Steve Wohlberg's first letter
Steve Wohlberg is the director of White Horse Media. He is the author of 19 books and has been a guest on over 500 radio and television shows1. There is no doubt that God has used his efforts to win many souls to Christ. However, he is also an avid critic of Ernie's dreams and has openly declared that the Herald, the angel in Ernie's dreams, is a demon.
"Well, the problem for the Herald is that some of us do understand, all too well, exactly what he said, and now we know that he is a demon, not a true angel of God. We will give no credence to any future “explanations,” for we are “not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11)."2
When someone as influential as Steve Wohlberg publicly writes that Ernie is being deceived by a demon, we need to carefully asses his reasons. However, just because he appears to be a champion for the truth, does not mean we should automatically believe what he says.
This first letter was written on March 25, 2008. We answer it in two sections, the first on the issue of tithing, and the second section relates to other issues Steve raises. You can find a copy of Steve's first letter here.
Steve Wohlberg’s opening comments
If you take the time to read Steve Wohlberg's first letter, you will notice he begins by pointing out that:
- He found no problems with the dreams at first and after speaking with Ernie & Becky over the phone he "was very satisfied that they are sincere Adventists who want nothing more than for Jesus to come soon."
- Everything changed, says Steve Wohlberg, when he read the "Stand Fast" dream where it says that "if someone gives 'tithe' and 'they understand that the funds are not being used according to His will, that person will be held accountable.' "
- Steve also assumed that when the Herald mentioned tributes, it was tithe.
- Steve says he was very troubled about these things so he prepared a study with Ellen White statements showing Ernie’s dream to be wrong. He phoned Ernie and spoke with him and then sent him this study, which is the majority of his first letter.
Steve Wohlberg's concerns regarding tithing
The widow's mites
[The Bible] “Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood” (Mark 12:41-44).
Steve’s comment: The Jewish “treasury” at that time was corrupt, yet Jesus commended the poor woman for putting her money there because she loved God’s cause. Jesus did not hold her “accountable” for what was occurring in that temple, or because of how her money might be misused. Instead, He commended her unselfish act and inspired His gospel writers to record this event to instruct His church to the end of time.
Q. Did Jesus commend the widow for supporting a corrupt ministry?
"The Saviour called his disciples to him and bade them mark the widow's poverty; and as they stood looking at her, words of commendation from the Master's lips fell unexpectedly upon her ear: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all." Tears of joy filled the poor woman's eyes as she felt that her act was understood and appreciated by Jesus. Many would have advised her to appropriate her small pittance to her own use rather than to give it into the hands of well-fed priests, to be lost among the many and costly gifts donated to the temple; but Jesus understood the motives of her heart. She believed in the service of the temple as appointed by God, and she was anxious to do her utmost to sustain it. She did what she could, and her act was destined to be as a monument to her memory through all time, and her joy in eternity. Her heart went with her gift, the amount of which was estimated, not by its intrinsic value, but by the love to God and interest in his work which had prompted the deed." The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 3, p. 72.1
Jesus didn't commend the widow for supporting a corrupt ministry. He commended her because her motives were right. There is no reason to believe that she knew the ministry was corrupt, after all the people looked up to the priests and rulers just as they do today.
Pay your tithe to the church even if the work is not managed correctly
[Ellen White] Some have been dissatisfied and have said: "I will not longer pay my tithe; for I have no confidence in the way things are managed at the heart of the work." But will you rob God because you think the management of the work is not right? … do not withdraw from the work of God, and prove unfaithful, because others are not doing right (9T 249)
Steve’s comment: If some are not doing right, even at “the heart of the work,” we should still pay our tithe there, or we are robbing God.
Q. Was Ellen White talking about those who were paying their tithe to faithful ministers?
“Some have been dissatisfied and have said: "I will not longer pay my tithe; for I have no confidence in the way things are managed at the heart of the work." Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 249.2
You will notice this quote is dealing with an issue where people had stopped paying tithe because they no longer had confidence in the way the work was being managed. This quote is not counseling us to pay our tithe to the church when it is corrupt as Steve concludes, but is rebuking those who had stopped paying tithe altogether.
Pay your tithe to the church even if it supports unworthy ministers
[Ellen White] Cannot you see that it is not best under any circumstances to withhold your tithes and offerings because you are not in harmony with everything that your brethren do? The tithes and offerings are not the property of any man, but are to be used in doing a certain work for God. Unworthy ministers may receive some of the means thus raised, but dare anyone, because of this, withhold from the treasury and brave the curse of God? I dare not (2 Sermons and Talks, 74).
