Sighted Moon News Letter 5843-022 497
13th day of the fifth month 5843 after creation
July 28, 2007
Shabbat Shalom Brethren,
The following article is written by a good friend and brother from Chicago. He is of the Adventist background and has been growing in Torah for some time. This article although addressed to those other brethren of the Adventist teachings also applies to us all. May you have a blessed Sabbath.
DON’T TELL ME THAT ELLEN WHITE
DID NOT WRITE ABOUT FEAST KEEPING.
Stephen W. Kraner
I have heard, or read, several times recently, “What’s all this talk about keeping the Biblical Feasts? I’ve never read that Ellen White wrote about keeping the Feasts.” The object of this study is to present quotations from the pen of Ellen White that discuss a call to observe “Feasts unto the Lord.” Let me be quick to point out that from my own personnel study (unless I mis-read her) I believe that Ellen White never had a burden to keep the Scripturally defined appointed times for worship, established by the Almighty. It is my belief that Ellen White believed that the laws that required observance of the Biblical Feasts were binding in principle. Not only Ellen, but also her husband James believed that the requirements contained in the laws requiring observance of the Biblical Feasts were satisfied by the attendance of Campmeeting. Here then are quotations from Ellen White and one from her husband, James, regarding observance of the Biblical Feasts.
In the following statements, Ellen White invites us to keep “holy convocations,” “festivals,” “unto God.”
“Would it not be well for us to observe holidays unto God, when we could revive in our minds the memory of His dealing with us? Would it not be well to consider His past blessings, to remember the impressive warnings that have come home to our souls, so that we shall not forget God?
“The world has many holidays, and men become engrossed with games, with horse races, with gambling, smoking, and drunkenness. They show plainly under what banner they are standing. They make it evident that they do not stand under the banner of the Prince of life, but the prince of darkness rules and controls them.
“Shall not the people of God more frequently have holy convocations in which to thank God for His rich blessings?” Ellen White, Counsels To Parents, Teachers, and Students, page 343.
Please note that the words, “holy convocation” appear in Scripture only in relation to the Biblical Feasts.
“Shall we not keep holy festivals unto God?” Ellen White, Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, page 371.
“Well would it be for the people of God at the present time to have a Feast of Tabernacles — a joyous commemoration of the blessings of God to them….” Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 540.
Why does Ellen white make such invitations for keeping the Biblical Feasts as she does in the above quotations? The following quotations go toward showing why she would make such invitations for keeping the Feasts.
“At the time Jesus uttered this parable [“No man puttheth new wine into old bottles.”], the old typical service was soon to pass away, and the temple courts were to be left desolate. Christ, the great Antitype, both Sacrifice and High Priest, clothed in his own spotless righteousness, was soon to be slain as a lamb without blemish, for the sins of the world. But both his disciples and the disciples of John misapprehended the relation of his teaching to the doctrine of the scribes and Pharisees. The disciples of John had sought to unite the teaching of the reformer with the doctrines held by the Jewish leaders; but the teaching of scribes and Pharisees was fast hastening to decay, and to unite the truth with their jargon of tradition would make confusion worse confounded.
“The principles presented by Christ, THE MANNER OF OBSERVING FEASTS, of praying to God, could not be properly united to the forms and ceremonies of Phariseeism. Instead of closing up the breach that had been made by the teachings of John, the teachings of Christ would make the separation between the old system and the new more distinct, and to attempt to unite the two would only result in making the breach wider. Jesus illustrated this fact, saying, “No man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.” Ellen G. White, The Signs of the Times, September 19,1892, No Man Putteth New Wine Into Old Bottles.
Here, Ellen White states: “The principles presented by Christ, the MANNER of observing feasts, …could not be properly united to the forms and ceremonies of Phariseeism.” Clearly, Ellen White is showing that the Biblical Feasts were to remain to be observed by the followers of Christ. Rather than abolishing their observance, the MANNER by which they were to be observed was changed.
In the following quote, please note how Ellen White states that what God appointed for Israel, even sacrifices and offerings (Do not take this literal, based upon other statements by Ellen White.), continues to be required of God’s people “in these last days.”
