We analyze. You decide!
"No lie can live forever." Thomas Carlyle

An Analysis of the Literary Dependency
of The Desire of Ages, Chapter 10

In this case we are examining the evidence as found in Dr. Veltman's study, pages 59-122, with evidence being found on pages 67-97.

      One problem with those who are "victims" of parallelomania is that they confuse the mere presence of a few words in both texts as being evidence of plagiarism. They completely overlook the context and meaning of the words that are similar, an even more importantly, the far greater number of words that are dissimilar.

I need George Jones's Life Scenes from the Gospels to finish this chapter off.

      It has been noted by students of plagiarism that one can make a work look like it was plagiarized when it is not by carefully using ellipses and discarding all the material that is different. What we want to do is determine whether the critics did a fair analysis, or whether their comparisons actually distorted reality. Accordingly, we have coded the text so that you, the reader, can easily come to your own conclusion. Material that is not coded means that neither the critics, nor Dr. Veltman and his team of researchers, either could not, or did not, find anything worthy of note.

Color Key

Material in Ellen G. White that is an exact, word-for-word match to her alleged source.

Material in Ellen G. White that is similar to her alleged source.

Material that is represented in either Rea's book or Dr. Veltman's study by an ellipsis.

Material dropped from a paragraph of the alleged source in either Rea's book, or in Dr. Veltman's study, or given in Dr. Veltman's study but not needed or referenced. This also means that it wasn't used by Ellen G. White in the preparation of her book The Desire of Ages.

Material clipped from the beginning or end of a sentence in Rea's book, without giving the reader any indication of such. (Either a capital letter or a period appears where it should not, hiding the fact that material is missing.)

Material that was mis-capitalized or mis-abbreviated in Rea.

      Typical caveat: all errors are mine; if you find any please let me know so I can correct them.

Alleged Source(s) Desire of Ages. (1898)
Cunningham Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ. (D. Appleton and Company, 1913), vol. 1, page 81

     The services at the Temple in Jerusalem, where alone sacrifices could be offered, were entrusted to the care of each course in rotation, for a week of six days and two Sabbaths, and hence, the members of each, whose ministrations might be required, had to go up to Jerusalem twice a year.A

skipping over 11 pages to page 93

      And now the coals are laid on the altar, the helping priest retires, and Zacharias is left alone with the mysterious, ever-burning lamps, and the glow of the altar which was believed to have been kindled, at first, from the pillar of fire in the desert, and to have been kept unquenched, by miracle, since then. He pours the incense on the flames, and its fragrance rises in clouds, which are the symbol of the prayers of Israel, now rising over all the earth.B As the intercessor for his people, for the time, he, too joins his supplications.

skipping over the next paragraph of 8 lines and onto the next page 94

While he prays, there stands a mysterious Presence before him,C on the right side of the altar, the side of good omen,D as the angels, afterwards, appeared at the right side, in the Holy Sepulchre, and as Christ was seen, by the martyr Stephen, standing on the Right Hand of God. [skipping over 11 lines in the rest of the paragraph]

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The Voice in the Wilderness

[This chapter is based on Luke 1:5-23, 57-80; 3:1-18; Matt. 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8.]

From among the faithful in Israel, who had long waited for the coming of the Messiah, the forerunner of Christ arose. The aged priest Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth were "both righteous before God;" [Luke 1:6] and in their quiet and holy lives the light of faith shone out like a star amid the darkness of those evil days. To this godly pair was given the promise of a son, who should "go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways." [Luke 1:76]

Zacharias dwelt in "the hill country of Judea," [Luke 1:65] but he had gone up to Jerusalem to minister for one week in the temple, a service required twice a year from the priests of each course.1 "And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord." [Luke 1:8-9]

He was standing before the golden altar in the holy place of the sanctuary. The cloud of incense with the prayers of Israel was ascending before God.2 Suddenly he became conscious of a divine presence.3 An angel of the Lord was "standing on the right side of the altar." [Luke 1:11] The position of the angel was an indication of favor,4 but Zacharias took no


     1This sentence appears in Dr. Veltman's study as, in his consideration, a "simple paraphrase" of Geikie's A.Back to text

