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The lens of the ceremonial law

Here is a view of the ceremonial law that many may not have yet considered.

  1. That the term law means different things. It can mean just scripture in general (i.e. the OT), it can mean the 10 Commandments, or the ceremonial law, or both, or even a specific part of the law. I can demonstrate that if you ask, or I will share some text afterwards.
  2. The law was given in response to a misapprehension of the character of God. This is a very important point underlying the entire Bible. Israel could have entered Canaan without the law given to them. They turned back at the border, then after that they were given the law. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, they were not given the law, but the walked with God better than their descendants.

So what stopped Israel from entering Canaan? Well, they had a wrong understanding of the character of God. Like the pagans, they thought of God as vengeful, a man of war, out to punish any and even slight errors, etc. Thus, every time anything happened not as they expected, they thought it was God trying to kill them. This they thought every time. In Egypt under hardship from Pharaoh, they thought God had abandoned them. In the desert they thought God had brought them there to destroy them. They lacked faith in God’s love character.

God had not asked them to fight, but they wanted to fight because in their understanding, that was their God’s character, quick to destroy his enemies by sword, a man of war. All the way until they killed Christ, on behalf of their God, because that’s what they thought their God wanted them to do, that’s what was in their minds.

Because of this, Israel was unable to reflect the character of God except a few times such as when Elisha captured the army of the Assyrians at Dothan, and instead of killing them, gave them food and sent them away. That is God’s character.

So the 10 Commandments are an expression of the character of God as he manifests himself in his people, not a requirement to his people to earn God’s love by pleasing him in doing all his laws. The 10 Commandments are the capacity of a person in whom the Spirit of God is manifesting. The 10 Commandments are how the righteousness of God is manifested in the heart that accepts him by faith. That’s what righteousness by faith means – a manifestation of the correct character of God in the heart, an end to the rebellion of the heart, and a reflection of the mind/spirit of God in the person. That is a result of faith in the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, to receive the SPIRIT OF PROMISE, i.e. the righteousness of God in us.

The ceremonial law and much of the OT history is a depiction of how Israel projected their own character on God. It was because of Israel’s own character that they were given the ceremonial law to show them how they feel about God, in other words, how rebellious they were. The ceremonial law is not a requirement to please an angry God with blood of animals, as God said he never required that (Isaiah 1:11,12). That’s what was pagan about Israel’s thinking, that’s what they copied from pagan religions of Egypt and other places. Thus the ceremonial law is the lens through which we see the condition of the human heart in rebellion to the Father.

Thus, in order to have faith in the true character of God, the moral law, you need to have a correct understanding of yourself, i.e. your own rebelliousness, i.e. the ceremonial law. In other words, in the NT, God sent His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON to show the correct character of the Father. Only him who has been and is in the bosom of the Father could accurately demonstrate and witness the character of the Father (That’s why Christ says no man has seen God except the Son who is in the bosom of the Father). Thus, to believe in the Son of God is to believe in the true character of the Father in the 10 Commandments as they were put in practice by the Son of God. It is to believe that human rebellion rejected the Son of God in fulfilment of the human’s state of mind as depicted by the sacrificial system and in pagan religions.

I am happy to discuss further with any questions on this topic.

The Rock Fortress Ministries

Atonement and investigative judgement in Adventism- a response to Evangelical thought process

We saw a video titled “When was the atonement made? A Response to the SDA Doctrines”. It is good that the presenter is sharing what she believes, and we trust that just as well, she is willing to consider the correct Adventist position on this matter of atonement and investigative judgment.

In the video, the presenter explains based on Hebrews 9:12, that the atonement was finished at the cross. That is of course a popular evangelical viewpoint. The main argument she presents at the beginning of her discourse is that according to Hebrews 9:12, by the time Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, Christ had already entered the Most Holy Place, therefore the atonement was already secured. That, according to her, is because Paul wrote that “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”

According to her, both the words ‘entered’ and ‘obtained’ (also translated as secured in other versions) a perfect past tense in Greek, thus the atonement was done at the cross and finished there.

Now here are some points for the presenter to consider.

Many Adventists would know that Adventist biblical interpretation differs from the Evangelical one quite substantially. Many will recall that Adventists have experienced challenges from those of an Evangelical persuasion since a long time ago. One such a challenge was when way back in the 1950s Evangelicals Donald Barnhouse and Walter Martin challenged Adventist theologians to prove that the SDA church is not a sect. That challenge involved many of the Adventist doctrines including atonement and investigative judgment.

If one studies both Adventist and Evangelical biblical interpretation carefully, some patterns of difference will emerge. We share the key pattern of the differences in this short write-up.

The bottom line is that Adventists, unlike all the other major denominations that profess belief in the Bible, rely heavily on the templates explained in the OT as a guide to understanding the exposition of truth that is in the NT. More specifically, Adventist interpretation recognises the role of the OT in placing barriers to the misinterpretation of the NT as will be demonstrated here. In other words, the system of types and anti-types sustains Adventist interpretation of atonement and investigative judgement among other Adventist doctrines.

The OT patterns

As we read the NT, especially the four gospels (esp. Matthew), we often encounter words like “that it might be fulfilled”. In a nutshell, Christ himself says this:

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Please note that the word ‘scriptures’ in this verse refers exclusively to the OT since the NT did not exist by that time. So, it was the OT that Christ came not to destroy but to fulfil. It was and is in the OT that people have eternal life, and it was the OT which testified of Christ long before the NT was compiled

After that, Luke records that Christ explained about himself from Moses and the prophets.

Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

And according to Paul, “it was necessary” that the patterns be purified.

Hebrews 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

So, we see that Christ’s ministry was meticulously planned and prefigured in the types of the OT sacrificial and feasts system. That compels us to look closely at how the system worked. Now when we look closely at this fulfilling, and how he did it we see that Christ meticulously fulfilled down to the last detail every element of the law and prophets, step by step. The NT has the examples.

  1. In the type, Israel went from Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, then into the wilderness and then temptation just as Israel walked. In the anti-type, Christ also went to Egypt, was baptised, then went into the wilderness, and was tempted, except that Christ unlike Israel, was successful. As Israel had to do this before entering into their ministry of representing God to the Gentiles, so did Christ before starting his ministry to the peoples.
  2. We see also Christ fulfilling the Pass Over process. First as it was in the OT type, on the 10th day of Abib, a family took a lamb and tied it to the home. Similarly, in the anti-type, on the 10th day Christ made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem and never left until crucifixion. In the Pass Over type, the lamb was slain in the evening and so Christ was on the cross in the evening. After that, on Sunday morning, i.e., on the 16th was the day of the Feast of the First Fruits. In the anti-type, Christ rose on Sunday morning and with him were seen many other people arisen from the dead (the first fruits).
  3. We then see the next feast, i.e., the Feast of Weeks fulfilled 50 days later at the day of Pentecost, just as it was in the OT.

So, it is clear in Adventist interpretation that Christ would walk very meticulously through the ceremonial law provisions of the sacrificial and feasts system in the OT.

The Pattern in the Prophets

Just as much as we see with respect to Christ fulfilling the ceremonial law, we also see him fulfilling specific points made by various prophets, all the way from birth of virgin (Micah 5:2), to the giving of vinegar (Luke 23:36) on the cross to the parting of his garments (John 19:24). All these were specific waymarks of the ministry that he had to run.

