The Last Countdown

Originally published on Friday, June 11, 2010, 2:06 pm in German at

In Part II of the series of articles about the throne lines of the Clock of God in Orion we begin our journey back into the past of the Adventist churches. God has given us two years, highlighted by the thrones of the three divine Persons of the Divine Council: 1949 and 1950. We are in the time range of the repetition of the third seal: 1936-1986, which corresponds to the compromising church, Pergamos.

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. (Revelation 5:5-6)

The black horse of the third seal already points to a distortion of the once pure gospel, which was symbolized by the white horse of the first seal (1846) as the Adventist Church and Ellen G. White and her husband James White accepted the Sabbath truth. The inflation of the Word of God for a lack of righteous discernment in the church is also shown clearly by the scales and the prices of wheat and barley, which serve for baking the “bread of life”. And there is something for sale here! Namely, loyalty to God and love for the truth. However, those who have the blood of Christ [wine] and the Holy Spirit [oil] are thereby undeterred from being faithful to their God and distinguishing truth from falsehood. All this fulfilled once more literally in the time period of the repetition of the third seal.

Another prophecy fulfilled: “Antipas, my faithful martyr”

Before I respond to what happened in 1949, I would like to return once again to the beginning of the third seal to show how the seals and churches can sometimes overlap and specifically how a major prophecy fulfilled for the Reformation churches, although their leaders would not accept this wonderful fulfillment and see their own history confirmed by God. In the introductory part of this series of articles, I already examined the events that the beginning of the third seal brought about, that the gap between the two then-existing SDA churches, the big church and the Reformation church, that had emerged in the crisis of 1914, became even wider yet.

In Jesus’ letter to the church of Smyrna, we see the events surrounding the Reformation church from 1914 symbolized in the repetition of the second seal:

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna [those excluded in 1914, who did not want to participate in military service and wanted to stay faithful to God] write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive [Jesus, who also suffered the death of a martyr, but for all mankind]; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) [spiritual riches, in contrast with Laodicea, the big church, which esteems itself rich but is spiritually poor] and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews [the Adventists of the big church], and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan [many ministers are Satan’s disciples]. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison [fulfilled once more with the excluded faithful ones, who later formed the SDA Reform Movement], that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death [many Reformation Adventists died for their faith in the First World War], and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Revelation 2:8-11) 

In their “History of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement” they describe how they understand the years from 1936 from their own point of view. Please note how the second church of Smyrna, which is about the Reformation church of 1914, overlaps with the beginning of the third seal in 1936 and how the prophecy of the 10 days (= years) fulfilled again. The classical fulfillment was the persecution of the Christians by the Romans from A.D. 100 to A.D. 313, wherein the last ten years under Diocletian were especially terrible. [The original version of this chapter can be downloaded HERE.]

Under the Hitler regime all our religious activities were proscribed. Our young men were brought into severe trials when called to bear arms because there was no provision for conscientious objectors. And parents had real problems with their school-aged children in connection with the Sabbath. They had tests upon tests. For ten years, until the end of World War II, our brethren worked underground. During this fearful time of distress, many of our brethren had to face imprisonment and even death.

Tests came upon the SDA Church also, but they found an easy solution which our people could not endorse.

In a circular letter dated June 3, 1936, for instance, E. Gugel, a state conference president, sent out the following instructions to his church members:

“To be read aloud in all churches on Sabbath, June 6th:

“Dear Brethren and Sisters in Christ: On May 18, 1936, the competent Departments issued a regulation, an extract of which is as follows:

“The Minister of Science, Education and National Instruction deems it no longer possible to maintain the special position hitherto granted to Adventist children on Saturday. Accordingly, all regulations of exception with regard to the attendance of Adventist children on Saturday are abolished. (This refers to the regulations of February 1934 as well as the former regulation.)

“In reply to a question directed to the Department of the Interior as well as to the Department of Public Worship with regard to making a new application on our part, I was told that this decision was irrevocable. It must be left to Divine Providence as to whether there will be another possibility in the near future to make another application, but we shall leave nothing untried. As we see no possibility whatever for the time being of bringing about a mitigation of this regulation, we must define our attitude. In America and England, as a rule, there is no school on Saturdays. Therefore, this difficulty does not exist there. Until 1919 and 1921, respectively, we had no problem as far as mandatory school attendance on Saturdays. Individuals among us succeeded here and there in obtaining it. Some did so by sending their children to private schools. The poorer ones had no possibility of doing this. However, in the future, private schools will not be able to make an exception. Nevertheless, for 15 years we enjoyed a privilege which our brethren and sisters in many European countries did not have. Unfortunately, some among us did not appreciate it so much. In free Switzerland the authorities have been unyielding on this question. Although individual parents paid heavy fines and went to prison now and again, they gained nothing and finally had to yield. In Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, etc. . . . our brethren and sisters there are also good Adventists as we are (may the Lord grant) here.

“As we have now tried everything, I do not believe that the Lord will consider the attendance of our children at school on Sabbath as a real transgression of the fourth commandment. If this were the case, then we would have to condemn all our brethren and sisters outside Germany, who, under the laws of the land, have had to submit, which is regrettable. This we will not and cannot do. . . .

