The most terrible thing that could happen to us today, is if the blood of Christ on the cross was poured out in vain for us. It does not need to happen, but for the majority of the people in this world, the cross will have been in vain.
The apostle John reduces the teaching of the gospel to one Greek word, Pistos. In our English translations of the Bible, it is most commonly translated faith; in the gospel of John, it is very often translated believe.
Hebrews 11 is sometimes called the faith chapter. No one is going to the kingdom of heaven without faith. Verse 6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” It is impossible to please God without faith, and nobody is going to the kingdom of heaven without faith. If you have faith, wonderful things can happen to you, things that most people cannot even believe.
What are some of the wonderful things that can happen if you have faith? Verse 33 talks about people in the Old Testament: “Who through faith subdued kingdoms.” Do you know anybody in the Old Testament who, through faith, subdued a whole kingdom? How about Jonathan and his armour bearer? Two people subdued the whole kingdom of the Philistines! (See 1 Samuel 14.)
Hebrews 11:33 says, they “worked righteousness,” they “obtained promises.” The Bible is full of promises, but the promises do not do any good unless you believe them. When people who were blind, maimed, lame, or diseased came to Jesus to be healed, Jesus would often say, “According to your faith be it on you.” (See Matthew 9:29.) The Bible promises will not do you any good without faith, but if you have faith, you are going to receive the promise. If you do not have faith, you will not receive the promise. That is why the Bible is a dead book to so many people. They do not have faith, so they do not receive anything. They do not think that God is real or that religion is real.
Faith in Action
Verse 33 continues, “Obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions.” Do you know any place in the Old Testament where, because of faith, the mouths of lions were stopped? Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den, and by faith the mouths of those lions were stopped. (See Daniel 6.) More examples of things that can happen if you have faith are given in verse 34: “quenched the violence of fire.” Did anyone in the Old Testament escape being burned to death because they had faith? The three Hebrew worthies certainly did! (See Daniel 3.)
There are many, many stories in the Old Testament about people who, by faith, “escaped the edge of the sword.” Just one would be Ehud, the second judge. (See Judges 3.)
Then it says in Hebrews 11:34, “…out of weakness were made strong.” Are you afraid, because you know that you are weak? Did you know that the more you are aware of your weakness, the stronger you can become? People who are weak, and who realize they are weak, will become strong when they look to the Lord. The Lord told Paul, “‘My strength is made perfect in weakness.’” 11 Corinthians 12:9. When you choose to put your trust in the Lord, the weaker you know you are, the stronger you are going to become.
The people of the world find that hard to believe. They cannot understand it, but that is what the Bible teaches. It says, they “became valiant in battle.” Hebrews 11:34. Oh, there are so many stories in the Bible about that, including the three mighty worthies or King David himself. Remember the story that King Saul told David? He said, “If you kill 100 Philistines, I will give you my daughter for a wife.” David said, “All right,” and he went out and killed 200. (See 1 Samuel 18.)
Hosts of Darkness will Flee
There are many stories in the Bible of people who turned to flight the armies of the aliens. When David met Goliath, he turned the entire army to flight. They started to run. (See I Samuel 17:38–52.) I want to tell you, if you have faith, the day is coming when all the hosts of darkness are going to be running from you, too, no matter how many there are. That is what faith is going to produce.
In this world, people become afraid; they say the forces against them are too many. But if you have faith, that does not matter. In fact, if you have faith, the less numbers you have, and the greater the number of enemies you have, the bigger the victory is going to be, because God never loses! Jesus is not only a Saviour, He is a General who has never lost a battle.
If you have faith in Him, you are on the winning side, and you can know that right now. They “became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” Ibid. The trouble is, God cannot do very much for His children who do not have faith.
Claiming In Faith
Matthew 13:53–58 tells the story of Jesus being rejected in Nazareth. It says, in verse 58, “Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Could they have seen wonderful things happen? They could have, but they did not have enough faith, so they did not see much.
