1. God’s purpose in calling Abraham
Ellen White (1827-1915): “It was for the purpose of bringing the best gifts of Heaven to all the peoples of earth that God called Abraham out from his idolatrous kindred and bade him dwell in the land of Canaan… It was a high honor to which Abraham was called—that of being the father of the people who for centuries were to be the guardians and preservers of the truth of God to the world, the people through whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed in the advent of the promised Messiah. Men had well-nigh lost the knowledge of the true God. Their minds were darkened by idolatry… Yet God in His mercy did not blot them out of existence… God separated them from the world, that He might commit to them a sacred trust. He made them the depositaries of His law, and He purposed through them to preserve among men the knowledge of Himself” (PK, pp. 15, 16, 1917).
David Peabody (1805-1839): “Notwithstanding the universal prevalence of wickedness among men, God did not entirely abandon the world… This dreadful state of the world had been foreseen, and special provision made for it… It was merely the singling out of a family from the idolatrous multitude, placing in circumstances favourable to moral purity, instructing it in the knowledge of the divine character and will, and preparing it to be, for the race, the depository, the safe keeper of true religion. This was the family of Abraham. For wise reasons he was selected to be the head of that honourable line, which was to preserve the knowledge and the worship of god on the earth, and from which, in due time was to spring the redeemer of mankind” (The Patriarch of Hebron, pp. 19, 20, 1841).
2. Abraham worshipped the true God before his call
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Even his father’s household, by whom the knowledge of God had been preserved, were yielding to the seductive influences surrounding them, and they “served other gods” than Jehovah. But the true faith was not to become extinct. God has ever preserved a remnant to serve Him. Adam, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Shem, in unbroken line, had preserved from age to age the precious revealings of His will. The son of Terah became the inheritor of this holy trust. Idolatry invited him on every side, but in vain. Faithful among the faithless, uncorrupted by the prevailing apostasy, he steadfastly adhered to the worship of the one true God” (PP, p. 125, 1890).
Richard Watson (1781-1833): “The family of Abraham was idolatrous, for his ‘fathers served other gods beyond the flood,” … before his call he was certainly a worshipper of the true God; and not that in form only, but “in spirit and in truth”” (A Biblical and Theological Dictionary, p. 10, 1832).
3. Abraham was the first missionary
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Abraham, their father, to whom the covenant promise was first given, had been called to go forth from his kindred, to the regions beyond, that he might be a light bearer to the heathen” (PP, p. 367).
Ellen White (1827-1915): “In ancient times the patriarch Abraham was chosen by God to be his representative in a distant land. But Abraham was also a home missionary, and in the home life he was true to his trust” (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Article 8, 1912).
Henry Blunt (1794-1843): “It is not improbable that this was one of the motives of the Almighty for calling Abraham to life of such a continual and painful travel; if we trace the journeys of Abraham, we shall find that, in the course of them, the majority of the nations then upon the earth were visited by this man of God; and he was in fact the first Christian missionary, preaching the gospel, and living the gospel, in the sight of the inhabitants of the world” (Twelve Lectures upon the History of Abraham, p. 30, 1831).
Abraham a prototype missionary
“In the midst of personal and family struggles, Abraham became a prototype missionary to several people groups and a respected leader who witnessed to his faith in God” (Adult Sabbath School Lesson, “The Call of Abraham”, Sunday, July 5, 2015).
David Peabody (1805-1839): “In this age of missionary effort, let the character of this great prototype in the cause, be faithfully studied” (The Patriarch of Hebron, p. 221, 1841).
4. Abraham witnessed to his family of the true God
Ellen White (1827-1915): “During his stay in Haran, both Abraham and Sarah had led others to the worship and service of the true God” (PP, p. 127, 1890).
David Peabody (1805-1939); “Probably, it was through his influence before he left his native country, that they were made acquainted, in some degree, with the true doctrines of religion; and the memory of his piety and extraordinary virtues still remained fresh and fragrant among the descendants of Nahor” (The Patriarch of Hebron, p. 209, 1841).
