The Case for Last Generation Theology, Part 3: The Human Nature of Christ

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The Case for Last Generation Theology, Part 3: The Human Nature of Christ

Many don’t realize it, but the very first doctrine articulated in the New Testament is that of Christ’s human nature:

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham (Matt. 1:1).[1]

People often wonder why the writers of Scripture included those long lists of genealogies—the “begats,” as some call them. I believe one key reason was so we could take a long, hard look at our Lord’s family tree. Not all Biblical genealogies, to be sure, involve the lineage of the Savior, but it’s fair to say a majority of these—tangentially or directly—contributed to the genetic heritage from which our Lord drew His human DNA.

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We’ve all heard the statement, “You can’t pick your relatives.” But Jesus did. And look at the ones He picked! It would truly be hard to find a more roguish list of ancestors than these. Think of Rahab (Matt. 1:5), and how she earned her living (Josh. 2:1)—not to mention the corrupt Canaanite culture that was her heritage. Witness Ruth the Moabitess (Matt. 1:5), born of a race conceived in drunken incest (Gen. 19:31-37). Note also two other women—Tamar and Bathsheba (Matt. 1:3,6)—whose entrance into the Sacred Story is primarily for reasons of sexual immorality (Gen. 28:24; II Sam. 11:4).

Think of Judah’s corrupt line of kings with their rebellious, despotic tendencies (Matt. 1:6-11). Kings Ahaz and Manasseh are listed here (verses 9-10), both of whom offered their children to pagan gods (II Kings 16:3; 21:6). Manasseh’s wickedness is especially noteworthy—not only human sacrifice (II Kings 21:6; II Chron. 33:6), but some of the boldest idolatry in Israel’s history (II Kings 21:4-5,7; II Chron. 33:4-5,7), the practice of spiritualism in many forms (II Kings 21:6; II Chron. 33:6), and the filling of Jerusalem with innocent blood (II Kings 21:16). The wicked queen Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, is part of our Lord’s lineage also. Though not mentioned by name, her husband (Judah’s king Joram) is (Matt. 1:8), and it was through their son Ahaziah (II Chron. 22:11) that the royal line continued as listed by Matthew (Matt. 1:8-11)—a line which, we should remember, Athaliah herself tried to exterminate (II Kings 11:1; II Chron. 22:10).

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This helps explain how the apostle Paul can write in Romans 1:3:

Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh.

Reading the history of those noted above, we need not guess what either David or his seed were like, “according to the flesh.”

Condemning Sin in the Flesh

Introducing the Person and mission of the Messiah in the opening lines of his Gospel, the apostle John declares:

 

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

 

Turning to the book of Hebrews, we read:

 

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same (Heb. 2:14).

 

These words bring to mind another passage, also from Paul’s writings:

 

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor. 15:50).

 

What in fact does Paul mean by this last statement? Is he saying physical tissue can’t go to heaven? Is he saying those with resurrected bodies won’t have physical flesh and blood? Obviously not, since Jesus said something very different to His disciples after His resurrection:

 

Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; handle Me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have (Luke 24:39).

 

So it isn’t physical tissue that Paul says won’t inherit the kingdom of God. As we turn to Romans 8, we get a clearer picture of the “flesh” Jesus partook of, and why Paul says this “flesh” isn’t going to heaven:

 

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. . . . So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. . . . Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Rom. 8:3-5, 8-9, 12-13).

 

Now quite clearly, the “flesh” in these verses isn’t talking about what covers our bones. It’s talking about a human nature which prompts us to disobey God. And it is in this human nature that Jesus condemned sin, according to verse 3. He “condemned sin in the flesh.”

 

Controversy has flourished for much of the past half-century within Adventism as to whether the “likeness” of sinful flesh in Romans 8:3 refers to sameness or to mere simulation. Linguistically this is really a simple argument, as the Greek word translated “likeness” is homoiomati, which contains the prefix “homo,” which clearly means “same,” as distinct from “hetero” which means “different” (see Acts 14:11,15; Phil. 2:7).  It is obvious from this prefix that we derive such English words as “homogenous” and “homosexual.”

 

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An interesting historical note is that when the debate over Christ’s human nature first arose in the Adventist Church, the word “homosexual” was not often used in polite society. In the contemporary scene, by contrast, in which this word and the lifestyle it denotes are very much a part of cultural and social discourse, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone not aware of the meaning of “homo” and thus the most likely meaning of the larger Greek word homoiomati, in which this prefix is found.

 

But even without looking at the Greek, it is clear—as we noted above—that the “flesh” described in Romans 8 refers to a human nature which Spirit-led, Spirit-empowered human beings must resist. Those in whom the “righteousness of the law” is fulfilled “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (verse 4). The “things of the flesh” described in verse 5 are depicted as contrary to the “things of the Spirit.” “They that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (verses 8-9). According to Paul, Christians “are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh” (verse 12), for those who “live after the flesh” will die (verse 13).

 

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This is the “flesh,” according to Romans 8:3, in which Christ “condemned sin” (see also Heb. 5:7-8). Even without the likeness/sameness argument, it should be clear that fallen human nature is what these verses are talking about. Other New Testament passages which speak of the “flesh” and its desires reveal a similar, consistent meaning (Matt. 26:41; Rom. 7:25; 13:14; Gal. 5:17,24; II Cor. 10:2-3; Eph. 2:3; I Peter 2:11; Jude 7). It is in such a nature, according to the apostle Paul, that the human Christ conquered evil, thus showing post-Fall men and women how—through the Holy Spirit—they can do the same.

 

“In All Points Tempted”

 

The second chapter of Hebrews further elaborates on this issue:

For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels, but took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God (Heb. 2:16-17).

 

The connection between the Savior’s humanity and His priesthood is further amplified two chapters later, as the apostle declares:

 

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).