“You will understand that I feel a heavy responsibility before God and the denomination in this difficult matter. I have therefore sent a circular to all our presidents asking their opinion on this question, so they may carry this responsibility with me. Their answer for the most part is that it would not be wise to bring unnecessary difficulties upon the work by rash actions because of this restrictive regulation. Therefore, we must submit to the new position. . . .”

This circular letter shows how the faith of the Adventist people was tried also with reference to school attendance and Sabbath observance. We think that, under the test, the leadership of the Adventist Church in Germany should have encouraged the believers to comply with the requirements of God instead of succumbing to the anti-biblical demands of the state. On this point, the light received through the Spirit of Prophecy reads:

“Our brethren cannot expect the approval of God while they place their children where it is impossible for them to obey the fourth commandment. They should endeavor to make some arrangement with the authorities whereby the children shall be excused from attendance at school upon the seventh day. If this fails, then their duty is plain, to obey God’s requirements at whatever cost.”—Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the SDAs, p. 216.

[The History of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement, p. 196,197]

And the text goes on, and again, the very serious ten years are mentioned by the Reform Adventists in their own history book, without them being aware that their leaders, because of their rejection of the Orion clock, do not want to admit that these events fulfilled Bible prophecies given by Jesus Himself to the churches:

When religious oppression in Germany had reached a climax, God intervened in behalf of His people. After almost ten years of proscription and persecution, our German brethren were thankful to God that the opposition was finally over, in 1945, and that they were once more permitted to breathe freely and assemble in peace. Their first district gatherings after World War II were held in Solingen (Sept. 14–15, 1945) and Esslingen (Oct. 26–28, 1945). In their paper Der Adventruf (The Advent Call) of December 1946 (first issue), they reported:

“The experiences of the brethren (during the time of the war), according to the testimonies borne of them, show that the Lord led His people in a wonderful way through the difficult years. Tribulation, imprisonment, and persecution brought the brethren closer together. We praise our Lord and Saviour for His great help. . . .

Ten years of oppression and persecution are behind us. The Lord did not consent that His people be annihilated. . . .

Many brethren lost their lives because of their faith—Brethren Hanselmann, Schmidt, Zrenner, Brugger, Blasi, and many others about whom we have no news. We only know that they remained faithful unto death. Many young and old brothers and sisters had to suffer in concentration camps, prisons, and penitentiaries, where they were tormented by inhuman torturers.”

What a terrible day that will be when men will be called to render an account of the innocent blood that they have shed!

[The History of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement, p. 197,198]

You see here that the two churches, Smyrna (“sweet smell” of the sacrifice, 1914-1945) and Pergamos (the compromising church, 1936-1986), exist at the same time during the first ten years of the third seal (1936-1986). There is no doubt. This was fulfilled in this clear and literal way only in the second cycle of the churches and seals! Therefore, these ten difficult years for the Reformation church are mentioned once again in the time period of Pergamos with the following words:

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. (Revelation 2:12-13)

I underlined a statement in the text of the history book of the SDARM above which I would like the brethren of both Reformation churches to examine carefully in prayer: The Lord did not consent that His people be annihilated.

Please ponder whether it was true that the church of Smyrna was not completely destroyed by Satan? Study your history and see there how the first General Conference of the Reformation Adventists after WWII went in 1948 and that this caused another separation in 1951, this time in the Reformation church. And, dear brothers and sisters of the two Reformation churches, please study the letters to the churches of Revelation that follow Pergamos and look to see if you are able to find the spirit of Smyrna somewhere again. Compare on your own the spirit of your pioneers and martyrs with the spirit that the General Conferences of both Reformation churches show nowadays and the intransigence with which they meet the other SDA churches and refuse new light. That’s all I want to say at the moment, except that “Antipas [the Reformation church, which was registered in Germany as the International Missionary Society in 1919], my faithful martyr, was slain among you, where the Satan dwelleth [Germany, as frequently shown in my articles]”. And I would like to assure every one of you that I know that there are faithful followers of Christ in all of the SDA churches, and those have to unite now!

False Doctrines in Church?

In this article I want to specifically address the Orion year 1949, which is marked in red by the line that is formed by the star of Jesus (Alnitak) and the star of the Holy Spirit (Mintaka). What we will find must also be in harmonious conformity to the counsel of Jesus to the church of Pergamos, and especially with Jesus’ rebuke to this church, since we have long recognized that Jesus reveals the sins of His people in Orion. Thus, let us first read all the relevant verses:

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Revelation 2:14-16)

During the time of the third seal and the church of Pergamos, we should therefore be able to see two major teachings that Jesus identified as the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. These doctrines are interrelated and similar, and one follows from the other, as evidenced by the wording “so hast thou also” the doctrine of the Nicolaitans in relation to the doctrine of Balaam. Not all Bible translations express the original Greek wording clearly, which should be translated as in the German “Elberfelder” Bible, “So hast thou also them that hold in the same manner the doctrine of the Nicolaitans”. This is a better translation than the KJV. What we should understand is that there is a connection between these two false teachings that have no other goal than to seduce the sons of Israel to sin, so they would deny their God and apostatize to Satan. It is a very serious matter.