Steve’s comment: Some of our tithe may be misused and go to “unworthy ministers,” but this is no reason not to pay our tithes into “the treasury.” It is “not best under any circumstances” to withhold our tithe; if we do, we risk the curse of God.
Q. Was Ellen White addressing people who were using their tithe to support gospel workers not employed by the church?
No. Read the context.
“You who have been withholding your means from the cause of God, read the book of Malachi and see what is spoken there in regard to tithes and offerings. Cannot you see that it is not best under any circumstances to withhold your tithes and offerings because you are not in harmony with everything that your brethren do? The tithes and offerings are not the property of any man, but are to be used in doing a certain work for God. Unworthy ministers may receive some of the means thus raised, but dare anyone, because of this, withhold from the treasury and brave the curse of God? I dare not. I pay my tithe gladly and freely, saying, as did David, "Of Thine own have we given Thee." A selfish withholding from God will tend to poverty in our own souls. Act your part, my brethren and sisters. God loves you, and He stands at the helm. If the conference business is not managed according to the order of the Lord, that is the sin of the erring one. The Lord will not hold you responsible for it if you do what you can to correct the evil. But do not commit sin yourselves by withholding from the Lord His own property. "Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully" or negligently.” Sermons and Talks, Vol. 2, p. 74.4
You will notice in this quote that first, people were selfishly withholding their tithes because the conference business was not being managed correctly and unfaithful ministers were receiving some of the tithe. Ellen White is not addressing an issue where people were still paying their tithe to ministries or ministers not employed by the church. We should also notice that in this very quote Ellen White supports Ernie's dreams by writing "The Lord will not hold you responsible for it if you do what you can to correct the evil." It only stands to reason that if we do not try to correct the evil then God will hold us responsible. In what way does this differ from what the Herald told Ernie? We have to wonder why Steve Wohlberg didn't quote the full context.
Q. Did Ellen White mean that we are to support corrupt ministers?
“It would be poor policy to support from the treasury of God those who really mar and injure His work, and who are constantly lowering the standard of Christianity.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, p. 553.2
“There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them in word and doctrine. I am alarmed for the people of God who profess to believe solemn, important truth, for I know that many of them are not converted nor sanctified through it. Men can hear and acknowledge the whole truth, and yet know nothing of the power of godliness. All who preach the truth will not themselves be saved by it. Said the angel: “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.”” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, 261-262
Those who pay their tithe to a corrupt church and ministry will not lose their heavenly reward
[Ellen White] I was shown that the recording angel makes a faithful record of every offering dedicated to God and put into the treasury, and also of the final result of the means thus bestowed… Even though the means thus consecrated be misapplied, so that it does not accomplish the object which the donor had in view,--the glory of God and the salvation of souls,--those who made the sacrifice in sincerity of soul, with an eye single to the glory of God, will not lose their reward. Those who have made a wrong use of means dedicated to God will be required to give an account of their stewardship Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, 518-519).
Steve’s comment: Even if the tithe is misapplied, the angels make a faithful record of the giver’s contribution. They will not lose their reward.
Q. Did Ellen White actually teach that we are to support a corrupt ministry with our tithe and we will not loose our heavenly reward?
No. Read the context.
“I was shown that the recording angel makes a faithful record of every offering dedicated to God and put into the treasury, and also of the final result of the means thus bestowed. The eye of God takes cognizance of every farthing devoted to His cause, and of the willingness or reluctance of the giver. The motive in giving is also chronicled. Those self-sacrificing, consecrated ones who render back to God the things that are His, as He requires of them, will be rewarded according to their works. Even though the means thus consecrated be misapplied, so that it does not accomplish the object which the donor had in view,--the glory of God and the salvation of souls,--those who made the sacrifice in sincerity of soul, with an eye single to the glory of God, will not lose their reward.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, 518.2
We have to wonder why Steve Wohlberg didn't quote the full context. Why did he leave out the sentence "The motive in giving is also chronicled." The motive of these people was the salvation of souls. The context shows that these people were not aware that their money would be misapplied and as a result, God does not hold them accountable. People don’t support corruption in sincerity hoping it will do good because they know it will only ever be used for corruption. We need to remember God judges the motive.