 

Two points stand out clearly in this verse. First, a variety of temptations are assumed, reflecting far more accurately the temptation experiences of fallen beings as distinct from the comparatively narrow vulnerability of unfallen creatures, such as angels and the sinless pair in Eden. This point inflicts serious damage on the theory, one popular for years in some Adventist circles, that there is really only one temptation—to separate from a “relationship” with God—and that so long as Jesus experienced this single temptation, that is all the example we need, and thus the presumed absence of specific fallen temptations from Jesus’ earthly life need not concern us.[2]

 

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Secondly, the Savior is here described as being tempted “like as we are.” The apostle is not addressing unfallen beings, nor the human race as represented by Adam. Adam is not even mentioned in this verse, nor its context. This passage plainly identifies Jesus’ temptation experiences with those of the fallen human audience to which this epistle is addressed.

 

“That Holy Thing”

 

In short, every verse of Scripture which describes the substance of Jesus’ humanity, His earthly ancestors, and His experience with temptation, points to His taking upon Himself fallen human nature. Those passages which speak of the Savior’s sinlessness (Luke 1:35; Heb. 4:15; Heb. 7:26; I Peter 1:19; 2:22) never describe this condition in terms of His inherited humanity, nor is this condition ever distinguished from what human beings—who still possess fallen, fleshly natures—can achieve through heaven’s imparted strength.

 

Many have used Luke 1:35 as evidence of Christ inheriting an unfallen nature—because of its statement that Jesus was born “that holy thing.” But this conclusion encounters a serious problem in the very next chapter, which cites the Mosaic law that “every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord” (Luke 2:23). Obviously, these are fallen beings, with fallen natures, about whom the law of Moses is speaking. Yet they are called holy, just as surely as the ancient prophets are called holy by the apostle Peter (II Peter 1:21), despite the fact that they too possessed fallen human natures. Indeed, all followers of God—who must still subdue their inherited fleshly natures (I Cor. 9:27)—are commanded, “Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev. 19:2; see also I Peter 1:15-16).

 

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At the bottom line, the phrase “that holy thing” in Luke 1:35 is never used by the inspired writings either to convey the notion that Jesus was born with a different inherited humanity than the rest of us, or to present the purity of His humanity as beyond the reach of the sanctified Christian on account of His presumably “different” birth-nature.

The Human Nature of Christ in the Writings of Ellen White

Early in her signature account of the life and work of Christ, Ellen White observes as follows:

It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.[3]

We have already addressed the issue of Jesus’ earthly ancestors. Two other points stand out in this passage. First, Ellen White is clear that it would have been humiliating enough had Jesus in fact taken the unfallen nature of Adam. The statement says this would have been “an almost infinite humiliation.” But Jesus obviously wasn’t content for His condescension to be “almost infinite.” The above statement declares that He went far beyond this, taking humanity as it existed after four thousand years of degeneracy.

Secondly, Ellen White specifies the reason why Christ took fallen heredity—not merely to look like the ordinary human being of His day, with less physical and mental strength than the sinless Adam, but in order to “share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.”[4] In other words, His heredity would be a source of temptation to Himself, as it is to us.

Other Ellen White statements speak in depth of the moral and spiritual obstructions, annoyances, harassments (not simply lessened physical and mental capabilities) which the hereditary process transmits to men and women.[5]

Ellen White in other statements further describes the humanity Jesus took when He came to earth:

Adam was tempted by the enemy, and he fell. It was not indwelling sin which caused him to yield, for God made him pure and upright in His own image. He was as faultless as the angels before the throne. There was in him no corrupt principles, no tendencies to evil. But when Christ came to meet the temptations of Satan, He bore ‘the likeness of sinful flesh’.[6]

 

Christ did in reality unite the offending nature of man with His own sinless nature, because by this act of condescension He would be enabled to pour out His blessings on behalf of the fallen race.[7]

 

Clad in the vestments of humanity, the Son of God came down to the level of those He wished to save. In Him was no guile or sinfulness; He was ever pure and undefiled, yet He took upon Him our sinful nature.[8]

 

Notwithstanding that the sins of a guilty world were laid upon Christ, notwithstanding the humiliation of taking upon Himself our fallen nature, the voice from heaven declared Him to be the Son of the Eternal.[9]

 

Jesus also told them (the angels) that they should have a part to act, to be with Him, and at different times to strengthen Him. That He should take man’s fallen nature, and His strength would not even be equal with theirs.[10]

 

Though He had no taint of sin upon His character, yet He condescended to connect our fallen human nature with His divinity. By thus taking humanity, He honored humanity. Having taken our fallen nature, He showed what it might become, by accepting the ample provision He has made for it, and by becoming partaker of the divine nature.[11]

 

The Majesty of heaven humbled Himself from the highest authority, from the position of one equal with God, to the lowest place, that of a servant. . . . His humility did not consist of a low estimate of His own character and qualifications, but in humbling Himself to fallen humanity, in order to raise them with Him to a higher life.[12]

 

It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon Himself the form and nature of fallen man.[13]

It is claimed by certain ones that whenever Ellen White speaks of Christ inheriting a “sinful nature” that “she only meant that Christ was subject to the physical deterioration of the human race.” [14] Yet the following Ellen White statement is clear that the humanity Jesus took included deterioration at three levels, not just one:

For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity.[15]

Reflecting the notion referenced earlier regarding Jesus’ temptations supposedly being “relational” instead of being focused on specific sinful acts, one contemporary Adventist author alleges:

It is important to note here that Christ did not need to be just like us in every respect, because ‘the basis of His temptations was not a corrupt nature or sordid history of sin, but the possibility of using His own inherent full deity to resist the wiles of the devil.’ At its core, His temptations and ours are the same in the fact that both rest on self-reliance, but in a sense, they are different because Christ is different from us.[16]

Certainly, the source of Jesus’ temptations was not a “sordid history of sin,” because He never sinned. But according to Ellen White, the corrupt, fallen human nature our Lord inherited was most assuredly a source of temptation to Him. We already noted the reason Ellen White says He came with a 4,000-year-old heredity—“to share our sorrows and temptations.”[17] Other statements, such as the following, confirm the identical nature of our temptations and our Lord’s:

Some realize their great weakness and sin, and become discouraged. Satan casts his dark shadow between them and the Lord Jesus, their atoning sacrifice. They say, It is useless for me to pray. My prayers are so mingled with evil thoughts that the Lord will not hear them.

These suggestions are from Satan. In His humanity Christ met and resisted this temptation, and He knows how to succor those who are thus tempted.[18]

 

Obviously, this statement isn’t saying Jesus cherished sinful thoughts. It only says such thoughts occurred to Him, just as they occur to us. The temptation Jesus is described here as resisting is the temptation to assume that because evil thoughts intrude in our minds as we pray, God won’t hear our prayers. This assumption, the inspired pen assures us, comes from Satan. But this is clearly the struggle one experiences with a fallen nature, from which the promptings to sin arise.

 

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Many fiercely recoil from the thought of the human Christ experiencing sexual temptation. Yet when Scripture declares our Savior to have been “in all points tempted like as we are” (Heb. 4:15), one is baffled at efforts to exclude such a key issue of personal integrity from the struggles faced by our Lord. It is truly fascinating how people seem not to be troubled by Jesus being tempted to bow down and worship Satan (Matt. 4:9)—something very few humans are directly tempted to do—yet recoil with disgust at our Lord being assailed by the universal human drive to sexual fulfillment.

 

Particularly in our day, in which the pornography addiction has received so much attention, it behooves us to remember this is no uniquely modern allurement, as any visitor to the ruins of Pompeii can attest. It is difficult to imagine such indulgences not being familiar to the environment in which Jesus grew up, especially when we consider the reputation of Nazareth (John 1:46). Consider the following Ellen White statement on this point:

 

In the providence of God, His early life was passed in Nazareth, where the inhabitants were of that character that He was continually exposed to temptations, and it was necessary for Him to be guarded in order to remain pure and spotless amid so much sin and wickedness. Christ did not select this place Himself. His heavenly Father chose this place for Him, where His character would be tested and tried in a variety of ways. The early life of Christ was subjected to severe trials, hardships, and conflicts, that He might develop the perfect character which makes Him a perfect example for children, youth, and manhood.[19]

 

Two points stand out in this statement relative to the present discussion. First, we see again that a variety of temptation experiences were present in the life of Jesus, made possible by the proverbial wickedness of Nazareth and its residents. Here we see further evidence that Jesus was tempted far beyond the scope of some relational “generic” temptation, one presumably focused on the larger issue of separation from the Father as distinct from the allurement of specific sinful acts.[20] Secondly, the above statement declares that because of the rampant evil of His early surroundings, “it was necessary for Him to be guarded in order to remain pure and spotless.”[21] Why, may we ask, would He need to be on guard against impurity if His human nature didn’t find it attractive?  None need be on guard against suggestions or practices which they naturally despise. (No perseverance or watchfulness on my part is needed, for example, to prevent overindulgence on cooked spinach, which I can’t stand!).

 

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In a pamphlet devoted specifically to sexual indulgence, Ellen White offers hope to the tempted with these words:

 

All are accountable for their actions while upon probation in this world. All have power to control their actions. If they are weak in virtue and purity of thoughts and acts, they can obtain help from the Friend of the helpless. Jesus is acquainted with all the weaknesses of human nature, and if entreated, will give strength to overcome the most powerful temptations.[22]

 

Elsewhere we read:

 

His (the Christian’s) strongest temptations will come from within, for he must battle against the inclinations of the natural heart. The Lord knows our weaknesses.[23]

 

And how does He know our weaknesses?

 

He knows by experience what are the weaknesses of humanity, what are our wants, and where lies the strength of our temptations, for He was ‘in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin’ (Hebrews 4:15).[24]

 

The internal nature of Jesus’ temptations, along with the imperative of the human nature to proactive cooperation with God’s empowering grace in the sanctifying process, is affirmed in such statements as the following:

 

By experiencing in Himself the strength of Satan’s temptations, and of human sufferings and infirmities, He would know how to succor those who should put forth efforts to help themselves.[25]

 

And so far as the temptation to use His deity to rescue Himself, this too was an important aspect of our Lord’s temptation experience. But this doesn’t mean He wasn’t also tempted to indulge the fallen humanity He inherited from His earthly ancestors. The following Ellen White statement, describing Jesus’ temptations as He went to the cross, makes it clear that the divine and human content of His temptations isn’t a question of either/or, but rather, of both/and:

 

Satan led the cruel mob in its abuse of the Saviour. It was his purpose to provoke Him to retaliation if possible, or to drive Him to perform a miracle to release Himself, and thus break up the plan of salvation. One stain upon His human life, one failure of His humanity to endure the terrible test, and the Lamb of God would have been an imperfect offering, and the redemption of man a failure. . . .

Satan’s rage was great as he saw that all the abuse inflicted upon the Saviour had not forced the least murmur from His lips.[26]

 

Other statements likewise speak of the fallen temptations with which our Lord was constrained to struggle:

 

There were those who tried to cast contempt upon Him because of His birth, and even in His childhood He had to meet their scornful looks and evil whisperings. If He had responded by an impatient word or look, if He had conceded to His brothers by even one wrong act, He would have failed of being a perfect example.[27]

 

Through the help that Christ can give, we shall be able to learn to bridle the tongue. Sorely as He was tried on the point of hasty and angry speech, He never once sinned with His lips. With patient calmness He met the sneers, the taunts, and the ridicule of His fellow workers at the carpenter’s bench. Instead of retorting angrily, He would begin to sing one of David’s beautiful psalms, and His companions, before realizing what they were doing, would unite with Him in the hymn.[28]

 

The trials and privations of which so many youth complain, Christ endured without murmuring. And this discipline is the very experience the youth need, which will give firmness to their character and make them like Christ, strong in spirit to resist temptation.[29]

 

Recounting the Savior’s experience in Gethsemane, following the visit of Gabriel to strengthen Him, she writes:

 

Christ’s agony did not cease, but His depression and discouragement left Him.[30]

 

What kind of human nature is tempted to indulge murmuring, retaliation, impatience, hasty and angry speech, and depression? The struggles depicted in the above statements are obviously those in which a fallen, lower nature would have been gratified by yielding. By drawing a contrast between the temptation to retaliate and murmur on the one hand, and the temptation to perform a miracle to release Himself on the other,[31] Ellen White is clear that Jesus was tempted both to indulge His humanity and to misuse His divinity.

 

Seemingly Contradictory Statements

A supreme yet much-unnoticed irony in the continuing Adventist Christology debate is the fact that while those holding the pre-Fall view of Christ’s humanity have often been outspoken in seeking to reduce the authoritative role of Ellen White in this and related controversies,[32] I have yet to encounter any such advocates who could present their position on Christ’s humanity using the Bible alone. To the present writer’s knowledge, no Adventist has ever attempted to present the pre-Fall position without resorting to the Ellen White statements to which our attention now turns. By contrast, the post-Fall position can easily be presented from the Bible alone, as is evident in the book some years ago by Methodist scholar Harry Johnson, titled The Humanity of the Saviour.[33]

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We’ve established already in this series that when inspired statements seem to contradict each other, we must look to a statement’s context and to the overall inspired consensus in order to find the underlying harmony. God explains Himself. All Scripture is inspired by Him (II Tim. 3:16)—the product of holy men moved by the Holy Spirit as opposed to anyone’s private interpretation (II Peter 1:20-21). And what the Spirit inspires is to be understood by comparison with itself (I Cor. 2:12-14).

According to Ellen White, as we have also noted, her writings are to be understood in the same way:

The testimonies themselves will be the key that will explain the messages given, as scripture is explained by scripture.[34]

Every disagreement Adventists have with other Christians over the Bible—regarding the Sabbath, the state of the dead, the punishment of the wicked, salvation, the sanctuary, the manner of Christ’s coming, etc.—is the result of other Christians failing to follow the Bible’s own method of Bible study, as stated above. Either the whole of Scripture is not considered before a conclusion is reached, or the Bible isn’t allowed to interpret itself. And we must use the same approach when addressing controversies inside Adventism, letting both Scripture and the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy explain their collective meaning.

With this principle in mind, we can study the language of such passages as those from the famous Baker letter of 1895, along with other passages which seem to imply a distance between the human Christ and the natural, fallen tendencies inherited by humans since Eden. Including the Baker letter, three Ellen White statements, in particular, seem to convey this point:

Be careful, exceedingly careful, as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin. . . . He could have sinned, He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity.[35]

 

He (Christ) is a brother in our infirmities, but not in possessing like passions. As the sinless one, His nature recoiled from evil.[36]

He was a mighty Petitioner, not possessing the passions of our human, fallen natures, but compassed with like infirmities, tempted in all points like as we are.[37]

But a number of other statements appear to teach exactly the opposite:

Though He (Christ) had all the strength of passion of humanity, never did He yield to temptation to do one single act which was not pure and elevating and ennobling.[38]

 

The words of Christ encourage parents to bring their little ones to Jesus. They may be wayward, and possess passions like those of humanity, but this should not deter us from bringing them to Christ. He blessed children that were possessed of passions like His own.[39]

 

By a word Christ could have mastered the powers of Satan. But He came into the world that He might endure every test, every provocation, that it is possible for human beings to bear and yet not be provoked or impassioned, or retaliate in word, in spirit, or in action.[40]

 

Two Forces in Human Nature

 

In order to resolve the apparent conflict in these statements, we need to look closer at what Scripture and Ellen White teach regarding the structure of human nature. Jesus declared in Gethsemane, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Paul declared, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (I Cor. 9:27; see also II Cor. 10:5). Contrary to what some have alleged,[41] this is not some strange “dualism” running counter to the Biblical teaching of the unity of man, nor does it have anything to do with Greek or popular Christian notions of “body/soul” dichotomy and the presumed survival of the soul after death. When Seventh-day Adventists teach a holistic view of human nature, they do not deny the Biblical teaching that different forces exist within that nature.

 

Ellen White affirms the Biblical distinction between lower and higher forces in human nature when she writes, “The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the deciding power.”[42] In numerous other statements she describes the need for the lower passions and propensities to be subject to the higher powers of the being.[43]

 

Both Scripture and Ellen White are clear, as we noted earlier, that to be tempted by our lower, fleshly desires is not sin:

 

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:14-15).

 

Notice that only when lust conceives—when the will gives consent—does sin occur. Ellen White agrees:

 

There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt and no other is defiled by their influence.[44]

 

Ellen White is equally clear that the lower nature of itself cannot sin:

 

The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it. The words ‘flesh’ or ‘fleshly’ or ‘carnal lusts’ embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God. We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? No, but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul.[45]

 

Notice how carefully Ellen White distinguishes the lower passions from the higher powers. Once this distinction is understood, we can better understand the two types of Ellen White statements on passions and propensities as they relate to human beings, as well as the two types of statements we have seen relative to the humanity of Christ.

 

The Contrast Between An Urge Resisted and An Urge Exhibited

 

In some of her statements, Ellen White speaks of the need to control evil passions and propensities:

 

The body is to be brought into subjection. The higher powers of the being are to rule. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God.[46]

 

Our natural propensities must be controlled, or we can never overcome as Christ overcame.[47]

 

In another statement, written to one in need of greater self-control, she draws an even closer connection between the necessity of denying sinful inclinations and the example set by the incarnate Christ:

 

God indicated that you should be educated to act a part in His cause; but it was necessary that your mind should be trained and disciplined to work in harmony with the plan of God. You could gain the required experience if you would; you had the privilege presented before you of denying your inclinations, as your Saviour had given you an example in His life.[48]

 

However, other statements speak of the need for struggling Christians, not to control or deny evil inclinations, passions, and propensities, but to cast them out:

 

The only power that can create or perpetuate true peace is the grace of Christ. When this is implanted in the heart, it will cast out the evil passions that cause strife and dissension.[49]

 

The thorns in the heart must be uprooted and cast out, for good and evil cannot grow in the heart at the same time. Unsanctified human inclinations and desires must be cut away from the life as hindrances to Christian growth.[50]

 

But although their evil propensities may seem to them as precious as the right hand or the right eye, they must be separated from the worker, or he cannot be acceptable before God.[51]

 

Nonsense and amusement-loving propensities should be discarded, as out of place in the life and experience of those who are living by faith in the Son of God, eating His flesh and drinking His blood.[52]

 

We must realize that through belief in Him it is our privilege to be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Then we are cleansed from all sin, all defects of character. We need not retain one sinful propensity.

As we partake of the divine nature, hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are cut away from the character, and we are made a living power for good.[53]

 

But from where are evil passions cast? Where are sinful propensities not to be retained? Ellen White gives the answer in two of the above statements. She speaks of unsanctified inclinations, desires, and evil propensities as out of place in the life and experience of the faithful, that as we partake of the divine nature, hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are cut away from the character.  The character is the higher nature, where choices are made.

 

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Notice she doesn’t say these tendencies will be cut away from the lower, fleshly nature so that we won’t feel the urge to sin anymore. According to Ellen White, as we noted in our last article, that change will not happen until Jesus comes:

 

So long as Satan reigns, we shall have self to subdue, besetting sins to overcome; so long as life shall last, there will be no stopping place, no point which we can reach and say, I have fully attained.[54]

 

So long as life shall last, there will be need of guarding the affections and the passions with a firm purpose. Not one moment can we be secure except as we rely upon God, the life hidden with Christ. Watchfulness and prayer are the safeguards of purity.[55]

 

Appetite and passion must be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. There is no end to the warfare this side of eternity.[56]

 

Just as long as Satan urges his temptations upon us, the battle for self-conquest will have to be fought over and over again; but by obedience, the truth will sanctify the soul.[57]

 

We need to notice carefully what these statements say, and what they don’t say. They aren’t saying that complete victory over sin is unattainable this side of eternity. They are simply saying that war with the flesh will not cease this side of eternity, which means the fleshly urges will still be present in the lower natures of believers. Continuous warfare doesn’t necessarily mean occasional defeat. (The Allied nations learned this during the last two years of World War II, when they experienced continuous victory over the Axis powers while at the same time enduring perhaps the hardest fighting of the war.) Complete victory over the fleshly nature is promised to the Christian in this life (Rom. 8:4,13; II Cor. 7:1). But while complete victory does mean the absence of failure, it does not mean the absence of conflict until our earthly life is past.

 

In short, Jesus had sinful passions and propensities in His lower nature, where He kept them under the control of a sanctified will—as indeed we may, through His power. But He did not have these passions or propensities in His higher nature, where we need not retain them either. In one set of statements, Ellen White is speaking of urges resisted. In the other set she is speaking of urges exhibited. The first set describes what Jesus had. The second set describe what He did not have because He never consented to sin.

 

Another statement by Ellen White regarding Christ and sinful propensities helps us understand this point more clearly:

 

We must not become in our ideas common and earthly, and in our perverted ideas we must not think that the liability of Christ to Satan’s temptations degraded His humanity and that He possessed the same sinful, corrupt propensities as man.[58]

 

We might reach the wrong conclusion if we stopped there. But in the very next paragraph she explains what she means:

 

Christ took our nature, fallen but not corrupted, and would not be corrupted unless He received the words of Satan in place of the words of God.[59]

 

So what does she mean when she says Jesus never had the same corrupt propensities we have? Simple. She means He never chose to sin. Notice she doesn’t say His nature wouldn’t be corrupted unless He was born with the same fallen nature other humans are born with. Rather, the corruption here described would occur only if He received the words of Satan in place of the words of God. Choice, not birth, is the source of the corruption here described.

 

Sadly, in a recent book attacking Last Generation Theology, the above Ellen White statement is quoted three separate times by two different authors, yet the latter part of the sentence—the part I have placed in italics—is in each of these cases left entirely out.[60] Had Ellen White been permitted in this particular book to simply finish the sentence here cited, the case for the pre-Fall humanity of Christ advanced by the authors would have been seriously damaged.

 

We see this distinction between lower and higher forces in human nature further illustrated in the more than 200 statements where Ellen White speaks of hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil.[61] These are Ellen White’s terms for what we hear today regarding the difference between nature and nurture in human development. Ellen White is clear Jesus took our fallen hereditary tendencies since she writes that “He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.”[62] In other words, His heredity enabled Him to experience temptations common to post-Fall humanity. But very clearly, Jesus didn’t take our fallen cultivated tendencies to evil, since to do this would have required Him to sin.

 

“Without a Taint of Sin”

 

In another statement, Ellen White says of Christ: “His spiritual nature was free from every taint of sin.”[63] Some assume that this means He inherited a different human nature than that of fallen humans. But other Ellen White statements make it clear that the spiritual nature is the same as the higher nature (the domain of character and choices), as distinct from the lower nature, which encompasses the inherited desires of the flesh:

 

Professed followers of Christ are today eating and drinking with the drunken, while their names stand in honored church records. Intemperance benumbs the moral and spiritual powers and prepares the way for indulgence of the lower passions.[64]

 

The faculties of the mind, as the higher powers, are to rule the kingdom of the body. The natural appetites and passions are to be brought under the control of the conscience and the spiritual affections.[65]

 

By such misuse of the marriage relation, the animal passions are strengthened; and as these grow stronger the moral and intellectual faculties become weaker. The spiritual is overborne by the sensual.[66]

 

The indulgence of natural appetites and passions has a controlling influence upon the nerves of the brain. The animal organs are strengthened, while the moral and spiritual are depressed.[67]

 

Ellen White declares elsewhere, regarding Jesus: “He was born without a taint of sin, but came into the world in like manner as the human family.”[68] Many have alleged that this means He was born without the inherited sinful nature common to all humans. But at least two other statements make it clear that His being “born without a taint of sin” refers to His divine nature, not to the absence of fleshly desires in His lower, human nature:

 

What a sight was this for Heaven to look upon? Christ, who knew not the least taint of sin or defilement, took our nature in its deteriorated condition.[69]

 

Though He had no taint of sin upon His character, yet He condescended to connect our fallen human nature with His divinity.[70]

 

In other words, all Ellen White means when she says Christ was “born without a taint of sin,”[71] is that He came from heaven pure. Nowhere does she ever state that anyone is tainted with sin just by being born.

 

This point helps us clarify what Ellen White means in other statements where she says: “He (Christ) took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature,”[72] and that “Christ did in reality unite the offending nature of man with His own sinless nature.”[73] The sinless nature here described refers not to His inherited human nature, but to His divine nature. This becomes clearer yet in another statement:

 

Sinless and exalted by nature, the Son of God consented to take the habiliments[74] of humanity, to become one with the fallen race.[75]

 

Other statements likewise clarify that when Ellen White says Jesus had no taint of sin, she is talking about His choices, not the human nature He took at birth:

 

One unsanctified act on the part of our Saviour would have marred the pattern, and He could not have been a perfect example of us; but although He was tempted in all points like as we are, He was yet without one taint of sin.[76]

 

Christ, the second Adam, came in the likeness of sinful flesh. In man’s behalf, He became subject to sorrow, to weariness, to hunger, and to thirst. He was subject to temptation, but He yielded not to sin. No taint of sin was upon Him.[77]

 

Not one impure word escaped His lips. Never did He do a wrong action, for He was the Son of God. Although He possessed a human form, yet He was without a taint of sin.[78]

 

Equally significant is Ellen White’s insistence that sanctified Christians—who, as we have seen, are described in her writings as retaining their fallen natures till Christ returns[79]—are to have hearts and minds cleansed from every taint of sin:

 

Brethren and sisters, we need the reformation that all who are redeemed must have, through the cleansing of mind and heart from every taint of sin. In the lives of those who are ransomed by the blood of Christ, self-sacrifice will constantly appear. Goodness and righteousness will be seen. The quiet, inward experience will make the life full of godliness, faith, meekness, patience. This is to be our daily experience. We are to form characters free from sin—characters made righteous in and by the grace of Christ. . . . Our hearts are to be cleansed from all impurity in the blood shed to take away sin.[80]

 

And lest some assume that the cleansing here described as occurring through Jesus’ blood refers to justifying righteousness only, it should be remembered that according to the Bible, the blood of Jesus is the agent not only of our justification, or forgiveness (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14) but also of our sanctification (Heb. 10:29; 13:12,20-21). We will address this point in greater depth as this series proceeds.

 

“The Prince of This World Cometh, and Hath Nothing in Me”

 

Some have alleged that when Ellen White, referring to Jesus, writes that there was “no sin in Him,” that this means He did not inherit the same nature all humans inherit at birth. One of the statements thus used is the following:

 

There was no sin in Him that Satan could triumph over, no weakness or defect that he could use to his advantage. But we are sinful by nature, and we have a work to do to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement.[81]

 

But two other statements, which use similar language, helps us understand what “no sin in Him” means:

 

‘The prince of this world cometh,’ said Jesus, ‘and hath nothing in Me’ John 14:30. There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us.[82]

 

Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of Himself, ‘The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.’ John 14:30. Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.[83]

 

Thus, Jesus’ declaration that Satan could find “nothing in Him,” that there was “no sin in Him” that Satan could use to his advantage, means neither consenting to sin nor cherishing sinful desires. No inspired statement uses these phrases to refer to the absence of such desires in the lower nature. The statement we quoted earlier, which speaks of our being “sinful by nature” and needing “to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement,”[84] clarifies this point again. Elsewhere Ellen White is clear when this cleansing is to occur:

 

Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost.[85]

 

Obviously, this refers to the cleansing of the will and character, which will take place prior to the end-time sealing and latter rain. This does not refer to the cleansing of the lower, fleshly nature since again, the same author maintains we must contend with that nature till Jesus comes.[86] Thus, when she writes in the earlier statement of our being “sinful by nature” in contrast with Jesus who had “no sin in Him,”[87] she is speaking in the context of the higher nature—of character choices. She is not denying that Jesus inherited a fallen lower nature at birth, with its tendencies and desires.

 

We see this point further clarified in another Ellen White statement, where she writes of our Lord: “The prince of darkness found nothing in Him; not a single thought or feeling responded to temptation.”[88] Yet in another statement which we saw earlier, Ellen White is clear that it is not the arousal of sinful thoughts and feelings that constitutes the response to temptation here described, but rather, the cherishing of these thoughts and feelings:

 

There are thoughts and feeling suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt and no other is defiled by their influence.[89]

 

Not Like Other Children

 

Another statement, often used to support the pre-Fall view of Jesus’ humanity, also becomes clear when viewed in light of the distinction between the lower and higher natures:

 

It is not correct to say, as many writers have said, that Christ was like all children. He was not like all children. Many children are misguided and mismanaged. But Joseph, and especially Mary, kept before them the remembrance of their child’s divine Fatherhood. Jesus was instructed in accordance with the sacred character of His mission. His inclination to right was a constant gratification to His parents.[90]

 

Continuing in this same context, she writes:

 

No one, looking upon the childlike countenance, shining with animation, could say that Christ was just like other children.[91]

 

Notice carefully she doesn’t say Jesus was unlike other children in the sense that He was born with a different human nature than the rest of us. Rather, He was unlike other children in the sense that “many children are misguided and mismanaged.”[92] And when she writes that “His inclination to right was a constant gratification to His parents,”[93] this clearly refers to the visible pattern of the choices He made, since these are the only inclinations—good or bad—that human observers can see. In no way does this statement deny the existence of an inner struggle with fleshly inclinations on the part of Jesus. It simply means the chosen direction of His life—the inclination of His words and deeds—made His parents happy.

 

The fact that this passage refers to the higher rather than the lower nature is also clear when Ellen White speaks of Jesus’ countenance “shining with animation.”[94] What a countenance shines with—be it happiness and joy or evil and self-centeredness—is a matter of choice, not birth.

 

Conclusion: Practical Relevance

 

Where we stand on this issue makes all the difference in the practical struggles of our lives. Its relevance is heard in the privacy of the predawn devotional hour, as a young man pleads for strength to defeat the forces of lust, only to be comforted by the awareness that His Savior vanquished these very temptations.[95] Its importance is felt in the executive office and construction yard, as frustrations and irritations are met with the confidence that our Lord subdued these very feelings.[96] Its splendor breaks like sunshine in the heart of a teenage daughter whose family has a history of incest, as she learns that this was part of Jesus’ family lineage also (Gen. 19:32-38; Ruth 4:10; Matt. 1:5).

 

Attorney Clarence Darrow, famed for his defense of the downtrodden, is reputed to have said, “I’d rather be a friend of the working man than be one.” Jesus was not content merely to be Friend to those He came to save (John 15:15). He became one of them as well (Heb. 2:14-18).

 

The following statement identifies both the nature of Jesus’ inherited humanity and the nature of the trials He confronted:

 

But many say that Jesus was not like us, that He was not as we are in the world; that He was divine, and therefore we cannot overcome as He overcame. But this is not true; ‘for verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. . . . For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted’ (Heb. 2:16-18). Christ knows the sinner’s trials; He knows his temptations. He took upon Himself our nature; He was tempted in all points like as we are. He has wept. He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.[97]

 

Notice how the human nature Jesus is described as taking, and the temptations He is described as undergoing, are represented by the seed of Abraham—which of course constitutes fallen human nature. Even more pointedly, the above statement says that “Christ knows the sinner’s trials; He knows his temptations.”[98] The temptations of the sinless Adam in Eden are clearly not in focus here. It is the sinner’s trials, the sinner’s temptations, that Jesus is described in this statement as having experienced. Sinners are tempted from within, from the urges of a fallen, fleshly nature. This is how, according to the above statement, our Lord proved it is possible for us to overcome.

 

In another statement she writes:

 

The Lord now demands that every son and daughter of Adam, through faith in Jesus Christ, serve Him in human nature which we now have. The Lord Jesus has bridged the gulf that sin has made. He has connected earth with heaven, and finite man with the infinite God. Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, could only keep the commandments of God in the same way that humanity can keep them.[99]

 

Last time I checked, the “human nature which we now have”[100] is fallen. It is in that nature that Jesus gave humanity an example of perfect commandment-keeping—for indeed, the above statement says Jesus “could only keep the commandments of God in the same way that humanity can keep them.”[101] This cannot be stated or emphasized often enough.

 

Finally, the modern prophet declares:

 

In our own strength it is impossible to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. Through this channel Satan will bring temptations upon us. Christ knew that the enemy would come to every human being, to take advantage of hereditary weakness, and by his false insinuations to ensnare all whose trust is not in God. And by passing over the ground which man must travel, our Lord has prepared the way for us to overcome. It is not His will that we should be placed at a disadvantage in the conflict with Satan. He would not have us intimidated and discouraged by the assaults of the serpent. ‘Be of good cheer,’ He says, ‘I have overcome the world.’ John 16:33.[102]

 

Our next article will be titled, “The Scope of Biblical Salvation.”

Click here to read the rest of this series on Last Generation theology.

______

Notes.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Biblical texts are from the King James Version.

[2] See “Morris Venden Talks to Insight,” Part 2, Insight, May 15, 1979, p. 9-10; Norman R. Gulley, Christ Our Substitute (Washington, D.C: Review and Herald Publishing Assn, 1982), p. 55; James Rafferty, How Jesus Was Like Us (Jasper, OR: Red Frame Publishing, 2013), p. 42-47, 49, 55, 58, 61, 63, 69.

[3] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 49.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 306; Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 331; The Ministry of Healing, p. 173; Temperance, p. 56; Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 352; vol. 4, p. 439; vol. 6, p. 291.

[6] Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, Oct. 17, 1900.

[7] Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, July 17, 1900.

[8] Ellen G. White, From the Heart, p. 38.

[9] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 112.

[10] Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, p. 25; see also The Story of Redemption, p. 44.

[11] Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 3, p. 134.

[12] Ellen G. White, From the Heart, p. 132.

[13] Ellen G. White, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, p. 39.

[14] Adelina Alexe, “Last Generation Theology, Part 10: Ellen White on Sin and Human Nature,” Compass Magazine, June 25, 2019.

[15] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 117.

[16] Alexe, “Last Generation Theology, Part 10: Ellen White on Sin and Human Nature,” Compass Magazine, June 25, 2019.

[17] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 49.

[18] Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, p. 78.

[19] Ellen G. White, Messages to Young People, p. 78; see also The Desire of Ages, p. 71.

