The Baptism with the Holy Spirit: Objections and Questions

Having written about the baptism with the Holy Spirit in previous articles, there are some objections to it that I wish to address here, as well as questions that I’ve been asked about this on my Facebook page.

  1. A common objection says that only the apostles could pray for people to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit, therefore, it was an experience that was available only for the early church and it ceased when the last apostle died.

Going by the events of Acts 8:14-17, this would appear to be true. Philip the evangelist preached in Samaria and many were saved by believing the gospel. Then the apostles in Jerusalem sent Peter and John to them to minister the Holy Spirit baptism.

But going back to Acts 1, we see that there were about 120 believers gathered together at the upper room (vs. 15). They didn’t consist of 12 apostles – and all of them received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (2:4).

When Peter preached to the crowd after Pentecost, he based this experience on the fulfilment of Bible prophecy in Joel 2:28-32. In it, God promised to pour out His Spirit upon “on all people” and His gifts will be bestowed on men and women, young and old, and it will extend to their sons and daughters.

In other words, the baptism with the Holy Spirit was to continue from generation to generation until the end of the Church Age. It was not God’s plan for it to die off with the foundational apostles.

It’s also evident that Peter and the apostles didn’t believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit would be restricted to only the apostles or the apostolic age or even to the Jews alone. This why he said:

“This promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39).

If you have been called by God out of the dominion of Satan, sin and the world into the kingdom of His dear Son, this blessing is for you. Even in the NT, there appeared to be a succession of spiritual gifts onto young believers by the laying on of hands (1 Tim. 4:14; 2Tim. 1:6).

From early church history, the writings of men like Eusebius, Irenaeus, Chrysostom of Constantinople, and Augustine of Hippo showed that speaking in tongues after being baptized in the Holy Spirit was known among many Christians (who weren’t even leaders) in various regions.

Furthermore, Ananias was described as “a certain disciple” (Acts 9:10) and wasn’t an apostle, yet he ministered the baptism of the Holy Spirit to Saul of Tarsus. Nowhere does the New Testament say only apostles or bishops could have or administer it.

  1. Another objection says that the gifts of the Spirit were only given to the early church to witness to the people of the supernatural, but now the testimony of the church is “faith, love and hope” (1 Cor. 13:13).

The proceeding verse after the prooftext says: “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts…” (1 Cor. 14:1). It didn’t say “or eagerly desire spiritual gifts.” We are commanded to desire both because both are real and vital for every era of the church.

Another prooftext used as a prop is 1 Cor. 13:8 “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

This verse alone doesn’t indicate that the gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased. It says that tongues will cease, not that they have ceased. All of these things are future tense. Therefore, prophecies, tongues and knowledge haven’t vanished away.

To understand what this text is saying, we have to include the proceeding verses:

“9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

It’s interesting to see how preconceived notions can obscure the interpretation of otherwise clear bible passages.

Some people read these verses and what they make of them is “‘When completeness comes’ is referring to the Bible. Now that the Bible is in its complete form, we no longer need the gifts of the Spirit!”

But reading it carefully, we see that it’s contrasting time and eternity. Prophecies are supernatural glimpses because we still know in part; and that will be as long as we are in this mortal flesh. We don’t yet see face to face, we still see only a reflection of spiritual mysteries.

So until when this imperfect era gives way to perfect eternity, prophecies have not ceased, tongues have not stilled and knowledge has not passed away.

In fact, apostle Paul wrote in details about the gifts of tongues and prophecies which should let us know that such guidelines were binding on future generations of the church. He said:

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.” (1 Cor. 14:39)

  1. Another objection – and this is the most toxic – is that any manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit today is of the devil.

I’m yet to see a single biblical support from those who mouth this bilge. It’s often a syllogism that flows from objections 1 and 2.

Now, if the gifts of the Holy Spirit are of the devil as they claim, they need to tell us precisely when this subversion came to be. Turns out that many cessationists deny the supernatural in Christianity but acknowledge it in the devil’s fold.

If these spiritual gifts were described in the New Testament and these things were “written to teach us so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope,” then we will like to know exactly when the devil took them over from the church (Rom. 15:4).

Some others try to discredit the baptism with the Holy Spirit by instilling fear into the hearts of Christians that if they prayed to be filled with the Holy Spirit, they will receive a demon of false tongues or a demon of divination.