What makes Christ the only Christ is that he only fulfilled all these waymarks both from the law and from the prophets. His ministry was not haphazard. This is the well-considered point on which Adventist understanding of the gospel has always depended on, i.e., the gospel is as much in the OT as it is in the NT. Thus, by a close study and careful understanding of the OT patterns, we understand the NT better, especially the broader meaning of the events and times that were fulfilled in the NT and after.

Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

Points to consider

Based on the forgoing, we can clearly see that Christ must fulfil every element of the ceremonial law and the prophets. That raises the following questions.

  1. If the atonement process was all completed at the cross, then where and when were the following patterns in the OT fulfilled before or during the cross?

Feast of the First Fruits, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, and, Day of Atonement.

Other related points

  • According to Hebrews 8:4

“For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law”

The point is Christ on earth was not a high priest. We can give further evidence for this. The feast of Passover was given to Israel before the high priest was ordained. It did not need a priest or high priest for the Pass over to be performed. So, as it was given, the Passover process was independent of the direct service of the priest. The Passover service was a home-based service. We say this noting that at the cross, Christ was our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7), he was the lamb, not the high priest.

Please note, that reading Psalms 133, Christ was ordain high priest at Pentecost, at which point the blessing of which he was blessed by the Father was the giving of the Spirit of Promise to the believers in Christ, according to the template of the anointing of Aaron. Let us explain this point.

At the beginning of Aaron’s ministry (read Exodus 28:41; 30:30; 40:13), Aaron representing Christ was anointed (including receiving a garment) and sanctified/ordained a high priest to God in God’s sanctuary. After him, then his sons (representing the believers (the upper room group Acts 1:13)). Please note the emphasis of the sanctification by receiving a garment for ministry. It was only after this and the setting up of the entire tabernacle and its systems, and after performing various sacrifices for sins, that both Moses and Aaron then blessed the people.

Leviticus 9:23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.

Thus, we expect Christ to fulfil this too, i.e., the process of sanctification by the Father which is what Christ did at Pentecost (which is what Hebrews 9:12 is talking about). Yet, according to the types, this happens long before the high priest has to do the Day of Atonement process.

So please note the points.

  1. Christ was not a high priest on earth nor on the cross.
  2. The sanctification of Christ into high priesthood had to fulfil the process of the sanctification of Aaron (i.e., the type in Exodus 28, 30 and 40) the anti-type of which is Acts 2 the day of Pentecost.

WITH THAT, IF THE ATONEMENT WAS MADE BY A HIGH PRIEST, THEN HOW COULD IT BE DONE AT THE CROSS WHEN CHRIST WAS NOT YET A HIGH PRIEST THEN?

  • Azazel in the Day of Atonement Process

Now, according to the Day of Atonement, the High Priest had to deal with two goats one of which was Azazel. Thus, if the cross fulfilled the atonement process, one would need to demonstrate that Azazel was there in the hands of the High Priest.

The challenge

If the presenter considers these points, she has a simple task to demonstrate that the investigative judgement and the Adventist understanding of the process of atonement are wrong. All she has to do is one of the following. Either,

  1. Show from the Bible that it is not necessary for Christ to meticulously fulfil the sacrificial feasts templates as given in the OT.

OR

  • Demonstrate from the Bible that Christ did not need to fulfil the remainder of the sacrificial/feasts system after the Passover.

OR

  • Demonstrate from the Bible that all the sacrificial/feasts system was fulfilled at the cross. In this case you will need to show the steps by which each one of them was fulfilled at the cross.
  • Hebrews 9:12

We have already alluded to what we believe Hebrews 9:12 is actually talking about, which is the fulfilment of the sanctification of Aaron as a high priest, not the fulfilment of the day of atonement process. But we want to address the points specifically in relation to what we see as an error in the presenter’s interpretation of Hebrews 9:12. The primary problem is that the presenter took the statement “entered in once into the most holy place, having secured redemption” to be a fulfilment of the day of atonement. However, as we have shown before, there is an inherent contradiction at the level of types and anti-types.

In addition to that our first point in this section is this. Let us look at the words translated “most holy place”. Here are different translations of Hebrews 9:12.

(ESV) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

(ISV) Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood he went into the Most Holy Place once for all and secured our eternal redemption.

(TPT) And he has entered once and forever into the Holiest Sanctuary of All, not with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the sacred blood of his own sacrifice. And he alone has made our salvation secure forever!

(Williams) and not with blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He once for all went into the real sanctuary and secured our eternal redemption.

(YLT) neither through blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, did enter in once into the holy places, age-during redemption having obtained.

We see here translations ranging from ‘holy place’, ‘holy places’, ‘real sanctuary’, ‘holiest of sanctuary of all’ to ‘most holy place’. That tells us that translators understood this word according to their different inclinations. That means your point, that Christ entered the MOST HOLY PLACE is only possible depending on which translation you are using. It does not necessarily mean that Paul when writing the book of Hebrews had the intention of showing that Christ entered the Most Holy Place as demanded by the Day of Atonement type.

But what is that word which is translated into all these different meanings?

NeitherG3761 byG1223 the bloodG129 of goatsG5131 andG2532 calves,G3448 butG1161 byG1223 his ownG2398 bloodG129 he entered inG1525 onceG2178 intoG1519 theG3588 holy place,G39 having obtainedG2147 eternalG166 redemptionG3085 for us.

The word we are looking for is the Greek word with code G39. The Strong’s Concordance gives the following information about the Greek word G39.

ἅγιον

hagion

hag’-ee-on

Neuter of G40; a sacred thing (that is, spot): – holiest (of all), holy place, sanctuary.

Total KJV occurrences: 11

Notice that the Greek word ‘hagion’ can be translated into any of the three meanings related to the sanctuary, which are the sanctuary in general, the holy place and the most holy place. We see the same point made clear in Hebrews 9:1 to 3 (KJV). In verse 1, ‘hagion’ is translated as sanctuary in general. In verse 2, hagion specifically refers to the ‘first’ of the tabernacle which is the holy place, i.e., where there is shewbread, candlestick and so on. However, notice that in the KJV, translators translated it as ‘sanctuary’ instead of holy place. In verse 3, Paul talks about “second” which is “after the veil” and again uses the exact same Greek word, ‘hagion’. Thus, the KJV translators, for example, according to their own understanding translate ‘hagion’ as sanctuary in verse 1, ‘hagion’ as sanctuary in verse 2 (even though the more correct rendering must be holy place), then ‘hagion’ as holiest of holies in verse 3.

So, there is therefore no basis to pin down ‘most holy place’ as the meaning of ‘hagion’ in Hebrews 9:12. Paul might as well having been talking about the sanctuary in general.

Notice verse 24 of Hebrews 9. By comparison of the “sanctuary made with hands” versus “heaven itself”, Paul shows that by the word ‘hagion’ he is talking of heaven in general just as much as he is about the parts of the heavenly sanctuary. In other words, Paul says Christ entered ‘heaven itself’ in the same context as that Christ entered the hagion (i.e., sanctuary, holy place or most holy place).

The second point is about the phrase “entered in once”? It depends on how you want to understand it. The phrase ‘entered in once’ can be understood in the context of the comparison that Paul is making. The comparison is that unlike earthly priest who did enter the sanctuary more than once for the same purpose, Christ entered only once for that purpose of his sanctification and his offering as a high priest. For it is by his offering that we receive the Spirit of Promise by which we are sealed unto salvation. That he entered in once for the purpose of presenting his blood which is his sacrifice, does not exclude him from entering to perform the day of atonement process as that is a different purpose and function in the sacrificial systems.

