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A View of the Word, "Eternal"

A View of the Word, "Eternal"

By Sami Wilberforce

This study will be going over the concept of “eternal”. This term is one of the key issues in the Trinitarian’s mind in blocking them from accepting Jesus as God’s only begotten Son. I believe they are genuinely sincere in their understanding of these following terms and why I have put this together. The first thing I will do is to lay out the definitions of these two terms used by both sides:

Trinitarian’s definition:

  • Eternal: “lasting or existing forever; without end or beginning.”

  • Self-existent: “existing independently of any cause, as God.”

Non-Trinitarian’s definition:

  • Eternal: “a long time generally beyond human reckoning or comprehension either past or future”

  • Self-existent: “the ability or nature to perpetuate one’s own existence” (click HERE for a thorough word study on self-existent)

The Trinitarian definitions I provided can be found in just about any dictionary where the non-Trinitarian definition cannot be found in a dictionary to the best of my knowledge. Now one would think that the non-Trinitarian is at a great disadvantage because of this but for me I see it completely the opposite. It is actually a violation of rules of interpretation to get our definitions on biblical words and concepts from manmade dictionaries. This is because words change or evolve in meaning over time in all languages. The rule of interpretation is to see how a word is used in scripture in order to gain the idea or thought behind that word. In the case of “self-existent” the word is not a biblical word, though the idea is present in God and Christ’s words declaring that they are “I AM”. No word study in the Bible is available for “self-existent” but since this word is used in the Spirit of Prophecy, we will look at it in order to determine its meaning. We will also use the Spirit of Prophecy in discovering the meaning to “eternal”. First we will go to the Bible to discover the meaning for eternal. There are a few different Hebrew words used for the idea of “eternal” so let’s have a look at each of them.

  • “The eternal (קֶדֶם qedem) God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.” (Deut 33:27)

This word is less common than “olam” (247 times) which is the main word in Hebrew in connection with God (Father) and Christ’s eternality. The word “qedem” exists 87 times in scripture and in the above passage it is a descriptive word for God, hence we will look for similar context of these words used in scripture to gain the idea behind it.

  • “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward (qedem) in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” (Gen 2:8)

Obviously the above passage has no contextual equality with Deut 33:27, but I list it to show that this particular word is most often translated in the idea of “east” as in direction. I don’t think Deuteronomy is saying “the east God is thy refuge”.

  • “And for the chief things of the ancient (qedem) mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting (עוֹלָם olam) hills,” (Deut 33:15)

In the above, we see our first glimpse of “olam” in this study, used in what is called a Hebrew parallel. It shows that these words have the same idea behind them in this context.

  • “And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting (olam) God.” (Gen 21:33)

Now notice:

  • The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting (olam) hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.” (Gen 49:26)

Thus we have a “qedem God/olam God” and we have “qedem mountains/olam hills”. Obviously the idea behind these “everlasting hills” is not that they are “without beginning/without end”. This shows us that these two Hebrew words do not have the meaning of “without beginning/without end”. Yes, we know there must be a God who has no origin but these descriptive words, in and of themselves, do not imply this meaning. The words themselves simply imply a “long time” or “lasting duration”. Now the Bible describes that the mountains/hills were “created” so we know they have a beginning yet they are “olam/qedem”. Now, is there anything in scripture that describes God (Father) as coming into existence by means of creation or any other method? No there isn’t and thus by default He must have no origin. Again, its’ not the word “olam or qedem” in and of itself that tells us this but rather the overall Bible context.

  • “I have considered the days of old (qedem), the years of ancient times (olam).” (psalms 77:5)

This is simply another Hebrew parallel.

  • “Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient (qedem) kings? (Isa 19:11)

  • “Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient (qedem) days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn.” (isa 23:7)

  • “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient (qedem) days, in the generations of old (olam). Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?” (Isa 51:9)

  • “Art thou not from everlasting (qedem), O Lord my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.” (Hab 1:12)

As we can see God is from “qedem” and if we attempt to find any scripture that would explain His origin we would not find it. Thus the scriptures teach us that God has no origin/beginning.

