The Times of Trouble

In Daniel 12:1 it says: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the Book.” In the title of this article, notice the plural word, times, in “The Times of Trouble.” When an object is looked at with the naked eye, sometimes only one item is seen. But, if it is looked at with a magnifying glass, it can be seen that there are divisions. If one stands on railroad tracks and looks far down the tracks, in the distance they seem to come together and make one track.

When the prophets of old looked down the line of something far away, they tended to see it as a mass. Later prophets saw more detail. Sometimes in the experience of a single prophet, from an earlier vision to a later vision there will be a difference. The first vision appears to be looking at a mass and the later visions appear to be looking at more detail. That is why I have called this “The Times of Trouble.”

We know what trouble is. We know that the Christian’s life is a time of trouble. We can see reference to that frequently in the counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy. For example: “Remember that in every time of trouble, Jesus is near you, seeking to impress His image upon you. He is trying to help you to carry the cross. He is close beside you . . . He is always ready to clasp the hand stretched out for aid.” The Review and Herald, June 20, 1907. We have wonderful promises about any kind of trouble, any place, any time. But there is another use of the phrase “the time of trouble,” which is a little different. In the book, The Great Controversy, 614, we read about a great and final time of trouble.

In The Great Controversy, 594, God’s messenger writes about a problem the disciples had. There are at least three times in the New Testament when Jesus told them directly and specifically that He was going to be betrayed and crucified, and that He would rise from the grave on the third day. Yet, we are told in this reference, that the problem with the disciples was that they were just not listening to that information. They did not want to hear, because it was not in harmony with their ideas. They wanted a Messiah to come and establish a great empire of Israel. They wanted Israel to rule over all the nations. With such a dream in their minds, it was hard for them to get the clear picture, even though they were plainly told.

“The words which they needed to remember were banished from their minds; and when the time of trial came, it found them unprepared. The death of Jesus as fully destroyed their hopes as if He had not forewarned them.” The Great Controversy, 594.

Suppose they had internalized these statements that Jesus made about what was going to happen. Where would they have been on the morning of the third day, when Jesus had said He would rise again? They would have been there around the tomb, pressing as closely as they could, waiting for that huge event to take place.

They would have seen with their own eyes that blinding flash of glory. They would have seen the Roman soldiers fall as dead men to the ground. They would have seen with their own eyes the angel’s hand roll that stone away from the grave, and Jesus step forth proclaiming Himself Lord of all. How that would have strengthened their ministry! How much better it would have been when they went all over the world, as they then did, preaching, if they could have said, “We saw it. We were there. He told us that it was going to happen and it came about just like He said. We saw it with our own eyes.” Would that have made their testimony much stronger?

Instead, they missed it because they did not listen carefully. I want to apply this to our time. After telling us that the death of Jesus as fully destroyed their hopes as if He had not forewarned them, Ellen White says: “So in the prophecies the future is opened before us as plainly as it was opened to the disciples by the words of Christ.” Ibid. What future is she talking about? Notice carefully: ” . . . the events connected with the close of probation and the work of preparation for the time of trouble.” Ibid. Can you recite these events? What if you were asked, “What are the events connected with the time of trouble?” Could you immediately tell what they are? Do we have them as clearly in our minds as they ought to be?


Four Times of Trouble


Let us consider these events and see if we can be in a better position than the disciples. In spite of their great privilege, they were not prepared. “The events connected with the close of probation and the work of preparation for the time of trouble, are clearly presented. But multitudes have no more understanding of these important truths than if they had never been revealed.” Ibid.

This study is called “The Times of Trouble.” The reason is that the references to the time of trouble at first looks like it is one great big event. Then upon a careful investigation, it is found that the study naturally divides into four parts, or four phases, of the time of trouble.

Phase one is the time of preparation. I propose that we are in that time right now. Phase two is the little time of trouble which is just before the close of probation. Between phase one—the time of preparation, and phase two which is just before the close of probation, there is not a clear line drawn. Phase three is after the close of probation. Between phase two and phase three there is a very distinct line—the close of probation. Then phase four is after the death decree. This again is a very distinct line.


Phase One—The Time of Preparation


The word preparation occurs over and over in the inspired writer’s discussion of this topic. Ellen White refers to it as the time of the early rain, not the time of the latter rain, which very definitely comes later in phase two. In the Bible, they spoke of the early rain and the latter rain in relation to the barley harvest. It took the early rain in Palestine to cause the seed to sprout and grow. Near the end of the harvest season there would be a latter rain, which they could expect with confidence, which would cause the barley to mature and be ready for the harvest. Phase one is the early rain time and the preparation here involves a shaking. As I go about the country speaking to people in various places, I am often asked, “Brother Larson, do you think we are in the shaking time?” I have typically answered, “Yes.” But, I have not had time to explain all that I think about that. What I find is that we are right now in the mental shaking time, to be followed by the physical shaking.

Notice the two kinds of people, and the two kinds of mental preparing. “Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast. Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth—these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 216.

Some people, at this very moment, are preparing for the mark of the beast, others are preparing for the seal of God. That is why I call this a mental shaking time. This is borne out by the statements about the two parties being formed. “As trials thicken around us, both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 400.

“Here [Isaiah 8:11–16] are plainly represented two distinct parties formed from a company that was once united.” The Review and Herald July 18, 1907. Does anyone have any doubt that we are seeing two parties forming in Adventism today? Gradually, but unmistakably, two parties are forming. Those who love the Scriptures, and the Spirit of Prophecy and those who seem to be withdrawing, first from the Spirit of Prophecy, and then from the Scriptures.


Physical Preparation


In Phase one, the emphasis is more on spiritual preparation, than physical. What do inspired writings say about physical preparation? In Counsels on Diet and Foods, 131, we are advised to have the best physical and mental health that we can, because we are going to need it. She advises that we eat nourishing food, take rest for both body and mind, and make sure our health is in good shape to take what is coming.

The Lord also has something to say about where we should be living in preparation for the future: “Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 141.

What about storing up food for the very end? She says: “The Lord has shown me in vision, repeatedly, that it is contrary to the Bible to make any provision for our temporal wants in the time of trouble. I saw that if the saints have food laid up by them, or in the fields, in the time of trouble when sword, famine, and pestilence are in the land, it will be taken from them by violent hands and strangers would reap their fields. Then will be the time for us to trust wholly in God, and He will sustain us. I saw that our bread and water would be sure at that time, and we should not lack, or suffer hunger.—The Lord has shown me that some of His children would fear when they see the price of food rising, and they would buy food and lay it by for the time of trouble. Then in a time of need, I saw them go to their food and look at it, and it had bred worms, and was full of living creatures, and not fit for use. Broadside 2, January 31. 1849. (See also Early Writings, 56, 57.) “In the time of trouble none will labor with their hands. Their sufferings will be mental, and God will provide for them.” Adventist Apocalypse, 6.

We are counseled that because of increasing tensions, we should guard our words carefully. We should avoid extremes and rash movements. Some come along impatiently saying, “Let us defy the authorities, stand up to them and tell them where to go. We do not care if they put us into jail.” Some people talk like that. But we must let the Lord lead in those matters. We do not have to set up a time of trouble before the time.

What about owning property in the very end? The Lord has clearly instructed us: “Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs, and at that time their possessions cannot be disposed of to advance the cause of present truth. I was shown that it is the will of God that the saints should cut loose from every encumbrance before the time of trouble comes, and make a covenant with God through sacrifice. If they have their property on the altar and earnestly inquire of God for duty, He will teach them when to dispose of these things. Then they will be free in the time of trouble and have no clogs to weigh them down.

“I saw that if any held on to their property and did not inquire of the Lord as to their duty, He would not make duty known, and they would be permitted to keep their property, and in the time of trouble it would come up before them like a mountain to crush them, and they would try to dispose of it, but would not be able.” Early Writings, 56, 57. Each one will not dispose of his property at the same time. God will instruct us when the right time is. (See Counsels on Stewardship, 59.)

Many who are not strong enough to handle the time of trouble will be laid in their graves before it comes.(See Counsels on Health, 375.) This will include many children. “The Lord has often instructed me that many little ones are to be laid away before the time of trouble.” Child Guidance, 566.


Spiritual Preparation


The big point is, do not defer the preparation. The things we must do to be prepared we must do now. “I also saw that many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a High Priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.” Early Writings, 71.

“All our preparation for heaven must be completed here. When Christ comes, our characters will not be changed. These vile bodies will be changed, and fashioned after the likeness of His glorious body; but there will not be a moral change wrought in us then.” The Review and Herald, August 7, 1888. Voices all over the country are telling the Seventh-day Adventist people they do not need to stop sinning at all. Jesus is going to stop them from sinning when He comes. No way. If you ever stop sinning, you are going to do it here.

This is what we are aiming for: “Christ never murmured, never uttered discontent, displeasure, or resentment. He was never disheartened, discouraged, ruffled, or fretted. He was patient, calm, and self-possessed under the most exciting and trying circumstances. All His works were performed with a quiet dignity and ease, whatever commotion was around Him. Applause did not elate Him. He feared not the threats of His enemies. He moved amid the world of excitement, of violence and crime, as the sun moves above the clouds. Human passions and commotions and trials were beneath Him. He sailed like the sun above them all. Yet He was not indifferent to the woes of men. His heart was ever touched with the sufferings and necessities of His brethren, as though He Himself were the one afflicted. He had a calm, inward joy, a peace which was serene. His will was ever swallowed up in the will of His Father.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 427, 428.


Phase Two–The Little Time of Trouble


Phase two is a short but very intense time. A time of very intense activity just before the close of probation.

Ellen White wrote about this little time: “I saw that the holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers; and that the Sabbath is the great question to unite the hearts of God’s dear, waiting saints. I saw that God had children who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They have not rejected the light upon it.” Early Writings, 85. Pause and reflect upon that. They are not keeping the Sabbath. They have not rejected the light upon it, because they have never received the light. “And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully.” Ibid.

People responding said, “What is this? We thought that at the time of trouble there would be no use to preach anymore. What is this preaching of the Sabbath at the commencement of the time of trouble?” Mrs. White wrote another article and explained what she meant. “‘The commencement of that time of trouble,’ here mentioned does not refer to the time when the plagues shall begin to be poured out, but to a short period just before they are poured out while Christ is in the Sanctuary.” Ibid.

“At that time, while the work of salvation is closing, trouble will be coming upon the earth, and the nations will be angry, yet held in check so as not to prevent the work of the third angel. At that time [notice carefully, that little time] the ‘latter rain,’ or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, will come.” Ibid. 85, 86.

Today people are saying that they think the latter rain is falling here or there, but this is not correct—not this particular application of the latter rain. It comes in the short time just before the close of probation. “At that time the latter rain or refreshing from the presence of the Lord will come and give power to the voice of the third angel and prepare the saints to stand in the period when the seven last plagues shall be poured out.” Ibid.

“I saw that God had children who did not see and keep the Sabbath. They have not rejected the light upon it. And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully. This enraged the churches and nominal Adventists, as they could not refute the Sabbath truth. At this time God’s chosen all saw clearly that we had the truth, and they came out and endured the persecution with us.” Ibid., 33. Are you adding all of these together? We will preach the Sabbath with great power, the Holy Spirit will come with the times of refreshing, the latter rain, the churches will be enraged, the nations will be angry, troubles will be increasing. This is a short, but very, very intense time.

People will be coming out of the other churches and uniting with us and people will be leaving us and uniting with the fallen churches. Ellen White said she saw standard after standard trailing in the dust as company after company left us to join the foe, and tribe after tribe coming in to take their places. (See Testimonies, vol. 8, 41.)

“I saw the sword, and famine, and pestilence, and great confusion in the land. The wicked thought that we had brought the judgments upon them, and they rose up and took counsel to rid the earth of us, thinking that then the evil would be stayed.” Early Writings, 33, 34.

Phase two is the time of the sealing, the time of refreshing, the time when those who have been preparing to receive the seal of God, and those who have been preparing to receive the mark of the beast will receive it.

The Sunday law comes into this period also. “Just before we entered it [the time of trouble], we all received the seal of the living God. Then I saw the four angels cease to hold the four winds. And I saw famine, pestilence, and sword, nation rose against nation, and the whole world was in confusion.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 968. Big and climactic events will be happening. People will be making their final decisions to go one way or the other. The line will be drawn between them, and the two parties will reach their final fulfillment.

“Servants of God with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices all over the earth, the warning will be given. Signs and wonders will follow the believers. Satan also works with lying wonders, even bringing down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Revelation 13:13. Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand . . . Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. Truth is more precious than all besides. Notwithstanding the agencies combined against the truth, a large number take their stand upon the Lord’s side.” The Great Controversy, 612.

As we continue reading in The Great Controversy, we notice that Ellen White is looking back to the past. “When the third angel’s message closes, mercy no longer pleads for the guilty inhabitants of the earth. The people of God have accomplished [past perfect, completed] their work. They have received the ‘latter rain,’ ‘the refreshing from the presence of the Lord,’ and they are prepared for the trying hour before them. Angels are hastening to and fro in heaven. An angel returning from the earth announces that his work is done; the final test has been brought [past perfect] upon the world, and all who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts have received the ‘seal of the living God’. Then Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above. He lifts His hands and with a loud voice says, ‘It is done;’ and all the angelic host lay off their crowns as He makes the solemn announcement: ‘He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.’ Revelation 22:11. Every case has been [past perfect] decided for life or death. Christ has made [past perfect] the atonement for His people and blotted out their sins.” The Great Controversy, 613, 614.


Blotting out of Sins


We hear a lot from time to time about the blotting out of sins. Those who try to bring the blotting out of sins down to a time before the close of probation are mistaken. “When sin has been repented of, confessed, and forsaken, then pardon is written against the sinner’s name; but his sins are not blotted out until after the investigative judgment.” Signs of the Times, May 16, 1895. [All emphasis supplied] The blotting out of sins is after the investigative judgment.

In phase two, the number of His subjects is made up. It is a very intensive, active and shaking time. People are making their final decisions.


Phase Three–After Probation Closes


Phase three is marked by the beginning of the seven last plagues. This is when we will see the most tremendous convulsions of nature, the most enormous earthquakes, the most enormous tidal waves and the largest famines and pestilences that this world has ever seen. Daniel said there will be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.

