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Holy Cow, Holy Dung?



Numbers 19; Ezekiel 4



Study Aim:


To reveal the "hidden manna" (Revelation 2:17) of what dung is used to represent in certain Biblical symbolisms – specifically, Numbers 19 (the sacrifice of the Red Heifer), and Ezekiel chapter 4.


Study texts:


"This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke.... And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn.... And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin." Numbers 19:2,5,9.


"Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof... And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight... And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them. Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth. Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith." Ezekiel 9:9,12-15


Gem Thoughts:


"God has given His word for all to investigate, that they may learn the way to life. None need err if they will submit to the conditions of salvation laid down in the word of God. Probation is granted to all, that all may form characters for eternal life. An opportunity will be given to all to decide for life or death. Men will be judged according to the measure of light given them. None will be accountable for their darkness and their errors if the light has not been brought to them. They have not sinned in not accepting what has not been given them....

"There are in the Scriptures some things which are hard to be understood and which, according to the language of Peter, the unlearned and unstable wrest unto their own destruction. We may not, in this life, be able to explain the meaning of every passage of Scripture; but there are no vital points of practical truth that will be clouded in mystery. When the time shall come, in the providence of God, for the world to be tested upon the truth for that time, minds will be exercised by His Spirit to search the Scriptures, even with fasting and with prayer, until link after link is searched out and united in a perfect chain. Every fact which immediately concerns the salvation of souls will be made so clear that none need err or walk in darkness.

"As we have followed down the chain of prophecy, revealed truth for our time has been clearly seen and explained. We are accountable for the privileges that we enjoy and for the light that shines upon our pathway. Those who lived in past generations were accountable for the light which was permitted to shine upon them. Their minds were exercised in regard to different points of Scripture which tested them. But they did not understand the truths which we do. They were not responsible for the light which they did not have. They had the Bible, as we have; but the time for the unfolding of special truth in relation to the closing scenes of this earth's history is during the last generations that shall live upon the earth.

"Special truths have been adapted to the conditions of the generations as they have existed. The present truth, which is a test to the people of this generation, was not a test to the people of generations far back....

"The wisdom and mercy of God in dispensing light and knowledge at the proper time, as the people need it, is unsearchable....

"We are accountable only for the light that shines upon us." Testimonies, Volume 2, p. 691-693.


INTRODUCTION


The common understanding of the meaning of the word "dung" is that it is waste, something unused by the body – the seemingly extraneous portions of food that are not absorbed by the body. But dung contains more than the unabsorbed portions of the food eaten. It also contains the cells of the body that have been passed off in the process of growth and regeneration. Were it not for the bulk of the fibrous, unabsorbed portions of food, that which the body passes off of itself would not readily leave the body but would remain within it thereby toxifying it. So while dung is somewhat synonymous with waste (a negative feature), it also has a positive connotation in that it carries with it toxins and dead portions of the body.


In the sacrifice of the Red Heifer we see that her dung was also used as part of the sacrifice which was to produce a cleansing agent (her ashes) for the people (Num. 19:9-22). In other sacrifices the people were commanded to burn certain parts of the animals which were slain along with their dung "outside of the camp," but no cleansing ceremony was performed with the remaining ashes, as in the case of the Red Heifer.


In Ezekiel 4:12-15, the prophet protests about having to eat bread which was polluted by being baked on "dung that cometh out of man," and was instead allowed to eat his bread baked on "cow's dung." This privilege was afforded Ezekiel because of his desire to follow the Lord in purity (vs. 14); which could not be said of the majority of Israel, as the prophecy implies. This shows that God considers the dung that comes out of a cow purer than that which comes out of man. We must keep in mind that these things in this chapter are symbolical, for Ezekiel couldn't have literally existed under the conditions which were prescribed for him to portray. Furthermore, Ezekiel doesn't specifically say that he literally did as he was commanded to do.


So we see that cow's dung, rather than being something to be totally abhorred, actually has a unique attribute that makes its positive quality worthy of note in God's word, and worthy of our seeking to understand its symbolism.


"It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2.


What we are looking to find is what is symbolized by the cow's dung in these prophecies, and what is it about it that is so different from man's dung. As we shall see, the meaning of those symbols, and the differences between them, involves truths so profound that our correct understanding of them will provide us with the means to secure our advancement on the prophetic highway to God's kingdom, should we receive them, or will leave before us a stumblingblock so significant as to cause us to fall off of the upward leading path to the dark world below where there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth by those who are tares (Matthew 13:42), guests who are unprepared for the marriage feast (Matthew 22:13), or evil or unprofitable servants (Matthew 24:51; 25:30), should we reject the truths they symbolize.


"... when Truth cannot save, it kills." Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 15, p. 10.


Therefore, let us in prayerful humility, and by the grace of God, examine this mystery, looking for the "hidden manna" that has been promised to "him that overcometh." Revelation 2:17.


THE PASSING OFF OF DUNG

ALONG THE HIGHWAY OF HOLINESS


As it is in Ezekiel's prophecy where the distinction is made between man's dung and cow's dung, we will look at that prophecy first, and this will lead us to the meaning of dung in the sacrifice of the Red Heifer.


The question then is, what is typified and symbolized by dung when it is used as a cooking agent? In Ezekiel's prophecy the "dung that cometh out of man" has a very negative connotation, while cow's dung has a more positive significance – that is, though it is not as clean burning as wood or coal, it has been, and continues to be used for cooking among the poorer peoples of the world or where wood is scarce, and was given to Ezekiel because of his desire not to defile himself. Both types of dung were to be used to prepare the multi-ingredient bread that was to be eaten by the children of Israel and Ezekiel. As the dung is symbolical, then the bread also must be symbolical. And, as we shall see, Ezekiel, himself, is also symbolical.


Were the eating of the defiled bread to simply symbolize the trying times that the children of Israel were to pass through in punishment for their sins, there would have been no need to describe the bread they were to eat as containing six different ingredients, as any single-ingredient bread would have conveyed that thought. Moreover, the prophecy contains a time element (430 "days" [years] – Ezekiel 4:4-6) that does not correspond to any historical time line of ancient Israel prior to the time Ezekiel received the vision. Therefore we must look forward from Ezekiel's time to a time when God's people were to eat multi-grained bread that was to be defiled by "dung that cometh out of a man." We also know that that time period is future from Ezekiel's time by the fact that the Lord says,


"Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them." Ezekiel 4:13.


The words "shall ... eat," and "will drive," both being in the future tense, indicate that the prophecy is for a time after Ezekiel's. Also note that the time of their eating their defiled bread transpires while they are "among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them."


Furthermore, Ezekiel was given "each day for a year," for the "iniquity" of Israel and of Judah. The word translated "iniquity" is also translated "punishment," as in Genesis 4:13, and "punishment of their iniquity" as in Leviticus 26:41, and Lamentations 4:6, etc.. Therefore, the time period doesn't represent the time period of Israel and Judah's "iniquity," but, rather, the length of time of their "punishment" for their iniquity.


As our interest in this study is to learn the meaning of the symbol of cow's dung, and as we have other studies which specifically address the meaning of man's dung and the time factor involved in this prophecy, we will simply state our understanding of those things, and hereby ask the reader to see those studies for the proof of our assertions.


Our understanding is that the 430 years when God's people were to eat the defiled bread began with the Protestant Reformation by Martin Luther in the 1500s, and continued through the progression of the Reformation through the following centuries. The six-ingredient bread represents the six major doctrines that were lost sight of during the "falling away" (2 Thessalonians 2:3) of the church brought on by those who forsook the "holy covenant" (Daniel 11:30), and which were being restored to the church during the Reformation, and which brought forth the six major Protestant denominations. That the bread was baked on "the dung that cometh out of a man" is symbolic of the fact that those doctrines (bread ingredients) were polluted by men's private additions, omissions, perversions, and misapplications (wasteful, unclean things) by uninspired men who preach from the pulpits on these subjects.


Those six ingredients, and the doctrines and denominations they represent are as follows:


(1) Wheat – the doctrine of faith that made the Lutheran denomination;

(2) Barley – the doctrine of the Spirit that made the Presbyterian denomination;

(3) Beans – the doctrine of grace that made the Methodist denomination;

(4) Lentils – the doctrine of baptism that made the Baptist denomination;

(5) Millet – the doctrine of the second Advent of Christ that made the First-day Adventist;

(6) Fitches (spelt) – the doctrine of the cleansing of the sanctuary along with the Seventh-day Sabbath that made the Seventh-day Adventists


For proof on these statements see


DISTINGUISHING FACTORS

 

With this said, we can now focus on our primary subject. As noted, the cow's dung that was given to Ezekiel as a substitute for the man's dung represents something superior to it, though not perfectly clean itself. In preparing the wholesome bread by baking it over man's dung it naturally become much less palatable, and much less able to bring satisfaction and contentment to the eater. So it has been with the six major Bible doctrines as they have been restored to the church. Because they were polluted with private opinions while they were being prepared for the common people, they didn't cause the people to relish them as they may have had they not been polluted with man's dung. That is, had they not been so polluted, the people would have had a more sanctifying experience that would have more fully revived them. Thus we see that though the churches represented by those six doctrines have received some benefits from those healthy ingredients (doctrines), we also see a weakness and dissatisfaction brought by the use of man's dung (private opinions and theories) which have brought such a confused state of things that the first four of those churches have fallen to the point where the Bible depicts them as "Babylon" (Revelation 14:8; 18:1), and God's people must be called out of them (Rev. 18:4).


But, along with the experience of the average Christian who was having to eat the man's-dung-polluted doctrines (bread) as a punishment for the iniquities of their fathers and themselves, there were those who, being represented in this prophecy by Ezekiel, ate their bread that was prepared on the cow's dung. As the man's dung represents men's erroneous thoughts, so must the cow's dung represent another type of error, which though not as objectionable, is nonetheless, not perfectly pure and clean. The bread prepared in this manner was given to those represented by Ezekiel because of their sincere desire and past experience of not defiling themselves with unclean things.


THE HOLY COW'S DUNG


In order to understand what is symbolized by the cow's dung, we must first know what is symbolized by a cow? For the answer to this we must look to the sacrificial system of types, and particularly to the sacrifice of the Red Heifer (cow).