  • “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting (olam) to everlasting (olam), thou art God.” (psalms 90:2)

Earlier we saw the “olam/qedem mountains” but here we see God brought them into existence thus we know they are not without beginning. There simply is no explanation to God having an origin, not a single scripture.

  • “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old (from olam), men of renown.” (Gen 6:4)

The words “from everlasting” and “of old” are both “min olam” in the Hebrew. The Bible teaches us that man was “created” so we know they have an origin thus we are not making an assumption here.

  • “And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time (min olam), even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.” (Josh 24:2)

Here we again see the idea of a “long time ago”.

  • “Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting (min olam).” (Psalm 93:2)

God’s throne which is His dominion is “from olam” yet we cannot find an origin in scripture for Him.

  • “Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the Lord: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient (min olam) nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.” (Jer 5:15)

Of course this nation had an origin as scripture plainly tells us these things yet the nation above is “min olam”. This nation has an origin from a long time ago. I cannot find a single case in the Bible of a word that in of itself means “without beginning/without end”. This concept can only be applied to a given truth if the overall Bible teaches us the idea. In the case of God the Bible never tells us of an origin and in fact we see scripture teaches that He is the source of all things.

  • “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Cor 8:6)

Now that we have done a study on these important words from the Old Testament we will look at the passages of the Old Testament which describe Jesus.

  • “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth (môtsâ'âh) have been from of old (qedem), from everlasting (olam).” (Micah 5:2)KJV

Now I’m going to quote the RSV also as there is a Hebrew word not translated in the KJV which is translated in many other version as well as a slightly different translation to “môtsâ'âh”.

“But you, O Bethlehem Eph′rathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin (môtsâ'âh) is from of old, from ancient days (yom).”

Some versions may translate the end of this passage as “from the days of eternity/everlasting”. Both the KJV and RSV would suffice and give the same thought. Now immediately we see an issue for the Trinitarian doctrine as these passage give the idea that Jesus had an “origin” or a “goings forth” which is a beginning. You will never find this in scripture in relation to God the Father. Now the rule of interpretation is to see how a word is used in scripture in order to develop the thought behind it but in the case of (môtsâ'âh) that is going to be hard as it’s only found twice in scripture. The other case is here:

  • “And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house (môtsâ'âh) unto this day.” (1 Kings 10:27)

Obviously there is no contextual connection in this case as the word means a “draught house” in this context. Strong’s says:

môtsâ'âh mo-tsaw-aw' Feminine of H4161; a family descent; also a sewer (compare H6675): - draught house; going forth.

Now I never make a primary appeal to any concordance or dictionary as I believe this is a violation of rules of interpretation. The Bible is our dictionary and interpreter. Thus we will look for more evidence to see if Christ indeed has a “family descent”, origin, or goings forth “from everlasting”. There is only one other passage in the Old Testament that presents this same idea in context and that is here:

  • The Lord possessed (qânâh) me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up (nâsak) from everlasting (min olam), from the beginning, or ever (qedem) the earth was.24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth (chûl) ; when there were no fountains abounding with water.25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth (chûl):26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.” (Pro 8:22-26)

There are many key words in the above passage but we have already dealt with olam and qedem. Now many Trinitarians will attempt to side step this by claiming this is referring to wisdom when in reality it is referring to a person who is the wisdom of God.

  • “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor 1:24)

  • “When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.” (Pro 8:27-31)

As we study the passage in Pro 8:22-31 we see that this cannot be referring to the attribute “wisdom” but rather a person. The word “possessed/qanah” is first up for study and appears 84 times in scripture almost always referring to purchasing something. The first use of the word in scripture is here:

  • “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten (qanah) a man from the Lord.” (Gen 4:1)

When Eve gave birth to Cain she said I have “qanah” a man from the LORD. Eve acquired someone who did not previously exist. In Gen 4:19-22 we see that God is “possessor (qanah) of Heaven and earth” because He obviously created them. In Gen 25:10 Abraham “purchased” (qanah) a field. Every single case in scripture this word is used in the idea of “getting something” or “acquiring something” at some point. Thus Jehovah acquired Jesus “in the beginning of His ways”. God couldn’t have suddenly acquired the attribute “wisdom” but rather He knew it was “wise” for Him to have a Son and thus Jesus is the “wisdom of God”.

