Bulletin of Prophetic Historicism
11 May 2016 Editor and Proprietor
Edwin de Kock
Bulletin # 26
The editor/proprietor assumes responsibility for his own contributions. He is not, however, responsible or liable for the ideas expressed in pieces by other writers, also sometimes mentioned or cited.
Faithful friends, we want to begin this newsletter by thanking deeply each one who obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit to write or call, expressing appreciation for Edwin’s books, or sending a donation. All these greatly encouraged us. Perhaps you do not realize that we have been suffering significant health and financial challenges lately.
But in addition we are burdened by credit card debt. This was not recklessly incurred but the only way to refinance the 30-year mortgage on our mobile home. At more than 9 percent interest we were never going to be able to pay it off. But, though risky, credit cards offered 0 percent plus an initial fee for one year. We have been trying our best to pay off as much as possible during that one year, but soon the interest rate will kick in again and necessitate a change to another credit card. And sales have been very slow.
Please give us marketing advice. You could also help us by buying another of these very valuable books for yourself or a friend. Or kindly forward this to your email contacts. Better still: get other websites to link to ours. Or what about starting a small group in your home or church, using—for instance—A More Sure Word of Prophecy together with The Use and Abuse of Prophecy? These two books complement each other beautifully in setting readers’ feet on a firm prophetic platform. Please pray for an answer to Ria’s prayer: Please Lord, give a voice and wings to the books lining the walls of our home! God is wonderfully kind, but what happens to the books should we become incapacitated before they have each reached that person who needs it?
Edwin’s Health and Writing
Edwin recently went for another echocardiogram to check on his leaking mitral valve regurgitation. Last year his cardiologist thought he had two or three years left. In a few days’ time, the cardiologist will deliver his verdict.
At his age, Edwin is unwilling to have his chest opened a second time, which would be necessary for surgical valve replacement. He says he has had a good innings, though he prays the Lord to grant him a few more fruitful years as a writer. He also prays for a miracle for the sake of his cardiologist, who is Jewish and needs to accept his Messiah.
One of Edwin’s remaining projects is to finish his epic in Esperanto. Connoisseurs regard him as a great poet in the international language. The title of his epic is La Konflikto de la Epokoj (The Conflict of the Ages). In poetic form, it presents the grand Adventist story of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. To complete this epic, Edwin has perhaps another fifty pages of writing left. This will take some time. He is very attentive to features like characterization, metaphoric language, sound patterns, rhythmic effects, etc. Please pray for him as he strives to finish what some readers think will be a literary masterpiece, especially since Edwin is the only Adventist Esperanto poet.
Other News and Activities
But what have we been up to since our last Prophetic Bulletin in December? Quite a bit. We sent out two letters that were, so to speak, interim Bulletins dealing with our activities.
First there was one in January entitled “From Ria’s Corner.” Among other things, this referred to the horse bite. The wound has now closed up but the resulting scar tissue sometimes causes very much pain, which may take a year to clear up. We are still paying off on her hospital co-payment.
Then there was a cover letter accompanying four prophetic seminars that Edwin presented in February at the All Nations Seventh-day Adventist church in McAllen. These lectures make up forty pages vindicating prophetic Historicism as opposed to Idealist, Preterist, and Futurist/Dispensationalist interpretations. The full text of these seminars has been placed on our website propheticum.com for your enjoyment.
On March 19, our Edinburg church had a Senior Appreciation Day, when all items—including the very special music—were presented by older people. Edwin, 86 years of age, delivered the sermon: “How to Be Saved.” A DVD was made of it. It still needs just a bit of editing, but it should be available soon. On April 9, he also preached at our Mission Hope church about “The Enabling Power of the Gospel.” Nowadays, increasingly, these are themes to which he is drawn.
Amazing Discoveries television fans may have viewed Edwin’s powerful Faithful to Our Roots, sermon, which was recorded at their studio two years ago. Friends who saw this were blessed.
Three birthdays were celebrated recently: Edwin 86 on March 9, Ria 80 on 5 April, and Mirtha, our physician daughter-in-law, 62 on 13 April. So, at Ria’s instigation, Mirtha and our son Andre flew us at her expense to beautiful, scenic Redding, California! They arranged for a family get together. Also there were our grandson Edwin, a medical student at Loma Linda, his charming girlfriend Dalila, now completing a course in dietetics, and Rose, our precious granddaughter, a Psychology major, also studying in southern California. We spoke via Skype with our other grandson, Joseph, in England who is a meteorologist with the U.S. Air Force.
