of the best sales trainers in the United States was holding a seminar.
At this seminar, he noticed a man who had been coming to his seminars
every year for several years. At this seminar he was teaching and
dealing with the basic principles of selling. He asked this man,
whom he had seen come to his seminars every year about the people
in his company and about the other salesmen in his company, and
the man replied something like this: “The other salesmen in my
company feel that they don’t have time to come to this seminar.
They are too busy.” He said, “Actually, I am the top producer in
my company, but I feel that at least once a year I need time to
review all of the basics of selling.”
That is the
way it is. If we do not review basic concepts and principles we
will forget them. We will not have them so clearly in mind, so
I want to review some basic principles and concepts with you today
that we have been preaching about for a long time. In fact, I first
preached on this subject at Hett Kerval in Holland in 1991 about
three or four weeks before my brother, Marshall, died. During that
period of time, when I was studying, many, many statements from
the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, over a period of a few days, came
to my mind and I began to preach about the subject called The Fear
of the Jews. This is a biblical subject that the apostle John deals
with a great deal in his gospel.
Since 1991 a
lot of water has gone down the river, and actually, this subject,
although it was important to understand then, it is even more important
to understand now, because we are closer now than we were then to
the fulfillment of the prophecy that I used to read when I talked
to the people of God about this subject. This statement right here,
this prediction that Ellen White made in the 1888 Materials,
1303; “We are amid the perils of the last days. The time will soon
come when the prophecy of Ezekiel 9 will be fulfilled. That prophecy
should be carefully studied for it will be fulfilled to the very
letter.” Now friends, that is a very scary statement. If you have
studied Ezekiel 9 you know that is a very scary statement. The
fact that the prophecy is going to be fulfilled to the very letter.
She continues; “Study also the tenth chapter which represents the
hand of God as at work to bring perfect method and harmonious working
into all the operations of his prepared instrumentalities. The
eleventh and twelth chapters also should receive critical thoughtful
attention. Let these prophecies be studied on your knees before
God. Unless you take up the stumbling blocks, which by your own
perverse spirit you have laid in the way of many who have been connected
with you, God will turn His face utterly from you and your associates.”
When you study
Ezekiel 9, which she says is going to be fulfilled to the very letter,
you find out that destruction is coming to God’s people, and the
only ones who are going to escape the destruction that is coming
are those who have been marked by a heavenly messenger who is sent
among the people of God, an angel whom we cannot see, to put a mark
on those who are sighing and crying for the abominations that are
done in the land, that is in the church. Destruction is coming
friends. The only ones who are going to escape are those who are
sighing and crying and whatever it means to sigh and cry, it is
obvious that it means one thing and that is, these people are not
silent. We cannot be silent except at the peril of our souls.
We must warn God’s people that destruction is coming and the only
people who are going to escape the destruction are those who have
from the Spirit of Prophecy is found in Selected Messages,
Book 1, 406: “We want to understand the time in which we live.
We do not half understand it. We do not half take it in. My heart
trembles in me when I think of what a foe we have to meet and how
poorly we are prepared to meet him. The trials of the children
of Israel and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ
have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the
position of the people of God in their experience before the Second
Coming of Christ—how the enemy sought every occasion to take control
of the minds of the Jews, and today he is seeking to blind the minds
of God’s servants, that they may not be able to discern the precious
is the great danger in the fear of the Jews. God’s professed people
are blinded so that they do not discern the precious truth. What
were the trials of the children of Israel and what was their attitude
just before the first coming of Christ? If you look in your Bible,
when Jesus was already here, notice this chapter tells us something
very specific about their attitude. “Therefore the Jews sought
him at the feast, and they said, ‘Where is He?’ And there was much
murmurming concerning Him among the crowds. Some said, ‘He is a
good person,’ others said, ‘No, but He deceives the people.’ [He
causes them to go astray, in other words.] However, no one spoke
openly concerning Him on account of the fear of the Jews.”
