A Brief Evaluation of “Heavenly Mother” of World Mission Society Church of God in Galatians 4:26


A Brief Evaluation of “Heavenly Mother” of World Mission Society Church of God in Galatians 4:26

by Jaymark Molo

World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG), also known as the Church of God, is a religious movement that originated in South Korea in 1964. This church does not only believe in God the Father, but also endorses God the Mother in their theology.

In our previous study, we have seen that Revelation 22:17 cannot be used to substantiate the claim of WMSCOG to their doctrine of the bride as divine.[1] However, one might still object that Galatians 4:26 still remains to attest that there is a “Heavenly Mother”. So this leads us to ask: “Does Galatians 4:26 teaches the existence of the Heavenly Mother as WMSCOG believes?” This question deserves a careful examination from the Scriptures.

WMSCOG “Heavenly Mother” Theology in Galatians 4:26

The Bride, Jerusalem and Mother. WMSCOG would argue that Heavenly Mother “is not something new…it is just that we did not know.”[2] God the Mother is believed to be the “Heavenly Jerusalem” and the “Bride of Christ.” They claim that the belief in her is necessary for salvation, stating “God grants us the promised eternal life only after we know and believe in God the mother.”[3]

To know the mother—one must see Jerusalem—to identify Jerusalem—one must be acquainted with the bride—to be familiar with the bride—one must recognize that she is God. Thus, the WMSCOG logic goes this way:

  • The Bride is God (cf. Rev. 22:17).
  • The Bride, which is God, is no other than Jerusalem (cf. Rev. 21:9-10, see also: vv. 1-2).
  • Therefore, Jerusalem is God.
  • If Jerusalem is our Mother, the Mother is God.
  • Jerusalem “is our Mother” (cf. Gal. 4:26).
  • Therefore, the Mother is God or God the Mother undeniably exists!

The conclusions (3 and 6) are indeed undeniably valid if the premises are proven to be true (1, 2, 4, and 5). So, it is a must for us to discuss the truthfulness of the following premises before one can deny the conclusions.

 

A Brief Reply to the Arguments of WMSCOG in Galatians 4:26 and Some Related Arguments to it

 

Bride and God. There is no need to examine the divinity of the bride again here (premise 1) for this has been discussed elsewhere.[4] But for the sake of brevity: The bride is not God. The bride refers to the church (cf. Eph. 5:22-24 and 2 Corinthians 11:2). And if this is the case, the major premise (1) of the syllogism presented above crumbles and consequentially the minor premises associated with it shares the same fate.

Bride and Jerusalem. Looking at Revelation 21:1-2, the angel told the Apostle John that he was going to show him the bride of the Lamb, and he showed the Holy City Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. Now does this mean that an actual city is the bride? If this is so, how can the bride be the church if John construes the bride as New Jerusalem as well?

The dilemma can be solved by recognizing that the text has dual applications. The bride both refers to the church and to the Holy City Jerusalem.

In Revelation 19:7 we are admonished by Apostle John to be glad for “the wedding banquet of the Lamb and bride” has come. In verse 8, the bride is clearly identified with the “people of God”. The wedding banquet here refers to the Second Coming of Christ.[5] At the second advent of Christ, the people of God or the church will be united with the Lamb or the Bridegroom and the “wedding banquet” will take place. Thus, the everlasting union of Christ and the Church will be finally realized (cf. Rev. 19:7-9; 21:1-2).

On the other hand, the bride is also represented with Holy City Jerusalem because it incorporates all who are the bride, just as all the students of a school are sometimes called “the school.” Moreover, the actuality of the city is corroborated with the hope of Old Testament (Isa. 65:17-1; 21:10; 52:1; Dan. 9:24) and the hope of New Testament as well (John 14:1-3; Heb. 11:10; 12:22; 2 Pet. 3:13). The detailed description of John (Rev. 21) to the New Jerusalem suggests that it is literally in heaven coming down on earth (v. 2).

Thus the “the saints and the city together are the bride of Christ. Both are arrayed as the bride beautifully dressed. The church is dressed in fine linen (Rev. 19:8), and the New Jerusalem is said to be adorned with the glory radiating as gold, pearls, and precious stones (Rev. 21:18-21).”[6]

Jerusalem and Mother. The larger context of Galatians is teaching about salvation by faith. In Galatians 4, Paul uses an allegory (verse 22) to make a comparison between two Old Testament characters Hagar and Sarah. Hagar represents the covenant of works.[7] While Sarah represents the covenant of faith.[8]

Those who seek to be justified by the law who are called children of the slave woman (Hagar in 4:24-26) and those who seek to be justified by faith who are children of the free woman (4:22 and 30) or children of promise, (Sarah in 4:28).

