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Author Topic: Does Ephesians 1:13 Implode SDA "Seal of God" Interpretation?  (Read 3090 times)

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Azenilto Brito

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       In the last issue of former bi-monthly magazine Proclamation! (turned three-monthly, due to financial constraints), published by former SDA Pastor Dale Ratzlaff with the objective of bashing Seventh-day Adventists and wooing as many as he can to his “new alliance” theology of ambiguity regarding what “law of God” a Christian should now obey (in which it doesn’t match to what Evangelical Christians historically believe and teach), we find a testimony by Carolyn Macomber, former Andrews University employee, who tells a long story, but whose bottom line question would be what is in this segment, of page 4 of said publication:

       “In May/June of 2008 I was completely exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. At that time I was attending an interdenominational Bible study called Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). The teaching leader gave out her phone number at the end of the study season, and I called her. We spoke and I shared my exhausted condition with her. Graciously and gently she began to invite me to her home for a meal, for rest, and for conversation. . .  One beautiful summer evening, as we sat on her porch, the conversation turned spiritual. Deb spoke of her love of God’s Word, and I responded innocently: ‘I believe in the Bible and the Bible only, to’. Deb replied, ‘No, you don’t’ (She doesn’t fully remember saying that now.) I asked her what she knew of Seventh-day Adventist, and she replied, ‘Not much.’ I left that evening wondering how a woman who definitely loved the Lord and read the Scriptures could miss God’s direct command to keep the Seventh-day Sabbath. Either something was wrong with God, or something was wrong with her. I found out as I began to study that something was wrong with my understanding of God. The Father and the Son in the writings and theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church were unbiblical. If He had been my example, then sin would have been in Him, and He could not have been the blameless sacrifice for my sin. I began to find that many Seventh-day Adventists teachings were oxymorons.
       “From that point I decided I would study the Bible without going to any Ellen G. White writings. If Seventh-day Adventist teaching were truly Biblical, then I should be able to figure out doctrine without the writings of Ellen White. Then came my first ’aha’. According to Adventist teaching, the ‘seal of God’ was the Sabbath; yet I couldn’t find ‘seal of God’ identified as the Sabbath anywhere in the Bible. I did find that the ‘seal of God’ was the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14).
       “I felt my foundation for life crumbling, and I experienced a deep crisis of faith. What was true, and how would I know it? Different denominations took the same biblical texts and extrapolate different teachings from them. How would I know what was real and true?
       “At this point I began an email dialogue with my friend. I asked her, ‘How do you know what is truth?” her response was interesting. She wrote, ‘Remember Jesus’ words in John 14:6, ‘I am the way, the Truth, and the Life.’ Carolyn, He is the very essence and basis for truth.’ Then I came across a devotional on John 3:16 in a book. “He will take you by the hand and guide you into ALL the truth there is (The Message). I chose to believe I could know what was true about God, Jesus and a salvation, based on the fact that the Holy Spirit had been promised to guide and teach us truth (Jn. 16:5-15).”


       She goes on telling how her friend used another text, Mat. 11:28, 29, to point to her that Jesus was the “rest”, concluding that through a “personal study of the Bible” she came to see that “the Old Covenant pointed to Jesus, and the New Covenant verified that He literally was our rest”.
       Well, she doesn’t explain what led her to such an “exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually” condition she went through. And it was under that mental-confusion condition that she met a lady who, although a religious leader, confessed that knew very little about Seventh-day Adventists’ teachings. That is our first “aha”!
       Then she digresses about some “oxymorons teachings” about Jesus having sins to be our example, which IS NOT the understanding of Seventh-day Adventists at all. How about reproducing topics 9 and 10 of the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists to see what OFFICIALLY this church teaches?

9. Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ:

       In Christ's life of perfect obedience to God's will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God's law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The resurrection of Christ proclaims God's triumph over the forces of evil, and for those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow. (John 3:16; Isa. 53; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4, 20-22; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15, 19-21; Rom. 1:4; 3:25; 4:25; 8:3, 4; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Col. 2:15; Phil. 2:6-11.)

