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    October 30, 1884

    “The Sabbath-School” The Signs of the Times, 10, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner


    1. What is the meaning of the word “immortal”?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.1

    2. Quote three texts which prove positively that man is not immortal.SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.2

    3. Who alone has immortality?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.3

    4. May man ever become immortal?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.4

    5. What must he do in order to receive immortality?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.5

    6. Can we earn immortality, or do we receive it as a gift? Give proof.SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.6

    7. Where must we look for immortality?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.7

    8. Can you prove from the Bible that eternal life will not be given to the wicked?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.8

    9. For what purpose did Christ come to earth?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.9

    10. Who alone does Christ say have everlasting life?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.10

    11. In what sense do we have it now?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.11

    12. When shall we come into possession of it? Give proof.SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.12

    13. In the Bible, by what figure are the dead often represented? Give instances.SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.13

    14. In what place are they asleep?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.14

    15. Until what time do they sleep?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.15

    16. Is there any business carried on in the grave? Quote proof.SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.16

    17. Do the dead know what their friends on earth are doing?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.17

    18. Do any of the dead praise the Lord?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.18

    19. State in Bible language just how much the dead do know.SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.19

    20. At what point of time do men thus lose all consciousness?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.20

    21. From what does this breath of life come?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.21

    22. To whom does it return at death?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.22

    23. What is the difference, if any, between the breath of man and that a beast?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.23

    24. Of what is man composed?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.24

    25. To what does he return at death?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.25

    26. What is the difference between the death of man and that a beast?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.26

    27. Then what is it that makes a man’s life so much more valuable than that of a beast?SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.27

    28. Give two texts of Scripture that you have already learned, which prove that man can derived no benefit from praying to the Virgin Mary.SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.28

    The lesson for this week being a review of the subject of immortality, it will be in place to make the notes of a general nature. From our previous study we have learned that the terms “immortal” and “immortality” do not occur in the Bible so frequently as is so commonly supposed. In hymns and sermons and essays we find such expressions as “immortal soul,” “immortal spirit,” “undying spirit,” “death blessed soul,” “the immortal part of man,” etc., very frequently. In the Bible we look for them in vain. Query: If the Bible does not contain any of these expressions, by what authority do Christian teachers use them? Where are we to look for information concerning the nature of man? Shall we look to our own experience and observation? That would lead us to conclude that man is mortal, for we see death on all sides. We do not need the words of inspiration to convince us that man’s life is “even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Death and decay are the lot of all earthly beings. If we turn history, we find that such has ever been the case. The biographies of all men end with the statement, “And he died.” Shall we go to the heathen authors? If we do we shall find them contradicting one another, one affirming that man has a principle within him that cannot be destroyed, another declaring that death ends all; and by this very diversity of opinion they proclaim their own ignorance of the subject. And yet these very heathen “philosophers” are the ones to whom Christianity is indebted for its dogma of inherit immortality.SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.29

    It is indeed strange that professed followers of Christ should turn from the statements of “holy men of God,” who “spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” to the conjectures of men who “when they knew God, glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened;” to those who, while professing themselves to be wise, became fools; who, because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, were given over “to a mind avoid of judgment.” Yet this is what is done. The words of Plato and Socrates are preferred above those of Job, Isaiah, David, Luke, Peter, and Paul. For when we turn to Holy Writ, where alone wisdom dwells, we find no record of “the immortal part of man,” but perfect unanimity in declaring that “it is appointed unto man once to die,” that there is no man that liveth that can deliver his soul from the hand of the grave, and that God only hath immortality.SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.30

    If we look for the origin of the anti-scriptural doctrine of natural immortality, we find that it sprung from the mind of Satan, the father of lies. The archdeceiver said to the mother of the race: “Ye shall not surely die,” but “ye shall be as gods,” or, as God. The same trait that prompted the acceptance of this doctrine, has perpetuated it. Vanity, love of self, is that to which Satan has deceived the world. It was flattering to Eve’s vanity to be told that she had the principles of life within herself, so that she could maintain her own existence as well as God can. It was for this reason that heathen philosophers seized upon the idea, and is largely for this reason that the Catholic Church adopted it from them. From the Catholic Church, Protestant bodies have received it as a sacred legacy. When we realize the practical effect of the doctrine-to make one self-confident, and regardless of God as the Author of life, and of Christ, as the one through whom it is vouchsafed to man, we can understand something of the far-reaching policy of Satan.SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.31