2Dr. Veltman has this as a "strict paraphrase" of Geikie's B.Back to text

3Dr. Veltman considers this to be a "loose paraphrase" of Geikie's C.Back to text

4In Dr. Veltman's study this is considered to be of "partial independence" of Geikie's D.Back to text

John Fleetwood, Life of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (Gay Brothers & Co., 1880-9?aa): page 51

      That this was the great subject of his prayer, appears from the declaration of Gabriel: The prayer thou hast directed with sincerity to an Almighty ear, concerning the coming of the Messiah is at heard; "and behold thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son," who shall prepare the way for the mighty Redeemer of Israel. The old priest, indeed, was as much astonished at the subject of the mission, as he was at the appearance of the messenger; and esteeming it impossible that his wife, thus advanced in years, should conceive a son, weakly demanded a sign, to confirm his belief in the fulfillment of the promise, though he knew the authority of the angel was derived from the God of Truth. But as it is the lot of humanity to err, Zacharias had for that time, forgot that nothing was impossible to Omnipotence,F as well as that it was not the first time the aged were

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caused to conceive, and bare a child. The least reflection would have reminded him, that Sarah conceived and bore Isaac, when she was far advanced in years;E and that Samuel was born of a woman, who had been long reputed, and even called barren.
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note of this. For many years he had prayed for the coming of the Redeemer; now heaven had sent its messenger to announce that these prayers were about to be answered; but the mercy of God seemed too great for him to credit. He was filled with fear and self-condemnation.

But he was greeted with the joyful assurance: "Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost. . . . And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years." [Luke 1:13-8]

Zacharias well knew how to Abraham in his old age a child was given because he believed Him faithful who had promised.5 But for a moment the aged priest turns his thought to the weakness of humanity. He forgets that what God has promised, He is able to perform.6 What a contrast between this unbelief and the sweet, childlike faith of Mary, the maiden of Nazareth, whose answer to the angel's wonderful announcement was, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word"! Luke 1:38.

The birth of a son to Zacharias, like the birth of the child of Abraham, and that of Mary, was to teach a great spiritual truth, a truth that we are slow to learn and ready to forget. In ourselves we are incapable of doing any good thing; but that which we cannot do will be wrought by the power of God in every submissive and believing soul. It was through faith that the child of promise was given. It is through faith that spiritual life is begotten, and we are enabled to do the works of righteousness.

To the question of Zacharias, the angel said, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings." [Luke 1:19] Five hundred years before, Gabriel had made known to Daniel the prophetic period which was to extend to the coming of Christ. The knowledge that the end of this period was near had moved Zacharias to pray for the Messiah's advent. Now the very messenger through whom the prophecy was given had come to announce its fulfillment.


aaIt is unknown exactly when my copy was printed.Note that Gay Brothers printed their "version" (if we can call it that) long after the copyright had expired.Back to text

5In Dr. Veltman's study this is considered to be of "partial independence" of Fleetwood's E.Back to text

6In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence and the preceding one are called a "loose paraphrase" of Fleetwood's F.Back to text

Fleetwood, 52; picking up from where we were before

His curiosity was, indeed, gratified, but in a manner that carried with it, at once, a confirmation of the promise, and a punishment of his unbelief. As he had verbally testified his doubt of the fulfillment of the prediction of the angel,G he was punished with the loss of speech, which was to continue to the very day in which the prediction should be accomplished: "Behold thou shalt be dumb, and not be able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season."

Zacharias soon received an awful testimony of the divinity of the mission of Gabriel, who was no sooner departed than he was struck dumb; for when he came to pray, in the course of his office, during the oblation of his incense, he could not utter a word,H and was under a necessity of making signs to the people, that an angel had appeared to him in the temple, and that he was deprived of the faculty of speech, as a punishment for his doubting the fulfillment of an event of which he had been foretold concerning him.

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The words of the angel, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God," show that he holds a position of high honor in the heavenly courts. When he came with a message to Daniel, he said, "There is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael [Christ] your Prince." Dan. 10:21. Of Gabriel the Saviour speaks in the Revelation, saying that "He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John." Rev. 1:1. And to John the angel declared, "I am a fellow servant with thee and with thy brethren the prophets." Rev. 22:9, R. V. Wonderful thought--that the angel who stands next in honor to the Son of God is the one chosen to open the purposes of God to sinful men.