Notice also that in verse 13 of Hebrews 9, Paul speaks of “sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh”. The sanctifying that purifies the flesh is exactly what the anointing of Aaron and his sons was all about, i.e., to sanctify them for ministry. That gives another point in favour of our position that Hebrews 9:12 is talking of the sanctification of the high priest not the fulfilment of the day of atonement process.

We want to point out that Hebrews 9 when read throughout and, in its context, continuously point to the beginning of Aaron and his sons’ ministry. In verses 1 to 5, Paul is talking about the rearing of the tabernacle and the establishment of the divine services. This is direct reference to the sanctification of Aaron and his sons, that’s Exodus 28; 30 and 40 (also Leviticus Ch 1 to 9 pertaining to divine services). After making his point in Hebrews 9, Paul returns to the same type, i.e., the sanctification of Aaron. This he begins in verse 19 to 21 where again he describes the setting up of the sacrificial system for the ministry of Aaron and his sons.

So, it is not possible that Hebrews 9:12 should only and necessarily refer to the day of atonement. The is no day of atonement pattern in Hebrews 9.

Just so we are clear. The sacrifice that Christ was on the cross was complete and adequate for our salvation. No doubt about that. But, according to the patterns, as Paul says in Hebrews 9, at the cross, Christ was just getting started. There were many more types still pending after the cross, including the day of atonement.

This point, that it was necessary for Christ to follow a due process after the cross in the form of being presented before the Father, the presenter alludes to herself. The presenter recognises that the entering of Christ before the Father was necessary to complete the atonement. And yet, Christ did not enter the holy place while he was at the cross. Thus, as of the time Christ was on the cross, the atonement process was not finished there, the atonement process itself was just getting started. As for the presentation of the Son of God before the Father, unfortunately Hebrews 9:12 does not say, though the presenter tries to make it say so.

As to when the Son was presented before the Father, the types of the OT are very clear. The wave offering of the feast of First Fruits which was done on the 16th of Abib, i.e., the Sunday morning of Christ resurrection, was the timing. The other timing was also the Feast of Weeks that was 50 days later, which is the Day of Pentecost. And yet the day of atonement was still yet future, and the atonement process was still to be completed.

In summary, we are saying this.

  1. In order to explain to SDAs their error pertaining to atonement and investigative judgment, one has to show that they understand where the SDAs are coming from. We did not see a clearly understanding of the bases of Adventist interpretation.
  2. Adventist interpretation relies on what the Bible teaches that the OT helps us to understand the NT in terms of types and antitypes. In other words, Christ is as much in the OT as he is in the NT.
  3. Christ had to fulfil all the types in detail.
  4. As at the cross, Christ was just beginning because he was at the Passover stage, with 6 more stages of the template still to be performed by him in the same meticulous fashion.
  5. Hebrews 9:12 in its context strongly aligns with the fulfilment of the sanctification of the High Priest for ministry as is depicted in the sanctification of Aaron. This again confirms that Christ was just beginning the ministry of atonement.

Thus, to teach the Adventists of their error, if they have any, the presenter needs to do one of the following with biblical evidence.

  1. Show from the Bible that it is not necessary for Christ to meticulously fulfil the sacrificial feasts templates as given in the OT.

OR

  • Demonstrate from the Bible that Christ did not need to fulfil the remainder of the sacrificial/feasts system after the Passover.

OR

  • Demonstrate from the Bible that all the sacrificial/feasts system was fulfilled at the cross. In this case you will need to show the steps by which each one of them was fulfilled at the cross by drawing the parallels between the types and antitypes.

For comments, please contact us at therockfortress@gmail.com.

From TRF Ministries.

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Acts 5:3,4 and the nature of the Spirit

Let us come to the Spirit. Here is my contention with the trinitarian thinking. Please interrogate it if you may.

While the Father and the Son are both address directly by the title God, the Holy Spirit is never addressed by such a title. Neither is it ever worshipped in the Bible. Let us use Acts 5:3,4 to illustrate the underlying reasoning on the basis of which trinitarians turn the Spirit of God into God the Spirit.

In Acts 5:3,4 we read, “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”

So, the logic is:
Stage 1
Lied to => the Spirit
Lied to => God
Therefore:
The Spirit = God

Stage 2
God => is an eternal, all-knowing, etc. person
Therefore:
Spirit is an eternal, all-knowing, etc. person

Stage 3
Father and Son => are also eternal, all-knowing, etc. persons

Therefore:
Spirit is equal to the Father and the Son

Stage 4
Therefore:
There are three (co-)eternal persons

This is the logic that derives what the Spirit is (nature) from what the Spirit can or has done (capability). This logic is used for every verse used by trinitarians to make the Spirit of God a God the Spirit. The verses include Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14, 1 John 5:7 (though the SDA Church does not officially use 1 John 5:7 but some members, e.g. Doug Batchelor do), Romans 8:26, etc.

All this logic is necessary because no verse can be found which directly attributes the title God to the Holy Spirit. If there was such a verse, there would be no need for this logic. That’s why the divinity of the Father and the Son are not reasoned using such winding logic.

Let us consider stage 1. The premise is that if something is done an entity or if an entity does something and if it is said that the same has been done to or by God in that instance, then that entity is itself the God. The problem is that there are conditions under which this premise does not hold. Here are some examples from the Bible.
Mark 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

Now if we apply that premise, we have a problem because the one child received becomes him/herself Christ, a Christ the Child.

Received => child
Received => Christ
Therefore:
The child itself is Christ.

Not so, right? Why? Because what is done to the sent (the child) is done to the sender (Christ). This is the premise that holds every time and never fails. It is in the Bible, as it is in life outside the Bible.
In everyday life, if you lie to the police officer, you have lied to the head of the state. That has nothing to do with finding the nature of the police officer or how equal the police officer is to the head of the state. It has all to do with the fact that the police officer is sent on behalf of the state. In other words, what comes first is the sending of the police officer before the policer office can do or be done anything to.

To lie to the Pastor is to lie to God, but that does not make the Pastor a God.

Similarly, the Spirit of God is always first sent by God, who it is OF, before the Spirit can do or be done something to. As such, it is a huge mistake to analyse what the Spirit has done or been done to without keeping in mind that the Spirit is always doing anything as one who is sent by God the Father, to whom the Spirit belongs. That is true from the very first time the Spirit is mentioned in Genesis 1:2 (read Job 26:13). Thus, Acts 5:3,4 are a confirmation of the fact that the Spirit is sent by God. Acts 5:3,4 are not the basis of a long winding thesis about the nature of the Spirit.

This premise, that what the sent does or is done to is attributed to the sender is stated many times in the Bible including:


John 13:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Let me put forth the same argument from a different angle. Moses did many divine acts, which cannot be done except by God, right. He split the Red Sea into two, gave the law to Moses, commanded nature to make plagues on Egypt and so on. Can we then say that Moses is God because he did those things only God can do? No. Why? Because who Moses is not determined by what he does or is done to him, NO! Moses is Moses because he is introduced to us as Moses. When we see what he does, we understand that as being done by a Moses we already know. We do not try to use what he does to identify him.

According to the law of first mention, which we use to interpret the Bible, the first time the Bible mentions the Spirit, the Spirit is introduced to us distinctively as a SPIRIT that BELONGS to God. That word ‘OF’ if we can for a moment study its meaning, it is always a possessive. The Spirit belongs to God, that’s certain and not arguable. That same fact is repeated more than 80 times in the Bible.

