A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26.
“The youth especially stumble over this phrase, ‘a new heart.’ They do not know what it means. They look for a special change to take place in their feelings. This they term conversion. Over this error thousands have stumbled to ruin, not understanding the expression, ‘Ye must be born again.’ [John 3:7.]
“Satan leads people to think that because they have felt a rapture of feeling, they are converted. But their experience does not change. Their actions are the same as before. Their lives show no good fruit. They pray often and long, and are constantly referring to the feelings they had at such and such a time. But they do not live the new life. They are deceived. Their experience goes no deeper than feeling. They build upon the sand, and when adverse winds come, their house is swept away. . . .
“When Jesus speaks of the new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. To have a change of heart is to withdraw the affections from the world, and fasten them upon Christ. To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives. What is the sign of a new heart?—a changed life. There is a daily, hourly dying to selfishness and pride (The Youth’s Instructor, September 26, 1901).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1164.
The hundred and forty-four thousand have overcome as Jesus overcame. They have learned to handle life’s problems just like Jesus handled life’s problems. They have walked as carefully as Jesus walked through this world.
“Walk continually in the light of God. Meditate day and night upon His character. Then you will see His beauty and rejoice in His goodness. Your heart will glow with a sense of His love. You will be uplifted as if borne by everlasting arms. With the power and light that God imparts, you can comprehend more and accomplish more than you ever before deemed possible.” The Ministry of Healing, 514.
The hundred and forty-four thousand have submitted their wills so completely that they have overcome every sin and every evil temper, and they now are preparing their characters to go through Jacob’s trouble.
“ ‘To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.’ [Revelation 3:21.] We can overcome. Yes; fully, entirely. Jesus died to make a way of escape for us, that we might overcome every evil temper, every sin, every temptation, and sit down at last with Him.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 144.
The Character of Christ
“ ‘When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.’ [Mark 4:29.] Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 69.
“A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next. . . . To everyone engaged in this work Christ says, I am at your right hand to help you.
“As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent.” Ibid., 332, 333.
“By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.” Ibid., 312.
Martyrs in the Last Days
“It is not always safe to ask for unconditional healing. . . . He knows whether or not those for whom petitions are offered would be able to endure the trial and test that would come upon them if they lived. He knows the end from the beginning. Many will be laid away to sleep before the fiery ordeal of the time of trouble shall come upon our world.—Counsels on Health, 375 (1897).” Last Day Events, 255.
“ ‘They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.’ John 16:2.
“Every individual in our world will be arrayed under one of two banners.
“The two armies will stand distinct and separate, and this distinction will be so marked that many who shall be convinced of truth will come on the side of God’s commandment-keeping people. When this grand work is to take place in the battle, prior to the last closing conflict, many will be imprisoned, many will flee for their lives from cities and towns, and many will be martyrs for Christ’s sake in standing in defense of the truth.
“By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation [the United States] will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. . . .
“As the approach of the Roman armies was a sign to the disciples of the impending destruction of Jerusalem, so may this apostasy be a sign to us that the limit of God’s forbearance is reached, that the measure of our nation’s iniquity is full, and that the angel of mercy is about to take her flight, never to return. The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of affliction and distress which prophets have described as the time of Jacob’s trouble. The cries of the faithful, persecuted ones ascend to heaven. And as the blood of Abel cried from the ground, there are voices also crying to God from martyrs’ graves, from the sepulchers of the sea, from mountain caverns, from convent vaults: ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?’ [Revelation 6:10.]
“When the fifth seal was opened, John the Revelator in vision saw beneath the altar the company that were slain for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. After this came the scenes described in the eighteenth of Revelation, when those who are faithful and true are called out from Babylon.
“Christ will restore the life taken; for He is the Life-giver: He will beautify the righteous with immortal life.” Maranatha, 199.
Beasts of Revelation 13
At Satan’s personation, referred to in The Great Controversy, 624, the whole world wonders after the beast of Revelation 13. As we study carefully the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 976, 977, we see that the image to the first beast will be made when the Sunday laws are passed, and every Seventh-day Adventist will be tested by either rejecting or accepting the message.
With the acceptance by the second beast of Revelation 13, the United States of America, comes enforcement of that image which brings national ruin. At this point, the books have been opened and the judgment has been set.
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment [was] white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne [was like] the fiery flame, [and] his wheels [as] burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:9, 10.
The warning of the third angel’s message of Revelation 14:9–12 has been rejected by the world. The weak, the old, and the young who have been faithful, loyal, and obedient to the Commandments of God, without a single compromise with sin, have been laid to rest, waiting for the resurrection. They have kept the Sabbath fully according to Isaiah 58:13, 14: “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken [it].”
Representatives in All Churches
Possibly thousands of martyrs will have paid the supreme sacrifice for defending present truth. Many people from other churches will be part of this group.
