two persons who are equal
in neither substance nor age. Using “name” in the The same is true of Matthew 28:19. The word order is the
singular this way avoids repeating the word “name” same. Therefore, ‘the name of the Father, Son and Holy
unnecessarily. Other examples of a singular “name” Ghost’ is not a personal name. It points to their authority
being used when speaking about more than one person or position that is acknowledged and respected by
appear at Genesis 5:2, “he ... called their name [singular] Christians at baptism. So W.E. Vine says regarding
Adam, in the day when they were created” and at Genesis onoma:
48:6, “the name [singular] of their brethren.” “The phrases rendered ‘in the name’ ... may be
Deuteronomy 18:20 refers to “the name [singular] of analysed as follows: ... (4) in recognition of the
other gods [plural].” Apparently, Matthew originally authority of (sometimes combined with the thought of
wrote his Gospel in Hebrew, so it is no surprise to see the relying or resting on), Matt. 18:20; cf. 28:19.”––
same idiom at Matthew 28:19.46 The Trinity can no more Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,
be proven from the singular “name” here than in those under “Name.”
earlier texts.
Yes, “in the name of” means recognizing “the authority”
In any case, “name” in a setting like this does not refer to of that one rather than a personal name. Bob misreads it
a personal name. “In the name of the Father” at Matthew when he says the “name” is Jehovah.
28:19 in Greek is eis to onoma tou patros, where eis is a
preposition meaning “into,” followed by to onoma in the

45 See point 7.12.

46 De viris inlustribus, Chapter III, Jerome.


7.19.2 “Jehovah” and “Us” However, when ‘first and last’ is used of Jesus Christ it
is strictly qualified. For example, at Revelation 1:17, 18
To argue from Genesis 3:22; 11:6, 7 that Jesus is Jehovah Jesus says: “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he
just because Jehovah uses the word “us” is false that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for
reasoning. (GCT, page 96) We have already discussed the evermore.” Here Jesus is ‘first and last’ specifically in
logical and Scriptural fallacies of this kind of argument. 47 connection with his death and resurrection. Is this
7.19.3 “Spirit of Jehovah” apparent limitation a coincidence?

To use the phrase “spirit of Jehovah” as if it somehow No. At Revelation 2:8 the same qualification is repeated
supports the contention that the Spirit is Jehovah simply when an angel calls Jesus “the first and the last, which
does not make sense. (GCT, pages 96, 97) Otherwise, was dead, and is alive.” Again, he is ‘first and last’ in a
what sense would we make of the “voice of Jehovah” at specific connection, death and resurrection.
Genesis 3:8 or the “face of Jehovah” in the same verse? ‘First and last’ is also restricted when it applies to Jesus
Would those phrases mean that the name of God’s voice at Revelation 1:5 where he is called “the first begotten of
is Jehovah and that the name of God’s face is Jehovah? the dead.” Everyone would concede that at least here
Does the fact that Psalm 1:2 mentions the “law of “first” has a restricted rather than an absolute application.
Jehovah” mean that the name of God’s law is Jehovah? This makes three uses of the word “first” in 24 verses of
No, the argument is clearly nonsense. Revelation and in each case the reference is to the
resurrection of Christ.
Perhaps Bob forgot to notice the word “of.” The spirit is
not Jehovah. It is the “spirit of Jehovah.” It belongs to A term or expression like ‘first and last’ that applies to
him and emanates from him as its ultimate Source. one person absolutely can apply to another person more
restrictedly. So Isaiah 43:11 says there is no Saviour but
7.19.4 The Meaning of Jesus’ Name God, but at Judges 3:9 “saviour” is applied to a human
judge who served as an agent of God. At Revelation
Regarding the argument on page 97 that the name Jesus
17:14 Jesus is called “King of kings,” but at Ezra 7:12
means “Jehovah is Saviour,” the name Jesus is the Greek
and Daniel 2:37 human kings are called the same thing.
form of the Hebrew Joshua. (He 4:8) If the name proves
At John 8:12 Jesus is called “the light of the world,” but
that Jesus is Jehovah, it also proves that Joshua was
at Matthew 5:14 the same is said of his disciples. So
Jehovah. And there is another Jesus at Colossians 4:11.
descriptors like “Saviour” are not unique to God
Was he also Jehovah? No. Bob’s argument is very weak.
We have already considered the incorporation of the Jesus was ‘first and last’ specifically regarding
divine name into other names.48 None of those with resurrection to immortal life. His was unique. He “was
names like this were Jehovah. the first that should rise from the dead,” “the firstborn
from the dead.” (Ac 26:23; Col 1:18; cp. 1Co 15:20) The
7.19.5 First and Last resurrections prior to his were not like his. He was a
Bob next begins a series of comparison texts to prove that “forerunner” into heaven for others. (He 6:20) His
Jesus is Jehovah. The first involves the title ‘the first and resurrection was also “last” in that, while “God hath
the last.’ (GCT, page 97) When used of Almighty God, raised [Jesus] up,” all others will be raised by Jesus with
‘first and last’ is unqualified. It involves his existence as the authority delegated to him by the Father. (Ac 2:24;
“the beginning and the end.” (Isa 44:6; Re 1:8; 22:13) Joh 5:26) In this way Jesus was the “last” to be
Jehovah is ‘first and last’ in an absolute sense; no one resurrected to immortal heavenly life by the Father
existed before him or will live after him. without the involvement of a delegated agent.

Revelation 1:8 states that the Alpha and Omega is “the The Bible restricts the application of ‘first and last’ when
Lord God,” according to the best ancient manuscripts and Jesus Christ is involved to the subject of death and
most modern translations. Is this Alpha and Omega resurrection.
Jesus? Jesus Christ is never called “Lord God” anywhere Writing about Alpha and Omega about Alpha and Omega
else in Scripture. It is an expression reserved for the at Revelation 22:12, 13, Henry Alford says:
Father. The text also says that Alpha and Omega “is, and
... was, and ... is to come,” and Revelation 1:4, 5 shows “these words have hitherto been said by the Father: see
that the person this refers to is someone other than Jesus. above, ch. i. 8, xxi. 6, and notes. And in all probability

47 See point 7.14.

48 See point 7.3.


it is so here likewise, whether we assume the words to And again, the Scriptures speak of the Father as ‘coming’
be spoken by Christ in God’s name, or by the Eternal in various senses. Malachi 3:1 and Revelation 1:4, 8; 4:8
Father Himself.”––The Greek Testament, Notes on are examples. In fact, paralleling the Revelation 22:12
Revelation 22:13. comment about “coming quickly,” Malachi 3:1, 5 speaks
of the Father as coming “suddenly” and ‘swiftly.’ This
There are many reasons to agree with Alford. First, there
‘coming’ could as easily be the Father’ coming. But the
is nothing in verses 12-15 to suggest that the new speaker
Alpha and Omega is clearly the Father of Jesus Christ.
is Christ. Second, Jesus speaks later, in verse 16, where
he says: “I Jesus ...” This suggests that at that point Jesus 7.19.6 Rock
is a new speaker introducing himself.
Bob notes that both Jesus is Jehovah are rocks. (GCT,
There are precedents for a new speaker giving his name page 97) Other texts like Romans 9:33 and 1 Peter 2:6
before delivering a message. For example, at Revelation speak of Christ as a rock or stone and help us understand.
1:9, just after Alpha and Omega speaks a new speaker
John is introduced by the words “I John.” This clearly At Romans 9:33 the apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 28:16
indicates a change to a different speaker because no one where it is clear that the “stone” or “rock” is someone
would argue that John is the Alpha and Omega of verse different from Jehovah. Note the distinction.
8. “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD [Hebrew,
See also Revelation 22:8, 17 which also introduce new Jehovah], Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a
speakers by name or title before, not in the middle of their stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone.”
other comments. The implication is that Alpha and Jehovah ‘lays’ the stone. He is not the stone himself. The
Omega is someone different to Jesus. distinction between the two is clear.
Then again, at Revelation 22:12 Alpha and Omega says: Peter also quotes Isaiah 28:16, where the same distinction
“I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every is noted. At Psalm 118:22, 23 we read:
man according as his work shall be.” These words allude
to Isaiah 40:10; 62:11 which describe “the Lord GOD” or “The stone which the builders refused is become the
“the LORD” ‘coming’ with a “reward” and a “work.” The head stone of the corner. This is the LORD’s doing; it
context portrays this person as the Father, indicating that is marvellous in our eyes.”
he is the Alpha and Omega.––Isa 63:16; 64:8. The “stone” is not Jehovah. It is “the LORD’s doing.” So
Another factor is that Alpha and Omega describes his Christ is not Jehovah in this case either.
reward as “my reward.” (Re 22:12) “Reward” is As mentioned above, at times terms like “first and last”
mentioned only once more in the Revelation, at or “saviour” can apply to one person in a primary, even
Revelation 11:18. Whose reward is it there? Revelation absolute, sense but then to others in a secondary sense.
11:15 speaks about “the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his “Rock” is one of those terms. But if every reference to
Christ.” The “Lord” is someone different from Christ someone as a rock were to mean that he was Jehovah,
here, and just a few verses later he is identified as “Lord how would we explain Isaiah 51:1, 2 where the same
God Almighty.” (Re 11:17) Revelation 11:18 then adds Hebrew word for “rock” is applied to Abraham?
that this “Lord God Almighty,” who, as verse 15 shows,
is not Christ, gives a “reward” to the saints. “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye
that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are
Yes, the giver of the reward is someone other than Christ. hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
It is certain, then, that at Revelation 22:13 the person who Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that
speaks about “my reward” is the Father, not the Son.49 bare you.”
Another important point is that the words in verse 15 W.E. Vine says of this verse:
about sorcerers, murderers and idolaters correspond
closely to Revelation 21:8, which mention the same kinds “Finally, Abraham is the source (rock) from which
of sinners and there the Father is definitely the speaker. Israel was hewn.”––An Expository Dictionary of New
Testament Words, W.E. Vine, under “Rock.”
Compare Revelation 21:7, where Christians are said to be
‘sons,’ rather than ‘brothers,’ of Alpha and Omega. Clearly, there is no firm rule that “rock” must refer only
to Jehovah. Abraham was not Jehovah. This points to the

49The words “do his commandments” at Revelation 22:14 might seem to suggest that Jesus as Alpha and Omega is encouraging
us to obey his Father’s commandments, but those words were no part of John’s original writings.


flaw in the argument that God and Christ are of the same “Father” is God and the “son” is Solomon. Making a
substance based on their being rocks. first-century application, Hebrews calls Christ the Son. Is
Paul misapplying the quotation, or is he perhaps saying
7.19.7 The Way of Jehovah that Christ is Solomon? Neither. He is simply making a
Bob notes that John the Baptist prepared “the way of the secondary application to Christ as the “son.”
LORD” and identifies Jesus with that “LORD,” Jehovah, Any suggestion that Paul’s quotation means that Jesus is
because Jesus was the one who walked on that “way.” Solomon is impossible because Jesus said he was
(GCT, page 97) Isaiah chapter 40 was fulfilled in the sixth “greater than Solomon.” (Mt 12:42) Even though Paul
century BCE. Isaiah 40:1, 2 foretells the release of the quotes 2 Samuel 7:14, applying it to Jesus, not even Bob
Jews from captivity and verse 3 says a highway would be would confuse Christ with Solomon because he does not
straightened for them to return home. But at no time did presuppose Jesus to be Solomon. But because of
Jehovah personally walk on “the way of the LORD.” Trinitarian bias Bob inconsistently finds it easy to see the
The Jews were the ones who returned to their homeland Trinity in the secondary application of Psalm 102:24-27
on the “way.” Were they Jehovah? No, they walked his to Christ at Hebrews 1:10-12.
“way” while representing him as his people. In the first As another example, at Hebrews 2:13 Jesus is quoted as
century John the Baptist prepared the way of Jehovah, but saying: “Behold I and the children which God hath given
again Jehovah did not appear on earth. Jesus walked that me.” This is a quote from Isaiah 8:18 where the “I” and
‘way’ while representing God on earth, but this did not the “me” were Isaiah. However, at Hebrews 2:13 Paul
mean that he was Jehovah personally any more than those applies the words of Isaiah to Christ in a secondary way.
Jews were. Bob would never conclude from this that Christ is Isaiah.
7.19.8 God is Your Throne Why not? Because he does not presuppose Christ to be
Isaiah. But because of Trinitarian bias he identifies Christ
Bob compares these texts to show that Jesus is addressed with Jehovah because of Paul’s similar quotation at
as “God.” (GCT, page 97) We have already discussed Hebrews 1:10-12.
them above.50
The fact that Paul quotes from the Psalm does not mean
7.19.9 Jesus and Creation that Jesus is God, especially in view of the statement that
he has only just made at Hebrews 1:9 that the Father is
Also on page 97, Bob points to a passage about creation
“thy God,” that is, Jesus’ God. This is never reversed.
in the 102nd Psalm that applied first to Jehovah. He notes
Jesus is never called the Father’s God. Some of the
that the writer of Hebrews, likely Paul, applies it to
expressions in the psalm about how the world was made
Christ. So Bob’s conclusion is that Jesus must be
simply applied to Jesus since it was through Jesus that
Jehovah. But what point was Paul trying to demonstrate
God made the world.––He 1:1, 2.
by quoting the psalm?
7.19.10 How Isaiah Saw Jesus’ Glory
Before quoting the psalm, he said: “God, ... hath in these
last days spoken unto us by his Son, ... by [Greek, dia, John 12:40 quotes Isaiah 6:10 and then follows: “These
‘through’] whom also he made the worlds.” (He 1:1, 2) things said Esaias, when he saw his glory.” (Joh 12:41)
So God as the Creator used Jesus his agent to assist him Adventists point out that Isaiah chapter 6 is about
in the work. It is hardly surprising therefore that Paul Jehovah. For instance, Isaiah 6:1 says: “I saw also the
would quote a passage about creation that originally Lord sitting upon a throne.” In verse 3 this “Lord” is
applied to God and give it an application it to Jesus, his called “the LORD [Jehovah] of hosts.” So they claim that
agent. when John says that Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory, Jesus must
This quotation convention is neither unique nor unusual. be Jehovah.––GCT, page 97.
Texts that apply to one person at first are at times applied Jehovah is not the only one mentioned by Isaiah in
to someone different, and this is true especially in chapter 6. In verse 8 Jehovah says: “Whom shall I send,
Hebrews chapters 1 and 2. and who will go for us?” The “us” indicates at least one
Consider two examples. Hebrews 1:5b says: “I will be to person other than Jehovah. We say this because there is
him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son.” This is a quote no example in Scripture of a plural like “us” being used
from 2 Samuel 7:14 where, according to context, the when God speaks of himself.51