As such, when we get to Acts 5:3,4 we have an indisputable fact that the Spirit of God is OF God. Whatever, the Spirit of God has done, just like Moses, in whom the Spirit of God was, is to be understood in the context that it is a SPIRIT that BELONGS to God and ALWAYS sent by God. It is very desperate to try to determine what the Spirit is only in Acts 5, when the Spirit of God have been identified for us so many times before. Whether the Spirit takes part in creation, intercession (Romans 8:26), witnessing (1 John 5:7), is lied to (Acts 5:3,4), speaks (Acts 8:29), all that is in the context that the Spirit is sent Of God. All that the Spirit does or is done to is not contrary to, nor does it modify the identity with which the Spirit is introduced to us as the Spirit of God. All that the Spirit of God does or is done to confirms that identity, that it is the Spirit belonging to God and sent by God.

Please engage with the points given.

16 October 2021

therockfortress@gmail.com

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Discussion Summary: The Sonship and the Divinity of Christ

Here is a summary of a discussion I am having with a brother who is trying to explain to me the Adventist trinitarian belief. In this summary, I outline his two most recent responses to my questions. Just a note here that this brother claims to have written some books on the trinity doctrine, which books are available in SDA literature outlets.

Hi Bro,

Thanks for your response. I want you to know that I genuinely desire to have someone restore my faith in the trinity. And it is good that you are among those who have tried to explain its intricacies. However, the way you are going about it is doing no less damage than those I have spoken to before.

Consider the recent trend of our interaction so far.

1.       I presented to you how a metaphor works in grammar, that it is a comparison ALWAYS based on the literal. Therefore, when trinitarians and tritheists say the sonship is metaphorical, either they do not know what a metaphor is, or they are unknowingly admitting that the relationship between the Father and the Son has all the characteristics of a normal Father-Son relationship. In the latter case, the so-called metaphorical sonship is a contradiction in terms which confirms the true literal sonship.

Your response to this was a claim that a metaphor can be abstract, but you neither gave examples, nor explained how. Instead, you explain a theory based on grammatical apposition.

With the apposition, it seems to me you use appositions to make the claim that the term Son of God, being used in apposition to the term Messiah means it is just a term equivalent to Messiah, not an actual sonship. But that’s not what an apposition is meant to do. An apposition is never intended to take away the literal meaning of either of the terms used in the apposition. For example, “The boy, an avid sprinter, raced ahead to the finish line” (https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/parts-of-speech/nouns/example-of-an-appositive-noun.html ). That appositive statement has ‘boy’ and ‘an avid sprinter’ in noun apposition. But you would not claim that the boy is not a literal boy or not a literal sprinter because of the apposition. The term avid sprinter does not qualify anything else about the nature of the boy and his boyhood other than that he can ran well. To project the avid sprinting of the boy into the nature and origin of his boyhood is clearly an error.

Similarly, the appositions you give such as this verse below do not nullify the literal sonship at all.

Matthew 26:63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

If in this case the noun apposition “the Christ, the Son of God” could be used to say Christ is not a literal Son, then similarly the reverse would be also true, that he is not a Christ, just a Son. All that the apposition does is that it lets us know that the Son of God is ALSO the Christ.

Hence the theory that you build, that Christ is not the Son of God based on the noun appositions does not hold. It is clearly a misuse of the workings of an apposition in grammar.

·         Secondly, I gave you two examples of EGW explaining the divinity of the Son of God. I have since found another two and I present all the four here.

“To the Saviour’s words, “Believest thou?” Martha responded, “Yea, Lord: I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” She did not comprehend in all their significance the words spoken by Christ, but she confessed her faith in His divinity, and her confidence that He was able to perform whatever it pleased Him to do.” {DA 530.4}

“Christ’s divinity is to be steadfastly maintained. When the Saviour asked His disciples the question, “Whom say ye that I am?” Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15, 16). Said Christ, “Upon this rock,” not on Peter, but on the Son of God, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (verse 18).” {EGW, The Upward Look, p. 58}.

“At the Saviour’s baptism, Satan was among the witnesses. He saw the Father’s glory overshadowing His Son. He heard the voice of Jehovah testifying to the divinity of Jesus. Ever since Adam’s sin, the human race had been cut off from direct communion with God; the intercourse between heaven and earth had been through Christ; but now that Jesus had come “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3), the Father Himself spoke. He had before communicated with humanity through Christ; now He communicated with humanity in Christ. Satan had hoped that God’s abhorrence of evil would bring an eternal separation between heaven and earth. But now it was manifest that the connection between God and man had been restored.” {DA 116.2}

“In the closing events of the crucifixion day, fresh evidence was given of the fulfillment of prophecy, and new witness borne to Christ’s divinity. When the darkness had lifted from the cross, and the Saviour’s dying cry had been uttered, immediately another voice was heard, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God.”” Matthew 27:54. {DA 770.1}

With four witnesses, we can attest to the fact that EGW testified that Christ’s divinity is in the testimony “Son of God” whether uttered by the Father Himself or by inspired human witnesses. His sonship is his divinity because his divinity is by inheritance from God (John 5:26; Hebrews1:3, 8) as a son.

All three-in-one god believers disagree with how EGW explained the divinity of Christ in these quotes. No three-in-one god believer would explain divinity on the basis of pre-existent sonship. All three-in-one god believers explain divinity as opposed to pre-existent sonship.

I note below your responses to this EGW testimony that sonship is divinity in Christ.

Firstly, you admit that you do not understand divinity the same way as EGW. As you say, “I have found no Biblical evidence that the expression SON OF GOD must refer to Christ’s divinity”, you confirm that your reading of the Bible is different from EGW. I then wonder how you can use her writings to support yourself if you clearly differ from her understanding of this subject.

Secondly, you wrote, “My observation is that sometimes, Ellen White has expressed in writing nothing more than the common SDA belief of her contemporaries. Where she has some additional light by visions, she departs from others, but usually she repeats what others have said.”

That claim did not start with you. It has been popularized by Adventist theologians such as G Knight and J Moon among others. But it is so contrary to the evidence.

1.       EGW herself says this about the source of her writings.

“I said, “If any of the citizens of Battle Creek wish to know what Mrs. White believes and teaches, LET THEM READ HER PUBLISHED BOOKS. My labors would be naught should I preach another gospelTHAT WHICH I HAVE WRITTEN IS WHAT THE LORD HAS BIDDEN ME WRITEI HAVE NOT BEEN INSTRUCTED TO CHANGE THAT WHICH I HAVE SENT OUT. I stand firm in the Adventist faith; for I have been warned in regard to the seducing sophistries that will seek for entrance among us as a people. The Scripture says, ‘Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.’ I present before our people the danger of being led astray as were the angels in the heavenly courts. The straight line of truth presented to me when I was but a girl is just as clearly presented to me now.”” {RH January 26, 1905, par. 19} (emphasis added)

But you say she was just repeating others. She says no, I was ALWAYS given what to write by the Master.

·         Would we all believe EGW if all she did was repeat some errors and claim to be what God has given her?

·         Why is it that when EGW confirms the pioneers it is not new light, but when you think she differs from them then that’s new light? Are you not then a judge of EGW’s writing and not a student of them?

·         Does it not make sense to you that we should harmonise EGW’s writings as we do with the Bible rather than project a change in her belief which change she denies herself?