Examining the larger and immediate context of Galatians 4:26, one can see that a text taken out of context can lead to plethora of interpretations and here are the several reasons to re-consider the interpretation suggested by WMSCOG:

Firstly, the comparison of Jerusalem being our mother is not to be taken in a literal sense. Paul emphatically said in the immediate context that “these things are being taken figuratively” (v. 24). Unfortunately, the interpretation of WMSCOG is guilty of taking this in a literal sense by inferring that the woman is literally no other than God the Mother.

Second, even if the text is taken literally, the passage would say that the mother would be both Jerusalem and Sarah (v. 22), not God the Mother nor Zhang Gil Jah. Interestingly, we cannot find a single passage that supports Sarah and Jerusalem as God nor does Scripture calls the mother as God.

Thirdly, the phrase “Jerusalem which is above” (v. 26) can only be understood in relation to “Jerusalem which now is” (v. 25).[9] The “Jerusalem which now is” (v. 25) refers to the literal Israel as a nation. But the “Jerusalem which is above” (v. 26) refers to the Christians as a church. For this is the central point of this whole figurative illustration: “that Judaism is slavery and the Christian state [is] liberty.”[10]

Lastly, Paul consistently believes that there was only one God.[11] He even explicitly made this clear by declaring in Galatians 3:20 that “God is one.” The concept of having two gods, a God the Father and God the Mother, is absolutely foreign in the book of Galatians.

Conclusion

Here are several conclusions we have reached in this study: (1) The bride is not God; (2) The bride both refers to the church and actual heavenly city of Jerusalem; (3) Jerusalem is our mother, but she is not God.

In conclusion, although WMSCOG’s gospel is quite contrary to the gospel preached by Paul (cf. Galatians 1:7-9), love for them should come first as we try to present to them the eternal gospel of God (cf. 1 Cor. 13:1-3).

______________________

[1] Jaymark Molo, “A Brief Evaluation of ‘the Bride’ of World Mission Society Church of God in Revelation 22:17”, posted on August 10, 2016 (http://www.backtothescriptures.org/#!A-Brief-Evaluation-of-%E2%80%9Cthe-Bride%E2%80%9D-of-World-Mission-Society-Church-of-God-in-Revelation-2217/capg7/57aaa2560cf25744c580817d). Accessed on August 16, 2016.

[2] “God the Mother…Is It Really in the Bible?” (https://www.thetruewmscog.com/god-the-mother-is-it-really-in-the-bible/). Accessed on August 16, 2016.

[3] https://www.wmschurchofgod.org/heavenly-mother/god-the-mother/.  Accessed on August 10, 2016.

[4] See, Jaymark Molo, “A Brief Evaluation of ‘the Bride’ of World Mission Society Church of God in Revelation 22:17”, Ibid.

[5] WMSCOG believes in similar vein: “The book of Revelation was written after Jesus had ascended, and it prophesied about the things that were to happen in the last days. Thus, ‘the Lamb’ mentioned in the above verse indicates the Second Coming Jesus,” unfortunately, they believe that the Lamb is “Ahnsahnghong”. Heavenly Mother (http://english.watv.org/truth/truth_life/content_mother.asp). Accessed on August 22, 2016.

[6] Ranko Stefanovic, Revelation of Jesus Christ: Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Berrien SpringsMI: Andrews University Press, 2009), 588, 589.

[7] Francis D. Nichol, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1978), 971.

[8] H.L. Willmington further explains: “Paul presented Hagar and Sarah, with their sons Ishmael and Isaac, as types of the contrast between the bondage of legalism and the liberty of grace. Hagar, like those who depend on the law, was a slave; and her son, who was naturally born, was also a slave. Sarah, like those who depend on grace, was free; and her son, whose birth was miraculous, was Abraham’s heir (4:21–27; see Gen. 16:1–18:15; 21:1–21).” Willmington’s Bible Handbook (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1997), 701.

[9] Others believe that this phrase is a “reference to God’s abode in the heavenly city that will one day appear on earth (Rev. 21:2).” Robert B. Hughes and Carl J. Laney, Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 584.

[10] H. D. M. Spence-Jones, The Pulpit Commentary: Galatians (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004), 203.

[11] 1 Cor. 8:4-6, Rom. 3:29-30, etc.