Not paying our tithes aids the enemy in his work
[Ellen White] When persons declare that they will not pay their tithes because the means is not used as they think it ought to be, will the elder of the church or the minister sympathize with the sinners? Will he aid the enemy in his work? Or will he, as a wise man endued with knowledge, go to work to correct the evil and remove the stumblingblocks? Let those who are dissatisfied state plainly their grievances to the ones who they think have erred instead of talking the matter over with others and thus fanning the flame of discontent (2 Sermons and Talks, 75).
Steve’s comment: Those who don’t pay their tithes because they think it is being misused are unknowingly aiding the enemy in his work and “fanning the flame of discontent.”
Q. What issue is Ellen White addressing in this quote?
"You who have been withholding your means from the cause of God, read the book of Malachi and see what is spoken there in regard to tithes and offerings. Cannot you see that it is not best under any circumstances to withhold your tithes and offerings because you are not in harmony with everything that your brethren do? The tithes and offerings are not the property of any man, but are to be used in doing a certain work for God. Unworthy ministers may receive some of the means thus raised, but dare anyone, because of this, withhold from the treasury and brave the curse of God? I dare not. I pay my tithe gladly and freely, saying, as did David, "Of Thine own have we given Thee." A selfish withholding from God will tend to poverty in our own souls. Act your part, my brethren and sisters. God loves you, and He stands at the helm. If the conference business is not managed according to the order of the Lord, that is the sin of the erring one. The Lord will not hold you responsible for it if you do what you can to correct the evil. But do not commit sin yourselves by withholding from the Lord His own property. "Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully" or negligently.
When persons declare that they will not pay their tithes because the means is not used as they think it ought to be, will the elder of the church or the minister sympathize with the sinners? Will he aid the enemy in his work? Or will he, as a wise man endued with knowledge, go to work to correct the evil and remove the stumblingblocks? Let those who are dissatisfied state plainly their grievances to the ones who they think have erred instead of talking the matter over with others and thus fanning the flame of discontent.
But, brethren, do not be unfaithful in your lot. Stand in your place. Do not by your neglect of duty increase our financial difficulties and thus add to the heavy burden that rests on the president of our General Conference. The conferences, through their delegates, have appointed the one who occupies this difficult and important place, and they are under obligation to sustain him by bearing their part of the burden." Sermons and Talks, Vol. 2, p. 74-75
There are a number of issues in this quote, some of which we have already pointed out in previous points. However the main point is, people had stopped paying their tithe (and offerings) because their conference (Michigan conference) was employing unfaithful ministers. We need to understand that under no circumstances does God allow us to stop returning tithe to Him. When situations like this occur, there are a number of ways we can respond. Not all of those ways are indicated in this quote.
- Try to correct the evil. God will not hold you responsible. This approach is suitable for a situation where the conference is not completely in apostasy.
- Pay your tithe and offering to another conference that is doing the right thing.
- Support gospel workers not employed or payed by the church.
We should notice that Ellen White also includes offerings in the same context as tithe in this quote. Therefore if we are going to suggest that people are withholding their tithe from the church because they have opted to go with the third point, then we also need to apply this to offerings as well. This would mean that the only place we can return our offerings is to the church. It would mean that all ministries not run by the church (like White Horse Media) cannot legally receive offerings as this money should have gone to the church.
The tithe is not to be diverted into other channels
[Ellen White] God's reserved resources are to be used in no such haphazard way. The tithe is the Lord's, and those who meddle with it will be punished with the loss of their heavenly treasure unless they repent. Let the work no longer be hedged up because the tithe has been diverted into various channels other than the one to which the Lord has said it should go (9T 249).
Steve’s comment: The title issue is a life and death matter. Thus who “meddle” with it will be “punished” with the “loss of their heavenly treasure.” The tithe is not to be diverted into other channels, or paid in a “haphazard way,” for this would hinder God’s work.
Q. Did Ellen White suggest that paying tithe to faithful gospel workers not on the churche's payroll was diverting the tithes into another channel?
No. Read the context.
“Some have been dissatisfied and have said: "I will not longer pay my tithe; for I have no confidence in the way things are managed at the heart of the work." But will you rob God because you think the management of the work is not right? Make your complaint, plainly and openly, in the right spirit, to the proper ones. Send in your petitions for things to be adjusted and set in order; but do not withdraw from the work of God, and prove unfaithful, because others are not doing right.