“The meeting on Sunday afternoon was attended by many of the citizens of Battle Creek. They paid the best of attention. At this meeting I had opportunity to state decidedly that my views have not changed. The blessing of the Lord rested upon many of those who heard the words spoken. I said: “You may be anxious to know what Mrs. White believes. You have heard her speak many times…. She has the same service to do for the Master that she had when she addressed the people of Battle Creek years ago. She receives lessons from the same Instructor. The directions given her are, ‘Write the messages that I give you, that the people may have them.’ These messages have been written as God has given them to me.””—Letter 39, 1905. {3SM 73.1}

And again,

“You must know if you are not blinded, that my testimonies have not changed, that I have not changed in character or in my work, and hope through the grace of God, never to swerve to the right or to the left to have harmony with you or Elder Butler or any elder in the ranks of Sabbathkeepers.” {1888 734.1}

So, we know she did not change into an understanding that departs from the pioneers. She taught the pioneers the same message since she was a girl, i.e., since December 1844.

·         If EGW changed her beliefs and yet claimed to have never changed, would she be an honest messenger of God?

·         Why do you make your own perception of EGW more important than her own statements about herself, that she never changed and that she endorsed the views of the pioneers on this point?

·         Did the pioneers reach their understanding of this subject independent of EGW’s input? She says no.

“Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, [Older brethren among the pioneers are here thus reminiscently referred to. “Father Pierce” was Stephen Pierce, who served in ministerial and administrative work in the early days. “Father Andrews” was Edward Andrews, the father of J. N. Andrews.—Compilers.] Elder [Hiram] Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often, we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again, and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, “We can do nothing more,” the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectivelyThus, light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.” {1SM 206.4} (emphasis added)

EGW taught the pioneers what they believed and taught!!

·         Considering the above quote, why do you make her a recipient not the source of the truth that the pioneers had, when she clearly says that the pioneers came to know about Christ through her visions? Bro, do these words from EGW mean anything to you (“The straight line of truth presented to me when I was but a girl is just as clearly presented to me now”)? Do you account for them before you claim that EGW only repeated other people’s thoughts?

Therefore, in summary, while EGW does not say “now I am agreeing with the pioneers” and then later on “now I am departing from the pioneers”, this understanding that she differs from the pioneers on this subject has been created for no other reason than that it is convenient to navigate her writings in favour of the new theology the church has taken. Meanwhile, the church clearly escapes the obvious and most logical choice which is that all her writings from the first to the last agree with each other. This is the choice that she states herself when she says quotes given above.

·         Thirdly, there is another problem with your framework. It is built on perceiving an impossibility which the Bible does not state. When you say, “This would be strange”, i.e., that God has many sons. Why would it be strange? The Bible does not say it is strange, but if it sounds strange to human mind, that is no reason to say it is not so. Yet at the same time you ““today — when You were enthroned — I have begotten You””. In other words, you mean to be begotten is to be enthroned. Why is that not strange given that the Bible does not say so. But whoever begetting by enthroning or enthroning by begetting? Why does it not sound strange to you within your framework that Christ already has a throne as a co-equal of the Father therefore does not need enthroning?

·         Fourthly, you say that we need to understand how the Jews understood the title Son of God. Well, that is very clear. In agreement with EGW, the Jews understood the Sonship as the divinity as well.

John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

John 19:7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

According to the Jews, when Christ said I am the Son of God, they understood that as blasphemy. The blasphemy according to then was that by saying so Christ was making himself God. Two witnesses with the same claim that in the eyes of the Jews to claim to be the Son of God was to claim to be God.

Clearly, the Jews did not understand the term Son of God as simply a relationship with God.

·         Fifthly, again it is surprising to me that after admitting that you see things differently from EGW and that you cannot reconcile her writings with your own, you went on to quote her. Does it not follow that if you cannot reconcile her writings with your viewpoint then your use of her writings is a potential serious misunderstanding of her teaching?

Let us come to the quotation that you gave.

You quoted, “Re. John 1:4. It is not physical life that is here specified, but immortality, the life which is exclusively the property of God. The Word, who was with God, and who was God, had this life. Physical life is something which each individual receives. It is not eternal or immortal; for God, the Life-giver, takes it again. Man has no control over his life. But the life of Christ was UNBORROWED. No one can take this life from Him. “I lay it down of myself” (John 10:18), He said. In Him was life, ORIGINAL, UNBORROWED, UNDERIVED. This life is not inherent in man. He can possess it only through Christ. He cannot earn it; it is given him as a free gift if he will believe in Christ as his personal Saviour. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). This is the open fountain of life for the world. 1SM 296.”

Firstly, check out this bias. Earlier you said this, “Where she has some additional light by visions, she departs from others, but usually she repeats what others have said.” So, when EGW agrees with the pioneers, well there is no light there, no inspiration, just a repetition. Now in this statement, EGW quotes John Cumming, D.D., F.R.S.E. of London published by the John P. Jewett Co., Cleveland, OH in 1856 on page 5. Now that’s light because in your view she has departed from the pioneers.

Why is it that a perceived departure from the pioneers is called additional light and inspiration but agreeing with them is not? Why not take the view that the common beliefs that the pioneers had, which they hammered out together with EGW (from 1844-1848), and according to EGW with direct revelation from God was the LIGHT and the inspiration? That’s what she says herself. [“And now, after half a century of clear light from the Word as to what is truth, there are arising many false theories, to unsettle minds. But the evidence given in our early experience has the same force that it had then. The truth is the same as it ever has been, and not a pin or a pillar can be moved from the structure of truth. That which was sought for out of the Word in 1844, 1845, and 1846 remains the truth today in every particular.” EGW, Letter 38, 1906]

And that when EGW receives new light it confirms the same position she has always agreed with the pioneers? That’s what she says herself also. [But although the long line of events extends through so many centuries, and new and important truths are from time to time developed, that which was truth in the beginning is the truth still. The increased light of the present day does not contradict or make of none effect the dimmer light of the past. {ST June 3, 1886, par. 13}]

Why do you build this theory of a change in EGW belief and teaching which she denies more than once? Why ignore the fact that she denies ever changing to take a position contrary to the pioneers and the common beliefs of the SDA at that time?

Your view here, and many Adventist trinitarians/tritheists think so, is that because EGW says that IN Christ life was “ORIGINAL, UNBORROWED, UNDERIVED” therefore he could not have received life from the Father as John 5:26 says. But let us look at this.

Say a father made an original Seiko watch. Then that watch is original, unborrowed and underived. Then out of his own “agape love” he gives it to a son saying, “It is now fully yours; I do not want it back and you can do whatever you want with it.”

After it is given to the son, is the Seiko watch,

1.       Still original? Yes, originality here is an expression of its nature, not a method of acquisition.

2.       Unborrowed? Yes, it is unborrowed because it was freely given without any instigation from the receiver. The son did not ask for it.

3.       Underived? Yes, there is no eternal generation of the Seiko watch. It is not siphoned from the father.

So EGW says elsewhere:

“All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So, in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father’s life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all.” — The Desire of Ages p. 21

Clearly, according to EGW “ALL THINGS” Christ received include life. That is the life that was IN HIM (John 5:26).

So clearly, if the terms ‘original, unborrowed and underived’ are applied to the nature of the life, not the method of acquisition of the life, one can very easily reconcile this statement with endless other quotations from EGW which present the sonship as the divinity. Here is another such quotation.

“The Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father, is truly God in infinity, but not in personality.” (20LtMs, Ms116, 1905 par 6)

Still on this point, notice that this “original, unborrowed, underived” life is given to man as a free gift so that he possesses it. But it being given to man does not change its nature as being “original, unborrowed, underived”. The physical life that man has today, by nature is not original, is borrowed (its nature is subject to death) and is derived (its nature is subject to constant drawing from God to live). But that which man receives in Christ is of the opposite nature, it is eternal life (2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.)

