Choose Whom You Will Serve


Prior to Pope Francis’ visit to America in September, his Advisor, Jeffrey Sachs said that the Pope would challenge the American ideal of individual choice in matters of religion and conscience. It was also reported that the pope would encourage a family day. It seems to have escaped his mind that Americans in “the land of the free” can already rest on Sunday as a family if they so choose. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees them the freedom to choose whatever day of rest they want without interference from the government.

What is the Pope up to?

The Catholic Church has always been an enemy of separation of church and state. The pope’s plan to encourage a Sunday law will be forced on all. Those who choose to keep God’s seventh day Sabbath holy will be eventually branded as criminals and persecuted. Those who forget history are bound to repeat it. Is it now time that we better understand where the American ideal of separation of church and state came from, what it cost, and what we can do to preserve this God-given right.

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and His angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:7–9.

Our first parents, Adam and Eve, though they were put in a perfect environment, chose to sin. As a simple test to prove loyalty to their Creator, they were prohibited from eating the fruit from one tree in the Garden of Eden. Satan deceived Eve. She ate the fruit and gave it to Adam and they lost their right to live in their garden home.

After Satan had caused the fall of Adam and Eve, he claimed this world as his own. The plan of salvation put in place to restore fallen man from his sinful condition could only be successful if he was given free choice.

In heaven, we are told that Michael (Christ) fought against the devil, who was thrown out of heaven as a result. However, when Christ came into this dark world, which was under Satan’s dominion, He never fought physically for its recovery. He knew that would have proved nothing to the unfallen worlds in vindicating God’s Holy Law, His character, and His plan of Salvation.

Satan had accused God of being a dictator. He claimed a victory in Adam’s fall, claiming that it was impossible for humans to keep God’s law and that there was fault with the Law Giver. God and His Law had to be vindicated, and doubt had to be removed from the minds of the unfallen worlds. God is love and only through love could He draw this lost world back. The plan of salvation would not only vindicate God but would save lost humanity from their sins.

The inhabitants of the unfallen worlds could see that Satan had won control of this world by tempting our first parents to choose to transgress God’s law, just as he had caused the ruin of one third of the heavenly host. God’s eternal and perfect law had been broken, and the only way the world could be won back was through the shedding of blood to pay the penalty for a broken law. “… and without shedding of blood is no remission [of sin].” Hebrews 9:22.

Satan was cast out of heaven for breaking God’s law, and the universe would see the inconsistency if God had not allowed death to come upon Adam and Eve, who, like Satan, had transgressed God’s law. He could not penalize Satan for transgression and then excuse our first parents for the same offence.

The story is told of a judge who fined all who came before him who had been found guilty, because the law had to be upheld. One day his own son came before him and many whispered that the judge would let him off. Much to their surprise, his own son was fined heavily. Then, because he was his father, the judge put his hand into his own pocket and paid his son’s fine. No one could say that justice had not been done. Justice and mercy had met. So it was with God. Adam and Eve had to be punished because His law had to be upheld. Then He paid the fine Himself by sending Jesus Christ to die in our place.

God loves His creatures. “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. By His death the law was magnified and made honorable.

“The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” Isaiah 42:21. Jesus kept His Father’s commandments. “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” John 15:10. Jesus asks us to do the same. “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15.

Some might think that because Jesus fought and won in heaven, why couldn’t He come to this earth and again take the sword to Satan and his angels, and then take us all back to heaven? The problem with that argument is that when we get back to heaven we would continue to take the sword to each other. God’s plan of salvation has provided power for all those who choose to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and live a victorious life. The old carnal man must choose to die and be born again. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

The whole plan to recover this lost world of sin and death was to be one of choice alone. Christ said that His kingdom is not of this world, for if it were, then His servants would fight (see John 18:36). Because of this principle He separated the church from the state, for if these powers were united, force would replace choice, and the gospel message would fail.

There are many examples in Scripture of the exercise of freedom of choice. Satan chose to rebel in Heaven. Our first parents chose to transgress. Choices were made before the flood, in Sodom and Gomorrah, and at the golden calf. The three worthies in Babylon chose to be loyal to God. Judas chose to betray Christ for 30 pieces of silver. Peter chose to deny Christ several times. The unbelieving Jews chose to reject Christ.

The common people chose to follow Jesus. Christ chose to die for us on Calvary.

Two thieves were crucified with Jesus—one chose to accept Him and sadly the other thief chose to reject Him.

When Christ started His church on earth, force was never used to compel those who heard Him preach. He would harm nobody. “A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” Isaiah 42:3.

On one occasion when Jesus and His disciples were rejected while passing through a Samaritan village, His disciples wished to take revenge. Instead, Christ gave them a lesson in love and tolerance towards those who chose to reject their message: “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” Luke 9:54–56.