That visit to our loved ones made us realize anew how deeply the Father must long to have His children all together in His most glorious home amid natural beauty which we can only dimly imagine. Yet, amazingly there are many who turn down that invitation to an eternal life of joy. (Anybody who would like Ria’s California letter with the pictures, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Forward to Zion
Last year, Edwin made three presentations at the delightful Ohio Forward to Zion camp meeting. You can hear them through the Internet. Just type in Forward to Zion AudioVerse 2015. The edited text now also appears on our website propheticum.com. The topics are as follows:
1. “The Lord Is Coming. Are You Ready?” This blends together personal appeal with a Historicist perspective on the events, like the great tribulation and the three great signs that precede, the Second Advent as well as the manner of the Lord’s coming. Idealist, Preterist, and Futurist naysayer expositors are shown to be wide of the mark.
2. “Three Angels Flying in the Midst of Heaven.” Here Edwin, with an in-depth analysis examines the fourfold relationship of Seventh-day Adventists to the entities described in Rev. 12: 17; 14:6-12. He shows why we have a perfect right to call ourselves the Lord’s end-time Remnant Church, even though nowadays a surprising thing happens at some of our churches. Guest speakers are warned, perhaps by a misguided pastor, not to preach about the Three Angels’ Messages. This is astounding because we would and could not have come into existence without them, as Edwin explains.
3. “To Ripen the Grain for the Harvest.” Here, comparing Scripture with Scripture as well as the Spirit of Prophecy, he deals with the Holy Spirit as both Early and Latter Rain. Peter’s great confrontational address at Pentecost is compared to the Third Angel’s Message of Rev. 14:9 as well as the Fourth Angel of Rev. 18:1-4. Also involved is righteousness by faith, together with how those who accept the Lord Jesus can by his indwelling through the Holy Spirit overcome the Evil One and obey the Law of God.
“Enmity”: A Setback
Amazing Discoveries was due to begin its presentation of this new documentary series in early 2016. It is an updated version of Total Onslaught. Entitled Enmity, it is due, as AD has explained, to “feature fifteen episodes and multiple guest speakers, in addition to Walter Veith, and will explore the idea of the controversy between good and evil raging on this planet in the context of historical and current events.”
One of those scheduled to participate is Edwin de Kock. His main contribution will be in the area of history. This is the weakest point of most SDA speakers about and writers on prophecy. It is, however, his forte, as is evident throughout all his books. Today he is, both qualitatively and in the number of pages that he has produced, the leading Historicist author on Bible prophecy, as his five books and other well-received publications attest.
Unfortunately a fire in Vancouver, Canada, has destroyed the home of Wendy Goubej, the editor, her beloved dog, and her laptop computer. Some of the material on it was destined for use in this documentary. Its completion has therefore been delayed. Please pray for her and this project.
Palabra Profética Más Segura
A little more than a month ago, we wrote about our plans to have this book, the Spanish translation of A More Sure Word of Prophecy, printed in Cuba. Details about it appear on the front page of Prophetic Bulletin no. 23. What has happened since we wrote those words? Two thousand copies of Palabra Profética have now been printed, half of them destined to remain in Cuba, where we have more than 30,000 church members. The other half of the books must be brought to the United States, where Latinos make up a sizable percentage of Seventh-day Adventists. They are, in fact, our fastest growing group of believers.
We are now having a little problem, actually a huge problem: getting the printed copies of this Spanish book from Cuba into the United States and safely to our home in Texas. From here we can sell or otherwise distribute them. There is as yet no postal service from the island, so we desperately need people to bring some out with them. A few months ago, one of our dear American friends who has a ministry on Cuba brought 180 copies back with him. But then the box in which they were sent to us broke up in the mail and the whole batch was lost, it would seem irretrievably!
We would really appreciate your special prayers for us in this matter. The Lord will find a way, we are sure. Do you know of anybody who is thinking of visiting our seminary in Havana anytime soon? The books are there. Please let us know.