It is interesting that the throne lines, as can be seen in the picture, first of all point to two years: 1949 and 1950. The obvious conclusion is that in those two years something happened that corresponds on one hand to the introduction of the doctrine of Balaam and on the other hand to the introduction of the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. We will see that it is indeed true, and we will also realize that these two doctrines are actually just two sides of the same coin and are closely linked.

Jesus generally emphasizes a contrast in the letters to the churches. He gives praise to those who do things right and then He rebukes those who do the same things wrong. What Jesus in any case wants to make clear is that the end times of persecution ceased at the beginning of the third seal, and first comes a time in which the correct doctrines are still dominant: “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith.”

We know that this praise can hardly relate to the behavior on the part of the SDA church regarding the question of sending their children to school on Sabbath in Europe. Moreover, that problem was already marked by the line of the beginning of the third seal in 1936. Here, we are talking about the name of Jesus and the faith of Jesus and the beginning of the Pergamos church. We have already seen that Smyrna lasted until 1945 and then the persecution stopped. At the same time, however, Jesus says that the others who did not belong to “Antipas” were holding fast His name and did not deny His faith. So, Jesus’ rebuke to Pergamos and His warnings about the teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans have to relate to a time after 1945.

What these time overlaps want to teach us is that everything that relates to these false doctrines, from the beginning of the third seal until the beginning of the reproach to Pergamos (after 1945) was not a problem at all, but then in the course of the third seal, and the church of Pergamos, changes came in that Jesus cannot tolerate. It would mean to deny His name and the faith of Jesus, if we would step into the traps of one or inevitably both false doctrines. There is so much at stake: our eternal life! These traps are so deceptive and dangerous that Jesus especially highlights them by the throne lines of Orion, together with the Holy Spirit and His Father. This also gives us clear insight into what is meant. It’s about His name, His character, His very nature and the faith of Jesus, and ultimately the plan of salvation itself. These false teachings have one goal: to distort the belief in the nature of Jesus and thereby introduce a false understanding of the plan of salvation, which means that those, who believe in these heresies will be lost for Jesus. It is a satanic plan! We have to study very deeply and carefully.

61 Years of Carnage about the Flesh of Jesus

So, let us search the Internet again and look for the events in 1949, the beginning of the problems of Pergamos, which are especially marked by the first throne line. It’s easy to find if we use search terms such as “Seventh Day Adventists, 1949, apostasy”. There are just a few results, and only one particular event stands out. I want to say the search result is unambiguous. There is no doubt we have found the event that God reproaches.

In this search we find various websites and sources, all writing about an essential event in the history of the big Adventist church: a change in the doctrine of the nature of Jesus, which first entered Adventist literature in 1949. There is a special source, which comes from a highly respected Adventist theologian, Dr. Jean Rudolf Zurcher. In his book “Touched with Our Feelings” from the year 1994, Dr. Zurcher tells us what happened since the year 1949 with the Adventist church’s doctrine regarding the nature of Jesus:

Part 4 - The Christological Controversy at the Heart of the Adventist Church

Chapter 10 - Adventism's New Milestone

Throughout the history of Christianity changes in doctrine - have generally taken place slowly, subtly, and imperceptibly. It is often very difficult to determine the origin of these changes, or those who were responsible for them. But such is not the case with the doctrinal change about the human nature of Jesus that took place in the Adventist Church during the 1950s. Those chiefly responsible for the change have left their mark upon the beliefs of the church. It seems obvious that the authors of this change were fully aware that they were introducing a new teaching of the doctrine regarding the Incarnation. This is spelled out in the report of the circumstances disclosed by Leroy Edwin Froom in his book “Movement of Destiny” and in an account which could be considered as the manifesto of this new interpretation, published in “Ministry” under the title “Adventism's New Milestone.” This chapter will focus at the history of this new view, as traced in these sources.

I do not wish to question my colleagues' commitment to truth or loyalty to the church. I am sure they love the Lord and His Word. But I must question certain doctrinal approaches, seeking to do so in Christian kindness.

The First Milestone of a Radical Change

In 1949 the Review and Herald Publishing Association requested Professor D. E. Rebok, president of the Adventist Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., to review the text of the book “Bible Readings for the Home Circle”, in preparation for a new edition.

This book, which had appeared in numerous editions, was widely used by Adventist families in the systematic study of the Bible. It presented the official teaching of the church in great detail. As we have shown earlier, the 1915 edition, reprinted in 1936 and in 1945, stipulated unequivocally,

“In His humanity Christ partook of our sinful, fallen nature. If not, then He was not 'made like unto his brethren,' was not 'in all points tempted like as we are,' did not overcome as we have to overcome, and is not, therefore, the complete and perfect Saviour that man needs and must have to be saved.”

