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First Quarter 2016 (January–March)
COMMENTARY ON REBELLION AND REDEMPTION
Week 10: February 27–March 4
COMMENTARY ON PAUL AND THE REBELLION
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).
Sabbath Afternoon, Feb. 27: Introduction
The is the opening paragraph that begins the quarterly lessons for this week:
"Paul’s writings abound with the great controversy theme. There’s no question that Paul believed not only in the reality of Satan but also in the reality of his work of deceit and death. In numerous places, Paul warned of Satan’s “schemes” (Eph. 6:11, NIV), of his powerful deceptions (2 Cor. 11:14), and even of his supernatural powers (2 Thess. 2:9)."
Throughout this quarter the lessons assume the great controversy theme to be true without providing the slightest biblical support for making those assumptions. To begin with Jesus Christ has always been the eternal Son of God and in the opening verses of the Gospel of John he is declared to be our Creator, equal with the Father, making him one with the Father in a way that is beyond our full human understanding.
Therefore since Jesus Christ was never elevated to this position, the Great Controversy premise on why Lucifer rebelled in heaven out of jealousy is an imaginary fiction promoted nowhere except in the writings of Ellen G. White. Furthermore God is totally sovereign and is not obligated to vindicate himself to anyone, not even to righteous beings Ellen G. White claims to exist somewhere out there in the universe. Whoever does exist has been created by God and as the parable of 'the potter and the clay' makes clear, 'the clay cannot question the potter'.
The fallen human race is bound under the curse of sin in Satan's kingdom of darkness. When our sins are covered by the atoning blood shed by Jesus Christ at Calvary we are instantly transferred out of Satan's kingdom and into the kingdom of God. Sinners who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ are the ones who are the enemy of Satan. The importance of the armor of God that the Apostle Paul implores us to have fully on is that Satan cannot attack God, nor the armor that is of God.
The writings of the Apostle Paul do not support the great controversy theme.
Sunday, Feb. 28: Adam and Jesus
The lesson author makes the claim that the Apostle Paul reveals and explains The Great Controversy theme by asking us to read (study) Romans 5:12-21.
The lesson claim that the Apostle Paul explains the Great Controversy theme is utter nonsense because, as pointed out yesterday, the foundational assumptions upon which this theme is based have not been established according to Scripture. Romans 5:12-21 begins with the word 'Therefore' meaning what follows is founded upon the passage that preceded it. When studied in context we learn that the Apostle Paul is teaching something in total contradiction to the Great Controversy theme:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 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 5:6-11)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Rom. 8:18)
Monday, Feb. 29: The Church "Building"
The lesson begins with this Ellen G. White quote:
" “The church of Christ, enfeebled and defective as it may be, is the only object on earth on which He bestows His supreme regard.”—Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, p. 284."
The lesson primarily focuses on First Corinthians chapter three where the Apostle Paul is addressing the "brothers...as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ", 1 Cor. 3:1.
The Apostle Paul acknowledges that Christians, those who have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness, now have the devil and his evil forces as an enemy, Eph. 6:10-20. Satan attacks Christians but has no power to confront or attack God. The issue Paul is addressing in First Corinthians chapter three is one of the ways Christians must be aware of Satan's attack upon Christians, those who are no longer part of his kingdom.
The 'enemy attack' Paul is addressing is "jealousy and strife" amongst the Corinthian "brothers", 1 Cor. 3:1-4.
Paul then describes this 'enemy attack' where the 'brothers' were making Paul and the other evangelist as celebrities instead of "God's fellow workers" forgetting that only Jesus Christ is the author of their salvation. 'God's workers' are building upon a foundation which is Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ, therefore worship God and not those who are working for God, 1 Cor. 3:5-10.
The 'brothers' are called both "God's field" and "God's building" which is a reference to the 'universal body of Christ' or 'church' which is being built, layer by layer, upon a foundation which is Jesus Christ. The admonition to build with "gold, silver and precious stones" instead of "wood, hay and straw" is a warning that 'God's workers' must preach only one gospel of Jesus Christ, Gal. 1:9 & 1 Cor. 15:1-5, as there is no other foundation for their faith, 1 Cor. 3:11.
"...This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12)
Tuesday, Mar. 1: The Church as a Body
This is how today's lesson begins:
"The role and functions of the church are clearly spelled out in 1 Corinthians 12. Here we find the church likened to a body, and with the role of each of its members clearly defined and working together as a harmonious whole (1 Cor. 12:12)."