    There are but a few Catholic abominations for which this dogma is not responsible. Out of it grew purgatory, and the sale of indulgences, by which the pope of Rome waxed rich at the expense of the purses and the morals of the people of Europe. Without that doctrine, the worship of so-called saints, and of the Virgin Mary, would find no place in the Catholic Church. And Spiritualism, that masterpiece of deception, would make no headway but for the prevalence of the belief that departed ones are not really dead. It is a fact that so long as Protestants hold to the doctrine of inherent immortality, they have no weapon with which to successfully meet the errors of Catholicism, or the deceptions of Spiritualism. But the unlearned peasant, who relies on the Bible as God’s holy word, and who understands its simple and harmonious truths, may, with the help of God, withstand the assaults of learned prelates or blasphemous infidels. E. J. W.SITI October 30, 1884, page 646.32

    “The ‘Teaching of the Apostles’” The Signs of the Times, 10, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner


    Last week we quoted some testimony to show the untrustworthy character of the writings ascribed to the Fathers in general; in this article we propose to examine the character of those particular writings whose reflected light add so much to the so-called “Teaching of the Apostles.” These are the two epistles of Clement of Rome, the “Epistle of Barnabas,” and the “Epistles of Ignatius.” The first in order is Clement of Rome. Of him Mosheim says:-SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.1

    “Next after the apostles, Clement, bishop of Rome, obtained very high reputation as one of the writers of this century. The accounts we have at this day of his life, actions, and death, are for the most part uncertain. There are still extant two epistles to the Corinthians, bearing his name, written in Greek; of these, it is generally supposed that the first is genuine, and that the second is falsely palmed upon the holy man by some deceiver. Yet even the first epistle seems to have been corrupted by some indiscrete person, who was sorry to see no more marks of erudition and genius in the works of so great a man.”-Eccl. Hist. Book I., Cent. I, Part II, chap. III, section 18.SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.2

    Of one of the epistles of Clement, Neander says:-SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.3

    “This letter, although, on a whole, genuine, is, nevertheless, not free from important interpolations.”-Rose’s Neander, p. 408.SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.4

    It will be remembered that “the two epistles of Clement” are included in the manuscript which contains the “Teaching.” M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia says of the writings of Clement:-SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.5

    “The only genuine document in his Epistle to the Corinthians, commonly called the first, but improperly, since the so-called second epistle is not his, and is not an epistle, but only the fragment of a homily, later, perhaps, by nearly a hundred years.”SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.6

    We quote one more testimony concerning Clement. The “Religious Encyclopedia” of Herzog, edited by Schaff, says:-SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.7

    “Clemens Romanus, one of the most celebrated names of Christian antiquity, but so overgrown with myths that it has become next to impossible to lay bare the historical facts which it represents, occurs in all lists of the first Roman bishops, but not always in the same place.... Of the numerous writings which bear the name of Clement, most are evidently spurious.... The first epistle is an official missive from the Roman congregation to the Corinthian, occasioned by some dissensions which had arisen in the latter. As it was written in the name of the whole congregation, it bears no author’s name.... The second epistle is not an epistle at all, but a homily; and, as is the oldest existing sermon, it is, of course, of great interest. Where, at what time, and by whom it was written, are questions of great difficulty; and of the many hypotheses which have been offered as answers, none have proved fully satisfactory.”SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.8

    This little item is, however, conveniently forgotten by those who wish to pile up all the “evidence” possible in favor of the genuineness and authenticity of the “Teaching.” For our part, it is impossible to see why the “Teaching” should be considered any the more reliable because it is in the same manuscript with the “two epistles of Clement,” when one of those epistles was not written by Clement, and the other, if written by him, has been grossly tampered with.SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.9

    We now come to the so-called epistle Barnabas. It will not take as long to find out the little that is known of this writing. Mosheim says:-SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.10

    “The epistle of Barnabas, as it is called, was, in my judgment, the production of some Jewish Christian who lived in this century [the first], or the next, who had no bad intentions, but who possessed little genius, and was infected with the fabulous opinions of the Jews. He was clearly a different man from the Barnabas, the companion of St. Paul.”-Book I, Cent. I, Part II, chap. II, section 18.SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.11