Because Christ’s kingdom was not of this world, He rejected those who tried to make Him a king on this earth. Caesar could not forgive but Christ could forgive seventy times seven the vilest sinners who truly repented (see Matthew 18:22). “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone.” John 6:15.

Christ had told His followers that they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood (figuratively). That meant that they had to take His victorious life into their hearts. At this stage most of His followers chose to leave Him. He never tried to compel them to come back. “From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?” John 6:66, 67.

Christ preached the gospel; some chose to accept Him while others chose to reject Him. Christ never used violence and coercion to obtain converts. Some who believe in the church/state union say that Jesus used force when He cleansed the temple. However, there is no record of anyone being physically harmed by Christ. The only harm done was to the egos and pockets of the moneychangers. To try and use this example as an excuse for full scale genocide defies all credibility.

Jesus taught the disciples that there was to be no force used when they preached the gospel to the world. At Pentecost, Peter preached with the power of the Holy Spirit. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then they that gladly received His word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:38, 41. Three thousand souls chose to accept Jesus without coercion. In Acts 4:4 five thousand chose Jesus as their Saviour. In Acts 5:14 multitudes of both men and women chose to believe. In Acts 6:7 a great company of priests chose to become obedient to the faith. In Acts 7:57 most of the leaders chose to stop their ears. In Acts 8:37 the Ethiopian chose to accept Jesus Christ. In Acts 13:42–51 the Gentiles chose to accept Christ but many of the Jews chose to reject the gospel message. They expelled both Paul and Barnabas from their coasts. The disciples chose to shake off the dust from their feet and went to Iconium.

There is no record of the first church ever having used force to attain conversions. Conversely, the unbelieving Jews continually chose to use violence against their former fellows who had chosen to become followers of Christ.

The following Bible verses show that all those who claim to be followers of gentle Jesus and advocate the use of force in religious matters are not His disciples despite their profession:

“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” John 16:1, 2. The Bible warned us that there would be a time coming when force would be used, but it also said that false doctrines would be introduced. These two factors (force and false doctrine) would unite to bring forth the man of sin. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” II Thessalonians 2:3.

The following verses also predict that error would come into the church and be forced upon the people: Acts 20:28–31; II Peter 2:1, 2; I Timothy 4:1–4; II Timothy 4:3, 4; II Corinthians 4:2. Christ admonished us to read the Book of Daniel (Matthew 24:15). In Daniel 7:25 there is prophesied that a power would arise out of pagan Rome and it would “wear out the saints of the Most High” who chose to remain loyal to Jesus and His doctrine. In Daniel 11:33 and 35, it says that this same religio-political power would kill God’s children. They would “fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days” (1260 years). Protestant Bible students historically believe that these prophecies were fulfilled by the papacy in the Dark Ages, which, to be politically correct are now called the Middle Ages.

This blasphemous religious power had united itself to the state. That act contradicted Christ’s command to the first church (see Matthew 22:21). This was the first step in using the arm of the state to force millions to choose a false worship against their conscience. This power claimed this world to be its kingdom, which also contradicts Christ’s statement that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36).

“Pope Urban II, inspirer of the first Crusade, decreed that all heretics were to be tortured and killed.” A Woman Rides the Beast, 246, by Dave Hunt. “St. Thomas Aquinas [the darling of the Catholic Church] taught that non-Catholics, or heretics, could, after a second warning, be legitimately killed. His exact words are: ‘they have merited to be excluded from the earth by death.’ ” St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, vol. 4, 90. “There is no greater offence than heresy … and therefore it must be rooted out with fire and sword.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911, vol. 14, 767. The Catholic church claimed the right to kill all those who chose to believe differently from what the church taught, even if that teaching conflicted with the plainest Scripture.

Christ, on the contrary, had told us to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44. Christ gave all a choice in religious matters, but popery believes in force.

“The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty of conscience are a most pestilential error—a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a state.” Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1854. [Emphasis added.]

“One eighteenth Century historian, Walter James, counted 95 popes who claimed to have divine power to depose kings.” Vicars of Christ, by Peter de Rosa, page 355. This is a far cry from their claimed first pope Peter who said, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors.” I Peter 2:13, 14, first part.

“Archbishop Kendrick, says: We confess that the Roman Catholic Church is intolerant, that is to say, that it uses all the means in its power for the extirpation of error and sin; but this intolerance is the logical and necessary consequence of its infallibility. She alone has the right to be intolerant, because she alone has the truth. The Church tolerates heretics where she is obliged to do so; but she hates them mortally, and employs all her force to secure their annihilation. When the Catholics shall here be in possession of a considerable majority which will certainly be the case by and by, although the time may long be deferred, then religious liberty will have come to an end in the Republic of the United States. Our enemies know that we do not pretend to be better than our Church, and in what concerns this, her history is open to the eyes of all. They know then, how the Roman Church dealt with heretics in the Middle Ages, and how she deals with them to-day, everywhere she has the power.” Shepherd of the Valley, (St. Louis, Mo.), 1876.