What is notable about that sacrificial animals is that they were both male and female. Besides the male offerings, there were ewe lambs (Lev. 14:10; Nu. 6:14), she-goats (Nu. 15:27), and the red heifer, along with female offerings from the general herds and flocks (Lev. 3:1, 3) There must be some significance to these feminine intercessory animals, for nothing in the Bible is superfluous. As all of the typical sacrifices of the earthly sanctuary were to point forward to the true intercessory work in the heavenly sanctuary, we must look to that work in order to understand these feminine sacrifices.


It is well accepted that Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant (Galatians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6, 9:15, 12:24), and the Intercessor between man and God – the "advocate" (1 John 2:1) who pleads our cases before His Father's throne. The word "advocate" is translated from the Greek word paraclete. But Jesus said that He will send us another paraclete ("Comforter," in our English Bibles – John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), the Holy Spirit. What is significant about this is that the word for Spirit, ruah, is feminine in Hebrew (though it is neuter in Greek) Thus we see that we actually have two intercessors, two paracletes, one masculine, and one feminine. But we are not to assume that Their means of intercession are identical.


We know that Jesus intercedes for us by His literal blood. So how does the Holy Ghost also intercede for us? To understand this we will look at one of the typical sacrifices wherein both a masculine and a feminine animal are set forth as intercessors. That is, the sacrifice for the cleansing of one with leprosy.


"Of all diseases known in the East the leprosy was most dreaded. Its incurable and contagious character, and its horrible effect upon its victims, filled the bravest with fear. Among the Jews it was regarded as a judgment on account of sin, and hence was called 'the stroke,' 'the finger of God.' Deep-rooted, ineradicable, deadly, it was looked upon as a symbol of sin." The Desire of Ages, p. 262.


Thus the symbolism involved in the ceremony for the cleansing of the leper is also symbolic of the cleansing of one from sin, in general. Of this intercessory work we read,


"Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:

"And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:

"As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field." Leviticus 14:4-7.


Jewish tradition says that the two birds were a pair – one male, one female. Note that only one of the pair's blood was shed, and that "in an earthen vessel." So it is with the two true Intercessors (Christ and the Holy Ghost), only one of the two has shed Their blood. Jesus' blood was shed in an earthen vessel – His body of flesh. Being dipped in the blood of the slain Intercessor, the living Bird (a symbol of the Holy Ghost – our other Intercessor whom Jesus sends in His name) has been set free over the open field for all to see Her and learn of the slain One whose blood She bears.


  Note that She was not let loose in a forest where She could easily be hidden from view. Nor on the top of a mountain which one would have to climb in order to see Her testimony. Nor in a remote valley. But over an open field where all could easily behold Her graceful flight and the testimony She bears of the slain Intercessor – the male Turtledove, Christ Jesus.


Though we see in that typical sacrificial service one of the means whereby the Holy Ghost intercedes for us as a living Sacrifice (Intercessor), testifying of Christ's death and the redeeming graces of His sacrifice, there is more to Her intercessory work revealed in the other feminine sacrifices. A ewe lamb was also to be presented as a burnt offering in the ceremony for the restoration of one with leprosy. In Numbers 6:14, a ewe lamb was to be offered as a sin offering for one ending a Nazarite vow. In Numbers 15:27, a she goat was to be offered as a sin offering for one who has sinned through ignorance. And in Genesis 15:9, both a heifer and a she goat were included among the sacrifices God had Abraham offer when He made His covenant with him.


In those ceremonies where the female animal was slain, and her blood used as a means of atonement, the shedding of Her blood doesn't refer to the death of the Holy Ghost, but, rather, the giving of Her life, for blood is a symbol of the life that is in it.


"For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." Leviticus 17:11.


She doesn't die, but Her life is given in the symbol of Her blood as a living Intercessor as is revealed in the ceremony of the two turtledoves. The fact that the Holy Ghost intercedes for us by Her life as a living sacrifice (as symbolized by Her blood being shed) could not be fully revealed in the typical sacrificial service, for it would have involved the shedding of the blood (life) of the female animals, but they not dying thereby. Rather, they would have to be continually bleeding from their wounds. We also know that the typical sacrificial system could not portray all of the aspects of the atonements made by the fact that none of the lambs, etc., which were slain were later resurrected in order to continue to intercede for the people, as was the true Lamb of God, Jesus, the Branch.


In addition to these things, and underlying all of the symbolism of the feminine sacrifices, is the work of the Holy Ghost as it relates to bringing us truth, as it is written,

 

 "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he* may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth." John 14:16, 17.


"Howbeit when he*, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." John 16:13


*[Note: The use of the pronoun "he" in reference to the Spirit in those verses is due to the Greek language , and to the translators ignoring the fact that Jesus was speaking Aramaic or Hebrew, in which the Spirit is feminine.]


So here we see one of the primary ways the Holy Ghost intercedes for us – She leads us into "all truth." It is no less of an ordeal for Her to do this than it was for Jesus to bring those in His day the truths they needed to hear.

 

Seeing that the intercession of the Holy Ghost is revealed in the sacrifice of the Red Heifer (the Truth Bringer), what then would Her dung, which was a part of the intercessory ceremony, symbolize? That is, as She is called "the Spirit of truth," what place has Her dung in relation to the truth She brings us?


Please keep in mind that we are on holy ground here. "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." 1 Corinthians 2:13.


In the sacrifice of the Red Heifer even Her dung became a part of the cleansing ashes. This means that there was a certain element in the work of the Truth Bringer who intercedes for us that could be classed as dung (waste). Yet even then, such is able to become a cleansing agent.


Before we look at the meaning of Ezekiel's bread being baked on cow's dung, we will look a little more at the meaning of the Red Heifer's dung to understand how it varies from man's dung by looking at an example of when that dung was incorporated in one of Her acts of intercession in bringing God's people heavenly truths.


As noted before, dung is that part of the food (truth) we eat which is not absorbed by our bodies, but which is necessary to bring the nutrition in the food to us. It also contains those elements in the body that are used up and are no longer of value to the body, and which, if retained in the body, would toxify it and cause weakness and sickness if they are not passed off. Therefore, the dung must symbolize that part of the spiritual food we have been given which has a similar use and effect.


Where, then, would we find an example of this spiritual truth? That is, where can we find an example of God's people being fed good spiritual foods, but some of which must have had to have been passed off as not being suitable to build up the body of the church, while at the same time was fit to be used to remove those parts of the body that are no longer usable to us.


THE PASSING OF DUNG IN CHRIST'S DAY


A good example of this is the work and teaching of John the Baptist concerning the coming of God's kingdom in his day.


"He [John] was to proclaim, not the setting up of the Kingdom, but the coming of the King. But in announcing the one, he incidentally had to answer questions concerning the other. When speaking of the coming King, he expressed himself in terms of revealed Truth. But when circumstantially alluding to the coming Kingdom, on which there was no special light in his day, he necessarily expressed himself in terms of the doctrines as then commonly understood.

"Nevertheless, when the further unrolling of the scroll revealed that the Kingdom was not to be set up at that time, then the honest, truth-seeking ones did not accuse either John or Christ, but joyously watched the scroll unfold, and jubilantly marched on with the Truth." Answerer Book 2, p. 78.


If John had come preaching that Christ was coming to be crucified in order to deliver them from sin, instead of coming to deliver the people from Roman rule, very few would have listened. While in his preaching of the people's need to "Repent ... for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2) he was actually teaching of the Messianic deliverer, when the Messiah actually came he said only, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29). That is, he announced the primary mission of the Messiah at that time, though he is not recorded as saying how such was to be accomplished – by that Lamb's death.


"When at the baptism of Jesus, John pointed to Him as the Lamb of God, a new light was shed upon the Messiah's work. The prophet's mind was directed to the words of Isaiah, 'He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter.' Isa. 53:7. During the weeks that followed, John with new interest studied the prophecies and the teaching of the sacrificial service. He did not distinguish clearly the two phases of Christ's work, -- as a suffering sacrifice and a conquering king, -- but he saw that His coming had a deeper significance than priests or people had discerned." The Desire of Ages, p. 136.


John the Baptist preached that the kingdom of God was at hand, and Jesus came preaching the same words. Yet their understanding of what was actually to occur varied widely. John and his followers expected for the earthly kingdom to be set up at that time, as such was the common understanding at that time. Jesus’ followers also believed similarly for they were previously followers of John. But Jesus had the true understanding of what was to take place. Yet, Jesus said of John, "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." Matthew 11:11.


Though John was declared to be greater than all of the previous prophets, yet he had to come face to face with his own private opinion which he widely proclaimed. That is, even after he responded to divine inspiration by announcing that the Messiah was there ("Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29), he later, in his time of trial, doubted that very inspiration because things weren't transpiring as he had anticipated. This doubt led him to ask of Jesus, "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" Matthew 11:3.


Evidently John, and those others who held to the common belief that the kingdom of glory was to be set up at that time, had to pass off their private opinions of what was to transpire at that coming of the Messiah as one passes off dung. If one is healthy and following the laws of life such is an easy, and even a comforting, refreshing experience. If not, it can be quite something else.


There can be no doubt that John was preaching under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for he was come "in the spirit and power of Elias." (Luke 1:17). Therefore, we see that the Holy Spirit used the seemingly extraneous (dung-like) teaching that the earthly kingdom would be set up in John's day in order to bring the life-giving truth to the people that the King was there and that He was then to set up the spiritual kingdom within them. Nonetheless, John's and Christ's disciples had to pass off the errors as holy dung in order to maintain their spiritual health. Along with it, though, they passed off other things that were already in them, which, if they would have remained within them, would have led to them becoming thoroughly polluted. That is, their notions of the kingdom and its King were after a worldly idea of conquest and rule, much of which had come through the teachings of the worldly-minded rabbis.


As John was not taught in the religious schools of his day, and was thus not filled with many private theories, his experience of exchanging error for truth was not as demanding as was that of the religious leaders who had been teaching many errors to the people, and those who were taught by them. The only spiritual laxative given to John were the words of Jesus unto John's followers –


"Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." Matthew 11:4-6.


"Not so, though, with the vast majority of the Jews. Their pride of opinion, forbidding them to forgo their errors and to embrace advancing Truth, led them deeper into error." Answerer Book 2, p. 78 – and, thus, they brought upon themselves spiritual constipation.


The experience of the prophets speaking private opinions on subjects closely related to, but not in direct current relation to the event they were actually going through, could seem like a total waste (which is what some people consider dung), something to be passed off. But just as misunderstood (or partially revealed) truths may have a good effect, so, likewise, may the unabsorbed portions of our spiritual food and the waste products (dung) passed off during the regeneration of the body. This, then, explains the meaning of the Red Heifer's dung being used as a part of Her intercessory act.