50 See point 7.8.

51 See point 7.14.


The context does not directly state the identity of the Lord also of the sabbath.” (Mr 2:28) Because of this Bob
person Jehovah was talking to, but it could not have been identifies Jesus as Jehovah.––GCT, page 97.
Isaiah. The person most closely associated with the
His argument is weak and it demonstrates how
Father during in heaven was Jesus. This would not be the
Trinitarians will see the doctrine almost everywhere.
first time Jesus was included under the pronoun “us.”
Even grammatically, the two statements are not saying
Genesis 1:26 is a similar reference in connection with his
the same thing. Exodus 20:10 says the Sabbath is “of the
role as God’s agent in creation.––He 1:2.
LORD.” It belonged to Jehovah. But Mark 2:28 is not
John says that Isaiah “saw his glory” and Jesus spoke of talking about ownership. It is saying that Jesus is “Lord
“the glory that I had with thee before the world was.” (Joh ... of the Sabbath,” the master of it. Jesus is not quoting
17:5) The “us” at Isaiah 6:8 and these comments of Jesus Exodus 20:10. The Greek in Mark is also different to the
about the glory he experienced “with” his Father leave no Septuagint in Exodus. At Exodus 20:10 the Septuagint
doubt that Isaiah would have seen Jesus in the Isaiah reads:
chapter 6 vision, but there is no proof in this that he saw
“sabbata [Sabbath] kyrio [to Lord] to [to the] theo [to
Jesus as Jehovah.
7.19.11 How Jesus Judges Compare this to Mark 2:28.
These three texts cited on page 97 read: “God shall bring “kyrios [Lord]] ... tou [of the] sabbatou [Sabbath].”
every work into judgment.” (Ec 12:14) “We must all
appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” (2Co 5:10) In Exodus the dative case is used, identifying the person
“The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all to or for whom the day was to be observed. The Sabbath
judgment unto the Son.” (Joh 5:22) Bob believes that was kept “to God.” The Israelites were to keep it for him.
these texts support the Trinity because they mean that However, in Mark the genitive case is used, showing
Jesus must be God in order to judge. Christ’s relationship to the day. It was not kept to or for
him, but he was its “Lord,” or master.
However, Trinitarians place themselves on the horns of a
dilemma in using these texts against Jehovah’s Similar examples of kyrios with the genitive case show
Witnesses. Why? Because Peter makes clear that “the that this kind of language indicates the authority of the
Father ... judgeth.” (1Pe 1:17) So Jesus cannot mean at kyrios over the person(s) indicated in the genitive. So
John 5:22 that the Father absolutely never judges and if Jesus “is Lord [kyrios] of all [genitive].” (Ac 10:36) God
Adventists wish to argue that the Father never judges–– is “Lord [kyrios] of heaven and earth [genitive].” (Ac
that only Jesus judges––they contradict Peter. 17:24) In a similar way, Jesus had authority over the
Sabbath but it was not kept for him.
Even Christians are judges in this life and in heaven. At
1 Corinthians 5:3, regarding a sinner in the congregation, Still, how could Jesus even be the Lord of––the master
Paul says: “I ... have judged already ... concerning him.” of––the Sabbath if he were not God? By appointment.
And at 1 Corinthians 5:12 he adds: “Do not ye judge them “All things are delivered unto me of my Father.” (Mt
that are within [the church]?” (1Co 6:2; Mt 19:28; Re 11:27) Authority over the Sabbath was a gift from God.
20:4) Are these judges members of the Trinity? Hardly. “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into
his hands ...” (Joh 13:3) In fact, the gift of “all things,”
The key to understanding Jesus’ role as a judge lies in the including the Sabbath, shows that the two are not equal.
fact that the Father “hath committed all judgment unto the Where do we read of Jesus gifting his Father such things?
Son.” “Committed” indicates an assignment. “And [God]
hath given him authority to execute judgment also.” (Joh 7.20 God as Jesus’ Throne
5:27) The Father remains the ultimate Judge who
Has the New World Translation “mutilated” Hebrews
delegates judgment to subordinates, whether humans, to
1:8? (GCT, pages 97, 98) We have considered the verse. 52
resurrected ones or to Christ. Clearly, their assignments
It is enough here to note the comments of Jason Beduhn.
as judges do not mean that any of these must be God.
“... on the basis of linguistics, ho theos is more likely
7.19.12 Jesus as Lord of the Sabbath
to mean ‘God,’ as it does hundreds of times
In the King James Version at Exodus 20:10 the seventh throughout the New Testament, than ‘O God,’ a
day is called “the sabbath of the LORD [Hebrew, meaning it has in only three other places in the New
Jehovah] thy God.” Later Jesus says: “the Son of man is Testament. Furthermore, there is no other example in
the Bible where the expression ‘forever’ stands alone

52 See point 7.8.


as a predicate phrase with the verb ‘to be,’ as it would process of development. In such case the primary idea
if the sentence were read ‘Your throne is forever.’ of the verb in English is not sufficient to convey its
‘Forever’ always functions as a phrase complementing full meaning. The addition of an auxiliary like
either an action verb, or predicate noun or pronoun. ‘proceed’ or an adverb like ‘gradually’ is needed if the
Moreover, there is no other way to say ‘God is your translator sees an occasion for bringing out the full
throne’ than the way Hebrews 1:8 reads. There is, force.”––A Distinctive Translation of Genesis, Grand
however, another way to say ‘Your throne, O God,’ Rapids, Michigan, 1963, pages 129, 130.
namely, by using the direct address (vocative) form
Note the comments about the need for an auxiliary word
thee rather than the subject (nominative) form ho
like “proceed.” The New World Translation, especially
theos.”––Truth in Translation, page 99.
in its editions prior to 2013, is one of few that bring out
Remember that Hebrews 1:8 is a quote from Psalm 45:6 “the full force” of the imperfect state.
which was first addressed to a human king. Surely the
psalmist did not think of that king as Almighty God, so it 7.23 Godhead
is hardly likely that he would have addressed him as such. Although Ellen G. White did not refer to the term Trinity
If Paul had the psalmist’s view, it is unlikely that he calls in her writings, she did use the word “Godhead.” (Desire
Jesus God in Hebrews either, although it would have of Ages, page 671; Signs of the Times, May 19, 1904) In
been proper to address him that way in a secondary sense. the Christian Scriptures, some words are derived from
theos (god) and relate to what is divine. Those words are
7:21 Other
theios, theiotes and theotes at Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20;
We have already discussed the elliptical “other” above.53 Colossians 2:9 and 2 Peter 1:3, 4. With White, Bob is
Because Bob criticizes it here, we might recall the happy to use the word “Godhead” that some Trinitarian
comments by F. Blass and A Debrunner.––GCT, page 98. translations use in these texts.––GCT, page 92.
“Ellipsis (brachylogy) in the broad sense applies to These few texts have become something of a focal point
any idea which is not fully expressed grammatically for a minority of modern-day Adventists who wish to
and leaves it to the hearer or reader to supply the return to the Church’s original non-Trinitarian stance.
omission because it is self-evident… The omission of They prefer “Godhead” to “Trinity,” believing it to be the
the notion ‘other, whatever’ (§306(5)) is specifically only Scriptural term that incorporates God the Father and
Greek.”––A Greek Grammar of New Testament and God the Son, but not the holy spirit. Because “Godhead”
Other Early Christian Literature, Sections 479, 480, in the King James Version comes from three different
pages 253, 254. Greek words, we must consider each text in turn.
“Other” is an elliptical idea including something “self- 7.23.1 Acts 17:29 and the Godhead
evident” that is often left unexpressed in Greek. English
translations use “other” in similar places and Adventists At Acts 17:29 “Godhead” in the King James Version
do not complain about them. They object to it at translates theion, a form of the noun theios. Theion is
Colossians 1:16, 17 only because it touches the Trinity. singular and does not contain the thought of several
persons in one. The International Standard Bible
7.22 The Hebrew Imperfect State Encyclopedia says that theion
Bob criticizes the New World Translation rendering of “is derived from the adjective theios, meaning
Genesis 2:1-3. (GCT, pages 98, 99) We have discussed ‘pertaining to God,’ ‘divine.’”––Volume 1, page 913.
this criticism above,54 but recall James Washington
Liddell and Scott define its meaning as “the Divine
Watts’ comments about imperfect Hebrew verbs.
Being, Deity ... godlike.”––Greek-English Lexicon, page
“The fundamental characteristic of all imperfects is 313.
incompleteness… The incompleteness of these
Therefore, theion can be understood to refer either to a
imperfects, when they are in the indicative mood,
person (“the Divine Being”) or to a quality (“divine,”
appears either in a progressive form or a frequentative
“godlike”). Some translators like the Revised Standard
form. The context is relied upon to indicate one or the
Version, New International Version, Jerusalem Bible,
other, for the structure of the verb is the same in both
New English Bible and English Standard Version opt for
cases. If the context indicates a single act or state, the
the former, while others like The Bible–An American
force is progressive. The action is pictured in the

53 See point 7.17.

54 See point 4.18.


Translation [E.J. Goodspeed] and Today’s English noun theotes. Grammarian W.F. Howard discusses nouns
Version opt for the latter. like this this under the heading “Abstract nouns in -tes: ”
“Godhead” is an arbitrary translation and one that is “152. These are nearly all formed from adjectives in -
particularly loaded because of its close association with o-, with the result that the suffix -otes is regularly
the Trinity doctrine. The Greek itself contains absolutely attached to the consonantal stems as well. From nouns
no hint of what many today would think of when reading in -o- : theotes, adelphotes (note extension of meaning
the word Godhead, that is, a multiplicity of persons in one to concrete and collective sense. See Vocab.).”––A
Trinitarian substance. So the vast majority of modern Grammar of New Testament Greek, Volume II, page
translations do not use “Godhead” at Acts 17:29. 367.
The same Greek word is used twice at 2 Peter 1:3, 4 and It should be noted, therefore, that theotes is an abstract
there even the King James Version translates it “divine” noun that can have a concrete or collective meaning,
rather than “Godhead.” similar to adelphotes. F. Blass and A Debrunner refer to
the -otes suffix under the heading “Abstract substantives
7.23.2 Romans 1:20 and the Godhead from adjectives (and substantives).” They confirm that
At Romans 1:20 the Greek for “Godhead” is theiotes, nouns like this are “abstract.”
which W.E. Vine defines as It would be helpful, then, to see how adelphotes is
“the attributes of God, His ‘divine’ nature and translated. This would give us at least some idea about
properties.”––An Expository Dictionary of New the possible meaning of theotes. Adelphotes comes from
Testament Words, page 179. adelphos, meaning “brother.” Adelphotes appears at 1
Peter 2:17 where it is translated “brotherhood” in most
This agrees with Liddell and Scott’s definition: “divine versions. It also appears as a singular noun at 1 Peter 5:9
nature, divinity.”––Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged), where the Revised Standard Version and the English
page 313. Standard Version also use “brotherhood.”
It is consistent with Paul’s context to translate theiotes Adelphotes in these cases means ‘brother’ in abstract––
this way. He is not arguing that God as multiple persons ‘brotherhood’––rather than any particular brother.
can be fully understood from creation but that creation Individual members of a brotherhood would be brothers,
gives evidence of his invisible divine qualities. One of of course, but not equal in age, authority or substance.
the things discernible in the physical creation that Paul The -tes ending simply does not contain that thought of
specifically cites is God’s “eternal power.” Rendering equality where adelphotes is concerned.
theiotes “Godhead” as if it means a compound divine
Being or Beings is therefore missing the point. If theotes is similar to adelphotes, its meaning would be
‘godhood’ in abstract rather than “Godhead” with its
In this place the New World Translation fittingly uses the implications of equality in age and authority. It would
term “Godship,” which refers to his qualities as God. imply that Jesus is a god and the Bible does call Jesus
Again, “Godhead” is entirely inappropriate because “God.” (Isa 9:6; Joh 1:1, 18; 20:28) But we have seen that
theiotes does not contain the thought usually conveyed angels are also called “gods,” as Psalm 8:5 and Hebrews
by the word Godhead today, namely three-in-one. Hence, 2:7 show. So while ‘godhood’ confirms Jesus’ divinity,
some modern translations like the Revised Standard it would no more imply equality with the Father than the
Version and Jerusalem Bible opt for “deity” and others ‘godhood’ of angels implies that they are equal with Him.
like the New International Version and New Revised And it says nothing about equality in age and authority,
Standard Version “divine nature.” any more than adelphotes does.
Regardless of the translation, though, the text is not even Concerning the translation of Colossians 2:9 in Today’s
discussing Jesus Christ or the holy spirit so it cannot be English Version, the Translator’s Handbook says:
used to support the Trinity doctrine.
“The full content of divine nature: the word translated
7.23.3 Colossians 2:9 and the Godhead ‘divine nature’ (or ‘deity’ RSV) occurs only here in
Colossians 2:9 does refer to Christ, however. In the King the NT. … As in 1:19, Paul here emphasizes that all of
James Version it reads: “For in him [Christ] dwelleth all God’s nature is present in Christ, not diluted or
the fulness of the Godhead [from the Greek theotes] dispersed among intermediary spiritual beings. This
bodily.” does not imply, of course, that there was no more
‘divine nature’ left in God, nor does it say that Christ
Theotes comes from the word for “God,” theos. The is God.”
suffix -tes is added to its stem theo- to yield the abstract


