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Fourth Quarter 2016 (September 24–December 30)


Week 5: October 22–28


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).


Saturday, October 22

Today’s lesson opens up with a commentary on the book of Job. What I want to point out is the last assertion of this sentence.

“As we read the story of Job, we have two distinct advantages: first, knowing how it ends, and second, knowing the background, the cosmic conflict operating behind the scenes.”

What does the author mean by conflict? Generally, when one uses the word it implies a struggle between two ontologically equal forces. For example, if I were to step on an Ant, you probably wouldn’t describe it as a conflict. That doesn’t really paint the right picture.

This word though actually works perfectly to describe the SDA view though. They see it as possible for Christ himself to have failed.

“The real risk in the redemption plan, besides the loss of man, was the breakup of the Godhead. Had Jesus sinned, He would have been working at cross-purposes with the Spirit and His Father. Omnipotent good would have been pitted against omnipotent evil. What would have happened to the rest of creation? Whom would the unfallen universe see as right? One sin could have sent the Godhead and the universe spinning into cosmic chaos; the proportions of this disaster are staggering. Yet the Godhead was still willing to take this fragmenting risk for the salvation of man.” The Trinity, By Doug Batchelor

“The temptations to which Christ was subjected were a terrible reality. As a free agent He was placed on probation, with liberty to yield to Satan’s temptations and work at cross-purposes with God.” EGW, Selected Messages, Bk. 3, p. 131.

“For a period of time Christ was on probation. He took humanity on Himself, to stand the test and trial which the first Adam failed to endure. Had He failed in His test and trial, He would have been disobedient to the voice of God, and the world would have been lost.” EGW, Signs of the Times, May 10, 1899.

Clearly, SDA do believe that it is possible for Christ to have failed. So to them this is a conflict of at least semi-equals. In contradiction to this the Bible teaches that God is omnipotent.

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Rev 19:6 KJV

“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” Dan 4:35 KJV



Sunday, October 23

The author of todays lesson touches on what is referred to as the “problem of evil”. He doesn’t dig into the real philosophical issues, but since the reader of this commentary likely will run into those I will give a simple breakdown. First I want to point out a simple mistake in the lesson.

“As we have seen, though, this answer doesn’t work for the believer in God. And for Job, a faithful follower of the Lord, this answer didn’t work either. But what was the answer, what was the explanation? Job didn’t have one. All he had was his extreme grief and all the questions that inevitably accompanied it.”

That statement in red isn’t an accurate one. Job did have an answer and it is the same that we all have, I will post it below.

“1 Then Job answered the Lord, and said, 2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. 3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. 4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6 KJV

The fact is Job deserves that and far worse as do we all, the only response or answer is to repent in dust and ashes.

Generally, the problem of evil goes like this, how can an all powerful God be all Good when evil is present in the world?

This is a philosophical issue not a Biblical one, while it can be helpful to use philosophy in submission to scripture, one should never use it in a magisterial fashion. That is, we don’t use philosophy to bend scripture around.

Thus the answer is rather simple. The problem with the question is that the one asking it is assuming a worldly definition of the word “good”. Bibically, an all good all powerful God allows evil for his purposes to glorify himself for a decreed period of time. This is good, and we are not to call it evil with sophistry (Isa 5:20)



Monday, October 24

Todays lesson takes the lamentations of Job, juxtaposes them against poetic narrative, and then draws conclusions on the state of the dead. Why do they do that? Because in the SDA hermeneutic that is all you can do. They cannot turn to systematic passages actually teaching the state of the dead simply because it would flatly contradict their beliefs.

This doesn’t mean that Job and Ecclesiastes are wrong. It simply means the rest and reprieve do not preclude existence. Just as you still exist when you are asleep you still exist when you are dead.

Below is a small sample of what I am talking about:

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,” Php 1:21-25 ESV

Paul doesn’t speak of a pause between the two at all. He expects to receive something far greater upon his death. You don’t have to be specific as to what exactly this is, the Bible actually doesn’t really reveal much in the way of details. But to deny it entirely us unbiblical. At the end of the day it comes down to the words of Christ.