Clipping the Wings of the Third Angel
By Koot van Wyk, D.Litt. et Phil., Th.D.*
Recently a letter arrived from an emeritus Adventist professor and prophetic interpreter complaining that on Revelation 13:18 the Andrews Study Bible has left out any comment about the view that 666, the number of the Beast’s name is vicarius Filii Dei [VFD]. Although, for our Church, this idea was introduced by Uriah Smith (1832-1903), it originated with a much older Historicist Protestantism. In Appendix III of his magnum opus, The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy (2011, 2013), Edwin de Kock has cited 96 instances from 1715 to 1896, occurring in mostly Protestant, Non-Seventh-day Adventist Publications. These writers mentioned VFD as a title of the pope, a majority equating it with 666. Throughout Volume II and Appendix II, De Kock has also instanced many authoritative Catholic writers who applied the title VFD to the Roman pontiff.
This omission is, of course, very shortsighted by the editor of the study Bible and also by the team of contributors for Revelation. It is lately also left out apparently by some Spanish Study Bibles.
Here is a very relevant question: “Are we [by these actions of removal of cardinal pioneer theological tenets] ‘clipping the wings of the third angel in advance so he can only flap about?’” What is going on?
Is there something wrong with the VFD = 666 explanation? Is it unscientific? Is it wrongly calculated? Has it not been used by many Protestants in the past, or by the Roman Catholic Church today, this century, last century, ever? Are the sources not well-established for this equation? Did the pioneers endorse this equation? If one reads the 874-page book by Edwin de Kock 2011 on the topic all the answers are provided. So there is nothing wrong with this calculation or conviction of the meaning of 666.
But why did Dr. Ángel Manuel Rodríguez in a 2002 Sabbath School quarterly shelve the issue? Why have other Revelation scholars like Jon Paulien and Ranko Stefanović also tried to do so? In a South Korean Compass article, a church journal of Oct-December 2014, it was also shelved, not on an independent research or even a research, but just compiling views of “table talks” of Paulien and Stefanović or Rodríguez et al. And that is it. Even when the counter-article appeared by K. Ahn, emeritus professor in Systematic Theology of Sahmyook University, in December 2014 and January 2015 in Compass presenting a strong case for VFD based on Edwin de Kock’s research, you still get people mumbling nonsense about an imperfect number 666 that just cannot become 7. Or the even more peculiar nonsense that arithmetically 666 consists of three sixes in 666, when a sum of simple division shows that there are 111, i.e., 666 ÷ 6 = 111.
None of these scholars, like Paulien, Stefanović and Rodríguez, who saw all the data of De Kock before he published it, lift up their hand to change their conviction. They are lame due to whatever reason. They just stare motionless at the strong evidence. It was the same with Bacchiocchi during 2008. Both I and De Kock presented the strong data to him, but he just carried on with his wrong views until his death in that same year.
Let me tell you what I think is happening with our church. First, it is not only our church. Then secondly, it is the trend of the times we are living in. Third, it is problem of the world’s consensus concept of what true jurisdiction is.
First the other church. In 2010 a group of professors, pastors and laymen of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa was very concerned about the inroads of liberalism in their church, so they wrote a book about it. Die Trojaanse Perd in die NG Kerk – Die Kanker van Evolusie en Liberalisme [The Trojan Horse in the Dutch Reformed Church – The Cancer of Evolution and Liberalism] (2010). A list of problems are presented by them: the rotation in their view of Scripture; Scriptural criticism and Scriptural use; the results of wrong decisions regarding the Scriptural view; homosexuality as example of understanding the deviant current view of Scriptural exegesis; onslaught on Scripture by post-modern views; Evolution and Evolutionism – the rotten apple in the crate; marriage in the fire.
So there you have another church with a can of worms to deal with, and today the once powerful Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa is falling apart and rapidly dying.
Swanson and Gane’s publication in 2013 on Gays in Adventist perspective falls under the same category. The magazines Spectrum and Adventist Today have been instrumental in the 1990s and later to feature this anti-biblical stance. At Avondale, this trend was promoted by Arthur Patrick. He said that he initiated the same understanding on 13 September 2008 (Arthur Patrick Blog paragraph 114). The view to not take the Bible literally but only spiritually, to make the Bible meaningful largely for the time when it was written, not our time, are tenets that from time to time have popped up in Adventism, especially by its critics and heretics like Canright et al.
But these days it is openly promoted by some theologians at our Seminaries and Colleges. Why? They did their doctoral dissertations at non-SDA universities, failed to read the sources critically and did not contradict their professors at all. They just went with the flow of the stream, the modern stream. So modernism came in at Avondale with Desmond Ford arriving from Manchester University in 1972 and his Preterism push, with Norman Young and his love for the Second Coming, Miracle, and Atonement denier, Rudolph Bultmann, brought in 1973 from Manchester University and with Arthur Patrick (see his blog) also in the same year. Patrick glorified the heretic and critic of Adventism and sought until his death for the borderline issues to become mainline and all the concerns that the Dutch Reformed Church had in their Trojan Horse of Liberalism to come into the Adventist church as well. He died, however, a year or two ago.
