Commentary on "Love"
Day 3: Monday, March 30, 2009
Monday’s lesson addresses the questions of whether or not God’s love is manifested more clearly in the New Testament and His justice and wrath are shown more clearly in the Old Testament. It concludes that there is no discrepancy between the two Testaments, that the New and the Old both demonstrate God’s love.
The lesson then lists four things that show evidence of God’s love in the Old Testament: God’s love in creation, Providing a solution for the sin problem, the gift of the Sabbath, and the continuous gift of prophecy.
Moreover, on page 9 of the teacher’s helps, Step 1—Motivate ends with this paragraph: “God wants something from us in return for the wonderful and mystifying gift of love He showers on us: to let Him show this love to others through us. What can we do to make it easier for Him to do this work in our lives?”
Again, it is misusing Scripture to say that Adventist core beliefs are demonstrations of God’s love. Scripture never uses creation as an evidence of God’s love. To be sure, all of the creation reflects God’s sovereignty over it. The story of creation itself, however, does not overtly confirm God’s love. The texts the lesson uses, Genesis 1:26-31 and Genesis 2:21-28 do not connect the creation with God’s demonstration of love.
Moreover, God’s providing a solution to the sin problem was not an “afterthought” which God devised after man sinned. While the lesson does not explicitly say the “plan of salvation” was an afterthought, the implication is there. Moreover, Ellen White depicts Jesus going into the Father’s presence three time pleading the for right to be sent as payment for sin.
The Bible, however, never suggests that God devised the plan of Jesus’ sacrifice AFTER sin arose. Revelation 13:8 says, “and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.”
God knew before the world was created who would be saved and who would not. God didn’t plan to send Jesus as a “fix” for the sin problem. Names have been written in God’s book since before creation.
Furthermore, Ephesians 1 explains that God chose us in Him “before the foundation of the world” (v. 4)
To be sure, God’s love is powerfully demonstrated in the cross. But God did not plan redemption after sin arose.
The gift of the Sabbath is also not a universal demonstration of God’s love. It was a sign between God and Israel, but never was it stated as a requirement for all people.
Finally, the prophetess Ellen White is not an example of a “continuous gift of prophecy”. Hebrews 1:1-3 is very clear that God spoke to us through prophets in times past, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His son. While prophecy is one of the gifts of the Spirit, this gift is for the building up of the body, not the revelation of new information about God or salvation.
To argue that the core essential of Adventism, notable the Sabbath and the prophet, are evidences of God’s love is to completely ignore what the Bible actually says. Both Jeremiah and Isaiah quote God saying He has loved Israel with an everlasting love. From Genesis to the end of the Old Testament God’s love is declared to be “steadfast”.
To arbitrarily pick creation, the “solution for the sin problem”, the Sabbath, and the continuous gift of prophecy is to completely ignore what the Bible actually says. The Bible is very clear that God loved His people deeply and unceasingly. As God, He cannot change or go back on His promises.
Moreover, We do not “make it easier for [God] to do [His] work in our lives. God is God, and He is sovereign over us. He completes what He begins (Phil 1:6). We do not “let” Him show His love to others through us. We submit to Him, repenting and allowing His blood to cleanse us. When we repent and submit to Him, He makes us alive in Jesus by putting His Spirit in us and pouring His love into our hearts—literally (Ephesians 1:13-14, Romans 5:8).
The question of whether or not God was loving in the Old Testament or not is a question of misunderstanding (or not carefully reading) the Bible. The Old Testament is full of statements declaring the unfailing love of God. It is not the Sabbath and prophecy that affirm God’s love; it is God’s own word and His own faithfulness.
Moreover, the text the lesson gives—Amos 3:7—does not legitimize or foretell Ellen White. Ellen White never correctly presented Jesus as eternal God, possess of His God-qualities even as a human. Her writings repeatedly contradict not only the Bible but her own “testimonies”. To attempt to use an Old Testament text to justify and make claims for Ellen White is an egregious misuse of Scripture.
The bloodshed in the Old Testament was all for the glory of God. He required that evil be eradicated from the land of His people so they would be kept pure and untainted by idolatry.
Copyright 2008 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised March 30, 2009. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Glendale, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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