Questions & Answers

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Ask a question of Bible Explorations!  If the question is appropriate for this page, and is answered, then the question and the answer will show up here.  Otherwise, to guarantee an answer, use the Bible Explorations' Forum instead.


Q: Who and what is Bible Explorations?

A: Bible Explorations is a non-profit corporation.  It was incorporated by Elder John VanDenburgh in 1994 (pictured at right, with his wife, Clara).  Elder VanDenburgh practiced dentistry for many years before returning to his first love — the ministry.  A Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA), he was the church's conference evangelist for several conferences before retiring as the Southern California Conference Evangelist in 1996.

The purpose of this ministry is to explore and teach the gospel as outlined in the Bible and then to teach others how to share that gospel.  This work is being done through public seminars, printed literature, and also in a video ministry.  The video ministry is available for people who cannot, or for other personal reasons, do not attend public worship services and for all who would simply appreciate a video ministry.

Bible Explorations now has available all of our basic Bible truths on DVD.  We know of no set of DVDs more complete regarding our basic SDA beliefs.  If you would like to share the gospel, but do not feel confident enough to do it yourself, then this series of 26 DVDs could prove invaluable to you.

View our calendar of events to find out more.

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Q: What is the "New Light"?

A: Ellen G. White has told us that "much new light" has yet to be discovered before Jesus comes.  Bible Explorations is not only dedicated to upholding our fundamental beliefs, but to also be "exploring" the Bible for the new light that is yet to shine on us.  We are told to "strive" to be among the 144,000.  Come and join us as we search the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy for insights and truths that will be especially known and understood by the final generation!

Read more about the "New Light".

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Q: Do you have meetings?

A: Bible Explorations sponsors a free retreat every spring and fall.  The spring retreat coincides with the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the fall retreat coincides with the Feast of Tabernacles.  Our retreats are old-fashioned, Christ-centered, and conservative.

Learn more about our next retreat.

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Q: Why does the Bible Explorations' calendar generally place God's Annual Feast days about a month later than other calendars?

A: In short, there are (at least?) four different methods, used by various and sundary factions or sects of the Jews, for determining the beginning of God's Holy year:

  1. The Barley Harvest in the spring;
  2. The closest new moon to the vernal equinox;
  3. The first new moon after the vernal equinox; and,
  4. The use of a mathematical formula (which is known to have errors).

Of those, Bible Explorations believes #3 to be the most Biblically sound.  This method is also the only method which would allow the Day of Atonement to occur on October 22 — both this year, 2007, and in 1844 — on which the Seventh Month [Advent] Movement is solidly founded.

See this article for an in-depth study of method #1 — also makes reference to methods #2 and #3.

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Q: Why does the Bible Explorations' calendar generally place Pentecost one to six days earlier than other calendars which, apparently, use the same starting point for God's Holy year?

A: The reason is because Bible Explorations believes both the spring First Fruits and the summer First Fruits (the Wave Sheaf and Pentecost) should float, from year-to-year, while others believe they are always on a Sunday.  By way of explanation...  The "controversy" over the placement of both the spring and the summer feasts of First Fruits revolves around the wording of Leviticus 23:11 (for spring First Fruits) and Leviticus 23:15,16 (for the summer First Fruits).

The first part of the issue is the use of the word "sabbath"...  The English and Hebrew word (Strong's 7676) used in those two references is normally only attributed to the weekly Seventh-day Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment.  However, Bible Explorations points out that there appears to be many exceptions to this — even there in the same chapter of Leviticus 23!  (See verses 32 and 38 of that chapter.)  Continuing...  The other word, Strong's 7677, is sometimes translated "rest" and sometimes "sabbath".  This word is used in verses 3 (the weekly Sabbath "rest"), 24 (Trumpets), 32 (Atonement), and 39 (Tabernacles) of that chapter.

The second part of the issue is the use of the phrases "seven sabbaths" or "seventh sabbath"...  Since the Hebrew word behind these English words (7676) seems to refer to the weekly Seventh-day Sabbath, this would also seem to lend credence to always placing both First Fruits on a Sunday.  However, Bible Explorations points out that there appears to be many times, in the Bible, where this phrase is used to denote "seven days" or "weeks" of time not, necessarily, coinciding with the seven day week which ends on the weekly, Seventh-day Sabbath (cf., Deu. 16:9 and Lev. 25:8).

Thus, until we receive greater understanding, it is difficult to definitively decide (i.e., just from the Bible) which understanding is absolutely correct.  In the absence of a clear, "Thus saith the LORD" (i.e., from the Bible), we often turn to Ellen G. White for additional clarification...