10. Experience of Salvation:

       In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God's grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God's sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God's law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment. (2 Cor. 5:17-21; John 3:16; Gal. 1:4; 4:4-7; Titus 3:3-7; John 16:8; Gal. 3:13, 14; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; Rom. 10:17; Luke 17:5; Mark 9:23, 24; Eph. 2:5-10; Rom. 3:21-26; Col. 1:13, 14; Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 3:26; John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:23; Rom. 12:2; Heb. 8:7-12; Eze. 36:25-27; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Rom. 8:1-4; 5:6-10.)

       Thus, we can see what a big strawman of her own devising Ms. Macomber is fighting against. That shows that her mental confusion that led her to the decision she finally took could have included “forgetfulness”, which we could count as our second “aha”: she “FORGOT” what the SDA teachings really are, and created something of a monstruous idea that doesn’t correspond to what SDA’s really believe and teach regarding both Jesus Christ’s nature and salvation solely by grace.
       As to her friend, if Macomber hadn’t forgotten so regrettably what are the REAL SDA views, she could have helped Debbie to know some more of Adventism, especially as she is an educator. But her attitude didn’t help an inch in improving Debbie’s admitted poor knowledge of what are the real views on salvation and on Jesus Christ of the SDA Church. The educator Macomber miseducated her even more conveying to her false notions of 7th-day Adventism, what a shame!
       Now, the “seal of God” question deserves a good deal of Bible analysis, so, as God invites: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD” -- Isa. 1:18.
       Does Ephesians say anything about God’s Spirit REPLACING another seal of God? It doesn’t. By the way, we read in Rom. 4:11:

       “And he {Abraham} received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also”.

       This text gives us important guidance to understand this question of God’s seal. First of all, it shows that “sign” and “seal” are used as synonyms in the Bible. To have a special “sign” from God is to have a “seal”. Was Abraham destituted of God’s Spirit when he received that “sign” or ‘”seal” of circumcision, which, in his case, is related to his being justified by faith? No way. How come the “father of faith” wouldn’t have been also sealed for salvation through having God’s Spirit? After all it is said regarding him: “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen 12:3) had him not God’s Spirit?
       Now, Seventh-day Adventists do teach that the Sabbath is God’s seal. That is clearly said in Exo. 31:16, 17 (“Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed”), which is confirmed centuries later through the Prophet Ezekiel (“And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God”— 20:20).
       In this context it would be worthwhile to highlight that the Baptists, in their “Doctrinal Declaration” of the National Baptist Convention, of Brazil, quote Exodus 31:14-18 in the footnotes of Topic XV, that deals with the day of observance (in a section they call “Christian Sabbath”) confirming the notion that the commandment related to the rest day, to be totally dedicated to God, is the “sign” between God and His people. That makes very good sense because Atheists, materialists and lax Christians are not characterized as those who dedicate a special period of time to God regularly every week. In the case of the latter, that is done in a way to adjust to their convenience.
       Regarding the allegation that the “seal of God” is the Holy Spirit, based on Eph. 1:13 and 4:30, there are three considerations to be made:

       1 – A document can carry more than one seal to validate it, as any notary office would confirm. Thus, the Spirit is not granted as a divine seal that substitutes another, which is not absolutely indicated in any of these texts.

       2 -  As the Holy Spirit is granted to all those who accept the terms of the new covenant which God promised to establish with His children who accept Christ [see Heb. 8:6-10 and 10:16] He writes in their hearts and minds what is treated as “My laws” [God’s], and the Sabbath precept enters inescapably in these. Nothing is said that in this process the Lord leaves it out, or maintains it, but changing the sanctity of the seventh to the first day of the week, or leaves the principle of a day of rest as a vague, voluntary and variable practice, that conforms to the conveniences or interests of each believer (or his/her employer).

       3 – In Revelation 7:2, 3 an angel is in charge of sealing the servants of God, and angels are not who grant the Holy Spirit.

Could Macomber give us a better explanation to the “three angels message”?