5. Abraham persuaded his family and others to join him in his pilgrimage
Ellen White (1827-1915): “His brother Nahor with his household clung to their home and their idols. Besides Sarah, the wife of Abraham, only Lot, the son of Haran long since dead, chose to share the patriarch’s, pilgrim life… These attached themselves to the patriarch’s household, and accompanied him to the land of promise” (PP, p.127).
David Peabody (1805-1939): “… perhaps he persuaded his father and nephew, together with Sarah to become the companions of his journey… Abraham prevailed on his father and others of the company to leave the land of idolatry, and to go with him to the unknown region wither the God of heaven should lead them” (The Patriarch of Hebron, pp. 33, 34, 1841).
Ellen White (1827-1915): “False speaking in any matter, every attempt or purpose to deceive our neighbor, is here included. An intention to deceive is what constitutes falsehood… All intentional overstatement, every hint or insinuation calculated to convey an erroneous or exaggerated impression, even the statement of facts in such a manner as to mislead, is falsehood” (PP, p. 309, 1890).
David Peabody (1805-1939): “Deception, intentional deception, is the very essence of falsehood” (The Patriarch of Hebron, p. 60, 1841).
7. Counsel on dress
Ellen White (1827-1915): “To be sure, your attire should and does attract attention, but if your costume is a foreground instead of background, then it has been badly chosen, and you are overdressed. Do not protest that you cannot afford to be smartly dressed. Basic good style is always to be desired rather than the novelty fashion of the moment… If you wear outmoded clothes and are carelessly groomed, you will convey the impression that your mentality is also dated, and that you are not capable of development along the modern trends. Such a reputation is a serious drawback to any women” (Believe His prophets, Chapter 13, pp. 270, 271).
Ellen White: “Any device designed to attract attention to the wearer or to excite admiration is excluded from the modest apparel which God’s word enjoins” (MH, 287).
Alexander McLean and J. W. Eaton: W. McDonald (1807-1883), A Methodist, in his address admonished: “A safe rule to follow in matters such as this – Let your adorning be such as not to attract attention or remark from anyone. Be neither so- old- fashioned as to be regarded as a fossil of a past generation, nor yet so much in style as to impress most minds that you think more of your external adorning than you do of a ‘meek and quiet spirit’. Be sure that your adorning is internal” (Penuel or Face to Face with God, Edited by Alexander McLean and J. W. Eaton 1869, p. 265).
8. Infidelity and popery
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Let them not join the confederacy of infidelity, popery, and Protestantism in exalting tradition above Scripture” (4 BC, p. 1141; RH, March 24, 1896).
Octavious Winslow (1802-1878): “Popery is increasing- infidelity is triumphing – formalism is abounding- God- dishonouring, Christ denying, Bible- rejecting, and soul destroying doctrines in rank and rampant growth, are springing forth on every side” (Glory of The Redeemer, p. 149, 1844).
Octavious Winslow (1802-1878): “The teaching of men is exalted above the teaching of Christ, and, as a consequence, Infidelity and Popery are rife, and the people are following after the false prophet and the beast” (Christ is Ever With You, 1863).
9. The daily “sacrifice” (Daniel 8:11, 12)
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Then I saw in relation to the “daily” (Daniel 8:12) that the word “sacrifice” was supplied by man’s wisdom, and does not belong to the text, and that the Lord gave the correct view of it to those who gave the judgment hour cry. When union existed, before 1844, nearly all were united on the correct view of the “daily”; but in the confusion since 1844, other views have been embraced, and darkness and confusion have followed” (EW, pp. 74, 75, 1882).
Albert Barnes (1798-1870): “The word which is rendered “daily sacrifice” – the word “sacrifice” being supplied by the translators… [the Hebrew word Tamid]…. means, properly, continuance, prepetuity, and then what is continuous or constant – as a sacrifice or service daily occurring. The word sacrifice is properly inserted here” (Barnes’ Notes on The Whole Bible, 1834).