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:12-13)
Christians are not just like a body. Instead, Scripture teaches that Christians are members of a body which is the body of Jesus Christ. Start at the beginning of First Corinthians chapter twelve and study the whole chapter and you will learn that the 'church' is described as 'the body of Christ' of which all Christians, those Paul is addressing:
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Cor. 12:27)
The Apostle Paul has more to say about 'the body of Christ':
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Eph.3:1-6)
The church, the body of Jesus Christ, is a mystery that was hidden until revealed by God at the fulfillment of the gospel. In-other-words, the shedding of Christ's blood reveals to the world the mystery of the church, the body of Christ. Unless you are preaching the biblical gospel, 1 Cor. 15:1-5, and heed the warning to preach no other gospel, Gal. 1:9, you have no way to understand how born-again sinners have been redeemed and transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God as literal members of the body of Christ, which is the church. In this epistle to the Corinthian Christians who Paul calls "infants in Christ", 1 Cor. 3:1, meaning he is addressing members of the body of the Christ.
It isn't only the unbiblical Great Controversy theme that is a fraud. The Adventist invented Investigative Judgment and Sanctuary Doctrine is also an unbiblical lie. Paul addresses those who are "newborn" brothers in Christ in need of spiritual growth and not those who have attained 'perfection' yet they are eternally secure members of the body of Christ and and are eternally secure66 in the kingdom of God.
Wednesday, Mar. 2: The Armor of God
The lesson author makes the claim that Paul’s use of "war imagery" in Ephesians 6...proves...the reality of the Great Controversy.
The "war imagery" of Ephesian 6 makes no reference whatsoever to the foundational Adventist Great Controversy doctrine. The Apostle Paul is addressing 'the saints who are in Ephesus', Eph. 1:1 who Satan is at war with. Satan cannot and does not attack God for the simple reason he has no power to to so.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:10-12)
The saints are the ones who "...wrestle against spiritual forces of evil". Satan has no defense nor mode of attack against God. Nor can any evil force defeat the armor God has provided for his saints, Rom. 8:31-39:
As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Rom. 8:36-37)
Christians, regardless of the 'tribulations of this life' are declared "more than conquerors". There is no ongoing Great Controversy. Satan is declared already defeated.
Thursday, Mar. 3: The Last Enemy
The foundational error of Adventist theology concerning what is 'death' is exposed in this quote from today's lesson:
"Although Adam was at first made to live forever, the human race soon deteriorated to the point of living only for a relatively short time. If we are to inherit eternal life, we will be made to last forever, and that’s what we will be given."
Adam was created by God in the image of God and God is spirit. This means that when God patterned him after his own image he was given a human spirit after the likeness of God's own Spirit, Gen. 1:26-27. Then, notice the outcome of the very first instruction God gave Adam which included to not to eat of 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil'. On the day he did so he would die, Gen. 2:17 & 3:1-7. Adam and Eve did eat of this tree and they did died on that day even though they continued to have physical life for many years afterwards. When you compare this with Jesus' teaching that your human spirit must be reborn ("born again"), John 3:1-21, it becomes blatantly obvious that when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit their spirits died.
The topic of our human spirits leads into the related teaching of Jesus on how we are to worship God:
God is spirit and his worshipers must worship him in spirit, John 4:19-24. When Jesus talked with the 'woman at the well' she asked Jesus about where is the right place to worship God. His responded by informing her that very soon it would no longer be about where but only about how to worship God. In the New Covenant he was alluding to, saints worship God with their spirit through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Among other things, worshiping God was not and has never been about when, which day, God is to be worshiped. The forth of the Hebrew 'Ten Commandments' was the command to "keep it holy" by resting. Resting on that day portrayed a Jewish person's faith that God's promises to them would cover all their needs on that day and all the coming days of their life. For a New Covenant Christian, this rest is fulfilled in Jesus Christ the promised Messiah the Old Covenant forth commandment pointed to, Heb.4:1-13. Jesus is our eternal Sabbath Rest.
Friday, Mar. 4: Further Thought
The commentary for today will be in response to the Ellen G. White quote included in this discussion question:
" “Enfeebled and defective, needing constantly to be warned and counseled, the church is nevertheless the object of Christ’s supreme regard. He is making experiments of grace on human hearts, and is effecting such transformations of character that angels are amazed, and express their joy in songs of praise. They rejoice to think that sinful, erring human beings can be so trans- formed.”—Ellen G. White, “The Signal of Advance,” The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 20, 1903. What are some of the ways that we are transformed by what Jesus does for and in us?"
The church, the Body of Christ, is a creation of God and was a mystery not revealed until after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who become members of the Body of Christ become members for one and only one reason. Their sins have been atoned for and fully covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. No evil demon nor Satan himself can "enfeeble" the true Body of Christ. And, as has been repeated over and over, the Great Controversy is a false doctrine because it limits the sovereignty of God.
As the Apostle Paul testifies:
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31)
And, to quote the very words of Jesus:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)
The real question to ask any person regardless of whatever human devised organization they may be a member of; Is your faith founded solely upon the shed blood of Jesus Christ? If so, the word 'enfeebled' needs to be removed from your vocabulary.