No one spoke
openly of Him because of the fear of the Jews. Here are people
who cannot even talk about what they are speaking about because
of the fear of the Jews. Where did this fear of the Jews come from,
how did it get started, and on what is it based? To understand
that we need to go to the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis—this
is a wonderful, wonderful chapter, the chapter in which God told
Abraham that He was going to make a covenant between Abraham and
Himself, and between your seed, your descendants. I am going to
establish my covenant with you. (See Genesis 17:2-4) “And I will
establish My covenant between Me and between you and between your
seed after you in your generations for an everlasting covenant to
be to you for a God and to your seed after you.” This was a covenant
in which Abraham’s descendants were promised that they were God’s
special people. He was their God, they were His people and they
were promised an everlasting possession. They were God’s chosen
people and if you were circumcised (See Genesis 17) that was a sign,
or mark, of the covenant. If you were Abraham’s seed and you were
circumcised, you were the children of Abraham, including those who
had been purchased with money. All of the nations of the world
were included in the covenant if they wanted to be part of Abraham’s
spiritual descendants. This is all discussed in Genesis 17. In
fact, God told Abraham, I have made you the father of many nations.
A multitude of nations.
This fear of
the Jews was based on a misunderstanding of truth. Let us go a
little further and see what happened if you did not live up to your
part of the covenant.
“The man who
is clean and he is not on a journey and he has failed to prepare
the Passover, he shall be cut off, that soul, from his people because
an offering of Jehovah he did not bring at the appointed time.
His sin that man shall bear.” Numbers 9:13. So if you were cut
off from being part of Abraham’s seed, if you were cut off from
being part of the chosen people of God, it was not that you were
just cut off from a piece of Palestine, but then you were cut off
and had no assurance of eternal life, because the ever-lasting covenant
was only given to Abraham and his descendants—his seed.
How was a person
cut off from Israel and who cut them off? You can look at Numbers
15:31–33 and you can see a man who was stoned to death because he
deliberately and presumptuously broke the Sabbath. The Lord told
Moses that the children of Israel were to stone that person with
stones. Stoning was the penalty. That was the ultimate disfellowshipment
under the Old Covenant. We are not living under the Old Covenant
today, and some people think that since we are no longer living
under that covenant that God is not as particular anymore. But
God is just as particular as He was then, the only difference is
that in the New Covenant the punishments come at the end of the
world instead of immediately, like they did in the Old Covenant.
The person who
had sinned presumptuously was cut off from Israel, and you can see
in this text that the Lord is clearly the One who makes the decision.
They had high priests, they had common priests, they had the Urim
and the Thummin, they had prophets, but the Lord made the decisions
and directed the priests and the prophets in what they should do.
Incidentally, friends, the same thing that happened back then, in
the earthly sanctuary, is happening in the heavenly sanctuary.
You can read in Leviticus 16 or 23, those who did not come to the
sanctuary, those who did not afflict their souls, who did not purify
their souls on the Day of Atonement, were cut off. Today, if we
do not come in faith to the heavenly sanctuary and if we do not
purify and afflict our souls, and if we are not examining our characters
to see that we are in harmony with what is written, we too will
be cut off. Decisions are being made, friends. Decisions are being
made in the heavenly sanctuary. There are people who are being
purified and there are also people who are being cut off. In the
New Testament we see several glimpses of this fact, that in the
New Covenant, our great High Priest makes decision of judgment and
some people will be cut off and some people will be purified. Jesus
talks about who it is in the New Covenant who passes judgment.
He says, “For just as the Father has life in Himself, like this
also is given to the Son to have life in Himself and has given Him
authority to execute judgment also because He is the Son of man.”
John 5:26, 27.
talks about the fact that some people will be clothed in white garments
(in the judgment) while other people will not. Other people will
have their clothing taken away from them and they will go through
Armageddon. (See Revelation 16:15.) You can read in Revelation
21:17 about the fact that nothing that is defiled will go into the
holy city. A judgment takes place and a people are separated.
Those who are purified go in, those who are defiled are cut off.
You can see the same thing in Revelation 22:14–16.
The time came,
in I Samuel 28, when God was silent. When the leaders of God’s
people ask Him and sought Him, and He did not give them any answer,
He did not speak to them. That happened to King Saul. God would
not answer His people through King Saul, God was silent. I want
to tell you friends, it is very, very serious when God is silent.
