WM 250Walter Martin and the Scholars -
Historic Adventism and Hebrews Nine
In the Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956, the most sweeping changes were instituted in the doctrines of Seventh-day Adventists. These alterations may not seem to be many, but each one was crucial. In our recent publication, Walter Martin and the Seventh-day Adventist Church [WM-247], we briefly surveyed the entire story. In our earlier very large The Beginning of the End, now reprinted in our 120-page tractbook, The Evangelical Conferences, we thoroughly documented the entire affair and its aftermath with a wealth of detail and source quotations.
What would it be like to have been there, back in the mid-1950s, while Walter Martin was pounding Evangelical teachings into the heads of our leaders In Washington D.C.?
Here is an example of what happened in those tumultuous- but very influential meetings. At his March 15, 1989, Fresno, California lecture, Walter Martin recalls, over 30 years later, one of the many victories he there achieved:
MARTIN DESCRIBES THE EVANGELICAL CONFERENCES
Now, I'll never forget when we were in Washington [D.C.] at the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary [General Conference building, not the Seminary which was next door] negotiating these various doctrines and going through them in 1956 [spring 1955 to spring 19561. I said:
"Why don't you get a couple of Greek scholars from the Seminary and bring them over here." and I said, "Dr. Canon [an Evangelical college teacher he brought with him] is a Greek scholar and I read the text of the Greek." I said, "Let us take a look at whether or not Hiram Edson and Ellen White and the early Adventists were right, or if in fact the very foundation of the denomination was based upon a theological error."
They said, "Fine." they sent for Dr. [William] Murdoch and for Dr. Theodore Heppenstall, both of whom were excellent Greek scholars. I'll never forget Dr. Canon sitting at this large table with all these Adventists around us, and Dr. Canon saying,
"I wonder if we turn in our Bibles, I'd like you to do that right now, - to the Epistle to the Hebrews."
And they said, "Fine." And they turned to Hebrews, chapter 9.
When they got to Hebrews, chapter 9, we all had our Greek New Testaments out. And Dr. Canon said,
"I would like you to exegete for me Hebrews 9, verses 11 and 12. We won't look at any-theology books, yours or ours [but we will have ours in mind]. Just the text, and you tell me what the text says."
Dr. Murdock looked at the text, Dr. Heppenstall looked at the text, and Dr. Canon read:
"But Christ, having become a High Priest of good things which are to come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say not of this building, not earthly, neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once into the Holy Place (to hagion) having obtained eternal redemption for us."
Canon went through it in Greek [verbally translated it to them], and I turned to Dr. Roy Allan Anderson, head of all Seventh-day Adventist ministers and missionaries, and I said,
"All right, this passage contradicts Ellen White, Hiram Edson, and all the foundations of Adventism. If Jesus at the resurrection went into the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary in heaven itself, with His own blood and obtained eternal redemption for us, then there is no 1844 investigative judgment. It is a myth."
Anderson looked down at the text and he turned to Ted Heppenstall and said these words, "Does the Greek text say that, Ted?" And Ted Heppenstall looked up from his Greek New Testament and said, "Yes."
Dr. Murdoch said, "It does."
"Then there isn't any investigative judgment. Nobody has been looking over the books in heaven since 1844, because Jesus entered at the time of His resurrection into heaven itself with His own blood. It's all over. He obtained eternal redemption for us. You don't need this forced holiness in which you spend your life keeping track of all the commandments that you're supposed to keep in order for you eventually to come out on the right side."-Walter Martin, March 15, 1989 lecture in Fresno, California
This will afford you an idea of the type of hammering discussions that Walter Martin kept our leaders under during those Evangelical Conferences for an entire year, from the spring of 1955 to the spring of 1956 (with additional meetings aimed at Seventh-day Adventist publications, that continued on through the next year).
In a February 22, 1983 lecture in Napa, California, Walter Martin described another incident in those intense sessions in which he worked so effectively to change our beliefs- and our publications as well. This was not as difficult to do as you might think, for our leaders who met with him always pretended that nearly everyone in the church believed as he did, at least all but the "lunatic fringe." This pretense gave Martin a great advantage. Read this:
Now these meetings went on over a period of two years. Literally hundreds and hundreds of hours of work and research were gone into it . .
Now we learned early on in our discussions that there was a division in Seventh-day Adventism that had to be recognized. There was a lunatic fringe that believed doctrines that appalled even the Adventists. And I came in one day with a suitcase-literally a suitcase-full of publications from Adventist publishing houses.
Before I opened the suitcase, I said to my brothers on the committee, do you know that your denomination teaches these things? And I listed them, and they were appalled. I said "I have the mark of the beast!" And they looked at each other and said, "Impossible!" I said, "Well, I have." I said, "I have been told that by three Adventist publishing houses." "NO!" [they replied]. I said, "Yes!"
I said, "It gets even worse, brothers. It says here in your publications that Jesus DIDN'T complete the atonement on the cross! It says here in your publication_, and I went down the line on the subject. "Impossible!" [they said]. I said, "All right," I said, "Look in the suitcase."
So I put the suitcase on the table and spread out about two hundred documents. And they spent a couple of days going through the documents. When they came back, they said, "Who would ever have believed that all of this was in print!" and, "We certainly have to do something about it immediately!"
I said, "Good! But this is what is confusing the whole Evangelical world, and this is what is confusing the Seventh-day Adventist denomination! You've got to speak with one voice on the great foundations of the gospel! You've got to speak with one voice so the sheep-the people-can hear it. And there are problems; you must face them."
They were very responsive, and we entered into work in earnest." Walter Martin, February 22, 1983 lecture in Napa, California in this present study, we will focus our attention, not in the changes that were made in our publications in regard to the Atonement, the Nature of Christ, and other crucial doctrines, but rather on the first conversation described above. How could our leaders give in on a major doctrine because of one verse of Scripture as they did? Are our teachings really in error in regard to the teachings of Hebrews Nine?