Then there is the case of the influence of World Jurisdiction concepts. Gender Mainstreaming and the Gender Competency Center in 2003 in Germany in Berlin sought implementation of the concepts of Gender Mainstreaming. The idea was that gender frees itself from origin, belief, age, limitation, sexual orientation and other structural items. In March 2007 on Women’s day the UN Secretary announced a 50/50 equality for all men and women in all positions of labor and living situations. At the 2007 EPSCO-Council of the EU the German President read a paper “Europäische Alianz für Familien” to do away with sexual stereotypes. To summarize what Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz said: In 1949 Simone de Beauvoir said that for a female to be a human she must be a male. After 1949 Luce Irigaray said: For a female to be a human she must be a female. But since 1984, they are saying that for a female to be a human, she must be neither a male nor a female. Pluralism of ethical sources in Jurisdiction design led to distorted views regarding sexuality in societies around the world, in first-world countries but this is also penetrating other countries.
So finally we know what is going on in our church. They are following the trends around them, in order not to be left behind.
The last reason is that Jesus predicted that there will be ten sleeping virgins before the Second Coming. Also, the Laodicean Church is a “sleeping mode” church. Some in it see but not see. Prophetic interpretation is put on hold or shelved or eradicated by Preterist and Historical-Critical inroads into a cardinal Adventist interpretation. Then there was Jon Paulien’s message on YouTube in November 2015 at Loma Linda pushing for a “psychological exegesis of Revelation 13,” leaving out all the evangelist stuff of the past. The idea is to get away from history and just do exegesis. However, the historical Jesus cannot be properly studied without history. Luke said that in the 15th year of Tiberius such and such happened. That demands history to be brought into exegesis. It is the nature of the genre of prophecy to deal with future events. After they have happened, they are recognized as fulfillment, which must be brought together with exegesis.
Finally, those who have not yet bought the books of Edwin de Kock on prophetic interpretation in Adventism and by our Protestant forerunners should really order all his books from Texas, USA, without any delay and update themselves with proper Adventism in these trying times.
*Koot van Wyk is an expatriate South African scholar, with two doctorates. He is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Liberal Education, Kyungpook National University, Sangju Campus, South Korea. Dr. Van Wyk is also a Conjoint Lecturer of Avondale College, Australia. Though we are not responsible or liable for what he says, we find that most of the ideas here expressed harmonize with our own. Edwin has not, however, been able to establish what Dr. Jon Paulien now believes about the number 666 in Rev. 13:17, 18.
REV 13 AND THE PAPACY
By Jon Paulien
Reviewed by Alberto R. Treiyer
With the coming of Pope Francis to the USA, Loma Linda University organized a lecture on Rev 13 and the papacy. Jon Paulien, the dean of the Religion Department at Loma Linda, was the lecturer. His exposition lasted one hour, and a second hour was devoted to questions and answers. I didn’t want to criticize Jon Paulien because I did it many times, but a friend of mine requested me to do it because he had friends confused by what he said. Let me share, now, some concerns that I have on the views of Jon Paulien in reference to the role of the papacy in Rev 13, and how to approach the issue.
1. In a certain moment, Jon said that at the end not all will follow the papacy. He mentions Adventists, but also some Muslims. This is wrong. The problem of Jon is that he believes God will have remnants of Muslims and other churches who will be saved. But at the end, there will be no Muslims who will be able to avoid receiving the mark of the beast. There will be former Muslims who will become Adventists, but not a remnant of Muslisms, or a remnant of Baptists, etc. There will be only one remnant composed by former non-Adventist people. Only those who resign their former faith and unite to the Seventh-day Adventist church will be saved.
2. Paulien believes that we have to do as Daniel did when he identified himself with the sins of His people and, therefore, he concludes that we have to identify ourselves with what happened in the Middle Ages asking God forgiveness for what we did (as if we were Roman Catholics). My answer is no! This is an absolute wrong assumption. We cannot identify ourselves with the faults of the Roman Antichrist, but with the remnant which denounced at that time the sins of Babylon, and suffered under the power of the papacy. In his prayers, Daniel didn’t identify himself with the sins of old Babylon, so there is no way to do such a comparison. Therefore, we don’t have to identify in our prayers with the sins of modern Babylon either.