Froom remarks about Rebok: “Coming upon this unfortunate note on page 174, in the study about the 'Sinless Life,' he recognized that this was not true. . . . So the inaccurate note was deleted, and has remained out in all subsequent printings.” As a result, the new edition of “Bible Readings” gives a new answer to the question: “How fully did Christ share our common humanity?” The answer cites Hebrews 2:17, with the following explanatory remark:

“Jesus Christ is both Son of God and Son of man. As a member of the human family 'it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren'—'in the likeness of sinful flesh.' Just how far that 'likeness' goes is a mystery of the Incarnation which men have never been able to solve. The Bible clearly teaches that Christ was tempted just as other men are tempted—'in all points . . . like as we are.' Such temptation must necessarily include the possibility of sinning; but Christ was without sin. There is no Bible support for the teaching that the mother of Christ, by an immaculate conception, was cut off from the sinful inheritance of race, and therefore her divine Son was incapable of sinning.”

This is a significant difference from the 1946 edition. While the older version underlines the participation of Christ in “man's sinful nature,” in “his fallen nature,” the latter strongly affirms that “Christ was without sin.” Obviously, the affirmation is perfectly correct. No one has ever claimed otherwise. But that is not the question. The question is about Christ's humanity, about His “sinful flesh,” as Paul puts it.

As has been pointed out, by rejecting the dogma of the immaculate conception and stating that Mary had naturally inherited the blemishes inherent in humanity, Rebok leaves unexplained how Jesus did not Himself inherit sinful flesh, like all the descendants of Adam. Does not Paul expressly say that He was born “of the seed of David, according to the flesh”? Rebok, in his editing of “Bible Readings”, also altered a second explanatory note, in answer to the question “Where did God, in Christ, condemn sin, and gain the victory for us over temptation and sin?” The two explanatory notes, from two different editions, are placed in parallel for comparison below:

1946 Edition
  “God, in Christ, condemned sin, not by pronouncing against it merely as a judge sitting on the judgment-seat, but by coming and living in the flesh, in sinful flesh, and yet without sinning. In Christ, He demonstrated that it is possible, by His grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome sin, and live a sinless life in sinful flesh.”
Rebok's Revised Text
“God, in Christ, condemned sin, not by pronouncing against it merely as a judge sitting on the judgment-seat, but by coming and living in the flesh, (omission) and yet without sinning. In Christ, He demonstrated that it is possible, by His grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome sin, and live a sinless life in (omission) the flesh.”
1946 Edition
“God, in Christ, condemned sin, not by pronouncing against it merely as a judge sitting on the judgment-seat, but by coming and living in the flesh, in sinful flesh, and yet without sinning. In Christ, He demonstrated that it is possible, by His grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome sin, and live a sinless life in sinful flesh.”
Rebok's Revised Text
  “God, in Christ, condemned sin, not by pronouncing against it merely as a judge sitting on the judgment-seat, but by coming and living in the flesh, (omission) and yet without sinning. In Christ, He demonstrated that it is possible, by His grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome sin, and live a sinless life in (omission) the flesh.”

A “Small” Change with a Big Effect

We cannot even imagine what was set in motion by this “small” change. We only know that it is of such great importance that the Holy Spirit and Jesus marked it in Orion as capital sin. Before we look closer, however, at what was caused by the change, first let us read what another highly respected Adventist theologian, Dr. Ralph Larsen, writes about this book:

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad! A distinguished, Seventh-day Adventist scholar, Dr. Jean Zurcher, whose spiritual and academic credentials are impeccable, has conducted a full and complete investigation of the origin and progress of a totally false teaching about the nature of Christ (Christology) in the Seventh-day Adventist church, and has reported his findings in the book Touched With Our Feelings. This is only one of his notable achievements. In a second, and no less impressive achievement, he has succeeded in getting his book printed by the Review and Herald press, which has rejected all such manuscripts for years.

Dr. Zurcher has taught in various Seventh-day Adventist colleges, and is presently the chairman of the Biblical Research Committee of the Euro-African Division. He has written a previous book on the nature and destiny of man which is widely acclaimed as the best treatment of that subject by an Adventist writer.

In the present volume, he carefully chronicles the historical data and analyzes the Christological positions reached in the unanimous testimony of all Seventh-day Adventist witnesses for a period of one hundred years (1850–1950). He then turns his attention to the false Christology that was introduced in the 1950s, and the incredible actions and arguments of those who introduced it. This makes his work the most exhaustive and comprehensive treatment of the subject that has yet appeared. The results are, in a word, devastating to the false Christology, which teaches that Christ came to earth in the human nature of unfallen Adam, rather than in man’s fallen nature, as our church has always believed and taught.

This book is not to be read and laid aside. It is a veritable library, containing a wealth of information that needs to be studied and restudied. The idea that the subject is unimportant, or is of interest only to theologians, is firmly rejected. Zurcher maintains, with full documentary support, that the subject of the human nature of Christ is of vital importance to every Christian.