"Of necessity, any statements relative to a subject which is still out of sight in the unfolding of the Scroll, are made only in incidental terms of truth as it is at the time seen or commonly understood. And if the common understanding of these incidental statements be wrong, the writer cannot be held responsible for that which he has borrowed from others or seen but very dimly and therefore expressed very indefinitely.

"For example, in Christ's day 'the doctrine of a conscious state of existence between death and the resurrection was held by many of those who were listening to Christ's words. The Saviour knew of their ideas, and He framed his parable so as to inculcate important truths through these preconceived opinions. He held up before His hearers a mirror wherein they might see themselves in their true relation to God. He used the prevailing opinion to convey the idea He wished to make prominent to all....' -- Christ's Object Lessons, p. 263."

"This circumstance is natural and common to every writer treating of Present Truth, beginning with the Old Testament writers, and continuing ever since, and will thus be until every component part of the Truth is made known." Answerer Book 2, p. 78, 79.


DUNG-BAKED BREAD


With this understanding, we will turn our attention to the use of cow's dung as an agent for preparing the bread of those who are symbolized by Ezekiel were to eat. What we are concerned with here is how the truth which the church has been fed during the stated time period has been affected by either cow's dung or man's dung.


In Ezekiel 4, the bread itself was affected by what it was baked on – either man's dung or cow's dung. This means that it was either affected by wasteful things brought forth by men, or extraneous things brought forth of the Holy Ghost. One dung was unholy, while the other was holy.


Simply stated, the "dung that cometh out of a man" is representative of private opinions and theories of men which polluted the pure doctrines (six grains) that were being restored during the Protestant Reformation – the 430 years during which the church was being punished for the sins that caused her falling away, as well as those which caused her to remain in an undone and confusing state – being divided. But the "cow's dung" that was given to those who were symbolized by Ezekiel is representative of the less than perfect presentations that the Holy Ghost (the Holy Cow – Red Heifer) used to accompany (prepare and flavor) the pure doctrines (six grains) as they entered that part of the body of the church who, as symbolized by Ezekiel, held to a higher standard than the rest of the church, yet who were still to suffer the determined punishment, though in a lesser degree. That the Holy Ghost was to bring such things to be is also related in Isaiah 28:9-13.

 

"They also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.

"For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.

"Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

"For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering [repetitive] lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

"But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." [brackets added]


In Ezekiel 4, Ezekiel represents those who have been "weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts" – those who can take strong meat. That strong meat includes the reality that God was only going to feed His people with measured amounts of food, and at certain intervals – "precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little" – and that, because of this, things were to be expressed with less than perfect understanding, consequently making it necessary for them to be from time to time exchanging truth for error. This is also revealed in Ezekiel 4:10, 11.


"And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it. Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink."


THE FIRST ANGEL'S MESSAGE – IN A NEW LIGHT


The phenomenon of God's people proclaiming erroneous conclusions while they are experiencing a partial unrolling of the scroll of prophetic truth (being fed in measured amounts of food and drink), and how said accepted errors are a test for God's people at the time they are made, and later for those who are brought to a realization of the errors when the scroll unrolls further, may be also understood by looking at Revelation 10:8-11 as it applies historically in the beginning of the Advent movement.


"And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.

"And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book.

"And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.

"And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.

"And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings."


Adventists correctly understand this as depicting their early experience of proclaiming the "cleansing of the sanctuary" in 1844, but later realizing that their ideas of what was meant by the word "sanctuary," its cleansing, and their work at that time involving Christ's second coming was in error. The end of the time period (the 2300 days – years) was correct, but their understanding of the events and their understanding of their work was shown to be somewhat erroneous after the scroll had further unrolled and they understood the above quoted Scripture. That is, they at first thought their work for the world and the churches was finished, but when the scroll unrolled further they had to pass off that heaven-allowed error.


William Miller's mistake about the meaning of the word "sanctuary"could be correctly viewed as being baked on cow's dung which affected the pureness of the food (doctrine). Nevertheless, God used those things which the leaders of the Advent movement were teaching to bring about His will for those times. But those who were not discriminating in what they ate were given the unholy man's dung upon which to bake their bread – that is, they clung to their mistaken theories, and used them to prepare their spiritual bread ending up with polluted bread which was unpalatable.


If William Miller had come declaring that Jesus was about to enter the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to review the records of the dead and of the living, how many would have listened? But as he taught that the cleansing of the sanctuary was the second coming of Christ to cleanse the "earth," many listened. Is God's method of seemingly tricking His people into responding a certain way to be looked upon negatively? Certainly not. He has to reach us where we are.


The truth of the heavenly sanctuary had been previously "cast down" (Daniel 8:11) during the Dark Ages, and few would have been interested in working to restore that truth without its relationship to the second coming of Christ. That's because the purpose of Christ's work in the cleansing of the sanctuary is to fit the people for that coming. Therefore it was necessary to stimulate the people with that hope in order to lead them to the truth of the sanctuary and the work therein.


Foremost in the work of Miller and his associates was the call for repentance from sin in preparation of the coming of the Messiah. In this regards his work and the error therein was comparable to that of John the Baptist at Christ's first coming. In both cases, though the call was made to repent from discernable sins, the greatest test came from the call to repent from the sin of private interpretation. "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it." Deuteronomy 4:2. This test came upon the messengers themselves in William Miller's day, as it had with John the Baptist – they had to examine themselves to see if they had entertained any presumptions in the doctrines they had espoused and taught.


"Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression." Psalms 19:13.


The doctrine that the earth was the sanctuary which was to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days was not a pure inspired truth (baked on clean wood or coal – Isaiah 6:6), but was that which was baked on cow's dung – extraneous matter that the Holy Spirit allowed to affect the pure truth of the cleansing of the sanctuary. That is, no one claimed that they had received the idea that the earth was the sanctuary by a direct revelation from God. There was no test nor examination on the matter prior to the disappointment on October 22, 1844. It was simply presumed to be such because it had been preached as so for a long time. Error doesn't become truth just because it is old.


But there were other professed Christians who had a wholly different idea of the cleansing of the sanctuary that did not involve the latter day purification of the church in preparation for Christ's second coming. Those were eating their bread baked on man's dung, and could not benefit from the work of the Advent movement. Their man's dung-polluted bread was truly defiling, and thus led to the Lord saying of them,


"Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Revelation 14:8.


Hence the leaders of the Advent movement were brought to the point where they themselves had to admit that part of their teaching was polluted (in error – baked on dung). As history has it, few of the leaders of the movement were able to admit that their bread was defiled by cow's dung (errors allowed by the Holy Spirit), and turned away and produced more bread that was baked on their own opinions and theories (man's dung). Thus followed that which was also prophesied,


"Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment: That they may want bread and water, and be astonished one with another, and consume away for their iniquity." Ezekiel 4:16,17.


But those who were honest enough to admit that their bread was polluted by what it was baked on were able to progress with the truth as the scroll unrolled, and continued to be fed and were preserved. Are the Lord's servants who have given us less than perfectly produced bread to be chastised or rejected for this? The Lord through Isaiah related this phenomenon as follows:


"Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord's servant? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable. " Isaiah 42:19-21.


Such it was that John the Baptist saw many things concerning the time of the kingdom and the repentance necessary to enter therein, but he, at first, observed not the sufferings of Christ which must first come to pass. He opened the ears of many in Israel, but he himself heard not clearly the Gospel of Christ, which was evidenced by his later question to Jesus. The early Adventists' experience was similar. But those who wouldn't avail themselves of those cleansing ashes of the Red Heifer because of what they once contained (cow's dung) lost out in the cleansing they provided.


During the 430 years of the Protestant Reformation those who leaned upon the arm of flesh (Jeremiah 17:5) could not be benefitted by God's progressive work in their day. They couldn't profit by the Lord's method of working because they would not believe the testimonies of those whom God had sent in their day to bring additional light because those whom they had previously been following had been preparing their spiritual food on the private theories and opinions of men – the dung that cometh out of men. Only those who were able to accept the reality of their past situation were able to move into the clearer light when it came.


It's like not eating fibrous foods because the fiber isn't digested. In doing so one lacks the benefit of the rest of the nutrients in the food. Those who won't eat heaven inspired truths as presented by weak and erring mortals because the Holy Ghost has allowed some excesses and waste therein, and because it may involve having to pass some of it off as dung (which is part of the growth process) can never grow to a healthy spiritual life, but will become weak and sickly and even spiritually constipated.


It has been said that we have many things to learn, and many things to unlearn (6T 155). This is all part of the growth process. One must eat to grow. Ezekiel had to eat bread which was prepared on cow's dung, or starve, for that, apparently, was all that God was going to supply during the time specified. This shows that if we are waiting for flawless presentations of the truth before we accept any of it, we will starve. But we also should be able to discern that which is of heavenly origin as compared to that which is of the men's opinions and theories.


DUNG IN THE THIRD ANGEL'S MESSAGE?


Another example of this is in the early Adventists experience of keeping the Sabbath, as related in the following:


"Time to begin the Sabbath"--for a period of about ten years Sabbathkeeping Adventists observed the Sabbath from 6 p. m. Friday to 6 p. m. Saturday. Elder Joseph Bates in his first pamphlet on the perpetuity of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, published in 1846, had given reasons for the supposed scriptural support for the observance of the Sabbath in this way. He cited the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, the last group of which had been called at "the eleventh hour" of the day and had wrought but one hour. The reckoning was made with them "when even was come." Matthew 20:6, 8, 12. Comparing this with Christ's question, "are there not twelve hours in the day?" he argued that the "even" began with the twelfth hour, or six o'clock, reckoning with equatorial time or the beginning of the sacred year. Respect for his years and experience and his godly life may have been the main reasons for accepting his conclusions without further investigation.