10. Greatest want of the world
Ellen White (1827-1915): “The greatest want of the world is want of men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are honest, men who do not fear to call sin be its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall” (Ed, p. 57, 1903).
“The great want of this age is men. Men who are not for sale. Men who are honest, sound from center to circumference, true to the heart’s core—men who will condemn wrong in a friend or foe, in themselves as well as others. Men whose consciences are as steady as the needle to the pole. Men who will stand for the right if the heavens totter and the earth reel” (Review and Herald, January 24, 1871).
The Daily Southern Cross, May 22, 1869: “The greatest want of this age is men. Men who are not for sale. Men, who are honest, sound from center to circumference, true to hearts core. Men who will condemn wrong in friend or foe, in themselves as well as others. Men whose consciences are steady as the needle to the pole. Men who will stand for the right even if heavens totter and the earth reels” (Cited from The Southern Home Journal, 1869 by the The Papers Past: The Daily southern Cross, May 22, 1869; Nelson Evening Herald, June 15, 1869; Taranki Herald, June26, 1869; Wanganui Herald, July 21, 1869).
11. Why men reject the testimonies
Ellen White (1827-1915): “You despise and reject the testimonies, because they reprove your darling sins, and disturb your self-complacency” (Testimony for the Battle Creek Church, p. 24).
Ellen White: “You have neglected the Scriptures. You despise and reject the testimonies because they reprove your darling sins and disturb your self-complacency. When Christ is cherished in the heart, His likeness will be revealed in the life. Humility will reign where pride was once predominant. Submission, meekness, patience, will soften down the rugged features of a naturally perverse, impetuous disposition” (5T, pp. 50, 51, 1889).
Ellen White: “Many cling to their doubts and their darling sins, while they are in so great a deception as to talk and feel that they are in need of nothing. They think the testimony of the Spirit of God in reproof is uncalled for, or that it does not mean them. Such are in the greatest need of the grace of God and spiritual discernment, that they may discover their deficiency in spiritual knowledge” (RH, Sep16, 1873).
Thomas Scott (1747-1821): “Men oppose the Scriptures because it opposes their favourite pursuits, and denounces an awful sentence against all who do not humbly repent, believe the gospel, and become the faithful subjects of the holy Jesus” (The theological Works of The Thomas Scott, p. 514, 1829).
Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892): “Oftentimes, men reject our testimony because, to them, the time is not yet, or they doubt its truth because they do not at once see the results produced which we foretell… I will not say that every man who rejects Christ is necessarily immoral, but I will say that, in nine cases out of ten, it is so and that when you trace an infidel’s life, there is something there that accounts for his infidelity. He wants a cover on his unbelief for that is something he has good need to cover! There is something about his daily walk that does not agree with holiness—some darling sin that spoils his hope of being saved as a Christian. So he tries, as much as he can, to get a hope out of lies, out of contradicting God. “His heart is not upright in him”” (Spurgeon’s sermon: Watching to See, January 26, 1882).
12. Thorn in the flesh (2Corinthians 12:7)
Ellen White (1827-1915): “He was ever to carry about with him in the body the marks of Christ’s glory in his eyes, which had been blinded by the heavenly light, and he desired also to bear with him constantly the assurance of Christ’s sustaining grace” (Sketches from the Life of Paul, p. 34, 1883).
Ellen White: “Paul had a bodily affliction, his eye sight was bad” (Letter 207, 1899; 6 SDA BC, p. 1107).
John James Lias (1834-1923): “Many have thought that defect of sight, consequent on the dazzling light which shone upon him at his conversion, resulting in three days of blindness, was the physical defect with which he labored” (Second Epistle to the Corinthians, p. 16, 1879).
James Iverach (1839-1922): “He was suffering from a sharp attack of some painful sickness, perhaps some form of inflammation of the eyes, a kind of trouble which made him helpless and caused him much pain” (St Paul: His Life and Times, p. 81, 1890).