3. Jon says that “preaching about the sins of Catholics and other denominations is dangerous.” We agree that we have to be prudent. But we have to warn the people on what they are wrong in matters of faith. Our time is not a time for cowards. The gospel was, is, and will be in this world always offensive. If you don’t understand this, you are unable to win other people to the “everlasting gospel” (Rev 14:6).
4. Paulien thinks that we have to prepare a different strategy which does not hurt other people. I can agree in certain cases. We don’t have to be wild or savage. But my experience (differing from his experience in Brooklyn) was that when you speak frankly, well documented, and are really spiritual, people are converted. I preach constantly to Catholics, and many respond to my call to leave Babylon. In order to do that, we have to be completely possessed by the message. If you hesitate and want to be so kind with others as not to shake them with your message, people will not be converted. There will be always people who will be hurt in a negative way. But this happened also to Paul and to the other apostles, even to Jesus. The Word of God is a double-edged sword.
5. Jon doesn’t believe in the official interpretation of the trumpets that our church has till today (it was not officially rejected from the GC which confirmed it in a congress in the 19th Century). For this reason, Paulien says that there is no prophecy, in his view, which deals with Muslims. And this opens the way to believe that Mohammed was a good prophet or something like that, and that there will be a remnant of Muslims who will have the characteristics of Rev 12:17. But Mohammed had not “the testimony of Jesus” or “the Spirit of Prophecy” and he as well as his followers didn’t keep and don’t keep God’s commandments. I have something more to say on the section of questions and answers.
6. Jon believes that what he preached formerly about vicarivs filii dei is incorrect. But, as you may read on my web page, the application of vicarivs filii dei for the prophecy of Rev 13 is right. See my Book Review of The Truth about 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy by Edwin de Kock (2011), in Mensajes Distintivos, under Articles (choose English or Spanish).
7. Paulien insists in the need of being kind and fair with Catholics, and in our duty of loving them, even the pope. I may partially agree. However, many people in Latin America, where practically all countries are Catholics, win souls preaching the apocalyptic messages aggressively. If you don’t do that, many people will not be shaken, and you will be unable to convert them. Paulien read one statement of E. G. White to support his views, but he didn’t take into account other statements of E. G. White where she seems to go in an opposite way, as she does in her book The Great Controversy. Let me share just one statement to complement the statement read by Jon.
“While the Protestant world is becoming very tender and affectionate toward the man of sin (2 Thess. 2:3), shall [not] God’s people take their place as bold and valiant soldiers of Jesus Christ to meet the issue which must come, their lives hid with Christ in God? Mystic Babylon has not been sparing in the blood of the saints and shall we [not] be wide awake to catch the beams of light which have been shining from the light of the angel who is to brighten the earth with his glory?” [Rev 18:1-5] (Letter 112, 1890; 3SM 426).
I am constantly giving seminars on final and apocalyptic events, and I speak frankly, but this doesn’t mean that I don’t love the people who are deceived in that church. On the contrary, I tell them that God call many who are Catholics, to leave that church (Babylon), considering them “my people.” This is the reason why I find so positive reactions to my messages, and many people are baptized.
8. Jon says that he prays for the pope and for the Roman Catholic Church. As a matter of fact, this is what pope Francis is requesting Evangelicals to do, so thousands of Evangelicals are praying for the pope, and following him wherever he goes. I don’t do that. I pray for the people who are in Babylon to leave that church. Said the Lord concerning old Babylon: “We would have healed Babylon, but she cannot be healed; let us leave her and each go to our own land, for her judgment reaches to the skies, it rises as high as the heavens” (Jer 51:9).
E. G. White wrote: “The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience which had been so dearly purchased. They taught their children to abhor popery and held that to seek harmony with Rome would be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments now expressed!” (GC 563).
Is the pope really still the antichrist, or do we consider him a brother in Christ? Could you imagining Jesus, who was friend of sinners, to be friend of the antichrist?
9. Paulien believes that pope Francis is a genuine Christian because he is doing what Jesus did. What is the pope doing which leads Paulien to believe that he is really a good Christian? Jon brings out his humility, because he visits prisons, hospitals, pay attention on the poor, drives a Fiat (a simple Italian car), etc. It is evident that our friend is impressed by this formal and exterior show of humility of the pope, and doesn’t care that he sits upon a marble throne surrounded by cherubim, like God.