    The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia says of this epistle:-SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.12

    “The opinion to-day is that Barnabas was not the author. The epistle was probably written in Alexandria, at the beginning of the second century, and by a Gentile Christian.”SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.13

    Dr. Killen, in “The Ancient Church,” says:-SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.14

    “The tract known as the epistle of Barnabas was probably composed in A. D. 135. It is the production apparently of a convert from Judaism who took special pleasure in allegorical interpretations of Scripture.”-P. 367.SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.15

    M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia says:-SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.16

    “An epistle has come down to us bearing the name of Barnabas, but clearly not written by him.... The writer evidently was unacquainted with the Hebrew Scriptures, and has committed a blunder of supposing that Abraham was familiar with the Greek alphabet some centuries before it existed.”SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.17

    And, finally, Dr. Kitto, in his “Cyclopedia of Religious Literature,” says of the writer of this tract that:-SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.18

    “He makes unauthorized additions to various parts of the Jewish Cultus; that his views of the old economy are confused and erroneous; and that he adopts a mode of interpretation countenanced by none of the inspired writers, and at variance with every principle of sound criticism, being to the last degree puerile and absurd. The inference is unavoidable, that Barnabas, ‘the son of prophecy,’ ‘the man full of the Holy Spirit and of faith,’ was not the author of this epistle.”SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.19

    We now turn to the epistles of Ignatius. To save space, we will quote from only two authors. Mosheim says:-SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.20

    “A regard for truth requires it to be acknowledged that so considerable a degree of obscurity hangs over the question respecting the authenticity of not only a part, but the whole of the epistles ascribed to Ignatius, as to render it all together a case of much intricacy and doubt.”-“Historical Commentaries,” Vol. I, Cent. I. Section 52.SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.21

    We have before quoted from Dr. W. D. Killen, Professor of the Ecclesiastical History and Pastoral Theology to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. In his book, “The Ancient Church,” he devotes two chapters to the so-called epistles of Ignatius, considering at length the testimony for and against their genuineness. In his preface he says:-SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.22

    “If we accredit these documents, the history of the early church is thrown into a state of hopeless confusion; and men, taught and honored by the apostles themselves, must have inculcated the most dangerous errors. But if their claims vanish when touched by the wand of truthful criticism, many clouds which have hitherto darkened the ecclesiastical horizon disappear, and the progress of corruption can be traced on scientific principles. The special attention of all interested in the Ignatian controversy is invited to the two chapters of this work in which the subject is investigated. Evidence is there produced to prove that these Ignatian letters, even as edited by the very learned and laborious Dr. Cureton, are utterly spurious, and that they should be swept away from among the genuine remains of early church literature with the besom of scorn.”SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.23

    In chapter 3 of section 2, first paragraph, the history of the Ignatian epistles is stated so clearly that we quote it entire. He says:-SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.24

    “The history of the Ignatian epistles may well remind us of the story of the Sibylline Books. A female in strange attire is said to have appeared before Tarquin of Rome, offering to sell nine manuscripts which she had in her possession; but the king, discouraged by the price, declined the application. The woman withdrew, destroyed the one-third of her literary treasures, and, returning again into the royal presence, demanded the same price for what were left. The monarch once more refused her terms; and the mysterious visitor retired again, and burnt up the one-half of her remaining store. Her extraordinary conduct excited much astonishment, and, on consulting with his augurs, Tarquin was informed that the documents which she had at her disposal were most valuable, and that he should by all means endeavor to secure such a price. The king now willingly paid for the three books not yet committed to the flames, the full price originally demanded for all the manuscript. The Ignatian epistles have experienced something like the fate of those Sibylline oracles. In the sixteenth century, fifteen letters were brought out from beneath the mantle of a hoary antiquity, and offered to the world as the productions of the pastor of Antioch. Scholars refused receive them on the terms required, and forthwith eight of them were admitted to be forgeries. In the seventeenth century, the seven remaining letters, in a somewhat altered report, again came forth from obscurity, and claimed to be the works of Ignatius. Again, discerning critics refused to acknowledge their pretensions; but curiosity was aroused by this second apparition, and many expressed an earnest desire to obtain a sight of the real epistles. Greece, Syria Palestine, and Egypt were ransacked in search of them, and at length three letters are found. The discovery creates general congratulation; it is confessed that four of the epistles, so lately asserted to be genuine, are apocryphal; and it is boldly said that the three now forthcoming are above challenge. But truth still refuses to be compromised, and still disowns these claimants for her approbation. The internal evidence of these three epistles abundantly attest that, like the last three books of the Sibl. they are only the last shifts of a grave imposture.”SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.25