The truth that Christ came to earth in the fallen nature of man was described as vitally important by a host of Seventh-day Adventist witnesses before the 1950s. This group consisted of Adventism’s first line of leadership. It included:

  • General Conference presidents: James White, A.G. Daniels, C.H. Watson, W.H. Branson and J.L. McElhany
  • General Conference vice presidents: W.W. Prescott, I.H. Evans and H.L. Rudy
  • Division presidents: E.F. Hackman, W.G. Turner, C.B. Haynes, J.E. Fulton, A.V. Olson and L.H. Christian
  • General Conference secretaries: G.B. Thompson and F.C. Gilbert
  • Union presidents: R.A. Underwood and E.K. Slade
  • Union secretaries: A.W. Semmens and J. McCulloch
  • College presidents: R.S. Owen, H.E. Giddings, W.E. Howell and M.L. Andreasen (who was also a seminary professor)
  • Conference presidents: S.N. Haskell, C.P. Bollman, J.L. Schuler, A.T. Robinson and C.L. Bond
  • Review, Signs and Bible Echo editors: A.T. Jones, Uriah Smith, F.M. Wilcox, J.H. Waggoner, E.J. Waggoner, E.W. Farnsworth, W.H. Glenn, M.C. Wilcox, F.D. Nichol, A.L. Baker, O. Tait, C.M. Snow, G. Dalrymple, R. Hare, M. Neff and G.C. Tenny

All of these illustrious leaders of Adventism published, in articles and books, their strong convictions that Christ came to earth in the human nature of fallen man. In addition, there were many writers who did not hold high positions in the church, but who did have enough stature to be considered eligible to write the same thing in our publications a total of 1200 times, before the 1950s. (See “The Word Was Made Flesh” by this author.) And all of them were contemptuously dismissed by L.E. Froom, the leading promoter of the false Christology in the 1950s, as Adventism’s “lunatic fringe”!

How he would dare to publish such a monstrous misrepresentation is an incredible mystery. How he could get so many Seventh-day Adventists to accept the misrepresentation as fact is an even greater mystery. It would appear to be a classic case of putting blind confidence in a leader. Froom was, at this time, enjoying the confidence of most church members because of the six volumes that had appeared over his name on “The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers” and “The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers”. This had apparently led many to accept anything he wrote without question.

In any case, did Adventism ever have a lunatic fringe? Unfortunately, the answer is “Yes.” And that lunatic fringe believed exactly what Froom believed about the nature of Christ, that Jesus came to earth in the human nature of unfallen Adam! This group was first identified as the “holy flesh” movement of Indiana. You may read about these people in “Selected Messages”, vol. 2, 31–39. The movement began in Indiana, in 1889. When Ellen G. White, who was in Australia, was informed about it, she returned and strongly denounced it at the General Conference of 1901. She described it as “cheap, miserable inventions of men’s theories, prepared by the father of lies.” The conference discussed and condemned the teaching as false. (Zurcher, 276.)

And Froom’s cohorts were too small a group to even be called a fringe. Their names have been, and still are to some extent, a closely guarded secret. But in various ways that secret has been “leaked,” so that we now understand that a group of four persons entered into conversations with certain non-Adventist theologians, and then took upon themselves the awesome responsibility of changing our Christology. This was a challenging task. It meant that the uniform testimony of our cloud of witnesses, for one hundred years, had to be set aside, and an alien interpretation had to be placed on the writings of Ellen G. White, forcing her to say what she actually never said. Why would such a thing be attempted?

To gain the favor of the world. More specifically, to gain the favor of certain Calvinistic theologians who were threatening to describe us as a cult, if the changes were not made, and offering to “accept” us as true Christians if the changes were made. This still leaves us gasping. Since when have we submitted our doctrines for approval to theologians who hold false doctrines on the Sabbath, the law of God, the immortality of the soul, hell fire, baptism, health reform and so on? Nevertheless, it was done. As nearly as we can ascertain, through the curtain of secrecy that was employed, the four Adventists who made the fateful decision were L.E. Froom, Roy Alan Anderson, W.E. Read and J. Unruh.

Roy Alan Anderson was then secretary of our ministerial association and editor of Ministry magazine. If Froom’s description of virtually all of our leaders before the 1950s as a “lunatic fringe” is stunning, Anderson’s contribution is no less stunning. He published to all of our ministers in Ministry magazine that Ellen G. White had written only three or four statements that could be understood to mean that Christ had come in fallen human nature, but that these were “strongly counter-balanced” by her many other statements that He had come in unfallen human nature. (Zurcher 158, 159.) This statement is the precise opposite of the truth in both of its parts. Her statements that Christ came in fallen human nature actually number more than four hundred. And the “counter-balancing” statements simply do not exist. Anderson’s reference to them is pure fiction. Ellen G. White never wrote even a single time that Christ came to earth in unfallen human nature.

W.E. Read made an equally facile contribution in proposing that Christ took our fallen human nature vicariously, in the same way that He paid the price for our sins. But this argument collapses on its own weight. Another person can pay a debt for you, but he cannot take a drink of water for you. If something is done for you vicariously, that means that you do not have to do it. Christ has paid the price for our sins, so we do not have to pay it. If Christ had taken our human nature vicariously, we would not have to take it. But alas, we still have it. Many more serious problems could be pointed out, but I refer you to Zurcher.