       Those who belong to the Adventist faith know how the SDA Church has a very special interpretation of Rev. 14:6-14, which inspires even the Church’s logo. Other day I heard in a religious American TV station a preacher saying, based on these texts, that in the end time three angels will be crossing the skies, preaching the gospel to the Jews! When I heard that I thought in amazement: “How can a preacher of the gospel say such an oxymoron thing?!” I wonder what Ms. Macomber would think of that. Did she become an adherent of such strange view also?
       We know very well that the mission of preaching the gospel was assigned to MEN, not to angels. We, members of the Church of Jesus Christ, are the ones who have this task to accomplish (Matt. 28:19, 20), not supernatural beings.
       Moreover, by this fantastic interpretation we have a God who discriminates Jew against Jew! For if He is going to send angels to preach the gospel to the last generation of Jews, why didn’t the previous generations have the same privilege? And who would resist to that preaching, knowing that it came from an angel? All would be converted forcefully, under the influence and impact of the supernatural aspect of this preaching itself.
       These three angels of Revelation 14 just represent the human messengers with such a task to carry out. The meaning of the word ‘angel’ is exactly ‘messenger’. Now, I think that the Adventist interpretation is so logic, so coherent, so inspiring, and I wonder HOW OTHERS would interpret it. I would love to hear Ms. Macomber giving me her exegesis of these verses to compare with ours. Would she have something better to say regarding these texts?
       On the light of Chapter 13 of the same book we see once more that the final conflict will happen regarding genuine versus false worship, as also highlighted in chap. 14:6-14.

The Three Messages and What They Stand For

       What we find in the aforementioned chapter 14 of Revelation is a message that centers on the genuine worship to God as Creator of “heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” in contrast with the denunciation of the false worship.
       Let’s compare now the language of Revelation 14:6 y 7 with Exodus 20:11 to come to an important discovery:
   
       “I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come; and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the seas, and the fountains of waters” (Rev. 14:6, 7).

       “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore  the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exo. 20:11).

       Both texts are in undeniable parallel. Christianity Today mentioned a time ago that the precept of the day of rest was “the most neglected” among all the Decalogue’s principles. That is precisely where the “memorial of creation” is located. The Creator and His creation are emphasized in this final warning message.
       Thus, the final preaching of the “everlasting gospel” is concerned with awakening the world regarding the genuine worship to God as Creator of memorable works, an aspect of the Christian message distorted by the dominant Church in the Medieval Era, something that the Protestant Reformation failed to correct. The result of that can be seen today with so many Catholic and Protestant religious people, even ministers and priests, adhering to modernist notions of evolution of the species, which contradicts the basic teaching of the Scriptures on the so-called “basic trinomial of the Christian faith”—Creation-Fall-Redemption. And in the face of such a militancy of Atheism as never seen before, how important it is for us to highlight this aspect of the Christian message—God, the Creator of everything, Who deserves our special homage for this aspect of His being in relation to our own lives on this planet.

The Contrast Between the Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast

       The prophetic text of Revelation also highlights a denunciation of the false worship:

       “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation” (Rev. 14:9, 10).

       As in the context we read about a “seal of God” and a competing sign, or “mark of the beast”, and since in Romans 4:11 we see that “sign” and “seal” are synonyms, one has just to understand two things:

       a) What is the “seal of God”.

       b) What would be the “mark of the beast”.

       We have already seen how Exo. 31:16, 18 and Eze. 20:12, 20 confirm that the Sabbath is God’s seal, which is not annulled nor replaced by the granting of the Holy Spirit as “sealing” element in the process of a Christian’s justification. The “sign” or “seal” of circumcision to Abraham didn’t annul nor replace God’s Spirit in his life experience.
       But, don’t the texts of Exo. 31:16, 17 and Eze. 20:12, 20 indicate that this sign is between God and Israel? Yes, God established His pact with Israel, but why was that so? Why wasn’t the divine pact established with the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Libyans? Anyone who can answer this question will have half way through to understand the whole question. Can Macomber or Ratzlaff answer that for us? If they do, they will come to their “aha” of understanding the truth of the matter, which now seems so confusing in their minds.
       David, the inspired psalmist, declared in language that certainly has universal character:

        “The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion” (Psa. 111:2-4).