Ellen White writes about the fall of Jerusalem when the blood was flowing down the temple steps, and when the crosses were so thick around the walls that you could hardly walk between them. She says it will be like that all over the world. During all this Satan appears as Christ. It is very, very clear that by the fifth plague of darkness, he is doing his work. (See The Great Controversy, 624.)

In Evangelism, 209, she refers to thousands of cities that will be destroyed and become as Jerusalem was during this time. Her attention was directed to a particular group at this time. “I was shown a company who were howling in agony. On their garments was written in large characters, ‘Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting.’ I asked who this company were. The angel said, ‘These are they who have once kept the Sabbath and have given it up.’” Present Truth, August 1, 1849. They will be in the greatest distress of all.

When Christ stands up and leaves the Most Holy Place, there is no further atonement. The devil is doing his work, trying to persuade the people that we are the cause of all these terrible things that are happening in the world. This will bring them finally to the place where they are ready to destroy us and the death decree will be made.


The Time of Jacob’s Trouble


The time of Jacob’s trouble. (See The Great Controversy, 613–634.) is a particular time when Jesus says the people of God will stand without a mediator and they will not know their condition for sure.

God’s people can see the plagues falling. They can see everything that is happening all around them and their question is, “Am I right with God.” They know that there is no mediator any longer, probation has closed. If there is any sin at this point, it is hopeless.

The question comes to our mind, Why? Why does not God deliver His people out of the world and take them to the kingdom of God right now? Why do they have to go through this experience after probation has closed? The reason for this is found in Testimonies, vol. 4, 8: “The purification of the people of God cannot be accomplished without their suffering.” We probably do not understand this, and we may never understand, but it is there.

Notice this detail about the attitude of the wicked at this time. “And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire and men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues; and they repented not to give Him glory.” Revelation 16:8, 9. Even through fear they will not repent. They are so locked in an attitude of defiance against God that nothing will change them.

Eventually the last plague comes. “There fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail.” Revelation 16:21. There is still no repentance. No matter what God does, their hearts are so locked in defiance and rebellion that they will not surrender under any conditions. He is showing the whole universe that when Christ said, “It is finished,” it was finished. There is nobody else who will repent no matter what.




Phase one: The time of preparation is now. The time when we should be building a faith that is invincible, expecting tests and trials, keeping our possessions on the altar, making spiritual preparation and recognizing that some of our loved ones may be laid in the grave in order to preserve them.

Phase two: An intense time just before the close of probation. The time of the latter rain, the seal of God, and the mark of the beast. The preaching of the Sabbath, in its final phase, with great power of the Holy Spirit, with people accepting either the seal of God or the mark of the beast. Disposing of our possessions as indicated by the Lord so the money can be used in the final proclamation.

Phase three: After the close of probation, the four angels loose the four winds and the plagues begin to fall. There will be tremendous convulsions of the earth, fires, famines, earthquakes, tidal waves, etc. At this time we have the assurance that none of the faithful will die because it would not accomplish anything.

Phase four: The time of Jacob’s trouble, which is after the death decree when it is decreed that all Sabbath keepers should be put to death.

We began our study with the statement from Ellen White that these things have been clearly laid out before us. I must agree with that. The information is there and we would have to agree with the other part of her statement that many of us do not know any more about it than if it had never been revealed.

Let us try to get this firmly fixed in our minds so that we are better prepared than the disciples were. One of the best ways, is to read the last few chapters of The Great Controversy. Read them over and over, slowly and carefully and mark everything you find there.

At this time, let us determine that we are going to use the time of preparation well. The time of preparation is tremendously important, but it is not forever. The thing to keep in our minds is that those who want to stand during that final phase must reflect the image of Jesus fully. Let us make that our goal.


Last Call to the Church

The primary concern and most happy thought of the Seventh-day Adventists church today is the nearness of the second coming of Jesus. I remember as a boy how time used to go by so slowly. It seemed like it was almost an eternity from one birthday to the next. We anticipated some special event coming up in a week or a month, and time just seemed to stand still.

As we get older, all of that changes. Now it seems like I have two or three birthdays a year. Time just keeps going faster and faster. But it was not like that when I was a boy.

I remember one Sabbath morning, when I was a young child, a visiting minister had come to our little church. I do not remember all that he spoke about that Sabbath, but I do remember that over and over again, he kept repeating the statement, “Jesus is coming soon!”

In my childish mind, that indicated something extremely imminent. I could almost imagine that Jesus would be back before the very next Sabbath! “What does he mean,” I asked myself.

On the way home from church that Sabbath morning, I decided to consult with the best authority that I knew, my father. My father tried to put my mind at ease by saying, “Son, Jesus is coming soon, but we do not know exactly when He is coming.”

My birthday was only a couple of months away and I was afraid that Jesus might come back before my birthday. So I asked, “Daddy, is it possible that Jesus will be back before my birthday.”

He smiled, and said, “He may not come back before your birthday, but I know that He is coming soon.”

Jesus did not come back before my birthday, or even within the next year. In fact, that conversation took place fifty years ago.

A half century has passed since my childish mind was disturbed with a message of the nearness of Jesus’ coming. I am still wondering when Jesus is coming. I cannot tell you, but certainly His coming is nearer than when we first believed.

Today Jesus gives, to you and to me, a final warning message. It is a call specifically to His chosen people—His church. We find this last call recorded in Revelation 2:7: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give to eat from the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”

This is an invitation to those who have spiritual discernment. Invitations should always create excitement. I remember the very first invitation I received to visit the home of my wife’s parents. Charlotte and I were attending the same college. Our friendship was growing, but I had never met her parents who lived in Colorado.

Charlotte and I both sang in the college choir, which was planning a tour to Colorado and the western part of Nebraska. One day, not long before the planned tour, I found a strange looking envelope from Boulder, Colorado, in my mailbox.

I tore that envelope open and, to my amazement, inside I found an invitation to go and visit Charlotte’s parents. You can be sure that because of the excitement that the invitation created, I made great preparations for that day. I made sure that my clothes were cleaned and pressed. I began studying politeness and manners, in order to leave a good impression. I believe invitations always create an excitement.

Today there is a special invitation to each of us from Jesus Christ Himself. He says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:7. Are we listening?

It seems that we are too busy to listen. We seem to live on the basis of “business as usual,” when neither business nor anything else is as usual, nor will it ever be again. We too often determine what kind of program we want for the church. We make our plans with a long range planning strategy. But today we need to be planning for a short range emergency. Time is very short. We do not have time to be doing some of the things we are doing.

As a people we do not spend the time in meditation and prayer or in active service that we should. We think that because we have to make a living, and are so busy, we are excused. It is easy to put a dollar or two or even a hundred in the offering plate, but to spend time with the Lord and spend time telling others about the wonderful plan of salvation, we do not have time to do that.

We are listening to many other voices but the Spirit. It says, “Listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.” We decide what kind of revival we want, what kind of evangelism we want, and then if the results are not what we anticipated, we are disappointed. We need to let God direct in our lives.

Ask yourself the questions, “Am I really doing all I can to hasten Jesus’ return? How much time do I spend in meditation? In the study of God’s Word? In the study of the Spirit of Prophecy And on my knees?” We are negligent when it comes to the amount of time that we spend making our daily bread, in proportion to how much time we spend laying up treasure in God’s kingdom.

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.” The church, according to Scripture, is the bride of Jesus Christ. It is the body. It is the organism that God has ordained to carry forward His work.

The church is not an organization or an institution. The church is God’s people, and God’s program will never bypass His people. This message is for God’s people. God’s church is where two or three are met together. This is an invitation to them. Spend time trying to discern what the Holy Spirit wants you to do. Spend time with God fasting, pleading for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit. His Spirit will never bypass the church—His people. The Spirit speaks to the churches.

Look at your own sphere of influence. What about your home? Some are pained because they live in divided homes. The Lord’s servant said that in a divided home, the shadows are never lifted. (See Adventist Home, 67.) Some are troubled because it is difficult to serve the Lord with all the heart when one is being opposed by members of his own family. They use this as an excuse not to overcome.

I have an older brother who has wandered in the ways of the world for some sixty years. In his heart there is conviction that he wants to come back to the church. He knows what is right. He knows the message. He was brought up in it as a boy. But somewhere along the way he gave it up and drifted away. Because of family opposition and uncertainty, he is reluctant to come back.

We can never influence anyone in favor of the truth by waffling around in sin. We have to make a firm decision regardless of what happens with our friends and our family. There are some today who are suffering because members of their family oppose them. Jesus said, “A man’s foes or enemies) shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:36.

What is happening in our circle of activity? What is happening in our homes? What is happening in our communities? What is happening in our towns or cities? This is a desperate hour for the world, for the cause of the Gospel and for the individual experience that we are going through. If anything can be shaken, it will be shaken. It is the time for us to stand firmly for the right.


He that Hath An Ear, Let Him Hear What the Spirit Says to the Church


The Spirit is trying to say something to us. In the Gospels, our Lord repeated eight times, “He that hath an ear, let him hear.” Again in the book of Revelation eight times we have this message, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

To the Laodiceans Jesus said, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him.” Revelation 3:20. This invitation is wide enough to include everyone. It says, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door.” It is limited, however, in its fulfillment to those who hear His voice and who open the door. Our ears must be open. We have to be listening to what the Spirit is saying.

The message of the Holy Spirit to each of the seven churches was, “Repent.” That has become a very unpopular message. There are those who say, “Just leave sin alone. Do not disturb the status quo. Leave that stone rolled up against Lazarus’ tomb. Let Achan keep his wedge of gold. Let Jezebel raise up her altar to Baal in Thyatira. Do not worry about that immoral brother over there in Corinth. Just leave sin alone.”

There are those who are watching and praying, and who are trying to bring about a revival and reformation. Sometimes they become discouraged and want to give up. But we must follow the example of our Savior who tried in every possible way to awaken the churches to their great spiritual need. Five of these seven churches in Asia Minor were in a lamentable spiritual condition. He called them to repentance.

What a wonderful change would take place in our churches today if we would all get on our knees and say, “I am sorry.” Some people, when they reach a certain level of responsibility in the church, feel that they cannot say they are sorry. They think they are too big to say, “I am sorry.”

God expects us to be able to say, “I am sorry. I am a sinner. I have done wrong.” The Bible tells us that we are all sinners. None of us have reached the level where we do not have to repent of our sins. We must each do this individually. It is not something that can be done corporately.

We have all reached different levels in our spiritual pilgrimage. We cannot be the judge for someone else. We need to be careful that we do not try to set up a measuring stick that we expect everyone else to live up to. As individuals we must make sure that our relationship is right with God, and repent of what we have done to bring pain, suffering and anguish to our Savior.

Jesus, who is our example in all things, told His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. All of us have problems and trials, but it is wonderful to know that we serve a God who has already been there. He knows what we are going through, and He suffers with us. Although He tells us we will have tribulation, He says, “I have overcome and through my grace you can also.”

“To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and am sat down with My Father on His throne.” Revelation 3:21. We can each overcome all sin and its influence in our lives.

We all have the same basis to overcome that Jesus had. Just as He said, “I can of mine own self do nothing . . .because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which sent me.” John 5:30. The answer to sucessfully overcoming sin in our lives is to make a complete surrender to Jesus. This is not a once and for all transaction. We must die daily as Paul did. Every day he was aware of the fact that he had to crucify self.

Self is our biggest enemy. The big “I” is the thing that gets in the way of Christ working out His will in us. We have to make a complete surrender of our selfish will, and choose God’s will instead. Not just when we are baptized and join the church, but we must do it daily.

In our own strength it would be completely impossible to make that surrender. “Whatever may be our inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong, we can overcome through the power that He is ready to impart . . . We cannot change our hearts, we cannot control our thoughts, our impulses, our affections . . . But we can choose to serve God, we can give Him our will . . . By yielding up the will to Christ, we ally with divine power . . . A pure and noble life, a life of victory over appetite and lust, is possible for everyone who will unite his weak, wavering human will to the Omnipotent,unwavering will of God.” Ministry of Healing, 176. [All emphasis supplied.]

Who says we cannot overcome all sin? There it is! It is wonderful to be able to link up with Jesus and His divine power. To be able to overcome through the power that He is willing to give. Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot be an overcomer. If we will grasp the divine hand, God has unlimited strength to impart to us.


A Panoramic View


The panorama of heaven and earth passed before the enraptured eyes of John there on that lonely island of Patmos. In vision he saw the glories of the new earth. He saw the gates of pearl. He saw that wall around the city, glistening in the glorious radiance of Jesus Christ Himself. He saw the throne of God with the Tree of Life silhouetted on both banks of the river as it flowed from God’s throne. He saw those glistening streets paved with pure gold. He saw the radiance shining in the faces of the redeemed. Can we imagine anything more wonderful than a world bathed in the rays of sunshine and love without the least trace of suffering, of hatred, of prejudices, of disease or of death?

In the mind of poor, lonely John, there on that little rocky island all by himself, came the question, “Who is going to inherit all of this?” The answer came back, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” Revelation 21:7. A beautiful promise was given to each of the seven churches if they would overcome.

To the church in Smyrna, was given the promise of a crown of life. To the church in Pergamus, He says, “And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” Revelation 2:17. I like this promise because I do not think there is anything on this earth more devastating than to have your name destroyed. I know what that experience is like. I am looking forward to the day when I get a new name. The same promise was also given to the church in Philadelphia, as well as the promise to make them a pillar in the temple and to write upon them the name of God.

To the church in Thyatira He will give power over the nations and give them the Morning Star if they would be overcomers. To the church in Sardis He will give white robes. Finally, to the church in Laodicea, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Revelation 3:21.

It is not easy to overcome. There are many things that get in the way. One of the powerful things that impede us is the power of appetite. “The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character . . . And as we near the close of time, Satan’s temptations to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 491, 492.

” ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ If you ‘hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches’ and meditate upon the instruction given to them, your ears will be closed to the folly and nonsense which surround you. You will neither hear and repeat these things, nor will you ever hanker after them. When Christ satisfies the soul hunger, these trivialities are to you distasteful and disgusting. You have no desire to feast on them, but choose instead the bread of heaven.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 957.

May God give us the strength to reach the point in our experience as overcomers, when the things of the world appear to us distasteful and disgusting. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give to eat from the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7. Soon the time of trial will be over. Soon our problems, our difficulties, will all be past. Jesus is coming to take His faithful home. Before that day, terrible scenes will come upon the world and before God’s people, a time of trial that will try our faith without parallel.