Let us read what E. G. White wrote about Jesuits: “Vowed to perpetual poverty and humility, it was their studied aim to secure wealth and power, to be devoted to the overthrow of Protestantism, and the re-establishment of the papal supremacy. When appearing as members of their order, they wore a garb of sanctity, visiting prisons and hospitals, ministering to the sick and the poor, professing to have renounced the world, and bearing the sacred name of Jesus, who went about doing good. But under this blameless exterior the most criminal and deadly purposes were concealed.” (GC 234-345). ”God’s word has given warning of the impending danger; let this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape the snare” (GC 581). Before speaking about this subject, I recommend a careful and prayer reading of The Great Controversy, Chapter 36.
About Dr. Treiyer’s review, Edwin has two comments. First, he greatly appreciates his book review of The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy. Second, as in the case of Dr. Koot van Wyk’s article above, Edwin could not on the Internet find a statement by Dr. Paulien in which he rejects the 666 = vicarius Filii Dei explanation. For more than two hours, Edwin listened to his entire YouTube lecture of 26 September 2015 as well as his answers to questions from the audience. These contained:
Three Startling Ideas
1. About Purgatory. Addressing this topic, Dr. Paulien maintained that though it is an old belief, it is not formally a Roman Catholic doctrine because every work that mentions it lacks an imprimatur or any such authentication. This idea is refuted by Catechism of the Catholic Church (803 pages), an English translation from the Latin Original (1994).
At the top of the verso page, it states: “Imprimi Potest + Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Interdicasterial Commission for the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Those two Latin words mean “it can be printed” and are synonymous with Imprimatur. Even more telling is the fact that this book begins with a preface by Pope John Paul II. In it, he stated: “The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved June 25th last  and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine . . .” In the next paragraph, he went on to say: “The approval and publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church represent a service which the Successor of Peter wishes to offer to the Holy Catholic Church, to all the particular Churches in peace and communion with the Apostolic See . . .” This Preface ends with a handwritten signature: Joannes Paulus II.
Section III of Article 12, on pp. 268-269, is headed with the words The Final Purification, or Purgatory. Here we read: “The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent,” and about it as “a purifying fire.” Prayers for the dead are mentioned and that “The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.” Regarding these matters, nothing has changed in the past five hundred years, since Martin Luther in 1517 began to break with Rome, specifically about indulgences!
2. Conditional Prophecy. About the mark of the Beast, Dr. Paulien expressed the opinion that the Lord could still avert his judgments again the papacy. There is, he pointed out a conditional element in prophecy. After all, in Jer. 18:7, 8 we read: “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.” And so, perhaps, who knows . . . the papacy may yet be converted and change its ways.
Wow! That would be the end of the Third Angel’s Message. Presumably the Roman pontiff would become a Sabbathkeeper and also discard the other unbiblical Catholic doctrines, of which there are many. More than that, he would persuade all the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and priests to do the same. All nuns and monks would be told that they could marry. And so on. Perhaps Dr. Paulien does not know about the Italian Solution, applied to any pontiff who gets out of line. High-level functionaries at the Vatican kill him. If Pope Francis should dare to do any such thing, he will assuredly die of poison or suffer some other fatal mishap.
3. Corporate Responsibility. Dr. Paulien endorses Shawn Boonstra’s idea that we as Seventh-day Adventists somehow share in the guilt of medieval Catholicism. We need to apologize. Presumably we are also a daughter of the Roman Church. No, we are not. She is not our mother. We are the offspring of the woman clothed with the sun, depicted in Rev. 12, “the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 17). In this matter, we stand on a very similar platform as the ancient Waldensians. They believed that when church and state united under Constantine the greater part of Christendom apostatized, becoming Roman Catholicism. But a minority, faithful to the Gospel and Bible Truth, from the earliest period continued the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. That is, these are two separate churches. Therefore, the Waldensians did not in any sense regard the Church of Rome as their mother. Their perspective was well described by Gonzalo L. Pita in a scholarly paper entitled “Waldensian and Catholic Theologies of History in the XII-XIV Centuries: Part 2.” What is especially impressive is his use of primary documents. These are derived from both Waldensian and Catholic inquisitorial sources. The main text uses English translations, but in each case the Latin original appears in the footnotes. He is an Argentinean scholar at Johns Hopkins University. This valuable material was published in the Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, Vol. 26, Number 1, 2015.