     God even invites the foreigners to participate of the promises of the covenant that He established with Israel, in accordance to His ideal that “my house shall be called an house of prayer to all people” (Isa. 56:2-7). Now, on that point we notice that there is a great ignorance among Christians in general regarding the real reason of God’s choosing the nation of Israel. Most religious people don’t understand that Israel was not elected just for being privileged, but to have a special mission—be “witness of IHWH” and a “light to the Gentiles . . . until de ends of the Earth” (Isa. 43:10 and 49:6).
       Israel was supposed to transmit the message of the true God, His law and His plan of salvation to all nations around. So much so that it was placed in a very strategic region of the world even to this day—the cross point of Europe, Asia and Africa. Had Israel fulfilled its mission, the conditions of this planet would be very different, as pictured in the Psalm 67:

       “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.  That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.  Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.  O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.  Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him”.


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Azenilto Brito

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Re: Does Ephesians 1:13 Implode SDA "Seal of God" Interpretation?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2010, 05:03:02 PM »


The “Mark of the Beast”, End Time Sign Competing With the “Seal of God”

      Since in the last article we demonstrated clearly that Ephesians 1:13 does not “implode” SDA interpretation concerning God’s seal (the Sabbath), let’s analyze the “mark of the beast” feature of these end time prophecies.
       If there is a “seal of God”, which has to do with genuine worship of God, we all know how the devil along the centuries and millenia of human history especialized in devising counterfeits for everything God establishes. Thus, we can see how his agenda is being fulfilled. It is not an agenda of any particular Church or religious organization, rather the Enemy uses them as he pleases, always intending to deviate God’s people from genuine worship.
       That has been his modus operandi. How many times in Israel’s history the people, even their kings, were distanced from God through idolatry! Who was behind all that, but Satan? He even created a “queen of heaven” to whom the people burnt frankincense (Jer. 44:18). And don’t we have in recent times a revised “queen of heaven”, with even campaigns to make her a “co-Redeemer”?!
       Would the devil be less active today? Wouldn’t he exert even greater power to distance people from the genuine worship and, if possible, even diminish the glory of the Savior, as he always attempted to accomplish? Didn’t he resort to appealing to be worshipped, in place of God, by Christ Himself, in order to have the Savior worshipping him in the temptation desert? (see Matt. 4).
       Before discussing the competing “mark of the beast”, it is important to know that thus far nobody is a bearer of it. Nowhere in the world people are impeded to buy or sell for not having such sign, or mark. But it is predicted that there will be this economic boycott against those who are not willing to participate in a global plan that will involve a decision as to being a bearer of either one of these mentioned signs (see Rev. 13:16, 17).

Characteristics of God’s Seal and the Identification of the “Mark of the Beast”

      An imperial seal had three things: the name of the legislator, his function, and the territory of his jurisdiction. For example, Julius Caesar [name], Emperor [position he occupies] of Rome [territory on which he rules]. In the Sabbath commandment we find these three characteristics: the name of the Legislator—God, His position—Creator, and the territory on which He exerts dominion—the heavens, the Earth, the sea and the springs of waters:

       “. . . For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exo. 20:10 e 11).

Once it is clear what the “seal of God” is—the Sabbath commandment—it becomes easy to understand what would be the “mark of the beast”. It is certainly the false Sabbath, that institution that the Roman Catholic Church says clearly to have altered by its authority, changing the day of observance from the seventh to the first day of the week and that the Protestants render a homage to her as they dedicate that day to their main worship activities, or sanctify it (which has been rarer lately, since the majority has adhered to the more “user friendly” nodayism/anydayism/everydayism. . .)
       That the Roman Catholic Church claims to have been the responsible for that alteration, can be exemplified by some official statements of that Church, such as:

        “The Catholic Church . . . by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday” – The Catholic Mirror, official organ of Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.

       “You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify”.—James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (1917 ed.), pp. 72, 73.
 
      Another Catholic document confirms it:

       “Ques. How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holydays?

       “Ans. By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same Church”. – Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine (same in the Manual of Christian Doctrine, ed. By Daniel Ferris [1916 ed.], p. 67.