I realize that most of my readers are not acquainted with Greek, so, first, in order that you may better understand the situation, let me explain a little of the hocus-pocus of the scholarly world.
I will precede it with some earlier history: Arriving at the Seminary in June 1955, I was there until June of 1958-throughout most of the time that the Evangelical Conferences were held and the book, Questions on Doctrine, was prepared, printed, and initially distributed.
I had a double major in college Biblical Languages and Theology. My graduate and postgraduate work at the Seminary, culminating in an M.A. and B.D., was again in both fields, and, by the time I graduated, although my major was in Systematic Theology, I was only a few hours short of again having a full double major in both Biblical Languages and Theology. I mention this to explain that I have some background in what we are here talking about.
Drs. William Murdoch and Theodore Heppenstall had for years been highly—respected Adventist teachers, Murdoch at the Seminary and Heppenstall newly arrived from La Sierra College. Dr. Murdoch worked widely in many fields, both Old Testament and New, but Greek was not his major area Dr. Heppenstall was not a "Greek man;" his teaching concerns were in other areas.
EXPERTS IN GREEK
But the problem goes deeper: There Is a theologian's secret here, and it is this: no one Is an expert at Greek!
It is impossible to be an expert in a language unless you daily speak it and hear it spoken. Only then can you readily understand the tenses and inflections of its verbs, the declensions of its nouns and pronouns, and the subtleties of its sentence structure and word sequence. And then there is the problem of its idioms. Greek is complicated. It is not enough to open to a verse in the Greek New Testament and say you know what it means in the Greek. You will tend to read it as you already know it in whatever English version you are most familiar with.
People come to America from other lands and spend a decade continually speaking, hearing, reading, and writing English- and still do not acquire a sharp, native grasp of the subtleties of the language. But, let me give you an example in Spanish. Because of our Spanish work, we have a number of Spanish-speaking people helping us here. Languages always came easier for me, so it would not be difficult for me to spend a week or so reading a Spanish edition of Steps to Christ, comparing it as I go with an English edition. This would brush me up on the language and I would be able to much more easily go through a number of other books. A month of this and I would imagine I was doing pretty well. Reading a foreign language for a surface grasp of what is presented- is not difficult; it is knowing for a certainty that you are correct in what you think it means that is the difficult thing. And that only comes with speaking, hearing, and writing that language over an extended period of time. And a Greek scholar never-never-does this. He never speaks it; he never listens to it in conversations; he never communicates in written Greek. He only reads it. He may call himself a "Greek expert," but he would never dare try writing original letters to his friends in the language of Biblical Greek (I have done it, and found it to be a very slow, difficult task)
I have had many friends who have received a Ph.D. In order to obtain that doctoral degree, it is necessary to be able to read some material in your field in a foreign language (most people select French, since it is easy like Spanish). How does the Ph.D. candidate acquire that capability? He merely sets aside a month to quickly work up some reading proficiency and then take a rudimentary examination in the reading of French. It may sound difficult but it is not. It is merely reading in a foreign language.
Then, afterward, in the hectic rush of post-doctoral employment the French is set aside and mostly forgotten. But the theology experts are similar in this respect also. They will generally spend relatively little of their postdoctoral employment time working with the Greek New Testament. Even Greek teachers will not immediately know a given passage well. This is because Greek conjugations, declensions, and all the rest are simply too complicated to be easily and quickly understood- when the only method of working with the language is simply reading in a Greek New Testament a little time each day or week
If you have a hard time believing me, here are two simple tests: (1) Watch a "Greek expert" when he opens the Greek New Testament to a place he was not planning to open it to. Instead of just reading it off, as he would do if it were English, he silently stares at it, trying to figure out what it is all about. (2) Ask him to turn to a passage and read it to you. For example, ask him to turn to Acts 27, or try 2 Peter on him. Remember: you should be the one that selects the passage. You will then find that he only has a cursory acquaintance with Greek, and little more.
Is it then impossible to know the meaning of the Greek New Testament? Not at all. It can be known but ONLY BY VERY CAREFUL STUDY! No quick reading will ever give you much more meaning than you bring to it. But slow, careful study of each word in the passage, AND the surrounding verses, the chapter, and the entire book as they relate to it- will open up whole new vistas of understanding. But this is not often done, even by Bible translation teams, such as those that are so busily turning out new Bible translations each year.
The Greek New Testament is actually a study tool, rather than a book for casual reading. The person reading it tends to skim over the surface, trying to connect the passage with his previous understanding of what an English translation says. The real student sits down at a desk and carefully works it out word by word. As he works, he has idiom books, exegetical grammars, and large lexicons and concordances by his side.
At that particular session of the Evangelical Conferences, Walter Martin told our leaders, "See, here we have two Adventist Greek experts, and I have with me another Greek expert. Now, I will let my Greek expert tell you what it means, and we will let your Greek experts tell me if he is wrong." This put Murdoch and Heppenstall in a corner. One of them should have spoken up and said, "We will have to study this verse for a time in order to give you our reply." That would have been the wise and proper thing to do, for they were faced with a major attack by Martin on the teachings of our church. But because of the common misconception that "Greek exports" are supposed to have a near-instant understanding of the Greek New Testament, neither dared to say that.
(Ironically, if they had brought Dr. Loughsby over from the Seminary, he might have saved the day, for he was far closer to a "Greek expert" than anyone else in our denomination at that time. He never rushed through any text for anyone! He had the heart of a true Greek scholar; he loved to spend hours reading in it. He would tell his students, "Let it speak to you.")
We said a moment ago that the Greek scholar goes over the passage carefully. Just now, let us- you and I- examine Hebrews 9, verses 11 and 12. and see what it means in the Greek. Let us let it speak to us.
In our study, our question will be this: Does the Greek of Hebrews 9:11-12 agree with our Seventh-day Adventist historic teachings, or, as Walter Martin so boldly claimed, can it only point us to the camp of the modem Protestant Evangelicals?