“The Lord has His representatives in all the churches. These persons have not had the special testing truths for these last days presented to them under circumstances that brought conviction to heart and mind; therefore they have not, by rejecting light, severed their connection with God. Many there are who have faithfully walked in the light that has shone upon their pathway. They hunger to know more of the ways and works of God. All over the world men and women are looking wistfully to heaven. Prayers and tears and inquiries go up from souls longing for light, for grace, for the Holy Spirit. Many are on the very verge of the kingdom, waiting only to be gathered in.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 70, 71.
The hundred and forty-four thousand are the Enochs of the final generation. They have prepared their characters, their minds, and their bodies for this hour so they can pass through Jacob’s trouble without failing. They can walk through the fire that is described in 11 Peter 3:10: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
This verse has a dual application for the end of time and the end of the millennium. They walk through the fire as did the three worthies in Daniel’s time. And let us remember that Jesus was in that fire with them.
They are now ready to be God’s witnesses of what God does in fallen human beings.
All rebellion has been removed and Jesus can now take them through the universe throughout the ages. Man can overcome as Jesus overcame.
“God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. . . . There is no excuse for sinning. A holy temper, a Christlike life, is accessible to every repenting, believing child of God.
“The ideal of Christian character is Christlikeness. As the Son of man was perfect in His life, so His followers are to be perfect in their life.” The Desire of Ages, 311.
Nahum 1:9 tells us that sin will never rise again. The hundred and forty-four thousand are traveling through the universe as perfect examples of what God can do when man merges his will with God’s will.
“When our will is swallowed up in the will of God, and we use His gifts to bless others, we shall find life’s burden light. He who walks in the way of God’s commandments is walking in company with Christ, and in His love the heart is at rest.” The Desire of Ages, 331.
Willing to be Made Willing
For 6,000 years, according to the population of each generation, there have been only a few in every generation that have been willing to be made willing to obey all of God’s requirements in the commandments. There may have been billions of people living in the time of the flood, but only eight made it into the ark. Also, in Sodom, we find that only three were willing to be rescued from the fire with which God consumed that city. Jesus said, “For many are called, but few [are] chosen.” Matthew 22:14.
Also, from Isaiah 1:9, we know that there will be only a very small remnant that God can trust. There will be two classes that are savable at the end. First are those who have been redeemed from all rebellion. Many will be like the thief on the cross. Rebellion has been extinguished so completely that Jesus has justified them; the Holy Spirit has sanctified them, and they are safe to save. The second group is the hundred and forty-four thousand. A third group is the rebellious of all the divisions of people in the world that will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming.
“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” 11 Thessalonians 2:8.
The identification of the hundred and forty-four thousand is that they have no guile and they are considered by God as virgins. This means that they have no deceptions, and their understanding of present truth is absolutely pure. God considers them absolutely perfect—not what they have done, but what God has done in them. Their wills have been swallowed up in the will of God. Their characters have been so perfectly formed after the great pattern of Jesus that they handle every situation as Jesus would.
“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4–7.
50 Statements—Living Saints
Christian Experience and Teachings, 58, 96, 178; The Desire of Ages, 632; Early Writings, 15, 35, 240, 273, 287; The Faith I Live By, 351; Last Day Events, 272; Life Sketches, 65, 103; Lift Him Up, 379; Maranatha, 287, 288, 305, 308; My Life Today, 352; Patriarchs and Prophets, 477; A Sketch Of The Christian Experience And Views Of Ellen G. White (1851), 11, 18; Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, 143, 188, 208; Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 31; Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 83; The Story of Jesus, 177; The Story of Redemption, 411; Testimonies, vol. 1, 59, 184; The Upward Look, 311; A Word To The Little Flock (1847), 14, 20; The Day-Star, January 24, 1846, Letter from Sister Harmon, Portland, Maine, December 20, 1845; Review and Herald, July 21, 1851, December 31, 1857; The Signs of the Times, April 8, 1889; The Watchman, October 3, 1905; The Little Remnant Scattered Abroad, vol. 1, April 6, 1846; The Little Remnant Scattered Abroad, vol. 3, April 7, 1847; The Youth’s Instructor, August 1, 1852, April 1, 1854, August 1, 1856; Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 106; Ellen G. White: The Early Years, vol. 1, 1827–1862, by Arthur L. White (1985), 57, 207, 261, 270.
Elder Ron Spear served as field secretary for the Review and Herald, working at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. In the early 1980s, Ron Spear felt impressed that God was calling him to begin publishing a magazine that would feature the fundamental truths of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The first issue of Our Firm Foundation came out in the fall of 1985. Many readers have said that the magazine reflects the spiritual values and content of the “old” Review and Herald. Hope International publishes many books, tracts, and study helps on doctrine, health, and current issues facing the church. Elder Spear may be contacted through Hope International by telephone at: 309-343-1844, or by e-mail at: email@example.com.