The World Translation correctly renders theotes as So the argument that a ‘Biblical’ Trinity differs from
“divine qualities.” pagan trinities because the latter are of a different type
fails. All of the earliest trinities were pagan, not Biblical.
Showing that anointed Christians will partake in “divine
nature,” Peter says: “that … ye might be partakers of the 7.26 General Comments
divine nature.” (2Pe 1:3, 4) Bob would not insist that
these Christians will join the Godhead. Colossians 2:9 From the beginning, the Israelites believed that God was
does not suggest that Christ is part of it either. one. Deuteronomy 6:4 says:
“The LORD [Hebrew, Jehovah] our God is one LORD
7.24 Jesus Not the Creator
This text reads: “God, who created all things by Jesus
Christ.” (King James Version) In the first edition of his 7.26.1 “One Jehovah”
booklet Bob criticizes the New World Translation for What does “one mean? Trinitarians sometimes say that
omitting the words: “by Jesus Christ.” The King James the Hebrew word for “one,” echad, means, not just “one,”
Version is based on the Received Text which contains but a “compound unity.” They say that there is a different
those words. word for a single one, yachid, and that the absence of
However, more recent study involving hundreds of extra yachid at Deuteronomy 6:4 is significant.
manuscripts, many much older than those available to the They believe that echad allows for a Trinity. For
translators of the King James Version, has resulted in example, Genesis 2:24 describes Adam and Eve as “one
better master texts on which to base translations. These [echad] flesh”––two persons in one flesh––and Numbers
texts do not include the words in question. They are now 13:23 speaks of “one [echad] cluster of grapes”––many
considered unlikely to have been written by Paul. grapes in one cluster. So the argument is that echad can
The Revised Standard Version, The New Testament in include a plurality like the Trinity. Price does not use this
Modern English (J.B. Phillips), the New International argument but what can we say about it?
Version, the Jerusalem Bible and the New English Bible Yes, there is another word for “one.” However, it is used
delete these words. Bob does not criticize those other rarely, only 12 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. Echad is
translations. No. His special focus is on Jehovah’s the standard word for “one,” is used about 960 times and
Witnesses, and whatever argument he can arraign against is the most frequent adjective in the Hebrew Bible.
them seems to be fair game.
It is the word used when we read of “one place” (Ge 1:9);
7.25 The Trinity’s Pagan Origins “one man” (Ge 42:13); “one law” (Ex 12:49); “one side”
(Ex 25:12); “one ewe lamb” (Le 14:10); “one of his
Some have tried to divorce the Trinity from its pagan
brethren” (Le 25:48); “one rod” (Nu 17:3); “one soul”
roots. So it has been argued that trinities in pagan
(Nu 31:28); “one of these cities” (De 4:42); “one way”
religions are based on the father-mother-son concept, but
(De 28:7); “one ephah” (1Sa1:24); “one went out into the
that this is different from the ‘Scriptural’ Trinity. 55
field” (2Ki 4:39); “one day or two.” (Ezr 10:13); “one
In Egypt, it is true, a god was viewed as being married to shepherd” (Ezekiel 37:24); “one basket” (Jeremiah 24:2);
a goddess who bore him a son, forming a ‘holy-family’ “one [thing]” (Psalm 27:4); “two are better than one” (Ec
trinity of father, mother and son. But this was only one 4:9); and “Abraham was one.” (Eze 33:24) In all of these
type of pagan trinity. To focus on one type like the echad is a simple and singular ‘one.’
Egyptian type as if this were they only type is unfair.
Those few texts that may seem to have collective sense
There were many pagan trinities that were not family where echad is concerned have a noun used with echad
trinities. Adventists may point to Brahma, Shiva, and that can have a collective sense. In other words, the
Vishnu of the Hindus as a family trinity but all three were plurality is in the noun, not in echad. At Genesis 2:24,
male gods, not father, mother and son. In Babylon the where a married couple is described as “one flesh,” the
male Sin, the male Shamash, and the female Ishtar were plural sense is in the word “flesh,” not in the “one.”
not a father-mother-son trinity either. Neither were Anu, “Flesh” also has the same kind of collective sense at
Enlil, and Ea family triads. They were all males. Genesis 29:14; 37:27. And “cluster” obviously has a
collective sense. (Nu 13:23) Echad, though, always

55 “The Doctrine of the Trinity Among Adventists,” Gerhard Pfandl, Biblical Research Institute, viewed at


means “one” even in these texts just as it does words: “ye turned to God from idols to serve the living
everywhere else, including Deuteronomy 6:4. and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, ...
even Jesus.” The “one God,” the “true God” and “the
7.26.2 “The LORD” and the “Lord” only true God” in the Christian Bible is always the
The Scriptures differentiate Jehovah from the “Lord” Father, not the Son.
Jesus. For example, Psalm 110:1 says: On earth Jesus was subordinate to his Father. He called
“The LORD [Hebrew, Jehovah] said unto my Lord the Father “my God” but the Father never calls Jesus “my
[Jesus], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine God,” so the Father must be superior as to Godship. “My
enemies thy footstool.” Father is greater than I,” says Jesus. (Joh 14:28) “My
Father, which gave them me, is greater than all.” (Joh
The “LORD,” upper case, translates the Hebrew word that 10:29) “All” would include both Jesus and the holy spirit.
is Anglicized as Jehovah. The “Lord,” with lower case Trinitarians usually explain this in terms of Jesus’ time
letters, is not Jehovah. At Luke 20:41-43 and Acts 2:34, on earth. Even if this were true of him, why was the
35 where Psalm 110:1 is quoted, both Jesus and Peter Father greater than the holy spirit who was not on earth?
explain the “Lord” to be Jesus.
Confirming Jesus’ subordination we read: “The Son can
The dynamic at work at Psalm 110:1 shows Jesus do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for
receiving direction from Jehovah and sitting at his right what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son
hand. Therefore, not only are the Father and Jesus likewise.” (Joh 5:19) “To sit on my right hand, and on my
different persons but Jehovah and Jesus are different left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for
persons. This latter distinction is not allowable under the whom it is prepared of my Father.”––Mt 20:23.
terms of the Trinity doctrine.
When he returned to heaven, Jesus was subordinate to,
Other texts showing the difference between Jehovah and and will ever remain subordinate to, God. This is not only
Jesus are Psalm 2:2 when compared with Acts 4:26, 27; as a Son to a Father, but as a Son to God. Paul writes:
Psalm 2:7 compared with Hebrews 5:5; Psalm 16:8 “The head of Christ is God.” (1Co 11:3) Note that God is
compared with Acts 2:25ff.; and Psalm 110:4 compared the head of Christ not just as Father but as God.
with Hebrews 5:5, 6. All of these show, not only a Therefore, Christ’s subordination cannot be explained as
distinction between the Father and Jesus such as the a function of their Father-Son relationship.
Trinity allows, but between Jehovah and Jesus.
Again: “When all things shall be subdued unto him, then
7.26.3 “One God” and “the Only True God” shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all
Then there is the ‘oneness’ of God. Wherever in the ‘New things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1Co 15:28)
Testament’ the doctrine of “one God”––monotheism––is In terms of Godship the Father will always have Jesus as
taught and where Jesus Christ is mentioned in the same a subject.
context, Jesus is not identified as that “one God.” So even 7.26.4 Jesus Derives Life from the Father
when Jesus is mentioned, we find “one God, the Father”
and the “one God and Father.” (1Co 8:6; Eph 4:5, 6; 1Ti Apart from texts that we have considered above such as
2:5) The one God is identified as the Father, and Jesus is Colossians 1:15 and Revelation 3:14, other texts show
presented as separate from the one God. that the Son derived his life from the Father. John 6:57,
for example, quotes Jesus as saying: “As the living Father
In fact, the expression “one God” is never used either of hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth
the Son or of the holy spirit in the entire Bible. Why can me, even he shall live by me.”
the Father be called “one God” but Jesus and the holy
spirit never can? Jesus’ godship must therefore be Trinitarians often speak about Jesus’ Sonship as if it does
secondary to the Father’s Godship. not mean that he actually derived his life from God. To
them it is a spiritual relationship between co-equal and
At John 17:3 Jesus clearly identifies the Father as “the co-eternal persons. Yet, these verses show that Jesus lives
only true God,” referring in prayer to “thee [the Father, due to the Father in the same manner, as indicated by the
verse 1] the only true God, and Jesus Christ.” Nowhere “so,” that his followers will live due to him. The
else in the Bible does anyone use “only” when speaking statements are parallel.
to another person in such a way as to include himself, so
it is unlikely that Jesus was including himself as part of If the life imparted to Christians is real corporeal life, the
“the only true God.” life given to Jesus by his Father must be real life, not the
life of a spiritual relationship only. Of course, if Jesus
At 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10 the “true God” is marked as receives his life from someone else, he cannot be God.
the Father and as different from Jesus Christ in these


The expression “God the Son” used by Bob on page 95 “Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.”––De 6:4.
is not Biblical. It reflects fourth-century thinking. The
“The LORD [Jehovah, Hebrew] said unto to my Lord
faithful Biblical expression is “Son of God.” (Mr 1:1; Joh
[Jesus] …”––Ps 110:1.
1:34) Even Ellen G. White never uses “God the Son” in
more than 100,000 pages of writing. For that matter, she “They might know thee [the Father; cp. Verse 1] the
never once uses “God the Father” or “God the Holy only true God, and Jesus Christ.”––Joh 17:3.
Spirit” either! Bob charges Jehovah’s Witnesses with
“There is but one God, the Father, … and one Lord
changes, but his own language is a clear change from
Jesus Christ.” ––1Co 8:6.
Ellen G. White’s.
Roman Catholic Church authorities could not even agree “There is one God, and one mediator between God and
on a Trinity formula until the fourth century, hundreds of men, the man Christ Jesus.”––1Ti 2:5.
years into the apostasy. The Trinity only gradually A clear distinction between Jehovah God the Father and
infiltrated the Adventist Church, receiving official his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is evident in the Bible.
acceptance only after 70 years! See Appendix 1 for Adventists once agreed with this, before the change.
further information about the non-Trinitarian background
of Adventism and its gradual adoption into the Church. It
was an incremental but major denominational change
that is well documented by Church scholars but which
Price fails even to discuss, much less concede. Adventists opposed the Trinity for decades and Ellen G.
White made no objection until much later. Her
The Trinity attacks God’s sovereignty because it pares Trinitarianism emerged later. The Scriptures teach that
the Father’s worship down to just a third, so that the Son there is one God. Some created servants of the one God
has now outshone the Father. Most ‘Christians’ feel a are also called gods. As God’s Son, Jesus is more
stronger bond to Jesus than to a Father whose name has qualified than those to bear the title God. He is never
practically been eliminated. It serves Satan’s purpose to called the Creator, although he assisted in creation. He is
divide God’s worship this way. It would be expected that never called Jehovah, a name reserved for the Father.
the doctrine of God would be among the first doctrines Although inconsistent on the subject, Ellen G. White
the Devil would attack. The Bible, on the other hand, repeatedly called the holy spirit “it.” Jehovah’s Witnesses
teaches that Jehovah is one undivided God to be agree with Adventism’s first non-Trinitarian position, not
differentiated from the Lord Jesus Christ. with their changed, official pro-Trinity stance.