But first, let us briefly review the overall pattern of the book, and what Paul was trying to say as he arrived In his epistle to Hebrews 9:11-12. That is part of letting the Word speak for itself. The Book of Hebrews is the most systematic presentation in all the writings of the Apostle Paul. (By the way, we know that Paul was the author of this book because of certain internal evidence, as well as Spirit of Prophecy corroboration all through chapter 23 [What is the Sanctuary'?] of Great Controversy.)
Hebrews I explains that Christ is fully God and not a mere angel. Hebrews 2 tells us that He fully became a man like us, for He took the inheritance of Abraham's descendants, not that of his ancestors- or of Adam. Hebrews 3: Christ is greater than Moses and the entire Hebrew economy (remember that this letter was written to Jews). Hebrews 4: Christ can give us the Sabbath rest in its fullness- that deeper experience with Him in our Sabbathkeeping, which Moses could only begin to reveal through his proclamation of the Fourth Commandment.
Hebrews 5: Christ is a perfect high priest, because of the things which He suffered as a man. Hebrews 6: A parenthetical chapter; please put away your Jewish prejudices, for I have new light for you, in fact Jesus has already passed through the veil as our Forerunner. Hebrews 7: Back to the subject; Jesus is greater than the earthly priests, and He is already ministering as our high priest! [even though Martin says that after A.D. 31 nothing more happens]. Hebrews 8: Jesus has a better Sanctuary, and He is even now mediating,- and mediating a better covenant.
It is an awesome fact that historic Adventism Is the most mature set of theological teachings in the world. And we find it all through the Book of Hebrews.
Instead of saying that Christ died to free us from obedience and enable us to be saved in sin, this mature concept explains that He died to forgive our past and enable us to perfectly obey God In the future.
Instead of saying that Christ could not have taken a human nature like ours, because then He would have been overcome by Satan, this mature concept teaches that Christ took our nature after 4,000 years of sin,- and in that nature resisted every temptation through reliance upon His Father, as we may do through steadfast reliance upon Him.
Instead of saying that Christ completed the atonement before we were born into this world and had a chance to decide whether or not we would live a life in acceptance of it, this mature view explains that Christ is ministering on our behalf even now in the Sanctuary above, and that if we come to Him we may have strength to overcome as He overcame.
But now we come to Hebrews 9. Chapter 8:1, 2, and 5 explained that Christ's ministry within the heavenly Sanctuary is the great archetype that the earthly tabernacle and its ministry was patterned after. So chapter 9 begins with a description of the earthly sanctuary (9:1-5). In those five verses we are given most of the crucial definition of terms needed to guide us through Hebrews 6:19 to 10:23. Please remember that fact!
There is no doubt but that Paul uses some unique Greek words. We can only know what he has in mind by learning his definitions- and the most important of them are in 9:1-5. In contrast, the Evangelicals (our own "new theology" advocates teach the same errors) try to prove what Hebrews says, not from Paul's own definitions, but from their opinions and from the use of the same words in the Old Testament. Let us now learn these four definitions- Paul's own definitions- as they are given in Hebrews 9:1-5:
First, what Greek word does Paul use for "sanctuary"? In 9:1, Paul speaks of the entire 2-apartment sanctuary. The word he there uses for "sanctuary"-the sanctuary as a whole-is "hagion." This is in the singular and means "holy."
Second, we need to learn the Greek word Paul uses for the "first apartment" of that sanctuary. In 9:2 he describes what is in that first apartment, and he there calls it "hagia in the plural, or "holies "
Third, it Is Important that we find the Greek word that Paul uses for the "second apartment" of the sanctuary. In 9:3-5, he describes the furniture within that apartment and calls it "hagia hagion," both words of which are in the plural, and mean "holies holies" or "holies of holies."
Fourth, we need to learn Paul's definition of the "veil." This is important because there were two veils in the sanctuary, one before the first apartment (the first or entering veil) and another dividing the first from the second apartment (the second or dividing veil). This definition is given in 9:3, where Paul speaks of "to deuteron katapetasma," or "the second veil."
Thus we know that when Paul speaks of the second veil, he will say "second veil" in the Greek. Therefore we can know that when he speaks of the first veil-the entering veil into the sanctuary,-he will only use the word "katapetasma," or "veil."
With those four definitions, we are able to explain the basic passages in Hebrews which the Evangelicals use to try to confuse people with.
HAGIA THROUGHOUT THE BOOK
"Hagia" In the plural is a key word, and occurs 8 times In the Book of Hebrews (not counting the doubled term in 9:3 for "holies of holies"). It is the key to all the crucial passages between 8:1 and 10:23.
When the Evangelicals see the word, "hagia," they tell us, as Dr. Canon did in the above quotation, that it means "all heaven." Or, as is done in every instance in the New International Version (which is why it is Desmond Ford's most-quoted version), they will declare that it means the "holy of holies," or the second apartment.
But there are two facts that you should keep in mind here: (1) The King James Version is also guilty of mistranslating "hagia" at times. So a proper translation of "hagia" will not always agree with the King James. More on this below.
(2) "Hagia" is a noun, and in declension sometimes appears as "hagion." Do not become confused by this fact. We are able in each passage to tell its mode, and therefore can know each time that it is the plural form, "hagia," that is here, which should properly be translated as "first apartment;" and not the singular of the same word. The only time that the singular form of "hagia" occurs is in 9:1, which should be translated as "entire two-apartment sanctuary.
By now, you probably are beginning to see why it was unwise for Drs. Murdoch and Heppenstall to so quickly agree with Dr. Canon's translation of Hebrews 9:11-12, that in A.D. 31 Jesus went "into heaven." They needed to take time to let the Greek speak to them.
Remembering that in each of them, Paul is speaking about the FIRST apartment, and not the SECOND apartment, or THE SANCTUARY as a whole, here are the 8 places where "hagia" is found in the Book of Hebrews: 8:2, 9:2, 9:8, 9:12, 9:24, 9:25, 10:19, 13:11.