My invitation to you today is to open your ears to the message of the Holy Spirit and surrender your heart and lives to His power. Let us lift up our heads, our redemption draws nigh.


Children’s Corner — A Favorite of Mr Sankey

There Were Ninety and Nine


There were ninety and nine that safely lay

In the shelter of the fold,

But one was out on the hills away,

Far, far from the gates of gold—

Away on the mountain wild and bare,

Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

“Lord, Thou has here Thy ninety and nine;

Are they not enough for Thee?”

But the Shepherd made answer:

“One of Mine has wandered away from Me,

And although the road be rough and steep,

I go to the desert to find My sheep.”

But none of the ransomed ever knew

How deep were the waters crossed,

Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through

Ere He found His sheep that was lost.

Far out in the desert He heard its cry—

Fainting and helpless and ready to die.

“Lord, whence are these blood-drops all the way

That mark out the mountain’s track?”

“They were shed for the one who had gone astray,

Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”

“Lord, why are Thy hands so rent and torn?”

“They are pierced tonight by many a thorn.”

But all through the mountains, thunder-riven,

And up from the rocky steep,

There rose a cry to the gate of heaven,

“Rejoice, I have found My sheep!”

And the angels sang around the throne,

“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”


The whole world has sung the “Ninety and Nine,” and listened with pleasure and delight to the cheering words that tell of a Savior’s care for the one that “was out on the hills away.” It only remains to tell the simple, strange little story of the song itself. Songs seem nearer and dearer when we know something of their history.

Thirty years ago those famous evangelists, Moody and Sankey, were preaching and singing together in old England. One day they were going from Glasgow, Scotland, to Edinburgh, for a great meeting there, and Mr. Sankey as he stepped aboard the train, purchased a penny religious paper. As he settled down in the car to read, his eye caught the lines of a poem, away in an obscure corner of the paper,—

“There were ninety and nine that safely lay in the shelter of the fold.”

The great singer read on, till the entire poem had been perused, and then he exclaimed, with a note of triumph in his voice, “Mr. Moody, I have found the hymn I have been looking for for years!”

“What is it?” asked Moody, looking up from the letter he was reading.

His friend explained that it was about the lost sheep.

“Read it to me,” said Mr. Moody, his eyes still fixed on the letter.

So Mr. Sankey read it, putting much expression into his voice, trying hard to do justice to the beauty of the sentiment. But alas! When he looked up, Mr. Moody was absorbed in meditation over his letter, and had heard scarcely a word.

“All right,” said Mr. Sankey to himself, with a smile, “you won’t get off so easy, my friend; you’ll hear this song later.” He cut out the poem, and stored it away in his pocket scrapbook.

So on their second day in Edinburgh before a great audience Mr. Moody had spoken eloquently and touchingly on the Good Shepherd, when he said, “Mr. Sankey, have you a solo to sing on this subject?”

The great singer was at a loss for once. Three times that day the congregation had sung the twenty-third psalm. So that would not do, and he could think of no other. And then those verses he had read on the train came before him like a flash, with the thought, “Sing those, by all means.” “But,” he objected, “how can I sing without a tune?” The audience was waiting. Mr. Sankey took the little scrap from his note-book, struck a full chord on the organ, and then, note by note, never sung before, came the first stanza. The thoughts flooded upon the singer, Could he remember to sing the second in the same way? But concentrating his mind, the second stanza, the third, and on through the fifth he sang, while the delighted audience sat still as death, little dreaming that the wonderful melody had never been heard before, even by the singer himself.

“Mr. Sankey,” exclaimed Moody, coming down where he stood, “where did you get that song? It’s wonderful! I never heard anything like it!

“O, that,” said Mr. Sankey, to his friend’s evident confusion, “that is the hymn I read to you on the train the other day!”

Taken from The Youth’s Instructor, March 29, 1904.


Angled Waves

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28. “These things,” are not pleasant. No one would rejoice because of the “things” that are described in this chapter. They include earthquakes, tidal waves, pestilences and famines. Then why should we rejoice? Because “these things” tell us where we are. They tell us we are nearing home.

The tropical islands scattered across the great South Pacific Ocean are beautiful beyond compare. The sky is a very bright blue. The ocean seems to reflect that color making it a deep blue around the islands.

The islands have beautiful sandy beaches and coconut palms waving in the breeze. The tropical flowers flourish there—the birds of paradise, the hibiscus, the orchids, the coleus and the plumeria. You can imagine how beautiful an island is against that backdrop of God’s own making.

There is also a lovely lagoon between the island and the reef. The reef, which is usually one hundred yards or more off shore, forms a barrier to big waves and either stops them or breaks them up so they come in gently. The lagoon is a very peaceful spot—a little harbor inside the reef. It is a lovely place to swim. There is little worry about sharks in the lagoon because they do not like to cross the reef.

The reef has its own beauty as it throws the big ocean waves into breakers with white foam spraying all around. Although it is very beautiful, it is dangerous to cross. But anyone who wants to come to the island has to cross that dangerous reef.

Because of the swelling of the waves, the water varies from deep to shallow. The currents buffet one way then another —they hit the reef, then they turn any direction. It is a real feat of seamanship to cross that reef barrier. It was especially so for those ancient mariners, the people of the South Sea Islands, who navigated in their outrigger canoes. These were just small boats with outriggers on them and a small sail, propelled by men with paddles.

We look at those islands in all their beauty, and at the great expanse of deep blue sea all around them. And we notice there are people on the islands. We cannot help but wonder how those people got there. An island can be several hundred miles away from any other island, but somehow they found it.

These islanders had some feats of seamanship that are hardly understood now, but they were very skilled at using them. They looked at the stars, like all seafaring men do, and they could tell certain things by that. But you could not tell where an island was by looking at the stars if you had never seen the island before.

They had developed great skill at reading the waves. You may have stood in the back of a ship or a boat and watched the water as it splits behind the boat—the waves going out at an angle on each side. That same thing happens when ocean currents go past an island. The island forces the waves to split. As a result, the waves past the island are at an angle. From the air that effect can be seen hundreds of miles away from the island.

Although the ancient islanders did not look down from airplanes, they understood that principle. By studying the waves—seeing the angle in the waves—they could tell when there was an island ahead. They would make their way into the trough and so find their way to the island.


Roughest Water Just Outside The Harbor


The seamen had to watch for the reef as they drew near to the island. The greatest danger, the roughest water, was just outside the harbor. They could see the island—perhaps a lovely new island to them. They wanted very much to get to it, but the reef was between them and the island.

To get across the reef they studied the waves very carefully. They watched the swells and the currents moving one way and another. Then they carefully chose the very best spot to approach, chose the very best time, and tried their best to ride a big high wave over the reef so they would not be dropped on the coral. Once in the peaceful lagoon, how happy they were!

This is much like our own journey.

Instead of looking at water, we have been watching the waves of human experience and history. Just as angled waves spreading across the sea would tell those ancient islanders: “There is an island ahead,” so the “waves” we are watching are telling us: “Home is near. It is just ahead.”

We are getting closer and closer. We will soon be inside the reef. We can almost see our homeland, but between us is the rough water. We have been told in advance that the roughest water will be just outside the harbor—just before we reach the shore. It is a wonderful privilege to be nearing home. Many people from ages past would like to be with us at this time.

What are the hazards that we have to watch out for at this particular time, the rough water that we speak of? In Revelation 12:12 we are told that the devil has great wrath because he knows that his time is short. That was written almost two thousand years ago. Surely he can now tell that his time is down to minutes, as it were. Since he could look at a span of two thousand years and say, “That is an awfully short time,” what is he thinking now?

Satan, has great mental ability, second only to the mental ability of Jesus Christ Himself. He has a higher intelligence than any angel in heaven. In Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 277, we read that the devil’s deceptive power is now ten times greater than it was in apostolic times. She also speaks about how Satan ensnares educated people, in Fundamentals of Education, 258. He leads learned men astray. (See Testimonies, vol. 9, 67, 68.) “Many a mind of superior intellectual attainments is now being led captive by his power.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 915. A high IQ is not good enough. How would you measure your IQ against the devil’s? Do you think you could challenge him?

It is my painful duty to give you an example of his deceptions. I am often reminded of Ezekiel 33 which is a twofold warning to the sinner and to the watchman on the walls. “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word of My mouth, and warn them from Me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” Ezekiel 33:7, 8. There is a job of warning to do. We dare not refrain from doing it.


Call Sin By Its Right Name


There is a remarkable passage in the book Education. “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest,men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” Education, 57. The phrase I particularly notice is: “Men who do not fear to call sin by its right name.” That used to puzzle me. Why would there be anything dangerous about calling sin by its right name? Why would anybody be afraid to do that? I know better now. Calling sin by its right name among people who want to sin, and do not want you to call it by its right name, can be dangerous.


Learned Men


In The Great Controversy, in the chapter entitled, “The Scriptures Our Safeguard,” you will find about twenty warnings against the dangers to our faith from learned men. She uses the words “teachers,” “preachers,” “ministers,” “bishops,” “leaders” and “theologians” when describing these men. The point is that the Scriptures will not be a safeguard to us if they come filtered through the minds of these learned men.

Betty and I recently finished reading a book, Receiving the Word, newly off the press, written by Samuel Koranteng Pipim, a brilliant scholar from Ghana. He is currently at Andrews University getting an advanced Theology degree. He has done something quite unusual. He took a look at the skepticism toward the Scriptures that is being nursed on our college campuses. He wrote a blistering expose, which is carefully documented. He gives names, telling you much about what is happening in Seventh-day Adventist schools today. (We will not look at this book in this article, but you can read it for yourself.) Ellen White foresaw all this. She said that learned men would distort the Scripture, which is our only safeguard.

We will look now at another book that fits the description of learned men distorting the scriptures. It also fits the description in Selected Messages about books of a new order. It is an example of the deceitful handling of the Word of God of which the apostle Paul wrote. “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:2. Paul says, “We are not handling the Word of God deceitfully,” but obviously, somebody is.

The name of this book is The Nature of Christ, and the author is an Associate Editor of The Review, Dr. Roy Adams. We will look at a sample of what he has done. He writes about the prayer of David recorded in Psalm 32. Notice how he has dealt with this particular passage.


Chata Ah


Dr. Adams bases his commentary on Psalm 32:1: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” He calls our attention to the word “sin” and tells us that the Hebrew word, understood correctly, means something that is not really important. Let me explain. The Hebrew word is “chata-ah.” It means sin. There are three or four words in the Old Testament translated “sin.” This is one of them.

Dr. Adams believes he has an important message to give to us in regard to this word “chata-ah,” which means sin. These are his words. “In regard to chata-ah. . . God bears with completely surrendered Christians, until the end He bears with them. These aspects of sin do not intrinsically impinge on character and thus do not determine our fitness or unfitness for heaven. And while the life of surrendered Christians will demonstrate growth, we will never come to the place in this life where we are beyond the reach of these infirmities.” The Nature of Christ, by Roy Adams, 97.

Adams is saying, “We cannot stop doing them. God understands that we cannot stop doing them. He does not hold us accountable for them. He does not impute them to us. He just says, ‘I will fix that up by and by.’ ”

That statement is likely to be read to you from the pulpit if you are going to conference churches around the country. If you are down in Australia, it is almost certain to be read to you from the pulpit. I am told that the Conference Offices in Australia bought copies of the book and gave it to every pastor in the land, so they can all be preaching this from the pulpits.

Was Dr. Adams correct when he stated that these “chata-ahs,” do not impinge on your character, and do not have anything to do with your fitness or unfitness for heaven? Is that really true? Let us take a look at the Bible and examine a few “chata-ahs.”

We will start at the story of Cain and Abel. “And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering; But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin [chata-ah] lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” Genesis 4:3–8.

Cain’s bitter hatred toward Abel and his final murder of Abel was a “chataah.” Dr. Adams says that is the kind of sin we do not worry about. “God does not hold that against you. God does not count them against you.” Hatred and murder!?


More Chata-Ahs


In Genesis 18 we find one of the most horrible things in the whole Bible, the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. The chapter begins by telling us how the Lord visited Abraham on the plains of Mamre where he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day, and how the Lord and His two companions were entertained by Abraham. “And the men [that is the Lord and His companions] rose up from thence and looked toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way . . . And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin [chata-ah] is grievous.” Genesis 18:16–20.

How grievous was it? Genesis 19 says that Lot saw two strangers approach the gate of Sodom. He greets them and invites them into his home. They say, “No, we are going to sleep in the streets.” Lot says, “No, no, you cannot do that in Sodom. You must come inside the walls of a safe house in Sodom.”

They went into his house, and before long the men of the city were gathered around clamoring and shouting: “Bring these men out that we may know them.” They were talking about sex, perversion, the vilest of all things. And this is “chataah”!! “Their sin [chata-ah] is very grievous.” Genesis 19:20.

Are you encouraged now to believe that these are “safe sins” that you can indulge in? Are these sins that the Lord does not count?

Another example is found in Genesis 39. This is the story of Joseph in the house of Potiphar. “And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favored. And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is no one greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin [chata-ah] against God?” Genesis 39:6–9. This also is one of those little sins, according to Dr. Adams, that do not count.

Next we see Joseph’s brothers standing before him in Egypt. It has been a long time since they sold him into slavery. Joseph has become the Prime Minister of Egypt. His brothers are there trying to get food. When they are standing before him he tells them that he suspects that they have come to spy out the land and he is about to throw them into prison. They openly talk to each other, not knowing that Joseph understood the Hebrew language, because they thought he was an Egyptian: “And they said one to another, we are very guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, do not sin [chata-ah] against the child; and you would not hear? Therefore, behold, also his blood is required of us.” Genesis 42:21, 22. They sold their brother into slavery and that was a “chata-ah” that Dr. Adams would say is one of those little sins that does not count!

It does not get any better as we go along. Look at Exodus 32. Here Moses and Joshua are coming down the mountain and they find the people dancing around a golden calf without any clothing on. You have idol worship and immorality, which always was associated with idol worship. This is “chata-ah.” “And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou has brought so great a sin [chata-ah] upon them?” Exodus 32:21.

In Leviticus 24:11 we have the example of a man cursing God. This man was of mixed blood. His father was an Egyptian and his mother was an Israelite and it says that he cursed God. “And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin [chata-ah].” Leviticus 24:15.

