Catch 23

by Richard Noel

In the 1860’s the early “Adventists” chose a special name as the religious institution I belong to was being organized. They chose this name because it directly pointed to the two most important doctrines they had learned from Scripture.

Those two doctrines were and are the Seventh day Sabbath and the soon return [Advent] of Jesus to complete His redeeming of our bodies. All other doctrines were considered secondary to those two doctrines. While the church may have shifted focus in many areas, but these are still the two key identifiers of believers.

Until the death of Ellen White in 1915 Seventh Day Adventists were clearly known as the people of the Book, referring to our teaching doctrines from Scripture. Gradually, laziness and ignorance crept in as we began to use the writings of Ellen G. White to explain the meaning of Scriptures. In the 1960’s I was studying for the ministry and heard a pastor say, “If I have a question about a scripture, I look it up in the EGW index. If she said nothing about it, I will not speak about it.” This puzzled me, but I did not forget it.

In my first pastoral district I began encountering this attitude in a different form. A very sincere church member asked me, “What brand of margarine should I buy?” Today people would misinterpret this question so I hasten to explain that at that time there were margarines made of various animal fats as well as vegetable margarines. She had somehow learned not to go to the Bible or to read the labels to figure out the answer. This intellectual laziness is all too common today. People are more concerned about how you feel than what you believe.

What we believe is very important. Everything should be clearly demonstrated from the Bible. It should be so simple that even children will understand. A most important principle is the testimony of multiple witnesses to document truth. The Scriptures provide many witnesses to the truth of the Sabbath and Second Coming. We need to read and know those witnesses intimately.

While growing up in the church, I became aware of numerous groups and individuals who were called “offshoots” because they had previously been part of the SDA organization. Most of these people were filled with a desire to take Seventh Day Adventists away to a new organization. Their focus was on the need to be “true” believers. Whatever distinctive issue they were focused on became the definition of “true”.

Today, there appears to be a reversal of this exclusive and divisive attitude. Among our leaders there are those who desire to focus on issues that did not make us Seventh day Adventists. Yet they say you could not possibly be a true and complete Adventist without their particular belief.

I was baptized in 1955 when there were only about 12 beliefs to become a member. When I was a pastor in the 1960’s and 70’s there were 16. Today, the church has now codified 28 doctrines. And…Guess what? Some are saying that number 23 [recently changed to 24] is the key identifier of being a true Seventh day Adventist. Why did number 23 suddenly become so important that even leaders in the denomination changed it to 24 and will persecute people who even are known to think out of agreement with that doctrine? I hear them saying that if you don’t agree with number 24 you should leave the church. What bigotry and arrogance to act and treat others in such a cruel way.

Those of us who were baptized without number 23 are willing to stand up and say we are really true and complete Seventh day Adventists. A long time ago a cynical movie was made entitled “Catch 22”. The Adventist church needs to realize we are creating nothing but trouble for ourselves and misrepresenting God with our own catch 23/24.

13 thoughts on “Catch 23”

  1. Brother Richard;

    I know you and your wife attend Truth, Light and Life affiliation occasionally. How does SDA and TLLM jibe faith wise? Would I feel comfortable with SDA doctrine knowing what TLLM believes? My reason for asking is that there are no TLLM affiliates within 400 miles and I feel the need to fellowship with the brethren but I will not compromise what I believe to be the truth. Thank you for any insight. God Bless.


    – – –

    Richard Noel:

    Dear Brother Daniel,

    Thank you for asking about my impressions of the differences and similarities between Truth, Light and Life and SDA churches. I can understand your hesitation in this question. First there are distinct differences: Apostolic vs. denominational organizations; emphasis on doctrine vs. emphasis on holiness and Spiritual Life. Second there are strong similarities: specifically in the area of reverence for the ten commandments and Sabbath observance.

    I have experienced a wide variety of attitudes and traditions in individual SDA congregations. This keeps me from being specific about what you might experience. In the congregation we were attending a few years ago they regularly had Sabbath-keepers of other groups in attendance. They were not members, but they were welcome there.

    I assume they will be glad to have another believer in the Sabbath worshiping with them. In some groups there may be people who feel inclined to try to make you into and SDA. Just show them you love Jesus and His Sabbath and ignore any ignorant behavior that may be unnecessary.