Read carefully the third chapter of Malachi and see what God says about the tithe. If our churches will take their stand upon the Lord's word and be faithful in paying their tithe into His treasury, more laborers will be encouraged to take up ministerial work. More men would give themselves to the ministry were they not told of the depleted treasury. There should be an abundant supply in the Lord's treasury, and there would be if selfish hearts and hands had not withheld the tithes or made use of them to support other lines of work.
God's reserved resources are to be used in no such haphazard way. The tithe is the Lord's, and those who meddle with it will be punished with the loss of their heavenly treasure unless they repent. Let the work no longer be hedged up because the tithe has been diverted into various channels other than the one to which the Lord has said it should go. Provision is to be made for these other lines of work. They are to be sustained, but not from the tithe. God has not changed; the tithe is still to be used for the support of the ministry. The opening of new fields requires more ministerial efficiency than we now have, and there must be means in the treasury.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 249
Steve Wohlberg leaves his readers with the impression that even if we do pay our tithe to an independent gospel worker, we are diverting it into other channels. This is not true. Other channels would include things such as the publishing work, sanitariums etc. The proper use of the tithe is to support the ministry. This ministry does not necessarily have to be on the church payroll.
Steve’s summary on tithes
“Summary comments: Ellen White’s position is clear. Even if some of the tithe is misused, we are still to pay it, or we are robbing God. Those held accountable are not those who pay tithe (as “the Herald” said), but those use misuse it. Those who don’t pay their tithe because they think it is not being used right, aid the enemy. Under no circumstances are we to withhold our tithe from “the treasury.” Thus, in this instance, it seems that “the Heralds” counsel and Ellen White’s counsel are not in agreement with each other here. “The Herald” contradicts her counsel, yet he says that it “important” for God’s people to understand what he says.”
Q. Is Steve Wohlberg's conclusion correct?
In the quotations Steve gives, Ellen White never condemns people who are supporting independent faithful gospel workers. She is addressing people who have stopped paying their tithes and in some cases have diverted it into other channels of the work. Steve is correct that under no circumstances should we withhold our tithes, and Ernie’s dreams never counsel people to do this. Instead, Ernie’s dreams reinforce the truth about tithing by teaching we are held accountable if we know we are supporting corruption. The dreams encourage people to pay tithe.
Steve's conclusion is only founded on half the truth when he says "Those held accountable are not those who pay tithe (as "the Herald" said), but those use misuse it." This is true only in the context of what Ellen white writes "The Lord will not hold you responsible for it if you do what you can to correct the evil." Sermons and Talks, Vol. 2, p. 74.4. And this is just what the Herald teaches when he says "If an individual is providing funds and they understand that the funds are not being used according to His will, that person will be held accountable if they do nothing about bringing it to the attention of the recipient, the one who holds the keys." 31. Testing the Spirits.
There has always been an issue regarding who can and who cannot receive tithe. Many faithful, concerned church members still don't support their conference because of the apostasy they see taking place. Instead they support faithful gospel workers, some who have been disfellowshipped because they have dared to go speak against the apostasy. These people are not withholding their tithe from God's work. Rather they are supporting those still faithful to stand for the truth.
For more information about what the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy say about tithing, please see our study on tithe.
Steve Wohlberg's general comments
After reaching a false conclusion regarding the tithe, Wohlberg then does his best to find other non-biblical tests in which to add proof that Ernie is a false prophet.
Angels don’t reveal their names
“1. Throughout her ministry, Ellen White was instructed by one she referred to as “my accompanying angel,” but that angel never identified himself by any specific name. Angels often instructed people in Bible times too, but they never gave themselves names, except one, “Gabriel,” whose name appears only in Daniel 8/9 (in connection with the 70 week/2300 day prophecy) and Luke 1 (in connection with the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ). Because these events were so important, it seems that God felt “Gabriel” should mention his name. But no other angel sent from God has ever done this.”
Q. Did the angel in Ernie’s dreams give him his name?
“The angel, still holding my hand, says “We must go.” We turn, and I find myself in the corridor. I notice the horses are gone. I stop and ask the angel his name. He answers, “You can call me “The Herald” (he spelled it), but who I am is not important. The Great Adjudicator (he spelled this as well) is the one name we should want to know and speak of.” Watch, as I am Coming!, August 14, 2007
The angel never gave his name. He said he could be called “The Herald” which is a title or job description. “Heralds were originally messengers sent by monarchs or noblemen to convey messages or proclamations.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herald] Also note Ernie asked the angel for his name. If the angel had ignored Ernie we would consider that being rude.