“God gave directions to the Israelites to assemble before Him at set periods, in the place which He should choose, and observe special days wherein no unnecessary work was to be done, but the time was to be devoted to a consideration of the blessings which He had bestowed upon them. At these special seasons they were to bring gifts, freewill offerings, and thank offerings unto the Lord, according as He had blessed them…Besides these special religious feast days of gladness and rejoicing, the yearly Passover was to be commemorated by the Jewish nation…
“God requires no less of His people in these last days, in sacrifices and offerings, than He did of the Jewish nation….
“Let all who possibly can, attend these yearly gatherings. All should feel that God requires this of them. …Come, brethren and sisters, to these sacred convocation meetings, to find Jesus. He will come up to the feast. He will be present, and will do for you that which you most need to have done….These camp meetings are of importance…” Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 2, pages 573-576. [Do not miss my ellipses. Read the whole section.]
There is no requirement in Scripture to keep “camp meeting.” But, in Leviticus 23, there are commands to have “holy convocations” at the set times of the Biblical Feasts. Thus, Ellen White’s assertion that God continues to require attendance of “sacred convocation meetings” is based upon the requirements for attending the Biblical Feasts.
“In the days of Christ these feasts were attended by vast multitudes of people from all lands; and had they been kept as God intended, in the spirit of true worship, the light of truth might through them have been given to all the nations of the world.
“With those who lived at a distance from the tabernacle, more than a month of every year must have been occupied in attendance upon these holy convocations. The Lord saw that these gatherings were necessary for the spiritual life of His people. They needed to turn away from their worldly cares, to commune with God, and to contemplate unseen realities.
“If the children of Israel needed the benefit of these holy convocations* in their time, how much more do we need them** in these last days of peril and conflict! And if the people of the world needed the light which God had committed to His church, how much more do they need it now!” Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 6, pages 39, 40, chapter title, “The Camp Meeting.”
Ellen White does not say, “If the children of Israel needed the benefit of the holy convocations in their time, how much more do we need to appoint our own convocations in these last days…” She says, “how much more do we need THEM in these last days.”
“When Israel marched out of Egypt, they made their first encampment under the shelter of green boughs at Succoth. And for more than fifteen hundred years the Hebrew nation by the command of God left their houses, and dwelt one whole week in TABERNACLES of green boughs, to commemorate the encampment of their fathers under the palm branches of Succoth. These seasons of sacred recreation were fraught with both physical and spiritual blessings to Israel. God’s people still need seasons of quiet and reflection–seasons in which the soul may undisturbed commune with its Maker. The great work which has been committed to our hands cannot be best carried forward in excitement and confusion. That calm deliberation so essential to sound judgment can often be best secured in some quiet retreat where the thoughtful mind and pure heart can be prompted by the still, small voice. These forest and mountain homes have great blessings for those who are wearied physically or mentally.” Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, February 2, 1882.
“The forces of the enemies are strengthening, and as a people we are misrepresented; but shall we not gather our forces together, and come up to the FEAST OF TABERNACLES? Let us not treat this matter as one of little importance, but let the army of the Lord be on the ground to represent the work and cause of God in Australia. Let no one plead an excuse at such a time. One of the reasons why we have appointed the camp-meeting to be held at Melbourne, is that we desire the people of that vicinity to become acquainted with our doctrines and works. We want them to know what we are, and what we believe. Let every one pray, and make God his trust. Those who are barricaded with prejudice must hear the warning message for this time. We must find our way to the hearts of the people. Therefore come to the camp-meeting, even though you have to make a sacrifice to do so, and the Lord will bless your efforts to honour his cause and advance his work.” Ellen G. White, Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, December 8, 1893, Come to the Feast.
If the feasts were nailed to the cross, then why does James White join his wife in his belief that the annual camp meetings were Feast of Tabernacles, as noted below?
“As he brought his report of this, the first camp meeting of the season, to a close, James White made this enlightening comment:
`This excellent meeting, with all its labor of preparation, anxiety, preaching, hearing, exhorting, confession of sins and want of Christ, its tears, deliverance’s, and joys, is now past. Those parents who brought their children to the meeting and saw them converted, and take the baptismal vow, are now glad that they brought them. Those who did not bring their children regretted their mistake. THESE ANNUAL FEASTS OF TABERNACLES ARE GATHERINGS OF THE GREATEST IMPORTANCE; and there should be a general turnout of all who may be benefited.–James White, Signs of the Times, June 8,1876.'”
Quoted from: Ellen G. White, vol. 3, “The Lonely Years 1876-1891, page 38.