Frederick William Farrar (1831-1903): “But even if this was actual ‘stake in the flesh,’ there is the strongest reason to believe that St. Paul suffered from acute Opthalmia, which also fulfills in every particular the condition of this problem…We know that he was physically blinded by the glare of the light which surrounded him when he saw the risen Lord. .. the blaze of light which outshone even the noonday brightness, and the blindness which followed it—would have been most likely to leave his eyes inflamed and weak” (The Life and Work of St. Paul, Vol. 1., p. 659, 1879).
13. Temptation is not sin
Ellen White (1827-1915): “There is no sin in having temptation; but sin comes when temptation is yielded to” (ST, May 27, 1897).
Stalker James (1848-1927): “We must remember that it is no sin to be tempted, it is only sin to yield to temptation” (The Life of Jesus Christ, p. 46, 1880).
W. Mc Garvey (1829-1911): “Moreover, temptation is in no sense sin. I t is yielding of the will to temptation which constitutes sin” (Fourfold gospel).
14. Lazarus had nothing to relate of his experience in death
Ellen White (1827-1915): “They came not only to see Jesus, but many were curious to see one who had been raised from the dead. They thought that Lazarus would have some wonderful experience to relate, and were surprised that he told them nothing. But Lazarus had nothing to tell. The pen of Inspiration has given light upon this subject: “The dead know not anything” (YI, July 12, 1900).
John Cumming (1807-1881): “We find, what strikes one as no slight evidence of the inspiration of this book, nothing said by Lazarus, after his resurrection from the dead, of the process he had gone through; of the scenes he had witnessed, of the blessings he had experienced; and yet these are all points which we long and thirst to know – which would gratify our curiosity to know” (Sabbath Evening Readings on the New testament: St. John, p. 192, 1856).
15. Mary was the niece of Simon the leper
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Those present, thinking of Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead by Christ, and who was at this time a guest in his uncle’s house” (Daughters of God, p. 239, 1998).
Doug Batchelor: “She knew all too well about Uncle Simon’s problem. He had been the one to lead his pretty niece down the spiralling road of disgrace. Mary kept this shameful secret buried deep in her past” (At Jesus’ Feet, p. 66, 2001).
B. W. Johnson (1782-1862): Simon the leper – “Supposed to have been healed by Christ, and a relative of Martha, Mary and Lazarus” (People’s New Testament, 1891).
16. Who was the women who anointed Jesus?
Ellen White (1827-1915): “The woman had stood before Jesus, cowering with fear. His words, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone,” had come to her as a death sentence. She dared not lift her eyes to the Saviour’s face, but silently awaited her doom. In astonishment she saw her accusers depart speechless and confounded; then those words of hope fell upon her ear, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Her heart was melted, and, casting herself at the feet of Jesus, she sobbed out her grateful love and with bitter tears confessed her sins.
This was to her the beginning of a new life, a life of purity and peace, devoted to God. In the uplifting of this fallen soul, Jesus performed a greater miracle than in healing the most grievous physical disease; He cured the spiritual malady which is unto death everlasting. This penitent woman became one of His most steadfast followers. With self-sacrificing love and devotion she showed her gratitude for His forgiving mercy” (MH, p. 89, 1905).
Ellen White (1827-1915): “In His mercy, Jesus had pardoned her sins, He had called forth her beloved brother from the grave, and Mary’s heart was filled with gratitude. She had heard Jesus speak of His approaching death, and in her deep love and sorrow she had longed to show Him honor. At great personal sacrifice she had purchased an alabaster box of “ointment of spikenard, very costly,” with which to anoint His body” (DA, pp. 558, 559).
Pope Gregory I (540-604 A.D): “She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark. And what did these seven devils signify, if not all the vices?