The next key phrase says I was set up (nâsak) from olam. This word appears 25 times in scripture mostly meaning to “pour out a drink offering”. There is only one passage in scripture where it is used that would have any contextual relevance to this and it is located here in Psalm 2:

  • “Yet have I set (nasak) my king upon my holy hill of Zion.7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” (Psalm 2:6-7)

Now I’m going to go over Psalm 2:7, but in the above, we see that Jesus has been “set/nasak” as a King upon God’s holy hill of Zion. The reason Jesus is “setup” as king is because “thou art my Son this day have I begotten thee”. Jesus has been King from everlasting because God the supreme ruler “set” Him up as King. Trinitarians want to take this passage and move the “begetting” to the future but that’s not what the passage says. It says God would “declare THE decree” which is an ancient decree. In the rebellion in heaven God had to “declare the decree” when He brought His Son before the angelic host and “declared” to them that Jesus is His only begotten Son which a third of the angels were denying. It didn’t mean Jesus was “begotten” at that time but the meaning of the decree was “declared” at that time due to rebellion.

  • “The King of the universe summoned the heavenly hosts before Him, that in their presence He might set forth the true position of His Son and show the relation He sustained to all created beings. The Son of God shared the Father's throne, and the glory of the eternal, self-existent One encircled both. About the throne gathered the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng--"ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands" (Revelation 5:11.), the most exalted angels, as ministers and subjects, rejoicing in the light that fell upon them from the presence of the Deity. Before the assembled inhabitants of heaven the King declared that none but Christ, the Only Begotten of God, could fully enter into His purposes, and to Him it was committed to execute the mighty counsels of His will. The Son of God had wrought the Father's will in the creation of all the hosts of heaven; and to Him, as well as to God, their homage and allegiance were due. Christ was still to exercise divine power, in the creation of the earth and its inhabitants. But in all this He would not seek power or exaltation for Himself contrary to God's plan, but would exalt the Father's glory and execute His purposes of beneficence and love.” {PP 36.2}

Now the rebellion on earth is the same thing. God would send His only begotten Son to the world and the world would reject who He is. They would kill Him and God would resurrect Jesus in order to prove that Jesus was indeed the “only begotten Son of God”. How do we know this? Well because scripture says:

  • And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” (Acts 12:32-33)

Now notice what Paul says:

  • “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:” (Rom 1:3-4)

This is not “why” He is the Son of God or “how” He became the Son of God but rather “proves” He is the Son of God. Notice why this was necessary:

  • “The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” (John 19:7)

Now the same problem that began with fallen angels continues today. The entire Great Controversy is Satan claiming Jesus is not the “only begotten Son of God”. Notice what the angels would do:

  • “Angels were expelled from heaven because they would not work in harmony with God. They fell from their high estate because they wanted to be exalted. They had come to exalt themselves, and they forgot that their beauty of person and of character came from the Lord Jesus. This fact the [fallen] angels would obscure, that Christ was the only begotten Son of God, and they came to consider that they were not to consult Christ.” {TDG 128.2}

  • "Christ was the only begotten Son of God, and Lucifer, that glorious angel, got up a warfare over the matter, until he had to be thrust down to the earth." {Ms86-1910, Ellen White (August 21, 1910) par. 30}

Lucifer suggested that Jesus is no different than him, a created being; the same thing Trinitarians accuse us of today. Satan would not and to this day, still doesn’t accept Jesus as the only begotten Son of God, repeated in the Trinitarian doctrine. In fact Psalms chapter 2 has its real ultimate fulfillment at the second coming. God’s people are to “declare the decree” and notice the warning we are to give:

  • “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalms 2:7-12)

Now notice how all of this happens at the second coming:

  • “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” (Rev 19:13-15)

  • “And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev 6:16-17)

This will happen to all the inhabitants of the world who fail to heed “the decree” and bow down to the only begotten Son of God. All who join in with the fallen angels to “obscure, that Christ was the only begotten Son of God” (Lt42-1910.3), will experience the wrath of the Lamb, as they will eventually join in persecuting those because “they said Jesus is the Son of God.” Every Godhead doctrine whether pagan or professed Christian other than what the SDA pioneers believed rejects that Jesus is the “only begotten Son of God”. Thus we see that Jesus was “setup” as King “from everlasting” because God said unto Him “thou art my Son this day have I begotten thee”. The Hebrew word “yalad/begotten” appears 497 times in the Old Testament so do a search and you will see the clear idea of this word is “birth” or a man passing on his life as the scriptures often claim the man “begat” a son though we know he did this through a woman. The idea of the word is what we need to understand when it comes to God begetting a Son, not the physical mechanics involved. Lets continue in Proverbs 8 as we will get a plain thus saith the Lord that this begetting took place “from everlasting”.

  • “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth (chûl); when there were no fountains abounding with water.25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth (chûl):26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.” (Pro 8:22-26)

In the passage we see Jehovah “acquired” Jesus in the beginning of His way and “set Him up” as King and God did this when He “brought Him forth” before the earth was. The Hebrew word “chul” appears 58 times in scripture but only twice outside of this passage in this verb form. I’m going to quote a brother I know who understands verb forms much better than I do:

  • “The Hebrew word לוח, which was translated “I was brought forth,” is a verb. Hebrew verbs can be found in many different forms. In the Old Testament, this particular verb was used in six different forms. They are Qal, Polel, Pulal, Hophal, Hithpolel, and Hithpalpel. Depending upon what form is used for this verb, the meaning of the word can be completely changed. For example, when this Hebrew verb לוח is used in the Qal form, it means “to dance, to twist, to writhe, to whirl, to whirl about” (Brown-Driver-Brigg’s Hebrew Lexicon). It is obvious from the context that this definition would not apply in Proverbs 8:24, 25, and it could not apply because the Hebrew word לוח is used in these verses in the Pulal form. The definition for the Pulal form is the only definition that can apply here. This definition is as follows: “to be made to writhe, be made to bear, to be brought forth” (Brown-Driver-Brigg’s Hebrew Lexicon). This verb in this form is only used three places in the Bible, and here are the other two places where it is used:” (Lynnford Beachy study)

  • “Art thou the first man that was born (yalad)? or wast thou made (chul) before the hills?” (Job 15:7)

  • “Behold, I was shapen (chul) in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive (yâcham) me.” (psalms 51:5)

These are both called Hebrew parallels which explain the idea of the word which in this case is birth. Now don’t be alarmed at the KJV translation in Job as “made” as it very well should have been translated as “brought forth” if the KJV was more consistent. “Are you the first man that was born? Or were you brought forth before the hills?” (RSV) Besides the English word “made” doesn’t necessarily mean “created” but can carry the idea of “origin” or “beginning”. I’ll show you an example of this from Ellen’s writing’s:

  • “The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind.” {EGW, RH, July 9, 1895 par. 13}

As we can see Jesus was (past tense) “made in the express image” of God’s person. The question is when and how was Jesus “made in the express image of His person”?

  • “A complete offering has been made; for "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,"-- not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father's person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, 30th May 1895, ‘Christ our complete salvation’)

Here we see that Jesus was “begotten in the express image of the Father’s person” showing that “made in the express image of His person” is the same thing. We now know how Jesus was “made” but when was He “made in the express image” of God?

Before Christ came in the likeness of men, he existed in the express image of his Father”. (Ellen G. White, Youth’s Instructor, 20th December 1900 ‘Christ’s humiliation’)

We now see that this begetting took place before the incarnation just as Proverbs 8 says because Jesus was begotten in the express image of the Father and He existed in the express image of God before the incarnation. Proverbs 8 tells us this happened “from everlasting”. Ellen quoted Christ in the context of Proverbs 8 many times.