    The SDA church teaches open fellowship with others who believe in Jesus. I just ignored as long as I could some doctrines of the SDA church which are not Bible based. I just asked them to show me in the Bible, and they either backed off, were opposing the Bible or agreed.

    We enjoyed worshiping with “Truth Light and Life” believers and growing in the Lord while listening to Daniel Rodes, Kevin Campbell and Mahlon Riehl teaching in Virginia.

    I believe God will bless you as you fellowship in the Spirit with other Sabbath-keepers.

    Richard Noel

  2. Brother Richard;

    I know you and your wife attend Truth, Light and Life occasionally. How does SDA and TLLM jibe faith wise? Would I feel comfortable with SDA doctrine knowing what TLLM believes? My reason for asking is that there are no TLLM affiliates within 400 miles and I feel the need to fellowship with the brethern but I will not compromise what I believe to be the truth. Thank you for any insight. God Bless.


  3. Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it.”

  4. Here is an interesting excerpt from Desmond Ford’s Glacier View Manuscript “The Day of Atonement and the Investigative Judgment” about A. Ballenger, how he wrote to Ellen White and asked her to explain to him by the Bible about “within the veil”.

    ! ! !

    Desmond Ford. The Day of Atonement And The Investigative Judgment. 1980. Pp.35-45.


    Ballenger’s views, particularly on the sanctuary, need to be understood by us. So far as we know, there is nobody in today’s Adventism who holds this man’s sanctuary schema. He believed that Christ operated as priest for 4000 years before coming to earth, and that the sphere of His operations was the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. Separating the two apartments was a cordon of angels through which Christ passed at His ascension into the Most Holy Place. In view of the plain statements in Hebrews that a priest had to be taken from among men, and that of necessity He must have a sacrifice to offer, it is not strange that Ellen G. White accused Ballenger of denying “mighty truths held for ages.”

    We list the nine propositions submitted by Ballenger at the 5:30 a.m. meeting, May 21, 1905, General Conference Session. The meeting was a secluded one with only some of the leaders present.

    I want to read to you now some of the misfits that I find in my attempt to place the first apartment work of the earthly sanctuary this side of the cross:

    1. The earthly sanctuary, which was a shadow of the heavenly, located the ark, or throne of God, in the holy of holies, or second apartment, while the priest was ministering in the first apartment. The denominational view of the heavenly sanctuary places the ark or throne of God in the first apartment while the priest ministers in that apartment, in violation of the type.

    2. The shadow placed a veil between the priest and the ark or throne of God while the priest ministered in the first apartment. The denominational view has the priest ministering in the heavenly sanctuary in the first apartment, with no veil separating him from the ark or throne of God, but with a veil behind both priest and throne, in violation of the type.

    3. The type represents the priest as performing a long ministry in the first apartment of the sanctuary before the blood is shed that pays the penalty of sin. The denominational view teaches that the blood was shed which pays the penalty of sin long before the ministry began in the heavenly sanctuary, thus contradicting the type.

    4. The type taught that the priest ministered for a long period in the first apartment, during which time there was accumulated upon him the sins of the people before the blood was shed which met the penalty of those sins which the priest was carrying. The denominational view locates the death of Christ before any ministry has been performed in the heavenly sanctuary whereby the sins of the world are transferred to him.
    (We teach that no sins are pardoned except those that go into the sanctuary by the priestly work, and yet we have the sanctuary closed to the patriarchs for four thousand years, and that Christ began the work of carrying sins into the heavenly sanctuary at His ascension. This leaves four thousand years without any priest by which the sin was carried into the sanctuary.)

    5. The shadow placed the death of the Lord’s goat, whose blood met the penalty of the law in type, on the great day of atonement. The denominational view places the death of Christ, whose blood meets the penalty of the law, more than eighteen hundred years before the great day of atonement is supposed to begin.

    6. The shadow represents the high priest going from his ministry in the court where he obtained the blood, directly into the holy of holies on the day of atonement. (He did not stop in that first apartment; he obtained his blood, and then carried it straight through into the holy of holies.) The denominational view teaches that Christ went from His ministry in the first apartment, and not from the court, into the holy of holies, in 1844.

    7. The type represents the priest as unloading forever, through the blood of the Lord’s goat, the sins which had been accumulating upon him during the year by his ministry before the veil. (All the sins that had gone into the sanctuary during that one year, and were charged to the priest, that penalty was met on the day of atonement in the holy of holies.) The denominational view represents Christ as loading Himself up again in the first apartment with the same sins which He had before borne at the cross and unloaded in His death.