Chapter 13 of Channel raises a number of further who go to heaven. (He 6:20) When Jesus was on earth he
questions. Of these, Revelation 20:5 and Hebrews 11:5 said:
have been discussed above.56
“No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came
8.1 Sabbath in the New Earth? down from heaven.”––Joh 3:13.
Isaiah 66:22, 23 is used to prove that there will be a To say that Enoch and Elijah ascended to heaven
Sabbath in the new earth.––GCT, page 100. hundreds and thousands of years earlier contradicts
Christ. Lorna really should have checked, but sadly and
“It shall come to pass that from one new moon to by her own admission she made her decision to become
another, and from one sabbath to another shall all an Adventist before she had all the facts.––GCT, page 78.
flesh come to worship before me.”
8.2 Jewellery
Seventh-day Adventists should argue in for literal new
moon observance in the new earth if they wish to use this Can Christians wear “pearls and other outward
passage to argue for literal Sabbath observance because ornaments”? Adventists say no, quoting 1 Timothy 2:9,
both are mentioned here. New moon observance was part 10 and 1 Peter 3:1-4. (GCT, page 102) In the first century
of the Law of Moses but Adventists do not believe that it was customary for pagans to go to great lengths to braid
they will be kept in the new earth. (Nu 10:10; 28:11) Why the hair with gold ornaments. However, not all feminine
would they argue for one and not the other? ornament is forbidden in the Scriptures.
Paul mentions Sabbaths and new moons together at The wording of Peter’s comment makes clear that the
Colossians 2:16. “Let no man judge you ... In respect of Adventists’ extreme view of jewellery was not his point.
an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.” He says regarding Christian women:
When listed together here it is to the effect that neither
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning
new moon nor Sabbath need be kept. They are a
of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or putting
“shadow.” (Col 2:17)
on of apparel.”––1Pe 3:3.
It is clear that Paul is referring to weekly, not annual,
Note the words in italics because they expose the
sabbaths at Colossians 2:16 because of the increasing
weakness in Bob’s application of the passage. Does Peter
frequency: holyday (annual), new moon (monthly),
really mean that Christian sisters should not wear
sabbath days (weekly). Sabbaths marked out the weeks
“apparel”––in Greek, himation––that is, clothing? He did
and new moons the months. (De 5:14; Nu 10:10) What,
not want them to walk about naked, surely! Jesus himself
then, is the real meaning of Isaiah 66:22, 23? In the
wore a himation! (Mt 14:36) Really, then, Peter’s point
“body”––the reality––of these new moon and Sabbath
is not what Christians may or may not wear, but where
observances there will be regular worship of God.57
their emphasis should be, on the humble adornment of
Lorna believes that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have the the heart. There is counsel against jewellery in the Bible,
timing of the beginning of the heavenly resurrection but only in the context of ‘haughtiness.’––Isa 3:16-22.
“straight.” (GCT, pages 101, 102) We have already
On the other hand, many of God’s approved servants
explained why the heavenly resurrection begins, not at
wore jewellery. (Ge 24:53; Ex 3:22; 2Sa 1:24; Jer 2:32;
Christ’s coming, but at and during his presence.58
Lu 15:22) Jewellery was even used in a positive way to
It is Adventists who do not have the timing of people illustrate profound spiritual truths. For example, Jehovah
going to heaven straight, teaching as they do that Enoch himself says of the Israelites:
and Elijah went to heaven hundreds of years before
“I [Jehovah] decked thee also with ornaments, and I
Christ, even though Christ was the “forerunner” of those
put bracelets upon thy hands and a chain on thy neck.

56 For Revelation 20:5 see point 6.6 and for Hebrews 11:5 see point 5.4.
57 For a more complete discussion of Colossians 2:16, 17 see point 4.12.
58 See points 2.9.1 and 6.1.


And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thy It is true that Sunday has long been a pagan day of
ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.”––Eze worship. Still, the earliest Christians set the example that
16:11, 12. we cannot evade. Despite the fact that there was never a
command, they did meet on Sunday, at least
“The LORD … hath clothed me with the garments of
occasionally. (Joh 20:26; Ac 2:1) When they met on
salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of
Sunday it was not because they were observing the
righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with
Sabbath, the Lord’s Day or Jesus’ resurrection day.
ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her
jewels.”––Isa 61:10. In the same way, when Jehovah’s Witnesses meet on
Sundays it is for practical purposes. It is often the day that
Would God have used this language positively, even in a
most people are available to accept their invitation to
figurative sense, if he had regarded jewellery as
attend meetings. The Christian Scriptures contain not a
inherently sinful? And how could he have compared the
single command to meet on Saturdays, nor is there even
way he honoured Israel with a bridegroom and bride’s
one ‘New Testament’ example of a Christian church
ornaments if they never used ornaments?––Cp. Pr 25:12.
meeting on the Sabbath.59
The Church itself has been very inconsistent about
Many congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses regularly
jewellery. In 1972 the Annual Council of the General
meet on Saturdays by congregational consent or if their
Conference stated that baptism was not to be denied to
Kingdom Halls are occupied by multiple congregations
those who wear a wedding ring. It also said:
on Sundays. They hold regular meetings if they coincide
“That in the area of personal adornment, necklaces, with Christmas day, but never as a Christmas service.
earrings, bracelets, and rings (including engagement
Staff in Watchtower Society branch offices work normal
rings) should not be worn. Articles such as watches,
shifts on Sundays and Christmas days. There are no
brooches, cuff links, tie clasps, etc., should be chosen
closures for New Year’s Day, Easter or any of the
in harmony with the Christian principles of simplicity,
national holidays. It is actually Adventists that are
modesty, and economy.”
inconsistent because they observe Christmas knowing
What an arbitrary direction! It seems the aim was to full well its pagan religious background while at the same
distinguish between items used purely for adornment and time making a great deal of the pagan religious
those with some practical purpose. background of Sunday.
Look at the inconsistencies, though. The wedding ring Shortly after Price published his booklet criticizing
was allowed (or reluctantly tolerated) at baptism because Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Australian Adventist magazine
it could be seen as having a practical purpose, being a Signs of the Times of December 1968 displayed a cover
public evidence of marriage. But the engagement ring commemorating Jesus’ birth. Yet the Catholic
which also has a practical purpose––advertising that a Encyclopaedia says:
person is not available for courtship––was denied.
“Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the
Brooches, cuff links and tie clasps were allowed, but
these hardly ever serve a truly practical purpose.
It is not just a matter of innocent tradition, either. Almost
The Adventist blanket rejection of jewellery is both
every facet of Christmas is either based on a lie or on
inconsistent and unscriptural.
paganism. The date is false. The story of kings bringing
8.3 Sunday, Christmas and Birthdays gifts to Jesus as a newborn babe in a manger is a lie.
Christmas customs borrowed from paganism include the
On page 102 Bob charges that Jehovah’s Witnesses are tree, the gifts, the mistletoe, the feasting and the merry-
inconsistent about Sunday and Christmas because they making. Adventists know these things yet celebrate
have meetings on Sunday and yet do not observe Christmas anyway.
Christmas. But, as with so many of his arguments, Bob
has not thought his accusation through. The Witnesses Adventists are also happy to celebrate birthdays but there
are perfectly consistent. As a matter of observance, they is not one recorded instance of a true servant of God
keep none of these days as special. They do not keep celebrating a birthday in Bible times, although it was a
Sunday as the Sabbath or as the Lord’s Day. And they do common pagan practice at the time. Only pagans are
not keep Christmas as a holy day either. noted for celebrating birthdays.––Ge 40:20; Mt 14:6.

59 See point 4.10.


The Jews and the earliest Christians took the view that it “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the
was inappropriate to celebrate birthdays. So professed heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven;
Christian Origen of the third century said: for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs
of the people are vain.”
“Of all the holy people in the Scriptures, no one is
recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet In Christianity the principle that pagan religious customs
on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and should not be added to pure worship remained.
Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
which they were born into this world below.”
for what fellowship hath righteousness with
M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopaedia says that the Jews unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with
darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial?
“regarded birthday celebrations as parts of idolatrous
or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? ...
worship.”––Volume I, page 817.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye
So Historian Augustus Neander writes: separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean
thing.”––2Co 6:14-17.
“The notion of a birthday festival was far from the
ideas of the Christians of this period.”––The History Even if men have forgotten the origin of Christmas and
of the Christian Religion and Church, During the birthdays, God remembers and it matters to him.
Three First Centuries, page 190.
The comparison Bob uses does not fit his argument: “The
The Lore of Birthdays adds: pagans had weddings also, but we will not stop getting
married because they married.” (GCT, page 102) Yes,
“Mesopotamia and Egypt, the cradles of civilization, pagans married, but marriage was instituted by God. (Ge
were also the first lands in which men remembered 2:22) “God hath joined [them] together.” (Mt 19:6) The
and honoured their birthdays. The keeping of birthday
Witnesses observe marriage, baptism and the Lord’s
records was important in ancient times principally
Supper because they were divinely instituted religious
because a birth date was essential for the casting of a
observances. Birthday observances, though, were pagan
from the beginning, being connected with astrology.
Clearly, birthdays were not just pagan secular customs, God’s people did not celebrate them.
but pagan religious customs. The important question is:
8.4 Flag and Anthem
What would be wrong with adopting pagan religious
celebrations if the pagan element has long been On page 103, Bob says that we should stand and salute
forgotten? We only need to enquire after God’s view to the flag and stand for the national anthem. Jehovah’s
decide. To the Israelites he warned: Witnesses honour and respect national governments. (Ro
“When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations 13:1-7; 1Pe 2:13-18) They also “flee from idolatry.” (Ac
from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, 5:39; 1Co 10:14) The same Commandment says:
and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or
Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or
following them, after that they be destroyed from that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under
before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them.”
saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even ––Ex 20:4, 5.
so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the
LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, Bob says that flags and national anthems “are tokens of
which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for loyalty and honor.” (GCT, page 103) This is not true.
even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in When a person salutes a flag he does not salute ‘loyalty
the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command or honor.’ He salutes his country and what it stands for,
you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor because a flag represents a nation. It is the embodiment
diminish from it.”––De 12:29-32. of the nation––an image of it. Is it wrong to make a
solemn gesture to such an image? Well, when compared
Even after pagan nations had been destroyed, the with the commandment, what is a flag?
Israelites were still not to adopt pagan religious practices.
The law about avoiding pagan customs remained in the The Australian flag contains stars, the “likeness of
Law for 1,500 years. The Jews could never “add” [things] in heaven above.” When a person makes a
religious customs like the birthdays of the pagans to their special gesture toward that flag, he makes it to stars
own customs. Reinforcing this later, Jeremiah 10:2 says: which are the ‘likenesses of things in heaven above.’ The
flag is therefore an image. Adventists may wish to debate