Tithes and offerings, in God’s law, are connected to the three annual feasts, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. In the following quotations, Ellen White connects the observance of the feasts to the obedience to the laws requiring tithes and offerings.
“But there has been a great neglect of duty. Many have withheld means which God claims as His, and in so doing they have committed robbery toward God. Their selfish hearts have not given the tenth of all their increase, which God claims. Neither have they come up to the YEARLY GATHERINGS with their freewill offerings, their thank offerings, and their trespass offerings.* Many have come before the Lord empty-handed.” Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, Calls for Means, pages 510, 511.
“The plan of system in benevolence God designed for the good of man, who is inclined to be selfish and to close his heart to generous deeds. The Lord requires gifts to be made at stated times [the annual feasts], being so arranged that giving will become habit and benevolence be felt to be a Christian duty….
“God required of His ancient people THREE YEARLY GATHERINGS. “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which He shall choose; in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which He hath given thee.” No less than one third of their income was devoted to sacred and religious purposes.
“Whenever God’s people, IN ANY PERIOD OF THE WORLD, have cheerfully and willingly carried out His plan in systematic benevolence and in gifts and offerings, they have realized the standing promise that prosperity should attend all their labors just in proportion as they obeyed His requirements.” Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, pages 393-396.
The following two quotations speak to the issue as to whether the apostle Paul taught that the Hebrew Economy, including the Feasts, ceased with the death of Christ.
“Nor does Paul proclaim to the Jews a Messiah whose work is to destroy the old dispensation, but a Messiah who came to develop the whole Jewish economy in accordance with the truth.” Ellen White, Evangelism, page 554.
“The most convincing proof was given [by Paul] that the gospel was but the development of the Hebrew faith. Christ was come for the special benefit of the nation that was looking for His coming as the consummation and glory of the Jewish system.” Ellen White, Sketches from the Life of Paul, page 104.
“The system enjoined upon the Hebrews has not been repealed or relaxed by the One who originated it. Instead of being of no force now, it was to be more fully carried out and more extended, as salvation through Christ alone should be more fully brought to light in the Christian age.” Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pages 391, 392.
Christians who extol Christ, but array themselves against the law governing the Jewish church, array Christ against Christ.” Ellen G. White, Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, May 6, 1875, The Law of God.
“In the time of the end every DIVINE INSTITUTION is to be restored.” Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, page 678.
“Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.” Verse 32.
“The king’s bold defiance of God IN THUS SETTING ASIDE DIVINELY APPOINTED INSTITUTIONS was not allowed to pass un-rebuked.” Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, page 101.
The above statements are references that speak to the issue as to whether or not Ellen White had anything to say about observing the Biblical Feasts. And yes, Ellen White DID have something to say about observing the Biblical Feasts, as shown above. The most strong of the above statements is Ellen White’s Testimonies, Vol. 2, pages 573-576, which I will now highlight.
“God gave directions to the Israelite’s to assemble before Him at set periods*…
“God requires no less of His people in these last days…
“Let all who possibly can, attend these yearly gatherings. ALL SHOULD FEEL THAT GOD REQUIRES THIS OF THEM… Come, brethren and sisters, to these sacred convocation meetings, to find Jesus. He will come up to the feast.”
How can Ellen White be more plain? There is no command in Scripture that requires me to attend camp meeting. But, there are commands requiring “holy convocations” at “set times.” Because I find no evidence that any camp meetings were intentionally held at Scripture’s appointed times, it is clear that Ellen White believed that the laws requiring holy convocation Feast observance continue to be binding upon Christian believers, and that these requirements were satisfied by camp meeting.
It is possible that Ellen White did not perfectly comprehend all aspects of truth when she wrote, including the subject of the Biblical feasts.
Here is a significant quotation from Ellen White on this theme:
“[N]o man, however honored of Heaven, has ever attained to a full understanding of the great plan of redemption, or even to a perfect appreciation of the divine purpose in the work for his own time. Men do not fully understand what God would accomplish by the work which He gives them to do; they do not comprehend, in all its bearings, the message which they utter in His name…
“Even the prophets who were favored with the special illumination of the Spirit did not fully comprehend the import of the revelations committed to them. The meaning was to be unfolded from age to age, as the people of God should need the instruction therein contained…
“…Not infrequently the minds of the people, and even of God’s servants, are so blinded by human opinions, the traditions and false teaching of men, that they are able only partially to grasp the great things which He has revealed in His word.” Ellen White, Great Controversy, pages 343-345.