"As time passed and the message spread, an increasing number of Sabbathkeepers questioned the practice and advocated the sunset time for reckoning the beginning of the Sabbath. A thorough Bible investigation of the question was made by Elder J. N. Andrews, who wrote a paper setting forth the Biblical reasons in favor of the sunset time. This paper was introduced and discussed on Sabbath, November 17, 1855, at the conference in Battle Creek, Michigan, with the result that nearly, but not quite, all present were convinced that Elder Andrew's conclusion was correct. The presentation of the subject to Mrs. White in this vision, given two days later, answered the questions lingering in some minds and effected unity among the believers. Commenting on this experience, as illustrating the office of the visions to confirm conclusions based on biblical study rather than to introduce new teachings, Elder James White wrote later:

"'The question naturally arises, if the visions are given to correct the erring, why did she not sooner see the error of the six o'clock time? I have ever been thankful that God corrected the error in His own good time, and did not suffer an unhappy division to exist among us upon this point. but, dear reader, the work of the Lord upon this point is in perfect harmony with His manifestations to us on others, and in harmony with the correct position upon spiritual gifts. It does not appear to be the desire of the Lord to teach His people by the gifts of the spirit on the Bible questions until His servants have diligently searched His Word. When this was done upon the subject of the time to commence the Sabbath, and most were established, and some were in danger of being out of harmony with the body on this subject, then, yes, then, was the very time for God to magnify his goodness in the manifestation of the gift of his spirit in the accomplishment of its proper work.'--Review and Herald, Feb. 25, 1868." Testimonies, Volume 1, p. 713, 714.


We see in that history an example, not only the results of men's presumptions, but also God's method of correcting such. The following is Ellen White's testimony regarding the vision she received concerning the proper time of keeping the Sabbath –


"I saw that it is even so: 'From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath.' Said the angel: 'Take the word of God, read it, understand, and ye cannot err. Read carefully, and ye shall there find what even is, and when it is.' I asked the angel if the frown of God had been upon His people for commencing the Sabbath as they had. I was directed back to the first rise of the Sabbath, and followed the people of God up to this time, but did not see that the Lord was displeased, or frowned upon them. I inquired why it had been thus, that at this late day we must change the time of commencing the Sabbath. Said the angel: 'Ye shall understand, but not yet, not yet.' Said the angel: 'If light come, and that light is set aside or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes, there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject.' I saw that it was in the minds of some that the Lord had shown that the Sabbath commenced at six o'clock, when I had only seen that it commenced at 'even,' and it was inferred that even was at six. I saw that the servants of God must draw together, press together." Testimonies, Volume 1, p. 116.


Therein we find a few important points relative to our current study. First, that the Lord was not displeased that they were in a growing and learning phase in their experience, as long as they continued to exchange error for truth. Next is that even though the Lord had previously given Ellen White light that the Sabbath commenced at "even," men could not keep themselves from privately interpreting the meaning of the word "even." Lastly, that there was to be a period of time before they would clearly understand the principle underlying, and reason for, the phenomena of error and inspiration in the unrolling of the scroll of Truth. Not only was there to be a delay in their fully understanding these things, but even two delays, as we learn from the angel's use of the words, "Ye shall understand, but not yet, not yet."


"All classes of second advent believers agree, that the angel brought to view in the 6th, and 7th verses of this chapter (Rev. 14) represents the advent message, to the church and world. If this is true, then all five of the angels brought to view in this chapter represent five distinct messages, prior to the advent or we are left without a rule to interpret this chapter." A Word to the Little Flock, p. 10,11.


Considering that there are two more angels (messages) to follow the Third Angel, it is not the least bit unreasonable for Adventists to believe that some of our doctrines will be updated when the scroll unrolls further when those angels arrive. Especially as such has always been the case in the unrolling of the scroll.


According to the time line of Ezekiel 4, the children of Israel (the church) were to eat their defiled bread for 390 years. Reckoning from the beginning of Martin Luther's personal revival some where around 1500 A.D., this would bring us up until at least 1890. That would mean that even the Seventh Day Adventist movement had to be eating some form of polluted bread (either baked on man's dung, or on Cow's dung, or both). Ellen White said,


"We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed." Review and Herald, July 26, 1892.


"'There is a danger of our being so over-zealous to keep out of Babylon,' says the founder of the Seventh-day Adventist church, 'that we shall commit her most noted blunder -- that of sticking a stake and refusing to pull it up and advance. When we cease to unlearn errors [pass off waste], we shall fall like those who have gone before us. We have learned much, and no doubt there is much more for us to learn.... It is the follow on and the go through spirit that will finally land the remnant without fault on the heavenly Mount Zion. My conclusion is that we should give up no Scripture truth, but that our false applications and interpretations of Scripture, and consequent false ideas of order and propriety, should be given up as fast as possible.' Review and Herald, May 29, 1860." Answerer No. 4, p. 80,81. [brackets added]


"We must not think, 'Well, we have all the truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge.' The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light

"A brother asked, 'Sister White, do you think we must understand the truth for ourselves? Why can we not take the truths that others have gathered together, and believe them because they have investigated the subjects, and then we shall be free to go on without the taxing of the powers of the mind in the investigation of all these subjects? Do you not think that these men who have brought out the truth in the past were inspired of God?'

"I dare not say they were not led of God, for Christ leads into all truth; but when it comes to inspiration in the fullest sense of the word, I answer, No. I believe that God has given them a work to do, but if they are not fully consecrated to God at all times, they will weave self and their peculiar traits of character into what they are doing, and will put their mold upon the work, and fashion men in religious experience after their own pattern. It is dangerous for us to make flesh our arm. We should lean upon the arm of Infinite Power. God has been revealing this to us for years. We must have living faith in our hearts and reach out for larger knowledge and more advanced light....

"We do not claim that in the doctrines sought out by those who have studied the word of truth, there may not be some error, for no man that lives is infallible" Review and Herald, March 25, 1890.


Therein Ellen White describes how men can "weave self and their peculiar traits of character into what they are doing" – even baking their spiritual bread on their own dung, putting "their mold upon the work." But she also says that "I dare not say they ["men who have brought out the truth in the past"] were not led of God, for Christ leads into all truth." She also says of herself,


"In regard to infallibility, I never claimed it; God alone is infallible. His word is true, and in Him is no variableness, or shadow of turning." Letter 10, 1895.


"There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation." Review and Herald, December 20, 1892.


The situation we are then faced with is having to accept that some of the doctrines we as Adventists have been given may have been baked on man's dung, and some on the dung of the holy Cow. Thus it is that we must look to and trust in the Lord to sort these things out, distinguishing between one kind of error or the other, in His time and manner.


Following is an examination of some of Ellen White's statements regarding the Passover week during which Jesus was captured, crucified, and resurrected. As we shall see, her presentation of things is not flawless – that some of the things she said were simply restatements of the opinions of men that were common to her day, and which were in error to the facts.


"The first of these festivals, the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, occurred in Abib, the first month of the Jewish year." Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 538.


Therein we note that she calls "the Passover," "the feast of unleavened bread." And well she should, because that is what the Bible teaches,


"Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover." Luke 22:1.


She goes on to say,


"On the fourteenth day of the month, at even, the Passover was celebrated, ...

"The Passover was followed by the seven day's feast of unleavened bread. The first and the seventh day were days of holy convocation, when no servile work was to be performed. On the second day of the feast, the first fruits of the year's harvest were presented before God. Barley was the earliest grain in Palestine, and at the opening of the feast it was beginning to ripen. A sheaf of this grain was waved by the priest before the altar of God, as an acknowledgment that all was His. Not until this ceremony had been performed was the harvest to be gathered." Ibid., p. 539.


From the foregoing statements one could conclude one of two different things:


The first is that the Passover was held on one day (the 14th), and that the Feast of Unleavened Bread "followed" on the day after that (the 15th).


The second is that the Passover meal was on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (the 15th), because "the feast of unleavened bread ... is called the Passover."


In another place she says this,


"On the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month, the very day and month on which for fifteen long centuries the Passover lamb had been slain, Christ, having eaten the Passover with His disciples, instituted that feast which was to commemorate His own death as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." The Great Controversy, p. 399.


From this it appears that she believed that Christ ate the Passover on the "very day" "on which for fifteen long centuries the Passover lamb had been slain" – that being the 14th day of the month. But is that the truth of the matter? Was the Passover lamb to be eaten on the same day it was slain – the 14th? We asked this question because Jewish custom today has them actually eating the Passover on the beginning of the 15th (the dark part of it which follows the sunset at the end of the 14th), which is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:5-7).


The matter seems to hinge on the understanding (or misunderstanding) of what is meant by the words "at even" in the Scriptures. Many correctly understand that the Bible reckons the beginning of a day from one setting of the sun (even) to the next setting of the sun (even) – from the beginning of one night to the beginning of the next night (Genesis 1). But, as we shall see, the words "even" and "evening" are also used in the Bible to signify the late afternoon period that approaches unto sundown of a day, as well as the period following the sundown of the same day.


"Throughout the Bible, just as in books written in this age, the word 'even' means the afternoon of the same day. Wednesday evening therefore means the ending of Wednesday and the beginning of Thursday, not the ending of Tuesday and the beginning of Wednesday, although Wednesday night coalesces with and becomes the night of Thursday. This fact will be readily seen from the following Scriptures:

"Early in the morning, 'Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord' (John 20:18); 'then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week,...came Jesus and stood in the midst.' John 20:19. Thus in Jesus' day, the term 'evening' was used to designate the last part of the day.

"Again: 'And the first day of unleavened bread when they killed the passover, His disciples said unto Him, Where wilt Thou that we go and prepare that Thou mayest eat the passover? And He sendeth forth two of His disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him...and he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us...and in the evening He cometh with the twelve.' Mark 14:12, 13, 15, 17.

"Here Mark says that in the fourteenth day, when they killed the Passover lamb, Jesus sent forth two of His disciples, and that after they had prepared the place, and evening of that same day had come, then came Jesus. Thus in this Scripture also, we see that the 'evening' means, not the beginning, but the ending, of the day." The Sign of Jonah, p. 16, 17.


Another important fact that is related in these verses is that the day "when they killed the passover" is called "first day of unleavened bread." This may seem to be confusing in that the day when they killed the passover is declared to be the 14th "at even," while the first day of unleavened bread is said to be the 15th. But these verse show that two dates (the 14th and the 15th) coalesce in the "evening" they have in common. This can also be understood from the following Scriptures:

 

"In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.

"Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses..." Exodus 12:18, 19.


"In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein." Leviticus 23:5-7.


Therein we see the exact dates of the feast of Unleavened Bread, "which is called the Passover." From Ex. 12:18 we learn that the 14th day "at even" is the time which begins the "seven days" of eating unleavened bread. The time the beginning of the eating of unleavened bread is to take place, and what is meant by "at even" is more fully explained in Lev. 23:6. That is, Exodus says the 14th "at even" while Lev. says it is on the 15th day. These are not contradictory when we take into consideration that at the going down of the sun at the end of the 14th (at its ending evening), the 15th begins.