Then we have Eli who was the priest of the sanctuary. “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; They knew not the Lord.” I Samuel 2:12. It goes on to describe how they mistreated the people who came to the sanctuary. “Wherefore the sin [chata-ah] of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 2:17. Does God not count “little” things, like defiling His worship? Of course He does!

We have a summary statement in Jeremiah 32:30–35 which tells how the Israelites became so wicked that they even imitated the pagan human sacrifices, burning their little babies in fire as an offering to the pagan god. That is called a “chata-ah.”

We have now seen many “chata-ahs.” These sins, according to Dr. Adams, are perfectly safe to commit. He claims that they do not impinge on your character, they have nothing to do with your fitness or your unfitness for heaven. And even though we will grow in the Lord, we will never overcome “little” sins like hate, murder, sodomy, adultery, rape, selling a brother into slavery, kidnapping, defying God, dancing around a golden calf without any clothing on, cursing God, defiling the worship ceremonies, and sacrificing your child to a heathen god.

“Men cannot depart from the counsels of God and still retain that calmness and wisdom which will enable them to act with justice and discretion. There is no insanity so dreadful, so hopeless, as that of following human wisdom, unguided by the wisdom of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 658. [All emphasis supplied.]

In 2 Thessalonians 2:10, Paul writes about people who receive not the love of the truth and God gives them up to believe a lie. I call that a “Manner of Madness.” I have no question that it is real. It is a serious mental condition, an awful condition that comes to people who do not love the truth. In contrast to this, notice what God’s messenger says.


Overcome or Be Overcome


“We must conquer in the name of Jesus or be conquered.” Signs of the Times, vol. 4, 293. If we do not get the victory over the “chata-ahs,” they will conquer us. “The wages of sin is death. Sin, however small it may be esteemed, can be persisted in only at the cost of eternal life. What is not overcome will overcome us and work out our destruction.” Review and Herald, vol. 2, 197. “We must be sanctified through the truth; every defect of character must be overcome, or it will overcome us. Review and Herald, vol. 1, 431.

“Every indulgence in sin prepares the way for renewed and excessive indulgence, until at last the tempter has full control of the mind.” Signs of the Times, vol. 1, 437. “We shall find ourselves beset with countless temptations; and we must find strength in Christ to overcome them, or be overcome by them and lose our souls.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 453.

“Every defect in the character, unless it is overcome by the help of God’s Spirit, will become a sure means of destruction.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 573. “The natural faults of character, if not determinedly overcome for Christ’s sake, will completely master the human soul.” Signs of the Times, vol. 3, 494.

“We either conquer through the grace given us by God or we are conquered.” Review and Herald, vol. 6, 435. “We can overcome fully, entirely. Jesus died to make a way of escape for us that by prevailing prayer, by His grace we might overcome every temptation, every subtle snare of the adversary and at last sit down with Him in His kingdom. “Signs of the Times, vol. 2, 74.

“All who enter heaven’s gates will enter as conquerors.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 384. “No one shall go into that city unless he is pure in heart. Everything that is polluting, everything that defiles is outside the city. All who enter there pass in as conquerors. They hold the palm branch of victory in their hands, they wave it before the throne singing praises to the Lamb of God.” Review and Herald, vol. 1, 540.

In the book, Tell of His Power, I compiled hundreds of statements about overcoming. In it is included one hundred and seventeen quotations where Ellen White said that Christ will send us all the strength we need. She writes seventy-eight times that He makes ample provision. “Ample provision has been made that the people of God may obtain perfection of character.”Review and Herald, vol. 3, 522.

“Christ has made every provision for us to be strong.” Review and Herald, vol. 5, 456. “Abundant provision has been made that all who desire to live a godly life may have grace and strength through Jesus, our Divine Redeemer.” Review and Herald, vol. 2, 485. He gives us strength. He enables us. He sends us help.

“The help of the three great powers is placed at your disposal. When in the name of Christ you ask for grace to overcome, it will be given you.” Review and Herald, vol. 5, 143. Why do some get so confused? We have an answer here: “One reason why many theologians have no clearer understanding of God’s Word is, they close their eyes to truths they do not wish to practice.” The Great Controversy, 599. “Disguise it as they may, the real cause of doubt and skepticism, in most cases, is the love of sin.” Steps to Christ, 111. The love of sin does not have to be the love of vulgarity, the love of immorality, impurity or anything like that. It can be the love of recognition, the love of honor, the love of acceptance.


Just Before the Calm


My friend, what does all this rough water—these angled waves tell us? It tells us we are very close to home, we are nearing the shore. We are coming to the place where we can see that peaceful lagoon inside the reef. We can see that beautiful homeland. We can see the trees and flowers, all in our mind’s eye. But between here and there lies the rough water of the reef and the coral and the rocks.

We must choose our pathway very carefully. We must have that lifting power of the Holy Spirit to carry us over the reef into the lagoon.

Not everybody is going to be deceived. Some will say, “I do not care what anybody says, whether an ordinary man or a great theologian, I have the Bible and that is good enough for me.” Let us determine that we are going to be among that group of people. Let us determine that we are not going to be discouraged because of what we see all around us. No matter how many people turn against the Lord, the Lord is still true and strong. It has not been easy for the Christians in any generation, and it certainly will not be easy for the Christians in the last generation. But by the promises of God, whereby He transmits His power to us, we can conquer anything that comes. Let us determine that we are going to do that. We are not going to be disheartened, we are not going to be discouraged. We may sigh and cry for the abominations, but we are never going to lose courage, never lose heart. Let us steadfastly move on, trusting in the Lord.


The Main Theme of Jesus’ Preaching

The main theme of Jesus’ preaching and teaching is how you can have eternal life, and not lose your soul in hell. Jesus began His Sermon on the Mount by telling who is going to be in the kingdom of heaven. It will be the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, those who are merciful, those who are pure in heart, those who are peacemakers, and those who endure persecution.

He continues in Matthew 5:17–19, “Do not think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” Those who break the least of the commandments, will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven, or in other words, they will not be there. “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20.

The keeping of the law must be more than a mere external act that you do to please others, as the Pharisees did. True obedience comes from the heart. Jesus taught this clearly later in the Sermon on the Mount. “You have heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” Matthew 5:27–30. It would be better, Jesus said, for you to lose your eye or your hand, and to gain heaven than it would be to have everything except eternal life.

Jesus continues with the same theme in Matthew chapter 6: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19–21. You cannot inherit eternal life if your heart is in this world.

Chapter seven reveals how to obtain eternal life. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” Matthew 7:21–23. Only those who do the will of the Father will inherit eternal life.

Jesus taught that there is a hell fire to shun and a heaven to win. Heaven and eternal life are the goal that every Christian should be aiming for—everything else should be secondary.


Step by Step


As we go along the Christian life, at every step there are some who fall off the path. “God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 187.

A person may be a very good health reformer, and very strict in their dress. He may be reading the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible. He may even carefully observe the Sabbath and faithfully pay his tithe. A person may be following the Word of the Lord in every particular, until an incident occurs, that makes him upset. He might say, “That so-and-so! Do you know what he did?” Then he rationalizes that if a person can do something like that and be in the church, then he will not associate with them! He leaves that church and goes somewhere else.

Is God going to be able to take us all to heaven if we are upset with each other and there is division and dissension? If I say, “I am not going to go to church there, because of that person,” is God going to be able to take us all to heaven when we are in that kind of a situation?

Maybe someone really did do something wrong and my feelings are hurt. If I say, “Since that is the way it is, I am not going to have anything to do with it. I am leaving.” At that point I have fallen off the path. This is happening all over the world today. It is happening in Conference churches, in historic Adventist churches, and in home churches too.

The devil wants more than anything else to make us fall off the path. He will bring every attack he can against us. What can we do? If we keep in mind the main theme of Jesus’ preaching while walking up the path and keep looking ahead at our goal, we will soon be with Jesus and the saints. For us the path will not seem too long, or the trials too great. It does not bother us so much that someone hurt us, because we have a goal and we have our eyes on that goal.


Looking Back


Our trouble begins when we stop looking at the goal, and begin looking down or even looking behind. Those who look back and see all the steps they have taken on the path say, “I am so far ahead of everybody else on this path. All the people I used to know are way down there. Look at all these steps I have taken! I had better slow down.” At that point progress stops. They are no longer walking on the path. They are looking back.

It does not matter how many steps we have taken, if we are not at the destination yet, we need to keep walking up the path. If we look down because someone hurts our feelings or does something we do not like, we might become dizzy and fall off the path.

That is a grave danger for Adventists —even for people who have progressed along the path for many years. If we do not keep our eyes on Jesus and we start to look down at all the obstacles, progress stops. Mrs. White talked about this in Testimonies, vol. 1, 187: “Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advanced point the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome, if they would not be spued out of the mouth of the Lord. Said the angel: ‘God will bring His work closer and closer to test and prove every one of His people.’ ”

She is talking about you and me. Are we going through tests? If we are walking up the path, we will be having tests day by day. If we are not having tests day by day, we should go to our closets and in prayer ask the Lord why. Because, if we are walking on the path, inspiration tells us that God is going to test us.

“Said the angel: ‘God will bring His work closer and closer to test and prove every one of His people.’ Some are willing to receive one point; but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back, because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished idol. Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. They prize something higher than the truth, and their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus. Individuals are tested and proved a length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols and heed the counsel of the True Witness. If any will not be purified through obeying the truth, and overcome their selfishness, their pride, and evil passions, the angels of God have the charge: They are joined to their idols, Let them alone.” Ibid.

No matter who we are—an evangelist, a pastor, a teacher, an elder, or a deacon, we must keep moving up the path toward the Holy City. Along the way, we must overcome certain things.

If we do not overcome, the angels of God have the charge, ” ‘They are joined to their idols. Let them alone,’ and they pass on to their work leaving these with their sinful traits unsubdued to the control of evil angels.” Ibid. If there are sinful traits that we are not overcoming, we need to pray, “Lord, do not take the angels away from me. Give me power to overcome.”

“Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.” Ibid. That is a promise to us, from the Lord. In order to do that, we need to take the long view. I am so concerned when I see Adventist people who are looking down at all the trouble around their feet, or who are looking back to see how much progress they have made.

It does not matter how much progress we have made if we are not at our destination, we must keep walking up the path. In fact, Ellen White said that we need to step fast. She wrote to people and said, “The hours of probation are fast passing. We have no time—not a moment—to lose.” Maranatha, 311. We need to keep walking up the path. We do not have time to stand still. We have a goal to reach.


Seeking a Better Life


Children who are born and grow up in the ghetto generally do not like their environment, especially when they see how other people are living outside of the ghetto. Most of these children have a goal that they will not be like their parents. They would tell you that when they grow up, they are not going to live in the ghetto. It is interesting however, that very often these children do end up living in the ghetto as adults.

When children grow up in a home where one or more of the parents drinks, the children do not like to be with a drunk father or a drunk mother—never knowing what is going to happen next. When still young, most make up their minds that they are never going to be like their parents when they grow up. Statistics show a different pattern. Forty percent of children who had one alcoholic parent will be an alcoholic. Eighty percent of the children who were raised in homes where both parents were alcoholics, will become alcoholics as adults. How can this be when all of these people decided when they were children that they were never going to be alcoholics?

First of all it is because of what they saw. Your adult life typically becomes like what you saw while you were growing up. That is the law of the human mind. “By beholding you become changed.”

There is another factor that operates in the ghetto. A child may decide that he is not going to be like his parents. However, his parents were probably in the ghetto partly because of a lack of self-discipline. If he is going to escape the ghetto, he must develop something that his parents did not have.


Striving For the Goal


Suppose that there are two brothers in the ghetto. They look around and say to themselves, “When we grow up, we are not going to be like our parents. We are not going to live in the ghetto. We are going to get an education and become physicians.”

They are determined and press forward all through high school. After graduation, they are accepted at the state university where they begin their pre-med courses. They have their eyes on a goal.

One of these young men is talented athletically and he is invited to become a member of the basketball team and accepts. The other boy looks over the situation and says to himself, “I think I should use every spare moment that I have to study.” He joins a special study group.

As time goes on, both brothers get part time jobs. One of them uses money from his part time job to buy a car. The other decides to save his money to pay his medical school expenses, and he puts it in the bank.

One of these boys develops a friendship with a girl. Considering the situation, his brother decides: “I want to get into medical school. I do not think I should take time to have a girlfriend right now. I will devote all my time to my studies.”

The one that has the car, is on the basketball team, and has a girlfriend, earns enough money so that he can buy some nice clothes. The other one says, “I think I am going to wear my old clothes and just put my extra money in the bank.”

The time comes when they both graduate from the university. One of them put everything he had into achieving that one goal. His brother had the same goal, but he was enjoying life along the way.

The brothers apply at a medical school. Suppose one of these boys is accepted, and the other one is not. He still has his girlfriend, his car, his nice clothes and he has won a lot of basketball games. But when he sought to get into medical school, he was not accepted. He says, “What is the matter? This has been my goal for years. Why am I not accepted?”

Jesus speaks about this. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13, 14.

“Strive [struggle], to enter in through the narrow gate.” Luke 13:24. Some would say, “Is not eternal life free? Why does He say to strive and struggle?”

Is there a chance that even though all Adventists have the same goal, some of them will be much more likely to reach that goal than others? When Jesus comes, there will be many who will stand outside the door that was shut by the master of the house, and knock saying, “Lord, Lord, open for us.” And He will answer and say to them, “I do not know you. Then they will say, “We ate and drank in your presence. You taught in our streets.” But He will say, “I tell you, I do not know you. Depart from me all you workers of iniquity.”

Are you striving, are you struggling? Have you decided that this goal of having eternal life is the all-consuming passion of your life? Or are you like the boy who is going through college and says, “Yes, I want to get there some day, but I am going to enjoy life now.”

Paul had his eyes fixed on the goal when he said, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12–14.

Do you have your eye on the long term goal. Are you pressing forward with one goal in mind. Can you say with Paul, “This one thing I do”? If that is your attitude, you will make it. No one at the end will say to the Lord, “I chose to make this the number one priority in my life, and I have pressed toward the goal, and now I am lost.”


Fanaticism to Apostasy


One of the reasons that so many fall off the path today is because of fanaticism. Fanaticism is going beyond what is written. It is also beating the drum on one point. To those who are in fanaticism, one subject becomes everything, and they go beyond what God has written. “The very beginning of the great apostasy was in seeking to supplement the authority of God by that of the church. Rome began by enjoining what God had not forbidden.” The Great Controversy, 289, 290.