    8. The shadow sends the high priest directly through the first apartment into the holy of holies as soon as he has in his hands the blood of the Lord’s goat, or the blood which pays the penalty of sin …
    The denominational view stops our great High Priest in the first apartment when He has in his hands His own blood which pays the penalty of sin.

    9. The shadow represents the high priest as going immediately with the blood, the warm blood, of the Lord’s goat, into the holy of holies, and sprinkling that blood upon the mercy seat before the veil. The denominational view teaches that our great High Priest did not sprinkle His blood on the mercy seat before the veil for more than eighteen hundred years after it was shed.

    Note that the chief emphases of these theses is the tenet that Christ had ministered in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary for millenniums before the cross. It should be observed that even years later when Ballenger wrote his Cast Out for the Cross of Christ, he was still a believer in the judgment beginning in 1844 in fulfillment of Dan. 8:14.’8 But he did not believe that this judgment had anything to do with the saints, and here Ellen G. White strenuously disagreed.’

    Let us now notice Ballenger’s letter to Ellen G. White, one of which did not receive a personal reply. The letter sums up what were his dominant objections to the church’s position ever after.

    Dear Sr. White: For some time I have been constrained to write to you regarding my convictions on the sanctuary. Many of my friends have urged me to do this, while others have thought it useless inasmuch as, in their opinions, the letter would never reach you.

    Nevertheless I have decided to write and state my difficulty frankly. My first difficulty is with the interpretation which you give to the following scripture found in Heb. 6:19, 20, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus made an high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.”

    I cannot help believing that this term “within the veil” refers to the holy of holies of the heavenly sanctuary and the scriptures which convinced me, are given below.
    On one side I have placed the interpretation given this scripture by the Word of God and on the other side the interpretation which you have given it. You will note that you merely assert that this term applies to the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, but you do not refer to any scripture which uses the term and applies it to the first apartment. What I am pleading for in this letter, is, that if there be a “thus saith the Lord” to support your statement, that, out of compassion for my soul you furnish it.

    “Within the Veil”

    As the Bible Interprets it.

    “And thou shalt hang up the veil under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy” Ex. 26:33.
    “And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark, that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.” Lev. 16:2.
    “And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it with¬in the veil.” Lev. 16:12.
    “And he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with his blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and be¬fore the mercy seat.” Lev. 16:15.
    “Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest’s office for everything of the altar, and within the veil.” Num. 18:7.

    Sr. White, you refer the terms “within the veil” to the first apartment, while the Lord applies the terms “without the veil” and “before the veil” to the first apartment, as appears from the following Scriptures.

    “And thou shalt set the table (of shew bread) ‘without the veil.’ ” Ex. 26:35.
    “And thou shalt command the children of Israel that they bring thee pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always in the tabernacle of the congregation, without the veil, which is before the testimony.” Ex. 27:20,21.
    “And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward without the veil.” Ex. 40:22.
    “And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the veil.” Ex. 40:26.
    “And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock’s blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation: and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the Lord, before the veil of the Sanctuary.” Lev. 4:5, 6.
    “And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock’s blood to the tabernacle of the congregation, and the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, even before the veil.” Lev. 4:17.
    “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel that they bring thee pure olive oil beaten for light, to cause the lamps to burn continually without the veil of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation.” Lev. 24:1-3.

    Five times the Lord uses the term “within the veil” and in every case it is applied to the second apartment of the sanctuary, and not to the first. Seven times the Lord uses the terms “without the veil” and “before the veil,” and in every instance He applies it to the first apartment or tabernacle of the congregation, and never to the court outside of the door of the tabernacle. But if “within the veil” applies to the first apartment as you teach in your interpretation of Heb. 6:19, 20, then the term “without the veil” must apply to the space in the court outside the tabernacle door. Everyone of these seven scriptures which plainly state that “without the veil” and “before the veil” is in the first apartment, is a divine witness to the truth that “within the veil” in Heb. 6:19, 20, must apply to the second apartment.

    There are therefore twelve witnesses, a twelve-fold “thus saith the Lord” testifying that the term “within the veil” refers to the holy of holies, and not to the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary as you assert.