  • “The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by Him as His right. This was no robbery of God. "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way," He declares, "before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth" (Proverbs 8:22-27). {1SM 247.4}

You will never find language like this concerning the Father for He was not “made in the express image of Jesus” nor was He “brought forth”, nor did Jesus “possess Him in the beginning”, nor did Jesus “set Him up”, nor did He have a “goings forth”. This is no role play, they are not pretending anything and it literally happened just as scripture says. In Proverbs notice Jesus was “setup” from everlasting which is equivalent to “the beginning”. In John chapter one we see In the beginning was the word and the Word was with God and the word was God”. Trinitarians do not believe in any “literal beginning” like non-Trinitarians do. Let’s look at a graph so we can see the difference:

ß-----------------------------X-------------------------------------------------------------à

The above is a Trinitarian model where everything from the X (creation of earth) to the left forever is “the beginning”. This is their idea of “all eternity” as there is no actual “beginning”.

Now let’s look at the non-Trinitarian model:

O------------------------------X----------------------------------------------------------à

In the non-Trinitarian model there is no time until Christ was brought forth and created things. “O” marks a literal “beginning”, Christ’s first creation, and beginning of time where X marks the beginning for this earth. Both models have a span of time for “the beginning” except the Trinitarian model has “no beginning” so the word has no real meaning. In the non-Trinitarian model “all eternity” begins with the birth of Christ forward, not backwards because there was no time as nothing was created yet. Nothing existed except God. None of the words “possessed, setup, or brought forth” fit in the Trinitarian model because these are all action words describing something that took place “from everlasting, from the beginning” but “from everlasting/beginning” in their model means “without beginning”. Thus Jesus was always “possessed”, always “setup”, and always “brought forth” with whatever meaning they attempt to apply to these words which I have never seen them attempt to show from the Bible.

All of the Greek words in the NT for the concept of eternal have the same idea as the Hebrew in the OT. In building this foundation to understand the concept of “eternal” we have learned:

1. There is no word in the Bible that in of itself means “without beginning/without end”

2. The concept of “without beginning/without end” is true for God because the Bible never describes a beginning or origin for Him but this concept is not inherent in the words “olam or qedem”.

3. Jesus was begotten “in the beginning, from everlasting”.

Now that we have gone over the Biblical foundation for these concepts we can look at the SOP without the preconceived idea built into the word “eternal”. Here are a few cases in order by the year they were written from the SOP:

  • “The unworthiness, weakness, and inefficiency of their own efforts in contrast with those of the eternal Son of God, will render them humble, distrustful of self, and will lead them to rely upon Christ for strength and efficiency in their work.” {RH, August 8, 1878 par. 4}

The above quote is the first time Ellen claimed Jesus was the “eternal Son of God”. According to Trinitarian definition this makes Ellen a Trinitarian as early as 1878. In historical study you will see that in 1871 James says Ellen was not a Trinitarian.

August 31, 1887 "Search the Scriptures." John 5:39:

  • “This injunction is from the eternal Son of God. Neglect of the study of God's word leads many to neglect the great salvation, and proves the ruin of thousands.” {YI, August 31, 1887 par. 1}

  • “Then look beneath the disguise, and whom do we see?--Divinity, the Eternal Son of God, just as mighty, just as infinitely gifted with all the resources of power, and He was found in fashion as a man.” {15MR 25.3} Letter 37 (Letter to E.J. Waggoner and A.T. Jones) 1887.

In the above we see a letter written to Waggoner and Jones who preached a begotten Jesus. Earlier we saw that Ellen said these guys presented Jesus in “all the fullness of the Godhead”. Later we will see that these guys did indeed believe Jesus was the “eternal Son of God” just as all non-Trinitarians do today without the same meaning as Trinitarians.