Zacharias had expressed doubt of the angel's words.7 He was not to speak again until they were fulfilled. "Behold," said the angel, "thou shalt be dumb, . . . until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season." [Luke 1:20] It was the duty of the priest in this service to pray for the pardon of public and national sins, and for the coming of the Messiah; but when Zacharias attempted to do this, he could not utter a word.8

Coming forth to bless the people, "he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless." [Luke 1:22] They had waited long, and had begun to fear, lest he had been cut down by the judgment of God. But as he came forth from the holy place, his face was shining with the glory of God, "and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple." [Luke 1:22] Zacharias communicated to them what he had seen and heard; and "as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house." [Luke 1:23]

Soon after the birth of the promised child, the father's tongue was loosed, "and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all they that heard them laid them up


7Dr. Veltman missed this coincidence of words as found in Fleetwood's G.Back to text

8In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being a "simple paraphrase" of Fleetwood's H.Back to text

William Hanna's Life of Christ, page 70, skipping over 39 lines in this paragraph

It may, in truth, in no small measure have

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served to fit him for his peculiar work that--removed from all the influences which must have served, had he lived among them, to blunt his sense of surrounding evils, and to mould his character and habits according to the prevailing forms and fashions of Jewish life--he was carried by the Spirit into the desert to be trained and educated there, thence, as from a watch-tower, to look upon those strange sights which his country was presenting, undistractedly to watch, profoundly to muse and meditate, the fervor of a true prophet of the Lord kindling and glowing into an intenser fire of holy zeal; till at last, when the hour for action came, he launched forth upon his brief earthly work with a swift impetuosity, like the rush of those short-lived cataracts, yet with a firmness of unbending will and purpose, like the stability of those rocky heights among which for thirty years he had been living.I

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in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be!" [Luke 1:66] All this tended to call attention to the Messiah's coming, for which John was to prepare the way.

The Holy Spirit rested upon Zacharias, and in these beautiful words he prophesied of the mission of his son:

"Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest;
For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto His people
By the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God,
Whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us,
To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of
To guide our feet into the way of peace." [Luke 1:76-9]

"And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel." [Luke 1:80] Before the birth of John, the angel had said, "He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost." [Luke 1:15] God had called the son of Zacharias to a great work, the greatest ever committed to men. In order to accomplish this work, he must have the Lord to work with him. And the Spirit of God would be with him if he heeded the instruction of the angel.

John was to go forth as Jehovah's messenger, to bring to men the light of God. He must give a new direction to their thoughts. He must impress them with the holiness of God's requirements, and their need of His perfect righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy. He must be a temple for the indwelling Spirit of God. In order to fulfill his mission, he must have a sound physical constitution, and mental and spiritual strength. Therefore it would be necessary for him to control the appetites and passions. He must be able so to control all his powers that he could stand among men as unmoved by surrounding circumstances as the rocks and mountains of the wilderness.9

In the time of John the Baptist, greed for riches, and the love of luxury and display had become widespread. Sensuous pleasures, feasting and drinking, were causing physical disease and degeneracy, benumbing the spiritual perceptions, and lessening the sensibility to sin. John was to stand as a reformer. By his abstemious life and plain dress he was to


9In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being in "partial independence" of Hanna's I.Back to text

picking up on two sentences dropped above from Hanna's book:

All that we are told is that till the time of his showing unto Israel he was in the desert, in those wild and lonely regions which lay near his birthplace, skirting the north-western shores of the Dead sea.J

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rebuke the excesses of his time. Hence the directions given to the parents of John,--a lesson of temperance by an angel from the throne of heaven.

In childhood and youth the character is most impressible. The power of self-control should then be acquired. By the fireside and at the family board influences are exerted whose results are as enduring as eternity. More than any natural endowment, the habits established in early years decide whether a man will be victorious or vanquished in the battle of life. Youth is the sowing time. It determines the character of the harvest, for this life and for the life to come.