So, the false Christology has made its way into our church through monstrous misrepresentations, misleading manipulation of evidence and ludicrous puerile propositions. Tragically, those who have tried to defend this monstrosity have not departed far from the methods of its originators. The misstatements, the false reasoning and the self-contradictions still continue. Witness the writings of Adams, Ford, Heppenstal, Ott, etc.

These grim revelations confront us with two difficult questions. First, how should we relate to the appalling misrepresentations of the originators of the false Christology? Intellectual integrity permits only one choice. We must repudiate them. To defend such methods would be utterly unthinkable.

Second, how should we relate to those among us who are continuing to promote false Christology? Zurcher, although he is clearly appalled by what he has found, carefully refrains from bringing railing accusations against anyone. We must follow his good example. We cannot judge motives, but we must judge actions. Those who defend the false Christology may not be aware of the methods they are defending. We must seek to inform them. If the Lord should stir the heart of any of you to give this book to a pastor of your acquaintance, that would be a good beginning. And if the Lord should lay a larger burden upon your heart, so be it. In any case, praise God for this book and praise God for our truth!

(Ralph Larson has retired from forty years of service as a pastor, evangelist, college teacher and seminary professor. He writes from his home in Cherry Valley, California.)

An Extraordinary Experience

Dear brothers and sisters, the subject to which we are brought by Orion and the year 1949, which is registered there, is frightening! This is not an unimportant issue. It is a matter of life and death for us! Therefore, I hold myself back in these articles and let others do more of the talking, being doctors and theologians whose voice carries more weight than that of a small farmer from South America. Let us now listen to what Kenneth E. Wood, chairman of the Ellen G. White Estate Board of Trustees, has to tell us. He wrote the preface to Zurcher’s book “Touched with Our Feelings” on August 10, 1996. It reads as follows:

From the time I was a small boy in the early 1920s my parents taught me that the Son of God came into this world with a physical heritage like that of any other human baby. Without making a big point of the sinners in His ancestry, they told me of Rahab and David, and emphasized that in spite of His inherited physical liabilities Jesus lived a perfect life as a child, youth, and adult. They told me that He understood my temptations, for He was tempted as I was, and that He would give me power to overcome as He did. This made a deep impression on me. It helped me look to Jesus not only as my Saviour but as my Example, and believe that by His power I could live the victorious life.

In later years I learned that my parents’ teaching regarding Jesus was well supported by the Bible, and that Ellen G. White, God’s messenger to the remnant, had made this truth clear in numerous statements, such as the following:

“Let children bear in mind that the child Jesus had taken upon Himself human nature, and was in the likeness of sinful flesh, and was tempted of Satan as all children are tempted. He was able to resist the temptations of Satan through His dependence upon the divine power of His heavenly Father, as He was subject to His will, and obedient to all His commands” (Youth’s Instructor, Aug. 23, 1894).

“Jesus once stood in age just where you now stand. Your circumstances, your cogitations at this period of your life, Jesus has had. He cannot overlook you at this critical period. He sees your dangers. He is acquainted with your temptations” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, p. 235).

One of the major reasons that Christ entered the human family to live a victorious life from birth to maturity was to set an example for those He came to save. “Jesus took human nature, passing through infancy, childhood, and youth, that He might know how to sympathize with all, and leave an example for all children and youth. He is acquainted with the temptations and weaknesses of children” (Youth’s Instructor, Sept. 1, 1873).

In my academy and college years I continued to hear from Adventist teachers and ministers that Jesus took the same kind of flesh that every human being must take—flesh affected and influenced by the fall of Adam and Eve. It was pointed out that Catholics do not believe this, because their doctrine of original sin requires them to distance Jesus from sinful flesh. They did this by creating the doctrine of the immaculate conception, the doctrine that Mary, the mother of Jesus, though conceived naturally, was from the moment of her conception free from any stain of original sin; thus, since she was unlike her ancestors and the rest of the fallen human race, she could provide her Son with flesh like that of the unfallen Adam. Although Protestants reject this Catholic doctrine, most still argue for a difference between Christ’s humanity and that of the human race He came to save. Supernaturally, they say, He was cut off from the genetic inheritance He would have received from His sin-fallen forebears, and hence was exempt from certain tendencies against which human beings as a whole must battle.

Challenged by Critics

Because Adventists from the beginning have held that Jesus took human nature as He found it after more than 4,000 years of sin, ministers and theologians of other churches have distorted this belief and used it to turn people away from the Sabbath truth and the three angels’ messages. With the doctrine of original sin in their frame of reference, they have declared that if Jesus took a body “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3, KJV) He would have been a sinner and hence would have Himself needed a Saviour.

In the early 1930s an article challenging three Adventist teachings, including the nature of Christ, appeared in Moody Monthly. Francis D. Nichol, editor of the Review and Herald (now Adventist Review), responded to the charges by writing a letter to the editor. Regarding the teaching that Christ “inherited a sinful, fallen nature,” he said:

“The belief of the Seventh-day Adventists upon this subject is definitely set forth in Hebrews 2:14-18. To the extent that such a Bible passage as this teaches the actual participation of Christ in our nature, we teach it.”

