The beliefs and sentiments expressed by those whose letters appear here are not necessarily shared by the Adventist Review or its editorial staff. These letters have been edited for clarity and length. -- Editors
That Mysterious Number
Thank you for printing Ganoune Diop’s explanation on the meaning and nature of the 144,000. “Just 144,000? Really?" (Oct. 22, 2009) clarified at least two things: 1) that Ellen White was not against studying the subject of 144,000, but against the controversy that ensued from studying it a century ago; and 2) that although Ellen White had no light on the subject at that time, she assured God’s people that “those who are the elect of God will in a short time know without question” (Selected Messages, book 1, p. 174).
Although he did not clearly give his theological reasons, Diop has done a great job in pointing out that the number 144,000 in Revelation is in fact symbolic. There are a number of theological reasons why it should be considered symbolic.
First, because as in the book of Daniel (chapters 2, 7-12), the prophecies in Revelation are apocalyptic in nature. In contradistinction to classical prophecies that are normally treated as literal unless otherwise the context makes it very clear that the passage is symbolic, with apocalyptic prophecy, the reverse is true: we should treat the passage as symbolic unless the context makes it clear that it is literal.
Secondly, to go the literal route is an impossibility, since it is impossible to have 12,000 pure-blooded representatives of each of the 12 tribes of Israel unless God literally creates a new set of Hebrew people to compose the group.
Thirdly, God uses the numbers three, four, and 12 as symbols of completeness, universality, and perfection. The ethnic and numeric nature of the 144,000 is thus symbolic representation of the multi-cultural, multi-national people who will be saved.
Fort Myers, Florida
Long Live Adventist Education!
In “Are We Killing Adventist Education?” (Oct. 15, 2009), Shane Anderson gives many pro and con arguments. But he left out one of the reasons for “too costly.”
I have been to several institutions of higher education, and I know that we often need more buildings. But why do we need such elaborate structures, with marble floors, fancy walls, enormous rooms, etc., when smaller ones could do? Why build multimillion-dollar buildings when less expensive ones would do just as well? By cutting down on the fancy frills, we could cut some of the expenses.
Grow Up, Adventist
Kameron De Vasher articulated most timely thoughts in his article, “Where Have All the Grown-ups Gone?” (Oct. 15, 2009). I appreciate people who express well-thought ideas, even though they may be risky.
The article reminded me of a quote from John Stonestreet: “Adolescence is now, and this must not be missed, the goal of our culture. Somewhere along the way, we ceased to be a culture where kids aspire to be adults and became a culture where adults aspire to be kids.” How sad.
Powder Springs, Georgia
Thank you for printing all the extra letters for “Singing Our Songs” (Oct. 15, 2009).
Thanks, also, to the designer who put in the photograph of the little girl singing from the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal. That says it all! You have the new represented by the little girl, the old represented by the hymnal of 25 years. She is singing to the Lord a new song, because all the songs in that old hymnal are new to little girls and boys who have yet to learn them.
John B. Oddie
For 47 years I have sung hymns, and even tried to learn a new one once in awhile. Frankly, many of them leave me cold.
I’ve stood on ascension rock [at William Miller’s farm near Hampton, New York] and sang some of our early pioneers’ songs, songs that were written for 1843 and 1844, a different time and age. Don’t get me wrong: I still find myself singing them while in the car, taking a walk, or getting ready for church.
We recently joined a church that sprinkles hymns throughout its praise music. None of the praise songs we sing are 7/11 songs, nor are they all filled with personal pronouns, nor do they make God out as a simpleton or an ogre. Many of them, such as music written by the Gaithers, was frowned on for a while, even though some is now approved as hymns, has a story of a person lost who finds Jesus, and is walking toward heaven. These praise songs have touched my heart as few hymns ever have.
Satan loves to divide us, to get us to war against each other so that we have little time to do what we were commissioned to do: “Go ye into all the world . . . .” That message never changes. Let congregations sing the music they feel worshipful with. And if you’re visiting, try to learn a few of the hymns.
I’m writing in response to George T. Javor’s article, “Celebrating Creation” (Adventist World, October, 2009). This article was thoughtfully written and a number of interesting points were clearly presented.
But the vast majority of scientists accept the evolution model, not as just a hypothesis but as the theory, to explain the development of all life forms. Because of many more-than-serious problems with the evolution model, it takes far more faith to accept evolution than to accept the creation model.
Obtusely analogous to the evolution/creation debate is the fact that the majority of solar astronomers and astrophysicists accept the fusion of hydrogen (fusion model or theory) as the source of the sun’s energy. Going along with the majority of “experts,” Javor accepts out-of-hand the fusion model, even though, just like the evolution model, it is fraught with serious problems that have not been credibly answered.
An alternative to the fusion model is the Electric Sun (ES) model, as put forth by Donald Scott in his book, The Electric Sky. In this book Scott presents not only several significant problems associated with the fusion model, but also, how the ES model describes the source of the sun’s energy and does so without many of the fusion model’s problems.
It is most interesting to conjecture what mechanisms our creator God put into action, to what extent He maintains them.
Richard S. Hughes
A Prescription for Depression
Kudos for addressing depression in the articles “Beyond the Tears” and “Out of Darkness” (Oct. 8, 2009). A serious part of the problem is missed in the articles (so far).
Chronic pain and depression are often closely related. Chronic pain from many diseases leads to depression with so many unaware or unable to get help with pain management. Pain and depression are basically part of a vicious circle, making bad situations worse without even trying.
Please don’t continue to miss this vital part of depression.
Charles A. Cochran