That is the way with a lot of people’s religious experience. They say, Well, I do not see God doing very much in my life—and they do not. God is not doing much in their life, because they do not have much faith; they do not trust Him. Now, faith is not complicated. Faith is just trusting that if God says something, and if you believe it and follow the conditions, it will happen. You do not need to know how you are going to receive it. Mrs. White makes the statement that God has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing! (See The Ministry of Healing, 481.)
A Christian man I knew was in financial difficulty. We prayed together. He said, “Lord, it looks to me that this would be a way that my financial difficulties could be solved. You have told me that You have 1,000 ways to provide for me of which I know nothing. If this is not the way You have in mind, any other one of the 999 will be fine!”
When people put their trust in the Word, and start fulfilling the conditions, becoming obedient and trusting God, God starts working miracles in their lives.
A True Man of God
One of the great stories in Scripture is about a man called Caleb, who had this kind of faith. He was one of the twelve who were sent from the leaders of the tribes of the Children of Israel to search out the land of Canaan. They came back, it says, with a bunch of grapes so big that it took two men to carry it. (See Numbers 13.)
It was a wonderful place! In fact, today, they still dig the soil by the Red Sea and ship it all over the world, fertile soil that drained off from the land of Canaan. In ancient times it must have been one of the most fertile of all the countries in the world. It had a sub-tropical climate; you could grow most everything there. The climate was so health- giving that the descendants in that land had not degenerated as much as the rest of the people in the world. The men of Canaan must have been more than 12 feet tall.
The Israelite men saw these giants in Canaan, and they were afraid, because they did not have faith. They said, “Oh, there are giants there! We looked like grasshoppers in our own sight, and we cannot overcome them.” (See Numbers 13:33.)
A Different Report
The men were saying that the cities were strong and fortified and there were giants. Numbers 13:30 says, “Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.’”
Now how did he know that? Nobody else knew it. Had he seen the giants? Yes, he had seen the giants, just as the others had. Had he seen the fortified cities? He had seen them. Did he know about all the difficulties that they were going to have? He knew just as much about it as the rest of them.
Well, then, why did he bring back such a different report? Because he had faith. He knew what everybody should have known. God had promised them this land. He had made that promise to Abraham, and He had renewed it to Isaac and to Jacob. He had worked miracles through Moses to bring them out of the land of Egypt. They had seen God desolate the land of Egypt. They had seen Him dry up the Red Sea so that they could walk through. They had seen all of those things. In fact, they had been living on miracle food and miracle water. They had experienced one miracle after another that God had worked to bring them to this land, and they should have known He was not going to leave them now.
Have you ever met somebody who said to you, “I have committed so many sins, I am not sure whether I can be saved or not”? That was exactly the situation with the ten spies! The Bible says, in Philippians 1:6, that the One who has begun a good work in you is going to finish it. I sometimes ask these people, who often are baptized members of the church, “Has God done anything good in your life?”
“Oh, yes,” they reply, and they start to tell me some good things that God has done for them.
I remind them that if God has done some good things in their life, that He who began a good work in their life is going to finish it. Do you believe that?
Caleb knew that God would not work all those miracles to bring the people out of the land of Egypt and then just leave them in the wilderness. He knew that God was going to give them the land. Since he knew that, he said, “Let us go take it.”
This is a type of the last days. This earthly Canaan was an earthly type called the Promised Land. Has God promised us some land? Yes, the Bible says that the righteous, the meek, are going to inherit the earth. The whole thing!
Caleb said, “Let us go take it! The Lord has promised it to us.”
But the others said, “No, we are not ready. We cannot make it. We are too weak. They are stronger than we are.”
Remember, if you have faith, you are in the service of a General who has never lost a battle. Never! The fewer your numbers are, and the bigger the hosts of the enemy are, the bigger and the more dramatic the victory is going to be!
Let me also state the negative part of it. You cannot be part of the victory, or even part of the battle, unless you have faith, unless you trust in God.
Faith, the Bible says, comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (See Romans 10:17.) Are you studying your Bible every day so that your faith is growing? Do you have more faith now than you had at the end of last year? Is your faith growing, or are you one of the ten spies who say, “Life is so terrible, I just cannot make it”?