whether there is a difference between ‘saluting’ and meeting in Northern California, a patriotic song
‘bowing down,’ but Jehovah’s Witnesses do not entertain service was followed by a 21 gun salute with live
such fine distinctions where their worship is involved. ammunition. And near the end of the American
bombing campaign in Afghanistan, the General
The Australian and British flags contain the Union Jack,
Conference organized a special weekend to honor the
a combination of St. Andrew’s Cross, St. George’s Cross
US military and send care packages overseas––not
and St. Patrick’s Cross. These were the patron saints of
care packages to the afflicted Afghanis, but stuffed
England, Scotland and Ireland. The uniting of these
animals to US bomber crews stationed at Diego Garcia
kingdoms into one United Kingdom is represented by the
Air Force Base in the Pacific Ocean. Little thought
uniting of the three religious crosses in the Union Jack.
was given by the planners of the event to the history
So when a person performs a solemn gesture toward the of American policy in the Middle East, or the
flag, he not only violates the principle inherent in the estimated 3,400 Afghani civilians killed by US
commandment, but participates in the worship of bombs––four hundred more innocent people than
Scottish, English and Irish Protestants who teach perished on September 11.”––A Brief History of
doctrines such as hellfire contrary to God’s Word.60 Seventh-day Adventists in Times of War, Ronald
Osborn, Adventist Peace Fellowship.
There is no Biblical example of any servant of God
performing a gesture to any symbol representing a state For a fuller description of this deplorable record, see a
or ruler. Quite to the contrary. The three young Hebrews Seventh-day Adventist’s own description of Adventists
in Babylon refused any physical gesture to an image. The at war in Appendix 5.
proportions of that image show that it was not the image
of a human such as Nebuchadnezzar. It likely represented 8.5 Worship or Obeisance?
the state itself, just as the flag does today.––Da 3:1, 18. On page 103, Bob says that his church would kneel in
Anthems are often petitions to God to act on behalf of the worship if Jesus entered. Jehovah’s Witnesses would also
state or its leaders. “God save our gracious Queen” is an kneel, but Jesus also says: “Thou shalt worship the Lord
example. They are songs that represent the country in thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Mt 4:10) Jesus
which a person lives, so they serve the same purpose as worshipped someone else, his Father Jehovah.
flags and any gesture in response is idolatry. The King James Version makes it seem that the early
Bob says that Adventists would stand or perform some Christians worshipped Jesus, saying: “They came and
other respectful action in the presence of a ruler. So held him by the feet, and worshipped [from proskyneo.
would Jehovah’s Witnesses. Bowing is proper out of Greek] him.” (Mt 28:9) What does proskyneo mean? A
respect for other humans and is clearly authorized. (Ge lexicon says it is
23:7; 27:29; 49:8; 1Sa 24:8; 2Sa 24:20; 2Ki 2:15) But “used to designate the custom of prostrating oneself
performing the same act to an object or song that before a person and kissing his feet, the hem of his
represents a human or nation would be wrong because a garment, the ground.”––A Greek-English Lexicon of
representation is an image. the New Testament and Other Early Christian
The tendency of Adventists toward nationalism described Literature, by Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker,
by Bob has led the Adventist Church into what was at page 716.
first implicit and then later explicit support of worldly Worship is not the only meaning of proskyneo, but it
governments in wartime. could include worship. So a dictionary defines it:
“During World War II Adventists proudly answered “To make obeisance, do reverence to (from pros,
the call to duty in the United States, but also, and more “towards,” and kuneo, “to kiss”) … to worship”––
disconcertingly, in Nazi Germany. ... In the post- Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E.
Vietnam era, thousands of Adventists voluntarily Vine, under “Worship.”
joined the US armed forces as full combatants.
Adventist chaplains were recruited to minister to these Proskyneo has a range of meanings. It does not always
fighters ‘without passing judgment’, which in turn refer to worship. Consider the corresponding Hebrew
encouraged more Adventists to enlist. ... At a camp- word. Isaiah 27:13 says that God should be ‘worshipped
[shachah].’ But Genesis 23:7 says that Abraham ‘bowed

60If it should seem we inconsistently quote the Ten Commandments here, we do so because 1 Corinthians 10:14 contains the
Christian law against idolatry. Exodus 20:4, 5 merely helps us to define idolatry. In a similar way, Paul quotes from the Law of
Moses at 1 Corinthians 9:8, 9, applying a principle to Christians.


down to [shachah]’ the sons of Heth. (Ge 23:7) The word At Revelation 3:9 proskyneo is used when Jesus says that
is used again for God’s servants bowing out of respect to he will make evildoers ‘worship’ at the feet of Christians.
a king, a prophet, a person in authority, an older person, Is this full worship? No. It is the wicked ‘bowing down’
or even a stranger.––Ge 19:1, 2; 1Sa 24:8; 2Ki 2:15; Ru in acknowledgment of them. Some translations suggest
2:8-10; 1Ki 2:19. better renderings. “I will make them come and bow down
before your feet.” (Revised Standard Version) “Fall
The fundamental meaning of shachah is to bow down
down at your feet.” (New English Bible) “Bow down
respectfully. It can mean, but does not always mean,
before your feet.” (The New Testament in Modern
worship. When David was king of Israel, he accepted
English [J.B. Phillips]) “Fall down at your feet.” (New
‘worship’ of a limited kind. 1 Chronicles 29:20 reads:
International Version) Yes, the fundamental meaning of
“David said to all the congregation, Now bless the proskyneo is bow down. It clearly does not always mean
LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the “worship” because Jesus was not encouraging idolatry in
LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their this case.
heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king.”
Of course, even in English there are remnants of a
Because “worshipped” seems inappropriate in this case secondary meaning for ‘worship,’ now almost obsolete,
because it is directed to the king, translators often switch a meaning that includes humans as its object. Under this
to something like “paid homage.” (English Standard meaning, ‘worship’ is defined as
Version, New American Standard Version) Using
“to honour, show respect for: ‘with my body I thee
shachah, 2 Samuel 14:22 and 1 Kings 1:31 say that Joab
worship’ (Marriage Service). Phr. to worship the
and Bathsheba bowed down to David. Was David God,
ground a person treads on, entertain the intensest
affection for him (her).” Hence comes the practice that
No. This was not “worship” in the fullest sense. The King persists in some jurisdictions of calling magistrates
James Version translates shachah “worship” when “Your Worship.”––Webster.
directed to God but ‘bow down’ when directed to men.
Proskyneo should be translated “worship” when it refers
The object of attention determines the translation.
to Almighty God but “bow down,” or similar, when it
The Greek form proskyneo is used when an angel says: refers to humans. Translators who believe that Jesus is
“Worship God.” (Re 19:10) So the word refers to worship Almighty God naturally render proskyneo as “worship”
when God is its object. However, as in the Hebrew if it is directed him. But it is their Trinitarian viewpoint
Scriptures, when humans ‘bow down’ properly and rather than the word itself that leads them to that position.
respectfully to other humans, proskyneo does not mean
For example, many translations avoid the word Bob teaches Sabbath observance in the new earth but not
“worship” at Matthew 18:26 because its object is a a new moon observance. He argues against jewellery
human king. “So the servant fell on his knees.” (Revised despite the fact that there are many positive references to
Standard Version) “The man fell prostrate at his master’s its use among God’s people, including jewellery
feet.” (New English Bible) “At this the servant fell on his symbolic of spiritual beauty. He teaches that it is proper
knees before his master.” (The New Testament in Modern to perform a solemn act before an image of stars and
English [J.B. Phillips]) “The servant fell on his knees crosses on a flag, claiming that this can be called respect,
before him.” (New International Version) Apart from the not worship. We have seen that it is proper to bow
King James Version, almost none of the translators use respectfully to a person, but not to an image. For this
‘worship’ because it relates to a human master, so reason, early servants of God bowed to Jesus and others,
‘worship’ is really inappropriate here. but never bowed before images. The Greek word relating
to this act does not uniquely refer to worship.



Baptised into Christ
Moving toward the end of the story, Channel chapter 14 previous verse Jesus had said: “I came, not to destroy, but
explains how shortly before his baptism as a Seventh-day to fulfill.” (Mt 5:17) Taken together, the two verses show
Adventist David studied Adventist history and its that God’s law could pass away once it had been fulfilled
understanding of prophecy. We are told that a picture by Jesus, the very opposite of what White wanted to
emerged of “an organization led by God, going steadily teach. She did not quote the verse fairly, but selectively.
forward, with its truths becoming clearer and more
Similarly, on page 466 of The Great Controversy Ellen
beautiful with the passing years.” (GCT, page 106) We
G. White says: “The apostle James, who wrote after the
have seen that this picture is simply not true.
death of Christ, refers to the Decalogue as “the royal law”
9.1 Fundamental Change and “the perfect law of liberty. James 2:8; 1:25.” Is this
right? James 2:8 quotes “the royal law:” “Thou shalt love
In Chapter 1 of this study we saw that the Adventist thy neighbour as thyself.” (Le 19:18) This is not in the
Church has taught many things as truth––even Ten Commandments. It is in the ‘Ceremonial Law.’
fundamental things––which were later changed. We have
found that its members have become deeply implicated Of course, any Bible interpreter or writer can make
in war, that the moral standards of the organization have mistakes like these, but The Great Controversy is
dropped to the point where unscriptural divorce and even supposedly part of ‘the spirit of prophecy.’ It has
polygamy is tolerated under certain circumstances. survived several revisions, even with White’s consent,
and it still contains these errors. The same can be said for
We found that even the writings of the Church’s prophet the historical errors in her writings noted above. 61 What
have been changed, sometimes by herself, sometimes by this means is something that Seventh-day Adventists
others. Changes in her writings were in factual details, cannot bear, that she was simply a fallible student of the
changed because Ellen G. White was simply wrong. Her Scriptures and church history like many others, and not
prophecies were also unreliable. What seemed like especially gifted at that.
remarkable insights into historical events very often
turned out to be copied from previous historians. In the past, converts to Seventh-day Adventism were
impressed that a simple young woman could write a
Today other issues like the ordination of women concern lengthy and detailed exposition like The Great
the Church when, really, the Scriptures are clear. Women Controversy. It lent authority to her claim to be a prophet.
should not be ordained as ministers. (1Ti 2:11, 12; 3:1- There seemed no other explanation for such insightful
13) Price contributed toward the 800-page book Here We writing. No doubt David was very impressed with it for
Stand: Evaluating New Trends in the Church, a book that reasons like this. Today we know that large portions, if
presents evidence that Adventism is not a church “going not the majority, of her work was copied from others. It
steadily forward ... with the passing years” as he claims. was largely a summary of their material, none of which
9.2 The Great Controversy had any special claim to inspiration.

David apparently read and enjoyed Ellen G. White’s The From early times, Adventists were aware that copying the
Great Controversy. Had he been more discerning he ideas and writings of others was unethical, even in the
might have noted evidence that he was not reading “the nineteenth century. So in an article in the Adventist paper
spirit of prophecy.” Review and Herald of September 6, 1864, we read:

For example, on page 434 of The Great Controversy “PLAGIARISM

White quotes Matthew 5:18: “‘Till heaven and earth pass, This is a word that is used to signify ‘literary theft’, or
one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.’ taking the productions of another and passing them off
Matthew 5:18.” She quotes this text to show that the Ten- as one's own.
Commandment law is immutable, but failing to quote the
rest of the sentence which is vital to understanding the In the ‘World’s Crisis’ of Aug 23, 1864, we find a
text: “till all be fulfilled.” This is so vital because in the piece of poetry duly headed, ‘For the World’s Crisis,’

61 See point 1.5.17.


and signed ‘Luthera B. Weaver’. What was our are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an
surprise, therefore to find in this piece our familiar angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation.”
hymn, ‘Long upon the mountain weary have the ––Selected Messages, Book 1, page 37. (Emphasis
scattered flock been torn.’ This piece was written by ours.)
Annie R. Smith, and was first published in the Review,
The Adventist Church vigorously defends her against
vol ii, no. 8, Dec 9, 1851 and has been in our hymn
charges of plagiarism, but whether her copying was
book ever since the first edition thereafter issued....
plagiarism by nineteenth-century standards or not is
We are perfectly willing that pieces from the Review,
really not the point. Her Great Controversy material was
or any of our books should be published to any extent,
simply not original, and there was no special miraculous,
and all we ask is, that simple justice be done us, by due
prophetic gift required to produce it, especially since she
credit being given.”
had assistants to help her.
If this was the standard expected in the Adventist
publishing community in 1864, we might have expected
that Ellen G. White, of all people, would have adhered to
it. But Adventist apologists concede that at least 10% to The Great Controversy is one of Ellen G. White’s most
20% of her writings were copied from others without important works. It is heavily used by the Church as an
“credit being given.” This also applies to the Great evangelizing tool. However, the evidence shows that it is
Controversy, the book that so deeply impressed David. largely based on the written works of others who were
Elsewhere, White says she wrote under the influence of not Adventists. It includes errors, some of which were
the holy spirit. She claimed to be careful in using corrected with White’s agreement and others after her
quotation marks, at least in quoting angels but not, death. Some errors remain. All writers make mistakes
apparently, in quoting men. and Ellen G. White can be forgiven hers, but Bob held
Jehovah’s Witnesses to a standard that his own prophet
“Although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the could not meet. His attack was therefore unreasonable
Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, and unfair.
yet the words I employ in describing what I have seen