Five End Time Scenarios

      As we study carefully the prophecies of Revelation 13, 14, 17 and 18 one thing is made clear: the final clashes between good and evil will have to do with genuine versus false worship.
      Some time ago I composed an article analyzing five end time scenarios--that of Humanists, Spiritists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Dispensationalists and the last and the one that most clearly is being fulfilled, even after over one and a half centuries of being exposed--that of Seventh-day Adventists.
       Even though the data presented is somehow outdated, the gist of what is exposed the contents of said articles, written a few years ago, still have total validity. Let’s see:

       1st. – Humanistic Scenario. This scenario refers to a pinkish and prosperous future for all, thanks mainly to human developments in the field of science and technology. One can remember the amazing promises of the 60s and 70s for the year 2,000, when it was envisaged that everybody would work less hours, many would remain at their homes working with their computers, going to their workplace only once in a while for socializing, people would retire much sooner, home robots would do most tasks for housewives, the more adventurous ones could have a holiday on the Moon, or perhaps undertake excursions to Mars . . .
       However, today the scientists seem the most dismayed people regarding the future of humanity. Despite their scientific and technological achievements having brought so many benefits to the world, they also created terrible conditions in which the very future of the planet is threatened. Just think about New Orleans’ Katrina, caused by climate change due to human activity in confrontation with nature. A story on the CBS TV network, USA, a time ago highlighted how Alaskan villages by the sea must move to higher ground, at a cost of billions of dollars, because of unexpected defrosting of the Poles. As the “greenhouse effect” warms ocean waters. the sea is invading the areas where they had their homes.
       Human selfishness is the same and does not change on the face of scientific and technological development. Hence, man himself threatens the survival of the human race. And that to not mention the old threat of nuclear war globally destructive, seen today as reduced with the end of the cold war. But the former threats are being revived by other emerging nuclear powers. . .
       In certain scientific panel of around 600 scientists from around the world surveys were publicized on the conditions of our planet, at the request of the UN, concluding that if urgent and comprehensive measures are not taken, we will be marching towards a global catastrophe. The ecological imbalance is an increasingly acute problem everywhere. Several bacteria not existing in certain territories are now advancing to vast areas due to changes in climate and temperature, which affects men, animals and plants. The July 2006 issue of the National Geographic magazine showed widespread contamination of the US coast, and another recent edition of Time magazine presented a scary scenario of mercury pollution affecting wild animals and fish in alarming proportions, not only in North America as also in other continents. But if we leave the land to check what happens at sea, the situation does not look like more encouraging.
       These data above are not updated, but does the present conditions show improvement of the crises pointed out? Anyone can tell that the answer is NO!

       2nd. – Spiritist’s Scenario. The Spiritists’ worldview shows many similarities with the Humanists’ in their also pinkish scenario of the future of mankind. There is, however, a significant difference--it views the development and progress of mankind thanks to the endless “law” of reincarnation. But, as we cannot see this supposed moral, ethical and spiritual progress among men, and the scientific-technological progress is a double-edged sword, as stressed above, the pinkish future vision that Spiritism promotes is not confirmed at any rate.
       Not to mention how, biblically, the notion of reincarnation is not substantiated by facts, and is even a terrible error of these last days, preparatory to other larger predicted errors when there will be those bringing down fire from heaven before men. Moreover, the biblical picture of the future, as presented by Jesus, Paul and other Apostles, is that people in general would  go “from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3: 13).
       Christ stated that in the last days immorality and departure from good would make society very similar to that of Sodom and Gomorrah, and stressed that “because of the increase of wickedness the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12). Such words are far from representing a positive and optimistic scenario for men in the future (or would that be in the present?!).
 
       3rd. - Scenario of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. These religious people preached that Armageddon would occur due to the shock between the forces of the Communist world vs. the Capitalist one. The Watchtower Society organization’s book Thy Will Be Done on Earth (1958), had a scenario of the end time highlighting the struggle between “the King of the North” and “the King of the South”, according to Daniel chapter 11. The modern “King  of the South” was seen as a combination of Great Britain/United States (p. 263), and the “King of the North” was, as the book teaches, “the Soviet Union, the Communist power that since seized power in Russia in 1917 has maintained as its goal until now the dominion of the entire world” (p. 278).
     The book continues predicting: “Until the time of the end, during the Armageddon, there will be competitive coexistence between the two kings” (p. 297). And declares on pg. 300: “the Angel of Jehovah predicted additional attacks by the Communist King of the North before its end IN THE ARMAGEDDON” (emphasis in uppercase added).
     In the well-known “witnesses’” publication Watchtower, dated April 1, 1984, p. 20, it is highlighted that the Soviet Union is an Atheist, materialistic nation. However, if this would lead to Armageddon it seems that this direction was permanently lost. Actually, today the “cold war” not only ended, but that former Communist and Atheist regime no longer exists.
     On the other hand, religion is in full ascension in the lands of the former USSR and other ex-Communist associate republics. Such “prophetic anticipations” proved a failure for the Watchtower folks. The tremendous strength of Communism, led by USSR, dissolved itself almost overnight, without the firing of a single shot! The toppling of the Berlin wall symbolized this historical and surprising turnaround, and we know that everything came to occur thanks to the close collaboration between the CIA and the Vatican. No doubt, that was a “test” of other future collaborations between the beast that climbs from the land and the one that rises from the sea . . .