This becomes even clearer when we count the actual seven days. When we start counting from the 15th through the 21st, as per Exodus 12:18, we find this:


15th              1st day (commencing at the sundown of the 14th)

16th              2nd day

17th              3rd day

18th              4th day

19th              5th day

20th              6th day

21st              7th and last day (ending at the sundown of the 21st)


Thus we see that the counting of the 7 days of feast of Unleavened Bread, "which is called the Passover," doesn't include any part of the daytime of the 14th. So the counting of the days of the feast doesn't begin with the sunset (even) at the beginning of the 14th, but rather, with the sunset (even) that ends the 14th. Were the 14th be included in the reckoning, that would make 8 days until the 21st. These are not the only verses that indicate that the words "at even" refer to the end of a day, as we see here:


"And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up." Ex. 16:13.

"As quails do not fly at night, they therefore had to come to the camp before sunset, the time which Moses calls "even" -- the ending of the day, not the beginning of the night."

"These Bible facts show that the Lord's command concerning the Passover lamb, "Ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day...and...shall kill it in the evening" (Ex. 12:6), means that the lamb was to be killed in the afternoon of the fourteenth day."The Sign of Jonah, p. 17.


There is another fact to consider regarding the use of the word "even," and that is its use in relation to the time of the daily burnt offerings. Of these we read:


"The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even." Exodus 29:39. See also Numbers 28:4.


We know that these offering were made during the daylight period each day (at the 3rd and 9th hours thereof), not during the night time.


"When the loud cry, 'It is finished,' came from the lips of Christ, the priests were officiating in the temple. It was the hour of the evening sacrifice [the ninth hour]. The lamb representing Christ had been brought to be slain." The Desire of Ages, p. 757. (See Matthew 27:46) [brackets added]


There is yet another fact that proves that the time of the slaying of the Passover lamb is at the end of the 14th, and not the beginning of it, and that is that the Hebrew words that are translated "at even" in reference to the 14th actually mean "between the evens," as noted in the marginal renderings. The two "evens" therein refer to the 9th hour of the day (the time of the "evening sacrifice), and the actual sunset. In the instance mentioned above in The Desire of Ages, "[t]he lamb representing Christ" that "had been brought to be slain " was the daily "burnt offering" that was presented at the hour of the "evening sacrifice," and not the passover lamb which was to be sacrificed "between the two evenings."


This brings us back to Ellen White's statement,


"On the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month, the very day and month on which for fifteen long centuries the Passover lamb had been slain, Christ, having eaten the Passover with His disciples, instituted that feast which was to commemorate His own death as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." The Great Controversy, p. 399.


From all of the foregoing we see that Christ did not eat the Passover on the 14th (the day at the end of which the Passover was slain), as it is portrayed in this statement from The Great Controversy, but would have eaten it on the 15th, during the night following the sundown of the 14th, as did the rest of the Jews. That is, though it was slain on the 14th "between the evens" (the 9th hour and the end of the day), it was not fully roasted and ready to eat until after sunset, which is then the 15th. But there is more to this matter of Ellen White's misunderstanding the timing of the Passover and its attending events, as we shall see. After reviewing these things we will be better able understand why she believed as she did, and why she said what she did.


THE DAY CHRIST WAS THE WAVESHEAF


The next point we are going to review is the matter of the wavesheaf offering that was to take place during the Passover season. Of this Ellen White says,


"Christ arose from the dead as the first fruits of those that slept. He was the antitype of the wave sheaf, and His resurrection took place on the very day when the wave sheaf was to be presented before the Lord." The Desire of Ages, p. 786.


"On the fourteenth day of the month, at even, the Passover was celebrated, ...

"The Passover was followed by the seven day's feast of unleavened bread. The first and the seventh day were days of holy convocation, when no servile work was to be performed. On the second day of the feast, the first fruits of the year's harvest were presented before God. Barley was the earliest grain in Palestine, and at the opening of the feast it was beginning to ripen. A sheaf of this grain was waved by the priest before the altar of God, as an acknowledgment that all was His. Not until this ceremony had been performed was the harvest to be gathered." Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 539.


We know from the Scriptures that Christ rose early on the first day of the week (Sunday):


"Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils." Mark 16:9.


Speaking of the days Christ died and was resurrected, Ellen White says,


"On the sixth day [Friday] of the week they had seen their Master die; on the first day [Sunday] of the next week they found themselves deprived of His body [for He had risen], and they were accused of having stolen it away for the sake of deceiving the people." The Desire of Ages, p. 794. [brackets added]


Thus we see that Ellen White correctly taught that Christ died on the "sixth day" (Friday), and rose on the 1st day of the week (Sunday). But the problem arises from her statement that "He was the antitype of the wave sheaf, and His resurrection took place on the very day when the wave sheaf was to be presented before the Lord." The problem is not in this statement by itself, but comes when this statement is taken in conjunction with this one –


"On the second day of the feast, the first fruits of the year's harvest were presented before God." Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 539.


That is, she correctly states in many places that Christ ate the Passover with His disciples before He was captured and crucified. That day would have had to be the 1st day of "the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover," as that is when the Passover was to be eaten. But if He was to be resurrected "on the second day of the feast," as "the antitype of the wave sheaf," that would have had to have been on the day immediately following the Passover (the 1st day of the feast). But according to the Bible and Ellen White's own testimony He was crucified on Friday, in the tomb on the day following His crucifixion (which was the seventh day Sabbath), and resurrected on the day after that (Sunday).


So if He ate the Passover on the 1st day of the feast, then after that died on the cross and was buried before sunset of the day He died, and was in the tomb on the Sabbath following His crucifixion, then it would not be correct to say that He was resurrected "on the second day of the feast," as "the antitype of the wave sheaf," for there was a day (the Sabbath – Saturday) in between the day He died (Friday) and the day He was resurrected (Sunday). Thus Sunday could not have been the 2nd day of the feast.


So how are we to understand these discrepancies? When we take into consideration that the timing of the events during that final week of Christ's passion has been one of the most controverted matters in the Christian community, we should not be surprised that Ellen White and her contemporaries were caught up in it. This is especially true considering that she never said that she received any specific light on the actual dates, and her brethren at the time held diverse opinions on the dates. As we shall see, she was just expressing an opinion which was common among her peers, and the circumstance falls within the phenomena earlier noted –


"Of necessity, any statements relative to a subject which is still out of sight in the unfolding of the Scroll, are made only in incidental terms of truth as it is at the time seen or commonly understood. And if the common understanding of these incidental statements be wrong, the writer cannot be held responsible for that which he has borrowed from others or seen but very dimly and therefore expressed very indefinitely." Answerer Book 2, p. 78.


An example of the confusion which has existed from the early days of the Church on the Passover week matter is given in a note in the back of The Great Controversy. To wit,


"Note 9. page 447.--The bishops of Rome began, very early, to demand obedience from all the churches. of this the dispute between the eastern and the western churches respecting easter is a striking illustration.

"This dispute arose in the second century says Mosheim: 'The Christians of this century celebrated anniversary festivals in commemoration of the death and resurrection of christ. . . . the day which was observed as the anniversary of Christ's death was called the paschal day, or Passover.' Like the Jews, Christians celebrated 'a sacred feast, at which they distributed a paschal lamb in memory of the holy supper.' The Christians of Asia Minor kept this feast on the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month, when the Jews celebrated their Passover, and when Christ is said to have eaten the paschal lamb with his disciples. Three days thereafter, a festival was observed in honor of the resurrection. The western churches, on the other hand, celebrated the resurrection of Christ on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover, and observed the paschal feast on the night preceding Sunday, thus connecting the commemoration of Christ's death with that of His resurrection.

" 'Toward the conclusion of this [the second] century, Victor, bishop of Rome, endeavored to force the Asiatic Christians, by the pretended authority of his laws and decrees, to follow the rule which was observed by the western churches in this point. Accordingly . . . he wrote an imperious letter to the Asiatic prelates, commanding them to imitate the example of the Western Christians with respect to the time of celebrating the festival of easter. The Asiatics answered this lordly requisition . . . with great spirit and resolution, that they would by no means depart, in this manner, from the custom handed down to them by their ancestors. Upon this the thunder of excommunication began to roar. Victor, exasperated by this resolute answer of the Asiatic bishops, broke communion with them, pronounced them unworthy of the name of his brethren, and excluded them from all fellowship with the church of Rome.' [Mosheim, Eccl. Hist., Cent. 2, part 2, chap. 4., para. 9, 11.] this, says Bower, was 'the first essay of papal usurpation.' The Great Controversy, (1888), p. 685, 686. [brackets added]

     "For a time, however, Victor's efforts availed little. No regard was paid to his letters, and the Asiatics continued to follow their ancient practice. But by enlisting the support of the imperial power, which the church for so many centuries controlled to serve her purposes, Rome finally conquered. The council of Nice, 'out of complaisance to Constantine the Great, ordered the solemnity of Easter to be kept everywhere on the same day, after the custom of Rome.' [Bower's History of the Popes, vol. 1, pp. 18, 19.] This decree, 'backed by the authority of so great an emperor,' was decisive; 'none but some scattered schismatics, now and then appearing, that durst oppose the resolution of that famous synod.' [Hevlyn, History of the Sabbath, part 2, chap. 2, secs. 4, 5.]" Ibid.


Therein we see that around 100 years after Christ returned to heaven there were already divisions in the Church regarding the timing of the events of the Passover week of Christ's passion, and the time for its memorial. One of the reasons for these divisions was because there was already a division among the Jews as to which day was the correct day to offer the wavesheaf (which typified Christ's resurrection). The text which enjoins the waving of the sheaf says,


"And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it." Leviticus 23:11.


One of the major parties said that "the sabbath" referred to therein meant the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and thus the sheaf was to be waved on "the morrow" after it – 2nd day of the feast, which could fall on any day of the week. The other party said that "the sabbath" referred to the seventh day Sabbath (Saturday) which occurred within the Passover week, and thus "the morrow" after it was always on a Sunday.


This controversy is what brought the confusion in the 2nd century, as related above, and is what Ellen White and her contemporaries were also victims of. It is obvious that Ellen White was somewhat under the impression that "the morrow after the sabbath" (the day when the sheaf was to be waved) meant the morrow after the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for she says that the sheaf was to be waved "on the second day of the feast." But it is also clear that she did not have a clear understanding of the timeline and dates involved in the matter because she acknowledges that there was a day (the 7th day Sabbath) in between the day Christ died (after He celebrated the Passover on the 1st day of the feast), and the day He was resurrected, Sunday. So He was not resurrected "on the second day of the feast."


"Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he [or she] that is perfect, and blind as the LORD’S servant? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.

"The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.

"But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.

"Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come?

"Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law.

"Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.

"But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." Isaiah 42:19-25; 43:1, 2.


Many have come up with theories trying to prove that the Passover that year was on the 7th day Sabbath, or that the meal that Christ ate with His disciples was something other than the true Passover, or that the Jews kept a different Passover than the one Christ kept, in an attempt to give Ellen White's statements the air of infallibility. This is not the only place they have done her an injustice in this regards. It is our position that the errors in her statements regarding the timing of the events under discussion are an example of bread baked on the Cow's dung – errors allowed by the Holy Ghost as a test for those who in the future would experience a further unrolling of the scroll regarding these matters.


As we have pointed out the inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the old view of events of the Passover week, it is only fitting that we also present that which sheds greater light on the matter. As we have others studies that address these matters, we will only present a portion of one study that discusses the matter of the wave sheaf, as follows:


"In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover.

"And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.

"In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. "But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.

"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: "And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it." Leviticus 23:5-11.


Of note here is the fact that there are two "holy convocation[s]" within "the feast of unleavened bread ... which is called the Passover" (Luke 22:1) wherein there is to be done "no servile work" – one on the "first" day, and one on the "seventh" day. As the command concerning the waving of the sheaf on the morrow after "the sabbath" does not distinguish between these two holy convocations, it would be presumptuous to teach that either one of them is meant by the words "the sabbath."


"Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression." Psalms 19:13.


Furthermore, nowhere in the Scriptures are the first or seventh day of the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread called "the sabbath," with the use of the article "the" as it is exists in verses 15 and 16 concerning the morrow after "the sabbath." Only the seventh day of the week, the memorial of God's day of rest after the six days of creation, is called "the sabbath." Therefore, "the morrow after the sabbath" must refer to the day after the sabbath which falls within the seven days of the feast. Were it to refer to any other sabbath within the year, such would have no significance in the harvest rite of which it is a pivotal part – that being the grain /first fruits harvest.


Regarding that particular Sabbath during the Passover week which Jesus spent in the tomb we read:


"The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away." John 19:31.


Therein we note that the words "the sabbath day" refer to the seventh day Sabbath (Saturday) which followed the "preparation" (the common Jewish name for the 6th day of the week – Friday). Of that particular Sabbath we learn that "that sabbath day was an high day." If the words "that sabbath day" meant that that day was the 1st day of the feast (and thus, "an holy convocation"), there would have been no need to point out that the day was "the sabbath day" (the 7th day of the week), for any day the 1st day of the feast fell on was "an holy convocation." What made that particular "sabbath day" "an high day" was the fact that it fell within the holy week of the Passover/Feast of Unleavened bread." Any time the seventh day Sabbath falls within a feast (or a feast day on it), it becomes "an high day."


Moreover, were the morrow after the first or seventh day of the feast to be specifically meant by the phrase "the morrow after the Sabbath," the Lord could have simply given the date of either of those (being the 16th, and the 22nd, respectively), as he had done with the date of the Passover (the 14th day at even), and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (the 15th day), rather than possibly leaving the matter ambiguous or open to speculation. He also could have indicated that it was referring to the 1st day of the feast, or to the 7th day thereof, by using either of those words. But He didn't.


"God is not the author of confusion." 1 Corinthians 14:33.


Also, in the book of Numbers there is another phrase to consider, that is


"And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians." Numbers 33:3.


It is clear from the context that the phrase, "the morrow after the passover" applies to the morning of "the fifteenth day" of the month, and not the 16th. This is because the Passover is said to take place "in the fourteenth day of the first month at even," even though it is actually eaten on the night portion which begins the 15th. The 14th refers to the day on which the Passover lamb or goat was to be slain "at even" – between the time of the evening sacrifice (at the ninth hour of the day), and the actual going down of the sun (the "evening" – the end of the day), but its (the 14th's) evening continues into the 15th when the Passover was to be eaten.


Therefore, were God to use the phrase "the morrow after the passover" to refer to any day other than the morning of the 15th (i.e., the 16th), the language would be confusing. So we see that God intentionally avoided using the phrase "the morrow after the passover," and "the morrow after the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread" (or any other language which could be construed to imply that the 16th of the month was intended), when distinguishing the day on which the offering of the wavesheaf was/is to take place, for it was/is to take place on "the morrow after the sabbath." From Calendar in the Heavens – New Years, New Moons, Passover, and Pentecost.


For other studies on the actual day of the Passover, the crucifixion, and resurrection, please see



WAS THE FOURTH ANGEL TO BE INFALLIBLE?


The Seventh-day Adventists under the Third Angel's message are not alone in attempting to assign an air of infallibility to their inspired leader. The Davidian Seventh-day Adventists have attempted to do the same thing with the writings of Victor Houteff, their late leader. This in spite of the fact that he is the one quoted earlier as having said,


"Of necessity, any statements relative to a subject which is still out of sight in the unfolding of the Scroll, are made only in incidental terms of truth as it is at the time seen or commonly understood. And if the common understanding of these incidental statements be wrong, the writer cannot be held responsible for that which he has borrowed from others or seen but very dimly and therefore expressed very indefinitely....

"This circumstance is natural and common to every writer treating of Present Truth, beginning with the Old Testament writers, and continuing ever since, and will thus be until every component part of the Truth is made known." Answerer Book 2, p. 78,79.


Here is an example of one of the obvious errors in Victor Houteff's writings –


Victor Houteff stated that if he was shown to be in error in expressing a point that it was his God-given duty to acknowledge it, and correct it. (1 Answerer, p. 49, 50). As he is unable to do such at this time, it remains for God to do so at His pleasure. One error which exists in his writings is his understanding (or better said, his misunderstanding) of whether or not there were any sacrifices done on the Sabbath day. When talking on the matter of selling our books from the pulpit on the Sabbath he presented the following argument:


"A good minister of God, after being questioned as to the authority in selling our publications on the Sabbath day in the house of God, said, 'It is a question just how much of our publications are to be sold on the Sabbath.' The confliction in this minister's mind was answered in three short words: 'None of it.' But this answer did not satisfy the man in the sacred position, and he added, 'Ancient Israel killed the lamb and sacrificed it on the Sabbath. Therefore, we can sell our books.' The answer given to this was, 'If Israel did sacrifice the lamb on the seventh-day Sabbath they were told to do so, but you are told not to, and that is the difference.' The fact of the matter is that God did not give the seventh-day Sabbath to ancient Israel for sacrifices, but for a day of rest. Monthly Sabbaths were added for the sacrifices. Read Lev. 23." Shepherd's Rod, vol. 1, p. 167.


Regardless of the controversy over selling our books on the Sabbath, or whether or not the minister was making any kind of sound reasoning for books sales by making the statement that "Israel killed the lamb and sacrificed it on the Sabbath" (which he wasn't), one of the two of them is wrong in their statement about Sabbath sacrifices – either there were animals "killed ... and sacrificed ... on the Sabbath," or there weren't. Victor Houteff further states his position on the matter:


"Though the sacrificial was a sacred, religious service, requiring much labor, they were not permitted to do it on the seventh-day Sabbath. For this reason God gave them the monthly Sabbaths in which they were to do that sacred work. If God did not allow every kind of religious service to be performed on the seventh-day Sabbath then, will He now? "I the Lord change not." Read Lev. 23." Ibid., p. 149-150.


Is that statement regarding "the sacrificial" true to the Bible? – that is, that "they were not permitted to do it [the sacrificial] on the seventh-day Sabbath?" In both statements he gives "Lev. 23" as the supporting text for his assertion. By reading that chapter, one does not find there any sacrifices ordained for the Sabbath. But is that all there is on the matter? No. For we read in the book of Numbers,


"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savour unto me, shall ye observe to offer unto me in their due season.... And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: This is the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering." Numbers 28:1,2,9,10.


According to these verses, not only were "the continual burnt offering" (the one lamb in the morning, and the one in the evening) to be sacrificed on the Sabbath, but, because it was the Sabbath, an additional "two lambs" and their additional meat and drink offerings, were also offered. So, rather than the Israelites being "not permitted to do it ["the sacrificial"] on the seventh-day Sabbath," they actually were commanded to do twice the regular sacrificial work, "much labor" – that is, they sacrificed two additional lambs "besides" the two of the continual ("daily") burnt offerings, making four burnt offerings on the Sabbath.


As to whether or not there were any offerings done on Sabbath Ellen White says,


"The daily service consisted of the morning and evening burnt offering, the offering of sweet incense on the golden altar, and the special offerings for individual sins. And there were also offerings for sabbaths, new moons, and special feasts." Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 352.


So who was right – the minister or Victor Houteff? From first glance, it appears that the minister was correct, and Victor Houteff wrong, for God did ordain sacrifices for the Sabbaths. But none of that can be used as an excuse for selling our books on Sabbath!


So what does this mean? Does it make Victor Houteff a false prophet? Of course not! It means that the Lord did not direct his mind to Numbers 28, and permitted the error. "Who is blind but my servant?" But why would the Lord do such? Because He foresaw what some would do with Victor Houteff's writings – that is, try to make them and him infallible, idols they can worship.


Moreover, Victor Houteff was somewhat correct in his statement that "Though the sacrificial was a sacred, religious service, requiring much labor, they were not permitted to do it on the seventh-day Sabbath. For this reason God gave them the monthly Sabbaths in which they were to do that sacred work."


That is, though there were "burnt offerings" sacrificed on the seventh-day Sabbaths, there were not any "sin offerings" ordained for those days, as there were for the new moons. So, if he was thinking specifically of sin offerings, he was more correct. We say more correct because there is nothing saying that sin offerings "were not permitted" to be done on the Sabbath – there just wasn't a congregational sin offering ordained for the seventh-day Sabbaths, as there were for the new moons and other feast days.


DID THE LORD HAVE HIS HAND OVER

PART OF THE BRANCH MESSAGE ALSO?