It is clear, brothers, that the woman previously used the unguent to perfume her flesh in forbidden acts. What she therefore displayed more scandalously, she was now offering to God in a more praiseworthy manner. She had coveted with earthly eyes, but now through penitence these are consumed with tears. She displayed her hair to set off her face, but now her hair dries her tears. She had spoken proud things with her mouth, but in kissing the Lord’s feet, she now planted her mouth on the Redeemer’s feet. For every delight, therefore, she had had in herself, she now immolated herself. She turned the mass of her crimes to virtues, in order to serve God entirely in penance” (Pope Gregory the Great (homily XXXIII), 591 A. D).
Rachel Elizabeth Jones: “Gregory’s sermon, however, authorized the conflation of the figures of Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, the woman who anointed Jesus, Luke’s sinner in the city, and, implicitly, the woman taken in adultery. This understanding was to hold dominance throughout the Middle Ages and it was not until the reform of the Roman calendar in 1969 that the Catholic Church declared that the Magdalene of the New Testament was not the penitent sinner of Luke’s gospel” (Mary Magdalene as Counter-Heroine: Late Middle English Hagiography and Social Order Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of PhD in English Literature, School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University, March 2013).
17. Mary was impressed by the Holy Spirit to anoint Jesus
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Mary knew not the full significance of her deed of love. She could not explain why she had chosen that occasion for anointing Jesus. The Holy Spirit had planned for her, and she had obeyed His promptings. Inspiration stoops to give no reason” (DA, p. 560).
John Gill (1697-1771): “Christ suggests, that the time of his death and burial were nigh, and that this woman had kept this ointment till now, for such a purpose; and whereas she would not be able to make use of it at the time of his interment, she had embalmed his body with it now, beforehand; though without any knowledge of his death, or any such intention and design in her, but the Holy Ghost so directing her” (John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible, John 12, 1746).
18. The lost coin
Ellen White (1827-1915): “The coin, though lying among dust and rubbish, is a piece of silver still. Its owner seeks it because it is of value. So every soul, however degraded by sin, is in God’s sight accounted precious. As the coin bears the image and superscription of the reigning power, so man at his creation bore the image and superscription of God; and though now marred and dim through the influence of sin, the traces of this inscription remain upon every soul. God desires to recover that soul and to retrace upon it His own image in righteousness and holiness” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 194, 1900)
Richard Chenevix Trench (1807-1856): “Originally made in the likeness of God, and once bearing in our souls the image and superscription of our King, we have now leaped from our rightful owner, and fallen away into dust and earthliness of a deep moral debasement” (Notes on the Parables of our Lord, pp. 97-98, 1863).
William M. Taylor (1829-1895): “… for the coin, though lost, has still value,… It may be blackened with rust, or soiled with mud, or covered over with dust; but it is still silver. – nay, it is still minted silver” (The parables of our Saviour expounded and Illustrated, p. 324, 1886 ).
Charles John Ellicott (1819-1905): “The coin is what it is because it has on it the king’s image and superscription. Man is precious because he too has the image and superscription of the great King, the spiritual attributes of Thought and Will, by which he resembles God, stamped upon him” (A New Testament commentary for English readers, Luke 15:8, p. 315, 1878).
19. Holy Spirit is a divine person
Ellen White (1827-1915): “We need to realize that the Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person… Holy Spirit has a personality… he must also be a divine person” (EV, pp. 616, 617; Ms 66, 1899; MS 20, 1906).
John Owen (1616-1683): “The sum is that Holy Spirit is a divine, distinct person, and neither merely the power or virtue of god, nor any created spirit whatsoever… he is a distinct divine person” (A Brief declaration and Vindication of the Doctrine of the trinity, p. 33, 1669).
20. Holy Spirit is independent
Ellen White (1827-1915): “The Holy Spirit is a free, working, independent agency” (RH, May 5, 1896).
Matthew Henry (1662-1714): “The Holy Spirit is a free spirit, a free Agent himself, working freely” (Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible, Psalms 51:11, 1709).