Does Scripture require more than what the prophet, Ellen White, understood? Was Ellen White immune to being “blinded by human opinions, the traditions and false teaching of men,” that she was “able only partially to grasp the great things which He has revealed in His word[?]” The point is that though called of God, Ellen White grew in the knowledge of truth. And while this author believes that few have ever comprehended the breadth of covenantal redemption as did Ellen White, there remains the probability that all was not perfectly comprehended by Ellen White, even in the last few years of her life.
1. Is it possible that Ellen White grasped the concept that the Conference wide assembly of Advent believers at camp meeting paralleled the assembly of Israel at the feasts, yet just as John the Baptist did not fully comprehend the meaning of “Behold the Lamb of God,” Ellen White did not comprehend, fully, the breadth of that parallel?
2. Is camp meeting, at any time during the year, the answer, in principle, to the Bible’s call for feast observance under the New Covenant?
3. If camp meeting at any time of the year is the answer, in principle, to the Bible’s call for feast observance, how can this be shown from Scripture alone?
4. With camp meeting as the feasts in principle, does the Adventist church have a Biblical basis to change, or self-appoint, the Scripturally defined “appointed times” for the holy convocations?
5. How, and why, does this differ from the Catholic church’s claim to the right to change the appointed time for observance of the Mosaic Law’s feasts or seventh-day Sabbaths?
Ellen White’s Burden
Regarding the Mosaic Law’s Statutes and Judgments.
In addition to the above specific references to the Biblical Feasts, Ellen White has a great number of statements about the binding claims of the statutes and judgments contained in the Mosaic Law. First, let’s establish that the laws requiring observance of the Biblical Feasts are STATUTES and JUDGMENTS.
Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Feast of Tabernacles.
“Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them:…” “Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto Me in the year. 15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month of Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before Me empty:) 16 And the feast of harvest [Pentecost], the first fruits of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering [Feast of Tabernacles], which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labors out of the field. 17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord God.” Exodus 21:1; 23:14-17. Judgments.
“And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. Leviticus 23:21. Statute.
Day of Atonement.
“Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.” Leviticus 23:31. Statute.
Feast of Tabernacles.
“Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days:… And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.” Leviticus 23:39, 41. Statute.
Subsequent to the Great Disappointment of October 22nd, 1844, Seventh-day Adventists now believe that Daniel 8:14’s reference to the cleansing of the Sanctuary refers to the Day of Atonement ministry of Christ our High Priest. By faith, the Advent believers followed Christ into the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary. There they found the Fourth Commandment Seventh-day Sabbath. But, that is not all they found. They found the health laws. But, the health laws were not in the Ten Commandments. They were in the Mosaic Law. When they searched the Scriptures for the Biblical method for support of the remnant church, they found the system of tithing, not in the Ten Commandments, but in the Mosaic Law. These additional laws are called, STATUTES and JUDGMENTS.
That there may be no doubt that the Spirit of Prophecy teaches that there are more laws of God which continue to be binding upon humanity than we have previously understood, here are a few statements from the pen of Ellen White:
“Christ, to enforce the will of His Father, became the author of the statutes and precepts given through Moses to the people of God. Christians who extol Christ, but array themselves against the law governing the Jewish church, array Christ against Christ.” Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, May 6, 1875.
“The principles set forth in Deuteronomy for the instruction of Israel are to be followed by God’s people to the end of time.” Prophets and Kings, page 570.
“Parents should feel it a sacred duty to instruct their children in the statutes and requirements of God as well as in the prophecies.” Ellen G. White, Counsels on Sabbath School Work, page 56.
“Every character will be tested by the standard of God’s Holy Law. The Great God of heaven, our Supreme Ruler, has rules, statutes, and laws…They govern every member of the human family…God will not take into His kingdom and give eternal life to those who will not come under His Laws and Statutes in this life.” Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, vol. 2, page 147.
“Christ gave to Moses…precepts which were to govern the every day life. These statutes were explicitly given to guard the ten commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ. They were to be binding upon man in every age as long as time should last.” Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, vol. 1, page 164. Also in SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1, page 1104.
The Biblical Feasts are shadowy types. But, they are not shadowy types that passed away with the death of Christ. Colossians 2:16, 17 states that feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths are shadows of things still to come (future tense), not shadows of things that have come (past tense) with the death of our Savior.