We are living in a time today when to all human appearance, it is
just like it was in the days of King Saul. God is silent. We will
not investigate in detail, why there is not more marked evidence
of the Holy Spirit, but it is very serious and important to recognize
the fact that we are living in a time when God is silent. God is
not speaking to us, as He did one-hundred years ago, through a special
messenger to the remnant church. God is not speaking to us today
through a living prophet. We do not have a living prophet and we
have not had one for almost one-hundred years.
Paul explains to us a simple truth, in I Corinthians 10:20, 21,
that shows us why we are living in a time when God is so silent.
He says, “But what they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and
not to God, and I do not wish you to have fellowship with demons
or you are not able to drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of
demons; you cannot partake at the Lord’s table and of the table
of the devil.” You cannot have both!
When our first
parents ate of the forbidden tree, they cut themselves and their
descendants off from the Tree of Life and except for the plan of
salvation we would never have had access to the Tree of Life again.
The Bible says, “The curse causeless will not come.” Proverbs 26:2.
In the Old Covenant,
if you were a presumptious sinner, a deliberate law-breaker, if
you did not keep he ceremonial law or the moral law, you were cut
off from the children of Israel. And it was their belief that if
you were cut off from the children of Israel that you would lose
eternal life. This concept, that if you are cut off from God’s
chosen people, you will lose eternal life, is what eventually gave
the priests and the Pharisees such tremendous power.
There is an
example of this is the New Testament. It says, “They did not believe
therefore the Jews, concerning him that he was blind and received
sight until they had called the parents of the one who had received
sight, and they asked them, saying, ‘Is this your son whom ye say
was born blind? How does he therefore now see?’ Therefore his
parents answered and said, ‘We know that this is our son and that
he was born blind, but how now he sees, we do not know or who opened
his eyes we do not know. Ask him, he is of age, he shall speak
concerning himself.’ These things his parents said because they
were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that if
anyone confessed that He was the Christ, he would be cast out of
the synagogue. On account of this his parents said, ‘He is of age,
ask him.’” John 9:18–23.
were willing to tell a lie. These were the professed people of
God who were deliberately breaking the ninth commandment, and in
Revelation 21 and 22 it tells us that nobody who is a liar will
enter into the gates of the kingdom of heaven. No one will be saved
who is a liar. Anyone that is saved in the kingdom of heaven must
overcome lying, because when you go up there, everybody tells the
truth. No one is entering in there again who does not tell the
truth. The devil is a liar and the father of it, that is part of
his kingdom, his government. No one is going into the kingdom of
heaven again who is a liar.
Then why were
his parents deliberately willing to tell a lie and shut themselves
out of the kingdom of heaven? Because of the fear of the Jews!
The Jews taught that they would be cast out of the synagogue—that
is the equivalent of being cut off, being disfellowshipped, and
they believed that they had to be part of that or they would not
have eternal life. Yet, by the very act of trying to stay in they
broke the ninth commandment, because of which, if they did not repent,
they would be shut out.
That is what
the fear of the Jews does. The very thing that you think is going
to ensure you a place in the kingdom of God, ensures that you are
not going to be in the kingdom of God! “These things Isaiah said
when he saw His glory and spoke concerning Him. Like this, however,
out of the rulers there were many who believed in Him, but on account
of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, in order that they might
not be cast out of the synagogue, for they loved the glory of men
more than the glory of God.” John 12:41–44.
were people who believed in Jesus, but they would not follow Him.
They believed in Him intellectually, but they would not follow Him.
Let us just think that through for a moment. If you believed that
Jesus is the Messiah, and it says that these people believed, but
you will not follow Him, what have you done? You have cut yourself
out of the kingdom of heaven! You have barred yourself from the
kingdom of heaven. The Bible says that he who has the Son has life
and he that has not the Son has not life. If you believe that Jesus
is the Messiah, and it says that they did, but you will not follow
Him, you have cut yourself off from the kingdom of heaven, yet they
did not do it because of the fear of the Jews. They thought if
they cut themselves off from the synagogue that they would lose
eternal life, and they were willing to not follow Jesus in order
to stay in the synagogue and not be cast out. Notice, the very
thing that they think is going to ensure that they have eternal
life, ensures that they have eternal death.
same thing is happening today. Millions of times, in Jesus’ day,
unless you could overcome the fear of the Jews, you could not be
a follower of Jesus. In the time of the apostles the fear of the
Jews had to be broken down in order for anyone to belong to the
true people of God. This is so important to understand, and it
is so basic, and the New Testament is full of teaching on this subject.