Speaking of the annual feasts (in general), she said (PP, pp. 539-540):

"On the fourteenth day of the month, at even, the Passover was celebrated, its solemn, impressive ceremonies commemorating the deliverance from bondage in Egypt, and pointing forward to the sacrifice that should deliver from the bondage of sin...

"The Passover was followed by the seven day's feast of unleavened bread. The first and the seventh day were days of holy convocation, when no servile work was to be performed. On the second day of the feast, the first fruits of the year's harvest were presented before God...

"Fifty days from the offering of first fruits, came the Pentecost, called also the feast of harvest and the feast of weeks..."

Note that her statement of "On the second day of the feast..." would mean that the day would float, from year-to-year, and would not always occur on a Sunday.

Further, somewhat consequential, evidence is that Polycarp (martyred in 155AD) speaks of the movement within the early Christian Church (the early Roman system, of course) to have an annual feast day which always occurred on a Sunday — ostensibly, a yearly honoring of the Resurrection of Christ.  However, Christ absolutely did Resurrect on the spring Feast of First Fruits (which was a Sunday that year).  If the spring Feast of First Fruits always fell on a Sunday (as claimed), then the early Christian Church would not have had to come up with "Easter" Sunday — for the spring Feast of First Fruits would have been perfectly suited as the correct day on which to yearly honor the Resurrection of Christ.

For a more in-depth study into these, and related, issues; consider purchasing the 2-disc set entitled, "The Third Day, Wavesheaf, and Pentecost," by John VanDenburgh.

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Q: Why does the Bible Explorations' calendar sometimes have one or two of the Feast Days a day or two earlier or later than other calendars?

A: There are two possible reasons for this and is because Bible Explorations believes in following the Word of the God to the best of our understanding.  By way of explanation...

According to Jewish tradition, they don't want any of God's annual sabbaths to fall on the preparation day (i.e., Friday) before the weekly Sabbath.  Apparently, the Jews wish to keep Friday clear of anything which would prevent them from working to prepare for the weekly Sabbath.  Therefore, they apply what are called "postponements" to God's Calendar.  God, Himself, made no such stipulation and, therefore, we keep the Feast day on the actual day God has commanded — regardless.

Otherwise, the other possible reason is a difference in determining the date of the New Moon.  Bible Explorations goes by the local observation of the New Moon — not a Jerusalem-approved observation of the New Moon.  This is because Jerusalem lost its significance (as the purveyor of God's Law) when the Jews rejected, crucified, and then continued to reject the Messiah.  This is why the Most Holy Place in the Temple was exposed in 31 A.D., the Gospel went to the Gentiles in 34 A.D., and why Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 70 A.D.

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Q: Leviticus 23 proclaims the Seventh-day Sabbath as the first Feast of God, then goes on to proclaim seven more annual 'Sabbaths' as Feasts of God. The annual 'Sabbaths' are governed by the moon -- shouldn't the Seventh-day Sabbath follow suit?

A: Quite simply, No!  Bible Explorations recognizes and acknowledges the following similarities:

  • The weekly and annual sabbaths are all "appointed times" or "fixed times" (the word "feast" is translated from the Hebrew word "moed").
  • The weekly and annual sabbaths are all times in which God has asked His people to come apart from the world and, there, to worship Him in a special way.
  • The weekly and annual sabbaths were all originally given during creation (see Gen. 1:14,15; 2:1-3 and cross-reference all word origins with a Strong's Concordance).

However, that is where the similarities end.  Thus, we should not forget these differences:

  • The Seventh-day Sabbath was originally given as a memorial of a literal seven-day Creation and its Creator (i.e., without reference to the moon) and as the antitype of several  sabbath "rest" types given throughout the Bible (the Canaan "rest", the seven-year "rest" for the land, the seven-times-seven year "rest" of the Jubilee, and the seven-thousandth-year "rest" for the earth from the activities of sin); while the annual sabbaths were (without reducing their importance) "only" given as prophecies with three-fold fulfillments in [1] the Exodus to Canaan experience, [2] the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and Pentecost experience associated with Christ's earthly ministry, and [3] the end-time experience of God's people and the thousand-year reign with Christ in Heaven.
  • The Seventh-day Sabbath is commanded (by God) as part of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:8-11; while the annual sabbaths (but, still, by God) are commanded (and the weekly sabbath restated) as part of the statutes in Exodus 23:12-17 and Leviticus 23.
  • The Seventh-day Sabbath is always given in reference, only, to a seven-day week (which dates back to Creation); while the annual sabbaths are given in Leviticus 23 in reference to a day of the month (or "moonth" day)
  • While all of these sabbath days are proclaimed to be holy convocations, only the Seventh-day Sabbath is proclaimed to be, in itself, holy.