Later, in an editorial commenting on the critic’s response to his statement, he wrote, in part:

“We readily agree that for one to say that Christ inherited a ‘sinful, fallen nature’ might, in the absence of any other qualifying statement, be misunderstood as meaning that Christ was a sinner by nature, even as we. This would indeed be an appalling doctrine. But no such doctrine as this is believed by us. We teach unqualifiedly that though Christ was born of woman, partook of the same flesh and blood as we, was so truly made like unto His brethren that it was possible for Him to be tempted in all points like as we are, yet that He was without sin, that He knew no sin.

“The key to the whole matter, of course, is the phrase ‘yet without sin.’ We believe unreservedly this declaration of Holy Writ. Christ was truly the Sinless One. We believe that He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us. Otherwise He could not have been our Saviour. No matter in what language any Adventist may endeavor to describe the nature which Christ inherited on the human side—and who can hope to do this with absolute precision and with freedom from any possible misunderstanding?—we believe implicitly, as already stated, that Christ was ‘without sin’” (Review and Herald, Mar. 12, 1931).

The position set forth by Elder Nichol was precisely the belief that the church, as well as many respected non-Adventist Bible students, had held throughout the decades. It certainly was the view held by Ellen G. White, who wrote:

“In taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. . . . He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He knew no sin. . . . We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ” (Selected Messages, book 1, p. 256).

Dialogue and Change

Imagine my surprise, then, when, as one of the editors of the Review in the 1950s, I heard some church leaders say that this was not the correct view—that it was the view of only the “lunatic fringe” in the church! Dialogue was taking place with a few evangelical ministers who were committed to a view of the nature of man that included the “immortal soul” error. I was told that our position on Christ’s human nature was being “clarified.” As a result of this dialogue, several church leaders who had been involved in the discussions announced that Christ took the nature of Adam before—not after—the Fall. The shift was 180 degrees—Postlapsarian to Prelapsarian.

This dramatic change drove me to study the question with an intensity bordering on obsession. With all the objectivity I could muster, I examined the Scriptures. I read Ellen G. White’s writings. I read the statements of Adventist thinkers who had set forth their views during the previous hundred years. I examined studies and books by contemporary Adventist authors and non-Adventist theologians. I tried to understand what effect this shift in belief might have on (1) the symbolism of Jacob’s ladder reaching all the way from heaven to earth; (2) the purpose of Christ’s taking human flesh; (3) the relationship of His humanity to being qualified as our high priest (Heb. 2:10; cf. The Desire of Ages, p. 745 and The Story of Jesus, p. 155); (4) the relative difficulty of battling the adversary in sinless flesh instead of sinful flesh; (5) the deeper meaning of both Gethsemane and Calvary; (6) the doctrine of righteousness by faith; and (7) the value of Christ’s life as an example to me.

The effects of this doctrine of the unfallen nature of Jesus to the “doctrine of righteousness by faith” and the resulting reduction of “the value of Christ’s life as an example”, I will address in the next article about the throne lines and explain in detail why Jesus also highlights the year 1950 in Orion as a terrible warning. But let us continue reading the preface to one of the best books we can find in contemporary Adventist literature, which I would like to highly recommend to every reader of my articles to study, if he is interested in the salvation of his soul:

For 40 years I have continued this study. As a result, I have come to understand better not only the importance of holding a correct view of Christ’s human nature, but two Ellen G. White comments on why even simple truths are sometimes made to appear confusing:

1. “Professed theologians seem to take pleasure in making that which is plain, mysterious. They clothe the simple teachings of God’s Word with their own dark reasonings, and thus confuse the minds of those who listen to their doctrines” (Signs of the Times, July 2, 1896).

2. “Many a portion of Scripture which learned men pronounce a mystery, or pass over as unimportant, is full of comfort and instruction to him who has been taught in the school of Christ. One reason why many theologians have no clearer understanding of God’s Word is they close their eyes to truths which they do not wish to practice. An understanding of Bible truth depends not so much on the power of intellect brought to the search as on the singleness of purpose, the earnest longing after righteousness” (Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 38).

During recent decades a number of writers have attempted to make a case for their belief that Christ took the pre-Fall nature of Adam. Their biblical proof texts seem strong only when interpreted according to the presuppositions they have brought to them. On occasion they have even employed an ad hominem approach in which they have endeavored to discredit well-respected Adventist teachers and ministers who have held to the post-Fall view. As I see it, their attempts have been patterned after the lawyer who is reputed to have said, “If you have a strong case, stick to the facts. If you have a weak case, try to confuse the issue. If you have no case, rail on the jury.”

It is my deep conviction that before the church can proclaim with power God’s last warning message to the world, it must be united on the truth about Christ’s human nature. Thus I have long hoped that someone with impeccable spiritual and academic credentials would set forth in succinct, readable form a comprehensive view of Bible- and Spirit of Prophecy-based Christology and of how the church deviated from the truth on this question 40 years ago.

