URIAH SMITH AND HIS SEMI-ARIAN BOOK “DANIEL AND THE REVELATION”

Semi-Arian theology was present for 325 years as a rejection of the Trinity that was officially introduced that year. This view teaches that only God the Father is the God of the whole universe, but at the same time, that Jesus, as His literal Son, also possesses the Divine nature, since He was born and not created. This was the correct teaching of our pioneers. Uriah Smith has been associated with Adventism since his childhood and took over the editorial board of the Review and Herald in 1855. He was one of the most prolific writers in our church. He had a fundamental influence on the interpretation of the prophecies. His most famous works were the books “Revelation” (1867) and “Daniel” (1873), which were later merged into one book “Daniel and Revelation”.

Although he had many disputes with Ellen White, she called him one of the most important authors in our church, although this book has clear Arian views (acceptance of Jesus as the Son of Divine nature, but not the Holy Spirit as an independent being) and statements against the Trinity, which he reaffirmed in 1898. They were removed from his book only between 1940 and 1946. So much for the view that the pioneers expounded the false sciences, and that Ellen White “recognized, understood, and removed” it after 1890. Jesus’ statement that “no one can serve two masters” means OR – OR in that sense. The first commandment says very clearly that we can and should pray only to the true God.

This means that either the Trinity or Arianism attacks the first commandment directly. Jesus clearly says that there is no halfway. Arianism itself is named after the fighter for truth, Bishop Arius, who fought against the Trinity before and on Nicaea. He accepted the Deity of Jesus but taught that Jesus is literally and always the only begotten Son in heaven. On the other hand, after his defeat at Nicaea in 325, lies were told that he claimed that Jesus was a created being. And those who are fighting against the Trinity today, who believe in the biblical truth that Jesus, although God, is indeed a Son already born in heaven, and that he is in a hierarchy below the Father, are labeled to reject Jesus as a Divine Being. 

Correct Arianism was taught by Ellen White and all the pioneers. For this reason, Ellen White would never recommend one book as the most important, which would call for a direct violation of the first commandment, because that would mean rejecting the true God! In the sense of the Spirit of Prophecy, this fact alone is already clear and sufficient evidence, for which other arguments are even unnecessary, although of course, we will study the whole topic together. What did she write in 1905? At that time, it was very important for the discussion with Dr. Kellogg not to come to the recommendation of a theologian or literature that leads to delusion, where the truth is mixed with the false doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Until his death in 1903, Uriah Smith was known as one of the most determined fighters against the false science of the Trinity. Below are Ellen White’s statements regarding that controversial book:

  • “The interest in Daniel and the Revelation is to continue as long as probationary time shall last. God used the author OF THIS book as a channel through which to communicate light to direct minds to the truth.” {Ellen White: 1MR, No. 26, page 63, “Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation“ MS 174 1899
  • “Instruction has been given me (from the God) that the important books containing the light that God has given regarding Satan’s apostasy in heaven should be given a wide circulation just now; for through them the truth will reach many minds. ‘Patriarchs and Prophets,’ ‘Daniel and the Revelation,’ and ‘Great Controversy’ are needed now as never before. They should be widely circulated because the truths they emphasize will open many blind eyes.” {Ellen White: RH 16. February 1905. “A call for Active Work“} 

It is important to emphasize that this statement was made in 1905, in which it can be clearly seen that this is only one book entitled “Daniel and the Revelation”, by Uriah Smith. She also writes clearly that God used that author and not those authors, i.e. the prophets Daniel and John.

  • “In Desire of Ages, Patriarchs and Prophets, The Great Controversy, and in Daniel and the Revelation, there is precious instruction.” {Ellen White: Letter written from St. Helena, California to Edson White and W. C. White, 27th September 1903, 21MR No. 1594, see also ‘Evangelism’ chapter 10 page 366} 
  • “These books must be regarded as of special importance, and every effort should be made to get them before the people.” {Ellen White: Letter written from St. Helena, California to Edson White and W. C. White, 27th September 1903, 21MR No. 1594, see also ‘Evangelism’ chapter 10 page 366} 

Pressed by this clear evidence, theologians give new arguments again, that Ellen White recommended this book, which contained the “wrong” theology because it “contained important truths.” We have already seen how important the true truth about the Trinity is, both then and today. Since she wrote that God used that author as a channel of truth, that book certainly cannot contain false sciences! The Bible makes it clear that no one can serve two different Masters!

The only two points of contention regarding this book concern only the 11th chapter of the book of the prophet Daniel, where Uriah Smith and James White had different opinions on whether one part concerned Turkey or Rome, as well as the question of whether Uriah Smith understood that the Pope lost power. Perhaps his words may have left such an impression in some places, but we do not see it in Chapter 8 (vision of a ram, a goat and a little horn) of his book on Daniel, where he called the Papacy the leading force of persecution until the end of time. Uriah Smith also wrote about Sunday Law! Can we imagine that in the part of the book of Revelation he wrote that the two beasts that will persecute God’s people will be the Papacy and America? 

Smith was inspired by the Holy Spirit as he lined up in his book! These passages are just one additional description and deepening of the already clear truth, this time from a different perspective.Incomplete interpretation of the contained symbolism, in this case, means only that we may have a lack of confirmation of the intentions of the Papacy, but it does not bring false doctrine or diminish the whole truth! Insufficient understanding of these passages does not change the fundamental meaning of the prophecies about the absolute end of time or some of the foundations of the truth of our faith!