Watchtower … 1975
In later printings of Channel, Price includes an Appendix possible with God. Does it mean that Babylon the
A that lists some Watchtower publications that he says Great is going to go down by 1975? It could. Does it
“suggested that the End would come in 1975.” (GCT, mean that the attack of Gog of Magog is going to be
page 112) Again, he deals in half-truths and is less than made on Jehovah’s witnesses to wipe them out, then
fair in dealing with the evidence. Gog himself will be put out of action? It could. But we
are not saying. All things are possible with God. But
10.1 October 1966 we are not saying. And don’t any of you be specific in
Taking his examples in chronological order, the first is in saying anything that is going to happen between now
the book Life Everlasting–in Freedom of the Sons of God, and 1975. But the big point of it all is this, dear friends:
published in 1966. The section he quotes reads: Time is short. Time is running out, no question about
“According to this trustworthy Bible chronology six
thousand years from man’s creation will end in 1975, These words were clearly precautionary. ‘You can accept
and the seventh period of a thousand years of human it or reject it. It could. It could. All things are possible. It
history will begin in the fall of 1975 C.E. So six could. It could. We are not saying. All things are possible.
thousand years of man’s existence on earth will soon Don’t any of you be specific.’ Nothing could be clearer
be up, yes, within this generation.”––Page 29. than that Jehovah’s Witnesses were not suggesting that
the end “would” come in 1975 as Price claims. A “could”
Price underlines various words in this quotation, but is not a “would.”
which of them prove his point that it “suggested the End
would come in 1975”? Read it again. There is nothing 10.2 May 1968
about the end of the world; only about the end of 6,000
Next was the Watchtower of May 1, 1968, pages 270-
years. Commenting on the same book and 1975, the
277, which Bob cites but does not quote, and no wonder.
Watchtower of October 15, 1966 discussed some
It states:
comments made by the Watchtower Society’s vice-
president Frederick Franz. “To calculate where man is in the stream of time
relative to God’s seventh day of 7,000 years, we need
“At the Baltimore assembly Brother Franz in his
to determine how long a time has elapsed from the
closing remarks made some interesting comments
year of Adam and Eve’s creation in 4026 B.C.E. From
regarding the year 1975. He began casually by saying,
the autumn of that year to the autumn of 1 B.C.E.,
“Just before I got on the platform a young man came
there would be 4,025 years. From the autumn of
to me and said, ‘Say, what does this 1975 mean? Does
1 B.C.E. to the autumn of 1 C.E. is one year (there was
it mean this, that or any other thing?’” In part, Brother
no zero year). From the autumn of 1 C.E. to the
Franz went on to say: ‘You have noticed the chart [on
autumn of 1967 is a total of 1,966 years. Adding 4,025
pages 31-35 in the book Life Everlasting–in Freedom
and 1 and 1,966, we get 5,992 years from the autumn
of the Sons of God]. It shows that 6,000 years of
of 4026 B.C.E. to the autumn of 1967. Thus, eight
human experience will end in 1975, about nine years
years remain to account for a full 6,000 years of the
from now. What does that mean? Does it mean that
seventh day.”
God’s rest day began 4026 B.C.E.? It could have. The
Life Everlasting book does not say it did not. The book Eight years from 1967 ended in 1975. At the time the
merely presents the chronology. You can accept it or Watchtower made this statement it was understood that
reject it. If that is the case, what does that mean to us? 1975 would mark both the end of 6,000 years since Adam
[He went into some length showing the feasibility of was created and the end of the first 6,000 years of God’s
the 4026 B.C.E. date as being the beginning of God’s 7,000-year rest day.
rest day.]
The two periods were understood to run parallel.
‘What about the year 1975? What is it going to mean, Although 1975 has never been gainsaid as the end of
dear friends?’ asked Brother Franz. ‘Does it mean that 6,000 years since creation, it was an error to link it to the
Armageddon is going to be finished, with Satan end of the first 6,000 years of God’s seventh creative day.
bound, by 1975? It could! It could! All things are The Witnesses no longer make this link.


Price fails to point out, however, that the same article Again, when citing the August 15 Watchtower he fails to
stated the following. quote the exact passage that states that the end would
come by 1975. He could not quote it because it was not
“Does this mean that the year 1975 will bring the battle
there! Yet he places the article under his heading
of Armageddon? No one can say with certainty what
Watchtower Publications which suggested the End would
any particular year will bring. Jesus said: “Concerning
come in 1975. As any fair reader can see, the Watchtower
that day or the hour nobody knows.” (Mark 13:32)
made no such claim, either in May or in August of 1968.
Sufficient is it for God’s servants to know for a
certainty that, for this system under Satan, time is 10.4 May 1974
running out rapidly. How foolish a person would be
not to be awake and alert to the limited time The revised Channel cites the May 1974 Kingdom
remaining, to the earthshaking events soon to take Ministry article “How Are You Using Your Life?”
place, and to the need to work out one’s salvation!”–– “Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and
Page 272. property and planning to finish out the rest of their
How fair is it to cite this article under the heading days in this old system in the pioneer service.
Watchtower Publications which suggested the End would Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time
come in 1975 when it did no such thing? remaining before the wicked world’s end.––1 John
10.3 August 1968––a Correction
Price implies that it was not appropriate for the
Then the August 15, 1968 Watchtower made an almost Watchtower Society to commend those who made this
immediate correction to the May edition. First it stressed decision. Christians of Bible times always thought of the
what had been stressed before––that Jehovah’s Witnesses end as imminent, possibly even during their lifetimes. So
were not predicting the end in or before 1975. Then it was the apostle Peter says: “the end of all things is at hand.”
admitted that the chronology was at best reasonably (1Pe 4:7) Paul writes: “the night is far spent, the day is at
accurate. Finally, it showed that, although 1975 would hand” and “the God of peace shall bruise Satan under
likely mark 6,000 years since Adam was created, it would your feet shortly.” (Ro 13:12; 16:20) John quotes Jesus
not necessarily mean that 6,000 of the 7,000 years of who speaks of “the things which must shortly be done”
God’s creative rest day would expire in that year. and “I am coming quickly.”––Re 22:6, 20.
“Are we to assume from this study that the battle of Today we are almost 2,000 years closer to the end. Surely
Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975, no Christian today can be criticized for proclaiming that
and the long-looked-for thousand-year reign of Christ the end is near. This awareness stimulates some, but not
will begin by then? Possibly, but we wait to see how all, to make decisions to live simply.
closely the seventh thousand-year period of man’s
“The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have
existence coincides with the sabbathlike thousand-
nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his
year reign of Christ. If these two periods run parallel
head.”––Mt 8:20.
with each other as to the calendar year, it will not be
by mere chance or accident but will be according to Was Jesus’ personal decision appropriate? Absolutely!
Jehovah’s loving and timely purposes. Our Would it have been wrong to commend him for it? No.
chronology, however, which is reasonably accurate Jehovah’s Witnesses admire Jesus for his focus on
(but admittedly not infallible), at the best only points preaching and disciple-making. Some have been able to
to the autumn of 1975 as the end of 6,000 years of imitate him and surely they are to be commended too.
man’s existence on earth. It does not necessarily mean
The decisions that Jehovah’s Witnesses made were
that 1975 marks the end of the first 6,000 years of
always commendable personal decisions similar to those
Jehovah’s seventh creative “day.” Why not? Because
after his creation Adam lived some time during the made by some of the first-century Christians.
“sixth day,” which unknown amount of time would “As many as were possessors of lands or houses sold
need to be subtracted from Adam’s 930 years, to them, and brought the prices of the things that were
determine when the sixth seven-thousand-year period sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and
or “day” ended, and how long Adam lived into the distribution was made unto every man according as he
“seventh day.” And yet the end of that sixth creative had need.”––Ac 4:34, 35.
“day” could end within the same Gregorian calendar
year of Adam’s creation. It may involve only a Yes, early Christians sold property in support of true
difference of weeks or months, not years.” worship. It was voluntary, and it was well reported on.
Individual Witnesses have done something similar. After
the sales of their properties, the funds remained their


own, to be used as they saw fit. There is no organizational hopes centered on that date.”––Watchtower, March
tithe or claim on their funds. 15, 1980, pages 17, 18.
However, the comments in the May 1974 issue of In particular, the statements that linked the expiry
Kingdom Ministry were not unique. The Watchtower has of 6,000 years since Adam’s creation with the
reported on Witnesses selling their homes to free expiry of 6,000 years of God’s rest day were
themselves for a larger share in preaching activities for unfortunate because they led to the anticipation that
years before and after 1975. the Millennium might begin in 1975. Still,
Jehovah’s Witnesses were not claiming inspiration
The Watchtower reported favourably on specific
when making any of these comments. As Franz
individuals with this self-sacrificing spirit in 1958, 1966,
said: “The book merely presents the chronology.
1967, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1990 and 1991.62 These are just
You can accept it or reject it.”
a few of many such references. More recently, the
October 15, 2014 issue reported a similar instance. (Page 10.6 Other Wrong Expectations
19) It is always commendable to follow the self-
sacrificing example of the Lord. Long before these modern-day statements by Jehovah’s
Witnesses, some of the most influential Protestant leaders
10.5 Perspective also had wrong expectations. Martin Luther believed that
the end would come in his day. He said that the Turkish
It is true that some of Jehovah’s Witnesses expected more
war would be “the final wrath of God, in which the world
of 1975 than they should have. The Watchtower Society
will come to an end and Christ will come to destroy Gog
later conceded that its comments played a role in building
and Magog and set free His own” and that “Christ has
expectations for 1975.
given a sign by which one can know when the Judgment
“With the appearance of the book Life Everlasting–in Day is near. When the Turk will have an end, we can
Freedom of the Sons of God, and its comments as to certainly predict that the Judgment must be at the door.”–
how appropriate it would be for the millennial reign of –“Luther's Eschatological Appraisal of the Turkish
Christ to parallel the seventh millennium of man’s Threat in Eine Heerpredigt–wider den Tuerken [Army
existence, considerable expectation was aroused Sermon Against the Turks],” John T. Baldwin, Andrews
regarding the year 1975. There were statements made University Seminary Studies 33.2, Autumn 1995, pages
then, and thereafter, stressing that this was only a 196, 201.
possibility. Unfortunately, however, along with such
Methodist founder John Wesley made some precise and
cautionary information, there were other statements
definite predictions for 1836. His prediction was, “1836
published that implied that such realization of hopes
The end of the non-chronos, and of the many kings; the
by that year was more of a probability than a mere
fulfilling of the word, and of the mystery of God; the
possibility. It is to be regretted that these latter
repentance of the survivors in the great city; the end of
statements apparently overshadowed the cautionary
the ‘little time,’ and of the three times and a half; the
ones and contributed to a buildup of the expectation
destruction of the east; the imprisonment of Satan.”––
already initiated.
Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, viewed at
In its issue of July 15, 1976, The Watchtower, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wesley/notes.i.xxviii.xxiii.html
commenting on the inadvisability of setting our sights in 2016.
on a certain date, stated: “If anyone has been
In 1950, Billy Graham said: “I sincerely believe that the
disappointed through not following this line of
Lord draweth nigh. We may have another year, maybe
thought, he should now concentrate on adjusting his
two years, to work for Jesus Christ, and, Ladies and
viewpoint, seeing that it was not the word of God that
Gentlemen, I believe it is all going to be over ... two years
failed or deceived him and brought disappointment,
and it’s all going to be over.”––Quoted in “The Growth
but that his own understanding was based on wrong
of Fundamentalist Apocalyptic in the United States,” in
premises.” In saying “anyone,” The Watchtower
The Continuum History of Apocalypticism, page 534.
included all disappointed ones of Jehovah’s
Witnesses, hence including persons having to do with These were false predictions, not false prophecies. None
the publication of the information [italics in the claimed inspiration. Adventists accept Luther, Wesley
original publication] that contributed to the buildup of

See issues of October 1, 1958, page 600; July 15, 1966, page 444; February 1, 1967, page 82; October 1, 1981, page 15; June
15, 1982, page 7; October 15, 1986, page 17; February 1, 1990, page 30; May 1, 1991, page 27.


and Graham as fellow Christians despite their failed had to come true. No matter the explanation, these were
expectations based on study and interpretation. prophecies that were not fulfilled, yet Price criticizes
Jehovah’s Witnesses for unfulfilled predictions despite
Of course, Adventists also accept Ellen G. White despite
the Witnesses never claiming inspiration. The double
her failed predictions. In the 1850’s she said:
standard is hardly fair.
“Some are looking too far off for the coming of the
Seventh-day Adventists are more precariously positioned
Lord. Time has continued a few years longer than they
than Martin Luther, John Wesley, Billy Graham and
expected; therefore they think it may continue a few
Jehovah’s Witnesses because, to this day, they claim that
years more, and in this way their minds are being led
Ellen G. White was inspired. These others’ predictions
from present truth, out after the world. ... I saw that the
were not inspired. Hers are supposed to have been.
time for Jesus to be in the most holy place was nearly
finished and that time can last but a very little longer. Adventists have given considerable attention to Ellen G.
… In a view given June 27, 1850, my accompanying White’s unfulfilled prophecies, attempting to explain
angel said, ‘Time is almost finished.’ ... Said the angel, them.64 Whatever the explanations, the fact remains that
‘Get ready, get ready, get ready. ...’ I saw that there she made predictions that did not come true. Price uses
was a great work to do for them and but little time in unfulfilled expectation as a weapon against Jehovah’s
which to do it. ... Then I saw the seven last plagues Witnesses. In fairness he should have taken into account
were soon to be poured out upon those who have no these other unfulfilled predictions.
shelter. … But now time is almost finished, and what
we have been years learning, they [“they who of late
have embraced the truth”] will have to learn in a few
months. They will also have much to unlearn and
much to learn again.”––Early Writings, pages 58, 64, It is true that Jehovah’s Witnesses pointed forward to
67. (Emphasis ours.) 1975 as the 6,000th anniversary of Adam’s creation.
Even today, the Witnesses maintain the relative accuracy
“I was shown the company present at the Conference. of this date, even though they concede that Bible
Said the angel, ‘Some food for worms, some subjects chronology is an inexact science. Their error was not so
of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and much in linking 1975 with the expiry of 6,000 years from
remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Adam’s creation but linking it with the end of the first
Jesus.’”––Testimonies for the Church, Volume 1, 6,000 years of the seventh creative day, which implied to
pages 131, 132. some that the 1,000-year reign of Christ was due. The
Obviously, not one of that company lived to be translated Watchtower Society later conceded this error in writing.
at Christ’s coming.63 Adventists satisfy themselves that However, at no time did the official literature of
these were examples of genuine but conditional Jehovah’s Witnesses predict the end of the world in that
prophecy. If so, none of Ellen G. White’s prophecies ever year.

See other examples at point 1.5.15.
For example, see “Inspiration/Revelation: What It Is and How It Works,” Roger W. Coon, in Journal of Adventist Education.
Volume 44, Numbers 1, 2, 3, October, 1981 to March, 1982.


Our Friends
In 1974 Price published Our Friends: the Jehovah's 11.2 Westcott and Hort
Witnesses, a summary of his evidence against the
Witnesses. He issued its twelfth edition in 2005. Many of Price also criticizes the New World Translation for using
the points made in this shorter document repeat those in the Westcott and Hort master text. (OF, page 5) But in
the larger booklet, but there are some new arguments 1981 Bruce Metzger said:
advanced. We will comment on some of them. “The international committee that produced the
Surprisingly, he suggests that Seventh-day Adventists United Bible Societies Greek New Testament, not
resort to dishonesty in speaking with Jehovah’s only adopted the Westcott and Hort edition as its basic
Witnesses. He says: “Tell them you have some literature text, but followed their methodology in giving
that is stumbling you and you need them to give you some attention to both external and internal consideration.”
answers to the questions you have found.” (OF, page 3) ––Cited in Bible Interpreters of the 20th Century, page
But this is a ruse. The literature they have is their own 264.
literature, including the publications by Price. Adventists The Westcott and Hort text has been an excellent Greek
would not be stumbled by them. That would be a lie. text. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not blindly
follow it. The original 1950 edition of the New World
11.1 Submit or Surrender?
Translation also took into consideration second- and
Price criticizes Jehovah’s Witnesses for submitting to third-century papyri.
their Governing Body. (OF, page 4) If he were as expert
The 2013 revision of the New World Translation also
in Seventh-day Adventist documents as in Jehovah’s
used the Nestle-Aland and United Bible Societies texts
Witnesses’, he would be aware that Ellen G. White
that had become available since 1950. The translation
recommended something similar to her Church.
committee was never solely reliant on Frederick Franz
“When the judgment of the General Conference, for its translation expertise. The committee still functions
which is the highest authority that God has upon the today, long after Franz’ death in 1992.
earth, is exercised, private independence and private
Next is more criticism over changes in doctrine and
judgment must not be maintained, but be
expectations. (OF, pages 5-9) We refer the reader to the
surrendered.”––Testimonies for the Church, Volume
discussion of these issues in our Chapter 1 above.
3, page 492.
His criticism is unfair, then. His Church requires the 11.3 Chronology
same. Page 10 of Our Friends challenges the Witnesses’
Price also disagrees with disfellowshipping those who understanding of chronology and we have discussed this
persistently criticize the organization, misinterpreting above.65 He claims that the 70 years of Jeremiah 25:11,
Matthew 18:17 about treating wrongdoers as “a man of 12; 29:10 ran from 605 to 536 BCE. However, there are
the nations and as a tax collector.” He says the Jews problems at both ends.
“talked and interacted” with Gentiles. Yes, they For 605 BCE to be the correct start date under the
interacted at a formal or business level. Adventist chronology, the 70 years would have had to
Still, at Acts 10:28, Paul says “it is an unlawful thing for start in the third year of Jehoiakim, which was also the
a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one first year of Nebuchadnezzar, and Nebuchadnezzar
of another nation.” This was the prevailing view when would have had to have taken exiles in that year.
Jesus spoke the words of Matthew 18:17 and this is how But we know that no exiles were taken in 605 BCE
those who heard him would have understood his because Jeremiah 52:28-30 is clear that “all” the people
instruction on how to treat disfellowshipped persons.–– taken into exile by Nebuchadnezzar were taken in his
Cp. Joh 18:28. seventh year, eighteenth year and twenty-third year.
There was no exile in his first year. Additionally, the 70-

65 See points 2.12, 2.12.1, 2.12.2, 2.12.3, 2.12.4, 2.12.5, 2.12.6.


years prophecy was not even issued until the fourth year Harper’s Bible Dictionary supports this main point. It
of Jehoiakim. (Jer 25:1, 11) The 70 years were still in the says that “within seven years” of the beginning of
future when Adventists suppose it had already begun. Jehoiakim’s reign the Chaldeans superseded the
Egyptians as the controlling power. This supports the
At the other end of the 70-year period, Adventists need
argument in Babylon the Great Has Fallen that the three
the “first year” of Cyrus to extend to 536 BCE even to
years of Jehoiakim’s vassalage under Nebuchadnezzar
get close to a 70-year exile. (Ezr 1:1) Given that Cyrus
were not the first three years of Jehoiakim’s total reign
conquered Babylon in 539 BCE, this is most unlikely.
because the Babylonians were not even in control at that
Even if it could be extended to 536 BCE, Adventists can
only get an approximate 70 years from 605 BCE to 536
BCE by their ‘inclusive reckoning.’ Then Harper’s dictionary says, and Price even underlines
it, that Jeremiah’s prophecy at Jeremiah 36:1-26 “was
The Witnesses’ calculation, by contrast, yields an exact
fulfilled with the arrival of Nebuchadnezzar (II Kings
70 years, from the seventh month of 2 Kings 25:25, 26 to
24:1; Dan. 1:1), whom Jehoiakim served three years, but
the seventh month of Ezra 3:1.
against whom he at length rebelled.” (Harper’s Bible
11.3.1 Devastations, Plural Dictionary, page 306) The Jeremiah chapter 36 prophecy
that Harper cites is dated to the fourth and fifth years of
Price argues that the use of “devastations,” plural, at Jehoiakim. It makes no reference to a visit by
Daniel 9:2 proves that there were multiple devastations Nebuchadnezzar in Jehoiakim’s first year but foretells
extending back 20 years before the final destruction of one for the future.––Jer 36:1, 9, 29.
Jerusalem. However, the Bible does not use the word
‘devastation’ to describe any event during those 20 years. By linking the “three years” and “the third year” of 2
Kings 24:1 and Daniel 1:1 to Jeremiah 36:1-26, Harper’s
The Hebrew word chorbah simply means “ruins.” Bible Dictionary supports the main point being made in
Naturally, there were multiple ruins caused by the final Babylon the Great Has Fallen.
destruction of Jerusalem and Judah. So Jeremiah 27:17
speaks of the chorbah of Jerusalem and Ezra 9:9 the This does not mean that Harper’s supports 618 BCE as
chorbah of the temple. The King James Version renders the date of Jehoiakim’s eleventh year, the third year of
this as the “waste” of the city and the “desolations” of the his vassalage to Babylon. Even before it cited the
temple despite the fact that these were destroyed only the dictionary, the Babylon book had made clear that its
once. (Jer 27:17; Ezr 9:9) So chorbah simply functions chronology differed from that of secular historians.––
like the English word ‘ruins.’ One destruction causes Page 122; cp. page 138.
many ruins. Perhaps it could have been made clearer on page 134 that
11.3.2 Misquote? the dictionary was not supporting the 618 BCE date, but
any reader following the book’s argumentation from
Price claims that the book Babylon the Great Has Fallen, page 122 would have realized as much.
page 134, misquotes Harper’s Bible Dictionary. (OF,
page 10) The first thing to note is that the Witness Still, there are a number of important points in the
publication does not quote the dictionary. There are no paragraphs on pages 133, 134 of the Babylon book that
direct quotation marks. It does, however, cite it. The are supported by Harper’s dictionary, so it was valid to
citation appears at the end of a paragraph and Harper’s cite it.
dictionary does support some of the points made in that 11.4 Coming and Parousia
In our Chapter 2 we discussed many of the points Price
The main point of the paragraph in the Babylon book and raises on Christ’s coming and parousia. (OF, page 12)
its preceding paragraph is to establish that the “three We need only respond to a couple of his points here. He
years” of Jehoiakim’s kingship under Nebuchadnezzar makes out that between 1958 and 1989 the Watchtower
mentioned at 2 Kings 24:1 were the ninth, tenth and Society ‘altered its emphasis’ and began using the clause
eleventh years of his total reign. (Babylon, page 133) “turning His attention” to the earth to describe the events
Babylon says that it must have been in Jehoiakim’s eighth of 1914. Then what about the following comments in
year that Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoiakim his vassal, 1955?
that his ninth year would have been Jehoiakim’s first year
of kingship as a vassal and that in the third year after that “He returns or “visits” the earth as did Jehovah in
––Jehoiakim’s eleventh year––Jehoiakim rebelled and times past, by turning his attention to things of
Nebuchadnezzar returned and punished him. earth.”––Watchtower, February 15, 1955, pages 102,


This expression was not a change of emphasis after all. straw-man argument. Note what they really believe.
Awake! magazine says:
He also cites Revelation 22:12 as if it proves that “all”
rewards are given at Christ’s coming, but the word “all” “To the question ‘Are you saved?’ he can give the
is not mentioned in the text. It simply says: “My reward truthful reply, ‘Yes, thus far I am saved.’ ‘But,’
is with me.” The Scriptures show there are different kinds someone may ask, ‘why do you say “thus far”? Were
of rewards, some rewards even being given now. (Ps not the early Christians sure that they already were
127:3; 1Co 9:18) The reward given at Christ’s coming is saved?’ In a sense, yes, for they met the conditions for
not necessarily the only reward. being forgiven and saved from their sins. We read: ‘By
this undeserved kindness, indeed, you have been
As far as Price’s contention that the ‘eyes’ of Revelation
saved,’ and ‘according to his mercy he saved us
1:7 could not be the eyes of understanding because they
through the bath that brought us to life.’ [Eph. 2:8;
are the eyes of the wicked, Revelation 3:17, 18 describes
Titus 3:5] Yet, they knew that they had not been
disobedient, spiritually blind Laodicean Christians as
completely saved for all time. Having accepted Jesus,
needing to take steps so that their “eyes” would again be
God’s means of salvation, they had to continue in the
able to “see,” figuratively. (OF, page 13) Yes, the
way of salvation. That is why they were told: ‘Keep
disobedient and the wicked have eyes too. Otherwise,
working out your own salvation with fear and
Ephesians 1:18 would not be able to say: “He has
trembling,’ and, ‘Now our salvation is nearer than at
enlightened the eyes of your heart.” All humans,
the time when we became believers.’ (Phil. 2:12; Rom.
including the wicked, have figurative eyes. They may not
13:11) They had yet to make their salvation sure for
see with them now, but they will eventually.
all eternity by enduring in the way of salvation.—
Price chides Jehovah’s Witnesses for teaching that those Matt. 10:22; Rev. 2:10.”—Awake!, November 8,
anointed Christians who die after the beginning of 1973, page 28. (Emphasis theirs.)
Christ’s parousia in 1914 are immediately raised when
Yes, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they are saved by faith
they die. (OF, page 13) We have already discussed the
now, but they also take into account the Bible’s full range
basis for this position.66
of statements regarding salvation. In the Bible, salvation
However, Seventh-day Adventists believe Enoch and is past, present and future. Sometimes it is past: “You
Elijah were translated to heaven thousands of years have been saved.” (Eph 2:5, Greek) Sometimes it is
before 1914, while the Bible flatly contradicts the claim present: “You are being saved.” (1Co 15:2, Greek) And
that anyone went to heaven before Christ.––Joh 3:13; He sometime it is future: “We shall be saved.”—Ro 5:9, 10.
11:13, 39, 40.
So what did Ellen G. White teach that was so different?
11.5 Salvation She says:
Straw-man arguments are not beyond Price. He quotes “Those who accept the Saviour, however sincere in
Acts 4:12 about salvation only being in Jesus and about their conversion, should never be taught to say or feel
no other name being given under heaven by which we that they are saved. This is misleading. Everyone
must get saved, and then says “the Society does not should be taught to cherish hope and faith; but even
teach” this. (OF, page 14) But Jehovah’s Witnesses have when we give ourselves to Christ and know that He
always taught this. Take this comment in 1968. accepts us, we are not beyond the reach of temptation.
God’s Word declares, ‘Many shall be purified, and
“It is vital for us to appreciate that these blessings will made white, and tried’ (Dan. 12:10). Only he who
come to mankind only through Jesus Christ. For this endures the trial will receive the crown of life (James
reason, God inspired the apostle Peter to say of Jesus: 1:12).”—Christ’s Object Lessons, page 155.
‘There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is not (Emphasis ours.)
another name under heaven that has been given among
men by which we must get saved.’ (Acts 4:12)”–– So Price’s implication that Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the
Watchtower, November 15, 1968, page 675. present reality of salvation is not only unfair because it
(Emphasis ours.) contradicts the Witnesses’ written statement on the
subject but because it fails to note that Ellen G. White
Clearly, he is mistaken again. He quotes 1 John 5:11-13 takes a similar position.
to prove that ‘salvation by faith is ours now,’ implying
that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe salvation to be a Actually, White was more extreme in her statement that
present reality. (OF, page 14) This nothing but another Christians “should never be taught to say or feel that they