There are things that God has not commanded, but neither has He forbidden. When someone dictates to another person that they mustdo something that God has not commanded—that is fanaticism.

Where will it lead? “Rome began by enjoining what God had not forbidden, she ended by forbidding what He has explicitly enjoined.” Ibid. That is apostasy. If we go into fanaticism, and add to what God has told us, the end-result is apostasy.

According to the Spirit of Prophecy, all the types of fanaticism that appeared at the beginning of the Advent movement will reappear at the end. That is what is happening today. All the controversies that we thought were solved years and years ago, are reappearing.

In the early ages of Christianity there were many fanatical theories that arose concerning the nature of Christ, the nature of God, and the nature of the Holy Spirit. The same theories are all surfacing again.

What can we do to keep on the path? David wrote in the Psalms, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105. Jesus is the way, He is the path. As we follow up the path, the light moves and we must keep pace with it. Jesus said, “Walk while you have the light.” John 12:35. If we do not walk while we have the light, the light will keep moving and eventually we will be left in darkness.

Strive! Keep walking up the path. So often people come up to a certain point and stop. They are afraid that if they learn truth, they will be obligated to change something. It is written down beside their names in the kingdom of heaven, that they do not want any more truth. If they do not overcome that attitude it becomes for them the unpardonable sin. We each need to ask ourselves this question: Is there something in my life where I am not following the light? If we are not following the light, it is only a matter of time until we will be in darkness.


Jesus Leads On


If we keep looking at the goal and keep walking, we will arrive at the destination. It will not be too long. The journey will not be too hard. The obstacles will not be too great.

This was a major focal point of the very first vision that the Lord gave to Ellen White. Quoting from Early Writings, 14: “While I was praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell upon me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find them, when a voice said to me, ‘Look again and look a little higher.’ At this I raised my eyes, and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were traveling to the City, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the beginning of the path, which an angel told me was the midnight cry. This light shone all along the path and gave light for their feet so that they might not stumble. If they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, Who was just before them,leading them to the City, they were safe.”

Jesus is leading us up the path. He is at the head of the line and He is leading us up the path to the Holy City. If we keep our eyes on Him, we will be safe. “But soon, some grew weary and said the City was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising His glorious right arm, and from His arm came a light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted, ‘Alleluia.’ Others rashly denied the light behind them and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out,leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below.” Ibid., 14, 15.

As we go up the path, an immediate goal is to receive more of the Holy Spirit’s power. In order for us to receive the Holy Spirit, we must be overcomers. The latter rain cannot come until we have overcome sin. (See Early Writings, 71.)

Before Jesus comes the second time there will be faithful ones, who are waiting and preparing for His arrival. There will be some who will stay on the path until they arrive at the destination. Will you be one of them? The following questions will help you to see if you are pressing up the path:

  1. Do I take time to attend a prayer group or prayer meeting every week where we can study the Bible and pray?
  2. Do I take time for my personal devotions every day? Do I have time to study the life of Jesus every day, to memorize His Word, and to pray?
  3. Do I have time to actively witness to the world that Jesus is coming soon?
  4. Who do I love and who do I like to talk about?

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33.


Miracle Drugs

Jesus went about all the cities “healing all manner of sickness and all manner of diseases among the people.” Matthew 4:23. Matthew tells us that because of His work of healing, “His fame went throughout all Syria and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments . .. and He healed them.” Matthew 4:24. The Lord Jesus did great works of healing and at times He used natural remedies. On one occasion we are told that He spat on the ground, and mixed the spittle with the clay. He then applied it to a man’s eyes and his sight was restored. “The cure could be wrought only by the power of the Great Healer, yet Christ made use of the simple agencies of nature. While He did not give countenance to drugs, He sanctioned the use of simple and natural remedies.”Counsels on Health, 30.

Today many people, sick and suffering from disease, put their faith entirely in medical doctors and in prescription drugs to cure their ailments. Instead of putting all our trust in the arm of flesh, we should follow God’s eight laws of health—pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, and trust in divine power. Natural remedies like charcoal, water treatments and the use of simple herbs can be used to restore the sick to health.

A true Christian physician should always point his patient to Christ for their healing, since all true healing comes from Him. “The physician should first gain the patient’s confidence and then point them to the Great Healer. If their faith can be directed to the true physician, and they can have a confidence that He has undertaken their case, this will bring relief to the mind and often give health to the body.” Ministry of Healing, 244.

There is a lesson in the life of King Asa in the Bible: “And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.” 2 Chronicles 16:12, 13.


Abused and Overused


Most of us have used antibiotics. They were discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, and their use initially had great results. They have saved many people from infectious diseases. Doctors have used them routinely in relieving people who have illnesses.

Unfortunately, these antibiotics have been abused. They are being used more liberally now than ever before. The antibiotics used today to fight infections are very potent and powerful. It is not just penicillin anymore. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are being used on little children because antibiotics are losing the war against the infectious diseases. Overprescription has become a major concern in this country with our doctors.

“Antibiotics are prescribed at an alarming rate in this country. Obstetricians and gynecologists write 2,645,000 antibiotic prescriptions every week. Internists give out 1,416,000 in the same period and pediatricians and family physicians lead the way prescribing over five hundred million dollars ($500,000,000) worth of antibiotics each year to treat just one problem—ear infections in children. Another five hundred million plus is spent on antibiotics to treat other pediatric illnesses. “Over the past fifteen years, antibiotic prescriptions to young children have risen a staggering fifty-one percent. Antibiotics have been prescribed for conditions that do not warrant their use. After congressional hearings and numerous academic studies on this issue, it has become the general consensus that forty to sixty percent of all antibiotics in this country are mis-prescribed.

“In 1983 more than fifty-one percent of the more than three million patients who saw doctors for treatment of the common cold, were unnecessarily given a prescription for an antibiotic. Antibiotics do nothing for the common cold because the condition is viral in nature. It is no accident that the most allergic generation in history has also been raised on antibiotics.” (Lendon B. Smith in Beyond Antibiotics, 3.)

Several times a week I see a new patient whose allergies appeared or became much worse after a course of antibiotics. “Recurrence rate [of middle-ear fluid] were significantly higher in the antibiotic-treated group than in the placebo group. Children receiving amoxicillin for chronic middle ear infection experienced two to six times the rate of re-occurrence.” (Ibid.)

Antibiotics, which literally means “against life,” are often the first choice of treatment for many ailments.


Personal Experiences


Let me share with you some personal experiences I have had with people who were taking antibiotics.

A mother brought her four year old to me. The little girl had tubes in her ears from recurrent middle ear infections. In fact, the child had been on four different antibiotics, stronger each time in the last couple weeks.

The mother said, “I was told to come and see you—that maybe you could help us.” The doctors had already pierced the child’s ear drums and now they wanted to do surgery, to open it and clean it out. “Can you help me?” the mother asked. I responded, “I can try, but first of all I need to ask the question, ‘Is your child on dairy products?’ ”

She said, “Yes, she is.”

“You need to get her off. She does not need milk, because milk is causing excess mucous. Secondly, I want to put some drops in your child’s ears. Drops that contain Saint John’s Wort, Mullein, and garlic. Things that are going to be probiotic for your child rather than antibiotic. They have the ability to kill certain germs without the side effects that you are experiencing with your daughter.”

The child was pale and sickly. She screamed and did not want to hold still when I was ready to put the drops in her ears. I put two drops in one ear. The little girl looked at me, smiled, turned her head over and pointed at the other ear. In two weeks the mother came back. She had taken the child off dairy products and she had continued using the ear drops. The mother came and thanked me. The child had not had another ear ache in two weeks. Before this the little girl had been in pain every day.


Side Effects


Another mother brought in her five year old child that had been given antibiotics for years. This child had a swollen spleen and an abnormal liver panel when she came to see me. I asked her the question, “Has this child been on antibiotics?”

“Ever since she was two years old,” the mother responded.

“You know, I need to read you something about the effects of antibiotics. Yes, they have been beneficial, but today they are too frequently prescribed for conditions that they are not even needed for.”

I read this to her from the book The Encyclopedia of Natural Health and Healing for Children: “Antibiotics do have associated side effects, some of which may cause irreversible damage. This is another reason why antibiotics should be the last choice for treating bacterial infections. All antibiotics are unsafe during pregnancy as they can cross into the baby’s blood stream through the placenta. Between 25% and 75% of the mother’s concentration of penicillin or tetracycline crosses into the baby and the common side effects include liver damage, allergies, destruction of valuable intestinal bacteria, vitamin K deficiency, interference with the absorption of nutrients and can induce thrush, diarrhea, skin rashes and phlegm.” Marcea Weber in The Encyclopedia of Natural Health and Healing for Children, 12, 13.

She said, “What do I do?”

I said, “I would try to bring in some natural things into the child’s diet such as herbs.” I gave her several herbs including Echinacea and Golden Seal. I also advised her to take the child off dairy products and give her lots of live, fresh foods.

The mother came back in a week and wrote out a check to Modern Manna for $50.00! I said, “Well, thank you.”

She said, “Thank YOU. After I put my daughter on the program you suggested, the spleen shrunk to normal and the liver panel came back fine. The child has not been on antibiotics since I saw you.”

Another woman came to me who had rashes all over her body. I asked her, “Have you ever had these before?”

“Just when I take penicillin. But I am not taking any penicillin. Why do I have these rashes all over my body when I am not using the drug?”

I asked her if she drank milk or used other dairy products. She said that she did.

I said, “Do you know there is penicillin residues in milk? Quit drinking it for two weeks and let us see what happens.” She came back in three days and the rash was gone.

Did you know that farm animals receive thirty times more antibiotics, mostly penicillin and tetracycline, than people do? Fifty percent of the antibiotics produced in America are given to animals.

Have you gotten just a little idea of what antibiotics can do? Consider also the hundreds of people who suffer from diarrhea and constipation because the good flora of their large intestine has been destroyed by antibiotics. When you take an antibiotic, it does not single out bad bacteria. It kills the good and the bad. This explains why many times a woman will have a yeast infection immediately following a round of antibiotics. The good bacteria, necessary for the intestine, and also for keeping the fungus in the vaginal lining under control, has been destroyed.

There are untold numbers of people suffering from allergies, because of leaking gut syndrome caused by antibiotics and other drugs, like alcohol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like acetaminophen and ibuprofen—aspirin type drugs. There is also a connection between antibiotic over-prescription and immunal suppression diseases.


Super Bugs


We are not the only ones realizing the danger that antibiotics can be. Newsweek, in an article called “Antibiotics —The End of Miracle Drugs” said this about the threat: “When a colony of bacteria is dosed with, say, penicillin, most die. But a few lucky microbes by chance harbor mutant genes that make them immune to the drug. They survive. The mutants pass on their resistant genes to their progeny. One bacterium can leave 16,777,000 offspring in twenty-four hours! The mutants gladly share their resistant genes with unrelated microbes. Antibiotic uses have stimulated evolutionary changes unparalleled in recorded biologic history.

“Even more ominous, there are signs that these bacteria are very clever. Microbiologist Stanley Falkhell at Stanford University puts it, ‘In ways scientists never suspect, it turns out the germs can become resistant to antibiotics they have never even met.’

“In women receiving tetracycline for a urinary tract infection, for instance, Ecoli developed resistance not only to tetracycline but to other antibiotics also. It is almost as if bacteria strategically anticipate the confrontation of other drugs when they resist one. One of the problems that we are facing today in America is that we are getting too many antibiotics in our people. Over-prescription is a problem and when you overprescribe antibiotics to people, it kills off the weak bad bacteria, but these mutant ones survive and change and become resistant.” Newsweek, March 28, 1994.

Bacteria are becoming so resistant that in 1993 alone, nearly fourteen thousand people died in our hospitals because the antibiotics could not kill these “super-bugs.”

The pharmacuetical industry can not keep up with the ever changing microbes. New resistant strains of old diseases are springing up. That means that patients are suffering and dying from illnesses that science predicted forty years ago would be wiped off the face of the earth. The scientists were wrong. Before science catches up with the microbes many more people will die.

Now is not the time to depend upon antibiotics and drugs to take care of ourselves. It is time for us to aid our immune systems to fight these things. We are suppressing our immune system, not only through drugs, but through the foods we eat, and the life style we live. We need to now take charge and become educated in what we can do to fight off these diseases.


Use Only as a Last Resort


Charise and I have used an antibiotic only once, for two days on our children. I do not tell people not to ever take an antibiotic, but use it only as a last resort. I knew a lady who would not use an antibiotic on her child. She was praying mightily to God to heal the child of an ear infection. She did not use the antibiotic and the child went deaf in one ear. You see there may be times when you need to do something of that nature, but today these “wonder drugs” have created an anti-miracle because of over use. Instead of building up, they are actually suppressing the immune system.

One of the diseases that is growing rampant today is candida albicans or candidiasis. A good flora keeps yeast within our bodies in check. We all have candida in our bodies, but it is held in check because of the good bacteria. So when you take in antibiotics killing off the good flora, these yeasts proliferate. And some of the problems are these. Chronic fatigue, loss of energy, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, vaginal infections, frequent bladder infections, menstrual complaints, depression, irritability, an inability to concentrate, allergies, chemical sensitivities,and low immune function.”


A History of the War on Infectious Disease


“The view of infectious disease was divided into two camps. There was Louis Pasteur, and another theory by a Russian biologist named Metchnikov. Pasteur believed that if we could identify the germ and isolate and treat it with drugs that we are going to eradicate all disease and illness. Metchnikov on the other hand said, ‘I don’t think so.’ His life work centered upon the healing power of the body and its battling against infections. Metchnikov taught that the correct way to deal with infectious disease was not by administering chemicals but by strengthening and where necessary exploiting the body’s own defenses.

“This view was in stark contrast with that of Pasteur who believed a germ could be found for every malady. He contended that if the germ could be isolated and treated with treatment devised to kill the germ virtually all disease might some day be eradicated. Pasteur came to realize that his theories about germs were erroneous. Just prior to his death he is said to have uttered the words, ‘Metchnikov was right.’ The terrain is everything, the bacteria is nothing. Pasteur recognized that it was not bacteria that were responsible for disease but the terrain, the surrounding land and the inability of the host to combat them. If the host was strong or the immune system was active, the organisms could not get a foothold. If the host was weak, the organisms could settle in and overcome. Pasteur had come to the conclusion that myriad factors including diet, nutrition, stress, heredity, environment, and state of mind had a profound effect on resistance to microbes.” Beyond Antibiotics, 14. (These are the two views that were held.)