    At my secret trial four years ago, three leading brethren were chosen to answer me. (It is interesting to note in passing that two out of the three were then and are still under your condemnation inasmuch as they both teach that the “daily” of Dan. 8:13 refers to the heavenly service instead of paganism as taught by you in Early Writings.) In private conversation with me one took the position that “within the veil” meant within the sanctuary, but did not refer to either apartment. Another asserted at the trial that the term applied to the first apartment as you have interpreted it. The third, compelled by the witnesses quoted above admitted in his answer that the term “within the veil” does apply to the holy of holies, but that it is spoken prophetically, and although the scripture says Christ is entered “within the veil” we are to understand it to mean that He WILL enter in 1844. This babel of voices did not help me to see my error, if error it be.

    Before publishing my MS, I sent it to several ministers holding official positions, whose loyalty to the denomination is unquestioned, and asked them out of love for the truth and my soul, to show me from the Scriptures, where I was in error. I promised that should they do this I would never publish the MS. Not one of these brethren attempted to show me my error from the Word. One wrote thus:

    “Candor compels me to say that I can find no fault with it from a Bible standpoint. The argument seems to be unassailable.”
    Another said:

    “I have always felt that it was safer to take the interpretation placed upon the scriptures by the Spirit of Prophecy as manifested through Sister E. G. White rather than to rely upon my own judgment or interpretation.”
    This last quotation expresses the attitude of all those who have admitted that my position seemed to be supported by the Scriptures, but hesitated to accept it.

    Honestly, Sister White, I am afraid to act upon this suggestion; because it will place the thousands upon thousands of pages of your writings in books and periodicals between the child of God and God’s Book. If this position be true, no noble Berean dare believe any truth, however clearly it may seem to be taught in the Scriptures, until he first consults your writings to see whether it harmonizes with your interpretation. This is the principle always advocated by the Roman church and voiced in the following quotation:

    “Like two sacred rivers flowing from Paradise, the Bible and divine Tradition contain the Word of God. Though these two divine streams are in themselves, on account of their divine origin, of equal sacredness, and are both full of revealed truths, still of the two, TRADITION is to us more clear and safe.” Catholic Belief, p. 54.
    It was against this putting of an infallible interpreter between the man and his Bible that the Reformation waged its uncompromising war.

    The Romanists robbed the individual of his Bible, denouncing the right of “private interpretation”; while the Reformation handed the Bible back to the individual while denouncing the papal dogma that demands an infallible interpreter between the child of God and his Bible.

    The brethren urge me to accept your interpretation of the Scriptures as clearer and safer than what they call my interpretation. But I have not interpreted this Scripture, I have allowed the Lord to do this and have accepted His interpretation. Let me illustrate:

    The first mention of the Sabbath in the New Testament is found in Matt. 12:1. It does not there tell us which day is the Sabbath, assuming that the reader knows which day is referred to, or if not, he will be able to learn from the Old Testament, which day it is. When one turns to Ex. 20:8-12 and reads, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord,” is not that God’s interpretation? Has anyone the right to reply, “That is your interpretation.” Surely not.

    In like manner, the first and only instance where the term, “within the veil,” is used in the New Testament, if found in Heb. 6:19. It is taken for granted that the reader will know to which apartment the Holy Spirit refers; but if not, the searcher can learn from the Old Testament which place is meant. Now, when I turn to the Old Testament and find that in every instance this term is applied to the holy of holies, can it honestly be charged that this is my interpretation? I have not interpreted it, but have given that honor to the Holy Oracles themselves. And now Sister White, what can I do? If I accept the testimony of the Scriptures, if I follow my conscientious convictions, I find myself under your condemnation; and you call me a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and warn my brethren and the members of my family against me. But when I turn in my sorrow to the Word of the Lord, that Word reads the same, and I fear to reject God’s interpretation and accept yours. Oh that I might accept both. But if I must accept but one, hadn’t I better accept the Lord’s? If I reject His word and accept yours, can you save me in the judgment? When side by side we stand before the great white throne; if the Master should ask me why I taught that “within the veil” was in the first apartment of the sanctuary, what shall I answer? Shall I say, “Because Sister White, who claimed to be commissioned to interpret the Scriptures for me, told me that this was the true interpretation, and that if I did not accept it and teach it I would rest under you condemnation?”