But Does Prophetic Interpretation Matter?
Here, in answer to that question, is what the pen of inspiration has to say: “Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan.” These harsh words occur as part of a passage in Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 409, 410.
Correct prophetic interpretation is indispensable for understanding the great controversy between Christ and Satan, and so is knowledge of what really happened in the past. The predictions of the Bible shine a light on what is to be. It is, so to speak, history in the future tense. And as we look back on the past events of many centuries, their meaning becomes intelligible.
But to go or be led astray about either history or prophecy may lead us very far from the truth. Of this the following sad story is an example. In this very year, a Seventh-day Adventist academy teacher converted to the Roman Church. This was widely reported on and can be verified from the Internet. Details have been reported in the Catholic Advent Youth Media (March 12, 2016) and the Intermount Catholic (May 06, 2016, edition), as well as Spectrum (March 17, 2016), an Adventist publication. The man himself has also posted details on Facebook. We begin by citing the Intermountain Catholic and then add a few details from the other sources.
Convert from the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Looks Forward to Confirmation as a Catholic
By Christine Young
WEST VALLEY CITY — Michael Martling will receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist during the Easter Vigil on March 26 at Saints Peter and Paul Parish, where he has been in the RCIA program.
“I can feel the fire within me,” Martling said in talking about joining the Catholic Church. “It sort of comes pouring out of me I’m so excited and so enthused, so in love with the Lord and so thankful that he led me to a spot where I am not just drifting; I’m going to have roots again.”
Martling was born in Staten Island, N.Y. and baptized as a child into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He spent his teenage years in Arkansas, and has lived in eight different states, twice in Utah, from 2007 to 2010 and then again from 2014 to the present.
Going from Adventism to Catholicism is an “odd situation, because there is a certain level of hostility within Adventism toward Catholicism,” said Martling. “But I have always had friendly feelings toward Catholicism; my dad’s side of the family is Catholic. I never had any kind of animosity. In fact, my best friend growing up in New York was Catholic. I sometimes went to Mass with him. I’ve been to Mass on and off my whole life.”
Martling is a middle school U.S. history teacher at American Preparatory Academy and has researched the history of Christianity from its beginning with Peter, Jesus, the disciples and the formation of the early Church, he said.
In his 23 years of teaching, Martling spent the first 20 as a Seventh-day Adventist educator, teaching history and Bible classes.
Being a Seventh-day Adventist was good preparation for becoming a Catholic; they take Christianity “seriously and know the Bible well,” he said. But it came to a point where he was doubting his faith and, being employed by the church, he couldn’t voice how he felt.
While living in Spokane just before moving to Utah, Martling taught at a Seventh-day Adventist school near a Catholic bookstore, he said. He bought a crucifix and hung it in his house, put a cross in his car and got a rosary – he was always drawn toward Catholicism because he liked the symbolism of the Church, he said.
As Martling began to drift away from the faith of his youth, he felt he didn’t have an anchor and “it bothered me spiritually,” he said. “I still go to the Seventh-day Adventist church with my wife and two sons as the head of the family, but I felt it was damaging my Christian experience.”
Martling realized he could no longer teach in a Seventh-day Adventist school and began teaching in a charter school.
Last July, after Martling’s wife lost her job, “my son and I went on a backpacking trip,” he said. “I was upset about my wife’s situation, and while we were hiking, my mind drifted to the Lord, and I suddenly decided to pray the rosary. It had a calming effect, and peace came over me; I knew the Lord would take care of everything.”
When he returned from backpacking, he decided to find a Catholic church and was led to Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, where he lit candles, prayed and found comfort, he said. “I joined RCIA last September.”
Martling has great knowledge about the Seventh-day Adventist faith and other faiths, and during discussions he interjects interesting points that parallel or differ from what Catholics believe, said Deacon Sunday Espinoza, Sts. Peter and Paul Parish RCIA instructor. “The more he studied Catholicism, the more he found answers to his questions and an emptiness in his Seventh-day Adventist faith,” the deacon said. “Because he understands the Catholic faith so well, he has transitioned to loving it, and can now express and defend Catholicism.”
As Martling prepares to enter into the Easter Vigil, “it is easy to see the vitality and the definite commitment he has toward completing this step in his life,” said Deacon Espinoza.