The fact that Wohlberg admits that one angel (Gabriel) has given his name to prophets in the past, proves this whole point invalid and we wonder why he brought it up. It is certainly not a Biblical test of a prophet. And how do we know for sure that "God felt Gabriel should mention his name" only in relation to important events? Also, if Jesus' first advent was an "important" event, wouldn't His second advent which Ernie's dreams are calling our attention to be an "important" event and warrant his angel to give his name (even though he has not)?
Q. Did Gabriel only ever appear to Daniel and Zacharias?
“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.” Desire of Ages, p.99.1
“The humble tasks before us are to be taken up by someone; and those who do them should feel that they are doing a necessary and honorable work, and that in their mission, humble though it may be, they are doing the work of God just as surely as was Gabriel when sent to the prophets. The Adventist Home, p. 24.2
Q. Since “no other angel” has given their name before, could it be possible that the Herald is Gabriel?
In another dream Ernie asked the Herald if he is Gabriel and the angel avoids the questions and repeats what he first said:
“He smiles at me and says, “As I told you before, who I am is not important. The name of the One all should want to know is the Great Judge. That is the one name all should want to know and speak of.” Stand Fast, Feb. 5, 2008
If the Herald was not Gabriel, why didn't he tell Ernie? Is there any evidence from Ernie's dreams that the Herald is the angel Gabriel?
“The Herald says to turn and look up. The sky rolls apart as a scroll and I watch a scene from the throne of God. I notice the image of the Father command a most noble angel that stands next to the throne to go quickly to His Son. I see the angel helping Jesus hold the symbolic cup to His lips. The angel shows Him those that will be saved because of His decision. Jesus knows His choice and for the third time says aloud, ‘Heavenly Father, if it is possible, please let this cup pass from me, but may Your will be done, not mine.’ As the angel stands up, I see his face up close for the first time. I quickly turn to the Herald who tells me, ‘You like I are a messenger. We are to provide messages and care for those we are directed to. Who we are is not important. Remember, the only name that all should have on their lips is Jesus Christ--our Creator and Master, your Savior and Brother.’ ” In the Heart of Jesus, Sept. 12, 2009
When we compare this description of the Herald with what Ellen White has written, we can only conclude the Herald is Gabriel.
“In this awful crisis, when everything was at stake, when the mysterious cup trembled in the hand of the sufferer, the heavens opened, a light shone forth amid the stormy darkness of the crisis hour, and the mighty angel who stands in God's presence, occupying the position from which Satan fell, came to the side of Christ.” The Desire of Ages, p. 693.3
“Before anyone had reached the sepulcher, there was a great earthquake. The mightiest angel from heaven, he who held the position from which Satan fell, received his commission from the Father, and clothed with the panoply of heaven, he parted the darkness from his track. His face was like the lightning, and his garments white as snow.” S.D.A. Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, p. 1110.2
“It was Gabriel, the angel next in rank to the Son of God, who came with the divine message to Daniel. It was Gabriel, ‘His angel,’ whom Christ sent to open the future to the beloved John; and a blessing is pronounced on those who read and hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things written therein. Revelation 1:3.” The Desire of Ages, p. 234.2
Therefore even if Wohlberg's point was a Biblical test, the Herald in Ernie's dreams would not be out of place. The Herald is the angel Gabriel who Jesus has sent to warn His people of His soon coming, just as Gabriel was sent to Daniel and Zacharias to warn of Christ's first advent.
Angels never flatter men
“2. Holy angels never flatter men. EGW wrote: “The Holy Spirit flatters no man” (Signs, Sept. 27, 1899). “We cannot praise and flatter any man without doing him a great wrong” (5T, 75). “A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet” (Prov. 29:5). It seems to me that “the Herald’s” comments about Ernie as “the bold one” could easily be part of a well-thought out “flattery” strategy to gain Ernie’s confidence to “spread a net for his feet.””
Q. Is Ernie being flattered in his dreams?
Below are three references where Ernie is called the bold one by either Jesus or the Herald.
