Is the above statement correct or does she contradict the Bible?
(In the following comment, all emphases are mine.)
Ellen wrote the following, referring to Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus, ‘There was no exercise of supernatural power to harden the heart of the king.’
But the Bible says (God speaking to Moses), ‘When you return to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in your hand, but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.’
I don’t see how a plain reading of Scripture can fail to see that the above two sentences are contradictory.
Ellen also wrote, referring to Pharaoh, ‘God speaks to men through His servants, giving cautions and warnings, and rebuking sin. He gives to each an opportunity to correct his errors before they become fixed in the character; but if one refuses to be corrected, divine power does not interpose to counteract the tendency of his own action. He finds it more easy to repeat the same course. He is hardening the heart against the influence of the Holy Spirit. A further rejection of light places him where a far stronger influence will be ineffectual to make an abiding impression.’
So, was Pharaoh’s character so fixed by himself that God could do nothing to change it, as Ellen says? To put it another way, was God’s will no match for Pharaoh’s, or is Ellen wrong and God successfully imposed His will using divine power?
The Bible tells us the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them out of his land.’
Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.’
God said He would show His power in Pharaoh - not just by the plagues.
So the Lord was ‘manifesting His power’ by the plagues but also by hardening the heart of Pharaoh.
Also it doesn’t sound like Pharaoh made his own heart ‘more and more hardened’ as Ellen says, because twice he actually asked Moses to pray to the Lord on his behalf.
Read the passage yourself in Exodus ch 6-13. You will see that in each of the last five plagues, a plain reading of Scripture reveals that the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart was indeed ‘an exercise of supernatural power’ by God.
So, do you believe Ellen or the Bible?
Another example of how Ellen’s interpretation differs from the Bible is found in the story of Samson.
Ellen wrote, ‘Had Samson obeyed the divine commands as faithfully as his parents had done, his would have been a nobler and happier destiny. But association with idolaters corrupted him. The town of Zorah being near the country of the Philistines, Samson came to mingle with them on friendly terms. Thus in his youth intimacies sprang up, the influence of which darkened his whole life. A young woman dwelling in the Philistine town of Timnath engaged Samson’s affections, and he determined to make her his wife.’
But the Bible says, ‘Then Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. So he came back and told his father and mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.” Then his father and mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumscribed Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she looks good to me.” However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.’
Another contradiction between Ellen and the Bible. She says Samson’s attraction to Philistine women was his own doing, the Bible says it was ‘of the Lord.’
So, do you believe Ellen or the Bible?
Here is another example of misunderstanding the Bible by Ellen:
Concerning the story of Rehoboam and his heavy taxation of the people which split the kingdom apart, Ellen wrote, ‘Had Rehoboam and his inexperienced counselors understood the divine will concerning Israel, they would have listened to the request of the people for decided reforms in the administration of the government. But in the hour of opportunity that came to them during the meeting in Shechem, they failed to reason from cause to effect, and thus forever weakened their influence over a large number of the people. Their expressed determination to perpetuate and add to the oppression introduced during Solomon’s reign was in direct conflict with God’s plan for Israel, and gave the people ample occasion to doubt the sincerity of their motives. In this unwise and unfeeling attempt to exercise power, the king and his chosen counselors revealed the pride of position and authority.’
She also wrote, ’The story of Rehoboam and his rash and unwise decision to impose more conscripted labor on his people is a sad event in the life of the kingdom of Israel. The king sought counsel from two groups of advisors, but his final decision to follow the counsel of less-experienced young men his own age brought a catastrophe on the kingdom…Hence, a division occurred among God’s people that never should have been there and that was never God’s plan for His people.’
But in the Biblical account recorded in 1Kings 11 we are given insight into the real reason this split in the kingdom occurred. It was a judgment of God on the Jewish nation because of Solomon’s sin in being unfaithful to God (vs 33).
Through the prophet Ahijah, God told Jeroboam, who was to become king of Israel (the ten northern tribes), ‘See, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you…’ (vs 31).
After Rehoboam announced his decision about worsening the financial yoke on the people, we read, ‘So the king did not listen to the people; for it was a turn to of events from the Lord, that He might establish His word, which the Lord spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat (1Kings 12:15).
The Bible tells us that the decision about further increasing the taxes was not Rehoboam’s or his counsellors’ idea, it had already been mandated by God as his method of ‘tearing the kingdom’ from Solomon for his sins. The resulting division of the kingdom was not in direct conflict with God’s plan for Israel as Ellen wrote, but according to the Bible it was God’s plan for Israel as God explained to Solomon while Solomon was still king and well before Rehoboam took his place on the throne. (1Ki 11: 11-13).
Once again, Ellen has contradicted the Scriptures.
So, do you believe Ellen or the Bible?
Do you see the common thread in these examples? Can you recognize one crucial point at which Ellen and thus Adventist theology depart from the Bible? Can you see what evidently the article’s author cannot see?
The problem is that Adventism does not accept the sovereignty of God over His creation, and that God can and sometimes does overrule our wills to accomplish His purposes. So, passages in the Bible that prove this point are ignored or distorted, or worse, flat out contradicted.
It’s fascinating to me that learned Adventist scholars refuse to acknowledge this fundamental contradiction to the Bible in Adventist theology. Can they not see it? Perhaps God, in His mercy, prevents them from recognizing it because it would call into question a foundational, erroneous element in their theology: the belief that man’s will, not God’s, is paramount.
I have given a few examples from the OT; this crucial misunderstanding of Ellen’s carries over into the NT and I believe must cause great difficulty for Christians attempting to comprehend the gospel while trying to concurrently regard her writings as authoritative…