  • “That the transgressor might have another trial, that men might be brought into favor with God the Father, the eternal Son of God interposed himself to bear the punishment of transgression. One clothed with humanity, who was yet one with the Deity, was our ransom.” {RH, February 8, 1898 par. 2}

  • But while God's Word speaks of the humanity of Christ when upon this earth, it also speaks decidedly regarding his pre-existence. The Word existed as a divine being, even as the eternal Son of God, in union and oneness with his Father. From everlasting he was the Mediator of the covenant, the one in whom all nations of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, if they accepted him, were to be blessed. "The Word was with God, and the Word was God." Before men or angels were created, the Word was with God, and was God. {RH, April 5, 1906 par. 5}

The first point that should be mentioned is the Trinitarian definition for the word “eternal” is “without beginning/without end”. The second point we need to understand is why Jesus is called the “Son of God” if He has no origin. Often Trinitarians will claim He is the Son of God because of the incarnation and God called those things that were not as though they were. This is why He was called the Son of God before the incarnation but it is the incarnation that made Him the Son of God. They will claim the incarnation is when He was “begotten”. Others will claim it is the resurrection when He was “begotten” or both. Thus the title of “Son” was something He took as a “role” in Heaven to be implemented in the incarnation. Why is this a problem?

1. This means Jesus took the title of “Son” because of sin when sin had not yet existed. If sin had never happened Jesus would have been called the “Son” for what reason? The only reason would be to act a “role” which is “pretending” which is “deception” which is “sin”. If Jesus was pretending to be God’s Son for any reason before the incarnation this is sin.

2. The next problem is it says Jesus existed “even as the eternal Son of God” but by Trinitarian definition that means Jesus never could have taken on the “role” of “Son” but would have always been the “Son”. This brings us to the illogical conclusion that three beings all having no origin just happened to always be “Father and Son” while a third being has the meaningless title of “Holy Spirit”. I have seen some Trinitarians claim this belief and it is always answered as a “mystery” of how Jesus can be the Son of God yet have no beginning. This is identical to the Catholic idea of Jesus being eternally begotten. They say He has no beginning and has always been going through the begotten process yet they call Him a Son. This is one of the “mysteries of the Trinity” written on her forehead in Revelation 17.

3. Another problem is found in Luke which says “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (1:35) Now remember this Spirit in the Trinity doctrine is a third individual who is responsible for impregnating Mary. If this is so why then is a different being called the Father? Remember Jesus is called the “Son of God” because of the incarnation yet the being that is called “Father” had nothing to do with it.

Here are a few passages from Ellen’s writings concerning New Jerusalem which of course was “created”:

  • “But the true children of God are not seeking their happiness in this world; they seek for the lasting joys of a home in the eternal city where Christ dwells, and where the redeemed shall receive the rewards of obedience to the requirements of God. These do not desire the transitory, cheap amusements of this life, but the enduring bliss of heaven.”--MS 51, 1912. (HC 284.) {1MCP 314.2}

  • “Though the disciples had gazed far into the Heaven until their Lord had vanished from their sight, they did not behold the angels that gathered around their beloved commander. Jesus led a multitude of captives who had risen from the grave at his resurrection. As the glorious company approach the gates of the eternal city the angels sing. "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the king of glory shall come in." And the angels guarding the gates respond, "Who is this king of glory?" The attendant angels reply, "The Lord of hosts, he is the king of glory." As the glorious train passes in, the angels are about to bow in adoration before the Lord of glory; but he waves them back. “{ST, January 27, 1888 par. 5}

  • “We may have a vision of the future, the blessedness of heaven. In the Bible are revealed visions of the future glory, scenes pictured by the hand of God, and these are dear to His church. By faith we may stand on the threshold of the eternal city, and hear the gracious welcome given to those who in this life co-operate with Christ, regarding it as an honor to suffer for His sake.” {AA 601.3}