In addition to the above, (1) in 9:3 the word is given in a doubling: "holies of holies" (hagia hagion), and thus means the second, not the first apartment. (2) The singular of "hagia" is found in 9:1 (and there means "entire sanctuary of two apartments").
Notice how crucial in importance are these 9:1-5 definitions) And yet how clearly defined the definitions are in those verses) In 9:1, Paul is obviously speaking about both apartments, in 9:2, about only the first apartment, and In 9:3-5, only about the second apartment.
But are there not some, even in our own ranks, who believe that "hagia" in Hebrews should be translated as "sanctuary"? Yes, there are.
Some of our people believe that "Hagia" in 8:2, 9:8, 9:12, 9:24, 9:25, 10:19, and 13:11 means "the sanctuary (of two apartments)" and not "the first apartment." But that interpretation violates Paul's definitions given in 9:1-5. Yet if some wish to so apply it, it will do no violence to our historic beliefs. (This is because in A.D. 31 Christ entered the Sanctuary in heaven as He entered its first apartment. By A.D. 65 when Paul wrote Hebrews, Jesus was still in the Sanctuary and still in its first apartment. To say that Jesus went into the Sanctuary does not require that He went into its second apartment.)
But there is a very definite weakness in saying that "hagia" means the sanctuary as a whole, rather than only its first apartment. By so doing, we are not adhering to Paul's definitions, and if we will not do so, what reason do we have to complain when the Evangelicals do not do so either) (They interpret "hagia" as "all heaven" or as "most holy place," in dear violation of the definition given by Paul in 9:2.)
Before leaving this point, it is of historical interest that our leading twentieth-century Sanctuary expositor, M.L. Andreasen, applied "hagia" to the sanctuary as a whole. But we must remember that Elder Andreasen did not face the Evangelical/new theology challenge that our church does today. We were forced to study deeper into these matters than that respected student had to do.
HAGIA IN THE KING JAMES
We mentioned earlier that the King James Version has some mistranslations of "hagia." In our very complete 76-page Biblical Sanctuary, we give a listing of 38 Bible translations of "hagia" (pp. 13: 2-3). Unfortunately, the King James translators did not notice Paul's 9:2 definition of "hagia."
(In order to better understand the KJV translations, we do well to first review this information: The word "hagia" ("holy (places]") Is the plural of "hagion" ("holy (place)"), and is Paul's chosen phrase in the Book of Hebrews for the first apartment of the sanctuary, -and not both apartments of that structure, and definitely not its second apartment))
Now, let us see how the KJV translates this important word, "hagia":
In 8:2, 9:2, and 13:11-the KJV translates "hagia" as "sanctuary" (not knowing Paul's 9:2 definition of the word, this would be a correct translation of "hagia").
In 9:24-the KJV translates "hagia" as "holy places" (also a correct translation by the KJV translators who did not grasp the significance of the 9:2 definition).
In 9:12 and 9:25- the KJV translates "hagia" as "holy place" (which is a mistranslation of "hagia" but correct with context and Paul's intent- for "holy place" in the Old Testament means "the first apartment."
In 10:19-the KJV incorrectly translates "hagia" as "holiest" / In 9:8-the KJV incorrectly translates "hagia" as "holiest of all." In both 10:19 and 9:8 the KJV ignorantly translated "hagia" as the second apartment) Paul's 9:2 definition would render it the first apartment, and the Old Testament name for it as "holy place" would also render it the first apartment.
(in addition, going by the immediate context of 9:1-5, the KJV translators correctly translated 9:1 as "sanctuary," and they correctly translated the double plural "hagia" in 9:3 as "holiest of all," or the second apartment.)
The incorrect translations in the KJV are obviously an important part of the overall problem. Fortunately, we do not have too many problems like this in the KJV. But, as a result, people will say, "Well, it says 'holiest of all' in the King James, and you say it means something else)"
The message of Hebrews is that Jesus had gone into the first apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary and was ministering there in our behalf. Scripture never disagrees with itself. The prophets never disagree among themselves. But the KJV translators could not be expected to know the advanced truth that God revealed to His people in the mid-nineteenth century. YET THE TRUTH WAS RIGHT THERE IN HEBREWS! Paul wrote it 1,546 years before the KJV was printed.
Ironically, If William Miller had discovered Paul's 9:1-5 definitions, he could have known In the 1820s that Jesus was ministering In the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary before 1844! The antitype of the "cleansing of the sanctuary," given in Daniel 8:14, would then have easily been connected with its parallel passages in Leviticus 16-, and Miller would have been able to learn, long before Samuel Snow and Hiram Edson, the truth about the great event that would begin on October 22, 1844.
A UNIQUE USAGE
Just now, for a moment, let me emphasize again that Paul's use of words for "sanctuary, " first apartment, " and "second apartment" is indeed unique) He calls the first apartment the "holy places" ("hagia" which means "holies" or "holy (places)," with "places" inferred (a common Greek technique; compare John 1:11, where we know from the genders that the verse should say "He came to his own (home), and His own (people) knew Him not") But so we will not mistake his pattern, Paul then calls the second apartment the "holies of holies" ("hagia hagion"; the "of" puts the second "hagia" into the genitive case and gives it an "on" ending). Then, he calls the entire 2-apartment sanctuary the "hagion" which is the singular of "hagia"] This Is very unusual, but we MUST stay by It, since, reading 9:1-5, we see that these are obviously the words that Paul wanted to use for our three English equivalents.
Hebews 9:1 is the only time in the Book of Hebrews where "the sanctuary (of two apartments)" is found. Everywhere else in Hebrews, Paul uses the word "skene" ("tabernacle" from "tent"), probably so there might be no confusion with "hagia." It really does seem as if he made "first apartment" plural on purpose to underline the fact in Hebrews 8 through 10 that Jesus had gone into the first, and not the second, apartment in heaven.
Hebrews 9:3 is the only time in that book where the "second apartment" is found. Does that seem strange? Why should it. Paul wrote this book about the year A.D. 65. By that time, Jesus had been in the first apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary for 34 years. It would be another 1,779 years before Jesus went into the second apartment. Whether or not Paul correctly understood Daniel 8:14 and 9:25-27, we cannot know. But it is obvious that he very clearly understood that-In his time In history-Jesus was In the first apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary.