Caleb said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” Numbers 14:34 tells us what the people decided to do. They decided to accept the report of the majority and to reject the report of the minority. This is just one of the times in Holy Scripture where you find that the majority is not always right. In fact, in spiritual things, even in the church of God, the majority has been wrong more often than right.
Because they accepted the report of the majority, instead of the report of the minority, the Children of Israel had to stay in the wilderness for forty more years. “According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, 40 days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection [breach of promise].” Ibid.
A Terrible Disappointment
That was a terrible disappointment. In fact, they were so disappointed that when God told them that they could not go in to the Promised Land, they decided to go in anyway. Moses told them not to do it, but they tried anyway and were beaten back. (See Numbers 14:39–45.) Do you know, friend, that we are not going to go into the heavenly Canaan until God says it is time?
In God’s Time
This world is getting so bad; people wonder how long we are going to be here. We are going to be here, friends, until the Lord says it is time to go home. When will the Lord say that? He will say it when He has a people who have a spirit like Caleb.
What was Caleb’s spirit? “‘Because all these men [the ten spies] who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.’” Numbers 14:22–24.
Caleb had a spirit of faith. The Lord said he would go in to the land, and of that generation, there were only two who went in to the land. Caleb was one of them, and Joshua was the other. Why? Because they brought back a good report, and they said, We are able to go in.
Heaven is a Good Place
“But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: ‘The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land.’” Numbers 14:6–8. Friends, heaven is an exceedingly good place!
As you study your Bible, you will see that the land to which we are going, Heaven, is an exceedingly good land. If you or your loved ones are sick, when you get to that place, the Bible says, there will be no sickness. In Revelation 21:4, the Bible says there is no pain in that place. I have never yet visited a person in the hospital who has not enjoyed hearing that text. We are living in a world where there is all kinds of pain, all kinds of sickness, all kinds of trouble and weakness, but the Bible says there is coming a time when there will be no more pain.
The Bible also says, “There shall be no more death.” Ibid. You will never go to a funeral again, ever! There are no funeral parlors, no undertakers, no mortuaries, no cemeteries and no hospitals, because they do not need them! It is a good place, not just because of the negative things that will not be there, but the Bible says the redeemed of the Lord are going to return to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. They will obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing will flee away. (See Isaiah 35:10.)
If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Do you want to go now, or do you want to wait 40 years?
Caleb and Joshua did not figure that they were strong enough, in their humanity, to conquer the people in the land of Canaan. They said, If the Lord delights in us, He will give it to us. It was not the Lord’s will for them to have to gain that land by force of arms. He had a much better plan in mind. He has a much better plan in mind for us, too.
Trials and Tribulations
As I travel around the world, I find that many of God’s people are exceedingly concerned about what we are going to do in the future.
The Bible says that there is coming a time of great tribulation on this world. It says that there is coming a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation, and many people are alarmed about this. (See Matthew 24:21.) A gentleman told me he could help me get some property in a country where nobody would know where I was. There are lots of people who want to go someplace where nobody will know where they are, so when the New World Order, or the great tribulation, or whatever, comes, they do not need to worry about it, because nobody will even know where they are.
You can never go to a place in this world where you are perfectly safe. Crime and criminals are everywhere.
In the early eighties, a couple from Australia was getting ready to retire. They looked over a map of the whole world, and they said, We are going to find a place to live where it is safe. They chose a little island that was unknown to most people. This island, at that time, had never been involved in a major war, and it was a peaceful island. “We are going to retire there, and we will be safe,” they said, and they did. The island, that they thought would be the safest place in the world, was in a group called the Falkland Islands. Argentina and Great Britain got into an argument over those islands within a few months after they moved there. There were bombers, fighters, ships, and troops all over that island within a few months after they arrived. They found out that the place that they thought would be the safest place in the world was not safe at all.
My dear friends, if you are looking for some cave, for some mountain hideaway, for someplace nobody else knows about, what you need, more than that place, is faith in God and trust in Jesus. You are a lot safer and better off in prison, if Jesus is with you, than in some cave without Him.