       4th. – Dispensationalist’s Scenario. Arising at the end of the 19th century, these Bible interpreters preached a future in which a Jewish Antichrist would persecute the Jews, Russia would invade  Israel, and that nation would expand its territories until reaching the proportions of the area under Solomon’ rule. But nothing has been confirmed in that direction. Although there was a significant return of large contingents of Jews to Palestine, with the formation of the State of Israel, other predictions have failed entirely. Israel is not expanding its territories and, on the contrary, has been returning land stretches to the Palestinians, as is the case with the Gaza Strip.
       There is minimal possibility that Russia would invade Israel, and the failure of this Israel-centered eschatology was demonstrated for good with the prediction that 40 years after the establishment of the State of Israel, i.e. in 1988, the “Rapture” of the Church would occur. Books were published and sold by the millions around the world with such predictions, as The Great Late Planet Earth, by the dispensationalist author Hal Lindsey. And all that led to nothing.
       The big interpretation problem of these scholars of biblical prophecy is that they can’t realize the conditional nature of divine promises and threats, both for Israel and for any other peoples (see Deu. cap. 28 and Jer. 18:7-11). The promise to Abraham (Gen. 12: 1-3) is not “unconditional”, as interpreted sometimes, since he had to effectively leave his land and relatives so that the divine plan were fulfilled from his action (he had total freedom not to obey the divine order).

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Azenilto Brito

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Re: Does Ephesians 1:13 Implode SDA "Seal of God" Interpretation?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2010, 05:04:47 PM »