WITHIN THE VEIL
Before leaving the definitions given in 9:1-5, let us for a moment look at that last one, for it explains Hebrews 6:1920. Albion Ballenger (later to be echoed by Desmond Ford) claimed that Hebrews 6:19-20 absolutely proved that Jesus went into the second apartment In A.D. 31.
Many years ago, Albion Fox Ballenger (1861-1921) tried to bring in a variant set of doctrinal areas that had partial similarities to those of the Evangelicals. In the 1905 crisis, our people made their decision and rejected his errors, which were in some respects similar to those now held by the Evangelicals and our own new theology advocates. Ballenger was a master with the pen, and he later wrote a letter to Ellen White that is extremely well-written. He wanted it to be a masterpiece, for he widely circulated it afterward, although with little effect. But it is all based on a simple error that we will explain below. Here is the letter:
"When side by side we stand before the great white throne; if the Master should ask me why I taught that 'within the veil' [in Hebrews 6:19] 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 Your 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." A.L. Ballenger, quoted in Cast Out for the Cross of Christ, p. 112.
In reality, the Bible itself teaches that "within the veil" In Hebrews 6:19 refers to Christ's entrance into the first apartment; Ellen White simply agreed with it.
Here is Hebrews 6:19-20:
(6:19) "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; (6:20) whither the Forerunner Is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."
Just what does 6:19-20 say, and what does it not say? According to this passage, (1) Jesus had already gone somewhere by Paul's time. (2) That place was "within the veil. "And that is all we are told! In spite of all Ballenger's and Ford's claims to the contrary. Hebrews 6:19-20 does not say "second apartment," and it does not say "most holy place."
The key word here is obviously "veil." The question here would be this: does Paul In 6.19 mean the FIRST veil (leading Into the first apartment), or the SECOND veil (leading Into the second apartment)? In the Old Testament, we find one Hebrew word for the first apartment veil, and a different one for the second apartment veil. But we are dealing with the Book of Hebrews, and not the Old Testament Hebrew.
We have already seen that Paul uses his own type of definitions for the first and second apartments different than anywhere else in the Bible,-so we do well to stay close to Paul's use of the word "veil" in the Book of Hebrews. In this book we have that word defined in just one place-Hebrews 9:3,-but in that one place it is so carefully defined that we can have no doubt as to what Paul has in mind in 6:19.
Hebrews 6:19 says that, by the time that Paul wrote Hebrews. Jesus had already passed within "the veil" on our behalf. But which one of the two veils? Is It possible that Paul did not KNOW that there were two veils? This point is crucial. In 9:3, we learn that Paul did know about the two veils, and that he there gave us the name for the second of these: "to (the) deuteron (second) katapetasma (veil)," or "the second veil."
Now we look back at Hebrews 6:19, and there we find 'leis (into) to (the) esoteron (interior within) tou (the) katapetasmatos (veil)." It is just "veil;" it is not "second veil," nor is it "veils" If the Greek of 6:19 was "second veil," we would know that Jesus entered the second apartment in A.D. 31 and was there when Paul wrote Hebrews in c. A. D. 65. If the Greek was "veils, " then we would know that Jesus passed through both the first and second veil in A.D. 31 and was in the second apartment in A.D. 65. But instead, the word is "veil, "-so we can know that Jesus went into the first apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary in A.D. 31. Thank the Lord! The prophets agree!
A CLEAR, LOGICAL PROGRESSION
There is an orderly progression throughout this book. In 6.19, Jesus passed within the veil. In 7:25, He is our high priest ministering on our behalf. In 8:1-5, He is ministering in the tabernacle in heaven, which the earthly tent was patterned after. In 9:1-5, we are told what was in the earthly copy of the one in heaven.
Now we are ready for 9:6 and onward.
In 9:6-7, the progression continues. We are told that the earthly priest must FIRST minister in the first apartment, and that, at a later time, he would go briefly into the second. We are not to violate either his definitions of terms, nor the great truth he gave in 8:1, 2, and 5,-that the earthly Is the type of what happens in the heavenly Sanctuary.
All this has brought us to 9:8, and the next step in the progression should be for us to be shown Jesus beginning His ministry in the first apartment of that Sanctuary. AND THAT is what we are told in the 9:8. The problem is one of mistranslation in the English, not of Paul's intent-as shown dearly in the Greek of this passage.
It is important that we include these verses in our study, for in order to properly understand Hebrews 9:11-12, we will need also to examine verses 8-10, especially since verse 8 is held up triumphantly, along with verse 12, by the Evangelicals as proof that the Adventists are in error.
Hebrews 9:8: "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all (' hagia' ) was not yet made manifest while as the first tabernacle was yet standing "
Notice here the exquisite sequence that we have so far observed: (1) 7:25 26-Jesus is our high priest after A.D. 31 and busily engaged in this work. 8:1-6-Jesus has entered and is ministering in the heavenly Sanctuary and the earthly was carefully patterned after it. 9:1-5-The earthly sanctuary had two apartments. 9:67-In the earthly sanctuary, there was a daily ministry that continued for quite some time, and there was a yearly ministry that later took place much more quickly.
Then we come to verse 8, where we are told that the Holy Spirit uses the above Information to explain to us that Jesus could not enter the "hagia" [first apartment] of the heavenly Sanctuary while the earthly sanctuary still had standing in the eyes of God. (With the death of Christ, the earthly sanctuary and its services had no meaning to God: (Matthew 23:38 and Luke 13:35; Matthew 27:51 and Mark 15:38.) The probation of the people closed 31/2 years later (Daniel 9:25-27).)
(9:9) "Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; (9:101 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. "
Then, in the first part of 9:9, we are told that the earthly sanctuary was only a symbol of the true reality, which is in heaven!