A Strange Testimony
About these developments, this unusual convert has, on Facebook, added the following explanation: “I wanted to discover which Church was the original Christian Church, the AUTHENTIC Christian Church. So I did some reading and discovered that the original primitive Church was the Catholic Church. If you don't believe me read the Didache (written in the 1st Century while some of the Apostles were still alive), or Justin Martyr's First Apology (written in the first half of the 2nd Century). And many other early sources confirmed that the Mass has remained the same for 2000 years, that the earliest Christians believed in the Real Presence in the Eucharistic host. I traced the Tree to its Roots and its roots were Jesus handing his Kingdom to Peter and Peter establishing the Church Eternal here on earth. What makes all of us Christians was given to us by the Roman Catholic Church. To curse the Catholic Church is to curse our Mother.”
For Seventh-day Adventists this is very challenging, and we can only wonder at another of Martling’s remarks: “ I am confronted with an unusual and rather humorous situation. It seems that both my SDA pastor and my RC deacon agree on one thing: Both agree that I do not necessarily need to drop my membership in the SDA denomination to become a Roman Catholic. Thus, come Easter, I will be in the unique and extremely rare circumstance of being a member of the Seventh-day Adventist AND Roman Catholic Churches.”
That situation is, of course, unlikely to endure.
Martling attended Southern Adventist University and has taught in five Seventh-day Adventist Academies over a 23-year period. So what could make this veteran church member defect?
One factor was certainly the Catholics on his father’s side of the family. Another was that he was emotionally attracted to the Roman Church: a cross, a rosary, and ritual. About this, Ellen G. White has warned: “Many Protestants suppose that the Catholic religion is unattractive and that its worship is a dull, meaningless round of ceremony. Here they mistake. While Romanism is based upon deception, it is not a coarse and clumsy imposture. The religious service of the Roman Church is a most impressive ceremonial. Its gorgeous display and solemn rites fascinate the sense of the people and silence the voice of reason and of conscience. The eye is charmed. Magnificent churches, imposing processions, golden altars, jeweled shrines, choice paintings, and exquisite sculpture appeal to the love of beauty. The ear also is captivated. The music is unsurpassed. The rich notes of the deep-toned organ, blending with the melody of many voices as it swells through the lofty domes and pillared aisles of her grand cathedrals, cannot fail to impress the mind with awe and reverence.” (GC, p. 566)
This was also how, toward the middle of the nineteenth century, John Henry Newman was enticed out of the Anglican Church to embrace Catholicism. A Romantic with considerable literary ability, he was fascinated by the fiction that the papacy had extended in an unbroken line from Jesus, via the apostle Peter, down to the present. At first, he was deterred by the Historicist interpretation of prophecy that most Protestants still believed in, according to which the popes were the Antichrist. But then Samuel R. Maitland, influenced by Francisco Ribera, rejected the year-day principle in explaining the 1,260 prophecy. He convinced James H. Todd, an Irish scholar at Trinity College, Dublin, who said that Catholicism was not an apostasy but a true Christian Church. (Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History (2013), p. 281. According to this non-Historicist interpretation, the papacy was not the Antichrist. And so Newman converted to the Roman Church and finally became one of its cardinals as well as a precursor of the ecumenical movement.
Apparently similar forces were at work in the mind and heart of Michael Martling.
But the material which he found at that Catholic bookstore was, alas, historically incorrect. For instance, Justin Martyr’s First Apology, a work quite often cited in support of Sunday observance, is a forgery. In 2001, William H. Shea wrote that Chapter 67 of the Martyr’s testimony “does not come directly from Justin, but was interpolated into his work at some later time by some unknown later writer. If this important passage is an interpolation, then the purpose of that interpolation is evident: it was used to further support the transition from Sabbath to Sunday by projecting that transition back as early as the middle of the second century, thus gaining further prestige for Sunday.” (William H. Shea, “Justin Martyr’s Sunday Worship Statement: A Forged Appendix,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, 12/2, Autumn 2001, p. 2).
Like many of our members, Martling was obviously also not well grounded in the doctrines of our church, or its prophetic interpretation, which warns against the Roman Antichrist. He may also well be a poster child of what will yet happen to many more Seventh-day Adventists. Here is a warning from the servant of the Lord: “Those who embrace the truth should seek a clear understanding of the Scriptures, and an experimental knowledge of a living Saviour. The intellect should be cultivated, the memory taxed. All intellectual laziness is sin, and spiritual lethargy is death.” (Ellen G. White, Gospel Workers, , p. 18.
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