“The minds of the people, blinded and debased by slavery and heathenism, were not prepared to appreciate fully the far reaching principles of God’s ten precepts. That the obligations of the Decalogue might be MORE FULLY understood and enforced, additional precepts were given, illustrating and applying the principles of the Ten Commandments. These laws were called judgments, both because they were framed in infinite wisdom and equity and because the magistrates were to give judgement according to them. Unlike the Ten Commandments, they were delivered privately to Moses, who was to communicate them to the people.” Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 310.
“[God] did not stop with giving them [Israel] the precepts of the Decalogue. The people had shown themselves so easily led astray that He would leave no door of temptation unguarded. Moses was commanded to write, as God should bid him, judgments and laws giving minute instruction as to what was required. These directions relating to the duty of the people to God, to one another, and to the stranger were only the principles of the Ten Commandments amplified and given in a specific manner, that none need err.. They were designed to guard the sacredness of the ten precepts engraved on the tables of stone.” Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pages 364, 365.
“There must be no withholding on our part, of our service or our means, if we would fulfill our covenant with God, `This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes.’ Deuteronomy 26:16…In this late age of the world’s history, we are not, because of the selfishness of our hearts, to question or dispute the right of God to make these requirements, or we will deceive ourselves, and rob our souls of the richest blessings of the grace of God…God will have no controversy with us in regard to these binding precepts. It is enough that He has said that obedience to His statutes and laws is the life and prosperity of His people.” Ellen G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1, page 1120.
Of the Statutes and Judgments, Ellen White makes the following commentary regarding the last three verses of Malachi 4:
“The closing words of Malachi are a prophecy regarding the work that should be done preparatory to the…second advent of Christ. This prophecy is introduced with the admonition, `Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.'” Ellen G. White, The Southern Watchman, March 21, 1905.
Malachi 4:4 becomes a call from heaven inviting us to keep the statutes and judgments of the Lord.
“In these last days there is a call from heaven inviting you to keep the statutes and ordinances of the Lord.” Ellen White, Signs of the Times, vol. 2, page 184, 3rd col. (1888).
In the following quotation, Ellen White links the comprehension that the statutes and judgments are binding to the Latter Rain and the Loud Cry.
“Eighteenth of Revelation…`Another angel.’..During the Loud Cry…`I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes.’ THIS IS THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT…The Lord will open the eyes of the blind to see His statutes, and will write upon the hearts of the truly penitent His law.” Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, vol. 5, page 83. [Look up the whole article, its powerful!]
In Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, Ellen White declares that God’s purpose for the existence of Seventh-Day Adventism is to have a “holy people to declare His statutes and judgments.”
“God is now testing and proving His people…That God who reads the hearts of everyone, will bring to light hidden things of darkness where they are often least suspected, that stumbling blocks which have hindered the progress of truth may be removed, and God have a clean and holy people to declare His statutes and judgments.” Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 1, pages 332, 333.
Ellen White links the descent of the Holy Spirit of the Latter Rain, in relation to the Loud Cry, to the opening of the eyes of the understanding to see God’s statutes and judgments! Please note from an earlier quotation, the judgments explain the obligations of the Ten Commandments MORE FULLY.
“That the obligations of the Decalogue might be MORE FULLY understood and enforced, additional precepts were given, illustrating and applying the principles of the Ten Commandments. These laws were called judgments,..” Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 310.
Remember, that previously it was shown that the laws requiring observance of the Feasts are STATUTES and JUDGMENTS. REMEMBER, that the Latter Rain includes the reception of the understanding that the STATUTES and JUDGMENTS are still binding. Add to this that the STATUTES and JUDGMENTS explain the obligations of the Ten Commandments MORE FULLY. And, consider that there must be STATUTES and JUDGMENTS that explain the obligations of the Fourth Commandment MORE FULLY. Watch how these elements come together in the following quotation:
“I saw that God had children who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They have not rejected the light upon it. And at the commencement of the time of trouble, [little time of trouble, see page 85] we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath MORE FULLY. This enraged the churches and nominal Adventists, as they could not refute the Sabbath truth. And at this time God’s chosen all saw clearly that we had the truth, and they came out and endured persecution with us.” Ellen G. White, Early Writings, page 33.
These words are in process of being fulfilled.
Stephen W Kraner
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org