“As he [Jesus] looks down at me and I look up into his eyes, I immediately know who he is. I exclaim, “It’s you! I start crying and He reaches down and wipes away my tears with His hands. He says, “Do not cry as you are the bold one I created you to be.” The Mailroom, July 24-27, 2007
“He steps back and I suddenly have a feeling of unbelievable happiness. I watch as the angel, who has stood about the same height as me until now, grows to his normal height, which I believe is about 15 feet tall. I watch as his wings come out from his back and unfold, unfold, and unfold again and he stretches forth his wings. I notice they are curved and remind me of a hawk. I look up at him and I ask, “Are they real or symbolic?” He smiles and those dimples show even more. He answers, “You are the bold one, aren’t you?” He waves his huge wings one time and is instantly high in the air. He looks at me and says, “If you remain faithful to your Savior, you will find out.” Then he smiles the biggest smile ever.” Watch, as I Am Coming!, August 14, 2007
“My angel takes me back into the corridor, smiles a big smile, and says, “I have a surprise for you. I am now to take you to one more place.” We walk to the other side of the corridor. He holds his right hand on the wall and lets go of my right hand. I try to grab his hand, but he smiles back at me and says, “Do not worry. This is the way it is to be. Our journey today is finished, but I will see you again soon.” I say, “But I have questions that need to be answered.” He puts his left hand on my shoulder and says, “Go through the wall.” I ask, “Are you coming with me?” He answers, “Continue to be the bold one.” If You love Me, September 4, 2007
NOTE: The first quote tells us Jesus created Ernie with a bold character. There is nothing wrong with being bold if that boldness is used correctly. The context of the quote also shows us Ernie is not being flattered, but rather encouraged. The second quote reveals Ernie’s bold character in asking if the Herald’s wings are real. Considering the situation, the angel’s response simply acknowledges Ernie’s bold character. The last quote is simply encouraging Ernie to remain bold. There is no evidence here that Ernie is being setup to be deceived.
Q. Is it wrong for a prophet to be encouraged?
The prophet Daniel was encouraged three times in His visions.
"At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision." Daniel 9:23
"And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling." Daniel 10:11
"And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me." Daniel 10:19
Angels don’t smile over bad music
3. In the ABC dream an angel “keeps smiling all the time while the machine is smashing and chomping [music] CDs and DVDs.” Compare this with this. Once EGW saw young people playing bad music. Then she wrote: “…such songs were poured forth as made the watching angels weep” (Adventist Home, 514). Thus God’s angels “weep” over bad music. This is nothing to “smile” about.
Q. What did Ellen White mean in Adventist Home, 514?
“There has been a class of social gatherings in . . . parties of pleasure that have been a disgrace to our institutions and to the church. They encourage pride of dress, pride of appearance, self-gratification, hilarity, and trifling. Satan is entertained as an honored guest, and he takes possession of those who patronize these gatherings.
A view of one such company was presented to me, where were assembled those who profess to believe the truth. One was seated at the instrument of music, and such songs were poured forth as made the watching angels weep. There was mirth, there was coarse laughter, there was abundance of enthusiasm and a kind of inspiration; but the joy was such as Satan only is able to create.” Adventist Home, P.514
Q. Did Ernie’s dreams suggest angels were smiling over people playing or listening to bad music?
No. They were smiling because they were destroying the bad music. This is quite different to what Wohlberg is suggesting.
Evil angels never talk to God’s people in dreams or visions
“4. In the “If You Love Me” dream, three evil angels were allowed to talk to Ernie. This is most unusual. In no other heavenly dream that I am aware of are evil angels portrayed as talking directly to the receiver of the dream. This is not God’s method of communication. In EGW’s dreams, God often exposed Satan, but he never allowed Satan to talk directly to his servant in a dream.”
Q. Can an evil angel talk to God’s people in dreams?
“A dream the Lord gave me August 22. I dreamed of being in a wagon with Brother Rhodes and James, and we were to pass a bridge covered with water. As we passed over the bridge I was much frightened, for the water came into the body of the wagon and it seemed that we were sinking. I had my babe with me and I was so frightened I almost let him fall into the water. Brother Rhodes assured me a number of times that there was no danger and that we must necessarily pass through the water over the bridge.
After we had passed safely through the water, my eyes were attracted to something strange in the air. I saw angels marching through the air singing with solemn, clear voices, "For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Their voices rang through the air. Upon their shoulders they had mantles that reached to their feet. Brother Rhodes began to shout with a loud voice and said, "And shall I see Him whom my soul loveth?"