One of the earliest materials where I found this reprehensible idea disseminated was a work by Ellen G. White published in the late 19th century:

“Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, “Father, give us Thy Spirit.” Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace” (Early Writings 56.1).

Some of those teach this in churches today apparently picked it from here and modified it. They might not come all out to say Satan sits on God’s throne, but they will always accord to him a level of authority over fellow believers sincerely seeking God’s gifts.

We need to read Luke 11:11-13 out loud to them:

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Jesus might not be speaking of a literal snake and scorpion here, He could be referring to spiritual serpents and scorpions – demon spirits.

If you are a child of God, God is your Father, and there is no way you would ask Him to fill you with His Spirit which He promised to give, and He as a loving Father will send you a demonic spirit nor would He let that happen to you.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (Jas. 1:17)

The only way you can receive a wrong spirit is if you didn’t seek the God of the Bible or you didn’t go through His only Son, Jesus or you deliberately invited a demon in by invoking it or following its prescribed rites.

This explains why some adherents of white garment churches and other semi-pagan systems have counterfeit spiritual gifts and supernatural experiences.

But the existence of the counterfeit points to the validity of the original, just as fake currency is an imitation of a genuine one.

I’ve been asked about those who realize they have certain “gifts” from their childhood or observed that they “inherited” them from their parents.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are bestowed only on believers, so if these individuals were saved from young ages and filled with the Holy Spirit from that period, they will exhibit these gifts as God wills.

On the other hand, if they weren’t saved and their parents who had these “gifts” weren’t saved or were involved in pagan religions, occult arts or New Age spirituality, that could signify demonic infestation. They would need to renounce such gifts and kick out the false spirits operating behind them.

I’ve been asked if dreams and visions are also gifts of the Holy Spirit. No, they are not (See 1 Cor. 12:1-11). Although some gifts of the Holy Spirit like prophecies, discernment of spirits, word of knowledge or word of wisdom can be expressed through dreams or visions, this doesn’t always happen.

In syncretic churches, they have seers or psychics who specialize in dreams and visions and are given this kind of “power” through certain rituals. These seers wear four-cornered caps and are known to also give wild, ecstatic and ritual-themed prophecies after they’ve danced to drums or repetitive chants.

Many of them will also tell you to pray to angels and spirits which visit or speak to them in their dreams and visions, but if you know the Word of God and could discern spirits, you can figure out that these seers are vessels of evil spirits.

I’ve also been asked about instances where a believer used to be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues, but no longer does so. If I were counseling such a person, I’d want to know if he had totally backslid or still actively prays and studies the bible but merely experienced a period of spiritual dryness.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not a one-time experience because as long as we live in this mortal flesh, we will “leak” and need to be re-filled. The responsibility to build ourselves up spiritually and stir up the gift of God within us lies on us:

“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Tim. 1:6)

“Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” (Heb. 12:12)

To eat Meats, or not?

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One of the roots of religious delusion is evidenced by people who are bound under strict laws that stipulate what they can or cannot eat.

These dietary rules are believed to make them more approved before God and contribute to their spiritual elevation or whatever marker of spiritual enlightenment they subscribe to.

A look at various religious systems bears this out. In Judaism, there are kosher dietary laws which adherents are expected to keep.

Drawing from its Judaistic influence, Islam also adheres to certain dietary laws that prohibit eating pork, lobster and clams.

In Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism and Jainism, dietary laws are taken a notch higher by the prohibition of all meats. Animals are believed to have souls and are to be venerated.

The New Age spirituality, which is the fountain head of the current reverence for the earth and environmentalism, believes animal meats contain harmful “vibrations” which should be avoided by seekers or adepts.

Some professing Christians also adhere to the dietary laws of the Mosaic laws. Seventh Day Adventists, for instance, under the instruction of their prophetess Ellen White, are taught that:

If we subsist largely upon the flesh of dead animals, we shall partake of their nature.” – Testimonies for the Church 2:61.

“Its use excites the animal propensities to increased activity, and strengthens the animal passions. When the animal propensities are increased, the intellectual and moral powers are decreased. The use of the flesh of animals … benumbs the fine sensibilities of the mind.”– Testimonies for the Church 2:63.

“Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away: flesh will cease to form a part of their diet.” — Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 380.

Even though it’s documented that Ellen White broke her own rules and ate meat on some occasions, it’s clear that within the sect, these dietary laws are presented as keys to moral purity, intellectual dexterity and salvation.

There are also some Hebrew Roots and Sacred Name adherents who observe these dietary laws.

Some of these religious groups produce medical books warning people against eating any kind of meat. But these “findings” have underlying religious undertones and are propounded because they validate their presuppositions.

This issue needs to be addressed because even within some Christian denominations, many people are still indirectly placed under a dietary yoke of bondage.

I have attended two well-known Nigerian Pentecostal churches where a preacher and a guest speaker demanded that Christians revert to the dietary laws of the OT if they want to experience physical and spiritual wellness.

It’s one thing for a Bible teacher to teach his/her opinions, it’s another thing for him/her to equate those opinions to a divine order.

You may not personally like certain foods, that’s okay, but you don’t have to make it a stumbling block for other believers.

For instance, let’s say, Pastor A doesn’t like eating apples because he has allergies whenever he does. It’s fine if he says to his congregation, “I don’t like apples because they affect me negatively when I eat them.”

But when pastor A now stands on his pulpit on a Sunday morning and says:

“As I was praying and studying my Bible last night, God gave me a special revelation about apples. As a child of God, you must avoid that fruit because it was the fruit that Satan gave Eve to eat and Eve gave Adam and ultimately caused the downfall of the entire human race. It defiles the body and soul. It deadens the intellect.  If you want to be closer to God and enjoy His deeper love and fellowship with holy angels, then stop eating apples!”

These remarks would not only be a form of pastoral manipulation and control, it would also be an attempt to lead people into the bondage of legalism.

Notably, Pastor A has taken several dangerous steps:

1. He has projected his personal tastes onto everyone. That is, if he’s allergic to apples, then everyone else must be allergic to them as well.

2. He has equated his personal preference to collective preference. If he dislikes apples everyone else must do so too.

3. He has elevated his personal preferences to divine mandates. Whatever he loathes must also be what God also loathes. Technically, God is reduced to his rubber stamp who must endorse whatever resonates with his personal desires.

4. He has masked his true intentions by using a fraudulent revelation as an ecclesiastical cement on his personal tastes.

This is the progression of many legalistic doctrines in many churches today – with the exception of those that are directly taught by demons to their mouthpieces to uphold their existing pacts.

Now, if you replaced the “apples” in my analogy with “meat” and certain natural things that some church leaders urge their members to avoid, the twisted syllogism fits. This is an Athenian development of false doctrines.

First of all, what does the Bible teaches about being a vegetarian? Is it wrong to eat meat?

In Genesis 3:18b, after the fall of man, God instructed Adam, “And you shall eat the plants of the field.”

At that time, man was condemned to exhausting manual labour in order to make a living. Indeed, Adam was to work before the Fall, but when God cursed the ground at the Fall, there was a clause attached:

“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground” (Gen. 3:19). Taking verse 18 without the surrounding context of the preceding and proceeding verses is flawed exegesis.

Now, in six chapters later, we see that God expressly gave man permission to eat animals: “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants” (Gen. 9:3).

In the same book of Genesis, we read that the Lord and His angels visited Abraham and Sarah. Abraham prepared the best that he had and it consisted of beef:

“And Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it” (Gen. 18:7).

If meat were harmful, then why did Abraham give it to the Lord to eat?

Even in the temple offerings, God instructed the Levites to eat the lean meat of cow, sheep and goat but burn their fats in the fire:

“You shall sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shall burn their fat as an offering by fire…but their flesh shall be yours…” (Num. 18:17-18).

If killing animals and eating their meat was sinful, then God commanded the Levites to regularly sin by eating the meat of animals that had been killed, and this went on for centuries.

It’s also instructive to also note that the menu the Lord personally prepared for Elijah before he faced the prophet of Baal consisted of meat:

“And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook” (1 Kgs. 17:6).

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul instructs Timothy and classifies abstinence from meat along with the teachings of forced celibacy as lies taught by deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons:

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose conscience are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Tim. 4:1-3).

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you must also accept His truth:

“Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on? (This he declared all foods clean). And he said, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man” (Mark 7:18-20).

It’s not that roasted pork or cooked okro or smoked grasscutter meat which goes into your tummy that defiles your soul. It is what comes out of your heart. This is what the Lord Jesus taught.

If you reject the truth of Jesus Christ, then you can’t be said to be a follower of Christ. If you take Moses over against Christ, then you are far from Biblical Christianity – the way of grace and truth. For it is written:

“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

The dietary laws (Lev. 11:41-44; 20:25; Deut. 14:3-20) for the Jews were very strictly adhered to by even the apostles. But on the cross of Calvary, God broke down the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 2:14-18).

The dietary laws were put aside along with the ceremonial/temple laws. Therefore, we can partake of meat without any prohibitions.

The only restriction observed is in some instances of meats offered to idols which Paul said he would rather avoid if it will cause fellow Christians to stumble (see 1 Cor. 8:13).

Just as we have it today, some people in the early church were also teaching that Christians ought to merge the laws of Moses with the grace offered in Christ in order to be saved and have a “deeper” Christianity. As a result, many Christians reverted to the old laws and customs of Judaism. This led to the meeting (or “council”) of the Apostles at Jerusalem.

From there, only four dictates from the Mosaic laws were binding on Gentile (non-Jewish) Christians:

(a) They were to abstain from the pollution of idols.
(b) They were to eschew sexual immorality.
(c) They were not to shed blood.
(d) Avoid eating strangled animals or animals with blood in it.

It says nothing about avoiding unclean animals, circumcision, keeping the Sabbath, using the Hebrew names of God/Jesus and some other finicky rules that many have dubiously piled on the heads of their followers to allegedly merit God’s approval.

Paul’s charge to Timothy bears this out once again:

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:4-5).

The New Testament makes it clear that Gentile Christians are not bound by the Mosaic dietary laws. There is no animal that God created that is “unclean” to us – whether it’s a pig, oyster, shellfish, horse or snail. Don’t let anyone hold you captive under any religious teaching that says otherwise.

Let “no one pass judgement on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath” (Col. 2:16).

A clear ignorance of this principle has unwittingly opened up the lives of many Christians to the influence of seducing spirits that reinforce these rules in their lives and rob them of their God-given spiritual freedom.

If any plant or animal is safe to eat, we are free to eat it. This, of course, doesn’t mean that there are no moral restrictions on eating.

We are not to be gluttons, for example, and cannibalism is prohibited, but there are no “unclean” animals today.

The vision Peter had concerning all kinds of animals also reveals the will of God allowing man to eat meat:

“Then a voice told him, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ ‘Surely not, Lord!’ Peter replied. ‘I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.’ The voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean’” (Acts 10:13-15).

Though God’s point was that Peter was not to consider Gentiles “unclean,” He also made it clear that eating the “unclean” meats was permitted.

Christian salvation and sanctification is by the grace of God. It’s impossible to somehow, by our own works, convince God to love or accept us anymore than He already does.

Holiness is not defined altogether by what we abstain from. It’s defined by our heart attitude toward Jesus and our desire to follow Him.

The Sabbath Controversy (1)

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The observance of the Saturday sabbath is a core belief of Seventh Day Adventists and some other religious sects. Considering the level of indoctrination and confusion disseminated by sabbatarians, this issue needs to be addressed.

When a lie is being repeated over and over again, it becomes very believable, most especially when those teaching the lie succeed in poisoning the minds of their listeners against those who disagree.

Before venturing into what Scripture says about the sabbath at all (that will be in Part 2), there is a need to first refute some blatantly false claims or premises planted into the minds of Seventh Day Adventists (SDAs).

They hold Ellen White’s writings as “a continuing and an authoritative source of truth.” Granted, the moment one accepts her visions and teachings as authoritative, one embraces sabbath-keeping as well therefore her claims demands scrutiny.

1. The Sabbath is the Mark of the True Church

She wrote:

I saw that the holy Sabbath is, and will be the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers, and that the Sabbath is the great question to unite the hearts of God’s dear waiting saints” (Early Writings, 1963, p. 33).

This is predicated on the error that the church has replaced Israel, and by implication, what applied to Israel now applies to the church (Replacement theology). This is incorrect.

While Israel consists of one nationality, the church consists of every tongue, tribe and nation. Israel was given a land with specific promises attached, but the church is not restricted to a geographical location.

Her statement also reflects the typical we-vs-them mentality. She calls Adventists the “true Israel” while non-Adventists are labelled as “unbelievers.”

SDAs believe that keeping the 7th day sabbath was “not a new truth discovered by Adventists, but a truth that was taught by Christ, and the apostles and by the church in the wilderness, a truth finally recaptured and proclaimed once again by the remnant” (Prophecy Seminar # 26).

But SDAs didn’t exist until the 19th century and there wasn’t a single Christian group that kept the sabbath until then.

Either true Christians missed this vital truth for 18 centuries or this was a tragic drawback into the bondage of the Law after 18 centuries.

2. The Early Christians Kept the Sabbath

In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all Christians… [until] the early part of the fourth century [when] the emperor Constantine issued a decree making Sunday a public festival throughout the Roman Empire” (The Great Controversy, 52)

This is historically false. There is no evidence that all the early Christians kept the sabbath for centuries. This can be seen from the writings of early church leaders before Constantine:

Ignatius of Antioch (30-107): “Those who were brought up in the ancient order of things [Jews] have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s day, on which also our life has sprung up again by him and by his death” (Letter to the Magnesians, 9)

Epistle of Barnabas (ascribed to Paul’s companion by Clement):
“He says to them. ‘Your new moons and your sabbaths I cannot endure’ (Isa. 1:13). Ye perceive how He speaks: Your present sabbaths are not acceptable to me…I will make a beginning of the eighth day, that is, a beginning of another world. Wherefore, also we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day on which Jesus rose again from the dead.”

Justin Martyr (100-165 AD): “How is it, Typho, that we would not observe those rites which do not harm us – I speak of fleshy circumcision, and sabbaths, and feasts?… God enjoined you to keep the Sabbath and imposed on you other precepts for a sign … The Gentiles, who have believed in Him, and who have repented from their sins … shall receive the inheritance along with the patriarchs … even although they neither keep the sabbath, nor are circumcised nor observe the feasts …Christ is useless to those who observe the law” (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, 18, 21).

“But Sunday is the day on which we hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead” (1 Apology, 67, 6).

Tertullian (b 145): “The Holy Spirit upbraids the Jews for their holy days. ‘Your sabbaths, and new moons, and ceremonies my soul hateth … By us [Christians], to whom sabbaths are strange… to the heathen each festive day occurs but once annually; you [Christians] have a festive day every eighth day.” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers 3:70)

Ireneaus (b 178): “The mystery of the Lord’s resurrection may not be celebrated on any other day than the Lord’s day and on this alone should we observe the breaking of the Paschal Feast … Pentecost fell on the first day of the week, and was therefore associated with the Lord’s day” (ANF VII, 447)

3. Constantine made Sunday the Day of Worship

It was on behalf of Sunday that popery first asserted its arrogant claims; and its first resort to the power of the state to compel the observance of Sunday as ‘the Lord Day‘” (GC p 447)

This claim is devoid of truth. The Edict of Laodicea issued in AD 321 didn’t impose Sunday as the Lord’s Day, rather it made it a civil holiday. Sunday had been a day of worship for Christians for 3 centuries before.

The edict was majorly directed at pagan business men who felt everyday should be a business day. The church of Rome didn’t even have the power at that time to enforce any laws.

SDA theologian, Dr Samuele Bacchiochi admitted this glaring error in Mrs White’s book:

“But at this time, the Bishop of Rome could not call upon ‘the power of the state’ to compel the observance of Sunday as the Lord’s day, because in the eyes of the Romans, Christianity was still a suspicious religion to be suppressed, rather than to be supported” (Endtime Issues, 87, Par. 1).

4. Sunday is a Pagan Day

As support, SDAs quote from 19th century anti-Christian works that attempt to link everything in Christianity with paganism. For example, they quote from Arthur Weigall’s The Paganism in Our Christianity:

“But, as a solar festival, Sunday was the sacred day of Mithra … The Lord’s day [Sunday] is of Pagan origin..” (pp. 136, 210)

What SDA leaders hide from their followers is that this is a thoroughly anti-Christian work that also states:
i- The 27 books of the New Testament are false (p. 37)
ii-The account of Jesus’ birth is pagan (p. 52)
iii-The 12 disciples of Christ are from the 12 zodiac signs. (p. 25)
iv- The virgin birth is pagan (p. 44)
v- The miracles of Christ are of pagan origin (p. 58)
vi- The crucifixion account is pagan (p. 69)
vii- The ascension of Christ is of pagan origin (p. 100)
viii- Both the Jewish sabbath and Sunday the Lord’s day are pagan days. Let me quote this:

The origin of the seven-day week which was used by the Jews and certain peoples, but not till later by Greeks or Romans is to be sought in some primitive worship of the moon, for the keeping the day of the new moon as festivals which is widely found in antiquity… the institution is obviously derived from moon worship...” (pp. 209-211)

Using SDA logic, Sunday came from pagan sun worship while the sabbath came from pagan moon worship!

The fact is, almost every day of the week can be linked to paganism – if one decides to live in that cave. These works are too biased to be quoted as authorities. Their theories have been refuted by modern scholars.

Not only are SDAs appealing to books authored by Bible-haters, they are also being dishonest in their citations because their conclusions refute their own position.

5. Sunday is a Man-made institution

Vast councils were held from time to time, in which the dignitaries of the church convened from all the world. In nearly every council, the Sabbath which God has instituted was pressed down a little lower, while the Sunday was correspondingly exalted” (GC, 53).

The councils being referred to are the ecumenical councils. The first seven of them are the Council of Nicaea (325), Constantinople I (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople II (553), Constantinople III (680) and Nicaea II (787).

In all these councils, there is not a single one in which the issue of Sabbath/Sunday was ever debated. One doesn’t need to be receiving “angelic visions” to know this simple fact.

6. Sunday-Keepers will receive the Mark of the Beast

When the test comes, it will be clearly shown what the mark of the beast is. It is the keeping of Sunday.” (SDA Bible Commentary, 7:980)

By what criterion will one receive this mark? In 1897, she wrote: “When you obey the decree that commands you to cease from labor on Sunday and worship God … you consent to receive the Mark of the Beast” (Review and Herald)

Another early SDA leader wrote: “It is very clear therefore, that in order to keep the sabbath day according to the commandments we must not only rest on the seventh day, but we must also habitually treat all other days of the week as working days” (E. J. Waggoner, Review and Sabbath Herald, April 16, 1895).

In other words, SDAs must labour and never worship on Sunday or they will receive the mark of the beast. Yet in utter contradiction we read later:

And never must we say to them, ‘You must work on Sunday’ … Give Sunday to the Lord as a day for doing missionary work. Take the student out to hold meetings in different places, and do medical missionary work” (The General Conference Bulletin, April 14, 1903).

One does not receive the mark of the beast because he shows that he realises the wisdom of keeping peace by refraining from work that gives offence. On this day open-air meetings and cottage meetings can be held. House-to-house work can be done.Whenever its possible, let religious services be held on Sunday. Make these meetings intensely interesting. Sing genuine revival hymns and speak with power and assurance of the Saviour’s love” (Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 9, 232-33).

So it was now acceptable to conduct missionary works, do works “that gives no offense,” hold religious services, assemble with other Christians and sing hymns on Sunday.

We need to ask, who changed the criteria? Why the blowing hot and cold and flip-flop laws? If this prophetess couldn’t get her criteria of the “mark of the beast” straight why take the rest of her claims about it as truth?

6. Christians in the Dark Ages kept the Sabbath

Through the ages of darkness and apostasy there were Waldenses who denied the supremacy of Rome … rejected image worship as idolatry, and who kept the true Sabbath. Under the fiercest tempest of oppositions they maintained their faith” (GC, 65)

What a ridiculous statement. There is absolutely no historical evidence to support the idea that the Waldenses kept the sabbath or were persecuted for not giving it up.

It seems Mrs White was confused about the nickname “insabbati” which the Waldenses were called, but this word has nothing to do with sabbath-keeping. The word is derived from “sabbatum” the Latin word for sandals, and the term “insabbati” was used to mock the Waldenses because of the sandals they were known to wear.

Mrs White was obviously trying to make up a quasi history to fill up the 15 century gap of “Christian sabbath keepers” – as if it wasn’t a 19th century innovation.

But such a fancy claim militates against her alleged heavenly visions. Having rebutted the arguments used to cloud the minds of SDAs, let’s now proceed to the Bible’s view of the sabbath.