In 1967, the surgeon general of the United States, at that time, William Stewart, said, “It was time to close the book on infectious diseases. We have basically wiped out all infection in the United States.” The Coming Plagues, 33. They set out to conquer infectious diseases around the world, and in the U.S. they were going to concentrate on chronic diseases.

How is it then that today we find that the infectious diseases are back—deadlier than ever in America. We are seeing viruses and bacteria beginning to hit the United States like never before, and our “wonder drugs” are losing the battle because of the mutant germs.

“Since the nineteen fifties we have seen the development and overuse of antibiotics. The use of hormones, birth control pills, the development of immuno suppressive drugs, prednisone, mytheltrephate, chemo therapy, the introduction of various chemical and toxins in our environment, and significant changes which have occurred within our diets leaving our foods tainted with pesticides, depleted in nutritional value, loaded with sugars and dyes. Can we really continue to believe that these incredible changes have not affected the well being of some and eventually perhaps all of us?” Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Yeast Connection, X1.

The Bible says the devil came to steal and destroy and kill. Jesus Christ is not “anti-biotic,” He is “pro-biotic.” In Him is life and life eternal. We need to learn that by living healthfully and eating the right foods, we can strengthen the immune system.


Contaminated Vaccines


Dr. Leonard Horowitz, a Harvard graduate with his masters in public health, has recently done a great deal of research into vaccine contamination. In an interview, published in American Freedom Magazine, December 1996, he said this: “‘This month’s Money Magazine has the first article ever published in the United States that actually tells the truth about polio and DPT vaccine. Today’s oral polio vaccines are littered with monkey virus contaminates which are causing everything from Simian Cytomegalo virus associated with chronic fatigue to encephelopathy.’

“Should one be apprehensive about taking flu shots? ‘Regarding the flu shots: My mother received the swine flu shot and she among 10,000 others developed Guillian-Barre Syndrome, which is a common vaccine contaminate reaction. It’s a progressive neurological breakdown,where the body’s normal white cells start eating away the myelin sheath around nerve cells.’” American Freedom Magazine, Volume 1, Number 8, December 1996, page 19.


Inspired Counsel about Drug Medication


In conclusion, consider this counsel from God’s inspired messenger: “Drugs never cure disease, they only change its form and location . . . When drugs are introduced into the system, for a time they seem to have a beneficial effect. A change may take place, but the disease is not cured. It will manifest itself in some other form . . . The disease which the drug was given to cure may disappear, but only to reappear in a new form such as skin disease, ulcers, painful diseased joints, and sometimes in a more dangerous and deadly form . . . Nature keeps struggling and the patient suffers with different ailments until there is a sudden breakdown in her efforts and death follows.” Healthful Living, 243.

Some of the most common diseases today are auto-immune diseases. Fibromyalgia which causes pain in the muscles and joints, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, the list goes on. What has been causing these problems? Ellen White told us, with the use of drugs the disease is not cured, it just disappears and later manifests itself in some other way.


How to Build a Strong Immune System


What can we do to build our immune systems and fight off disease?

  1. Follow the eight laws of health, which is God’s plan.
  2. Maintain an ideal weight by decreasing the number of calories you eat.
  3. Eat a moderate protein, high complex carbohydrate, vegan diet rich in omega-3 fatty acid.
  4. Eat lots of fiber rich food like fruits, vegetables and cereals that reduce the transit time in the colon. This will help to get carcinogens, the bile acids and other fats that can cause cancer, out of the system.
  5. Avoid all animal products. Now is no time to be drinking milk.
  6. Keep salt intake low and avoid food additives and preservatives. Avoid condiments like mustard, vinegar, black pepper, baking soda and baking powder. Avoid caffeine and tobacco and alcohol, of course, but avoid other people’s smoke also.
  7. Consume large amounts of fruits, vegetables and legumes for their phyto-chemical properties. Whenever possible, try to obtain foods that were not artificially grown and are uncontaminated with pesticides.
  8. Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables for their enzyme content.
  9. Have X-rays only when absolutely necessary.
  10. Avoid refined sugar and nutra-sweet. (These are related to systemic lupus, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis.)
  11. Use water filters whenever possible. Wash your hands several times each day and limit eating in restaurants.
  12. Use stress reduction techniques, such as walking, and taking a vacation.
  13. Make Bible reading and prayer a part of your day.
  14. Have a positive attitude.
  15. Avoid drugs unless absolutely necessary.

If we fail to follow the basic plans that God has given His people, we are going to be caught in the fray. The Bible also says that if we are obedient to His commandments and we follow His statutes, none of the diseases of Egypt will come upon us because the Lord who heals us has promised.

“The Lord gave His word to ancient Israel, that if they would cleave strictly to Him, and do all His requirements, He would keep them from all the diseases such as He had brought upon the Egyptians; but this promise was given on the condition of obedience. Had the Israelites obeyed the instruction they received, and profited by their advantages, they would have been the world’s object lesson of health and prosperity. The Israelites failed of fulfilling God’s purpose, and thus failed of receiving the blessings that might have been theirs. But in Joseph and Daniel, in Moses and Elijah, and many others, we have noble examples of the results of the true plan of living. Like faithfulness today will produce like results. To us it is written, ‘Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.’ I Peter 2:9.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 26, 27.


Faithful or Fooled

In Matthew 25, Jesus  gives us a shocking illustration of the parallel between these ten bridesmaids and the people of God living before Jesus comes, but before we get to that, here is a story.

A hiker in the foothills of the mountains chanced one day upon a beautifully landscaped and meticulously groomed country estate. He stood before the polished wrought iron gate at the entrance to this estate and looked admiringly at all the beautiful flower beds. He saw how neatly every stone, that surrounded them, was kept in place. He noticed that the lawn had been cut just the right length. It was green, lush looking and well fertilized. He could not even find a stray weed growing anywhere.

Not far away the gardener was on a ladder pruning one of the cherry trees. When the gardener saw the visitor looking in at the grounds, he came to the gate to greet him. The visitor said to him, “This is a beautiful estate. It caught my attention. I have not seen anything so lovely anywhere.”

The caretaker said, “You see, sir, I am keeping it like this because I am expecting my Master to come and I want him to find everything just right.”

The hiker said, “Well, I am sure you will have no problem in doing that. How long have you worked here?”

“Oh, I have been here, sir, for thirty-four years.”

“I suppose you see your Master often?”

“Oh, no, sir, he has never been here.”

“He has never come? Not even once? Then, why do you go to all this bother if he does not come frequently?”

“You see, sir,” the caretaker said, “when he comes, I want him to find it perfect, and so I prepare it every day as though that were the day my Master would come back.”

There is a lesson in that little story for you and me.

In this week of prayer reading, we will study Matthew 24 and 25. We will begin with the story of the ten virgins which is a good introduction to Matthew 24.

Matthew 25 contains the exciting story of the wedding party. Jesus told this to His disciples as they were gathered on the Mount of Olives. The sun has set and the lights of the little village can be seen below. These bright lights announce that a wedding is going to take place.

The groom and his procession, as is typical in the Middle East, have gone to the bride’s home to fetch her and bring her back to the groom’s house. Jesus likens this to His kingdom.

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” Matthew 25:1. In this experience the groom would take his entourage over to meet the bride. The bride would have her group of celebrants there ready to meet the groom when he came, and then with great festivity and celebration, they would march back to the groom’s new home.

These ten young ladies were waiting to join in the procession when the bridegroom would come. “Now five of them were wise and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” Matthew 25:2–4.

The story says that five of them had oil in their vessels and five did not. This shows that they all had flagons to carry extra oil, but five of them came with extra oil and five left their vessels empty. “The bridegroom was delayed.” Matthew 25:5. That is typical of many parts of the world. In America if you arrive for an announced wedding at three o’clock and no one is there, you might wait ten or fifteen minutes. Then you would conclude that someone was confused about the time, and you would get in your car and go home. But not so in Asia and in many other parts of the world. And so the bridesmaids waited.

“When the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept.” They did not expect him to be so late. They expected him perhaps to delay an hour or so, but now it was almost midnight and they were all sound asleep. They had left their lamps gently burning, because in those days, they did not have other lights to turn on. There they were sleeping soundly with their lamps burning beside them.

“And at midnight a cry was heard, ‘Behold the bridegroom is coming. Go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.” Matthew 25:6, 7.

When the cry was made they all woke up. They grabbed their lamps, and began to trim them. But the foolish realized that their oil was almost gone. They said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil. Share with us.” And the wise bridesmaids said, “No. We do not have any extra. You must go and buy your own oil.”

“The bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.” Matthew 25:10. It is a terrible thing to imagine the door being shut and some, perhaps us, being left outside. This is what Jesus said, “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 25:11–13. Jesus here gives us a shocking illustration of the parallel between these ten bridesmaids and the people of God living before Jesus comes.


Some Are Not Prepared


These ten bridesmaids represent members of the church. They all believe in the Three Angels’ Messages. They all come to church on Sabbath. They warm the pew and they sing the hymns. But five are not prepared.

What do the lamps represent? They represent the Word of God. The Psalmist said, “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105.

The oil represents the Holy Spirit. There are many who claim the name of Adventism, who say they are part of God’s true church. They can show their diploma of baptism and are proud of theirmembership, but they are not prepared for the coming of Jesus.

This door that Jesus talks about is a door that you often find in Scripture. It represents the door of probation. How sad it will be if we found that we did not have the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives which would have prepared us to go through that door. What a tragedy it would be to be found outside.

Some of God’s people are shallow in the study of God’s Word. Consequently they are not filled with the Holy Spirit and are unprepared to meet Jesus! That is why Jesus said, “Watch, therefore.”

What does it mean to watch? Among the definitions of this word in Webster’s Dictionary is “to be awake, to be alert.” A reason why we should watch is also found there. This is “to ward off danger or to seize an opportunity.”

Today in the world around us there is danger. In the church there are dangers as well. It is extremely unfortunate when a historic Adventist who has espoused all the teachings of the pioneers of Adventism says, “I do not want to be a historic Seventh-day Adventist.” For one to say this, somehow the oil must have gone low. The tragedy is that there are hundreds of people who will believe whatever they hear from an appealing leader, and will become confused. They too, did not have enough oil in preparation. They had not immersed themselves in the study of God’s Word and the Spirit of Prophecy.

Some people are disillusioned. One individual gave over one hundred thousand dollars to a historic Adventist ministry, and later saw that ministry turn around and reject the foundation on which historic Adventism is built. This question was asked with tears: “What shall we do?” Jesus warned us that before He comes, apostasy in the church will become as dark as midnight. “Not only is Satan leading the world captive, but his deceptions are leavening the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. The great apostasy will develop into darkness deep as midnight, impenetrable as sackcloth of hair.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 414. It requires a preparation to stand in these days.

Jesus said “Watch therefore, for you do not know the hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore, you also be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matthew 24:42–44.

The ten bridesmaids all went to sleep because they did not know when the bridegroom was coming. Matthew 24 and 25 is a message from Jesus to His last church to be ready. It is a call for all to be faithful, to be watchful and not to fall asleep.


The Preparation


When I was a student in college, I had a classmate named Bill, who was in his last year of studying for the ministry. He was a good friend of mine. Our friendship was such that we discussed things together. On Friday nights different ministerial students would have the evening worship service.

He preached one Friday night and his message was terribly disconnected. He would go here and hit a point, and then over there and hit another point, but it was not together. It was clear that he did not even have an outline. I felt sorry for him because he was going out to preach the gospel. First he needed to learn to prepare for a sermon.

On Monday morning Bill and I were together in Bible doctrines class. I said to him, “Bill, I heard your sermon on Friday evening. I appreciate the message that you gave, but just a little word of advice from one of your friends. The next time you preach, let me suggest you make up an outline to guide you so you know where you are going.”

Bill was horrified!

He said, “Oh, I could not do that!”

“Why not?” I questioned.

He said, “I have to allow the Holy Spirit to move me.”

I exclaimed, “But, Bill, the Holy Spirit is not going to move you someplace that you have not already studied out.”

That is a mistake we sometimes make. We believe that because we are Christians, that the Holy Spirit is going to move us. He will give us thoughts to remember and to speak, without us having to make the preparation. Yes, the Holy Spirit will guide us, but we have to prepare ourselves through a full commitment and daily study of God’s Word.


Signs of His Coming


The disciples came to Jesus and said, “Tell us, Jesus, when are You going to come back? Could you give us some signs that we can have to guide us so we will know when Your coming is near?” Jesus, evidently, agreed to do that because He said, “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Matthew 24:4.

Where it says, “Do not let anyone deceive you,” I am going to use the words, “Do not let anyone fool you.” “For many will come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and will deceive (fool) many.” Matthew 24:5.

Jesus says, “And many false prophets will rise up and deceive (fool) many. Matthew 24:11. All through this chapter Jesus warns us about being fooled, until finally He says, “If anyone says to you, Look here is Christ! or There! do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders so as to deceive (fool), if possible, even the very elect.” Matthew 24:23, 24.

How can that be? Adventism is a simple message. The problem that people have, is committing themselves to abiding in the message. Some people think that you have to be able to quote the Spirit of Prophecy by heart before you can become a Seventh-day Adventist. It is much simpler than that. We all can be historic Seventh-day Adventists. We believe that old message that can be completely proven from God’s Word and is testified to in the Spirit of Prophecy.

Adventists are deceived because the deception comes right from within the walls of the church. How else would it be possible to deceive the elect? If someone tells you that Jesus is coming and He is over here in a city park, we all know that is not true. But when mixed messages come into the flock of God today, it could, if it were possible, deceive the very elect. I know of some people who at one time cherished the message of Adventism, who now have given up belief in the significance of 1844. They no longer believe in the sanctuary in heaven, or that you can overcome—and their names are still on church books.

There is a wonderful book entitled, Receiving the Word, by Samuel Koranteng Pipim. It explains that the problem today in so much of Adventism is that scholars, teachers, preachers, and church members no longer want to take the Bible literally. They begin tearing pages out of it and throwing them away.