    Oh, Sister White, that this answer might be pleasing unto the Lord. Then would I surrender to your testimony. Then would you speak words of encouragement to me again. Then would my brethren, with whom I have held sweet counsel, no longer shun me as a leper. Then would I appear again in the great congregation, and we would weep and pray and praise together as before.

    But on the other hand should the great and terrible God say to me on that day, “But disobedient servant, WHAT DID I SAY?” Oh what could I answer?

    If I surrender my convictions to escape thy testimonies of condemnation which you heap upon my head; if I yield the Word of God that I might again enjoy the love and fellowship of my brethren, how can I again look into the face of Him who died for me? How could I again lay my Bible open upon my bed, and kneeling, plead for light upon His word? No, no, I cannot do that. I must go on my pilgrimage alone. And while I would not put myself in the company of Him who was despised and rejected of men, the Man of sorrows, the Man of the lonely life, yet I am comforted in the thought that He knoweth my sorrow and is acquainted with my grief.

    Your younger brother in Christ, A. F. Ballenger.20

    After a silence of four years following his ejection from the ministry, Ballenger published his Cast Out for the Cross of Christ. The following year, the denomination published a reply by E. E. Andross entitled A More Excellent Ministry. In rebuttal, Ballenger wrote An Examination of Forty Fatal Errors Regarding the Atonement – a title which clearly indicates his view that the cross fulfilled Yom Kippur. His first pages are significant for our study.

    It is gratifying to note that this new book, “Which fully explains the sanctuary question as understood by the denomination,” takes the position that “within the veil” of Heb. 6:19,20, does refer to the holy of holies of the heavenly sanctuary and does teach that Christ entered there at His ascension.

    This will doubtless astonish many in the denomination, ministers and people, who have believed the old position as taught by the pioneers for sixty years, and published in the books of the denomination, and supported by Sister White. And none will be more astonished than those ministers and people who have been cast out of the churches for believing what the denomination now publishes as its position on this scripture.

    What astonishes the writer most is that this new position is published without a hint that the author, Eld. E. E. Andross, or the denomination ever published or taught any other position. This new book says:
    Much stress is laid, by the author of “Cast Out,” upon the expression, “within the veil,” as found in Heb. 6:19, 20, fifteen pages of the pamphlet being devoted exclusively to an effort to prove that this means within the second veil or most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary.

    A More Excellent Ministry, p. 52.

    By this it is intimated that this fifteen-page effort was entirely unnecessary. The author then proceeds to take the same position, just as if he and the denomination for whom he speaks, had always held and taught that same position. However the facts are that they have always taught the contrary position, and, during the last eight years, condemned and cast out scores of those who believe this new position.
    It is impossible to believe that there was not someone in the many councils held to consider the manuscript of this new pamphlet during its year of rejections and revisions, who had honesty of heart and courage of conviction sufficient to raise some of the following questions. I shall presume that there was, and that his questions were somewhat as follows:

    question: Why are we making this change in the denomination’s position? For sixty years we have believed and taught that “within the veil” of Heb. 6:19, 20, refers to the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary.
    Answer: Because we cannot maintain the position from the Scriptures.

    The Scriptures are positively against it.

    a.: And has the denomination only just found this out? And how did the denomination happen to find it out just now?
    A: No doubt Bro. Ballenger and his friends would say that it was the
    result of their agitation of the question.
    a.: Would it not be the truth?
    A: Possibly.
    a.: I remember how Bro. Ballenger, for one solid hour, stood before us, when he was brought to trial over this matter, and read scripture after scripture to prove that “within the veil” of Heb. 6:19, 20, pointed to the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. I remember that we then opposed this position and regarded him and Eld. Wm. Hutchinson, who was on trial with him, as sadly in the dark and as having turned them out with scores of their brethren, for believing what they taught, are we now going to adopt their position and publish it to the world as our position?
    A: But we are not adopting all of Bro. Ballenger’s conclusions from this Scripture.
    a.: But you are adopting the two principal positions that he advocated and based on this scripture. First, that the scripture refers to the holy of holies of the heavenly sanctuary, and second, that it teaches that Christ went there at His ascension. Is this not true?
    A.: Yes. But we do not believe that Christ remained in that apartment, but that He and the Father immediately moved into the first apartment where they remained until 1844.
    a.: But on the two points mentioned, you now agree with Bro. Ballenger and his brethren.
    A: Yes.
    a.: And you now believe that in publishing these new positions you are publishing the truth?
    A.: Yes.
    a.: Then you now believe that in publishing the old position for sixty years, the denomination has been publishing error?
    A.: Yes.
    Q.: And you believe that when Eld. Daniells and other of the leading brethren went from camp meeting to camp meeting teaching the people that “within the veil” of this scripture referred to the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and taught that Christ entered there at His ascension, they were teaching error, were they not?
    A.: Yes, we presume they were.
    Q.: When Bro. Ballenger was standing before us on trial for his life as a minister, when he taught with all earnestness of his soul that “within the veil” of Heb. 6:19, 20, referred to the holy of holies of the heavenly sanctuary, and taught that Christ went there at His ascension, he was teaching the truth, was he not?
    A.: Yes, it appears so now.”