At this point, we should expect to find from Paul a triumphant announcement that Jesus had gone into that first apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary. That is the next thing that we should expect to hear from his lips. But no, first he is anxious to clear up one other point: the fact that the sacrifice of Jesus is greater than sacrifices in the earthly sanctuary. Paul brings out this point both before and after giving that ringing announcement of Christ's entry into the first apartment in heaven.
And now, continuing on with 9:9 to the end of 9:10: The sacrifices in the earthly sanctuary never could by themselves bring the elimination of sin from the lives of God's people, for it all consisted only in animal blood and washings and ministries by erring, sinful men.
(9:11) "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building."
9:11: But Christ Is NOW our HIGH PRIEST! He is not merely a priest of things already accomplished (Calvary and His resurrection), but also of GOOD THINGS TO COME! (from heaven the atoning application to our lives today). He has entered a greater and totally perfect Sanctuary in heaven, a building that is not man-made.
The contextual sequence here is so important; let me say it again:
8:1-5 said that Jesus was In the Sanctuary in heaven; 9:1-5 said that it had two apartments; 9:6-7 said that the priest ministered a long time in the first apartment before briefly entering the second; 9:8 said that all this meant that an entrance into the FIRST apartment ("hagia") of the heavenly sanctuary could not be made until God rejected the earthly sanctuary and its services. 9:9-10 is parenthetical added information that the sacrifices by the earthly priests were greatly inferior to the sacrifice of Christ.
"At the time of reformation" (9:10)is when type meets antitype!
Once again, Paul hesitates to break the wonderful news until the groundwork is laid for it, and so in 9:11 he repeats the earlier stated truths that Christ is the priest of something much better, and that He is the priest of a greater and most perfect heavenly Sanctuary.
Now Paul is ready for the terrific announcement:
[9:121 "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place ("hagia" ], having obtained eternal redemption for us."
9:12 tells us that CHRIST HAS ENTERED THE FIRST APARTMENT ("hagia") of the heavenly Sanctuary! And two new facts are given to us: (1) He entered it by virtue of His own blood, not animal blood (the priest must minister with blood). (2) Entering it, He has "obtained eternal redemption for us."
In some very definite respects, 9:12 Is one of the high climaxes of the book (along with 1:8, 2:9, 2:17, 3:6, 3:15, 4:9, 4:14, 5:5, 6:1, 6:19, 7:25, 8:1, 8:6, 9:8, that preceded it, and some others that will follow, such as 9:24, 10:7, 10:16, 10:19, and 10:22.) This is Paul's manner in Hebrews. He builds to a point and then springs it upon us. Hebrews is a most wonderful book.
THE 38 TRANSLATIONS
But now let us return to our study. You will note in all of this that the correct translation of "hagla" is the key to the whole situation. Once understood, everything falls into place. We are sorry to have spent so much time dealing with it, but remember again: if the English translations of the Greek had been accurate we would not have to return to the Greek in order to learn the true meaning of these important verses in Hebrews.
There is a variation among the different translations in their handling of "hagia" in the Book of Hebrews. Several years ago, in connection with the writing of The Biblical Sanctuary, which defends from the Bible our historic Sanctuary Doctrine in Hebrews and Daniel, I did research Into 38 translations of the Bible Into English. In that study I found that only 9 out of 38 major English translations were a problem in how they translated "hagia" in Hebrews 8:2, 9:8, 9:12, 9:24, 9:25, 10:19, and 13:11. Only 9 out of 38 translated "hagia" In one or more of those 7 places as "holiest" or "most holy place." The other 29 gave a translation acceptable to us: either "holy place," "holy places," or "sanctuary."
Interestingly enough, only two of the 9 were published before 1952 (King James Version (1611) and Verkuyl or Berkeley Version (1945 ). All the rest of the 9 were published between 1952 and 1973. Here are the 29 English translations that translate "hagia" in Hebrews in an acceptable manner.
Murdoch (1855), Noyes (1869), Sawyer (1891), Rotherham: Emphasized (1895), Young (1898), English Revised (1881), Coptic (1898-1905), Twentieth Century NT (1902), Weymouth (1903), American Standard Version (1901), Fenton: New Testament in Modern English (1919), Mofftt (1922), Ballantine: Riverside New Testament (1934), Lamsa (1940), Basic English (1941), Confraternity (1941), Goodspeed (1943), Knox (1944), Revised Standard Version (1946), Spencer (1946), Lattey. Westminster (1947), New World (1950), British Authorized: Translator's New Testament (1954), New English Bible (1960), Beck (1963), Jerusalem Bible (1966), Byington:Bible in Living English (1972), Estes (1973).
Here are the 9 translations which in one or more of those 7 verses, translate "hagia" as "holy of holies," "holiest," "holiest of all," etc.:
King James: Authorized Version (1611); Verkuyl: Berkeley Version (1945), Williams: New Testament in Plain English (1952), Amplified (1958), Phillips (1958), Today's English Bible (1966), Living Bible (1967), Barclay (1969), New International Version (1973).
The complete listing will be found on a two-page spread in my Biblical Sanctuary (pages 13:2-3). With the exception of the King James, the other 8 translations nearly always translate "hagia" as a second apartment term in 9:8, 9:12, 9:25, and 10:19, and much of the time in the other three passages. There is no doubt that these recent translations are forcing their own Evangelical theology Into their translations!
THE EIGHT HAGIAS
Let us view for a moment what a totally correct translation of '"hagia" does to several of the most crucial passages in Hebrews:
(8:1) "Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; (8:2] A minister of the FIRST APARTMENT ["of the sanctuary"-KJV, but in the Greek: "ton hagion, " "of the holies" in the genitive plural case], and of the true tabernacle ("skene" "tabernacle" or "tent"), which the Lord pitched, and not man."
(9:2) "For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick (lampstand], and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the FIRST APARTMENT ["the sanctuary"-KJV, but in the Greek:" Hagia," "holies" in the nominative plural case]."
(9:8) "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way Into the FIRST APARTMENT ["into the holiest of all"-KJV, but in the Greek "ton hagion," "into the holies" in the genitive plural case] of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing."