As a prophet, John was "to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." [Luke 1:17] In preparing the way for Christ's first advent, he was a representative of those who are to prepare a people for our Lord's second coming. The world is given to self-indulgence. Errors and fables abound. Satan's snares for destroying souls are multiplied. All who would perfect holiness in the fear of God must learn the lessons of temperance and self-control. The appetites and passions must be held in subjection to the higher powers of the mind. This self-discipline is essential to that mental strength and spiritual insight which will enable us to understand and to practice the sacred truths of God's word. For this reason temperance finds its place in the work of preparation for Christ's second coming.

In the natural order of things, the son of Zacharias would have been educated for the priesthood. But the training of the rabbinical schools would have unfitted him for his work. God did not send him to the teachers of theology to learn how to interpret the Scriptures. He called him to the desert, that he might learn of nature and nature's God.

It was a lonely region where he found his home, in the midst of barren hills, wild ravines, and rocky caves. But it was his choice to forgo the enjoyments and luxuries of life for the stern discipline of the wilderness. Here his surroundings were favorable to habits of simplicity and self-denial. Uninterrupted by the clamor of the world, he could here study the lessons of nature, of revelation, and of Providence. The words of the angel to Zacharias had been often repeated to John by his God-fearing parents. From childhood his mission had been kept before him, and he had accepted the holy trust. To him the solitude of the desert was a welcome escape from society in which suspicion, unbelief, and impurity had become well-nigh all-pervading.10 He distrusted his own


10In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being in "partial independence" of Hanna's J.Back to text

Kitto, 169

He was clad in a dress which would wear well, and required no care, such as Elijah, and other ancient prophets wore. --not as distinctive of their profession (for John had not yet been called to be a prophet), but as the dress of poor men--the dress best suited to their condition. It is a dress which may still be seen every day in the Syro-Arabian countries-- a rough, but stout and servicable, robe of camel's hair, or of camel's hair and wool combined, bound about the waist by a broad girdle of stiff leather. His food was "locusts, and wild honey" from the rocks, aided doubtless by the wild products of the soil.

picking up from where we were before from Hanna's book:

True to the angelic designation, accepting the vow that marked him as a Nazarite from his birth, John separated himself early from home and kindred, retired from the haunts of men, buried himself in the rocky solitudes of the wilderness, letting his hair grow till it fell loose and dishevelled over his shoulders, denying himself to all ordinary indulgences whether of food or dress, clothing himself with the roughest kind of garment he could get, a robe of hair-cloth, bound around him with a leathern girdle, satisfying himself by feeding on the locusts and wild honey of the desert.K But it was not in a morose or ascetic spirit that he did so.L He had not fled to those solitudes in chagrin, to nurse upon the lap of indolence regrets over bygone disappointments; nor had he sought there to shroud his spirit in a religious gloom deep as that of Engedi and Adullam, [rest of sentence #27 and 28] Though dwelling apart from others, avoiding observation, and shunning promiscuous intercourse, he was not wasting those years in idleness heedless of the task . . . Through the loopholes of retreat we can well imagine the Baptist as busily scanning the state of that community upon which he was to act.

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power to withstand temptation, and shrank from constant contact with sin, lest he should lose the sense of its exceeding sinfulness.

Dedicated to God as a Nazarite from his birth, he made the vow his own in a life-long consecration.11 His dress was that of the ancient prophets, a garment of camel's hair, confined by a leather girdle.12 He ate the "locusts and wild honey" [Matthew 3:4, Mark 1:6] found in the wilderness, and drank the pure water from the hills.13

But the life of John was not spent in idleness, in ascetic gloom, or in selfish isolation.14 From time to time he went forth to mingle with men; and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world.15 From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events.16 With vision illuminated by the divine Spirit he studied the characters of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven. The burden of his mission was upon him. In solitude, by meditation and prayer, he sought to gird up his soul for the lifework before him.

Although in the wilderness, he was not exempt from temptation. So far as possible, he closed every avenue by which Satan could enter, yet he was still assailed by the tempter. But his spiritual perceptions were clear; he had developed strength and decision of character, and through the aid of the Holy Spirit he was able to detect Satan's approaches, and to resist his power.