Is it possible that we could be fooled? The message of the second angel was that Babylon is fallen? Babylon means confusion and there is quite a debate going on today whether we can call the church Babylon.

Is there confusion in God’s church today? Let us make sure it does not come into our lives. Let us make sure that we have the preparation to stand firmly on solid ground with our lamps trimmed and burning. There are those today who have let the oil of God’s Spirit run low and their spiritual life becomes very shallow.

The servant of the Lord said that in the last days many would be led from the truth. Have you read that statement? “Every man and woman should be on guard when there are deceptions abroad calculated to lead away from the truth.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 73.

Some will say, “Oh, but we have to keep our minds open to differing views.” Actually, we need to close our ears to some of the messages that are being given to us out there! Referring to Jesus’ statement, that if it were possible the very elect would be fooled, Mrs. White says: “It is because of the many and varied dangers that would arise, that this warning is given.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 16.

Those dangers are not only outside the church, they are inside the church. Today we find some rather strange worship styles in Adventism. It is shocking to realize that today there is a creeping trend toward Babylon.

“The end is near . . . New and strange things will continually arise to lead God’s people into false excitement, religious revivals, and curious developments.” Ibid. 17. This was written one hundred years ago. How did she know this? She continues. “With much that is truth there is mingled error that is accepted in its extreme meaning, and acted upon by persons of excitable temperaments.” Ibid.

Some Adventists go to worship service on Sabbath morning and dance around waving their arms. Why do they do it? They say, “We are free to let the spirit move us.” The Bible says to test the spirits. There are other spirits in the world besides the Holy Spirit.


Follow Only Jesus


“Not only is Satan leading the world captive, but his deceptions are leavening the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 414. We must be careful that we do not get involved in following a person. We must be what we are because of Jesus Christ and His message and the power of His Holy Spirit.

The reason for much of the grievous disappointment in historic Adventism is because people have been following a person. People have been giving tens of thousands of dollars to support a person. This is God’s church. This is God’s message. It does not come because of the building or the cathedral, or the institution or the person preaching. It comes because we are a people who believe in keeping God’s commandments and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

There is a trend today to measure success in numbers. How many did you baptize? Unfortunately, that is too often the message we hear. They say there is joy in heaven over one sinner. It must be that there is twice as much joy over two. But we cannot be consumed with numbers. We cannot be concerned because the church may seem small. God is calling out a remnant. I want to be part of God’s remnant experience. I want my lamp to have plenty of oil and to be trimmed and burning.

The story is told of a coal miner who became a Christian. He worked in the mines where they used foul language. They ate and drank things that the Christian should not eat or drink. Whenthis coal miner became a Christian, his former friends began to make fun of him. They did everything they could to discourage him and make him feel bad. Finally, one day they devised a rather diabolical plan. Of course, they kept it all a secret. The miners worked down in the caverns of the earth all day, filling their train car with coal. At the end of the day they rolled the little car up the tracks, filled with coal that they had hacked away at, picked out and shoveled into their trolley. They were paid by the amount of coal they had dug out of the mine.

What these evil men did was to destroy the track in such a way that when the Christian miner’s trolley came up, his entire load for the day would fall over and be spilt. When he got to the top, his coal car rolled over and all of the coal spilled out—his entire day’s labor. The men who had done this were all hiding around, waiting to hear what he would say, expecting some cursing to come from his lips. Then they could jump out laughing and show him that his Christianity was only skin deep.

They listened. They watched. He stood there. Tears began to flow down his cheeks. He looked at his day’s work all gone, completely wasted. Knowing he could even be in trouble with the management. There he stood amidst his tears, and he sang, “I Need Thee Every Hour.” What a sermon those hardened miners saw that day. When times get hard, when the storms of life break and batter us, we too may sing hymns to Jesus.

In these closing hours of earth’s history, may God help us to have our lamps filled with the oil of the power of His Holy Spirit. May He help us to be watchful, to be ready. We do not know the day nor the hour when He will come back, but He said He is coming soon and that is good enough. That is the message we must give to the world. That is what we believe. Do not let anybody fool you.

Do not let these strange things that are happening, these strange winds that are blowing influence you so that the door will shut without you being inside. May God help us to be faithful.


Spiritual Digestion

We are marvelously created. Ellen White tells us that we should study anatomy and physiology. It should be one of the first subjects that we teach our children. We should be equipped with the knowledge of how to care for the human body.

Cells are the tiny building blocks of the body. They make up tissues, and tissues make up organs, and organs make up the systems within the body. The body has a number of systems that work together.

One of those systems is the respiratory system. It is amazing how we can breath! We take air into our lungs through the pocket-like alveoli cells, and oxygen is transferred into the blood stream and nourishes every cell in the body.

Another is the lymphatic system. It has two hundred and fifty thousand miles of lymphatic vessels, which work every day to remove toxins and poisons through the lymph fluid.

The musculo-skeletal system contains six hundred different muscles, and over two hundred bones. There are other amazing systems within the human body. Truly, we can praise the Lord and say, “Thank you Lord, for this wonderful body that you have given us.”

“I will praise Thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Thy works and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by our God, the Creator, Who made us in His crowning act of creation.


Physical Digestion


The digestive system is another truly remarkable system, whereby we take in food and it is processed so that the nutrients can be absorbed into our cells, giving us life. In this week of prayer article, this is the system we will study.

The body has an irregular-shaped tube that begins in the mouth and ends in the anus. We take in food through the mouth, then the teeth are used to physically break down food through a process called mastication.

The whole point is to take the solid matter and break it down so that it will eventually be usable in the blood stream. The salivary glands are in the mouth. They produce approximately a liter of saliva every day. Saliva moistens food and contains digestive enzymes, such as amylase, which break down carbohydrates.

The tongue, a little organ with which we speak, also has another purpose. It is used to push the food to the back of the throat, so that it can be swallowed into the esophagus.

The esophagus is a long, narrow, muscular tube that carries the food down to the stomach. Food is pushed along through this tube by a wave-like motion called peristalsis. This action is so strong that even if I were standing on my head, it would be able to push the food to my stomach.

Next the food enters the stomach through the cardiac sphincter at the end of the esophagus. The food is further broken down by contractions in the stomach’s muscular wall, and the gastric juices, hydrochloric acid and enzymes. The food is now broken down to what is called chyme pronounced kime). After it is in the stomach generally for one to four hours, depending on the type and combination of food that was eaten, it passes through the pyloric sphincter into the small intestine.

The small intestine is approximately twenty feet long. The food passes through three sections. The first is the duodenum, the second is the jejunum and finally the ileum. The mucous lining of the small intestine contains thousands of microscopic glands called intestinal glands that secrete intestinal digestive juices. The circular folds of the intestine called plica are covered with thousands of tiny finger like membranes called villi.

Through the villi, the nutrients are absorbed from the chyme through the walls of the intestine into the blood stream. It is here in the small intestine, that the liver comes into play.

The liver is a remarkable organ. It weighs about three pounds and sits right underneath the rib cage. It is often referred to as the largest gland in the body. It produces about a pint of bile per day. Bile is the substance necessary for the breakdown of fats. It emulsifies fat globules into smaller particles.

The bile is stored in an organ called the gallbladder. The gallbladder releases bile when fat is brought into the body. It is stimulated by a hormone which causes it to contract and secrete its contents into the duodenum. For example, an olive is eaten, which has a high fat content, the gallbladder releases bile that was made by the liver to break it down into little portions.

The liver cells play a major role in the metabolism of several kinds of food, and their absorption through the small intestine into the blood stream where the nutrients can feed the cells.

When leaving the small intestine, the chyme passes through another sphincter into the large intestine. The large intestine is about five feet long, and forms the last part of the digestive tract. Its contents are now referred to as fecal matter. In the large intestine, materials that escaped digestion in the small intestine are acted upon by bacteria, and additional nutrients may be released from the fiber and absorbed.

The pancreas produces pancreatic juice, one of the most important digestive juices. It is necessary for the breakdown of foods from large material into nutrients that can be absorbed by the body. It contains tripsin, amylase, protease, lipase and other enzymes that help break the food down so it can finally be absorbed into the body.


You are What You Eat?


There is an old saying that says, “You are what you eat.” One day I was sitting beside a wise old woman who was more than eighty years old. She was eating a fresh avocado, and fresh tomato with some whole grain bread. I commented that you are what you eat. She looked at me, shaking her head, and said, “No, you are what you digest. If the food is not digested, whereby the nutrients can be extracted and put into the blood stream, of what value is it?”

Later in Mexico I visited Charlotte Gerson of the Gerson Clinic. There I learned that there was another phase in this process that I had neglected. I was listening to one of her lectures,where she was talking to a number of people who were terminally ill. She was talking to them about the nutrients within the food and how important they are in healing, and she said, “You are what you,” “digest,” I interjected. She looked at me and said, “No, Danny, you are what you assimilate.”

That is why she gives an eight ounce glass of juice, every hour, for thirteen hours a day, to cancer patients. She also feeds them a good vegetarian diet, high in calories, because, she saysmost cancer patients are starving. Their cells are starving, they need nutrition and the juice is in a form where there is little digestion required. Webster’s defines assimilate as: “The conversion of ingested food to substances suitable for incorporation into the body and its tissues.” Charlotte Gerson said, “unless we can get the nutrients to cellular levels they are worthless.” In other words, through the process of proper chewing, proper combinations of food, proper foods that are high in enzymes and the proper work of the stomach and the small intestine, we can not actually assimilate the nutrients. “That is where life is.”

Plants, fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds, through digestion and assimilation, become our flesh and bones. Consider a lettuce leaf. This vegetation makes flesh and bone. It is from the plants that we are built up. How is it, that the food we eat becomes flesh and bone? Plant foods are good enough for the animals to make their flesh, but what about a human body?

Ellen White says, “Those who eat flesh are but eating grains and vegetables second hand, for the animal receives from these things the nutrition that produces growth. The life that was in the grains and vegetables passes into the eater. We receive it by eating the flesh of the animal. How much better to get it direct, by eating the food that God provided for our use.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 313. Properly chosen plant products—grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables contain all the nutrient properties to make a healthy body.


Spiritual Digestion


Let us turn now from the physical to the spiritual. “When Jesus then lifted up His eyes, and saw a great company come unto Him, He saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this He said to prove him: for He himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto Him, There is a lad here, with five barley loaves and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when He had given thanks, He distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down: and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.” John 6:5–11. In the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus worked a miracle and fed all that came to see Him. He made ample provisions for every person present.

“And when they had found Him on the other side of the sea, they said unto Him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said . . . Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” John 6:25, 26. In other words there was great temporal blessings for those that followed Christ. He provided food for them. Five thousand were hungry and Jesus multiplied two little articles of food and fed every one. Jesus said to them: “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed.” John 6:27.

Those in the end who have the mind of Christ will not be people who are satisfied with the temporal—the fish and the loaves, but spiritually filled people. People who are eating of the Word of God and are totally satisfied. Through eating the Word of God a change is taking place in their lives. Thereby His people are sealed.

The Jews said, “Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” John 6:31. They could not see the spiritual applications of the words of Christ. They were still looking at the earthly.

Jesus answered, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world . . . I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” John 6:32–35.

When food is eaten, the life of that food becomes part of you. “The giver of the manna was standing among them. It was Christ Himself who had led the Hebrews to the wilderness and had daily fed them with the bread from heaven. That food was a type of the real bread from heaven. The life giving spirit flowing from the infinite fullness of God is the true manna. Jesus said, ‘The bread of God is that which cometh down out of heaven and giveth life unto the world.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 386.


Set Your Affections On Things Above


How many of us are looking to the temporal and to the earthly. Esau should have had the birthright, but instead he sold it for a pot of lentils. He sold his spiritual inheritance to satisfy his temporal wants. How many of us are looking to the earthly, wandering in the wilderness, perhaps murmuring against the health message from heaven, and some even eating from the flesh pots of Egypt. Instead, should we not be looking for the spiritual food from heaven?

The Jews murmured against Christ, but He answered them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” John 6:53. If you do not eat life, you will not have life.

Christ is now taking them from a temporal thing to a spiritual one. He is saying, “I provided the fish and the loaves, I gave you everything you needed for your temporal needs. I am the bread, eat of Me, and you shall never hunger. You shall never thirst if you drink of Me.”

He is saying to you right now, “Except ye eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink of His blood ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.” John 6:53–56.

What does it mean to eat the flesh of the Son of God? How do you drink His blood? “Only the day before, the great multitude, when faint and weary, had been fed by the bread which He had given. As from that bread they had received physical strength and refreshment, so from Christ they might receive spiritual strength unto eternal life.” The Desire of Ages, 386.

“To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ is to receive Him as a personal Savior, believing that He forgives our sins, and that we are complete in Him. It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. What food is to the body, Christ must be to the soul.” The Desire of Ages, 389.

Apply what we have learned about physical digestion and assimilation to partaking of Christ. Food cannot benefit us unless we eat it, unless it becomes a part of our being. You are what you eat. You are what you digest. You are what you assimilate.

In the same way Christ is of no value to us if we do not know Him as a personal Savior. A theoretical knowledge will do us no good. We must feed upon Him, receive Him into the heart, so that His life becomes our life. His love, His grace must be assimilated. We take food into our mouths, but that is not enough. Similarly, we take the Word of God into the mind, but that is not enough. We may walk around with our theological knowledge and our theories. We may argue about what is truth, but unless our lives are changed, we have not assimilated Christ.

“Are you a follower of Christ? Then all that is written concerning the spiritual life is written for you, and may be attained through uniting yourself to Jesus. Is your zeal languishing? Has your first love grown cold? Accept again the proffered love of Christ. Eat of His flesh, drink of His blood, and you will become one with the Father and with the Son.” Ibid.

Jesus answered the unbelieving Jews. “Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:61–63.

Do you want this spiritual process of a supernatural change to take place in your life? My friend, you must assimilate Christ. Make His life your example in everything. He wants to make you a new creature. Will you allow Him to do this work in your life? I urge you to make that choice today.

We eat the plants and they become our flesh and blood. What about when we eat Christ’s word? “As our physical life is sustained by food, so our spiritual life is sustained by the Word of God. And every soul is to receive life from God’s word for himself. As we must eat for ourselves in order to receive nourishment, so we must receive the word for ourselves. We are not to obtain it merely through the medium of another’s mind. Each must eat for himself. Each must assimilate the Word of God for himself.

