“Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.” Revelation 15:4. We should realize that there will come a day when every one on earth will have to stand before God and worship Him. They will admit that He is just and righteous in everything He has done. If we want to be among the group that inherit life eternal we must accept God’s message and cooperate with it. We need to know the everlasting gospel, for time is very short.
Remember that the everlasting gospel was planned before the foundation of the world. In the Garden of Eden God revealed the gospel. The audience was only two people, but they needed the solution that the gospel provided. God said to the devil, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15.
In the Norwegian Bible it says that the woman’s Seed—that is Jesus—shall crush the serpent’s head. Unfortunately, in only a few places, today, is the everlasting gospel being preached. Many fancy gospels are being preached from different pulpits, but they contain no “crushing” of the devil’s head.
Disobedience brought sin into this world. The only solution is obedience. That means that the everlasting gospel that God has given must contain a plan for how disobedient people can be obedient. The disease, the Bible tells us, is sin and the treatment is to be born again. The result is righteousness. That is the essence of the everlasting gospel.
When Jesus left the disciples to begin His service in the heavenly sanctuary, He did not leave them alone. Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, He guided them. “He shall . . . bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26.
The gospel was founded upon the very name and character of Jesus. “Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21. But if you listen to the preaching from many churches in my country, you would think that His name was not Jesus and the salvation He offers is not from sin but from guilt only. There is no crushing of the devil’s head in such a message.
For more than three years the disciples witnessed the everlasting gospel in action in the life of Jesus. They knew His message, and what they should preach. They had no intention of inventing some kind of new gospel or doctrine. They felt an obligation, the Bible says, to teach men and women to believe and observe what the Holy Spirit showed them and what Jesus had preached. They had been there when He met the manipulative Pharisees. They heard Him preach the Sermon on the Mount and the spiritual application of the law. They learned that it was possible for a human being to break God’s commandments in his mind. They realized that salvation must change the inner man into God’s likeness. This was the only gospel they knew. They heard Him say that only the pure in heart will see God, and that He came not to destroy but to fulfill the law. They knew that God could provide the power to overcome through the Holy Spirit. This was their message. They preached it and they believed it.
The members of the early church based their decision on what they heard, and that was the everlasting gospel. They had heard Jesus say, “Turn the other cheek, love your enemies, do good to them that hate you.” They understood what He meant when He said, “If you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” They could not preach Jesus, and faith in Him, without preaching what He said and did. That was the everlasting gospel.
They heard His words to the woman taken in adultery, when He said, “Go and sin no more.” They heard Him say, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” They understood that the changing of man’s character is vital for salvation. God can forgive and God can give victory.
They also understood that circumcision is a symbol of belonging to Israel. The real circumcision is that of the heart. Even in the Old Testament God had said, “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.” Deuteronomy 10:16. The Lord said in effect, “Let me perform an operation on your mind. Let Me change you. Let Me put My law into your mind.” It is a miracle that takes disobedient people and makes them obedient by writing this law into the mind. That was central to the everlasting gospel.
The disciples preached that God can purge a conscience from dead works. (See Hebrews 9:14.) They preached, “Put off the old man with his deeds.” Colossians 3:9. We can “be dead indeed unto sin.” Romans 6:11. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Romans 6:12. They preached that any character fault, whether hereditary or developed, can be laid at the cross of Jesus. He will cleanse and change us.
You cannot be a Seventh-day Adventist without believing the everlasting gospel. A gospel that says that you can be saved while willfully sinning is not the everlasting gospel!
Depressing or Encouraging?
Some people feel that the everlasting gospel is depressing. Just think about this. When you have trouble with your car, you take it to a mechanic. If he looked it over and said he could not fix it, but that your car would be useless, you would have to live with the car’s problem for as long as you kept the car. Now, that would be depressing.
If the mechanic examined the car and said, “I can fix it. All I need to do is replace the defective part with a new one. What’s more it will not cost you anything.” You would be thrilled. That is just like the everlasting gospel. It is truly good news!
The gospel is good new, but it will not do any good for you or I if we only accept it intellectually. It must be an experience. That is the only way to be a real Christian and to be a Seventh-day Adventist.
Can you see why the devil gets angry at such a gospel? He gets angry with everyone who preaches it. Some of us have been privileged to experience that. Satan knows that the everlasting gospel contains his death sentence. He will lose control of all those who accept and experience this gospel, because it provides the receivers with an armor that stands against the wiles of the devil so his poisonous darts cannot hurt them. (See Ephesians 6:11.)
If you have experienced the everlasting gospel, you will still be tempted, but the Holy Spirit in your life will keep you from falling. That is the promise. The everlasting gospel meets us with both the grace of forgiveness and the grace of victory. Both spring out of God’s love.
