Letter from E. J. Waggoner to his daughter Pearl [the actual letter is provided for you in the attached PDF]
Battle Creek, Oct. 8, 1905
My Dear Little Pearl,
I was very glad to get your little note, and thought to reply at once; but I keep very busy, and when I have finished my study for the next day I feel much like going to bed. They have been having operations all day Sunday; but today there are none; so I am taking the opportunity to write some letters.
I have not been lecturing since the school opened, but I have had some speaking to do. You see Dr. E. was away and I was asked to talk to the patients twice a week till she came back. Now she takes the time. I have to speak in the tabernacle to night and next Sunday night.
I am working now in the Pathological Laboratory. It takes quite a bit of time, but I have learned a great deal from it. At 7 in the morning there is Chapel and Bible Study. Then we have two classes from 7:30 to 9:30. From then till 12 I study and do Laboratory work – mostly the latter – and from 12 to 1 we have another class. Then we have two classes, covering from 2 to 6 p.m. so you see there is not much time left vacant.
It is such beautiful weather now, that I wish I could be where you are, among the trees.
I don’t think that Edith understands the matter that she writes about very well herself. I know that she does not understand about the subject under consideration at Minneapolis, and the result. It would take a long while to write all about it, but I think that I can give you a few ideas in a few minutes, that may help you. I haven’t see any complete, connected statements of Bro. Ballenger’s ideas, so I cannot judge how far he is right or whether he has anything that is really new. I might say, first, that I don’t think that the denomination has ever “acknowledged that alongside with the heavenly sanctuary there was a new covenant.” That, of course, they always believed, but what they did not and do not now believe, as far as I know, is that there was any heavenly sanctuary or priesthood dating from creation. Indeed, I think that very few have even thought about it at all; and I think that it is now very much as it was fifteen years ago and more, when scarcely any two, even among the ministers had the same views, or any definitely connected views at all, about the covenants.
I have never troubled myself to inquire what anybody else believed, but have simply taken what I found in the Bible; and here is a brief summary of the truth as it appears in the Bible: Sanctuary means holy place, and that is wherever God is – His dwelling place. No place built by hands, either in heaven or on earth, can contain God, and be His dwelling place. Yet God has a localized place (not necessarily the same spot all the time where He specially manifests Himself. This place is composed of living creatures, not made with hands, just the same as His throne. (See Ezek. 1). This dwelling place and throne are from before the creation of the world – as early as there were any living creatures in the universe.
As long as, or, ever since there have been created beings, there has been worship of God, and a priesthood, and this will be so as long as there are created beings in existence – throughout eternity Christ is the Mediator, that is, the means of communication and connection between men (and all other living creatures, for that matter) and God. While there was no sacrifice for sin before sin existed, and will not be after sin is blotted out, there was and will be just as much need of the Mediator as there is now; for no created being can live without God.
As suggested by the living throne of God and the living temple, not made with hands, God’s creatures are His real temple. Christ was the perfect representation of this and He so declared. When God brought Israel out of Egypt, it was for the purpose of bringing them at once to His Sanctuary (Ex. 15), and dwelling in them. They were not submissive, and that plan could not be carried out then; and since they would not allow God to dwell in them (His proper dwelling place) He had them build Him a sanctuary that He might dwell among them. But all the prophets knew that this was not the real temple, even for this earth, and that the sacrifices offered in connection with it amounted to nothing. The building of that sanctuary, and the making of that old covenant at that time did not in the least affect the reality – the real priesthood of God’s everlasting covenant. That covenant was made known to Adam, and was specially confirmed to Abraham, who is the father of all who believe. Consequently we came in under the covenant to Abraham. Everything that could ever be promised to anybody was promised to Abraham, and he had all the blessings of the Gospel that anybody has ever had. The new covenant, which will be made when the Lord comes, is new only in the sense that its new to the whole house of Israel – i.e.; the second covenant made with the people as a whole; but in detail it differs in no respect from that made with Abraham. It simply confirms to “the whole house of Israel” the blessings promised to Abraham and to his descendants as individuals, and it is made at the resurrection, the only time – the first time it could possibly be made with the whole house of Israel. (Ezek. 37).
Of course this is but a brief outline, but it covers everything and every question that can possibly arise can be answered by what is here suggested. Perhaps it may help you somewhat. I have not a single copy of “Everlasting Covenant” now, but I am sending to London for some and when they come I will send you one. I could make things a good deal plainer now than when I wrote that book; but there is nothing that needs to be changed otherwise.
I was out to Ruby’s two or three weeks ago, and grandma was there. She gave me a cushion cover that she wanted you to have particularly, and as I do not see any other way of getting it to you, I will send it by post.
Take good care of yourself and keep well. With much love,
Your own loving Papa
[E. J. Waggoner]