So, I see that you read a lot of your own thoughts into this quotation.

·         Sixthly, you say that the term Son of God simply means one who is in a relationship with God.

My questions are these. Why not explore the differences and similarities in the different relationships that are called Son of God? Do the sonships of angels, of Adam, of other men like Moses equal the sonship of Christ in characteristics? The answer is no.

If the term son simply means being in relationship with God, is the Holy Spirit Son also?

Why is it that with three co-equal gods/persons, the sonship is directional, i.e., it is referenced to the Father alone?

And if God means the Father to whom all the sonship relationships are referred, then who is the God overall?

Notice how EGW explains different forms of the sonship.

“A complete offering has been made; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,”—not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father’s person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” {ST May 30, 1895, par. 3}

Notice the verses used to explain the sonship. Hebrews 1:3 (the express image of the Father’s person), Philippians 2:6 (equality with God) joined to Colossians 1:9 and 2:19 (the fullness of divinity that the Father gave Christ) are used to explain to support John 3:16 (the only begotten Son). All these verses are explaining how Christ is a begotten Son. Thus, equality with God and fullness of divinity, according to EGW are all characteristics that explain sonship. That understanding is contrary to trinitarian/tritheistic explanation of the sonship of Christ, but in full harmony with everything that EGW ever wrote.

Compare this with the following:

“Before Christ came in the likeness of men, he existed in the express image of his Father.” (Ellen White, The Youth’s Instructor, December 20, 1900)

“The dedication of the first-born had its origin in the earliest times. God had promised to give the First-born of heaven to save the sinner.” (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 51}

So here again is EGW making a clear parallel between human sonship and Christ’s sonship contrary to every fibre of trinitarian/tritheist interpretation of Christ’s sonship and divinity. And notice that the pre-existence of Christ was that way, i.e., as an image of the Father. Before incarnation, Christ existed as an image of the Father.

Notice that God used the father-son relationship in humans to symbolise His relationship with His Son through the dedication of the human first-born son. To suit the trinitarian/tritheist view of three co-equal persons, a partnership or brotherhood would be more suitable model, since as you say, there is no sonship at all between the Father and the Son of God. The human father-son relationship is not poetic or metaphorical but literal and so is the divine Father-Son relationship of God and His Son.

·         Seventh, consider this verse.

Proverbs 30:4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?

But you said only Psalms 2 speaks of Christ’s sonship in the OT. But Solomon understood that God has a son, a specific son with a specific name.

To conclude, Bro, I perceive that your understanding of this subject is contrary to EGW. Having noticed that, you try to bend EGW to suit your understanding by theorizing that EGW changed her understanding over time, which change she denies several times (just a quick note that here denial of these claims come after 1900).

Hence it is imperative that you take one of the following choices:

Either:

1.       Discard EGW and not use her writings to support your views since she is clearly at odds with your understanding,

Or

·         Realign with what EGW taught the pioneers that divinity and sonship of Christ are the same.

And

·         In addition, take the only logical view that all of EGW’s writings on this subject harmonise together as she says they do. At least if you believe in EGW, accept what she says about herself than make up what you think of her.

Please read this short writing about the thought processes that lead to the misunderstandings on this subject. Google “Deconstructing the three-in-one doctrine thought process” (or find it here https://www.asitreads.com/blog/2020/11/20/deconstructing-the-three-in-one-god-doctrine-thought-process).

There is also a critique of George R Knight found here.

Your brother,

The Rock Fortress Ministries

28 July 2021

DIVINITY FROM SONSHIP – EGW Quotes

“To the Saviour’s words, “Believest thou?” Martha responded, “Yea, Lord: I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” She did not comprehend in all their significance the words spoken by Christ, but she confessed her faith in His divinity, and her confidence that He was able to perform whatever it pleased Him to do.” { DA 530.4}

Think about it. How does Martha confess Christ’s divinity in John 11:27? Does she use co-eternal and words like that? No. She confesses Christs divinity by confessing that the Son of God was to come. That means, there was a Son of God, before the Son of God came to our world.

Christ’s divinity is to be steadfastly maintained. When the Saviour asked His disciples the question, “Whom say ye that I am?” Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15, 16). Said Christ, “Upon this rock,” not on Peter, but on the Son of God, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (verse 18).” {EGW, The Upward Look, p. 58}.

In the statement “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” is to be found the divinity of Christ. His divinity is his sonship. In other words, by being an only begotten Son of the living God, Christ has divinity as His Father, God.

“At the Saviour’s baptism, Satan was among the witnesses. He saw the Father’s glory overshadowing His Son. He heard the voice of Jehovah testifying to the divinity of Jesus. Ever since Adam’s sin, the human race had been cut off from direct communion with God; the intercourse between heaven and earth had been through Christ; but now that Jesus had come “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3), the Father Himself spoke. He had before communicated with humanity through Christ; now He communicated with humanity in Christ. Satan had hoped that God’s abhorrence of evil would bring an eternal separation between heaven and earth. But now it was manifest that the connection between God and man had been restored.”{ DA 116.2}

What voice from the Father testified of the Son’s divinity at Christ baptism?

Matthew 3:17 “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

“In the closing events of the crucifixion day, fresh evidence was given of the fulfillment of prophecy, and new witness borne to Christ’s divinity. When the darkness had lifted from the cross, and the Saviour’s dying cry had been uttered, immediately another voice was heard, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God.”” Matthew 27:54. { DA 770.1}

Again, the testimony of Christ’s divinity was in Christ’s sonship found in the words “Truly this was the Son of God”.

With four witnesses, we can attest to the fact that the testimony of Christ’s divinity is that He is the Son of God. His sonship is his divinity because his divinity is by inheritance from God (John 5:26; Hebrews1:3, 8).

All three-in-one god believers disagree with how EGW explained the divinity of Christ in these quotes. No three-in-one god believer would explain divinity on the basis of pre-existent sonship. All three-in-one god believers explain divinity as opposed to pre-existent sonship.

26 May 2021

therockfortress@gmail.com

Youtube: therock fortress tv

Facebook: The Rock Fortress Ministries

The divinity of Christ is His Sonship

“Christ’s divinity is to be steadfastly maintained. When the Saviour asked His disciples the question, “Whom say ye that I am?” Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15, 16). Said Christ, “Upon this rock,” not on Peter, but on the Son of God, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (verse 18).” {EGW, The Upward Look, p. 58}.

In the statement “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” is to be found the divinity of Christ. His divinity is his sonship. In other words, by being an only begotten Son of the living God, Christ has divinity as His Father, God.

“At the Saviour’s baptism, Satan was among the witnesses. He saw the Father’s glory overshadowing His Son. He heard the voice of Jehovah testifying to the divinity of Jesus. Ever since Adam’s sin, the human race had been cut off from direct communion with God; the intercourse between heaven and earth had been through Christ; but now that Jesus had come “in the likeness of sinful flesh” ( Romans 8:3), the Father Himself spoke. He had before communicated with humanity through Christ; now He communicated with humanity in Christ. Satan had hoped that God’s abhorrence of evil would bring an eternal separation between heaven and earth. But now it was manifest that the connection between God and man had been restored.”{ DA 116.2}

What voice from the Father testified of the Son’s divinity at Christ baptism?

Matthew 3:17 “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

The testimony of Christ divinity is that He is the Son of God. His sonship is his divinity because his divinity is by inheritance.