“25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Jhn 11:25-26 ESV

Here is the deal, you either accept the words that Jesus says up there or you reject them. I take “shall never die” as “shall never die”. I do not interpret it as “shall die and then come back later”. I think the latter would be to do damage to the text. I remember how much Ecc 9:5 was drilled into my head as a child though. So for the sake of the reader I will present it below in a fair manner.

“… This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.” Ecc 9:1-6 ESV

 Notice that Solomon begins and ends with “under the sun”. It is true that the dead have no part at all under the sun. This is a good reason not to believe in ghosts and such but it doesn’t preclude existence of the dead in heaven. Especially since the Bible flat out teaches that in other passages. Don’t rebel against the Word, accept it all as a whole.



Tuesday, October 25

On the whole I think this was a good lesson. I’m not going to nitpick this one. Read it and enjoy. I will say that we should keep in mind Christ even in our greatest suffering as he has overcome the world. And even if we cannot bear what we are going through we should know that he has, and that in the eschaton (second coming) such pain and suffering is gone for all eternity.



Wednesday, October 26

Even thought it was only mentioned briefly, I would like to point out that the health message isn’t in scripture. Nowhere is it taught at all, even the go to prooftext (1 Cor 6:19) is talking about sexual sin rather than healthy eating when placed back in context.

Also, in the Bible you see Peter and Noah being commanded to eat meat, along with Jesus eating fish and lamb, etc. You would expect some whiff of vegetarianism to pop into the text as a prescriptive command now and then, especially after the cross if it is supposed to be some great end times distinctive. But alas it is not. Such issues are wisdom issues, not sin and righteousness ones.

If you want to be a vegetarian or eat meat then do so, and don’t tell others they are sinning if they don’t go along with your life choice. You don’t have the scripture to back that up.



Thursday, October 27

The author quotes Ellen White at the end regarding the Love of God. While this is probably one of the less heretical statements she has made I do take issue with the word “assumed” a human nature with regards to Christ. It would be more theologically accurate to say that he “received” as the former would flat out contradict the immutability of God and could be possibly interpreted to mean that Ellen White is saying that Christ no longer has or never had a Divine nature.

If you think I am being too nitpicky I would recommend further study on the hypostatic union. This isn’t one of those things that it’s okay for a theologian writing SDA quarterlies to simply overlook.

My second problem is that one does a disservice to simply jump to the Love of God and draw conclusions from it whilst removing it from it’s hermeneutical context. The Love of God doesn’t really take on full meaning without the Holiness and Wrath of God also explained. It is because of God’s infinite holiness that he righteously is wrathful against sin. Thus his Wrath is infinite too. So to is his Love by which he has provided an infinite propitiation for sin. Namely in his body on the cross to save us from our sins. In this light one can meaningfully discuss the Love of God in a Biblical manner. Otherwise you end up defining love based on the worlds definition and there is no end to the heresies you can pull out of that magic bag.

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2: 24 KJV

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.;  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6 KJV

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” 1 Cor 15:3 KJV



Friday, October 28

In response to the heathen that they chose to quote for 95% of Fridays thoughts I will say this. I find it interesting that he has chosen to the conclusions of western thought and logic to rebuke the foundations of it. That seems intellectually inconsistent and self-defeating to me.

With regards to the questions at the bottom I feel sorry for those who will be attempting to answer them on the morning of the 29th. As I demonstrated on the 24th , Adventism straight up ignores much of scripture in order to hold to their unbiblical doctrine on the nature of man.

If you question the brazen nature of that conclusion let me challenge the reader. Take some of these passages listed below to your pastor or Sabbath school teacher. Actually take the time to read them and then see for yourself if they do backflips trying to make each one say something other than what it plainly says. Make your own discernment there as to who is selling you a bill of goods.

“14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Thess 4:14 ESV

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you. 13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Cor 4:7-18 ESV

“1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” 2 Cor 5:1-9 ESV

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,” Php 1:21-25 ESV

“25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Jhn 11:25-26 ESV



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4th Quarter: The Book of Job