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Third Quarter 2015 July–September)
COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF LUKE
Week 5: July 25–31
COMMENTARY ON EXILES AS MISSIONARIES
Following is a combined commentary on the material included in the Bible Study Guide with references as necessary to the supplemental passages included in the E. G. White Notes for the Sabbath School Lessons.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all biblical quotes are from the English Standard Version (ESV).
In The Lesson in Brief under Teachers Comments the Learning Outline, I B, the question states,
“What are some historic markers of Seventh-day Adventist identity, and how do these serve to keep us anchored in our faith and mission?”
This is a wide open question which could easily draw a variety of responses. Many if not most SDA’s would go straight to E. G. White’s writings which she claimed to be her own.
Many if not most non-Adventists or divested former Adventists would acknowledge the organization’s official record of ‘markers of Seventy-day Adventist identity’. As a divested, former Adventist, I will cite such historical claims and also add personal comments and Biblical references to examine these claims.
Most if not all deviations from plain scriptural truth would be attacks or perversions of Christ or of the Bible itself. Note the following from The Desire of Ages on p. 49:
“Into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life’s peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss.”
Really? Jesus, the Son of God, never risked failure. Note from the inerrant holy Word of God:
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Luke 9:22 ESV)
Did Jesus sound very confident here? Remember, an attack on Christ or on the Bible should always be a red alert.
Again note the Scripture: “Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’” (John 2:19 ESV)
Can anyone really believe that the Lord Jesus just wasn’t sure?
The ‘in common with with every human soul’ part is at least very mystifying. What is the ‘in common’ supposed to mean? It’s also common knowledge that Adventism does not teach that we even have a ‘soul’. Furthermore, Adventism teaches that we can overcome sin as Jesus did, by prayer and trust in God. Yet Adventism’s disbelief in the human soul (which is separate from the body) means they do not understand spiritual death and rebirth—realities which Jesus did not experience because He was sinless from conception, spiritually alive eternally.
Prominent author and early Adventist Uriah Smith states:
“Christ did not make the atonement when He shed His blood upon the Cross. Let this fact be fixed forever in the mind” (The Atoning Work of Christ, p. 95, 113).
This is a remarkable attack on Christ and on His word at the same time—a “one, two punch”. Note from Scripture,
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:10-11 ESV).
“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV).
Just as the Devil said to Eve, “You shall not surely die….” Uriah Smith casts doubt on the atonement and on the Word that declares it by saying the atonement wasn’t the real atonement.
A startling declaration by Mrs. White in Christ’s Object Lessons, p.155, says:
“Those who accept Christ and in their first confidence say I am saved are in danger of trusting to themselves …. Those who accept the Savior however sincere their conversion should never be taught to say or feel that they are saved. This is misleading.”
Compare such an absurd declaration with these Scriptural references:
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13 ESV).
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8-10 ESV).
An extreme travesty of the way of salvation is declared in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 161-162:
“Health reform is one branch of the great work of which is to fit a people for the coming of the Lord…If man will cherish the light that God in mercy gives him upon health reform, he may be sanctified through the truth and fitted for immortality.”
Could the way of salvation be reinterpreted to be any more self-serving and based on one’s own efforts?
And finally, for the sake of time and space, I share one last outrageous declaration from a tract by G. A. Irwin, one-time president of the General Conference:
“The Spirit of Prophecy is the only infallible interpreter of Bible principles since it is Christ through this agency giving the real meaning of His own words.”
Compare this quotation with Scripture,
“And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:11-12 ESV).
“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him” (1 John 2:27 ESV).