26 May 2021

therockfortress@gmail.com

Youtube: therock fortress tv

Facebook: The Rock Fortress Ministries

The metaphor confirms the sonship

The metaphor confirms the sonship
20/02/2021

I received this message from one sincere brother. I have nothing against him, but I want to interrogate the thought process he is using. I quote him.

“The father-son image of mankind cannot be literally applied to the Divine Father-Son relationship. The term “Son” is used metaphorically it conveys the ideas of distinction of persons and the equality of nature in the context of an eternal, loving relationship.”

Basically, the brother was saying the term Son of God has nothing with being the Son of God as what a son of a man is to a man. The term son simply means there are two distinct persons and that these two distinct persons are equal and are in an everlasting loving relationship.

The problem is, it seems to me the brother is describing friendship or partnership or brotherhood not sonship. Two friends or two partners or brothers are more accurately described as two distinct equal persons in an everlasting loving relationship. The term son has much more than just being distinct, equal, and loving. One wonders why God would allow the use of the term son of God when all he meant was “two equal loving friends/partners/brothers”.

This brother is not the only one who says this. Many professed Christians say the same, including SDAs. Here is another quote.

“The term “Son” is used metaphorically when applied to the Godhead” (Angel Rodriguez, “A Question of Sonship” Biblical Research Institute (of the SDA Church) article)

With this argument, they say that Christ is actually not a Son of God. They say there is no actual father-son relationship between God and His Son. Instead, they say, God and His Son are just two equal persons with no father-son relationship. They say what seems to us as a father-son relationship is just a role-play, for the sake of our salvation.

There are so many things to discuss on this speculative conclusion but we will focus on one thing in this writing. In this writing, we want to look at what is a metaphor and how is a metaphor used in day to day communication among people.

Let us consider this example of a metaphor.

“It snowed so heavily in the night that by morning, a WHITE BLANKET COVERED THE GROUND.”

The words ‘white blanket covered the ground’ is a metaphor for ‘snow covering the ground’. But why is it a metaphor? Because it is comparing the literal covering of blanket over a bed or person with the literal covering of snow over the ground.

In other words, if snow did not literally cover the ground, the metaphor would not be possible. Again in other words, the relationship between the bed and blanket is exactly as the relationship between the ground and the snow in terms of the effect of covering and being covered.

Just to emphasise this point. A metaphor can only be possible if comparison between two literal things or situations is possible. A metaphor would not make sense where there are no literal things to compare. For example, it would not be a metaphor if I said this:

“It snowed so heavily in the night that by morning a STRING COVERED THE GROUND.”

There is no obvious comparison between a literal string and literal snow in terms of literally covering something. A string does not cover but it ties. So there is no way a string can apply metaphorically to snow.

So what we can ascertain is that a metaphor is used where two literal situations are literally comparable. It is necessary to have observable literal characteristics between two things or situations before the metaphor can be derived from the comparison. The term metaphor is an observation that what is literally happening in one situation, is comparable to what is literally happening in another. The similarity of the two literal situations is what makes a metaphor possible.

With that in mind, if the father-son relationship between God the Father and his son is a metaphor of the literal relationship between a human father and a son, then the relationship between God the Father and the Son of God must have literal aspects that reflect the literal father-son relationship of men. That means both relationships must be literal before we can compare them to make a metaphor. That’s the only way we can call it a metaphor. If the relationship between God the Father and the Son of God is not literal, then the terms ‘father and son’ do not apply even in a metaphorical sense.

Therefore, to say the relationship between God the Father and His Son (the Son of God) is metaphorical means one of two things. Those who say this either do not notice their veiled admission that the relationship between the God the Father and the Son is literal sonship, or they do not see that they misuse the term metaphor.

If that which happens literally between a human father and son is not found happening literally between the divine Father and His Son, then the words ‘father and son’ are not the correct metaphors in this case. In other words, if after studying the relationship between God the Father and the Son of God we see that it is all about being two distinct, equal, eternally loving persons, then we have to come to human relationships to find words that represents such a relationship. One thing is sure. Those words would not be ‘father and son’. They should try friends, partners, or brotherhood.

But if that which happens literally between a human father and son happens literally between the divine Father and His Son, then, yes, the Father-Son relationship between God the Father and the Son of God is literal.

therockfortress@gmail.com

This day have I begotten thee – Hebrews 1:5

Hebrews 1:5 says “This day have I begotten thee”. Is it talking about that day in a manger, when Mary gave birth to a male child? Some say it means when Christ is referred to as only begotten, it is talking about his birth through Mary, i.e. incarnation.
That is an error for these reasons.
1. Read again Hebrews 1:4-5“Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”Notice that the purpose of Hebrews 1 is to prove the divinity of Christ, i.e. “being made much better than angels”. The evidence that Christ was made better than angels is that God said these words to him “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee”. But by Mary, Christ was “made a little lower than angels (not better than angels) for the suffering of death” (Hebrews 2:9). So we see two cases where Christ is made something.In Hebrews 1:5 he is made higher than angels. In Hebrews 2:9, he is made lower than angels. These are two different cases. But the quote “This day have I begotten thee” is not applied to Christ being lower than angels. Thee quote is applied to him being made higher than angels. Therefore the quote is not about incarnation, but applies before incarnation.
2. The argument is often made by those who deny the sonship of Christ before incarnation saying, Christ could not be begotten before incarnation because God has no wife and there was no mother before Mary.Do you see the problem here. If begotten is taken to me a husband and a wife and the wife becomes the mother of the son, then by implication Mary was the wife of God. That is the thinking that led to the worship of Mary and to the idea of immaculate conception of Mary. That’s why Catholics say all their doctrines are based on the three-in-one god teaching.But the truth is that Mary was only a vessel for the purpose of creating a body for the only begotten Son of God, to give Christ humanity to unite divinity and humanity in the literal begotten sonship of the Son of God. If he was not a literal Son of God before, the body created in Mary’s womb could not make Him a literal Son of God. It was his already being a literal begotten Son of God that gives us the sonship through of God through him. We are adopted sons of God because our blood brother is a real only begotten Son of God.
3. Hebrews also teaches that by being begotten, Christ became an express image of God.Those who teach that Christ was only begotten through Mary, essentially teach that through Mary Christ became an express image of God’s person (not just character, but person). Now I am not sure if anyone would want to argue that the human body of Christ was the express image of God’s person. At no time does the Bible teach that in the form of a man, Christ was an express image of God’s person. As a man he was an image of God through Adam, and that is not an express image.The Bible teaches that the human body of Christ was the express image of Abraham (Hebrews 2:16) not of God the Father. The only way Christ could be an express image of God is if he was begotten of God as an express image of God before Christ became human. So EGW says this:“A complete offering has been made; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,”–not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father’s person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” — (Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895)Notice that to be begotten put him in the express image of the Father’s person.“From eternity there was a complete unity between the Father and the Son. They were two [NOT THREE], yet little short of being identical; two in individuality, yet one in spirit, and heart, and character.” { YI December 16, 1897, par. 5 } (emphasis added)At that, Christ was already an express image of God’s person.
4. Christ human nature was created and was not the express image of God.“I will try to answer this important question: As God he could not be tempted: but as a man he could be tempted, and that strongly, and could yield to the temptations. His human nature must pass through the same test and trial Adam and Eve passed through. His human nature was created; it did not even possess the angelic powers. It was human, identical with our own. He was passing over the ground where Adam fell. He was now where, if he endured the test and trial in behalf of the fallen race, he would redeem Adam’s disgraceful failure and fall, in our own humanity.” { 3SM 129.3}There is no Christ being begotten here. There is creation of human nature. I cannot say I have seen anywhere where begotten as an express image of God is applied to incarnation directly. It is impossible. Why?Like begets like. God begets god. God creates human nature, not beget it. So Christ human nature was created by God but not begotten of God.
The second and related erroneous teaching I read was this and I quote.“The biggest problem is , you apply his “Begotten” to his pre-existence and try to place a beginning point of his life in time immemorial, and run away from him being begotten, as to Earthly Ministry and Salvation oriented.”Notice that the claim made here is that the word begotten does not apply to Christ before incarnation. To expose that error, I give this single quote.“Christ was the only begotten Son of God, and Lucifer, that glorious angel, got up a warfare over the matter, until he had to be thrust down to the earth.” — (Ellen G. White, Ms86, August 21, 1910)Notice that EGW applies the words “only-begotten” before incarnation and independent of incarnation.Simple truth. If God did not have an only begotten son who was the express image of God’s person before incarnation, incarnation would not be able to achieve that in the Son of God. Christ’s human nature was created by God, not begotten. Christ divine nature was begotten of God as the express image of God’s person. This is more than just express image in character. But it is express image in person.So yes, the brethren greatly err on this one. The truth is that Christ was the only-begotten of the Father before incarnation. The detail of how he was begotten, we are not told. Just as much as we are not told how one who is fully God could become a baby in a womb. No-one can understand that detail. It is not for us to resolve the questions of how he was begotten as an express image of God’s person. Neither are we to speculate on that to create doctrines based on what we do not understand and are not given to understand.