“The church has the right to require that the Catholic religion shall be the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all others.” Pope Pius IX Syllabus Errorum, December 1864.

“I want to hear some American stand up and shout: ‘Give us justice. Give us decency and to hell with the Constitution.’ ” The Catholic News, July 25, 1963.

“Our work is to make America Catholic … and our hearts shall leap toward it with crusader enthusiasm.” Bishop Ireland, Baltimore Catholic Council, 1890.

“The word of God teaches that these scenes are to be repeated as Roman Catholics and Protestants shall unite for the exaltation of the Sunday.” The Great Controversy, 578. “And let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she never changes. … is to dominate the conscience, and the triumph of Rome in this country is assured.” Ibid., 581.

“The pacific tone of Rome in the United States does not imply a change of heart. She is tolerant where she is helpless. Says Bishop O’Connor: ‘Religious liberty is merely endured until the opposite can be carried into effect without peril to the Catholic world.’ … The archbishop of St. Louis once said: ‘Heresy and unbelief are crimes; and in Christian countries, as in Italy and Spain, for instance, where all the people are Catholics, and where the Catholic religion is an essential part of the law of the land, they are punished as other crimes.’ ” Ibid., 565.

“The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged. Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. Let none deceive themselves. The papacy that Protestants are now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the world in the days of the Reformation, when men of God stood up, at the peril of their lives, to expose her iniquity. She possesses the same pride and arrogant assumption that lorded it over kings and princes, and claimed the prerogatives of God. Her spirit is no less cruel and despotic now than when she crushed out human liberty and slew the saints of the Most High.

“The papacy is just what prophecy declared that she would be, the apostasy of the latter times (II Thessalonians 2:3, 4). It is a part of her policy to assume the character which will best accomplish her purpose; but beneath the variable appearance of the chameleon she conceals the invariable venom of the serpent. ‘Faith ought not to be kept with heretics, nor persons suspected of heresy’ (Lenfant, volume 1, page 516), she declares. Shall this power, whose record for a thousand years is written in the blood of the saints, be now acknowledged as a part of the church of Christ?” Ibid., 571.

Seventh-day Adventists know that there are two significant powers mentioned in Revelation 13. We recognize them to be the resurrected papacy and the United States of America. America, the land of free choice in religious matters, has succumbed to its age-old foe from which her ancestors fled nearly four hundred years ago. Sleepy America has taken her wonderful liberties for granted. The people have been seduced and subdued by a mysterious stupor and are infatuated by sports, amusements, revelry and making money.

It is in this atmosphere that Pope Francis came to America to present to the U. S. Government the plan (or conspiracy?) for a New World Order to deal with global warming and the problems of humanity. He also presented at the World Family Day in Philadelphia the need for Sunday rest. Pope Francis is being idolized as the solver of the world’s problems. These problems are being used as an excuse to sell Catholicism to America as the only remedy.

As the pope and a confirmed Jesuit, he sincerely believes that he can resort to any means to rid the world of all who do not accept his “remedy.” He believes, as a “good” Jesuit, that he can take the wealth of America and distribute it to the slums of the world, the majority of which are Roman Catholic.

Even more alarmingly, the top Vatican adviser, Jeffery Sachs reported prior to the pope’s visit that he would directly challenge the ‘American idea’ of God-given rights embodied in the Declaration of Independence. The Catholic Church’s view, confirmed by the ‘Holy Father’ in veiled messages, has always been that the orderly development of a civil, pluralistic society, required that the authentic spirit of religion not be confined to personal conscience. Catholicism must supersede the Protestant belief of individual choice in religious matters for his planned New World Order.

We are seeing the sure word of prophecy springing forth into reality before our very eyes. The two powers of Revelation 13 are uniting, and soon, no man shall buy or sell unless he receives the Mark of the Beast (see Revelation 13:16). After this economic boycott will come death to all those who choose to refuse to receive the Mark of the Beast (see Revelation 13:15).

There is a storm coming relentless in its fury. Rome is to regain its lost ascendancy. The three worthies on the plain of Dura chose to honor God and accept the consequences. The great majority chose to take the easy way out. Soon all the world must choose between the Mark of the Beast and the Seal of God. Man’s extremities are God’s opportunities. His biddings are also His enablings. We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us. Soon Jesus will return and take all those who have chosen Him as their Saviour to heaven. Anything we must suffer of this earth for the glory of God is nothing compared with the eternal life to come. He that tries to save his life will lose it, and he who is prepared to lose it will save his soul (Matthew 16:25). “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9.

Evan Sadler is the director of Hope International (NZ) Ltd. He is passionate about sharing the warning messages of Revelation 14 on his many travels throughout the United States of America and his home country, New Zealand. He may be contacted by email at: