Special Insights No. 2
Second Quarter 2007 AdultSabbathSchool Lessons
"The Bible for Today"
(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)
The Final Word
The young man Timothy had been raised from childhood on "the holy Scriptures"—the Old Testament,—by his mother and grandmother. Of these writings the Apostle Paul averred, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim. 3:16). The key Greek word is theopneustos, meaning God breathed out, not breathed in. God exhaled the writings of the Old Testament and by extension the New Testament.
God took the initiative with the prophets and apostles. Scripture proceeded from Him. This means that the prophets did not take up the pen to write by their own volition, motivated to unburden their hearts. It was God who compelled them to write.
By analogy it was God who formed the corpse of Adam from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Without the inspiration of God, man would not be alive. The prophets and apostles of old could have written on their own volition, but their writings would have been merely human thoughts and words, inspiring as they might be.
However, when God initiated the process of Inspiration which acted upon the writer, the thoughts previously divinely revealed to the prophet by God, were the breathed-out life of God Himself, albeit through human writers. The writings were of a status and authority that superceded ordinary human writings, either Hebrew or Christian.
Just as the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, so God submitted His inscripturated word to human beings. The Scriptures do not represent His word in a way that God would write Himself with His own heavenly language, for human beings would be not be able to understand His foreign language. They would need an interpreter.
So in order to avert this step, God used human writers who voluntarily submitted to His movements upon them. They expressed God's thoughts in their own words, mannerisms, cultural expressions, etc., so that it might be understood in the time, place, and by the people, for whom God aimed His message. The literal words do not represent God's form of speech; except the words of the Ten Commandments and the exact reported words of Jehovah and Jesus. The words convey the exact thoughts of God and as such are the infallible word of God.
Those who appreciate the work of God surrounding the 1888 Minneapolis General Conference may be prompted to inquire, to what extent did God inspire his two messengers, A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner? Ellen White, who had the gift of prophecy, said they were "the Lord's delegated messengers" (Selected Messages, book 2, p. 102); "the Lord's messengers" (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1025); who bore "heavenly credentials" (ibid., p. 543). She said the Lord "sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones" (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 91). "God had sent these young men, Elders Jones and Waggoner, to bear a special message" (Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, p. 83). She spoke of "the rays of light which shone at Minneapolis" (1888 Materials, p. 1030). One might continue on and on with over three hundred of Ellen White's enthusiastic endorsements of what she heard during the 1888 era.
The writings and messages of Jones and Waggoner were never placed on the level of Holy Scripture. They were never equivalent to the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. However, Ellen White's endorsements of Jones and Waggoner's message indicated that they had Heaven's approval within the time frame of the 1888 era.
The "most precious message" included:
* "The matchless charms of Christ" (1888 Materials, p. 348);
* The agape of God as understood in the light of the cross of Jesus (Eph. 3:18);
* The truth regarding the old and the new covenants as the people's promise and God's promise (Ex. 19:8; Gal. 3:14-16; 4:22-24), respectively;
* A Savior who has come near to us by taking our humanity and condemning sin in sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3);
* The gift of "justification of life" for the sins of the whole world (Rom. 5:18);
* Justification by faith in view of our High Priest in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, preparing a people for His return (Heb. 10:16-20);
* The gift of repentance ministered by the heavenly Psychiatrist, removing the heart enmity against God in the body of the worldwide church of Laodicea (Rev. 3:19, 20).
Thank God, the Holy Spirit is still inspiring people to minister to us! Let us not neglect the "most precious message" He has entrusted to us."
—Paul E. Penno
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