[20] See “Morris Venden Talks to Insight,” Part 2, Insight, May 15, 1979, pp. 9-10; Norman R. Gulley, Christ Our Substitute (Washington, D.C: Review and Herald Publishing Assn, 1982), p. 55; James Rafferty, How Jesus Was Like Us (Jasper, OR: Red Frame Publishing, 2013), p. 42-47, 49, 55, 58, 61, 63, 69.

[21] Ellen G. White, Messages to Young People, p. 78.

[22] Ellen G. White, A Solemn Appeal, p. 78; see also Our High Calling, p. 337.

[23] Ellen G. White, Bible Echo & Signs of the Times, Dec. 1, 1892.

[24] Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 71; see also The Desire of Ages, p. 329.

[25] Ellen G. White, Confrontation, p. 78.

[26] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 734-735.

[27] Ibid, p. 88.

[28] Ellen G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 936.

[29] Ellen G. White, From the Heart, p. 237.

[30] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 694.

[31] Ibid, p. 734-735.

[32] See Roy Adams, “Divided, We Crawl,” Adventist Review, February 1995, p. 2; George R. Knight, Angry Saints: Tensions and Possibilities in the Adventist Struggle Over Righteousness by Faith (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Assn, 1989), p. 107; End-Time Events and the Last Generation: The Explosive 1950s (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Assn, 2018), p. 105.

[33] Harry Johnson, The Humanity of the Saviour (London: The Epworth Press, 1962; republished by Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 2015).

[34] Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 42.

[35] Ellen G. White, Letter 8, 1895 (to W.L.H. Baker), quoted in SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1128.

[36] Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 201-202.

[37] Ellen G. White, Ibid, p. 509.

[38] Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, p. 155.

[39] Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, April 9, 1896.

[40] Ellen G. White, Christ Triumphant, p. 260.

[41] Desmond Ford, “The Relationship Between the Incarnation and Righteousness by Faith,” Documents from the Palmdale Conference on Righteousness by Faith (Goodlettsville, TN: Jack D. Walker, Publisher, 1976), p. 30.

[42] Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 513.

[43] Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing, p. 130; Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 114; Counsels on Health, p. 41-42; Adventist Home, p. 127-128; Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 354; Messages to Young People, p. 237; Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 491; vol. 5, p. 335; Review and Herald, Aug. 11, 1887; Dec. 1, 1896.

[44] Ellen G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 140.

[45] Ellen G. White, The Adventist Home, p. 127-128.

[46] Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 130.

[47] Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 235.

[48] Ibid, p. 216.

[49] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 305.

[50] Ellen G. White, Evangelism, p. 347.

[51] Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers, p. 171-172.

[52] Ellen G. White, Messages to Young People, p. 42.

[53] Ellen G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 943.

[54] Ellen G. White, Acts of the Apostles, p. 560-561; see also Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 340.

[55] Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 84.

[56] Ellen G. White, Counsels to Teachers, p. 20.

[57] Ellen G. White, From the Heart, p. 297.

[58] Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, p. 182.

[59] Ibid (italics supplied).

[60] Jiri Moskala and John C. Peckham (eds.), God’s Character and the Last Generation (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Assn, 2018), p. 166, 167, 276.

[61] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 671; SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 943, etc. See the Ellen White CD-ROM for a full listing of statements using this language.

[62] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 49.

[63] Ellen G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1104.

[64] Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 101.

[65] Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 399.

[66] Ellen G. White, Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p. 130.

[67] Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, Aug. 11, 1887.

[68] Ellen G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 925.

[69] Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 253.

[70] Ibid, vol. 3, p. 134.

[71] Ellen G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 925.

[72] Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 181.

[73] Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, July 17, 1900.

[74] Habiliments is an archaic word meaning clothing or outfit.

[75] Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, Feb. 20, 1893.

[76] Ellen G. White, Sons and Daughters of God, p. 148.

[77] Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 3, p. 141-142.

[78] Ellen G. White, Welfare Ministry, p. 287.

[79] Ellen G. White, Acts of the Apostles, p. 560-561; Prophets and Kings, p. 84; Counsels to Teachers, p. 20; Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 33; From the Heart, p. 297.

[80] Ellen G. White, Counsels on Health, p. 633-634.

[81] Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, May 27, 1884.

[82] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 123.

[83] Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 623.

[84] Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, May 27, 1884.

[85] Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 214.

[86] Ellen G. White, Acts of the Apostles, p. 560-561; Prophets and Kings, p. 84; Counsels to Teachers, p. 20; Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 33; From the Heart, p. 297.

[87] Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, May 27, 1884.

[88] Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 422.

[89] Ellen G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 140.

[90] Ellen G. White, Sons and Daughters of God, p. 134.

[91] Ellen G. White, Youth’s Instructor, Sept. 8, 1898.

[92] Ellen G. White, Sons and Daughters of God, p. 134.

[93] Ibid.

[94] Ellen G. White, Youth’s Instructor, Sept. 8, 1898.

[95] Ellen G. White, A Solemn Appeal, p. 78; see also Our High Calling, p. 337.

[96] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 88,734-735; SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 931; From the Heart, p. 237.

[97] Ellen G. White, Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 368.

[98] Ibid (italics supplied).

[99] Ellen G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 929.

[100] Ibid.

[101] Ibid.

[102] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 122-123.

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About the author

Kevin Paulson

Pastor Kevin Paulson holds a Bachelor’s degree in theology from Pacific Union College, a Master of Arts in systematic theology from Loma Linda University, and a Master of Divinity from the SDA Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He served the Greater New York Conference of Seventh-day Adventists for ten years as a Bible instructor, evangelist, and local pastor. He writes regularly for Liberty magazine and serves as a script writer for the It Is Written television ministry and other media ministries within the church. He also serves as the leading webmaster of ADvindicate.com, where many articles by him and others can be found which address a variety of denominational issues. He continues to hold evangelistic and revival meetings throughout the North American Division and beyond, and is a sought-after seminar speaker relative to current issues in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He presently resides in Berrien Springs, Michigan.