Neither Ellen White nor Victor Houteff were alone in these minor types of errors. Ben Roden did something almost exactly like what Victor Houteff did regarding the Sabbath sacrifices. That is, in Ben's study, The Law of Moses in the Light of Revelation 14, he said,


"Please note that there are no more messages represented in Lev. 23 after the messages that have been given as represented by the goat and two lambs in the wave-loaf ceremony. For the third and last harvest right, the Feast of Tabernacles, there are sacrifices, but the Scripture does not specify what they are."


Well, he is right in saying that about Lev. 23, but not of the whole of Scripture, because, just like Victor Houteff who was only focused on that one chapter, "Lev. 23," the other sacrifices are specified in Numbers 29:12-39. It is interesting that Victor Houteff missed that part about the Sabbath sacrifices in Num. 28, and Ben Roden missed that part about the Feast of Tabernacle sacrifices in Num. 29. "Who is blind, but my servant?"


What else can these minor errors by these inspired writers be attributed to, except they be some of the dung of the Red Heifer (the holy Cow – the Holy Ghost), whose ashes are to cleanse those who have come into contact with dead things (Numbers 19:11-22).

 

There are many Davidians today who profess to be "100% Rods." But what do they really mean by this? For some it means that they have memorized practically every word in the Shepherd's Rod Series and are able to quote it at will. But this should not be taken that they have an inspired understanding of it, at least one inspired by heaven. What it really means is that they have made an idol out of Victor Houteff's writings which they hide behind to avoid investigating any new light which may expose their cherished sins – their pride of opinion. What they are really saying is that their understanding of the Rod is 100% infallible. The same can be said of the Adventists in regards to Ellen White's writings, and even the Branches in regards to the writings of Ben and Lois Roden. It is likewise true of anyone, Christian or otherwise, who has made an idol out of anyone's teachings.


Others, the tares who are working from within the congregation to keep people from advancing with the life-saving, life-imparting unrolling of the scroll, are saying that the Ellen White or Victor Houteff are infallible so that when one may show an honest error (such as the ones pointed out herein), those who have accepted the notion that they are infallible will cast off what faith they had and sink into perdition. The same is true of not only every step in the Protestant Reformation, but even in the Catholic Church, itself. And because of this, many of those who come to realize that their ministers and popes are not infallible in their teachings have cast off whatever faith they have had in God's ability to use people in His work of saving souls. Thus, because of making idols of men and women, the time will come in the unrolling of the scroll (and is already here) when God's people will say,


"We will not have this man to reign over us." Luke 19:14 –


Even though that man (or woman) is God's appointed leader, as the context of the verse implies. Those who say this will have become so accustomed to eating their bread baked on man's dung (even their own) that they will prefer it to the pure, unadulterated truth. Ben Roden states this fact as follows –


"Outside of the two groups [two sisters – SDA and DSDA] of professed children of God, there is yet another group [a third sister – BDSDA] that is just as badly, if not worse deceived by Satan. This group represents those who profess to have the very latest knowledge and revealed truth. They make loud professions of believing the Spirit of Prophecy, the Shepherd’s Rod, and some even profess to believe the Branch; but they go about establishing their own righteousness and eating their own bread (Isa. 4:1). Of this latter group Inspiration says,

"‘Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.’ Eze. 33:30.

"Yes they make loud claims of believing the truth, but they still put their private interpretations on the Scriptures saying, ‘Look what the Lord has shown me. It just cannot be any other way.’ When reminded that their ideas are not in harmony with the Spirit of prophecy, they just remark that they do not care what the Spirit of Prophecy says and refuse to give up their private opinions. This class, unless there be a change made, will wind up going of on a tangent like the Yahwehs or Friday Sabbath or "the church is Babylon," or one of the other delusions and finally wind up in the same place where Korah, Dathan, and Abiram found themselves. Think this over Brothers and Sisters, before you put an interpretation on a Scripture be sure it is harmony with the Spirit of Prophecy, lest you confuse others as well as yourself.

"‘And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.’ Eze. 33:31.

"These individuals come and sit in the congregation as God’s people and they hear the words of Inspiration but they will not do what they hear. They go after their covetousness – private interpretations. What they hear sounds good to them, but they are not about to do what they hear. V. 32.

["And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song {message} of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument {the Bible}: for they hear thy words, but they do them not." v. 32.]

" ‘AND WHEN THIS COMETH TO PASS, (LO, IT WILL [HAS] COME) THEN SHALL THEY KNOW THAT A PROPHET HATH BEEN AMONG THEM.’ v. 33.

"The very presence of this delusion of private interpretation among God’s people today proves that God has ONE, (not more) inspired interpreter. This evil of private interpretation has done more to disorganize, disrupt, and retard the progress of Truth than all the other evils put together. These so-called professors of Truth need to realize that they are not fighting for God but against Him." The Atonement and Passover Feast, April 14, 1959, p. 9. [Brackets and curly brackets added]


Says Victor Houteff about God-allowed errors,


"The ways of Inspiration are constant, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Questions concerning revealed truth must therefore be answered in the same way today as they were in John's time [that being that truth is revealed "line upon line, ... here a little, there a little.]. And thus now as then, the critical, the skeptical, and the doubting will find many hooks [discrepancies in teaching caused by a partial unrolling of the scroll] upon which to hang their doubts. But likewise now as then, the doubters will be taken in their own craftiness. " 1 Answerer, p. 49, 50. [Brackets added]


But others, those who are the true Adventists, "100% Rods," and true Branches take errors such as the one pointed out herein to be just what they are – incorrect statements which were allowed by God as a test for the future when greater light would be revealed. I do not know if anyone called Ellen White, Victor Houteff, or Ben Roden to task on these errors when they were alive, but there is certainly nothing wrong in doing so now, for we are called to prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).


SUMMARY


In this study we have seen the general meaning of the symbol of dung as employed in the verses under consideration. But the fullness of the meaning of the sacrifice of the Red Heifer in its antitypical setting is the subject for different study. Also, the situation in Ezekiel 4 was to exist only for a limited time, as stated therein. Yet there is one aspect of this whole matter which needs be further explained. That is, how this relates to our growth in Christ.


As stated previously, our acceptance or rejection of the truth revealed herein means our very salvation – whether we stand or fall. Whether we "continue in [His] word" (John 8:31), or whether we fall away from grace (Hebrews 6:6). As in all ages, the greatest test and privilege we are given is in "exchanging darkness for light, error for truth, sin for righteousness." (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 182). In this exchange it is darkness, error, and sin, which we need to pass off as we pass off dung. Therefore, we will now consider the practical side of learning to pass off dung as it relates to our spiritual experience –



POTTY TRAINING


in relation to


RIGHTEOUSNESS BY GRACE,


RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH,


AND THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST


"The unjust, the violators of the law of God, have always through 'righteousness by grace' been invited to come into 'righteousness by faith,' the only righteousness that actually receives the reward of 'Christ's righteousness' and of eternal life. 'Now,' says Inspiration, 'the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.' Heb. 10:38. The just, you see, live by faith, but the unjust by grace. 'Grace,' you note, is not the final touch of salvation. 'Grace,' plus 'faith,' plus 'the righteousness of Christ,' are what earn eternal life.

"The law, moreover, does not save. It condemns sin and upholds righteousness. 'Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.' Rom. 3:20. Being already a sinner, man is by the law condemned to death. Only by 'grace,' therefore, can he be set free from the condemnation of the law. The sinner, consequently, is a law-breaker, and the righteous is a law-keeper. 'Grace,' therefore, pardons, the sinner, lets him out of prison, so to speak, and gives him another chance to overcome sin; but "faith" keeps him free. The sum of the matter is this: 'Righteousness through grace' is righteousness through pardon, while 'righteousness through faith' is righteousness through behaving, and it is crowned with 'the righteousness of Christ.'

"To repeat: 'Grace' pardons our sins and sets us free -- gives us another chance to make life what it ought to be. Consequently, if you are under 'grace' you are not under the law, for 'grace' has made you free from the penalty which the law imposes." Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 39, p. 7.


With this in mind let us review the experience which has been common to us all (even Jesus) – potty training – and the spiritual aspects of it as they relate to our growth in Christ from grace to faith to the righteousness of Christ. The word "righteousness" means "right doing." But as we are talking of potty training, instead of saying "Right Doing by Faith," think of it as


RIGHT DOING BY GRACE


Going to the bathroom by grace is when your parents clean you and change your dirty diapers. This is done for both those who become the just or the unjust – all receive a measure of grace as newborns. This is usually done by your mother – a symbol of the work of the Holy Spirit, of Whom we are born again.


Infants are not really even aware that they are passing off things, and have no real knowledge of the burden they are to their parents in this regards. Younger children, though more aware of what is taking place, have not much control over their natural elimination actions, but are learning that they should notify someone when the need to go to the bathroom is coming upon them, and if they don't do this they will end up with an unpleasant situation upon themselves, and extra work for their parents.


Also during this period we do not have much control over what we eat. At first, all we are given is mother's milk, or some man-made formula. During and following this time we are dependant upon our parents' choices for what we eat. Though young children often refuse new foods when they are given to them, it is pretty much up to the parents what and how often to feed them. Consequently, should our parents give us the wrong foods or at the wrong times, we can end up being constipated or with other dietary related maladies. So we are dependent upon their love in bearing the unpleasantries of our youth, and acting responsibly in keeping us clean and happy.


As it is in the natural life, so it is likewise in the spiritual life. All of us have been brought into the church through those who have acted as our spiritual parents – be they Christ and the Holy Ghost, as were the 12 apostles and Saul of Tarsus, or whether it be some man or woman who has ministered to us. While the apostles and others have had the benefit of the best parenting, such has not been the case with all of us. As the circumstances are, we have had a diversity of mothers (churches) by whom we have been brought into the household of faith. Many of them have not been as faithful to their calling as they ought to have been.


That is, some have fed us on less than wholesome, devitalized food (even that which has been baked on man's dung), and have thereby brought upon us spiritual constipation, and no means to remedy the ailment except some man-devised concoction ("Christian" psychotherapy – counseling, "Christian" self-help books and seminars, etc.). As such parents have never learned to eat properly themselves, nor have learned the true principles of elimination, they are unable to teach the same to their own young children. These are usually in need of a good natural spiritual laxative themselves, and a self examination of their own potty training.