9:12: "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered In once into the FIRST APARTMENT ["into the holy place" - KJV, but in the Greek "eis to hagia" in the plural accusative case], having obtained eternal redemption for us."
9:24: "For Christ is not entered into the FIRST APARTMENT [of the earthly sanctuary] made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."
10:19: "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the the FIRST APARTMENT ["into the holiest"-KJV, but in the Greek "ton hagion" in the genitive plural case], by the blood of Jesus."
13:11: "For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the FIRST APARTMENT [of the earthly sanctuary) by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp."
Notice throughout the above passages, Paul's preoccupation with the first apartment. ONLY in 9:3-5, 7 does he mention the second apartment. That is because In his day it was not time to discuss the ministry in that apartment. Thirty years later, while in vision, John was shown Christ ministering in the first apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary amid the first apartment furniture (Revelation 4:5 with 5:6, 8:35). Later John was shown In vision a future time when the door (veil) into the second apartment would be opened and the Importance of the law of God would be seen (Revelation 11:19).
Notice that in 13:11-13, the thought is one of comparison: The earthly priests brought blood into the first apartment ("hagia") from outside the tent, and so In preparation for His ministry In the first apartment In heaven is implied in the comparison], Christ suffered and died outside also.
The key to all these "hagia" passages is the fact that the word is al- ' ways In the plural, and that 9:2 reveals that a non-doubled "hagia" In the plural can only mean "first apartment" In the Book of Hebrews. (A doubled plural "hagia" would indicate "second apartment" as in 9:3).
And now we shall return to our study. Prior to when Paul wrote, Jesus had indeed entered the "hagia" (first apartment) and was there ministering on behalf of His people (9:12). Because in the introduction to this study, Walter Martin made such a big issue of Hebrews 9:11-12, we shall now pause to examine this passage more closely in the Greek:
HEBREWS 9:11-12 IN THE GREEK
The Greek of 9:11: "Christos [Christ] de paragenomenos [but, having-come (or) having-appeared] archiereus [highpriest] ton genomenon agathon [of-theto-come (or) that-are-to-come goodthings], dia tes meizonos [through the greater] kai teleioteras skenes [and more-perfect tent] ou cheiropoietou [not hand-made], tout estin ou tautes tes ktiseos [this is not of-this the creation],"
A Translation of 9:11: "But Christ, having appeared (or) become a high priest of the good things that are yet to come, because of the greater and still more perfect tent [Paul did not want to insult the Jew's respect for their temple], not made by men's hands nor of this present world,"
The Greek of 9:12: "Oude di haimatos [Nor through blood] tragon kai moschon [of-goats and of-calves], dia de tou idiou haimatos [through but the (His) own blood] eisetthen ephapax [entered once] eis to hagia [into the first apartment], aionian lutrosin heuramenos [eternal] redemption having-found]."
A Translation of 9:12 "nor by means of blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered once into the first apartment, having found eternal redemption."
KEY WORDS IN 9:11-12
Let us now notice certain key words in these two verses:
"Ton genomenon agathon"-In the past (before A.D. 65) ("paragenomenos") Christ became our high priest, and now ("ton genomenon agathon") In our present and future great things are coming to you and me as a result! Part of it is the present mediation of Christ (4:1416, 7:25-26, 8:1-2, 9:24) on our behalf, another part is the fact that we may in faith come to Him and receive its benefits right now (4:14-16, 10:1922). yet another part is the promise that it can remove our sins (8:10, 9:14, 10:16), and then there is the final blessing that He will soon return as a result and take us unto Himself (9:28, 10:3537, 10:35-37, 11:39-40). The consistent message of Hebrews is a PRESENT mediation and PRESENT victories over sin, not a past or a future mediation and victory over sin as the Evangelicals teach.
"Tragenkai moschon"-In 9:12,13, and 19, Paul writes about the blood of bulls or calves and goats. Desmond Ford made a big issue of that one, since goat and bull blood is used on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:3,5-6,11), therefore he claims that Hebrews 9 is speaking about the second apartment. But if you will check, you will find that bull, calf, and goat blood (bull: Lev 4:3.8:2, 9:2-3; bull and goat blood: Lev 4 and 9) was regularly used In the daily service as well (goat, kid, or ram blood was the preferred offering for the people in the daily services: Lev 1:2-3,10; 3:6-7,12; 4:2-3,13-14,22-23,27-28; 5:6-7; 6:6; 8:2,14,18,22; 9:2-4), and bull blood was only used in the Day of Atonement for the sins of the priest himself (Lev 16:3,6,11)
"Eis to Hagia"-In 9:12, Paul declares triumphantly that Jesus had entered the first apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary, NOT as Drs. Canon and Martin claimed, "into heaven."
"Ephapax"-This word means 'once" or "one time." It can also mean "once for all." Martin made an issue of this point, as does Ford. "Hah, hah!" we are told by these scoffers, "Jesus entered once into the most holy place, according to Hebrews 9:12 in the NIV! He never did go into the first apartment!" But let us take the passage for what it says in the Greek: "He entered once into the first apartment." There is no threat in those words to our historic teachings. In A.D. 31 Christ did indeed ONCE enter the first apartment, there to begin His 18-century ministry on our behalf. Later, in 1844, He would enter once into the second apartment, there to complete His work in the heavenly Sanctuary. Paul likes to compare Christ's perfect, better, greaterness with that of the earthly type. The earthly priests had to continually go into the first apartment, but Christ only went in ONCE. We heartily agree.
"Aionian lutrosin"-"Eternal redemption" is ours through Jesus Christi We say "Praise the Lord!" Through the work of Christ, we can be eternal redeemed. On this point, we can all agree. "Lutrosin" comes from "lutroo"-to redeem, which comes from "lutron," or "ransom." There is no problem here.