5th. Seventh-day Adventist Scenario, the Most Clearly Being Fulfilled

      For over one and a half century, Seventh-day Adventists claim that the final conflict will have to do with the Sabbath/Sunday question. The Adventist expectation for a global “Sunday Law”, beginning through initiatives from the US, is well known. Although this notion has been often the target of mockery by opponents, signs pointing in that direction can be seen as never before in different ways, both in the US and other parts of the world.
       Nowadays we witness a very significant emphasis on Sunday sanctification, most significantly highlighted in the Pastoral Letter Domini Dies, proclaimed by late Pope John Paul II, but clearly composed by the present pope, Benedict XVI. In his apostolic trip to Austria, he recalled in a mass on the 9th of September (2007) that Sunday is “the weekly celebration of creation: celebration of gratitude and joy for God’s creation” (see: http://zenit.org/article-20574?l=english).
       Among other things said to exalt the Sunday institution, the Pope repeated the words of a Catholic leader of the past, pleading: “Give the soul its Sunday, give Sunday its soul”. Establishing a connection between Sunday sanctification and nature’s preservation, unheard of before, Benedict XVI highlighted the threat that hovers upon the environment and Creation in general, stressing the necessity to pay greater attention to the “ecological dimension of Sunday”, the day when the Church thanks God for the Creation. He said: “At a time when creation seems to be endangered in so many ways through human activity, we should consciously advert to this dimension of Sunday too”.
       This “ecological dimension” of Sunday is a new language by which the Pope tries to show the Vatican’s leadership in a global campaign to “save the planet” (see http://zenit.org/article-20450?l=english). Wouldn’t that be what some are calling “ECOmenism”?
       But in a theological perspective, we see in the papal discourse a clear distortion of the real meaning of the Sabbath institution: he points to Sunday as a day to celebrate creation, which doesn’t match the biblical teaching, for that role is assigned to the seventh-day Sabbath as being the “memorial of creation”.
       According to the Genesis creation record, on the first day God was acting in His work, as Creator, and only on the seventh-day He rested, blessed and sanctified the day (Gen. 2:2, 3). So, this twisting of meanings is certainly a subtle change of the Bible’s teaching and symbolism on the subject of what constitutes the institution to remember the Creator and His creation.
       In the USA, on the other hand, campaigns stressing greater respect for Sunday and the 10 Commandments are under way. A “10 Commandments Commission” was formed to promote a “10 Commandments Day” (which is being set for the 1st Sunday of May) under the command of influential Evangelical leaders, such as James Dobson, Benny Hynn, Charles Colson, Pat Robertson, Don Wildmon and a good number of others (see: http://www.tencommandmentsday.com/).
       The promoters of these significant campaigns understand that the moral and spiritual decline of the great North-American nation (and all over the world) is due to the failure of society to consider seriously these divine principles, which seems a good thing, but that implies serious dangers for religious freedom. Such initiatives could lead to having religio-political systems influencing the government to dictate norms according to the expectations and interpretations of these leaders. History teaches us a sober lesson that when there is a mix of religion and politics, minorities are always hurt. . .
       In an interview on May 18, 2005 to the program “Fresh Air”, of the NPR network (National Public Radio), that covers practically the entire country, Dr. James D. Kennedy, influential minister and evangelist who had an intense radio and TV activity before passing away in September, 2007, said openly that the principle of separation of Church and State in the USA is an error that goes against the ideals of the Christian founders of the nation, and should be simply discarded. This is a very worrisome notion. His interview can be heard through the following link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4656600).
       As aforementioned, the final events will have much to do with the Sabbath/Sunday question. It will be the definition of who will bear the seal of God, and who will receive the “mark of the beast”. And that the obligatory character of total suspension of activities on Sundays is not a new idea we can see just recalling the “rehearsal” of that during a very serious crisis in recent decades—the oil embargo of the 70’s. What day in the week was affected by those politico-economical developments of the time? The older ones remember the gas stations closing on Sundays in many countries throughout the world.

The Increasing Ecological Link

       In an entire last page article, journalist Nancy Gibbs writes to Time magazine (Aug 2, 2004 edition) suggesting that it would be a good idea to bring back the old “blue laws” of rigorous closing of shops, stores and other establishments on Sundays in the USA. The article had as title “And in the Seventh Day We Rested?”, and as subtitle, “Maybe those old blue laws weren’t so crazy after all”.
       Voices have been raised in different places, asking that all commercial, industrial and recreational activities are suspended one day a week to save energy and to reduce the emission of pollutant gases, which seems to make good sense in the perspective of an ecological catastrophe scientists have been warning humankind about lately. Wouldn’t the Pope’s recent homilies linking respect for Sunday with [/]respect for nature[/u] suit perfectly this type of vision?!
      A significant article in British newspaper The Guardian stresses the idea of halting activities on Sunday to undo the global warming effect. The article has as title ”Slow Sunday: The simple solution to global warming”. It refers a certain movement supported by the publication, that proposes “a wonderful way to empower ordinary people to participate in the great movement of mitigating global warming.”
       The article goes on: “We cannot wait until governments are enlightened enough to legislate and cap the carbon emissions. Matters are urgent. We have to act now, without any delay. The power of public opinion and citizen action will have a strong impact on the climate conference taking place in Copenhagen.
       “One thing we can easily do to achieve this goal: we can declare Sunday to be a fossil fuel-free day or a low-carbon day or at least an energy-saving day. We can start this week, this month or in 2010. We can start individually and collectively. The long journey to cut carbon dioxide emissions can start in the here and now.
       “Not long ago Sunday used to be a day of rest, a day of spiritual renewal, a day for families to come together, but we have changed Sunday from a day of rest to a day of shopping, flying and driving. However, in the context of excessive carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, which are bringing catastrophic upheavals, we can and should restore Sunday to a day for Gaia, a day for the Earth.
       “There will be no great hardship in cutting down all non-essential and non-urgent use of fossil fuels for one day a week. We can easily close supermarkets, department stores and petrol stations. . . . At a stroke, we can reduce 10% of our carbon emissions into the atmosphere by making Sunday a low-carbon day and at the same time make ourselves healthier and happier. So, let us make Sunday a day of rest and renewal rather than a day of travel and toil.
       “Global warming or climate change is only a symptom of our deep-seated desire to consume, consume and consume. The external problem of carbon emissions is connected with the internal problem of desire. If we stay in the rat-race 24 hours, seven days a week, we are bound to pollute our inner space as well as the outer space. Speed is the curse of modern civilisation. The solution to global warming is simple: slow down. Slow is beautiful. Even if we cannot slow down every day, at least slow down on Sunday.” -- The Guardian, 17-09-09. [see original text in:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2009/sep/17/low-carbon-sunday]
       Once more, Sunday would, undoubtedly, be the day chosen, in a global campaign to “save the planet”, and if emergency situations arise—since nobody has any idea of how all this immense quantity of pollutants thrown into the air all over the world would effect nature—how much obligatory this measure couldn’t come to be?
       If in a boat there are five passengers, each belonging to a different religious or philosophical orientation, all debating enthusiastically their ideas, individually defending their views, and one of them spots a hole in the bottom of the boat, which begins to fill with water, won’t they all forget their differences and see a way to fix the common and threatening problem? In the face of emergencies, the tendency is everybody to unite to look for immediate measures that help achieve a common route of escape.