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A Brief Evaluation of “the Bride” of World Mission Society Church of God in Revelation 22:17


A Brief Evaluation of “the Bride” of World Mission Society Church of God in Revelation 22:17

By Jaymark Molo

“Have you ever heard the God the mother in the Bible?” This is how I was approached by one of the members of World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG). To my astonishment, numerous texts has been presented before me to support that God the mother is in the Bible.[1] One of those was Revelation 22:17.

This text has received a considerable attention among “God the Mother” advocates. On this text, they would assert that “the bride” unquestionably is divine and is no other than “God the Mother”. But one might ask, “how does the WMSCOG arrive at such a conclusion?”

This will be the sole interest of this paper. Let us examine now this text in the lens of their teachings and in the light of the Scripture.

WMSCOG “God the Mother” Theology in Revelation 22:17

God the Mother and the Bride. WMSCOG would assert right away that “the Spirit” to said text refers to the Holy Spirit. Then after this, they would point out to that the Holy Spirit is divine because He offers the “free gift of the water of life”. Since God alone can make such an offer, the bride also can be considered divine since she can makes a similar claim. Thus the argument revolves around the prerogative of the “bride” to offer eternal life which God alone can claim.[2]

Meanwhile, the “bride” according to them can be identified as “God the Mother” fulfilled in the personhood of Zhang Gil-Jah, who became the wife of Ahn Sahng-hong.

A Brief Reply to the Arguments of WMSCOG in Revelation 22:17

The Bride. The fundamental problem with the interpretation of the WMSCOG is they go straight claiming that the identity of the bride is Zhang Gil-Jah without giving a single support from the Scriptures why is it so.[3] This is begging the question at its finest.

Secondly, in the bible, the bride is identified with the church, people of God.[4] Ephesians 5:22-24 in particular compares the union of husband and wife to that of that of Christ and the church. We read, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior (NRSV, italics mine).” Christ is the husband. The church is the bride. This chart can further clarify this point.

 

The husband (a)

 

as (=)

 

 

Christ (a)

 

is head of the wife (b)

 

is the head of the church (b).

This could not get any clearer. Now, since they do not deny that Christ can be identified with the husband; there is no reason to deny to that the church can be identified as the bride.[5]

Come. The argument from God’s prerogative does not hold the water in several reasons. Firstly, to be able to invite/offer the water of life does not necessarily make you the source of it. If the bride invite/offers us to drink the water of life, she does not necessarily become the source of it just as the water delivery boy does become necessarily the owner of the water station.

Secondly, a closer look on the text will suggest that it is not only the Spirit and the bride who makes the invitation/offer here but “everyone who hears” extends the invitation saying, “Come”. The identity of “everyone” is no other than the readers of this book.[6] So following the reasoning of WMSCOG: If the Spirit and the bride is divine because of the prerogative to invite belongs only to God. So is “everyone” of the reader of the book (“…and let everyone who hears say, ‘Come.’” [Rev. 22:17b]). Thus, it would result to multiplicity of gods which the Scripture is strongly against with.[7]

Thirdly, the true of source of water of life[8] is revealed in the book itself. This is attested in Revelation 21:7, “Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life (italics mine).’” The speaker here is undoubtedly no other than Jesus Christ himself, here is the true God who just not offers eternal life, but also the source of it.[9]

Conclusion

When we let the Scripture interprets itself, we will have no room to accept the teachings of WMSCOG. Jesus Christ is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6ab). We can be saved without going through God the Mother. “No one comes to the Father except through me” (14:6c) claims the second person of the Trinity. The good news is, He bridged the gap between the Father and Man.

_______________

[1] See also, Jaymark Molo, “A Brief Evaluation of ‘God’s Two Images’ of World Mission Society Church of God in Genesis 1:26, 27, posted on July 25, 2014. (https://amologetics.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/a-brief-evaluation-of-gods-two-images-of-world-mission-society-church-of-god-in-genesis-126-27/)

[2] http://english.watv.org/truth/truth_life/content_mother.asp. See also, http://www.truthofgodthemother.com/god-the-mother-in-revelation/

[3] Even citing Galatians 4:24 cannot help their case here for it still begs the question on how Zhang Gil-Jah became the fulfilment of that verse. Not mentioning that the WMSOCG completely disregards the immediate and larger context of the text.

[4] See, 2 Corinthians 11:2.

[5] This implies that the bride does not refer to single individual (Zhang Gil-Jah), but to corporate entity (church).

[6] See the immediate context of Revelation 22:17 by reading verse 18. See also, Revelation 1:3.