James was counting the angels, and I stood trembling with fear. My life came up before [me] and looked so full of wrongs I could not see how I should be able to stand. Just then Satan came where I was and said to me, "You are lost; you are now my property [and] will go with me to the dark regions." My feelings I cannot describe. To be separated from the Jesus I had loved and to take up my abode with those that I abhorred looked dreadful to me. At the same time, I felt unworthy to be with the lovely Jesus.
While in this dreadful perplexity one of the angels came where I was and said to Satan, "She is not your property, for she has been redeemed unto God by the precious blood of Jesus. She is the purchase of His blood." Satan fled. My feelings changed. My soul was overflowing with gratitude and thankfulness to God. I saw the saints as there fell [on them] and was reflected from the face of Jesus, light. Their faces would light up as they rose to meet the angels.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 16, p. 171
Steve Wohlberg’s Conclusion
“In light of all of this, and the great danger involved to so many souls, my earnest counsel to you is this: Remove the web site. Tell Jesus you don’t want these dreams anymore. Ernie, if you get another dream, don’t talk to the Herald at all. Don’t even listen to him. Remember, this is how Eve fell. She talked to the devil and was deceived. Read 2 Cor. 11:3. Quote Scripture only, like Jesus did in the wilderness. If the Herald is a demon, you can’t reason with him. He’s too smart. Don’t take a chance. Read “Beware of Angels.””
This is good counsel if the Herald is a demon. But what if he isn't? It would be like Noah rejecting the message God gave him because after listening to all the skeptics he was eventually led to believe the message might just have come from Satan. What would have happened to Noah? Nobody can reject a special calling from God like Ernie has had without endangering their eternal life.
Q. If we rebuke or resist the devil, will he flee from us?
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Q. If the Bible tells us to resist the devil and he will flee, why then did God allow the supposed demon in Ernie’s dreams to remain?
“The one angel who stands in front of the rest is a little taller and more noble-looking. I recognize him to be the Herald. He and the angels come and stand in front of me. He smiles at me, but before he can speak I say aloud in a clear voice, “In the name of Jesus Christ whose blood was shed for all that will believe in Him and have everlasting life, I command you to not say a word but depart and never return to me.” And to the accompanying angels I say, “In the name of Jesus Christ whose blood was shed for all that will believe in Him and have everlasting life, I command you to not say a word but depart and never return to me.” The Herald speaks and says, “The name of the One in whom you command me to leave is the name of the One who has sent me. I cannot leave as He-my Lord, my Master, Michael, the One whom all should call out His name, Jesus Christ-has sent us.”
The Herald walks over and picks up the book, The Great Controversy. He says, “This is the main book that Lucifer and his followers do not like.” The Herald hands my book to me and says, “Soon this will all be over.” He backs away and, along with the large group of angels, stands to the right of me. They all turn and look up. The sky rolls apart and a large circle of angels slowly descend. It is very bright in the middle. As they approach, I see Jesus in the middle of all. He slowly comes toward me and says, “What you command of the Herald, command of Me.” I look to Him and I say that I do not want to, as I know who He is. He calls me by my heavenly name and says, “It is not through just your private prayers that I offer and answer to this test but through the prayers of many that I now answer. So ask.” I look to Him and say, “In the name of Jesus Christ whose blood was shed for all that will believe in Him and have everlasting life, I command you to not say a word but depart and never return to me.” Jesus looks at me and says, “It is through My blood, it is through My death, it is through strikes I took for you, it is through being nailed to a cross, being separated from My Father, your Father, and dying that I will not leave, I cannot leave. It is through My love for you that I stay.”” In His Time, July 12, 2008
Steve Wohlberg found nothing wrong with Ernie’s dreams until the Herald said we will be held accountable for who we pay our tithes to [in or out of the church]. He then misuses the Spirit of Prophecy to mislead others to believe the Herald is a demon by concluding that:
- The treasury is only the conference church and if we don’t send our tithe there, we are not returning the tithe to God.
- Ellen White taught that we should pay our tithes to a ministry that is corrupt even when we know it is corrupt.
- When people support faithful gospel workers not employed by the church they are in fact aiding the devil's work.
We all need to individually decide whether we believe Wohlberg's conclusions are truly based on the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy or are they simply the result of misapplying God's word. Considering there has been two sides in the church regarding where tithe can be returned to, we cannot understand why Wohlberg would base his conclusions on the Herald's statement that we will be held accountable to God if we know the tithe is being misapplied and do nothing about it.