John the Baptist
preaches about it. “Seeing many of the Pharisees and Saducees coming
to his baptism, he said to them, ‘Generation of poisonous snakes!
Who has showed you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore, bring
forth fruit worthy of repentance and do not glory to say in yourselves,
“We have Abraham for our father,” for I say to you that God is able
of these stones to raise up children for Abraham.’ Already the
ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that
does not bring forth good fruit is cut off and cast into the fire.
I baptize you with water unto repentance, but there comes One after
me who is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to bear.
He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.’” Matthew
said, “We are Abraham’s children.” In other words, we are part
of the true church—and these were the leaders of Judiasm, the leaders
among the professed people of God in those days, those He had chosen
to be His own. Those whom He had chosen to be His own, but whom,
Ellen White says in Desire of Ages, 35, 36, had become the
representatives of Satan. So he says, “Do not even think to call
yourself a child of Abraham. God is able to raise up out of these
stones children of Abraham.” The stones represent the Gentiles
who were spiritually dead.
“And now also
said the prophet, the ax is laid unto the root of the tree, therefore
every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast
into the fire. 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 of 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.” Desire of Ages, 107.
Do you believe that? Do you believe what John the Baptist taught?
Do you believe what John the Baptist believed? John the Baptist
said if your character and your life is not in harmony with God’s
Law, you are not His people.
They said, “Oh,
we are God’s people.” And he said, “No, you are not!” It is your
character and your life that determine whether you are God’s people
or not. Not your profession. That is what John the Baptist taught,
do you believe it? Many Seventh-day Adventists do not. He said,
“Do not even call yourself a church member. It is the spiritual
relationship, not just the outward profession that determines if
you are God’s.”
Notice, he taught
them that not by its name, but by its fruit is the value of a tree
determined. There is much contention and much fighting today over
the name. People are willing to go to court, they are willing to
fight for a name, but friends, you can have the right name and go
to hell. I say that advisedly. You can have the right name and
go to hellfire. There will be many people with the right name in
hellfire. If the tree does not bring forth good fruit, John says
it is going to be cut down and cast into the fire. He told them
that their standing before God was to be decided by their character
and their life. He told them that profession was worthless. He
told them that if their life and character were not in harmony with
God’s Law they were not His people. Do you believe what John the
Jesus said that
there had not risen a greater of those born of women than John the
Baptist. He was more than a prophet. (See Matthew 11:11.)
“In this fearful
time just before Christ is to come the second time, God’s faithful
preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than
was borne by John the Baptist.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 321.
Every time I read that the thought comes to me, how is that possible?
How is it possible to speak more plainly than did John the Baptist?
What we just read is about as plain as you would think anybody could
talk. She continues, “Those who speak smooth things God will
not acknowledge as His shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them.”
How is it possible
to speak more plainly than did John the Baptist? Well, let us see
what Jesus said about this very same subject.
“’I know that
you are Abraham’s children, but you seek to kill Me, because My
Word does not have a place in you. What I have seen with My Father,
I speak, and you what you have heard with your father you do.’
They answered and said to Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said
to them, ‘If the children of Abraham you were, the works of Abraham
you would do. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you
the truth which I heard from God. This Abraham did not do. You
do the works of your father.’ Therefore they said to Him, ‘We have
not been born out of fornication, we have one Father—God.’ Jesus
said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I
came forth from God and have come; neither from Myself have I come,
but that One sent Me. Why do you not know My speech? Because you
are not able to hear My Word. You are of your father, the devil,
and the lusts of your father you wish to do. That one was a murderer
from the beginning and he did not abide in the truth, because there
is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own,
because he is a liar and the father of it.’” John 8:37–44.