[7] See, Deut. 4:35,39; 6:4; 32:39; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Kings 8:60; 2 Kings 5:15;19:15; 1 Chro. 17:20; Neh. 9:6; Psa. 18:31; 86:10; Isa. 37:16,20; 43:10,11; 44:6,8; 45:21; 46:9; Hos. 13:4;  Joel 2:27; Zech. 14:9; Mark 12:29-34; Jn. 17:3; Rom. 3:30; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 1:17;  2:5; James 2:19, etc.

[8] See also, John 4:13-14.

[9] See, Revelation 22:13, 14.

“Ang nilinis ng Dios, ay huwag mong ipalagay na marumi” sa Gawa 10:15


“Ang nilinis ng Dios, ay huwag mong ipalagay na marumi” sa Gawa 10:15

by Jaymark Molo

Marahil isa ito sa paboritong gamitin para patunayan na nilinis na ng Diyos ang lahat ng karumaldumal na hayop at magbubukas para maging pagkain sa Kristiyano. Ngunit, ito nga ba talaga ang itinuturo ng pangitain ni Pedro?

Una. Ang pangitain na ito ay hindi literal, bagkus symbolical. Si Pedro mismo ay natitilihang totoo…sa kanyang sarili, kung ano ang kahulugan ng pangitaing kaniyang nakita” (v. 17, italics mine). Kung ito ay literal, hindi na sana siya mapapaisip kung ano ang kahulugan ng pangitain. Pero sa katunayan na napaisip siya sa kahulugan ng pangitain, nagpapakita lang ito na hindi mismo ang pangitain ang kahulugan, kundi ang pangitain ay may kahulugan (10:28).

Pangalawa. Ang kapansin-pansin sa pangitain ni Pedro ay hindi lamang karumaldumal ang nandoon sa “malapad na kumot” (v. 11) bagkus naroon din ang “lahat ng uri ng hayop na may apat ang paa” (v. 12), malinis at karumaldumal. Nakapagtataka ang pagtanggi ni Pedro sa alok ng Panginoon (v. 14) kung maari naman siyang pumili lang ng malilinis na hayop na nasa kumot. Nagpapatunay lang na hindi maari maging literal ang interpretasyon ng pangitain sapagkat maari naming pumili si Pedro ng malinis at ito ay kainin.

Pangatlo. Makikita lang natin ang rason sa pagtanggi ni Pedro kung titignan natin ang pagkakaiba ng “karumaldumal” at “marumi” sa talatang 14. Ang Griego ng “karumaldumal” ay akatharton. Samantalang ang “marumi” naman ay koinon. Ang huling salitang nabanggit ay hindi lumabas sa Septuagint (LXX) ng lumang tipan, itong salitang ito ay lumabas lang nung intertestamental period literature, sa 4 Maccabees 7:6. Samantalang, ang “akatharton” naman ay matatagpuan sa LXX sa Leviticus 11. Ang “akatharton” ay likas na karumaldumal sa kanyang kalagayan (“unclean by nature”). Ngunit ang “koinos” ay hindi likas na karumaldumal, ngunit kapag ito ay naisama/nahawa/naihalo sa karumaldumal (10:12) o marumi (cf. Marcos 7:2) ay maituturing itong ceremonially unclean (“defilement by association”). Sa pagkakataong ito, tinanggihan ni Pedro ang alok ng Panginoon, hindi dahil ang hayop lang na nandoon sa kumot ay karumaldumal, ngunit ito ay sa kadahilanan na ang malilinis na hayop ay nadumihan (“koinon”) sapagkat ito ay naisama/nahawa/naihalo sa mga karumaldumal na hayop.

Pang-apat. Sa Gawa 10, wala tayong mababasa na nilinis ng Panginoon ang mga hayop na karumaldumal (“akatharton”). Sa kabilang banda, ito ang ating mababasa: “Ang nilinis ng Dios, ay huwag mong ipalagay na marumi [“koinou”] (10:15).” Ang nilinis ng Panginoon ay hindi karumaldumal (“akatharton”), ngunit ang malilinis na hayop na naisama/nahawa/naihalo sa mga karumaldumal na hayop na nagresulta sa pagiging “ritually unclean” (Acts 10:15, NET Bible) nila. Kaya kahit magkaroon pa ng dual application ang pangitain, wala pa rin sa mismong pangitain (10:15) na nilinis ng Diyos ang mga karumaldumal na hayop.