This book meets that hope. I have known the author for many years. He is a loyal Seventh-day Adventist, a scholar who has pursued truth with unusual objectivity. Nearly three decades ago he made a well-received contribution to contemporary theology by authoring the book “The Nature and Destiny of Man” (New York: Philosophical Library, 1969). With his clear understanding of the nature of humanity, Jean Zurcher has had the insights necessary to examine the biblical doctrine of Christ’s human nature. In the present volume he carefully sets forth the truth about Christ’s human nature, and shows that the glory of the Saviour’s successful mission to this world is enhanced, not diminished, by the fact that He triumphed in spite of taking the liabilities of “sinful flesh.”

I believe that this carefully researched and well-written book will be enthusiastically received by all who love truth and want to understand better how intimate is the relationship between Jesus and the human family. Truly “the humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God” (Selected Messages, book 1, p. 244).

So much for the preface to this unique book, which is “a light that shineth in a dark place” in comparison to the false doctrines that entered SDA church through many years, especially since 1949. Of course, everything was then tried again to bring even this book and its author into disrepute, but it is still available in several languages and I can only recommend that you get it as soon as possible.

A few pages of the book are available on Google Books.

We Come Full Circle

With those last words of Kenneth E. Wood, we come full circle. We started the Orion study with an “incomprehensible” quote from Ellen G. White in the PowerPoint slides and have been wondering what she could have meant with these statements, because we just could not find it in chapter 5 of Revelation:

The fifth chapter of Revelation needs to be closely studied. It is of great importance to those who shall act a part in the work of God for these last days. There are some who are deceived. They do not realize what is coming on the earth. Those who have permitted their minds to become beclouded in regard to what constitutes sin are fearfully deceived. Unless they make a decided change they will be found wanting when God pronounces judgment upon the children of men. They have transgressed the law and broken the everlasting covenant, and they will receive according to their works. {9T 267.1}

Then we found Orion and were able to decipher part of the Book of Seven Seals and realized that God had registered the sins of His people there, committed on the Great Heavenly Day of Investigative Judgment that started in 1844. To find the answer to the question of how long Judgment Day would take, we have a hint through another special quote from Ellen G. White:

When the books of Daniel and Revelation are better understood, believers will have an entirely different religious experience. They will be given such glimpses of the open gates of heaven that heart and mind will be impressed with the character that all must develop in order to realize the blessedness which is to be the reward of the pure in heart. The Lord will bless all who will seek humbly and meekly to understand that which is revealed in the Revelation. This book contains so much that is large with immortality and full of glory that all who read and search it earnestly receive the blessing to those “that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” One thing will certainly be understood from the study of Revelation--the connection between God and His people is close and decided. A wonderful connection is seen between the universe of heaven and this world. {TM 114}

Now we also realize what it meant that if we would better understand Daniel and Revelation (and Orion), we would “have an entirely different religious experience”, and know that the connection between God and His people is close and decided,” or how Kenneth E. Wood put it, “how intimate is the relationship between Jesus and the human family.”

Unbiased research in the Word of God and the influence of the Holy Spirit finally led us to the most sacred truths in the Book of books: to the truth that Jesus came in the flesh of the fallen Adam. The final verdict on which of the two sides—who have been debating this issue for more than 60 years—holds the truth and has taught us correctly, was ultimately brought to us by Orion, or by God, who wrote the Book of Seven Seals in the heavens and has now given us the full insight. We do not need to read hundreds of books, and we will not need to “obsessively” study theological discussions for 40 or 50 years on a daily basis like Brother Kenneth E. Wood. Orion has shown us the truth, and Jesus—like all Adventists believed for over 100 years prior to 1949—actually came in the sinful flesh of the fallen Adam.

In the next part of “The Throne Lines,” I will address the consequences that have arisen from this false doctrine and where we are led by a false understanding of the nature of Jesus. You may be excited again about what God still wants to show us in Orion. It is very urgent to write this article, since the Orion clock indicates that in June/July 2010 the penultimate General Conference Session of the SDA Church in human history will take place, and I want the GC to take this last opportunity for corporate repentance in the coming last term. Associated with the writing of the articles, however, is also a lot of time to explore everything precisely enough that it is beneficial for you, and I would like to stress again that without Orion not even I would have had the idea to contemplate all these issues so deeply. I probably would have thought, like most of you, that these debates are not so important.

Now we know better, and this will terribly scare many of the leaders of the churches—an awakening people, growing up, taking solid food, shaking off its lethargy. For Satan, this is the nightmare of all his nightmares. These “tidings out of the east and out of the north” will soon make him act, “and Michael will stand up to save His people.” Our Lord is coming soon! That this is the truth, and that Jesus now sends the fourth angel once again to the penultimate Session of the General Conference in Atlanta, you will learn in Part III of The Throne Lines.

At this point, I would like to once again renew my call: I desperately need help with the translations. If anyone of you speaks German or Spanish as their mother tongue—or any other languages besides English—and would like to help proclaim God’s message, then please get in touch with me by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I would like to repeat Jesus’ promise in Daniel 12:3 for all those who are helping to preach this message:

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

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