RIGHT DOING BY FAITH


Going to the bathroom by faith is when you learn to go to the bathroom on your own. That is, it is when you have taken to heart your mother's wisdom and knowledge of how and when to recognize that it is time to pass things off, and are exercising your faith that you will do the right thing at the right time – not depending on others to do that for you which you should be doing for yourself. During this time it would be common for your parents to ask you, "do you have to go now?" Or, to say that "you're better go now." If you are honest in examining your inward situation, you would be giving a truthful response in word and action. But if you are preoccupied with other interests, or not wanting to accept the real duties of mature life, you will be less than honest in said responses and will bring shame upon yourself (soiling yourself) because you failed to do right when you could have known better.


Also during this period we are learning to make decisions about what, how, and when we eat, and the consequence of these things as they relate to our health and elimination process. We are learning the importance of properly chewing our food, of eating in a timely manner rather than whenever we feel like it, and making the right choices about what we eat. This includes learning that we must eat some things which we may not like, but which we need to grow and maintain our health. Should our parents be wise, they will be able make the less palatable things more acceptable to us. If not, the burden lies upon us to do this for ourselves.


Spiritually speaking, this is the period of our Christian growth and training when we are becoming aware of the need to be accountable for what, when, and how we eat spiritual foods, and the elimination processes involved with this type of eating, and are acting by faith that we will respond to the inspiration we individually receive in these matters. We are also learning that we are having to educate ourselves to make the correct choices as to what is the best spiritual nutrition for ourselves, and that we, at times, must cease from the customs and traditions of those who have acted as our spiritual guardians which have proven to be less than beneficial for them. We are no longer being spoon-fed by others, eating whatever they gave us.


As we are at this time receiving solid foods, we are also learning that we must thoroughly chew what we are eating, and not just swallow it whole. Spiritually speaking, this means that we are to thoroughly investigate and understand what we are given to eat before we swallow it. This includes trying the spirits (1 John 4:1) when we are presented with new things to prove them as being worthy of becoming a part of us, and not just swallowing whatever we are given to eat.


We are also becoming aware that some of the common dietary customs that our parents have accepted, or others which they, of their own devising, have indulged themselves are not the best for them nor us, and that we must rise above such things, for by doing so we will be truly honoring them, and lengthening our lives (Exodus 20:12). Similarly, we are learning that we may have developed our own unwise preferences in the things we eat, and that we need to bring all of our desires in line with the laws of life. Remember we are speaking of spiritual foods (doctrines). We cannot live on the faith and experience of others, but must have our own. “Those who are accounted good workers will need to draw nigh to God, they will need the divine touch.” Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300.


"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26,27.


Foremost during this period is that we are learning that the timing of our eating and drinking must be governed by the laws of nature rather than by impulse. Such it is also in the spiritual realm. As important as taking in good food is, its true value will be little experienced if the body isn't given time to properly process the food and drink, and rest and refresh itself.


"And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh." Ecclesiastes 12:12.


Just as overeating or eating too often is detrimental to our health, so is "much study ... a weariness of the flesh." While we are admonished to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15), we are also to avoid eating junk spiritual foods – "profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness." (verse 16). Many parents think that they are doing their children well by feeding them all they can handle, then encouraging them to eat more. They also allow their children to eat between meals (usually junk foods). They do this to their children because they do it to themselves. They think that if it is alright for them, then it must be for their children. Likewise, many of those regarded as spiritual leaders today feed their flocks with lengthy speeches and published dissertations, many of which are not only baked on man's dung, but are nothing more than that – spiritual junk foods – and they provide no more spiritual nutrition than eating dung would.


That which aids in proper elimination, more so than even eating wholesome fibrous foods, is the drinking of pure water at the proper times. This is symbolic of drinking in the Holy Spirit through prayer and praise. Yet this most important exercise is probably the one most parents neglect teaching their children, as they disregard it themselves. Spiritual parents who neglect teaching their children (and themselves) of the value of drinking freely from the river of life (the Holy Spirit) in a timely manner find themselves having to try and cure the ensuing spiritual constipation by means of sharp rebukes (harsh laxatives), or probing revivals (spiritual enemas), without a corresponding reformation – a change in theories, habits, and practices – that brought on the malady in the first place.


All of the potential unpleasantries of spiritual eliminations can be avoided by, in humility, walking by faith, following Inspiration's guidance in either practicing what the Holy Spirit has confirmed to be the ways of life as we have learned from our faithful parents, or in seeking for greater wisdom and knowledge ourselves should our spiritual guides have shown themselves to be unwise in some regards. Whether it be in the natural or spiritual realm, at this stage of our growth we can avoid falling (soiling ourselves) except by mistake, mishap, or through short-sightedness should we take heed to the following –


"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:12, 13.


"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5.


"Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" Isaiah 2:22.


"Howbeit when She, the Spirit of truth, is come, She will guide you into all truth." John 16:13.


In the Hebrew economy, as ordained by God, there were set times for worship and prayer. In the morning at the 3rd hour (about 9:00 am) and in the evening at the 9th hour (about 3:00 pm) the nation stopped for prayer and praise as the priests were offering the daily burnt offerings for their sanctification. There were also special offerings presented on the Sabbath and on the holy convocations (the New Moons, Passover, Pentecost, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles). All of these times were times of spiritual feasting and refreshment. There are wonderful things to be learned from that economy, especially as it was brought into the light of the New Covenant – even as it relates to eating and passing off waste. But these things are also subjects of other of our studies, so we hereby ask the reader to see those studies –


RIGHT DOING BY CHRIST


Going to the bathroom by Christ's life in you, is when we go to the bathroom at regular times. This is because we are giving heed to the counsel


"Blessed art thou, O land, when... thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness." Ecclesiastes 10:17.


At this stage, we have learned the lessons of our youth and they have become natural for us. Christ's righteousness has been imparted to us. Wisdom is being justified of all Her children (Luke 7:35). We have learned how and when to eat, and thus to know when we will be ready to pass things off. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1.


We have learned how to be temperate in what, when, and how we eat, even of spiritual things, as had Christ.


" 'And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.' Luke 2:40.

"In the days of Christ the town or city that did not provide for the religious instruction of the young was regarded as under the curse of God. Yet the teaching had become formal. Tradition had in a great degree supplanted the Scriptures. True education would lead the youth to 'seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him.' Acts 17:27. But the Jewish teachers gave their attention to matters of ceremony. The mind was crowded with material that was worthless to the learner, and that would not be recognized in the higher school of the courts above. The experience which is obtained through a personal acceptance of God's word had no place in the educational system. Absorbed in the round of externals, the students found no quiet hours to spend with God. They did not hear His voice speaking to the heart. In their search after knowledge, they turned away from the Source of wisdom. The great essentials of the service of God were neglected. The principles of the law were obscured. That which was regarded as superior education was the greatest hindrance to real development. Under the training of the rabbis the powers of the youth were repressed. Their minds became cramped and narrow.

"The child Jesus did not receive instruction in the synagogue schools. His mother was His first human teacher. From her lips and from the scrolls of the prophets, He learned of heavenly things. The very words which He Himself had spoken to Moses for Israel He was now taught at His mother's knee. As He advanced from childhood to youth, He did not seek the schools of the rabbis. He needed not the education to be obtained from such sources; for God was His instructor.

"The question asked during the Saviour's ministry, 'How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?' does not indicate that Jesus was unable to read, but merely that He had not received a rabbinical education. John 7:15. Since He gained knowledge as we may do, His intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures shows how diligently His early years were given to the study of God's word. And spread out before Him was the great library of God's created works. He who had made all things studied the lessons which His own hand had written in earth and sea and sky. Apart from the unholy ways of the world, He gathered stores of scientific knowledge from nature. He studied the life of plants and animals, and the life of man. From His earliest years He was possessed of one purpose; He lived to bless others. For this He found resources in nature; new ideas of ways and means flashed into His mind as He studied plant life and animal life. Continually He was seeking to draw from things seen illustrations by which to present the living oracles of God. The parables by which, during His ministry, He loved to teach His lessons of truth show how open His spirit was to the influences of nature, and how He had gathered the spiritual teaching from the surroundings of His daily life.

"Thus to Jesus the significance of the word and the works of God was unfolded, as He was trying to understand the reason of things [even why living things pass off dung!?!]. Heavenly beings were His attendants, and the culture of holy thoughts and communings was His. From the first dawning of intelligence He was constantly growing in spiritual grace and knowledge of truth.

"Every child may gain knowledge as Jesus did. As we try to become acquainted with our heavenly Father through His word, angels will draw near, our minds will be strengthened, our characters will be elevated and refined. We shall become more like our Saviour. And as we behold the beautiful and grand in nature, our affections go out after God. While the spirit is awed, the soul is invigorated by coming in contact with the Infinite through His works. Communion with God through prayer develops the mental and moral faculties, and the spiritual powers strengthen as we cultivate thoughts upon spiritual things." The Desire of Ages, p. 69-71.


Just as Jesus had to be potty trained, and had to learn the lessons of nature regarding the elimination functions in His body and those he beheld in all creatures, so must we if we are to follow in His footsteps. There can be no doubt but that He sought out the spiritual implications of these functions. There is nothing in the Bible that would suggest that Adam and Eve only started having bodily eliminations after sin had entered. The same is true regarding the rest of God's creatures. Eliminating just happens – and God saw that it was "very good." Therefore, there must be some good reason why God made it so – if for no other reason than to keep us humble, and to remind us that we are created beings, which is the essence of true worship. So, within the progressive stages of right-doing, we see that there are also progressive stages of right do-doing – passing off unused and no longer needed things. This is the simple lesson of this study.


The truth of the matters presented herein, while they may not be able to be proved by going to one's favored commentator, nonetheless, can be verified by one going directly to the Source of all Truth.


"Do not trust to the wisdom of any man, or to the investigations of any man. Go to the Scriptures for yourselves, search the inspired word with humble hearts, lay aside your preconceived opinions; for you will obtain no benefit unless you come as children to the word of God. You should say, 'If God has anything for me, I want it. If God has given evidence from his word to this or that brother that a certain thing is truth, he will give it to me. I can find that evidence if I search the Scriptures with constant prayer, and I can know that I do know what is truth.' You need not preach the truth as the product of another man's mind, you must make it your own. When the woman of Samaria was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, she hastened to tell her neighbors and townsmen. She said, "Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. . . . And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. . . . And many more believed because of his own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying; for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ." Review and Herald, March 25, 1890.


"Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth....

"Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

"These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

"But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

"And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

"If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him." 1 John 2:20, 21, 24-29.


Yours, that we all may receive the cleansing

by the ashes of the Red Heifer

and remain in the congregation,


Doug Mitchell




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