We do not even have a complete interpretation of Revelation today, but that does not mean that it could justify the false sciences associated with its interpretation! Ellen White herself never defined the meaning of these passages! Therefore, it has not even been proven that Uriah Smith misinterpreted this part, although the prophetic message seems different at first glance. Had Ellen White recommended a book with an emphasis on the Trinity in this way, it would have been taken as evidence of that doctrine at the moment. However, we on the other hand see the denial of leading theologians who say that Ellen White “just tolerated” Brother Smith’s book! An important German theologian writes the following words:

  • “Only after the death of the older generation of Adventist theologians could the “understanding” of Trinitarianism be completely broken, and it was first formulated in 1931 in our Fundamental Beliefs. In 1944, all anti-Trinitarian and semi-Arian statements from Uriah Smith’s printed books, if later printed, were altered or removed. “{M. Böttcher} “Aber erst nach dem Tode der frühen Generation adventistischer Theologen konnte sich das trinitarische Verständnis uneingeschränkt durchsetzen, erstmalig wurde es 1931 auch in den grundlegenden adventistischen Glaubenslehren (Fundamental Beliefs) formuliert. 1944 wurden auch alle antitrinitarischen und semiarianischen Aussagen aus den früher von Uriah Smith veröffentlichten Büchern, soweit sie nachgedruckt worden sind, in Anmerkungen verändert oder gestrichen.”

Thus, we can see once again that, despite today’s completely false claims, we “recognized” the Trinity for the first time only in 1931! We can also recognize that the content of our old books has not remained intact, but has often been changed by people who considered themselves “authorized and professional” without the knowledge of a wider audience. Below we can see his original statements:

  • “To the Lamb, equally with the Father who sits upon the throne, praise is ascribed in this song of adoration. Commentators, with great unanimity, have seized upon this as proof that Christ must be coeval with the Father; for otherwise, say they, here would be worship paid to the creature which belongs only to the Creator. But this does not seem to be a necessary conclusion. The Scriptures certainly clearly intimate that the existence of Christ had a beginning (John 1:1), which was not so in the case of the Father. (See remarks on Rev.3:14, where it is shown that Christ is not a created being.) But while he does not possess a co-eternity of past existence with the Father, the beginning of his existence, as the begotten of the Father, antedates the entire work of creation, in relation to which he stands a joint creator with God (John 1,3; Heb.1,2).  Could not the Father ordain that to such a being worship should be rendered equally with himself, without it’s being idolatry on the part of the worshiper? He has raised Him to positions which make it proper that He should be worshiped, and has even commanded that worship should be rendered him, which would not have been necessary had he been equal with the Father in eternity of existence. Christ himself declares that ’as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given  to the Son to have life in himself.’ (John 5:26).  The Father has ’highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.’ (Phil. 2:9).  And the Father himself says, ’Let all the angels of God worship him.’ (Heb. 1,6). These testimonies show that Christ is now an object of worship equally with the Father; but they do not prove that with him he holds an eternity of past existence.“  {Uriah Smith: Daniel and the Revelation, 1897, 401} 
  • “These Things Saith the Amen. – This is, then, the final message to the churches ere the close of probation. And though the description of their condition which he gives to the indifferent Laodiceans is fearful and startling, nevertheless it cannot be denied; for the Witness is “faithful and true.“ Moreover, he is “the beginning of the creation of God.“ Some understand by this language that Christ was the first created being, dating his existence anterior to that of any other created being or thing, next to the self-existent and eternal God. But the language does not necessarily imply that He was created; for the words, “the beginning of the creation,“ may simply signify that the work of creation, strictly speaking, was begun by Him. “Without Him was not anything made.“ Others, however, and more properly we think, take the word αρχη to mean the “agent“ or “efficient cause“, which is one of the definitions of the word, understanding that Christ is the agent through Whom God has created all things, but that He himself came into existence in a different manner, as He is called “the only begotten“ of the Father. It would seem utterly inappropriate to apply this expression to any being created in the ordinary sense of that term.“ {Uriah Smith:  Daniel and the Revelation, 1897, p.371} {http://sdapillars.org/media/download_gallery/US_DanRev1897.pdf}
  • The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God; it is also the Spirit of Christ. It is that divine, mysterious emanation through which they carry forward their great and infinite work.” {Uriah Smith: General Conference Daily Bulletin Volume 4, March 14, 1891, pp. 146, 147} 
  • This Spirit is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ; the Spirit being the same whether it is spoken of as pertaining to God or Christ. But respecting this Spirit, the Bible uses expressions which cannot be harmonized with the idea that it is a person like the Father and the Son. Rather it is shown to be a divine influence from them both, the medium which represents their presence and by which they have knowledge and power through all the universe, when not personally present. Christ is a person, now officiating as priest in the sanctuary in heaven; and yet he says that wherever two or three are gathered in his name, he is there in the midst. Mt. 18,20. How? Not personally, but by his Spirit. In one of Christ’s discoursed (John 14-16) this Spirit is personified as “the Comforter,” and as such has the personal and relative pronouns, “he,” “him,” and “whom,” applied to it. But usually it is spoken of in a way to show that it cannot be a person, like the Father and the Son. For instance, it is often said to be “poured out” and “shed abroad.” But we never read about God or Christ being poured out or shed abroad. If it was a person, it would be nothing strange for it to appear in bodily shape; and yet when it has so appeared, that fact has been noted as peculiar.” {Uriah Smith: RH, October 28, 1890}

Daniel and Revelation – Uriah Smith 1897

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