    Comment on the testimony here quoted must be reserved for another article. These quotations should be borne in mind by the reader. They are valuable, and should be preserved by all who are interested in the Sabbath controversy, and who have not access to the original sources of information. E. J. W.SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.26

    “The Mission of Christ” The Signs of the Times, 10, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. In previous numbers of the SIGNS, we considered briefly the subject of eternal life-that which those have who believe in Christ. We learn that eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23), and that therefore none can ever possess it unless they have the Son. John 3:36. The question now arises, “What shall those have who do not believe in Christ?” In this article, and succeeding ones, we shall seek a Bible answer to this question. An understanding of this subject is necessary, not merely that we made be driven to Christ through fear of the consequences of unbelief, but that we may have a proper appreciation of the love of God. We cannot praise God, and his love to us as manifested in Christ, as we ought, unless we understand, as far as our finite minds are capable of understanding, that from which his love rescues us.SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.27

    In the first place, we notice that their condition is different from that of believers in Christ. This has already been shown. Christ said to the unbelieving Jews, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40. The obvious meaning is that they had not life, and could not have it without coming to him, and accepting him as their Saviour. From John 3:17 some would argue that all mankind will be saved, because Christ said “For God sent not this Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might have life.” Such a conclusion shows the folly of basing a theory on a single text, regardless of other texts or the context. The eighteenth verse explains the seventeenth. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Now we know why God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world. That would have been an unnecessary proceeding. The world was condemned already. His mission was to save as many as possible from a lost world. “God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. The tenth verse of this chapter shows that being sinners is equivalent to being enemies; and that is why the world was condemned, because all have sinned.SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.28

    God sent his Son “that the world through him might be saved;” there was opportunity for all the world to be saved if they would, but they must comply with the condition,-believe on Christ. And now what is to become of those who do not accept this condition? The verse quoted at the beginning of this article tells us: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” From this we learn that if God had not sent his Son, the whole world would have perished; and since the condition of salvation is belief in Christ, it necessarily follows that those who do not believe in him will perish; they will accept nothing from Christ, and therefore they receive the same doom that they would if he had not come.SITI October 30, 1884, page 649.29

    In the passage under consideration (John 3:16-18), there are two classes brought to view, believers and unbelievers. The first class receive the reward of eternal life, the second class are left to perish. Now since these two classes are directly opposite in character, it must follow that to perish is the exact opposite of eternal life. The opposite of life is death, and the opposite of eternal life is eternal death. That death is what unbelievers receive, we learn from Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”SITI October 30, 1884, page 650.1

    In Romans 5:12 we learn how the whole world came to be in this state of condemnation, on account of which they would all perish if it were not for Christ. Paul says: ‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned;” etc. Adam was the one man by whom sin entered into the world. The stream, unassisted, cannot rise higher than the fountain, and therefore Adam’s posterity are necessarily born into a state of sin. When Adam sinned, God looked down the ages and saw a whole human race in a state of rebellion, and, consequently, of condemnation; and then it was that his great love was manifested, in giving his only begotten Son to die for a rebellious world. Since the sentence pronounced upon Adam extended to the whole human race, we will turn and examine it.SITI October 30, 1884, page 650.2

    In Genesis 2:15-17 we learn that God placed Adam in Eden to dress it and to keep it, giving him permission to eat freely of the fruit of every tree, with one exception. Concerning that the Lord said: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” There has been much bewildering comment on this verse, the conclusion usually being that the death here threatened was threefold, viz., “death spiritual, death temporal, and death eternal.” But as in the giving of the law, so also in pronouncing the penalty for its violation, the words must be understood in “their usual and most known signification.” When the words of a law or of a penalty are such as are in common use, no one is justified in placing any construction upon them. Now the term “die” in the text is unqualified, and it must therefore mean simple death. It cannot mean spiritual death for the following reasons: 1. Nothing is said about any such kind of death. 2. According to the commonly accepted meaning of spiritual death-a state of sin-the act of eating the forbidden fruit would have been spiritual death; and consequently the penalty pronounced upon Adam for a certain act would have been the condition of the act prohibited! But the penalty was not the act itself, but something that should follow that act. Either could mean temporal death, i.e., death for a time; for that would be equivalent to a pardon before the sin was committed, which would be absurd. As before stated, the penalty was simply death.SITI October 30, 1884, page 650.3