There are many more things which could be said on this subject.  However, for the sincere seeker of truth, through the Holy Spirit, these things should be enough to convince and convict the Christian that the weekly sabbath should not be treated as any other "set-time" proclaimed by God.  He set the Seventh-day Sabbath apart as a holy day, which, of course, satan seeks to destroy its significance in many ways.  One of those ways is to get us humans to keep any other possible day except the very one God would have us to keep.

Thus, Bible Explorations sees no difference between keeping a Sunday or a lunar-based weekly sabbath — neither of which were explicitly commanded by God.  The very phrase, lunar-based weekly sabbath, seems an oxymoron ... at least, to me.  After all, would the devil really have needed to persuade man to change the Seventh-day Sabbath to Sunday if the "true" Sabbath was actually a lunar-based sabbath?  Do lunar sabbatarians really think they are smarter than the devil in this?  Who was there, at Creation, to watch and to know on this subject?

In final illustration, see the question below regarding "What truth did the manna demonstrate?"

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Q: Why did God allow the serpent to convince Eve to eat the apple?

A: Well, in the first place, we don't know that it was an apple and, in the second place, the serpent didn't convince Eve of anything.  No one can convince a person of anything that person chooses not to believe.  All satan did, through the serpent, was suggest to Eve an opinion different from what she had been told by God.  Eve made the choice to believe satan, based on the circumstantial evidence offered, instead of holding on to her faith in the Word of God.  In all our temptations, we have that same choice to make.

However, to specifically address your question...  Yes, God did allow satan to temp Eve through the serpent.  The reason is because God never forces us to obey Him.  He gives us His Word and then He stands back and lets us make our own choices.  If we ask for His help, then He gives it.  He does this because He truly loves us.  In addition to that, the prime accusation of satan is against God Himself.  The claim, by satan, is that God is a dictator whom authoritatively controls His creation — giving them no true freedom.  Since this is not actually true, God allowed satan to temp Eve for the same reason He allows us to make our own choices.  Meaning, it was satan's choice to deny God's words to Eve.

Lastly, this is the reason for the entire Great Controversy which has involved these six thousand years of sin.  God has to let satan show his true colors.  Another of satan's claims is that he could run the universe better than God can (Isaiah 14:12-14).  Thus, God originally had to allow satan to temp the beings of all the other worlds of God's Creation, too.  This world was the only one which succumbed to satan's temptations.  God even had to allow satan back into Heaven for the Grand Council meetings with the princes of the other worlds (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7).  Since the Cross, however, satan has bound himself to this earth as a result of what he did to the Son of God.

Meaning that, now, he is not allowed back into heaven because Jesus has become the Prince of this Earth and none of the other worlds will listen to him anymore, either, because of his demonstrated track record here on this earth.  All that remains, before the sin experiment is ended forever (Isaiah 14:15-27), is for as many people on this earth as is possible (2 Peter 3:8-9) to accept the Word of God and Jesus as their Savior — then the end will come (2 Peter 3:10).  God knows when that time will be.  You can be sure, though, that there are not many years left before that happens.

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Q: Since God's (Saturday) Sabbath is a Holy Day is it proper to do any kind of business on the Sabbath? ...including would be travel far enough to buy gas or make others work for you, eating out at restaurants, and buying at grocery stores?

A: If we read the Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11), we see that we are commanded to take the first six days of the week in which to accomplish all of our work, and business, for the week.  On the seventh day (sundown Friday evening through sundown Saturday evening), we are to do no work nor conduct any business (Leviticus 23:3) for this is the day we are to spend with the LORD doing His Work and His Business.  We are further commanded, in the Fourth Commandment, that no one, nor any thing, under our authority to command is to do any work, nor any business, on that day.

Now, there's the rub...  Bible Explorations feels, to a certain extent, that it is between each individual and their LORD just what constitutes those under our authority to command.  Thus, it would seem to be a no-brainer that we shouldn't directly purchase or sell anything on the LORD's Sabbath.  This would include gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores.  However, this would not include the indirect purchases represented by turning on the lights at home, lighting the flame of a gas stove, or using a microwave oven to warm up food on the Sabbath.  But, let us not judge others whom see it differently.

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Q: What truth did the manna demonstrate?

A: The giving of the manna demonstrated the truth that the weekly cycle, and the Seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath as God's only holy day, were ordained only by God and no other source.  You see, both the Bible, and modern science, demonstrate a system in which there are astronomical reasons for the time periods of a year, a month, and a day.  However, the only reason for a time period of a seven-day week is that given in the Genesis account of Creation.  Modern science cannot explain the seven-day week.  This does not mean there haven't been other systems for the length of the week, it is merely that the seven-day week pre-dates, and out-lasted, them all (if you truly believe the Bible as the Word of God).  And...  The cycle of the moon cannot be evenly divided into seven-day weeks nor evenly divided into any other length for a "week" (the approximately 29-day cycle of the moon is a prime number).  Without a clear, "Thus saith the Lord," any other interpretation is "adding" to (or taking away from) His Word (see Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Mat. 5:19; and Rev. 22:18-19).