Hiding in Thee
Friends, you are never going to be able to find a perfectly safe place in this world. Perfect safety, in this world, is found only in Jesus. If you do not want to have a nervous breakdown, a heart attack, high blood pressure, or something else, because of all the uncertainties and of all the terrible things going on in this world, what you need more than anything else is faith and trust in Jesus.
God’s people are going to get through the times of trouble that are coming. The Bible says, “Come, My people, enter your chambers, And shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the Lord comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; The earth will also disclose her blood, And will no more cover her slain.” Isaiah 26:20-21.
Are there times of trouble coming? Yes, there are. The Bible tells us there is coming a time when God Himself is going to come to punish this world for the lawlessness down here, and it is going to be so bad that “The earth will no more cover her slain.” Ibid. It has never before been that bad.
I have seen pictures from World War II showing where they took bulldozers and dug huge mass graves. They did not even know who the skeletons and the people were. They just put thousands of people in these mass graves and buried them. It was terrible!
A time is coming, according to this prophecy, when God is going to come to punish the inhabitants
of this world for their lawlessness. It is going to be so bad, there will be so many people dying, that they will not be able to bury them. Psalm 91:7 says that “a thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand.” That is not a figure of speech; that is what the Bible says. How are we going to be ready for it? The only way to be ready is to be protected by Christ and by His angels.
Oh, friend, do you and I have the different spirit that Caleb had? Notice what happened to Caleb and Joshua. They had faith, and the rest of God’s professed people did not. The people wanted to stone them. In fact, within a few minutes, they already had the stones in their hands. They were not just talking; they were ready to take action. They said, We are going to get rid of Caleb and Joshua, because they are going to lead us into a battle where we will all be killed, so it is better that we kill them first.
The Stoning System of Today
So they decided to stone them. Now that was just in the long ago, was it not? We would never ever stone somebody and take their life today. We do not believe in that do we? As I have studied the stoning system, I have realized that, from the divine point of view, you are actually better off if you are being stoned than if you are doing the stoning.
Look at Matthew 23:34, 35: “Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.”
A lot of people are like that still today. They are afraid that if you proclaim the Three Angels’ Messages openly, you are going to be killed, so you better not do it.
Jesus said to the Jews, Which of the prophets have ye not stoned? (See Acts 7:52.) It is very dangerous to be a spokesperson for God, to God’s professed people, because history indicates that you are likely to be killed. You are likely to be stoned. But we are living in a different age; we would not do something like that. We are a little more refined. Listen, we do the same thing; we just do it differently!
A long time ago Ellen White had a dream about the stoning system. The people involved in the stoning were Seventh-day Adventist ministers. This is the dream she had:
“I had a dream. I saw A [Dr. Kellogg] in close conversation with men and with ministers. He adroitly would make statements born of suspicion and imagination to draw them out, and then would gain expression from them. I saw him clap his hands over something very eagerly. I felt a pang of anguish at heart as I saw this going on. I saw in my dream yourself [probably Haskell] and B [Elder Butler] in conversation with him. You made statements to him which he seemed to grasp with avidity, and close his hand over something. I then saw him go to his room, and there upon the floor was a pile of stones systematically laid up, stone upon stone. He placed the additional stones on the pile and counted them up. Every stone had a name—some report gathered up—and every stone was numbered.
“The young man who often instructs me came and looked upon the pile of stones with grief and indignation, and inquired [of A] what he had and what he proposed to do with them. A [Dr. Kellogg] looked up with a sharp, gratified laugh. ‘These are mistakes of C [Elder White]. I am going to stone him with them, stone him to death.’ The young man said, ‘You are bringing back the stoning system, are you? You are worse than the ancient Pharisees. Who gave you this work to do? The Lord raised you up, the Lord entrusted you with a special work. The Lord has sustained you in a most remarkable manner, but it was not for you to degrade your powers for this kind of work. Satan is an accuser of the brethren.”
“I thought A seemed very defiant and determined. Said he, ‘C is trying to tear us to pieces. He is working against us, and to save our reputation and life, we must work against him. I shall use every stone to the last pebble here upon this floor to kill him. This is only self-defense, a disagreeable necessity.’