    Ellen White’s warnings against Ballenger are found in the White Estate release, (MS760) The Ballenger Letters. She sees him as threatening the very foundations of Adventism, indeed, of Christianity itself. Some of her admonitions seem to place Ballenger into a camp very similar to Kellogg, as “mystical,” unable to “be substantiated by the word of God,” possibly even “departing from the living God in spiritualistic satanic experiences,” “led by satanic agencies,” undermining “the pillars of our faith.” Ballenger was “spending his time in presenting as truth that which, if received, would undermine the mighty truths that have been established for ages.” Ballenger’s theories, if received, “would lead many to depart from the faith.” “The Lord has not given him the message that he is bearing regarding the sanctuary service.” Heavenly messengers have pronounced that Brother Ballenger was “substituting human interpretation for the interpretation that God has given.” The new views would mean “the uprooting of faith in God, and the making of infidels.”

    Specifically the theories of Ballenger are contrasted with those that emerged “since 1844.” “…we who passed through the disappointment of 1844 can testify to the light that was then given on the sanctuary question.” Ellen White distinctly alludes to the Sabbath conferences which established a line of truth leading right to the time when we shall enter the city of God. Repeatedly the pioneers of 1844 are appealed to, and Brother Ballenger’s “proofs” are warned against as unreliable, and certain to “destroy the faith of God’s people in the truth that has made us what we are.” Very specifically Ellen G. White puts her finger on that which concerns her most about Ballenger’s teachings. ” … the points that he is trying to prove by scripture are not sound. They do not prove that the past experience of God’s people was a fallacy.” “When efforts are made to unsettle our faith in our past experience, and to send us adrift, let us hold fast to the truth that we have received.” “The warning is given, hold fast to the past experience.” “The truths given us after the passing of the time in 1844 are just as certain and unchangeable as when the Lord gave them to us in answer to our urgent prayers.” Denial of the sanctuary truth is linked to the danger of denying the existence of a personal God – an obvious allusion to the teachings of Dr. J. H. Kellogg.

    Viewed together, the warnings of the Spirit of Prophecy seem to be directed against mystical pantheistic sentiments which would result in denying the reality of the heavenly sanctuary and the present ministry of Christ our High Priest. Such false teachings would fail to connect the sanctuary service with “present truth” for the people God raised up in 1844. Ballenger did believe in a judgment beginning in 1844, but it had chief reference, not to the disposal of the sins of believers, but those of unbelievers. Strictly speaking, he did not believe in atonement for the saints as part of Christ’s final ministry in heaven.

    Ellen White’s repeated references to the passing of the time in 1844 and to the Sabbath conference show clearly her thrust and emphasis. To rightly understand her, we should keep in mind that while the teaching on the investigative judgment was not accepted by this church till about a decade after the last of the Sabbath conferences, stress on Christ’s closing ministry for the saints in the holy of holies was present from the date of 1844 itself. Ballenger, by applying the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary to Christ’s priestly work before the cross, and the second apartment to his subsequent work, was denying not only the plain teachings of Hebrews about Christ’s priesthood being subsequent to His incarnation, but also ignoring the Biblical evidence that the second apartment ministry had a special application to the last days. Crosier had taught the eschatological application of the Day of Atonement, but not the investigative judgment. This was true of all those pioneers to whom Ellen G. White refers when mentioning the Great Disappointment and the Sabbath conferences.