Notice the line
of reasoning that Jesus is using here. The Jews said, Abraham is
our father. Jesus said, the only way that you can prove that claim
is by demonstrating the character of Abraham and you are not demonstrating
the character of Abraham, you are seeking to kill a man who has
told you the truth. Abraham never did that. You do not have the
character of Abraham so you are not Abraham’s children. Your character
determines who your spiritual father is. Your character determines
whose child you really are. “He who sins, is of the devil.” I
These were the
church leaders of the professed true church. They were the true
church by profession, but they were not actually the true church.
They were actually the children of the devil. That is what Jesus
had declared themselves the children of Abraham. Jesus told them
that this claim could be established only by doing the works of
Abraham. The true children of Abraham would live, a he did, a life
of obedience to God. They would not try to kill One who was speaking
the truth that was given Him from God. In plotting against Christ,
the rabbis were not doing the works of Abraham. A mere lineal descent
from Abraham was of no value. Without a spiritual connection with
him, which would be manifested in possessing the same spirit, and
doing the same works, they were not his children. This principle
bears with equal weight upon a question that has long agitated the
Christian world,—the question of apostolic succession. Descent
from Abraham was proved, not by name and lineage, but by likeness
of character. So the apostolic succession rests not upon the transmission
of ecclesiastical authority, but upon spiritual relationship. [Let
us explain apostolic succession for those people who have not studied
theology. Apostolic succession is the theory that Christ gave to
Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven and Peter gave it to the
next bishop after him, 260 some times, all the way down to the present
reigning pope. That is the doctrine of apostolic succession. Notice
what Ellen White says here], “apostolic succession rests not upon
the transmission of ecclesiastical authority, but upon spiritual
relationship. A life actuated by the apostles’ spirit, the belief
and teaching of the truth they taught, this is the true evidence
of apostolic succession. This is what constitutes men the successors
of the first preachers of the gospel.”
So, they professed
that they were the children of Abraham, but without the spiritual
connection, without the same spirit and works they were not Abraham’s
children, they were actually Satan’s children. That is what Jesus
said and they were the most effective agents of Satan. Do you know
who the most effective agents of Satan are in the world today?
says, “how about the atheists?” No! The devil has much more effective
agents than they do. Then how about the people in the eastern religions—the
non-Christian religions? Well, the devil can use them to do some
things, but the devil has much more effective agents than that.
Who were the most effective agents of Satan in the days of Christ?
Was it the Romans? What it the Egyptians? Was it the Sythians?
Was it the Indians? Who was it? The most effective agents of Satan
in the days of Christ were God’s professed people. Seventh-day
Adventists can be more effective agents of Satan today than people
of any other church, because we have more light and the more light
you have, and turn from it and go a different way, the more effectively
you can be used by the devil.
This same problem,
this same misunderstanding that they had in the days of Christ—the
idea that those who profess to be the children of Abraham
are the children of Abraham. Remember, the profession is
worthless unless it is backed up by character, and that is what
Seventh-day Adventists have to learn today. Professing the Seventh-day
Adventist faith will not save one person unless you have the character
to back it up.
You see, it
is not the literal or the professed seed that makes you a child
of Abraham, it is whether you have the Spirit and the Character
of Abraham. That is what decides it. This controversy that they
had in the days of Christ with John the Baptist and with Jesus Himself,
continued during the days of the apostles and during the days of
the apostles you had to overcome your fear of the Jews or you could
not be part of the true people of God. The apostle Paul deals with
this at length in his writings.
one of the clearest ones in the whole New Testament is found in
Romans 9. This is the apostle Paul speaking, and notice, he is
going to show us that it is your character, your life, and not just
your profession that shows whether you are a part of the church
of God, whether you are part of the people of God or not. Notice
what it says in Romans 9:6. “They are not all Israel which are
out of Israel.” What does that mean? It means that everybody who
professes to be an Israelite is not an Israelite. Everyone who
professes to be a Seventh-day Adventist is not a Seventh-day Adventist.