Panglima. Mas lalo nating maiintindahan ang konsepto ng pagkakaiba ng karumaldumal (“akatharton”) at marumi (“koinon”) sa panananaw ng mga Hudyo sa Hentil. Sa panahon nila, “hindi matuwid sa isang taong Judio na makisama lumapit sa isang taga ibang bansa (Gawa 10:28, tignan din ang Lev. 20:24b-26).” Sapagkat itinuturing ng mga Hudyo ang kanilang mga sarili bilang malilinis na hayop at ang mga Hentil bilang karumaldumal na hayop. Ayon sa rabbinical na konsepto, ang makihalubilo ay magreresulta sakanila bilang maging marumi (“koinon”). Dito ipinakita ng Diyos ang kahulugan ng pangitain kay Pedro:” na sinomang tao’y huwag kong tawaging marumi o karumaldumal (10:28).” Sa madaling sabi, tinanggal na ni Kristo ang social barrier sa pagitan ng Hudyo at Hentil!

Pang-anim. Ang nilinis ng Diyos ay tao (Gawa 10:28), hindi hayop. Namatay si Kristo para linisin ang tao at hindi hayop.

Pang-pito. Kung ito ay magiging literal, magkakaroon ng maraming problema sa pag-unawa dito: (a) Ang kumot ay binatak sa langit. Lahat ng gustong kumaen ng baboy ay maghintay munang makapunta sa langit; (b) Walang nilinis na hayop na karumaldumal na nasa labas ng kumot. Wala ring nakawala na karumaldumal na hayop sa kumot at nagsisisigaw na puwede na siyang kainin; (c) Walang hayop na nasa dagat ang nabanggit na nasa kumot, malamang at hindi sila mabubuhay doon, kaya hindi pa rin masasabing lahat ay tuluyang nilinis na.

 

“Nilinis niya ang lahat ng pagkain” sa Marcos 7:19


“Nilinis niya ang lahat ng pagkain” sa Marcos 7:19

by Jaymark Molo

Marcos 7:19: “Sapagka’t hindi pumapasok sa kaniyang puso, kundi sa kaniyang tiyan, at lumalabas sa dakong daanan ng dumi? Sa salitang ito’y nililinis niya ang lahat ng pagkain.”

Bagama’t ang salitang “nililinis niya ang lahat ng pagkain” ay pawang komento ni Marcos, hindi pa rin maalis sa kaisipan na kung ang baboy ay pagkain at nilinis na ito ni Hesus, bakit patuloy pa rin ang ibang pananampalataya sa pag-bawal ng pagkain ng baboy at iba pang karumaldumal?

Una. May malaking pagkakaiba sa ‘marumi’ at ‘karumaldumal’. Ang pinag-uusapan ay hindi pagkain ng mga karumaldumal (akatharton), kundi pagkain na nadumihan (koinon). Ang ‘tinapay’ (artous) ay hindi karumadumal, pero kapag ito ay kinain gamit ang kamay na marumi, ito ay marurumihan (v. 2). Ang nilinis na binabanggit sa talatang Marcos 7:19 ay pagkain na malinis ngunit nadumihan at tiyak na hindi ito pumapatungkol sa karumaldumal.

Pangalawa. Ang ginamit na salitang ‘pagkain’ (v. 19) sa orihinal na salin ay bromata. Kung ang pinag-uusapan ay may kinalaman sa ‘flesh’; ang ginamit sana sa orihinal na salin ay sarx.

Pangatlo. Ang tinuligsa ni Hesus ay ang tradisyon ng matatanda sa panahon nila. Ito ay ang ceremonial ritual na paghuhugas ng kamay bago kumaen. Mas magiging malinaw ito kapag tinignan sa parallel text sa Mateo 15:1-20. Ang dietary law na matatagpuan sa Leviticus 11 at Deuteronomio 14 ay pawang utos ng Diyos at hindi kailanman itinuring bilang utos ng tao o tradisyon ng matatanda.

Pang-apat. Kung ang pinapalabas ni Hesus sa turo niya ay ang pagsasantabi sa batas pangkalusugan na matatagpuan sa Levitico 11 at Deuteronmio 14—malaki ang galit na matatanggap niya sa mga Fariseo at scriba na strikto sa mga kautusang yaon (cf. Juan 8:59; 10:30-33). Ngunit dahil sa katahimikan na naging reaksyon ng mga legalistang Fariseo at scriba, nagpapatunay lamang iba ang tinutuligsa ni Hesus sa eksenang ito.