Because of this very fact, though God, Himself, could easily employ the astronomical system to teach the newly-delivered Children of Israel (whom had suffered under 400 years of brain-washing by the devil's Egyptian tools) about His system of annual sabbaths (for astronomical knowledge was very familiar to the Egyptians, too), He could not do the same thing for His Seventh-day Sabbath.  The Egyptians knew there was no astronomical evidence for a seven-day week.  God knew that, too.  Thus, the system He devised, to teach the Children of Israel about His Seventh-day Sabbath, was the Miracle of the Manna.  (Incidentally, the Hebrew word, for manna, comes from the question the Children of Israel asked when they first saw it: "What is it?")

Otherwise, did you know there were seven miracles required in the giving of the manna?  These miracles taught the Children of Israel about the significance, and timing, of God's Seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath because there was no astronomical lesson which could otherwise be applied.  In other words, the Seventh-day Sabbath, itself, is a miracle of God.  Count them:

  1. On God's Word, the manna began "falling" or appearing each morning shortly before sunrise.
  2. The manna provided all their nutritional needs.
  3. Ungathered manna disappeared shortly after sunrise: for it wasn't the heat of the day which did it, because it disappeared about the same time even on cold days.
  4. No matter how much effort was placed into daily preservation, too much gathered manna lasted no more than 24 hours during the week.
  5. Instructed to gather twice as much manna on the sixth (or, preparation) day, and despite the example of the previous five days, the extra gathered manna lasted 48 hours from the time it was gathered.
  6. The manna did not "fall" or appear on the Seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath.
  7. As an overwhelming lesson, that cycle was repeated approximately 2,080 times but, then, after 40 years in the Wilderness, the manna stopped "falling" or appearing altogether once God's Children had entered the Promised Land and began partaking of the fruit of the land.

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Q: What day is the Sabbath: Saturday or Sunday?

A: Six days the Lord made heaven and earth....and rested the seventh day and blessed it...  Saturday, the seventh day is Sabbath of the Lord thy God.

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Q: Was the Sabbath day destroyed at the cross. Was the Sabbath day law abolished at the cross?

A: Please read Holy History or New Discoveries from Old Manuscripts (see the website).  You can also watch the free videos on our website - New Discoveries from Old Manuscripts.  There are also more DVDs on the subject which you are welcome to watch free on our website. The Sabbath was not abolished, it will be a Sabbath forever.

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Q: How many time did mana appear?

A: It fell 6 days, and they were to collect twice as much on the 6th day (preparation day/Friday) to use on Sabbath.  None fell on Saturday Sabbath.  It was a continous 7-day cycle with the 7th being Saturday Sabbath.

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Q: What is your understanding about Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, Holoween, etc?

A: These are pagan holidays which are basically substitutes for God's holy days.  Please read Holy History and watch the New Discovery Series which you can watch on our website. 

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Q: What is your connection to the mainstream Seventh Day Adventist church?

A: Bible Explorations is Elder and Mrs. John VanDenburgh's independent ministry.  They are members of the SDA church (Elder VanDenburgh is a retired conference evangelist and just held a series last summer).  We have church and SS here at Bible Explorations for a little church that lost their building.  We have approximately 25 to 30 here on Sabbath.  All are welcome.  We have it here every Sabbath morning and it is live on the website (or Roku or Google TV) only.  It is not live on BETV.  The pre-recorded Sabbath School by Chris Hall and Elder VanDenburgh is on most every Sabbath morning on BETV at 5 am and 8 am (Pacific time, USA).

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Q: Do spirit of the saint appear to people

A: The dead know not anything.  They are sleeping until Christ returns and brings them back.  They have no memory, they are just sleeping until He comes.

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Q: Why is your logo having four angels?

A: We have had the 3 angels messages and now the fourth (actually the 7th in Revelation) but considered the fourth in giving the message.

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Q: When does your day begins;at dawn on evening?

A: We begin the evening (sunset) before, Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.  We do not believe the evening is evil as some do, nor do we believe the it begins in the morning.  It is a 24-hour day that has approximately 12 hours of dark and 12 hours of light, night and day, evening and morning...  Thank you for the question.  Bible Explorations

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"While we must hold fast to the truths which we have already received, we must not look with suspicion upon any new light that God may send." (GW p.310)
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