To Unite is Necessary, But. . .

       The union of humankind has been attempted through divers campaigns, but none seems more efficacious for that end than “ecumenism”—the global religious union. And the “supernatural factor” could be part of this final scenario. “Mary’s” message, when of her “apparitions” before millions of Christians and Muslims in Egypt some years ago, was—”Unite”, “Unite”, “Unite”! As we witness such a tremendous political, ethnical, social, economic and religious divisions among the inhabitants of this planet, doesn’t it make much sense to look for such union? Of course to unite is necessary, but the crucial question is—to unite under what leadership?!
       Only those who are very well prepared will discern the truth from the error in these final stages of human history. We are pleased that, in several Christian forums we have participated of, the discussions involving the Sabbath/Sunday and the law of God’s validity questions are the ones that hit records of visitors and participation. This shows the great interest that exists in understanding the Sabbath/Sunday/nodayism-everydayism-anydayism and the validity of the Ten Commandments as God’s moral law issues once and for all.
       This interest in defining clearly the question of the polemical 4th precept of the Decalogue is very timely, for in the near future we will actually have more and more debates on these themes. And such debates will prove foundational to define who will be on God’s side in the final crisis, and who will accept the imposition of an evil agenda by those who want to deviate God’s people from the genuine worship. In the crisis that soon all inhabitant of the Earth will face everyone will have to choose what side he/she will take.
       As the three faithful Hebrews of old, who had to decide between the genuine worship to God and the worship to the false god of Babylon (Dan. 3), those who remain faithful to God are described as the ones who “keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). This is additional evidence that the final conflict will have to do with obedience to some aspect of God’s law.
       In the past these deviations from God’s Word meant the most abject idolatry, which still occurs in the present, but in more subtle ways, notwithstanding no less deceitful. That involves the despising of one of God’s commandments, the Sabbath, and the valuation of its poor imitation—the false Sabbath enforced upon society, even the so-called Christian world, by religious powers that long ago departed from the correct view of the divine law.
       On the other hand, in an evident revival to the genuine worship to God, more and more congregations and pastors all over the world have been accepting the Sabbath truth, becoming “repairers of breaches and restorers of paths” (see Isa. 58:12). This is said in the context of a divine appeal for a faithful observance of the Sabbath day (vs. 13, 14).
       Recently in Brazil a traditional conservative Pentecostal denomination had o a charismatic leader adopting the seventh-day Sabbath keeping, which caused his defrocking, but he was supported by many of the members who studied the subject and concluded that they also wanted to be “restorers of paths”. They had to leave that church, but started a new one stressing the same “seventh day” feature that characterizes those at the end time who “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). That is the origin of the newly formed Congregação Cristã do Sétimo Dia (Seventh-day Christian Congregation), that little by little is growing across Brazil.

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