Pang-lima. Sa Marcos 7:22 binanggit ni Hesus ang salitang kalibugan (porneia). Ito ay pumapatungkol sa iba’t-ibang klaseng sexual sins katulad nalang ng homosexuality activity. Ang nakakamangha dito, ito ay nakasulat sa Levitico 18 (cf. 1 Kor. 5). Kung ang Levitico 18 ay valid pa rin hanggang ngayon na nasa lumang tipan, ganun din ang kaso sa Levitico 11.

Pang-anim. Ang pagtangi ni Pedro na kumaen ng karumaldumal sa alok ng Panginoon ay nagpapatunay na hindi pa rin nalinis ang karumaldumal (Gawa 10:1-17). Kung tunay na nilinis ang karumaldumal sa Marcos 7:19, bakit tumanggi pa rin si Pedro ng “Hindi maari Panginoon; sapagka’t kalian ma’y hindi ako kumain ng anomang bagay na marumi at karumaldumal” (Gawa 10:14) kung ito pala ay nilinis na ng Panginoon sa Marcos 7:19?

Pang-pito. Ang pinag-uusapan lamang dito ay pagkain. Hindi kailanman itinuring ng mga Hudyo na ang karumaldumal ay pagkain. Kaya’t ang baboy bagamat nakakain ay hindi kailaman tinuring ng Biblia na pagkain. Ang pawang pagkain lamang na maituturing ng anak ng Diyos ay ang mga bagay na binigay ng Diyos bilang pagkain (cf. Gen. 1:31). Ang baboy ay hindi binigay upang maging pagkain (cf. Lev. 11 at Deut. 14). Samakatuwid, ang baboy at iba pang karumaldumal ay hindi pagkain.

Pang-walo. Bagama’t sa RSV (Revised Standard Version) ay sinasabi na (“Thus he all declared foods clean”) at sa NIV (New International Version) ay sinasabi na (“In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean”); itong dalawang version na ito ay parehong mali ang pagkasalin. Ang salitang “he declared” (sa RSV) sa Griego ay apeggeilen at maari din na evaggelizeto. Samantalang ang salitang “Jesus declared” (sa NIV) sa Griego ito ay Iesous apeggeilen, at maari din na Iesous evaggelizeto. Ngunit sa orihinal na talatang Griego sa Marcos 7:19, ganito ang masusumpungan: “Hoti ouk eisporeuetai autou eis ten kardian all eis ten koilian, kai eis ton aphedrona ekporeuetai, katharizon panta ta bromata.” Kapansin-pansin na ang nabanggit na salita na ginamit sa RSV (“He declared”) at NIV (“Jesus declared”) ay hindi matatagpuan sa orihinal na Griego.

Pang-siyam. Sa Marcos 7:19, ang salitang “niya” na naglilinis ng pagkain, ay tumutukoy sa “kaniya” na may puso at tiyan. Walang iba kundi ang tao na kumakain. Samakatuwid, ang tao mismo na kumakain ang naglilinis ng lahat ng nadumihang malinis na pagkain na pumapasok sa tiyan. Ang dumi na kumapit sa kinaing pagkain ay inilalabas niya sa daanan ng dumi. Sa ganong paraan nililinis “niya” nag lahat ng pagkain. Ang tao at hindi si Hesus ang naglinis ng nadumihan na pagkain.

Panghuli. Ang tunay na isyu dito ay hindi yung pumapasok na nadumihan na pagkain ang tunay na nakakarumi, kundi yung lumalabas mula sa puso ng tao: “Ang mga kasakiman, ang mga kasamaan, ang pagdaraya, ang kalibugan, ang matang masama, ang kapusungan, ang kapalalian, ang kamangmangan” ito ang dapat bigyan atensyon ng sinuman na tunay na nakakapagparumi sa tao. Si Kristo ang siyang maging laman ng puso natin para maiwasan natin ang mga maruruming bagay na ito.

Ellen White, Inspiration and Christmas


Ellen White, Inspiration and Christmas

By Jaymark Molo

“Not again.” Some would sigh of complaint. I feel the same sentiment for those who have already made up their minds regarding this issue. Much has been discussed in my previous work and they are requested to read it all over again if they want to.[1] However, another pertinent issue has been put on the table regarding Christmas and this has something to do with nature of inspiration of Ellen White with regards specifically to her comments on Adventist Home (AH), chap. 77, under the sub section, “Christmas.”

The question of this short article is not primarily: “How much of the writings of Ellen White are inspired?” But it specifically seeks to answer the contention whether the AH (chapter 77) is inspired by God or not.