  • "Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness," Christ says, "that when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles." R.V. God and Christ and angels are all ministering to the afflicted, the suffering, and the sinful. Give yourself to God for this work, use His gifts for this purpose, and you enter into partnership with heavenly beings. Your heart will throb in sympathy with theirs. You will be assimilated to them in character. To you these dwellers in the eternal tabernacles will not be strangers. When earthly things shall have passed away, the watchers at heaven's gates will bid you welcome. {COL 373.1}

Now if we apply the Trinitarian definition of “without beginning/without end” to the New Jerusalem we then would have to believe this city like God has no origin and has always been. To the best of my knowledge nobody believes the New Jerusalem is “without origin”. Here are two non-Trinitarian’s from back in the day including Ellen’s son W.C. White that called Jesus “eternal”:

  • "The statement and the arguments of some of our ministers in their effort to prove that the Holy Spirit was an individual as are God the Father and Christ, the eternal Son, have perplexed me and sometimes they have made me sad. One popular teacher said we may regard Him (the Holy Spirit) as the fellow who is down here running things. (Letter from W C White to H W Carr. April 30 1935)

  • "Christian institution" only by directly denying the unchangeability of God's righteousness, and the grace of Christ the eternal Son of God; in short by denying the Gospel. {December 16, 1897 E.J. Waggoner, PTUK 787.8}

Now it’s possible some/many non-Trinitarians in that day did not say Jesus was “eternal” or even denied it but this would have been due to a faulty human definition. Both Ellen’s Son and Waggoner were non-Trinitarian yet believed in the eternal Son of God. Another common quote used to promote the idea of an eternity “without beginning” is here:

“But while God's Word speaks of the humanity of Christ when upon this earth, it also speaks decidedly regarding his pre-existence. The Word existed as a divine being, even as the eternal Son of God, in union and oneness with his Father. From everlasting he was the Mediator of the covenant, the one in whom all nations of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, if they accepted him, were to be blessed. "The Word was with God, and the Word was God." Before men or angels were created, the Word was with God, and was God.

“The world was made by him, "and without him was not anything made that was made." If Christ made all things, he existed before all things. The words spoken in regard to this are so decisive that no one need be left in doubt. Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity, God over all, blessed forevermore.” {RH April 5, 1906, par. 5, 6}

  • The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by him as his right. This was no robbery of God. "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way," he declares, "before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth; while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth." {RH, April 5, 1906 par. 7}

In the Trinitarian definition of eternity “all eternity” obviously means Jesus had no origin but notice how Ellen quotes Proverbs 8 which we went over earlier. In that chapter we see that Jesus was “set up from the beginning” which I believe is a literal event from which begins “all eternity”. Another important point is Ellen says Jesus “was God essentially, and in the highest sense”. The word “essentially” is a very important word as we would never say the Father is God “essentially”. My dad is not my dad “essentially”. Jesus is definitely God in the highest sense having the exact same Deity as Him but He is not the person of God as He is His Son.

  • “The Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father, is truly God in infinity, but not in personality.”(Ellen G. White, Manuscript 116, Dec. 19, 1905, ‘An Entire Consecration’, see also The Upward Look, page 367)

Jesus is truly God in “infinity” is the same as the “highest sense” but He is not God in personality. Infinity here is referring to Christ’s nature, His Deity.

  • “There is no one who can explain the mystery of the incarnation of Christ. Yet we know that He came to this earth and lived as a man among men. The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty, yet Christ and the Father are one. The Deity did not sink under the agonizing torture of Calvary, yet it is nonetheless true that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." {LHU 235.3}

Now Trinitarians will claim these are saying Jesus is not the Father, which is true that He isn’t but it is also true that He is not the Lord God Almighty or the personality of God as these are two different beings.

  • Christ is one with the Father, but Christ and God are two distinct personages.” Ellen G. White to the delegates at the 1905 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Takoma Park Washington D. C., May 19, 1905, Review and Herald, June 1, 1905

  • “We know that Christ came in person to reveal God to the world. God is a person and Christ is a person.” 1SAT p. 343, Ms. 46, 1904. MR 900.

  • “There is a personal God, the Father; there is a personal Christ, the Son.” RH March 17, 1904

Hope that helps.

Blessings