66 See point 6.2.


are saved.” Once again, for all his supposed expertise in The Witnesses understand the doctrine at least as well as
the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, he fails to note Trinitarians can explain it, and they present it accurately
teachings of his own prophet and denomination that blunt in their literature. So even before the first edition of Our
his attacks. Friends was published, the Awake! magazine said:
For the comments about resurrection bodies on page 14 “What did the Trinitarians believe? Their doctrine is
of Our Friends, please see our comments above. 67 Note defined today as ‘the threefold personality of the one
especially Price’s misunderstanding that “flesh and Divine Being,’ in which ‘God the Father, God the Son
blood” refers to corruption, impurity and imperfection and God the Holy Ghost’ are said to be of the same
carried in bodies and blood streams. “Flesh and blood” substance, coequal, and alike uncreated and
never refers to sin and imperfection in the Scriptures. It omnipotent.”—January 8, 1973, page 16.
always refers simply to humanity, as already discussed.68
This definition accurately describes the Protestant
Also misleading are the comments that “God will reside Trinity. At one time Ellen G. White supported this
in the holy city on the earth.” (OF, page 15) The language conventional Trinity.
of Revelation 21:3 about God ‘residing’ with his people
“Jesus said, ‘I and my Father are one.’ The words of
and ‘himself’ being with them were figures of speech that
Christ were full of deep meaning as he put forth the
were common to the pre-Christian period when God
claim that he and the Father were of one substance,
obviously did not live on earth literally. So Jehovah says:
possessing the same attributes.”––Signs of the Times,
“I shall dwell among the children of Israel.” (1Ki 6:13)
November 27, 1893, page 54. (Emphasis ours.)
And Asaph speaks of “this mount Zion, wherein thou hast
dwelt.”––Ps 74:2. She uses the word “substance,” the same word used by
Catholic and Protestant theologians. It comes from the
Despite this, and showing that such remarks are
Greek ousia and means “Being.” The Protestant Trinity
figurative, Solomon says: “Will God indeed dwell on the
is that there are three persons in one Being, and White
earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot
contain thee; how much less this house that I have
builded? … hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place.” (1Ki However, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has
8:27, 30) So when king Abijah says: “God himself is with departed from this traditional understanding of the
us for our captain,” he does not mean that God was Trinity accepted by Protestants. So Adventists often
personally and literally living on earth.—2Ch13:12. speak of ‘three Beings’ now, rather than one. (Ministry,
Glynn Parfitt, June 2011)
Price accuses Jehovah’s Witnesses of confusing literal
and symbolic references in Revelation. (OF, page 14) But White herself was equivocal about this. Although she had
Adventists are masters at this. They interpret God’s previously spoken of the Father and the Son as being “of
‘dwelling’ at Revelation 21:3 as literal but the “new one substance,” she later used the expression “three
earth” of Revelation 21:1 as only figuratively new. They Beings” in a sermon delivered on October 20, 1906.
understand it to be the same earth renewed, not a brand-
“You are born unto God, and you stand under the
new earth. “New Jerusalem” they say is a literal city but
sanction and the power of the three holiest Beings in
the “tabernacle” will not literally be a tabernacle of
heaven, who are able to keep you from falling.”—
animal skins. (Re 21:2, 3)
Sermons and Talks, Volume 1, page 367. (Emphasis
They also inconsistently explain the “fountain of the ours.)
water of life” as literal but the “lake which burneth with
Some claim that this statement was not really original
fire and brimstone” as symbolic.—Re 21:6, 8.
with White and that it was the mistaken wording of her
11.6 Trinity stenographer. However, the White Estate has verified the
accuracy of the wording, publishing the actual typed
Price further accuses Jehovah’s Witnesses of erecting a manuscript of the sermon in White’s 1906 letter book.
“straw man” portrayal of the Trinity as one person with We know that the manuscript was in her personal
three heads. (OF, page 16) However, any illustrations of possession in 1906 because she published parts of the
the Trinity in Watchtower publications are those that sermon in the December 13, 1906 issue of Review and
Trinitarians themselves have drawn. Herald.—“Ellen White’s Trinitarian Statements: What

67 See point 5.6.

68 See point 2.2 and chapter 5.


Did She Actually Write?”, Tim Poirier, in Ellen White inanimate things that represent God. So the beast in
and Current Issues Symposium 2006, pages 39, 42. Revelation blasphemed God’s tabernacle. (Re 13:6) The
way of the truth can also be blasphemed. (2Pe 2:2, Greek)
Discussing other writings of Ellen G. White, the White
These things can be blasphemed, not because they are
Estate confirms this, speaking of “her belief that [there
persons, but because ultimately God himself is the one
are] three beings in the Godhead.” (Ibid., page 30) This
is certainly not the Protestant Trinity with its three
persons [hypostases] in one Being [homoousios].69 So We have already discussed the King James Version’s use
while Price criticizes Jehovah’s Witnesses for portraying of the one word “Godhead” to translate three separate,
the Trinity incorrectly, Ellen G. White changed her but related, Greek words. 71 (OF, page 17) The word
version of it and Adventists are not teaching the historic comes from a Middle-English word “godhed, from god +
Trinity but a heavily modified version of it. –hed –hood.” (Merriam-Webster dictionary, under
“Godhead”) Its real meaning, then, is “Godhood.” Since
Price presents a list of attributes that he argues proves the
Jesus is a god, “divine,” “Godship” or even “Godhood”
holy spirit has a personality. We have already explained
are acceptable translations. However, not one of these
why the impersonal spirit is personified in this way and
words contain the thought of a “tri-in-unity” in the Greek.
have shown that Ellen G. White spoke of the spirit as
“it.”70 So the points in his list are unsurprising, Price underscores the capitalized “God” at Isaiah 9:6 as
particularly when it is kept in mind that the spirit if the capital G makes Jesus different from “angels,
proceeds from God and therefore expresses God’s humans and other powerful ones as god.” (OF, page 17)
emotion, intellect and will.—Joh 15:26. He forgets that neither Hebrew nor Greek had such
capitals. And even if they did, Jehovah says that Moses
The spirit does not speak independently as an expression
would “serve as God,” capital G, to Aaron. (Ex 4:16,
of individual, personal intellect. (Joh 16:13) Yet Bob
King James Version) Was Moses Almighty God? Clearly
cites 2 Corinthians 2:11 as proof that the holy spirit does
not. The capital does not signify this.
have intellect. “For what man knoweth the things of a
man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the Jesus is not Almighty. Matthew 28:18 states that all
things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” authority has been “given” to the Son of God. There are
two things to note about Jesus’ authority. First, that he
If this proves the spirit a person, it also proves that “the
did not have such authority before it was given. Second,
spirit of man which is in him” is a person. But the seventh
that he will eventually return Kingdom authority to the
Fundamental Belief of the Adventist Church makes clear
Father. (1Co 15:24, 28) Therefore, Jesus’ authority is
that the body, mind and spirit of a man are “indivisible.”
derived and much of it is temporary, not inherent as it
The spirit of man is not a unique person, so 2 Corinthians
should be if he were part of a triune God.
2:11 cannot prove that the holy spirit is a person either.
At times the reasoning of Price’s summary is particularly
No, this text shows that the spirit is an agency or function
weak. It explains Isaiah 44:6 to mean there are two
of God indivisible from him as far as personality is
Jehovahs. (OF, page 17) “Thus saith the LORD the King
concerned. As such, each and every one of the functions
of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the
of the holy spirit listed by Price reflect God’s personality.
first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God.”
Hebrews 9:14 is also quoted as if its reference to “the Trinitarians like to stress the words “and his” as Price
eternal Spirit” proves the spirit’s personality. (OF, page does, as if Jehovah was Jehovah’s redeemer.
16) Then what would the terms “everlasting
However, such an explanation would conflict with a
consolation,” “eternal glory,” “everlasting covenant,”
similar “and his” just one chapter later at Isaiah 45:11.
“everlasting kingdom” or “everlasting gospel” prove?
“Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his
Certainly not that any of these are persons in their own
[Israel’s] Maker.” Clearly, in this case Jehovah was not
right.—2Th 2:16; 2Ti 2:10; He 13:20; 2Pe 1:11; Re 14:6.
Jehovah’s Maker. “And his” simply links two
Price argues that blasphemy against the holy spirit proves descriptions of the same person, Jehovah, namely “Holy
the spirit to be a person. (Mt 12:31; OF, page 16)) Since One” and “Maker.” In the same way, at Isaiah 44:6 “and
the holy spirit comes from God, speaking against his his” also links two descriptions of the same person,
spirit is really speaking against Jehovah. (Cp. Ac 5:39) namely, “King” and “redeemer.” But there are not two
But Price fails to note that it is possible to blaspheme Jehovahs in either text.

69 Homoousios is not a Biblical term, just as ‘Trinity’ is neither a Biblical word nor concept.
70 See point 7.9.
71 See points 7.22.1, 7.22.2, 7.22.3.


Price also claims there two Jehovahs at Genesis 19:24. ten names for God. That notion comes from Jerome of
“Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah the fourth century CE. The Kingdom Interlinear
brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven.” (OF, Translation quotes and cites Jerome’s 25th letter to
page 17) But in Hebrew as in English a person can speak Marcella in which Jerome listed ten names for God, the
about himself, using his own name, without meaning ninth of which was the Tetragrammaton, which, because
another person. So we read: “David … said, what can of the of the shape of the Hebrew letters in the Greek text,
David say more unto thee?” (2Sa 7:18, 20; 22:1, 51) This many mistook for the letters “Pi Pi.”
second “David” is just David himself, the same one. In a
Price denies it, but the Bible is specific that Jesus did use
similar way, a person’s name can be used a second time
and teach others to use God’s name. (OF, page 18; Mt
in a sentence simply to refer to the same person.
6:9; Joh 12:28; 17:6, 11, 12, 26) Since the only “name”
In similar fashion, “Solomon assembled the elders of of God is YHWH in the Scriptures, Jesus must have used
Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the whatever pronunciation of that name that was common in
fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in his day. The Jewish Talmud accuses Jesus of performing
Jerusalem.” (1Ki 8:1; cp. Da 3:28) Were there two miracles while pronouncing God’s name. Such a
Solomons? No, just one. Really, there is no need to read concession by his enemies is significant.
two Jehovahs into Genesis 19:24 any more than multiple
Price expresses surprise that Jehovah’s Witnesses would
persons into these other texts.
retain the pronunciation Jehovah while inclining toward
The difficulty for Trinitarians is the Scriptural limitation, Yahweh as possibly more correct. It is hard to understand
“The LORD [Jehovah] our God is one LORD [Jehovah].” this objection when Ellen G. White, supposedly under
(De 6:4) There cannot be three Jehovahs. Anyone inspiration, happily used the name Jehovah. William
arguing for three Jehovahs misunderstands the Trinity Fagal, director of the Ellen G. White Estate, stated that
because even that doctrine defines God as three persons she used “Jehovah” over 2,000 times in her writings. 72
in one Jehovah, not two or three. She never uses “Yahweh.” So Ellen G. White also uses a
name that Price says comes “from the dark ages and
Price’s claim that “divine beings are inclusive—not
tradition.” “Amazing …!”—OF, page 18.
independent of one another” cannot be proven. It is a
philosophical assertion. Note that he does not cite a Bible The lack of an exact pronunciation is not the real
text to prove it. (OF, page 17) In fact, 2 Peter 1:4 says stumbling block for Adventists. Remember Bob? “Even
that Christians will be partakers of “divine nature,” and if we could be sure about the exact name, I don’t think
there is no proof that their divinity will merge them into I’d be using it a great deal.” (GCT, page 93) No. He
an inclusive relationship like the Trinity. For lack of wouldn’t use it anyway!
evidence, we must assume that they will retain their
The point is that Jesus and the apostles used the
independence. It is what makes them individuals.
pronunciation of names common in their time. So in
11.7 Names of God Hebrew Jesus’ name was pronounced Yehoshua and in
Aramaic Yeshua, but the Bible writers used the Greek
Contrary to Price’s comments, Jehovah is still God’s form common in their day, Iesous (pronounced,
unique name. (OF, page 18) When Moses asks what he approximately, Ee.ay’.sous). Today we say ‘Jesus’ and
should say to the Israelites about God’s “name,” God’s no one complains about the pronunciation, not even those
reply begins “I Am that I Am.” at Exodus 3:14. But God who worship him as God. If Trinitarians really object to
does not call that title his “name.” Answering Moses’ using inexact names, they should never call him ‘Jesus’
question more specifically, Exodus 3:15, 16 goes on: again! The fact that Adventists do use the name Jesus
“This is what you are to say to the Israelites, ‘Jehovah … must mean that it is also valid to use Jehovah, the most
has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, … gather common pronunciation for God’s name today.
the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘Jehovah … has
appeared to me.”—New World Translation.