    One other caveat should be offered. It was customary for Ellen G. White to commend and endorse whatever contained a preponderance of truth – regardless of existing errors in the same package. She commended Crosier’s article to every saint despite several positions in it which she repudiated.

    Similarly, Ellen G. White endorsed Uriah Smith’s commentary on Daniel and Revelation, despite its Arian sentiments, and a multitude of inaccuracies. Thus her stress on the sanctuary truth which came to the disappointed saints in 1844 does not necessarily endorse every detail subsequently added. It would certainly be wrong to apply Ellen G. White’s warnings as a denial of ALL that Ballenger was saying, particularly as she herself in several places echoes some of the same sentiments expressed by him.22

    Desmond Ford (1980). “The Day of Atonement and the Investigative Judgment”, p. 35-45.

  5. Brother Daniel,
    I Praise God that you are seriously searching to follow Jesus in truth. While I was raised in the SDA church and still participate actively, I have doctrinal differences with some who push secondary issues to the front. I fully respect and trust Brother Daniel Rodes and Brother Kevin Campbell. I am convinced that God is leading them to go forward in the power of the Holy Spirit to preach the messages the people need most in these last days before Jesus returns.

    When we love the Word of God and the God of the Word, we will discern truth and obey Jesus rather than the opinions of men.

    In Christ and not coming out,
    Richard Noel

  6. Brother Richard;

    Thank you for your insight. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. I am diligently searching for the TRUTH. I have been in many churches where we thought we had the truth and no one else did, needless to say Iam very leary in my old age. I greatly respect Brother Rodes and count his teaching as a true blessing. There are no churches that preach the same message where I am.

    SDA has a lot of things that I hold dear and consider truth that other churches have discarded but I would be less than truthful if I told you I didnt have trouble with some doctrinal positions of the SDA, please pray for the LORDs guidance in my search for the truth. I feel more comfortable with the SDA than I previously did. Thank you once again for your help.


  7. Brother Richard;
    I know we are to keep the commandments and I do . I was wondering about the biblical feasts should we keep them? Why not? Dietary laws? Why not? Some commandment listed in the OT state this shall be a statute forever or perpetually other do not state that, what are we to keep. It is my belief that the church as we know it today is so far from the original intent of God that it is unrecognizable to him.

    Help From Above

    Brother Daniel,

    Jesus said that not one tiny part of the Torah would be done away until all is fulfilled. I understand this to mean that it remains for our instruction until this world of sin is replaced by the new earth at the end of all things. Having said that, I hasten to add that parts of the Torah had specific meaning for the camp of Israel as they traveled through the wilderness. An example is the instruction for the arrangement of the camp. When they entered the Promised Land those regulations ceased.

    The Festivals were still in force at the time of Jesus earthly ministry. He attended them and participated. He even taught some of how they were pointing to Himself. Hebrews tells us that the veil of the temple represented Jesus’ flesh. It also gives many more meanings of the temple and its services.

    Jesus fulfilled the prophetic purpose of the temple services in His life, death, resurrection and ascension. Then He entered the heavenly Temple to sit with God on His Throne, where He ministers for us until He comes to take us to be with Him.

    The feast of Tabernacles specifically is parallel to the “marriage supper of the Lamb” in Revelation. I see that as our entry and celebration in the earth made new at the end of the millennium. Therefore, I have no objection to those who chose to celebrate Sukkot (the feast of Tabernacles). I just have not found any biblical command to continue these celebrations.

    Jesus replaced Passover with the Lord’s Supper and foot washing which are celebrated in Christian churches. If we ask for and receive the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in our lives there is no need to celebrate Pentecost.

    If you study the dietary guidance of Adam and Eve you will find they were vegetarians. After the Flood God allowed “clean” meats. This was codified in writing by Moses. In Acts 15 a more liberal position was taken by the Church. They still banned food offered to idols, things strangled and blood. The Gentiles had come to the Messiah for salvation without the background of Judaism and God chose not to put a heavy burden on them. This in no way suggests that there is not a more perfect choice of foods available.

    God’s ideal diet is in the Garden of Eden. God’s ideal for our lives is higher than we imagine. In mercy, He reaches down to us to lift us up to him to live in heavenly places with Christ. We may be physically in this world, but we can live in heavenly places by the power of the Spirit. The book of Revelation12 separates people into two groups; 1) heaven dwellers, and 2) earth dwellers. The choice is available to us to live in heaven now.