    Right here we are met with an objection. Says the objector: “You cannot take the words of the penalty in their exact literal signification, because they read thus: ‘In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,’ and the record says that Adam lived nine hundred years.” Still we say that the penalty means just what it says. If it does not, then Adam had no means of knowing what would be the penalty if he should sin. The objection arises from the erroneous supposition that the sentence has been carried into effect. Those who make it seem to forget the words of Christ, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If God had not so loved the world, the sentence would have been executed, Adam would have died that very day, and we, his posterity, would never have existed. It was not Adam all alone whom God loved, but the whole race whom he had created in him. On account of this great love, the execution of the sentence was stayed, and man was granted another trial. The plan of salvation was devised, and Christ agreed to take the sins of the world upon himself, and rescue man from his lost condition. Bear in mind the fact that God did not revoke the penalty; he merely stayed its execution, in order to give men a chance to accept the conditions of pardon. If none of Adam’s race should accept these conditions then they would all suffer the penalty threatened to him; if a few accept the conditions, then they alone escape the threat of doom. And so when we read that Christ was given that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, we understand that the original penalty announced to Adam was that he should perish. “To perish” signifies, “to be destroyed; to go to destruction; to come to nothing; to be blotted from existence.” That this will be the doom of all who disregard the love and mercy of God in Christ Jesus, is fully borne out by the Scriptures, as we shall see.SITI October 30, 1884, page 650.4

    It may not be out of place to briefly consider the marginal reading of Genesis 2:17: “Dying thou shalt die.” By some this is supposed to afford an answer to the objection that Adam did not immediately die and that therefore the words of the penalty cannot be taken literally. From this marginal reading they gather that the penalty threatened was that the seeds of death, as it is expressed, would be sown in Adam as soon as he sinned, or, in other words, that he would become mortal, and would eventually die. But this does not help the matter at all; for if we substitute “thou shall die,” for, “thou shalt surely die,” we are still shut up to the fact that this was to occur “in the day that thou eatest thereof.” The truth is that the marginal reading does not express to us the meaning of the original so correctly as to the words of the text, “Thou shalt surely die.” It is a construction that often occurs in the original, when emphasis is required. It is used in Genesis 2:16: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest free eat.” The marginal reading is, “eating thou shalt eat.” This does not mean that he should begin to eat and continue to eat until the act of eating should be consummated, but was an emphatic permission to Adam to eat.SITI October 30, 1884, page 650.5

    The same construction is used in Exodus 3:7, where the Lord says, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people.” Had our translators done as they did in Genesis 2:16, 17, they would have placed in the margin, “Seeing I have seen.” Then, according to the interpretation given to the marginal reading of Genesis 2:17, it would mean that God began to see, and continue to see, until finally he saw. This would make nonsense of the text, yet it would be as legitimate an interpretation as the other. The expression is simply an emphatic statement that God had seen the affliction of his people; and Stephen, in his discourse (Acts 7:34), marks this emphasis by the repetition of the statement: “I have seen, I have seen.” So the statement in Genesis 2:17 did not mean that man should begin to die and continue to die until he should finally be dead, but it was an explicit an emphatic declaration that death should immediately follow his sin. If we should translate this passages as Stephen did the similar construction in Exodus 3:7, it would read: “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die thou shalt die.” This would well express the meaning. A parallel to this emphatic declaration of the death penalty is sometimes heard in human courts.SITI October 30, 1884, page 650.6

    “Thou shalt surely die.” This penalty was unequivocal and unconditional. But for the merciful forbearance of God, and his love as manifested in the promised sacrifice of Christ, the human race would have been blotted from existence, in Adam.SITI October 30, 1884, page 650.7

    With have now found how man incurred the wrath of God; and in succeeding articles we shall learn more fully how that wrath will be manifested to all who do not flee to the refuge offered. The consideration of the words spoken to Adam after he had sinned: “Dust thou art, and not the dust shalt thou return,” must be deferred until we have finished this subject now before us. E. J. W.SITI October 30, 1884, page 650.8

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