“And then said the young man solemnly, ‘What have you gained? Have you in the act righted your wrongs? Have you opened your heart to Jesus Christ, and does He sit there enthroned? Who occupies the citadel of the soul under this administration of the stoning system?
“‘You have a higher calling, a more important work. Leave all such work of gathering stones for the enemies of God’s law. You brethren must love one another, or you are not children of the day, but of darkness.’
“I then saw C engaged in a similar work, gathering stones, making a pile and ready to begin the stoning system. [They were going to stone each other, evidently.] Similar words were repeated to him with additional injunctions and I awoke.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12,10, 11. (See also Ellen G. White, The Lonely Years, by Arthur L. White, 161, 162.)
Whose Child Are You?
You see, the stoning system is still here, we just do it differently. We find out the mistakes that somebody has made and then we use those mistakes to try to destroy them. Jesus said, You do not love each other. You are not My children. You are the children of the prince of darkness.
We profess to be His people; people in Numbers 14 professed to be God’s people, too. They wanted to stone Caleb for bringing a good report, for telling the truth. How is it? Are we really God’s children? If we are really God’s children we will demonstrate it by loving each other, by protecting each other, by taking care of each other, by having a regard for each other, by watching out for each other, by trying to help each other, by trying to help somebody get up when they make a mistake, instead of knocking them down farther.
Let us look at it again. It is too strong for me to say in my own words: “You brethren must love one another, or you are not children of the day, but of darkness.” Ibid.
Oh, my friend, as Jesus looks into your family, into your church, into the lives of His professed people all over the world, whose child does He see? Whose child are you? Are you one of the children of the day, or are you one of the children of darkness?
You demonstrate who you are by whether or not you love your brothers and sisters and by what spirit you have. What spirit do you have toward the Calebs in the church, the people who have faith and who want to go into the kingdom now? Are you stoning each other with your mistakes? You demonstrate whose child you are by your spirit, by whether or not you love your brothers or sisters or whether or not you want to stone them to death because of their mistakes.
Do You have the Right Spirit?
This is very important. It has everything to do with whether or not we are really going to go to the Promised Land or whether we are going to perish in the wilderness. There are a lot of professed Christians who are going to perish in the wilderness of this world and never go to heaven, because they do not have faith, and they do not have the right spirit. They do not love their brothers and sisters. They are ready to stone the people with whom they do not agree.
Can You Pass the Test?
I hope, when you read the story of Caleb, you will think it through and apply it to yourself. Do you have a spirit like Caleb, or not? Do you love your brothers and sisters, as well as your enemies? That is the test. Jesus said, in the Sermon on the Mount, If you love your own brethren, that does not count. Even the tax collectors, even the harlots, the ones considered the lowest people in their society, love their own friends. (See Matthew 5.) That is not the test.
The test is, do you love your brothers and sisters when they see something totally different than you do? When you know that they are wrong and you are right, do you still love them, or are you ready to stone them to death for their mistakes?
God cannot take people to heaven who do not have faith. You cannot please Him without faith. There are going to be some who are going to go in like Caleb. The Lord lengthened his life, after all the rest had died, he not only went in, he went in to some of those giants and he destroyed them and took over their land, just like the Lord promised he would be able to do. He was over 80 years old when that happened.
There are going to be some Calebs again. Of the great mass of professed Christians, Jesus made it very clear, not only in the gospels but also in the book of Revelation, that the great mass of the Christian world is not going to make it—not because they cannot be saved, but because they will not be saved in God’s appointed way, trusting and obeying Jesus.
Caleb was the kind of a person who said, Lord, if that is where we are going, I am going with You. If you are willing to go with the Lord, the Lord will go with you and take you to the Promised Land. It does not matter how many people oppose you; it does not even matter how many people are trying to stone you.
The fewer there are, the more enemies there are, the greater will be the victory! But you are going to have to have a spirit like Caleb. The Lord will work that miracle in your life. He will take out all the bitterness, the hatred, and all those negative emotions that have kept you enslaved. You can have it all! Just trust and obey, as did Caleb.