For thousands of years the devil has known the effects of the everlasting gospel in men’s lives. He has had plenty of time to devise countless methods to destroy it. He has often tried force. Millions have died as martyrs for Christ as a result of years of persecution. But there is one problem. You cannot force a person who is born again to give up his belief and trust in Christ. Nebuchadnezzer tried to use force against Daniel’s three friends, but it did not work. When everyone else fell down to worship the image, they remained standing. They had made up their minds to be obedient at any cost.
When they were brought before the king, he offered them a second chance because he liked their work as rulers of the Province of Babylon, and he wanted them to continue to serve him. They replied, “we do not have to answer the king a single word.” This may sound rude to us, but in their day it was a commonly used legal phrase. It simply meant, the case is closed. They were saying, “We have made up our minds. You do not need to give us another chance. We will not fall down and worship the image no matter what.”
Soon you and I might meet the same test. When the politico-religious ruler of Babylon, described in Revelation, has an image erected, everyone will be invited to fall down and worship. A few people will stand. But we can be sure that the people who will be standing at that time will have the same experience as the three Hebrews in Babylon had. They were born again. They made their decision to die rather than sin. When Jesus is the Lord of our life, He will fill us with the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. He will give us strength. We do not now know what we will to do when that happens, but if we are born again and remain in that relationship with the Lord, we will know what to say and do to keep from breaking one of God’s commandments.
Nebuchadnezzar wanted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to break one of the Ten Commandments. But they had made up their minds. They knew they would rather die. Ahead of us is an experience where we will be asked to break one of those commandments. If we have not made up our minds before, if we do not have this relationship with the Lord before that day, we will bow down and worship.
There is no way the devil can defeat people who are born again. A Christian who is born again is not proud. Self does not rise up and cause problems. You cannot hurt the person who is born again. You will never hear a born again person say, “You have hurt my feelings.” If you say to a person who is born again, “I hate you!” and you slap him, he will look you right in the eye and he might say, “I do not hate you. I love you. I see that you have problems in your life and I want to help you.”
A New Method
As we gave seen, force does not work against born again individuals, so the devil introduced a new method to ensnare God’s people. It was a false gospel promising salvation, not from sin but in sin. With this method he has been very successful. Again and again Jesus and the disciples warned against false prophets, false preachers inside the church, who would depart from the faith. The Bible says they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They preach a different gospel that cuts the link between faith and obedience. That is the essence of the devil’s false gospel.
When a group of people, at the end, come to Jesus and say, “We have performed so many miracles and done mighty works in Your name. Let us in!” Jesus replies, “I do not know you. You did not obey Me.” The Greek says, “you who live in lawlessness.” You who believe yourself disconnected from my laws. That is His message. You did not accept the truth that says faith always leads to obedience. (See Matthew 7:21–23.)
Included in this false gospel is the message that Jesus conquered the devil because He was different from you and me. That means that His victory is not available to us. Promoters of this doctrine say we must continue sinning because we have a nature that can not be victorious. This is the essence of the false gospel. In our churches in Norway, we hear from the pulpit and in Sabbath School that we can sin knowingly and willfully, and when Jesus comes He will change our character. That is not the everlasting gospel that you find in the Bible. It is the false alternative gospel that the devil has introduced. The consequences in my country are tremendous. Sin flourishes in the church. The spiritual battle that the Bible invites us to be engaged in is nonexistent. The young people in our church live with one foot in the world and the other in the church and they think it is just fine. They will be saved anyway (so they are told)!
In this false gospel the way of salvation was altered and the nature of Christ was changed. The nature of man and sin was changed. God’s law was changed. The organization of the church was also changed to remove Jesus as High Priest and every believer as a priest. The traditions of men were placed above God’s Word, and a verbal confession were put in place of God’s power.
My wife and I have a business in Norway. We teach leadership to executives of companies and government workers. Recently, I was invited to a Norwegian city to have a seminar for ministers in the Lutheran Church. I told them my background and asked, “Since you are Christian people, could I get all my principles from the Bible?” They said, “That would be wonderful. We want you to do that.” I had the opportunity to take two hours in the middle of that seminar to teach the sanctuary service to two hundred and twenty priests from the Lutheran Church and their local bishop.
I told them about the altar where forgiveness is provided. I told them about the first apartment where God had provided all the symbolism for changing man’s character: the bread, the wine, and the light for communication with heaven.
After the seminar, I cried when the old bishop came up and said to the two hundred and twenty ministers with tears in his eyes, “What are we doing?” he asked, “People come to our churches with their sin and they leave with their sin.” He called the Lutheran Church in Norway a Laodicean Church.