1. Another Course to Take. Since the Bible is not necessarily against tradition, but only to unbiblical traditions. We are delighted to hear what Ellen White says about Christmas. Fortunately, her writings supports that there is no problem celebrating Christmas as long as materialism is denounced and Christ becomes the supreme object.[2] Since this a plain reading of the writings of EGW, some have found difficulty accepting this position due to apparent paganistic root.

Now this presents an insurmountable dilemma for those who accept the writings of EGW as inspired and yet hold the position that Christmas has no place for the life of Christians. For they are force to take either of the following positions: (A) Christmas has paganistic roots but Ellen White find it no problem endorsing it as long as Christ becomes the centre of the celebration. (B) Christmas has paganistic roots and Ellen White erred with regards to this topic for she is: (1) fallible, (2) her writings on AH are not inspired. [3] Position A is less likely true because that would put Ellen White under trial for endorsing paganism. That would reasonably disqualify her as a genuine prophet. Not unless the real issue is materialism, not paganism. Position B seems veritable course for others and this has become popular nowadays.[4]

2. Inspired or Not: AH chapter 77. This issue is not new at all in the time of Ellen White. We can agree right off the bat that not all her writings are inspired by God. In fact, on August 30, 1906, there appeared in the Review and Herald this statement from the pen of the inspired writer, addressing the said issue.

“In your letter,” she asked, “you speak of your early training to have implicit faith in the Testimonies, and say, ‘I was led to conclude and most firmly believe that every word that you ever spoke in public or private, that every letter you wrote under any and all circumstances, was inspired as the ten commandments.”

She responded, “My brother, you have studied my writings diligently, and you have never found that I have made any such claims. Neither will you find that the pioneers in our cause have made such claims.” However, although not all her writings are inspired, it is dangerous to put our position as a judge whether her writings are inspired or not. “And now, brethren, I entreat you not to interpose between me and the people, and turn away the light which God would have come to them. Do not by your criticisms take out all the force, all the point and power, from the Testimonies. Do not feel that you can dissect them to suit your own ideas, claiming that God has given you ability to discern what is light from heaven and what is the expression of mere human wisdom. If the Testimonies speak not according to word of God, reject them. Christ and Belial cannot be united. For Christ’s sake do not confuse the minds of the people with human sophistry and scepticism, and make of none effect the work that the Lord would do.”[5]

Unfortunately, some are hasty to regard the writings of EGW as non-inspired if it does not suit their taste.

“Many times in my experience I have been called upon to meet the attitude of a certain class, who acknowledged that the testimonies were from God, but took the position that this matter and that matter were Sister White’s opinion and judgment. This suits those who do not love reproof and correction, and who, if their ideas are crossed, have occasion to explain the difference between the human and the divine.

“If the preconceived opinions or particular ideas of some are crossed in being reproved by testimonies, they have a burden at once to make plain their position to discriminate between the testimonies, defining what is Sister White’s human judgment, and what is the word of the Lord. Everything that sustains their cherished ideas is divine, and the testimonies to correct their errors are human–Sister White’s opinions. They make of none effect the counsel of God by their tradition.”[6]

It is spurious to make some distinctions, unless Ellen White clearly states that she is merely giving opinion of her own.[7] So the thumb rule is: Accept the writings of Ellen White as inspired unless she regarded it as a human opinion. Same case with AH chapter 77. Here are some helpful references to read:

a. Testimonies:

“In the testimonies sent to _____ I have given you the light God has given to me. In no case have I given my own judgment or opinion.”[8]

b. Books:

“Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her lifework God has been giving her. They contain the precious, comforting light, that God has graciously given His servant to be given to the world.”[9]

c. Articles:

“I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision–the precious rays of light shining from the throne.”[10]

d. Letters:

“Weak and trembling, I arose at three o’clock in the morning to write to you. God was speaking through clay. You might say that this communication was only a letter. Yes, it was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God, to bring before your minds things that had been shown me. In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me.”[11]

e. Interviews:

“He [Elder G. A. Irwin, President of the General Conference] has with him a little notebook in which he has noted down perplexing questions which he brings before me, and if I have any light upon these points, I write it out for the benefit of our people, not only in America but in this country.”[12]

3. Common Matters and Spiritual Matters. Although there is wisdom in looking for tangible indicators whether the writings of Ellen White as inspired or not such as: “I was shown,” “Thus saith the Lord,” etc. The non-appearance of such indicators does not mean the absence of inspiration. But when Ellen White talks about common things, we must regard it as non-inspired.