John found in the wilderness his school and his sanctuary. Like Moses amid the mountains of Midian, he was shut in by God's presence, and surrounded by the evidences of His power. It was not his lot to dwell, as did Israel's great leader, amid the solemn majesty of the mountain solitudes; but before him were the heights of Moab, beyond Jordan, speaking of Him who had set fast the mountains, and girded them with strength. The gloomy and terrible aspect of nature in his wilderness home vividly pictured the condition of Israel. The fruitful vineyard of the Lord had become a desolate waste. But above the desert the heavens bent bright and beautiful. The clouds that gathered, dark with tempest, were arched by the rainbow of promise. So above Israel's degradation shone the promised glory of the Messiah's reign. The clouds of wrath were spanned by the rainbow of His covenant-mercy.

Alone in the silent night he read God's promise to Abraham of a seed numberless as the stars. The light of dawn, gilding the mountains of Moab, told of Him who should be as "the light of the morning, when the


11In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being in "partial independence" of Hanna's K.Back to text

12In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being in "partial independence" of Kitto's book. However, we can see that here there is some partial similarities with Hanna's K.Back to text

13In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being in "partial independence" of Kitto's book. However, we can see that here there is some partial similarities with Hanna's K.Back to text

14In Dr. Veltman's study this is considered to be a "simple paraphrase" of Kitto; see also Hanna's L and the Biblical texts Matthew 3:4 and Mark 1:6.Because the words "locusts and wild honey" can be found in Scripture and are in quotesin both sources I have not highlighted them. Back to text

15In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as a "loose paraphrase" of Hanna.Back to text

16In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as a "loose paraphrase" of Hanna.Back to text

Geikie, page 358

    In its rugged solitudes, his soul gradually rose to the consciousness of a great mission. He believed that the wrath of God was near at hand, to take vengeance on the un-

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righteousness of men, but he knew that the God of Abraham, even in wrath, remembers mercy, and that, with the judgments, there would come the long-promised Deliverer. His impetuous nature, and a heart that never feared the face of man, raised him to the level of the old prophets, and impelled him, like them, to address his generation. Instinct with the deepest religious feeling; of a transparent simplicity, and reverent truthfulness of word and bearing; glowing with energy; a living embodiment of sincerity and self-denial, and in the best position, from his earliest years, to know the age; he was, above all men, fitted to rouse the sleeping conscience of Israel, and to lay bare the self-deceptions and sins of even the religionists of the day.M Though a hereditary priest, he had stood aloof from the Temple service, for its mechanical rites gave him no peace.

Jones, 23; as per Dr. Veltman's study

. . . for the cry of the Baptist that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, repeated over all the country, had startled the people out of the lethargy wrought by oppressions, or by fear that God had withdrawn from them.

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sun riseth, even a morning without clouds." 2 Sam. 23:4. And in the brightness of noontide he saw the splendor of His manifestation, when "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." Isa. 40:5.

With awed yet exultant spirit he searched in the prophetic scrolls the revelations of the Messiah's coming,--the promised seed that should bruise the serpent's head; Shiloh, "the peace giver," who was to appear before a king should cease to reign on David's throne. Now the time had come. A Roman ruler sat in the palace upon Mount Zion. By the sure word of the Lord, already the Christ was born.

Isaiah's rapt portrayals of the Messiah's glory were his study by day and by night,--the Branch from the root of Jesse; a King to reign in righteousness, judging "with equity for the meek of the earth;" "a covert from the tempest; . . . the shadow of a great rock in a weary land;" Israel no longer to be termed "Forsaken," nor her land "Desolate," but to be called of the Lord, "My Delight," and her land "Beulah." Isa. 11:4; 32:2; 62:4, margin.17 The heart of the lonely exile was filled with the glorious vision.

He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven's messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings.

John did not fully understand the nature of the Messiah's kingdom. He looked for Israel to be delivered from her national foes; but the coming of a King in righteousness, and the establishment of Israel as a holy nation, was the great object of his hope. Thus he believed would be accomplished the prophecy given at his birth,--

"To remember His holy covenant; . . .
That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our
life." [Luke 1:72b-5]

He saw his people deceived, self-satisfied, and asleep in their sins.18 He longed to rouse them to a holier life.19 The message that God had given him to bear was designed to startle them from their lethargy, and20


17In Dr. Veltman's study this section of the paragraph is considered to be partially independent of a sentence in Geikie in which the only word that is similar is the name Isaiah. For that reason I didn't bother to type it in (the sentence numbering that is reported in the Veltman study is off by a couple).We should also note that none of the Biblical texts that Geikie points to in his footnote were used by Ellen G. White in her text.   Back to text

18In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being a "simple paraphrase" of Geikie's M.Back to text

19In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being in "partial independence" of Geikie's M.Back to text

20In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being a "simple paraphrase" of Jones.Back to text

William Hanna's Life of Christ, page 72, skipping over 39 lines in this paragraph which started on page 71:

Such a state of things among the governing authorities fomented the popular animosity to the foreign rule. The whole country was in a ferment. Popular outbreaks were constantly occurring. The public mind was in such an inflammable condition that any adventurer, daring enough and strong enough to raise the standard of revolt, was followed by multitudes.N

Jones, 17; as per Dr. Veltman's study

. . . a large gathering of excited people around a man of singular appearance, who was making a most wonderful announcement, and was engaging in a baptismal rite of startling significance. He was a gaunt ascetic; in his dress and manner, and in his authoritative language, reminding all who saw and heard him of the old prophets; and indeed, in his appearance so much resembling Elijah, that the query was immediately started in every man's mind, whether he was not actually that prophet risen from the dead.

Jones, 24; skipping over 16 sentences (and 6 pages?!?)

The teachings of John were plain and simple.

Hanna, 72; skipping over another 12 lines

Such was the state of public affairs and of the public feeling, when a voice, loud and thrilling like the voice of a trumpet, issues from the desert, saying, "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."O

Geikie, page 374

      [skipping over 10 lines] A new symbol was needed, striking enough to express the vastness of the change he demanded,P and to form its fit beginning, and yet simple enough to be easily applied to the whole people; for all, alike, needed to break with the past, and to enter on the

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life of spiritual effort he proclaimed. [skipping over 23 lines] It was only water, a mere emblem of the purification required in the life and heart, and needed an after baptism by the Holy Spirit.Q

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cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgment, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin.

God does not send messengers to flatter the sinner. He delivers no message of peace to lull the unsanctified into fatal security. He lays heavy burdens upon the conscience of the wrongdoer, and pierces the soul with arrows of conviction. The ministering angels present to him the fearful judgments of God to deepen the sense of need, and prompt the cry, "What must I do to be saved?" Then the hand that has humbled in the dust, lifts up the penitent. The voice that has rebuked sin, and put to shame pride and ambition, inquires with tenderest sympathy, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?"

When the ministry of John began, the nation was in a state of excitement and discontent verging on revolution.21 At the removal of Archelaus, Judea had been brought directly under the control of Rome. The tyranny and extortion of the Roman governors, and their determined efforts to introduce the heathen symbols and customs, kindled revolt, which had been quenched in the blood of thousands of the bravest of Israel. All this intensified the national hatred against Rome, and increased the longing to be freed from her power.

Amid discord and strife, a voice was heard from the wilderness, a voice startling and stern, yet full of hope: "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."22 [Matthew 3:2] With a new, strange power it moved the people. Prophets had foretold the coming of Christ as an event far in the future; but here was an announcement that it was at hand. John's singular appearance carried the minds of his hearers back to the ancient seers.23 In his manner and dress he resembled the prophet Elijah.24 With the spirit and power of Elijah he denounced the national corruption, and rebuked the prevailing sins. His words were plain, pointed, and convincing.25 Many believed him to be one of the prophets risen from the dead.26 The whole nation was stirred. Multitudes flocked to the wilderness.

John proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, and called the people to repentance. As a symbol of cleansing from sin, he baptized them in the waters of the Jordan.27 Thus by a significant object lesson he declared that those who claimed to be the chosen people of God were defiled by sin, and that without purification of heart and life they could have no part in the Messiah's kingdom.28


21In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being a "simple paraphrase" of Hanna's N.Back to text

22In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being a "simple paraphrase" of Hanna's O.Back to text

23In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being a "simple paraphrase".Back to text

24In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being a "strict paraphrase".Back to text

25In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being in "partial independence" of Jones.Back to text

26In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being in "partial independence" of Jones.Back to text

27In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being a "simple paraphrase" of Geikie's P.Back to text

28In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being a "simple paraphrase" of Geikie's Q.Back to text

Fleetwood, page 69

He proved very successful in his ministry, as he enforced the doctrine of repentance, because the kingdom of heaven was at hand; persons of all degrees and professions flocked to him,

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confessed their sins, were baptized in Jordan, and submitted to whatever the prophet prescribed as necessary to obtain an inheritance in that kingdom, the approach of which he came to declare.R Amongst his converts were many of the pharisaical tribe, some of whom confessed their sins, and which were likewise baptized in Jordan.S

The conversion of the Pharisees surprised the Baptist, knowing that they maintained an high opinion of their own sanctity, for which reason it was very astonishing that they should express any desire of obtaining a remission of their sins.T In short, he was much surprised to find the whole nation so affected by his threatenings, especially as he knew they expected salvation on account of their being of the seed of Abraham, a conceit which they greatly cherished, and which they seem to have derived from a misrepresentation of the following passage: "Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name. If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me, for ever. Thus saith the Lord, if heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel, for all that they have done, saith the Lord."

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Princes and rabbis, soldiers, publicans, and peasants came to hear the prophet. For a time the solemn warning from God alarmed them. Many were brought to repentance, and received baptism. Persons of all ranks submitted to the requirement of the Baptist, in order to participate in the kingdom he announced.29

Many of the scribes and Pharisees came confessing their sins, and asking for baptism.30 They had exalted themselves as better than other men, and had led the people to entertain a high opinion of their piety; now the guilty secrets of their lives were unveiled.31 But John was impressed by the Holy Spirit that many of these men had no real conviction of sin. They were timeservers. As friends of the prophet, they hoped to find favor with the coming Prince. And by receiving baptism at the hands of this popular young teacher, they thought to strengthen their influence with the people.

John met them with the scathing inquiry, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance; and think not to say within yourselves,


29In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being a "simple paraphrase" of Fleetwood's R.Back to text

30In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being a "simple paraphrase" of Fleetwood's S.Back to text

31In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being in "partial independence" of Fleetwood's T.Back to text

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We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." [Matthew 3:7-9]

The Jews had misinterpreted God's promise of eternal favor to Israel: "Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord." Jer. 31:35-37. The Jews regarded their natural descent from Abraham as giving them a claim to this promise. But they overlooked the conditions which God had specified. Before giving the promise, He had said, "I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. . . . For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jer. 31:33, 34.

To a people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured. They are one with Him. But the Jews had separated themselves from God. Because of their sins they were suffering under His judgments. This was the cause of their bondage to a heathen nation. Their minds were darkened by transgression, and because in times past the Lord had shown them so great favor, they excused their sins. They flattered themselves that they were better than other men, and entitled to His blessings.

These things "are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Cor. 10:11. How often we misinterpret God's blessings, and flatter ourselves that we are favored on account of some goodness in us! God cannot do for us that which He longs to do. His gifts are used to increase our self-satisfaction, and to harden our hearts in unbelief and sin.

John declared to the teachers of Israel that their pride, selfishness, and cruelty showed them to be a generation of vipers, a deadly curse to the people, rather than the children of just and obedient Abraham. In view of the light they had received from God, they were even worse than the heathen, to whom they felt so much superior. They had forgotten the rock whence they were hewn, and the hole of the pit from which they had been digged. God was not dependent upon them for the fulfilling of

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His purpose. As He had called Abraham out from a heathen people, so He could call others to His service. Their hearts might now appear as lifeless as the stones of the desert, but His Spirit could quicken them to do His will, and receive the fulfillment of His promise.

"And now also," said the prophet, "the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." [WEB Matthew 3:10, Luke 3:9] Not by its name, but by its fruit, is the value of a tree determined. If the fruit is worthless, the name cannot save the tree from destruction. John declared to the Jews that their standing before God was to be decided by their character and life. Profession was worthless. If their life and character were not in harmony with God's law, they were not His people.