It is not your profession that really determines it, it is whether
you have the character that backs up your profession that makes
verse 7: “Neither because they are all the seed of Abraham are they
all children, but in Isaac shall your seed be called. That is,
not those that are the children of the flesh, these are the children
of God, but rather the children of the promise shall be accounted
for the seed.” So it is not the profession that counts. It is
whether or not you are a child of promise; whether or not you have
the spiritual relationship; whether or not you have the character
to back up your profession.
“For not through
the law the promise was to Abraham and to his seed that he should
be an heir of the world, but through the righteousness of faith.
For if the ones out of the law are the heirs, then faith is done
away with and the promise is made of no effect. For the law works
out wrath; for where is no law there is no transgression. On account
of this, it is out of faith in order that it should be by grace,
in order that the promise should be confirmed to all the seed, not
only to those who are out of the law, but to those who are out of
the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, just as it is
written, the father of many nations I have made you who believed
God, the One who makes alive the things that are dead and calls
those things not being as though they are.” Romans 4:13–17.
So, it is not
through the law, it is not just through profession. It is those
who have faith, who receive the righteousness that is of faith.
And I want to tell you, friends, if you have the faith of Abraham,
then you are going to have the character that Abraham had. Do you
have it? Or do you have the fear of the Jews? What is it that
gives you any hope or assurance of eternal life anyway? Is it because
you have the righteousness that comes through faith or is it because
you have your name on the church books somewhere?
We are not saved
by companies; we are not saved by having our names on the church
books; we are not saved by numbers. That is what Ellen White said
in Sermons and Talks, 178.
spiritual connection, without the same spirit and works, the Jews
were not the children of God even though they thought they were.
Look again in
Romans 2:28, 29; it says, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly.
Neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh, but
he is a Jew which is one inwardly, that is in secret, and his circumcision
is of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise
is not from men but from God.”
is your experience today? Are you just a child of the flesh because
you make a profession of religion? You may say, “Well, I profess
the Seventh-day Adventist faith. I am a Seventh-day Adventist.”
That will not save you in the Day of Judgment. The decisions in
the Day of Judgment are not according to profession. Remember John
the Baptist said your profession alone is worthless. If your life
and character are not in harmony with God’s Law then you are not
His people. That is what John the Baptist taught. It is not the
literal seed, but the spiritual seed that counts.
Look at what
Paul said about this in the book of Galatians: “Know therefore
that those who are of faith, these are the sons of Abraham.”
Galatians 3:7. There it is as plain as you can say it. If you
are of faith, and remember, if you really have faith the result
of faith will be a character that is a reflection of the Christlike
character. If the faith does not produce results it is not real.
That is what James said, and Jesus said the same thing in John 14.
“For you are
all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as have
been baptized unto Christ have put on Christ. There is neither
Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither
male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you
are of Christ, then you are the seed of Abraham and you are heirs
according to the promise.” Galatians 3:26, 27
Oh friend, do
you understand this? Do you have a spiritual experience that in
the Day of Judgment the Lord can say, “This person belongs to Me.
They are of Christ. They have the righteousness which comes from
faith. They have a spiritual experience that has resulted in the
character that reflects the character of My Son”?
Now, we turn
to something very, very serious. In Jesus’ day and in the days
of the apostles, there were people who were cut off. The apostle
Paul was involved in this. The apostle Paul was trying to destroy
the church and he thought that he would go into all of the synagogues
and the way to purify the church was to get the people out who believed
on Jesus and destroy them; kill them; get them out of the way; cut
them off; disfellowship them; get rid of them. It is the same spirit
that many people have today. Many people in many Adventist churches
say, “We are going to get rid of these people; we are going to cut
them off like a cancer, we are going to get rid of them.”