The Rock Fortress Ministriestherockfortress@gmail.comFind us on YouTube and Facebook15 February 2021

Today have I begotten thee

We can demonstrate from the Bible the following:

  1. The trinitarian argument that the phrase “another comforter” (allos paracletos) means that Christ was speaking about another person other than himself is flawed. It is contrary to John’s own use of the term another. John uses the term another six times (Greek a’llos’ in John 18:15; John 18:16; John 20:2; John 20:3; John 20:4; John 20:8) to refer to himself (John 21:24). So it is not true that the use of the term “another” (allos) must mean that Christ was talking of another person other than himself.
  2. Christ spoke in this manner, the third person (i.e. as if he is speaking of another person) all the time and that is never evidence that he is speaking of another person (Luke 9:26).
  3. It is normal in the Bible to speak of one’s own Spirit as another person (Many examples such as “the spirit of Jacob their father revived” Genesis 45:27, David saying his spirit was overwhelmed as he was Psalms 77:3, David saying his spirit was remembering together with him Psalms 77:6).

We also see this:

  1. The words that Christ spoke were the spirit (John 6:63).
  2. These words are what he breathed on his disciples (John 20:22).Christ himself was sent by the Father in the same way, i.e. he was anointed by the Father’s spirit/words before he was sent (Isaiah 61:1).
  3. The words he spoke were not his, he got them from the Father (John 14:10)
  4. That was the Spirit of the Father that was in him reconciling the world to the Father (2 Corinthians 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself)

Some people honestly misapply Hebrews 5:5 (…Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee) saying the words “begotten” and “today” apply to Christ being born in Bethlehem. I give three points against this error.

  1. The Book of Hebrews has three main parts Chapter 1 divinity of Christ, Chapter 2 humanity of Christ and the rest about the priesthood of Christ. The context of Hebrews 5 points clearly to resurrection as the third begottenness of Christ, i.e. Chirst was born the third time by the Father, when the Father raised Christ from the dead. This is what the phrase “today have I begotten thee” means in that context.
  2. The second point was that, EGW discusses the same verse in the context of Christ ressurection and priesthood (RH December 22, 1891, par. 12 and RH May 25, 1911, par. 6).
  3. But here is a nail in a sure place. Read Acts 13:30-33.

Acts 13:30 “But God raised him from the dead: 31  And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. 32  And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, 33  God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm,

I do not know if anyone cannot see that Psalms 2:7 (“today have I begotten thee”) refers to the resurrection of Christ as being begotten. According to Paul, the fulfilment of the promise that says “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” is found in the resurrection of Christ.

But what was Christ begotten from the dead as?

1 Corinthians 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

He was begotten the third time as a quickening spirit, i.e. life giving spirit.

Why as a quickening spirit?

So that the merits of his life can be applied to us.

Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

That’s what we need to receive, Christ himself by his life giving spirit. Now listen what EGW then says:

“It is not safe to catch the spirit of another. We want the Holy Spirit, which is Jesus Christ.” (Letter 66, April 10, 1894, par.17-18)

The Bible says the same thing.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

So Jesus Christ by His life giving spirit is the:

  1. Comforter
  2. The life of his life { HP 62.4 }
  3. Third person of the Godhead/divinity
  4. Office-work of the Holy Spirit
  5. Etc.

And all those expressions from EGW that many Adventists have thought to be trinitarian. They are not trinitarian expressions.

  1. The three heavenly dignitaries
  2. The heavenly trio
  3. Etc.

There is the Father, the Son in his earthly ministry before resurrection and the Son post resurrection by his quickening spirit (the Comforter, the Spirit which flows from the Father).

This is the knowledge of righteousness by faith. I believe that without this noone can receive the sealing of Revelation 7. This is the message of 1888, the message by which probation almost closed and the end almost arrived. And that’s the message that has been lost and destroyed by adopting three-in-one god wine of Babylon.

The Rock Fortress Ministries

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13 February 2021

Deconstructing the trinitarian thought process

During the journey of discovering the errors in the three-in-one god doctrine, you may come across many books and materials which try to explain the three-in-one (3-in-1) god. The same happened to us. Many brothers, when we questioned the obvious errors of the 3-in-1 god doctrine, referred us to some books. It is thought that such books make clear the 3-in-1 god doctrine. There are so many of these books out there. For example, we came across a book titled “The Trinity: What Has God Revealed” by Glyn Parfitt. When we read the book, we immediately saw the same errors as all the other trinitarian writings. Except that in this book, the errors were nicely packaged into one large book. Despite its huge volume, and our time-poor life, we have always wanted to explain why we see errors in this book and in the trinitarian thought process itself.

After thinking for some time about how to explain the errors, we decided it was better not to produce many pages tackling verse by verse and point by point, even though we could. If we did that, we would be explaining the same underlying errors across many of the different points that allegedly explain the three-in-one god. For example, as we will show in this writing, the error made in using Matthew 28:19 to construct the 3-in-1 god doctrine is the same error made in many other verses including Acts 5:4, 2 Corinthians 13:14 and 1 John 5:7.

Therefore, we thought the most effective way to help the authors of such books and those who refer to the books as trusted sources of doctrine, is to plead with them to reflect on how trinitarian interpretation works. In this writing we focus on the trinitarian interpretation of the Bible. God willing, in a future writing, we will explain the three-in-one god errors based on Ellen G. White’s writings. For a primer on our view of what EGW wrote, we refer you to our critique of George R Knight’s article, “Adventist and change”. You can find this article titled “A Critique of George R. Knight’s article Adventist and Change” freely available online.

And so here is the reflection on the trinitarian thought process as it navigates verses to formulate the three-in-one god doctrine. We pray that you will not find this writing to be adversarial, but rather that it will be an eye opener to you, or at least lead you to make an honest search for yourself, with no dependence on the church doctrinal statements, but more importantly, a simple “Thus saith the Lord”.

The Rock Fortress Ministries

therockfortress@gmail.com

September 2020