    Jesus said there would arise false christs and false prophets. The term Christ means “anointed one”. Thus there are false annointings active in an attempt to deceive. We need to be alert to recognize the true anointings and avoid the false. God’s word will help us to discern correctly and only follow the true.

    The terms translated “perpetual” and “everlasting” sound in English as if they are endless. This is not true in Hebrew or Greek. The sense of time in those languages is focused on the process being discussed as continuing. They do not speak of what we call perpetual or endless. Peter gives a good example when he says that Sodom and Gomorrah are examples of eternal fire. The fire did go out when it finished its job of destruction.

    In Christ and not coming out,
    Richard Noel

  8. Brother Richard;
    I know we are to keep the commandments and I do . I was wondering about the biblical feasts should we keep them? Why not? Dietary laws? Why not? Some commandment listed in the OT state this shall be a statute forever or perpetually other do not state that, what are we to keep. It is my belief that the church as we know it today is so far from the original intent of God that it is unrecognizable to him.

  9. Daniel,

    I apologize for not answering specifically on your understanding of death. I would point you to several articles that may be helpful on this issue. It is a challenge to accept that the dead are really dead when you have been taught that death is not really death.

    Ezekiel 18:20 speaks of the mortality of souls. And the NT expressly says that only God is immortal (1 Timothy 6:16). There are many more references to see in the documents listed below.

    “Is There Conscious Life After Death?”

    “What Really Happens When You Die?”

    In Christ and not coming out,
    Richard Noel

  10. Brother Daniel,

    I agree with you on 17, and your belief is not an issue to the church. EGW is not above the Bible as with any other prophet. There are individuals in the church who are less clear than my statement on this item. Her authority is not an inspired interpreter to end all discussions.

    You hold a common opinion as to the sequence of events after the Return of Jesus for His saints. Paul says they go to be with the Lord. Paul does not define it further. The key to understanding where the saints live during the Millenium hinges on two questions. 1) what is the abyss? and 2) what are the saints doing?

    The Abyss: is a Greek phrase taken from the Old Testament. The original Hebrew expression is found in the Creation Story and in the Book of Jeremiah. In the creation story it is the phrase translated as “without form and void” Gen. 1:2. If this is where Satan is confined it describes the earth in a totally chaotic state. This does not agree with the saints ruling on the earth. Also, the beginning of the millenium leaves the wicked dead still dead on the earth. Their final judgment is delayed until after the millenium which leads to the recreation of the earth to its pre-sin state (Rev. 21).

    If the saints are judging, it must be as Jesus said that the saints will judge the world. Obviously they must be reviewing God’s information about this world. This does not require them to be on Earth. Since they are with the Lord, they have access to the information.

    The language changes in Revelation 21 where is says that God is dwelling with the saints. It no longer us going to be with the Lord. God is coming with the saints to their final home, the earth made new.

    I’m sure there are more questions to come on this. Feel free to ask and I will try to answer from Scripture.

    IN CHRIST and not coming out,
    Richard Noel

  11. Brother Richard;

    I have read the baptismal vows and agree with them,I question the extent that I must agree with all the church doctrines.

    In general I have an issue with #17 I believe in all nine gifts of the spirit in operation today. #18 E G Whites writings as authorative( to what extent?). #26 I dont believe that dead christians are in a unconscious state ie;the 24 elders. #27 Saints in heaven during the millenium,I believe we are here on earth ruling and reigning with Christ.


  12. Brother Daniel,

    I am delighted by your enthusiastic endorsement of the general teachings of the church. The 28 statements contain some details that I do not believe are properly presented. The 28 doctrines are not exactly the same as the Baptismal vows. The vows can be found at
    If you go to this site you can read them for a careful evaluation. I am more comfortable with the thirteen statements than the alternative statements. The alternative asks if you believe all of the 28. Personally, I could not say yes to that question because of some questions I have about one of them. If you wish to ask specific questions we can arrange a less public way to do that if you are interested.

  13. Brother Noel;
    I am not SDA,I just finished reading the 28 doctrines of the SDA and I have to tell you that the SDA is more scripturally correct than any other major denomination that I am aware of. I find very little to disagree with,does that mean I would not qualify for baptism and membership because I dont accept all 28 doctrines whole heartedly? I agree with the major theme of each doctrine but there are certain parts of several doctrines I have a problem with.

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