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Did God send a prophet?

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Color Key

Material that is an exact, word-for-word match of the alleged source.

Material that is similar, but the word forms are different.

Words that are a match of biblical material as well as of the source.

Material that is represented in Rea's comparison by an ellipsis.

Material dropped from the beginning or end of the paragraph of the alleged source by Rea.

Material that was ignored in Rea's comparison.

Material clipped from the middle of a sentence in Rea's comparison, without using an ellipsis.

An Analysis of the Literary Dependency of Desire of Ages, chapter 5

contributed by David J. Conklin

Paragraphs 19, 20 (analysis of pp. 327, 328 of White Lie)

There wasn't a lot of bold italics to remove here, but we did remove it from " 'made known abroad' " in Hanna, and from the Scripture quotation in both White and Hanna about a sword piercing Mary. In the latter instance, the similarity in wording between the two was artificially accentuated by Rea when he changed the original sources by bolding and italicizing these words.

Desire of Ages (1898)
Ellen G. White, p. 56
The Life of Christ, (1863)
William Hanna, pp. 37, 38

Yet Mary did not understand Christ's mission. Simeon had prophesied of Him as a light to lighten the Gentiles, as well as a glory to Israel. Thus the angels had announced the Saviour's birth as tidings of joy to all peoples. God was seeking to correct the narrow, Jewish conception of the Messiah's work. He desired men to behold Him, not merely as the deliverer of Israel, but as the Redeemer of the world. But many years must pass before even the mother of Jesus would understand His mission.

Mary looked forward to the Messiah's reign on David's throne, but she saw not the baptism of suffering by which it must be won. Through Simeon it is revealed that the Messiah is to have no unobstructed passage through the world. In the words to Mary, "A sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,"21 God in His tender mercy gives to the mother of Jesus an intimation of the anguish that already for His sake she had begun to bear.

[The preceding 60% of this paragraph was used by Rea in the comparison for paragraph 13.] Joseph and Mary stood lost in wonder. How has this stranger come to see aught uncommon in this child; how come to see in him the salvation of Israel? Have some stray tidings of his birth come into the holy city from the hill country of Judea, or has the wondrous tale the shepherds of Bethlehem "made known abroad," been repeated in this old man's hearing? What he says is in curious harmony with all the angel had announced to Mary and to the shepherds about the child, and yet there is a difference; for now, for the first time, is it distinctly declared that this child shall be a light to lighten the Gentiles; nay, his being such a light is placed even before his being the glory of Israel. Has Simeon had a separate revelation made to him from heaven,and is this an independent and fuller testimony borne to the Messiahship of Jesus?

[Rea skips here to the next paragraph, an entire half a page, to page 38.]

From all Mary had yet heard, she might have imagined that her child would be welcomed by all Israel—so soon as the day for his revelation came—as its long-looked for deliverer; and that a career of unsuffering triumph would lie before him—a career in whose honors and bliss she could scarcely help at times imagining that she should have a share. But now, for the first time, the indication is clearly given that all Israel was not to hail her child and welcome him as its Messiah; that hostility was to spring up even within the ranks of the chosen people; that he was to be a "sign which should be spoken against;" or rather—for such is the more literal rendering of the words—a butt or mark at which many shafts or javelins should be launched. Nor was Mary herself to escape. Among the many swords or darts levelled at his breast, one was to reach hers: "Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also."21 Strange that in the very centre of so broad and comprehensive a prophecy concerning Christ, such a minute and personal allusion to Mary should come in; a high honor put upon the mother of our Lord that her individual sorrows of her Son; and a singular token of the tender sympathy of Him by whom it was prompted, that now when her heart was filling with strange, bright hopes, now while her child was yet an infant, now ere the evil days drew on, when she should have to see him become the object of reproach and persecution, and stand herself to look at him upon that cross of shame and agony on which they hung him up to die—that now to temper her first-born joy, to prepare and fortify her for the bitter trials in store for her, this prophecy should have been thus early spoken.

A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:32)

(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. (Luke 2:35)

Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us. (Luke 1:78)

Observations: In this comparison we find for the first time Rea clipping material from the middle of a sentence without using an ellipsis.

Interestingly, Hanna says that Simeon said something that the angel didn't tell the shepherds: Christ came for the Gentiles too. Hanna explicitly says that through Simeon "for the first time, is it distinctly declared that this child shall be a light to lighten the Gentiles." However, Ellen White disagrees with him on this point. She wrote that Simeon's message was the same as when "the angels had announced the Saviour's birth as tidings of joy to all peoples." Thus, she didn't plagiarize this portion from Hanna.


  1. Ellen White's quotation does not end with a period, but Hannah's does. However, Rea's clipping of this period makes White's wording appear slightly more like Hannah's.

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