I want to ask
you a question to think through—who was it that was being cut off
from what? When the apostle Paul went and took the Christians out
of the synagogues so they could not mingle with the rest of the
Jews, because they might be influenced, when he took those Christians
out of the synagogues and killed them or put them in prison, who
was being cut off from what? Were the Christians being cut off
from the true church? That is what they thought. What was actually
happening was that the people who cut those Christians off, they
had cut themselves off from the true church, and unless they repented,
and the apostle Paul repented—he changed his mind, they were cut
off eternally from the true church, and that is what the fear of
the Jews does. People cut some people off from the church, but
in the very act of doing that they cut themselves off from the body
of Christ. (See Galatians 4 and 5.) The apostle Paul studies it
Friend, in your
church, just remember that it is very serious to disfellowship someone
who is keeping God’s commandments; someone who is a born again Christian.
Very, very serious. If you disfellowship someone from your church
who is keeping God’s commandments, who is a born again Christian,
you have cut yourself off from eternal life, you have cut yourself
off from the church, because you have disfellowshipped yourself
from one of the true and faithful, and they are God’s children.
He is not going to disfellowship them, you have just disfellowshipped
yourself by cutting yourself off from God’s children. It is very,
could lose their souls today if they do not repent, because there
are Seventh-day Adventists being disfellowshipped around the world
for doing God’s work. We are getting letters from South America,
Africa, North America, from all over the world. People are being
disfellowshipped for being faithful and true to the principles,
the teachings, and the doctrines of Seventh-day Adventism.
further at the difference between the Jews and the apostles as to
who was cut off and who was rejected, and who was accepted and how
it worked, we need to look at the days after the apostles, because
this fear of the Jews did not cease in the days of the apostles.
“I know your
works, tribulation and poverty (but you are rich): and the blasphemy
[that is, I know the blasphemy] of those who call themselves Jews
but they are the synagogue of Satan.” Revelation 2:9. Notice,
they say that they are Jews, but they are not! They say, “we are
the chosen, the professed people of God. We are God’s people; we
are His church, but they are really not, they are really the synagogue
This is not
talking about literal Jews. This is talking about spiritual Jews,
those who are Christians. They belong to Christian churches and
they say, “We are the people of God. We are the real spiritual
seed of Abraham, and you are not.” But actually the people saying
that, he says, are the synagogue of Satan.
Any church that
tolerates open sin within that church and the members of that church,
if open sin is tolerated in the church, that church becomes the
synagogue of Satan. Christ is not the minister of sin. That is
something you can study out on your own.
How did this
teaching get along—that these people who are the synagogue of Satan
were blaspheming, saying “We are the people of God and you are not”?
Here is what
1. They believed
that the promises to Abraham that we just read, belonged only to
those who are part of the “visible” body of Christ. Have you heard
that? If you want to be a church member you have to belong to the
“visible” church, and we are the “visible” church, so you have to
belong to our church organization or else you will not have eternal
life. That has been taught repeatedly, for hundreds of years, by
the Catholic Church. I do not believe that they have ever renounced
the teaching that you must belong to the Roman Catholic Church to
have eternal life. That is a principle doctrine that was taught
by the Roman Catholic popes in the Dark Ages, and I do not believe
that it has ever been renounced.
2. They say
that the body of Christ is His church which He founded in 31 A.D.
3. They believe
that Jesus gave this church the authority to bind and loose. They
believe He gave the leaders of the church the authority to send
you either to heaven or hell.
if you are cut off from this “visible” church, you will lose eternal
This is often
what happened with the martyrs. They told them on the way to the
stake or the chopping block, “We have cut you off from the church
militant. You are going to hell, and you will burn there forever.”
That is what the martyrs were told. They cut them off from the
“visible” church and they believed that when they did that they
lost eternal life. This was done by excommunication or interdict.
You can read the story of the reformers, how John Huss and others
struggled internally with this question.
Huss’ experience. “Although the church was seeking to overwhelm
him by her thunderbolts he had not renounced her authority. The
Roman church was still to him the spouse of Christ and the pope
was the representative and vicar of God. What Huss was warring
against was the abuse of authority, not the principle itself. This
brought on a terrible conflict between the convictions of his understanding
and the claims of his conscience. If the authority was just and
infallible as he believed it to be, how came it that he felt compelled
to disobey it? To obey, he saw, was to sin, but why should obedience
to an infallible church lead to such an issue. This was the problem
he could not solve. This was the doubt that tortured him hour by
hour. The nearest approximation to a solution which he was able
to make was that it had happened again as once before in the days
of the Saviour, that the priests of the church had become wicked
persons, and were using their lawful authority for unlawful ends.