“There are times when common things must be stated, common thoughts must occupy the mind, common letters must be written and information given that has passed from one to another of the workers. Such words, such information, are not given under the special inspiration of the Spirit of God. Questions are asked at times that are not upon religious subjects at all, and these questions must be answered. We converse about houses and lands, trades to be made, and locations for our institutions, their advantages and disadvantages.” Selected Messages, 1:38, 39.

Housel Jemison reasonably observes:

“It seems clear from this statement that Mrs. White intended to convey the idea that when she dealt with common subjects, or answered questions ‘not upon religious subjects,’ there would be nothing in what was spoken or written that would suggest it had been given by inspiration. The opposite idea is implied: That which was written or spoken under divine direction would bear its own credentials, either in the spiritual nature of the matter dealt with, or by some such indication as ‘I was shown.’[13]

Upon observing the nature of AH chapter 77, one could justly assess that although there are no “Thus says the Lord”, nor “I was shown”,  it is still inspired by God for it is a religious subject and spiritual in nature. For instance:

a. It talks about Spirituality:

“The youth should be treated very carefully. They should not be left on Christmas to find their own amusement in vanity and pleasure-seeking, in amusements which will be detrimental to their spirituality. Parents can control this matter by turning the minds and the offerings of their children to God and his cause and the salvation of souls.”

b. It talks about Morality:

“Thousands of dollars will be worse than thrown away upon the coming Christmas and New Year’s in needless indulgences. But it is our privilege to depart from the customs and practices of this degenerate age, and instead of expending means merely for the gratification of the appetite, or for needless ornaments or articles of clothing, we may make the coming holidays an occasion in which to honor and glorify God.”

c. It talks about Christ:

“There is no divine sanctity resting upon the twentyfifth of December; and it is not pleasing to God that anything that concerns the salvation of man through the infinite sacrifice made for them, should be so sadly perverted from its professed design. Christ should be the supreme object; but as Christmas has been observed, the glory is turned from him to mortal man, whose sinful, defective character made it necessary for him to come to our world.”

d. It talks about Sin:

“On Christmas, so soon to come, let not the parents take the position that an evergreen placed in the church for the amusement of the Sabbath school scholars is a sin; for it may be made a great blessing.”

Folks, this is no common talk. These words are coming from the Lord. F. M. Wilcox, for many years editor of the Review and Herald, commented:

“We must believe that what she gave, by either voice or pen, in printed page or through the medium of correspondence, as the messages of God, was true to this representation. We must accept her statement as true relative to this, or else reject altogether her call to the prophetic office.”[14]

Position B is  less probable, but position A is more plausible. There is reasonableness to believe that  AH chapter 77 comes from the Lord, not a mere opinion of a prophet.

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[1] Jaymark Molo, see: https://amologetics.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/could-seventh-day-adventist-celebrate-christmas-3/

[2] http://archives.adventistreview.org/article/889/archives/issue-2006-1535/ellen-g-white-christmas

[3] However, there are some who are willingly to adapt the radical view of Graeme Bradford to discredit the role of the writings of Ellen G. White in Christmas. See: Graeme Bradford, Prophets are Human (Victoria, Australia: Signs Publishing Company, 2004) 91pp. This view has been reasonably critiqued by the following scholars, see: Angel Manuel Rodriguez, “Prophets are Humans: Book Review,” Reflections BRI Newsletter 10 (April 2005): 8-10. See also, William Fagal, “New Testament Era Prophets—Are They Less Reliable?” (http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/NTProphets.htm). A more balance approach can be found in the works of Juan Carlos Viera, The Voice of the Spirit: How God Has Led His People through the Gift of Prophecy (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Assn., 1998). See also, Herbert E. Douglass, Messenger of the LordThe Prophetic Ministry of Ellen White (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Assn, 1998).

[4] It seems to me that this has been the position of my good friend and respected apologist Ronald Obidos.

[5] Testimonies, vol. 5, 691.

[6] Selected Messages, 3:68 (MS 16, 1889).

[7] See Manuscript 107, 1909.

[8] Testimonies to the Battle Creek Church, 1882, p. 58.

[9] Colporteur Ministry, 125.

[10] Testimonies for the Church, 5:67.

[11] Testimonies for the Church, 5:67.

[12] Letter 96, 1899 (Selected Messages, 3:51).

[13] T. Housel Jemison, A Prophey Among You, 396.

[14] The Testimony of Jesus, 64.