"Heuramenos "-Here is the last key word in these two verses, and it is an important one. "Heurisko" means "to find." Luke 9:12 KJV: Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the towns and country. . and get victuals" The Greek word for "get" here is from "heurisko," "to find." The disciples were saying "Send the people away, that they may go look for food, and after searching find some."
"To find" in the Greek means to obtain as a result of a search. Jesus came to earth and then to heaven on our behalf,-and He has found the means or pathway to eternal life for every one of us! But this does not mean we automatically POSSESS that eternal life as soon as He found it, nor does It mean that He automatically GAVE it to us at that time, or that we have NO PART to do in receiving it.
"Heuramenos" is the first aorist middle (indirect) participle of "Heurtsko," and In the middle voice means to procure, get, obtain. The Atonement is the means by which you and I can inherit eternal life. On Calvary, Christ obtained that means; in the Sanctuary above He gives it to us individually. It is as simple as that. Let no one presume that Hebrews 9:12 teaches an automatic Calvinistic giving of eternal life to beings who have not already been born and do not want it, or a once-saved-always-saved person, such as Martin's own Southern Baptist Church believed. Christ obtained it; He offers to share it with you and me. By His grace He enables us to cling to Him, so we may obey Him and become like Him. Never, never should we imagine that that sinners who cling to their sins automatically have the eternal redemption that Christ will share with His faithful ones.
THE FIVE PROMISES
And that completes our study of Hebrews 9:11-12. Notice that the great announcement of Christ's entrance into the first apartment, as given in 9:12 was earlier stated in 8:2, promised in 9:8, and repeated again in 9:24 and 10:19: So FIVE TIMES in the Book of Hebrews we are told that Christ had, prior to A.D. 65, entered the FIRST APARTMENT of the heavenly Sanctuary for us! That is a great truth to share widely! "Hagia" is in every one of those five passages.
And the purpose of it all is to put away our sins from us and perfect our characters (10:1-17, 11:39-40)1 And at His Second Advent, He will return for His own-who have no sin (9:28).
THEREFORE, LET US DRAW NEAR!
THEREFORE, brethren, LET US DRAW NEAR TO JESUS! (10:19) Boldly ENTER by faith INTO THE HOLY PLACE ("hagia") where He is (10:19).
In the time of Paul, He was in the first apartment, but in relation to our personal experience at this time in history-the twentieth century,-we can read every one of those "hagia" passages as applying to where He is today!-In the second "holy place"!
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest ("hagia") by the blood of Jesus, by a NEW and LIVING way, which He hath consecrated for us, THROUGH THE VEIL ("dia tou katapetasmatos"-"through the veil," or first veil into the first apartment, as in 6:19; NOT the "to deuteron katapetasma"-"the SECOND veil" of 9:31 Although TODAY we are to come to Him through that second veil!)."
We have a high priest! We have a Sanctuary! We have mediation and empowering grace continually offered us by that priest! Oh, my friend,-grasp it! And you have the gift as you cling to Christ, walk with Him, sit in heavenly places with Him, and let Him work through your eyes and hands and mouth to reach those around you!
The future is bright, for we have the right message. It is a law-abiding message, an obedience-enabling message, from a priest who became like us in all points, and who will keep us from sin as He kept from it through the strength of His Father.
"Something better," "something greater," is the continual message of the Book of Hebrews. This is what we have seen all through the book. Here is a quotation from my Biblical Sanctuary:
"Hebrews 1 - Greater than the angels, because He was fully God. [Chapter] 2 - Greater than others who succour, because He was fully man. [Chapter] 3 - Greater than Moses, for He was the Builder and Leader of Israel [Chapter] 4 - Greater than Joshua, for He brings us to the true rest. [Chapter] 5 - Greater than earthly priests, for He is far more compassionate. [Chapter] 6 - Greater than Greater than earthly refuges, for this One leads us directly to God. [Chapter] 7 - Greater than Aaron, for His Priesthood is superior in every way. [Chapter] 8 -Greater than an earthly tabernacle and covenant, for He writes the Law into our minds. [Chapter] 9 - Greater than earthly sacrifices and blood, for He removes sin. [Chapter] 10 - Greater than an earthly dedication, for He can give us heart purity if we will be steadfast to the end. [Chapter] 11- Greater than an earthly faith, for the one He gives enables men to be fearless of death. [Chapter] 12 - Greater than a worldly endurance, for this brings us to the city of God. [Chapter] 13 - Greater than worldly affairs, for now every duty of life is consecrated -unto the One who goes with us without the camp.
"Something greater" is a powerful incentive for you and for me today to come to Jesus within the Sanctuary above. Greater than earth is heaven; greater than the cross is that which it leads us toward."-The Biblical Sanctuary, p. 16:1-2.
E. W. Farnsworth, in 1905, described Ballenger's teachings in these words: "When Jesus ascended, He went immediately into the Most Holy Place, and that His ministry has been carried on there ever since, and that Ballenger claims that Hebrews 6:19, 'within the veil' refers to the Most Holy Place [alone]. Ballenger's teaching here is identical [on both points] to that of Desmond B. Ford's." Ellen White wrote this in warning about the teachings of A. F. Ballenger:
"In clear, plain language I am to say to those in attendance at this [General] conference [Session of 19051 that Brother Ballenger has been allowing his mind to receive and believe specious error. He has been misinterpreting and misapplying the scriptures upon which he has fastened his mind. He is building up theories that are not founded in truth. A warning is now to come to him and to the people; for God has not indited the message that he is bearing. This message, if accepted, would undermine the pillars of our faith .. If the theories that Brother Ballenger presents were received, they would lead many to depart from the faith. They would counterwork the truths upon which the people of God have stood for the past fifty years. I am bidden to say in the name of the Lord that Elder Ballenger is following a false light. The Lord has not given him the message that he is hearing regarding the Sanctuary Service .. I have a warning for those who suppose that they have been given the work of revealing Scripture in a new light. This work means substituting human interpretations for the interpretation that God has given. Thus did the heavenly messengers pronounce upon the effort into which Brother Ballenger has entered."-Manuscript 62, 1905.