This lead him to adopt for his own guidance and to preach to others
for theirs, the maxim that the precepts of Scripture conveyed through
the understanding are to rule the conscience, in other words, that
God speaking in the Bible and not the church speaking through the
priesthood, is the one infallible guide.” Great Controversy,
Here is a question
for you; who is part of the body of Christ? Who is it? The body
of Christ is not simply a body of people who profess to be Christians.
I want to tell you, friends, if that was the body of Christ, the
devil and all of his angels could be the body of Christ, and they
will be apparently the body of Christ before the end, because Satan
will come claiming to be Christ Himself, and his angels will claim
to be His messengers. You see, if profession is the rule, even
the devil could be part of the body of Christ, but the body of Christ,
the remnant of the seed of the woman, there are those people who
are united with Christ in Spirit and in character.
12 you will find that Jesus Christ has only had one church from
the beginning to the end. That same subject is discussed in Acts
of the Apostles, chapter 1. The power to bind and loose has
been given to every Christian church (see Matthew 18:15–20) even
if there is two or three people in the Christian church, they have
the power to bind and loose if they have a Christlike character.
If they have received the Holy Spirit and if they are acting in
Christ’s stead in a Christlike way, they have the power to bind
and loose. The person who is not Christlike, who does not have
a Christlike character and is not filled with the Holy Spirit has
no authority to cast anyone out of the church.
Until this could
be understood, there could be no reformation in the sixteenth century.
Revival and reformation could never come until the fear of the Jews
was overcome, because they thought that they would lose eternal
life. They thought they would lose eternal life if they were cast
out of the visible church and any time revival and reformation began,
the leaders were cast out of the visible church. Just study the
Dark Ages and see if that is not what happened. You had to overcome
your fear of the Jews if you were going to become part of the true
church in the days of Jesus, and in the days when the New Testament
was written, and in the days of the reformers.
to explain, just like they do today, what was going on in all sorts
of ways. They said, “Well, we know that the men operating the church
are wicked, but the church is holy.” Now think that through. Does
that make any sense? They said, “Well, we can see that those following
the doctrines and teaching of the church are evil, but the church
is righteous.” Now, does that make any sense? You see, they mistook
the profession for the character; they mistook the symbols for the
substance; they mistook the forms and the rituals for the reality,
and in the sixteenth century you could not become part of the body
of Christ unless you overcame again your fear of the Jews. You
had to learn that that if the character did not conform to the profession,
then we are living a lie and Satan’s most effective agents are those
who profess to be Christians but do not live it.
You see, before
the Reformation they denounced the men and the activities of the
men, they even denounced the pope and the papal office, but they
still apologized and pleaded for the machine.
It is the same
today in Adventism. People condemn the evil practices, but they
justify the system by which alone it is possible for those practices
to be perpetuated. People say, “Well, the men of the church are
bad, but the church itself, which is composed of those very men,
is good.” They said, “The practices were evil, but the church
which invented those practices was holy.” Well, what is it that
needed to be revived and reformed? It is the church, but that is
the entity that destroys every person who is trying to bring revival
and reformation. That is the way it was in the sixteenth century,
and friends, we are seeing that is the way that it is today.
What is involved
in reformation? Well, one of the things that is involved in reformation
is a recognition that the papacy, the Roman church, is not in any
sense a part of the church of Christ. And as soon as any Protestant
church is infiltrated by Roman professors and approaches Rome and
attempts to practice Roman Catholic doctrines, notice I did not
say attempts to “teach Roman Catholic doctrines”, I said attempts
to “practice Roman Catholic doctrines.” When they do that they
are going in the opposite direction of revival and reformation.
So, in Adventism today we see groups of people going in opposite
of the fear of the Jews has a lot more to it today than it did when
I first preached this subject in 1991. So, in part II of this subject
we are going to deal with the fear of the Jews again, and we are
going to see what is happening today in Adventism, and how the fear
of the Jews is affecting our people around the world.
- To be continued