Under his heart-searching words, his hearers were convicted. They came to him with the inquiry, "What shall we do then?" He answered, "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise." [Luke 3:11] And he warned the publicans against injustice, and the soldiers against violence.

All who became the subjects of Christ's kingdom, he said, would give evidence of faith and repentance. Kindness, honesty, and fidelity would be seen in their lives. They would minister to the needy, and bring their offerings to God. They would shield the defenseless, and give an example of virtue and compassion. So the followers of Christ will give evidence of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. In the daily life, justice, mercy, and the love of God will be seen. Otherwise they are like the chaff that is given to the fire.

"I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance," said John; "but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." Matt. 3:11, R. V., margin. The prophet Isaiah had declared that the Lord would cleanse His people from their iniquities "by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." The word of the Lord to Israel was, "I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin." Isa. 4:4; 1:25. To sin, wherever found, "our God is a consuming fire." Heb. 12:29. In all who submit to His power the Spirit of God will consume sin. But if men cling to sin, they become identified with it. Then the glory of God, which destroys sin, must destroy them. Jacob, after his night of wrestling with the Angel, exclaimed, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." Gen. 32: 30.

Fleetwood, page 73

Such was the admiration of the people at his life and doctrine, that from the vision of his father Zacharias in the temple, the arrival of the Magi at Jerusalem, the prophecies of Simeon, circumstances recent in their memories, they began to conjecture that John might be the promised Messiah, and were even ready to pronounce him the Redeemer of Israel.U So that had he aspired to worldly dignity, he might, for a time, have shone in all the grandeur of human pomp, and claimed to a regard superior to

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any of the sons of men. But, pious in principle, and humble in heart, he could not arrogate honors of which he was conscious of his unworthiness: and therefore honestly undeceived his numerous followers, by assuring them, that so far from being the glorious person promised, he was only his forerunner, and that such was his own inferiority, that he was unworthy of doing his most menial offices. "I indeed baptize you with water: but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose." Luke iii.16.

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Jacob had been guilty of a great sin in his conduct toward Esau; but he had repented. His transgression had been forgiven, and his sin purged; therefore he could endure the revelation of God's presence. But wherever men came before God while willfully cherishing evil, they were destroyed. At the second advent of Christ the wicked shall be consumed "with the Spirit of His mouth," and destroyed "with the brightness of His coming." 2 Thess. 2:8. The light of the glory of God, which imparts life to the righteous, will slay the wicked.

In the time of John the Baptist, Christ was about to appear as the revealer of the character of God. His very presence would make manifest to men their sin. Only as they were willing to be purged from sin could they enter into fellowship with Him. Only the pure in heart could abide in His presence.

Thus the Baptist declared God's message to Israel. Many gave heed to his instruction. Many sacrificed all in order to obey. Multitudes followed this new teacher from place to place, and not a few cherished the hope that he might be the Messiah.32 But as John saw the people turning to him, he sought every opportunity of directing their faith to Him who was to come.


32In Dr. Veltman's study this is listed as a being in "partial independence" of Fleetwood's U.Back to text

Longest Phrases
(only phrases of three words or more are included)

      up to Jerusalem, page 97
      twice a year, page 97
      of each course, page 97
      the prayers of Israel, page 97
      doubt of the, page 99
      he could not utter a word, page 99
      as a Nazarite from his birth,, page 102
      a leather girdle, page 102
      In his manner and dress, page 104
      risen from the dead., page 104
      heart and life, page 104
      Persons of all, page 105
      Many of the, page 105
      their sins, and, page 105
      high opinion of, page 105


Of the 231 sentences in this chapter Dr. Veltman found none that were verbatim quotes from any source, 22 of various classes of paraphrases, 33 came from the Bible, and the restwere either partially (10 sentences) or completely independent (166 sentences, or, 71.86%). Combining the Bible verses with the independent yields over 89.177%, this goes beyond the 80-90% that is claimed that EGW "copied".

David J. Conklin (September 2, 2005 - January 2, 2006)