This bishop realized that they did not have the full gospel to give. People had come to them with the same character faults for ten, twenty or thirty years without a change. He pleaded with the ministers, “Give the people the gospel that will not only forgive sin but will change their character in harmony with God’s law.”
A couple of the ministers came to me afterwards and said, “Would you be willing to come to our Lutheran Church and preach to our members?” “I think I can manage that,” I said, as I praised the Lord to myself.
It is interesting that at the time most Adventists have stopped giving the everlasting gospel in our churches, in churches all around us people are longing for it. In Norway we find in all the churches, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, and Pentecostal, a small minority who are dissatisfied. They realize something is wrong. They read their Bibles and listen to the preaching and find no harmony. They say they are drifting. We have contacted many of them. They are looking for light. They want the gospel the Lord has given us. We see that all of these churches are being shaken. I believe the Lord is now in the process of collecting all these minorities and creating His church with the messages of our belief.
The Minority in History
It still seems that it is such a small minority who really want the truth. But was it not always that way? It was a minority at the time of Noah. Eight people went into the ark, but the majority did not believe. It was a minority on Mount Carmel. At the time of Jesus it was a minority. In the Dark Ages there was a minority that were true believers. And so it will be a minority at the end of time as well.
The Lord has kept His people all through the ages. At one time the Roman Church was God’s church. But later in history that church developed into God’s greatest enemy. During the Papacy’s rule, God provided for the church in the wilderness: people in towns, mountains and forests. It did not matter how many. There were some here and some there, but they were the true Church. God took care of them even when the majority had fallen away from the truth.
If you belong to a church that has one thousand members and nine hundred and ninety-nine of them leave the everlasting gospel, do not believe in the Three Angels’ Messages and construct some kind of message that they like to hear, has the church fallen in that town if one person still believes? No, I believe that the one person is God’s Church. The other 999 may be lost, even if they have the structure and the system, but the faithful believer is still part of God’s Church.
When Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 70 A.D., all the true Christians left. From there the church spread to all lands: to India, Africa, England, even up to Scandinavia. The Waldensians and other early reformers protected the everlasting gospel for twelve hundred and sixty years. God raised up Knox, Zwingle, Tyndale and Luther. In Sweden He raised up the Petrie brothers. In Denmark He raised up Hans Tausen.
In my country, Norway, He raised up a man called Hans Nielson Hauge. He was put in prison by the Lutheran Church in Norway because he preached in the private homes of farmers that had invited him. There was a law in Norway at that time that no one was allowed to have a religious meeting in a private home if he did not have a priest there to interpret the Scriptures.
Hauge continued to preach, and continued to be arrested. Every time they let him out, he went right to the nearest farm and invited people and started to preach again. He was in and out of prison all his life; totaling ten years in prison. While in prison he sang. He learned all the hymns by heart. Then he would kneel down in front of the door of his prison cell preaching the everlasting gospel through the keyhole! During that ten years, several of the guards were converted to Christ. Do you see why the devil has no chance with people who are born again?
God gave a tremendous light to the Adventist movement. The message of salvation from sin is found in Revelation 14. As Jesus completes His High Priestly ministry in heaven, we as His faithful people will have to realize that we have been chosen to restore the foundation of the everlasting gospel.
That means that what He is doing in the sanctuary in heaven right now has to be an experience in our lives. I found that among Adventist people in my country many say, “I believe Christ is my High Priest, I believe in 1844, I believe that He is doing a special work cleansing the sanctuary, I believe in all of that, and I also believe that I can sin willfully and knowingly until Jesus comes to change my character.”
That is not the everlasting gospel. We have to realize that there is an experience the Lord will give us that includes the cleansing of my sins and your sins. If we have not accepted that message, we have not accepted the everlasting gospel.
Read the following promises and claim them:
“For on that day shall the priest make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.” Leviticus 16:30.
“And I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.” Isaiah 1:25.
“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Daniel 12:10.
“And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:3.
Do you want the Lord to cleanse your life and take away all your sins, no matter what the Holy Spirit is pointing out to you that is preventing the Lord from having full control in your life? Give it to the Lord and say, “Lord, bless me. Take it away. I do not want to be a person like that.” This prayer the Lord will answer.
May the Lord help us to cooperate with Him and help us to receive the everlasting gospel, not as a theory but as an experience. As you look ahead and realize what is going to happen, you do not need to be afraid. Place your hand in the Lord’s hand and live in a born again relationship with Him. He will take care of you. He will give you the strength to live, or to choose death rather than to sin.