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  1. Bill Garber
    08 February 2012 @ 11:39 pm


    There you are …

    Welcome back, friend … I can't imagine how anyone can possibly get going in circles over your column this time!

    …Oh, and … Cheers to you!

  2. Horace Butler
    09 February 2012 @ 1:29 am

    Some these issues are important; some are side issues, designed to get our focus off of our main objective:  preach the 3 angels' messages to the world.  Dealing with heresies is important; crying "wolf" everytime a furred creature appears, hurts our credibility (which is what the enemy would like, of course).  Some see a Sunday law behind every law passed by Congress.  Efforts spent on personal preparation would be much more benefical, than trying to be the first to announce the implementation of the mark of the beast.

  3. Herbert Douglass
    09 February 2012 @ 2:13 am

    Bill and Horace: Thanks for your thoughts. I have been swamped by the hour for the past several weeks. Somehow, the way my little message got rolled out was not exactly the way I wrote it but no big deal.  My point is: All these items are of interest to many, depending on their own conscious and unconscious biases/world views, etc.  I do not minimize anyone's interest. However, with the time we have, I want to emphasize, as my little conribution, that we are not blind or deaf as to the real issues this world is facing. Until each person quietly faces up to the deepening trend/tread of world events in all areas, he/she will never really have real peace with the future. The Great Controversy is not something for the Seminary to discuss. It is a venue that we all are involved in. There will be winners and losers, depending on how willing we are to trust the One who has given us the road map. God will have a people who truly witness to His way of life–the only way that the gospel can be preached to all the world. And He has promised to prepare those people for the place He is preparing for them–but He can not do all that without our willing cooperation. I can't think of a better deal but it asks for my willingness and really what is the down side!  Cheers, Herb

  4. Tom
    09 February 2012 @ 5:35 am

    Too many Adventist worship at the altar of last day events, running around in circles seeing a Sunday law in every sunrise, and a papal plot behind everything that bodes ill in the world.  Some are so scripted with the book Great Contorversy they can't see beyond it to imagine any other paradigm in which Satan will attempt to deceive, if possible, the very elect.   World events are on the red hot burner of red alerts, with grave warnings that drives people into overdrive spinning circles trying to figure it all out and be prepared.

    "At the very end, one interest  will prevail, one subject will swallow up every other subject, Christ our righteousness."   That was penned by the same author who wrote the book Great Controversy, from which  multitudes of end time scenereos have been concocted over the past 125 years.

    When folks stop spinning circles chasing the Pope, and get down to business of  thirsting more for the righteousness of Christ, studying and beholding His character and what it takes to become like Christ, everything else that makes anxious the mind will wither in the face of it.

    In the big picture, there are only two sides.  Satan is at war with the Host of heaven.   World events unfold creating a situation where the broad middle gradually vanishes  and  everyone is either on God's side or Satan's.  In the end, each side will fully represent the character of it's leader be it the King of Kings or his satanic majesty, there will be no inbetween or fuzzy middle.

    The task and the odds seem overwhelming at times, and the future of this world is indeed bleak.  But our singular focus on Christ and His righteousness, in cooperation with the work of the Holy Spirit should leave no doubt as to the outcome.   "Because though has kept the word of my patience, I will keep thee in the hour of temptation" Revelation 3:10, is the Savior"s promise.  Spend more time looking to our Example and the lives of the faith heros of the bible and less time riding the beast and driving the spurs in!

  5. Herbert Douglass
    09 February 2012 @ 6:13 am

    Tom: You surely got my point. Lots of issues are interesting but the drama of the ages will be settled for all the universe to see, one way or another (perhaps for 1000 years) to make sure that God has been fair and honest and kind and loving. No one needs to be left out of the Grand Review. Cheers, Herb

  6. William Noel
    09 February 2012 @ 2:06 pm


    There's an old truism about the man fighting aligators in the swamp who is so focused on the gators that he forgot he was sent in to drain the swamp.  Jesus didn't send his disciples out to get lost in discussions about the great controversy, sunday laws, or whatever.  He sent them out in the power of the Holy Spirit to perform miracles demonstrating the loving nature and power of God, then to proclaim that the Kingdom of God had come to them.  That is the mission priority that Jesus gave us.  Unfortunately, too many have expended their lives (or large portions of them) chasing their own priorities instead of first seeking the empowerment and guidance of the Holy Spirit so we would know God's priorities and be able to do the work He wants us to do.

  7. Anonymous
    09 February 2012 @ 5:43 pm

    I like your thoughts, Herb. And I wholeheartedly agree with the need to look at unfolding events through the big picture of the salvation story.  But somehow I think the road map metaphor you alluded to in your reponse to Bill and Horace works at cross-purposes with your "big picture" exhortations. Having read your columns for some time, I often find myself left with the feeling that the "big picture" for you is the Adventist map; that the Holy Spirit is merely the voice guidance system insisting that we stay focused on the prominent features of a 19th Century religious-political landscape ("Make a U-turn at the earliest opportunity"). 

    There are many different types of maps that accurately depict the "big picture". But they are certainly not equally adequate for the environment and purposes to which God's Spirit calls us as individuals and as communities of faith. In cartography, many varieties of maps are needed to help different populations, with different experiences and needs, define, explain, and navigate their environment. In our spiritual lives, rather than assuming that there is a one-size-fits-all map that the world should be following, would it not be preferable to trust that God's Spirit will guide us to the right maps? And to further trust that when He does so guide us, the existence of other valid maps cannot be used to relativize His call on our lives, our communities, and our Church?

    Yes, there is a "big picture". But only God can see that picture clearly. I don't think He is so concerned that we clearly see and understand His big picture as He is that we loosen our death grip on the big pictures and road maps by which He led our parents and grandparents.  When Jesus was asked for a road map, He declined, saying, "I am the way, the truth and the life." Only by walking with Him – following Him, and listening to His Spirit – can we hope to see and respond to the portions of the big picture in which He has placed our lives.

  8. William Noel
    10 February 2012 @ 7:01 pm

    I enjoyed your quip about the Everglades because I work for the Army Corps of Engineers, which drained them in the first place and is now working to restore them!  Except I work in a different area.

  9. Ella M
    19 February 2012 @ 7:04 am

       To me the Big Picture is that God is love and more wonderful and caring than we can imagine–we consistently sell His love short.  His love sent Christ to represent Him, first in life and then in death. Christ died the second death to save us.   All other doctrines symbolize this great truth and are subject to it. (i.e. Sabbath symbolizes the rest He has given us from works for salvation).  It will only be when we can present our beliefs in this context that they will be taken seriously.
       If there is to be a special group at end time standing out from the multitude, it will be those who have His perfect love reflected in them.  They love not for the reward of eternal life, but are willing to risk all for others (as did Moses in the OT and as Jesus did on the cross).

  10. Elaine Nelson
    19 February 2012 @ 5:30 pm

    Who has the omniscience to define the "Big Picture"?  God has his own plans and we presume to know them?

    Adventism has had its own picture built around the Great Controversy; an idea first implanted in the Jewish mind when they discovered that the religious leaders in Persia had conceived of both good and evil as separate entities unlike the former Jewish concept tht God was the bestower of everything, both good and evil according to their scriptures.

    This idea was more specifically developed during the intertestamental years and more pronounced in the NT writings.  That Adventists have the guide and map for the last days developed in their Big Picture is an hypothesis that one must accept or not, there are no other alternatives.  Just as most religionists claim that their beliefs alone constitute the truth, all those who make such claims are assuming that God has only shown his plan to a select few and only if all other Christians accept that position, they will be left on the outside looking in.

    Ella:  it is not in our adoption of any theological concept that is salvific but in our relationship with our fellowman as Jesus said in Matt. 25, the last pericope.

  11. Darrel Lindensmith
    22 February 2012 @ 12:26 am

    Elaine,  I agree completely with you about your understanding of the Lord's teaching in Matt. 25.,  I just want to comment that as I understand, Zoroaster taught that Ahriman (evil) WAS NOT created by Ahura (Lord of All).   Meaning Ahriman was a self-existant being as was Ahura.   Ahura was an evil spirit, not equal to the Ahura in power; nevertheless, both were creative, and both were original in being.
    This would be very different from the Biblical understanding.   In Scripture, satan is a created being.   Created with a free will that God allowed to rebel.   This concept of satan is found in probably the very oldest book of Job,  where there is a controvercy about creation, free will and grace.  Here satan can do nothting without God's permission.   This material predates Persian Dualism and offers a much more complex Theodecy than the Persian, which is "The Lord can't help the fact there is evil because there is this other bad god going around do bad things.  I am trying to stop him, but he is really strong."

  12. Elaine Nelson
    22 February 2012 @ 12:48 am

    Satan is mentioned in Job; but the date of the books writing is very ambiguous as Satan was not mentioned in the early Hebrew Bible (except where Satan or God charged David with censoring Israel) previously, and the Hebrews were first introduced to Satan during their Persian Exile.  Until that time, God was the giver of both good and evil who dispatched either as He wished.  There was no need to have another dispense Evil as God was the originator of both.

    Neither was Job ever claimed to be a Hebrew; the setting is not Hebrew and is pervaded by foreign elements.  As for the date, there is not a single allusion in it to any event in Hebrew history and is the most corrupt of all biblical documents and shows abundant evidence of repeated revisions.  (From the Interpreter's Bible Commentary)

  13. Horace Butler
    22 February 2012 @ 1:21 am

    Elaine, you approach the Bible as you would the works of Shakespeare.  If you really understood the Bible as the inspired Word of God, you would see the big picture.  Satan is clearly pointed out Revelation as the serpent which deceived Eve in Eden.  The idea that the Jews had no understanding of Satan before the Exile is a lot of tommyrot; coming straight from the pens of liberal and skeptical theologians.  And to charge God with being the originator of evil is blasphemy of the highest order.

    I've never heard anyone call Job a Hebrew, but we don't know whether he was or not.  A Hebrew is simply and descendent of Eber, and Job very well could have been.  That he was not a Jew is clear, because he appears to have lived before Jacob, the ancestor of the Jews.  There's a lot of speculation in that Interpreter's Commentary.

  14. Darrel Lindensmith
    22 February 2012 @ 1:28 am

    Yes, your last few lines are one of reasons we
    know Job is of an extremely early date. This
    Epic actually pre-dates the written Hebrew language.
    Biblical Hebrew, Menahem Mansoor 2nd ed. 1980, 1:8, 23
    Job is a foundation of the Hebrew Religion to come, so
    it is extremely important theologically, central even.

  15. Darrel Lindensmith
    22 February 2012 @ 1:40 am

    So understanding Job’s place theologically
    helps us to see that one of the main points
    of the epic was the ‘evil does not come from the
    hand of God. Evil is a reality due to a ‘controversy’
    among free beings, created by God, but not predetermined
    to evil or good.