“We should carefully study the Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may understand His word. We should take one verse, and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell upon the thought until it becomes our own.” The Desire of Ages, 390.

How many of us are content with getting up in the morning, and sleepily reading a couple of pages from the Spirit of Prophecy? Maybe we are even reading the Bible through, but have we assimilated the Word? If it does not become a part of us, and His life become our life, it has no value!

“The Word of God is the seed. Every seed has in itself a germinating principle. In it the life of the plant is enfolded. So there is life in God’s Word. Christ says, ‘The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.’ John 6:63. ‘He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life.’ John 5:24. In every command and in every promise of the Word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized. He who by faith receives the Word is receiving the very life and character of God.

“Every seed brings forth fruit after its kind. Sow the seed under right conditions, and it will develop its own life in the plant. Receive into the soul by faith the incorruptible seed of the Word, and it will bring forth a character and a life after the similitude of the character and the life of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 38. What about your spiritual life, is it languishing? Are you giving it the nutrients of the Word, and assimilating it until it becomes your very own?

As the nutrients in the food give us life, so the Word of God gives us spiritual life. It gives us health and strength, and helps us to grow. No wonder the prophet Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16.

We serve a personal God, who loves each of us individually. This quotation makes it very clear: “In His promises and warnings, Jesus means me. God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that I by believing in Him, might not perish, but have everlasting life. The experiences related in God’s Word are to be my experiences. Prayer and promise, precept and warning, are mine . . . faith thus receives and assimilates the principles of truth, they become a part of the being and the motive power of the life. The Word of God, received into the soul, molds the thoughts, and enters into the development of character.” The Desire of Ages, 41.

God is speaking to each of us. He has a special message for you and me in His Word. We need to study the Bible, and contemplate it, until we see the meaning that God has for us.


The Leaven


In the book Christ’s Object Lessons, there is a study on leaven. It is the leaven, that when applied to the meal, causes growth. “The leaven hidden in the flour works invisibly to bring the whole mass under its leavening process; so the leaven of truth works secretly, silently, steadily, to transform the soul. The natural inclinations are softened and subdued. New thoughts, new feelings, new motives, are implanted.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 98.

Eating the Word, is taking His words into your mind, and by faith it becomes your very being. “A new standard of character is set up—the life of Christ. The mind is changed; the faculties are roused to action in new lines. Man is not endowed with new faculties, but the faculties he has are sanctified. The conscience is awakened. We are endowed with traits of character that enable us to do service for God.” Ibid.

I pray that from this day forward you will open the Bible with a new hunger to receive God’s words for you. Then communicate what you have learned and experienced with others.

“Christianity proposes a reformation in the heart. What Christ works within, will be worked out under the dictation of a converted intellect. The plan of beginning outside and trying to work inward has always failed, and always will fail. God’s plan with you is to begin at the very seat of all difficulties, the heart, and then from out of the heart will issue the principles of righteousness; the reformation will be outward as well as inward.” Counsels on Diets and Foods, 35.

Eat of the Lord, read His Word, study it carefully. In the Word of God is contained all the power and the promises for you to be changed. “By looking constantly to Jesus with the eye of faith, we shall be strengthened. God will make the most precious revelations to His hungering, thirsting people. They will find that Christ is a personal Saviour. As they feed upon His word, they find that it is spirit and life. The Word destroys the natural, earthly nature, and imparts a new life in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to the soul as a Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature. Love takes the place of hatred, and the heart receives the divine similitude. This is what it means to live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ This is eating the Bread that comes down from heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 391.

When the Holy Spirit speaks to the heart, the truth is not only digested, but assimilated. The assimilation is sanctification. It is a total renewal and change of the heart and mind.

I challenge you today, while we are in the sealing time: make a total surrender to the Lord. Allow Him to perform this supernatural change in your mind and life. Assimilate the Word. Let it change your life completely.

Ellen White had this special message for us today: “Now is the time to prepare. The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts. All who receive the seal must be without spot before God—candidates for heaven. Go forward, my brethren and sisters. I can only write briefly upon these points at this time, merely calling your attention to the necessity of preparation. Search the Scriptures for yourselves, that you may understand the fearful solemnity of the present hour.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 216.


The Mystery of Godliness

For the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, the church was a club for the saints. But the church that Jesus came to establish was not a club for the saints, it was a hospital for sinners. A place where they would be changed and healed. We must never forget that. Sometimes when we come to church we look around us and say, “Look at that brother or that sister.” But that is not what we are supposed to be looking at. When you go to the hospital, do you say, “Oh, no, I should not be here. Look at that man. He is sick! Look at that lady. She is sick! Everybody in this building is sick. I do not think I should be here”? Of course not! You are all there to get well. It is the same with the church. We do not go to look at each other with our faults. We go to look at Jesus, the Great Physician. Jesus wants to heal us from the sting of sin. That, Paul says, is the great mystery. “Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16. Satan hates this verse of Scripture. The devil does not like any part of the Bible, but there are certain parts that he especially hates. 1 Timothy 3:16 is one of those verses.

In the early centuries, before the printing press was invented, the only way you could get a copy of the New Testament was if someone copied it out by hand. There were professional copyists in those days, called scribes.

There were many scribes who copied the entire New Testament. We have over five thousand ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, although not all are complete. That is more than the writings of Homer or of any of the Greek philosophers or historians. In fact, there are more copies of the New Testament than any other ancient document.

In the ancient world, after the time of the apostles, there were two places where a gigantic apostasy developed against the true Christian faith. One was in Rome and the other in Alexandria, Egypt.

In Egypt by the second and third centuries there developed a counterfeit Christianity. Because Egypt is a desert country, we have many manuscripts from the third and the fourth centuries, whereas most of the other manuscripts we have, from other parts of the Middle East, are later copies.

In all the manuscripts there are mistakes. But in the Egyptian manuscripts we find not just random mistakes, but the type of mistakes that indicate to us that there was a conscious attempt by someone to weaken the testimony of the New Testament about the divinity of Jesus Christ.

That is one of the major reasons why many conservative Bible scholars, for many years now, have said that they do not have confidence in the Egyptian manuscripts. They instead have confidence in the great majority of the manuscripts of the New Testament from different areas.

In this text, I Timothy 3:16, it says, “God was manifested in the flesh.” In the Egyptian Manuscripts the word “God” is left out. This is the way it was done. The word for “God” in the Greek language is Theos. If the first two letters (“Th” in Greek is one letter) are removed, then just os is left. “Os” is a pronoun, and this makes the verse completely nonsensical. There is no appropriate antecedent for this pronoun in the sentence. Versions translated from the Egyptian manuscripts read like this, “He was manifested in the flesh.”

The majority of the modern translations of the English Bible are translated from the Egyptian text and are, therefore, not as accurate as Bibles that are translated from the great majority of Greek manuscripts. Read 1 Timothy 3:16, in your Bible. If the word “God” is left out it means that your Bible was translated from an Egyptian text. It would be well to get a Bible that is more accurate, such as the King James or the New King James versions.


God In the Flesh


The New Testament states unequivocally that Jesus is God. He is a divine person. “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21. This is the prediction that Mary, who was a virgin, would produce a child, conceived by the Holy Spirit. His name was to be called Jesu, or in the Hebrew language Joshua, or in English Jesus. That name means a Savior, or a Deliverer.

Who is this Jesus, who is going to save us from our sins? It says in Matthew 1:23, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us.” Matthew 1:23. He is God, God with us, God in the flesh.

The New Testament states this over and over again. Jesus existed before He was born of Mary. “John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of Whom I said, He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ” John 1:15.

John the Baptist was six months older than Jesus, yet, he said that Jesus was before him. How much before? “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:5. “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24. Jesus said to His Father, “I remember the love You had for Me before the world existed.”

How long before the world was? “But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2. God the Father is saying that the one born in Bethlehem had been with Him from the days of eternity.

God has always been. In our human speech, when we go as far back as we can, we call that the beginning. The Bible says that in the beginning God already was. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning (you cannot go back beyond that) was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1–4, 14.

A person would have to be God in order to fully reveal God, because God is infinite. No created person could reveal the Father completely. Jesus could do what no angel, or created person could do. “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, Who is the Head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:8–10.

Many Christians do not believe that verse. Yet, it is still in the Bible. “You are complete in Him Who is the Head.” That is the Chief, the One who is in control. The head is the top of the body. He is the head of all principality (rulers) and powers.


Seen by Angels


“Great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels.” As being part of this great mystery Paul talks about Jesus being seen by angels. What was it that was seen by angels that was so mysterious? When Paul said Jesus was seen by angels, he was not only talking about God’s angels. He was talking about the devil’s angels, also.

The book of Revelation teaches that the devil has angels. There were angels that joined the devil in his rebellion against the government of heaven.(See Revelation 12:7–9.) Part of this great mystery is that when Jesus came down to this world, He was manifest in the flesh. The angels—the people in the heavens —saw something. What was it that they saw?

They saw what the great men of the earth saw as described in Psalm 48: “For behold the kings assembled, They passed by together. They saw it, and so they marveled; They were troubled, they hastened away. Fear took hold of them there, and pain, as of a woman in birth pangs, as when you break the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.” Psalm 48:4–7.

Jesus was crucified during the celebration of the Passover. At that time there were kings, representatives from foreign courts, nobles, princes—men who exerted a wide influence in the world, assembled from all parts of the world in Jerusalem for the Passover. These people witnessed the scenes of Christ’s death.

Many Jews read the inscription on the cross, and it caused such a stir that the chief priests went to Pilate and said, “Please change what you wrote, because it is having such an effect on the people.” It was at that time, when the kings, nobles, and so many important peoples were watching, that Jehovah struck a blow that was felt and has been felt all over the world. The tidings of Christ’s trial and crucifixion were taken by these people to all parts of the world.

This was by divine foreknowledge and decree, because God wanted all the people of the world to focus their attention on the meaning of what happened when Jesus died on the cross. That is to be the all absorbing theme. Everyone in the world is invited to look, to study, and to understand. That is to be the great center of attraction in our world.

The angels of heaven want to understand what happened. Peter, when writing to the Christians later in his life, said the angels desire to understand this great mystery.

What was seen on Calvary? One of the things seen was that God’s throne is a throne of justice. Many today have forgotten all about God’s justice. But the cross proves that our God is a God of justice. When His law is broken, the price has to be paid. It cannot be overlooked. The sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross paid the price for our sin. It also restored honor to God’s government which had been under attack.

Satan said to God, “You cannot be just and forgive the human race of their sins.” God said, “Yes, I can.” The cross is an unanswerable argument. At the end of the world the result of the cross upon the heavenly universe, upon satanic agencies, and upon everyone in this world will be, as the Bible predicts—every mouth will be stopped. In making this infinite sacrifice, Christ exalted and honored the law.

Many things are revealed at the cross besides God’s justice. God could have been just and destroyed the whole world. When man rebelled against God, God could have been just and righteous and destroyed every sinner in the world. God is just, but His character is infinite, it involves more than justice. It is merciful. Even though the devil claimed that God could not be just and merciful, the cross proved this also.

The cross proved that God is right, and the devil wrong. Was the penalty paid, terrible? Jesus exhausted the wrath of God against a broken law. He exhausted the penalty so that you and I would not have to pay it.

The cross shows that God is just and shows at the same time that He is merciful. It shows that His hatred against sin is as strong as death, but it shows that His love for sinners is even stronger than death. When it is all done, and God presents to the entire inhabitants of the world a panoramic view of the life and death of Christ, every mouth will be stopped, every rebellious voice silenced. God will have done everything that He could do to save each one. No one will be able to say to the Lord, “Lord, I had a bad inheritance, I had a poor marriage partner, I had bad health, or I had trouble on my job.” Every mouth will be silenced. God will say, “I did everything possible to save you. There were abundant opportunities for you to be saved. All you had to do was accept, all you had to do was commit your life to Me and I would have helped you. The plan of salvation would have worked out in your life.” What are you going to say when the Lord presents to you millions of other people that were just as weak as you were?

He will be able to show you people who had just as bad a marriage as you had, just as bad health as you had, just as much trouble on their job as you had, and all the kinds of trouble you had. Yet they committed their lives to Christ and He saved them, why didn’t you? What will you say? The Bible says every mouth will be stopped. It is the cross that will stop the great controversy.


Thoughts Revealed


The cross of Jesus has a dark side and a light side. The light side is how much God loves you and me. God loves you enough that He would rather die than leave you lost.

The dark side is this: God’s Son was permitted to endure the enmity of an apostate, called Satan, against the commander of all heaven. It was demonstrated what Satan was like.

This was predicted in the Bible. “Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, behold, this child is destined for the rise and fall of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes a sword will pierce through your own soul also) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:34, 35. What does it mean that the thoughts of many hearts are going to be revealed?

When Jesus came, the character of God was revealed to the whole universe. His justice, His mercy, His love for the lost, His kindness, His tact, His courtesy, His cheerfulness, His helpfulness, and His tender compassion. The character of God was perfectly reflected to us through the life of Christ.

The thoughts of God are revealed through the life of Jesus. God loves you so much that He would rather His Son die on the cross than you be lost. This is impossible to explain. We cannot understand the love of God, but it is real. The life of Christ revealed the thoughts of God’s heart.

The heart of the devil was also revealed. The heart of the devil had never been revealed before like it was when Jesus was on earth. It was the devil who inspired the men who crucified Christ. It was the devil who stimulated the people to taunt Christ, and the Roman soldiers to mock Him. He persuaded Pilate to condemn Jesus to crucifixion, even after Pilate said three times in the most emphatic language, “I find in Him no fault at all.”

The thoughts of the devil were revealed. But that is not all. In the life and death of Christ your heart is revealed. When you read the story you will take one side or the other. Either you accept Christ, or you deny Him and become His enemy. You cannot be neutral. When you read the story of Christ, especially about His crucifixion, you have to go one way or the other.

When you see that the devil has no mercy, but is only cruel, do you want to follow him any more? “Oh,” somebody says, “I have never been following the devil.” Oh? I wish I could say that.

Who is following the devil and who is not following the devil? “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8. Jesus wants to destroy the works of the devil. He was manifested to deliver us from sin.

The people who are given eternal life will be people in whom the Lord Jesus has destroyed the works of the devil, delivered them from sin. Do you want to be part of that group? Do you want Jesus to deliver you?

Sin is cruel. Sin is not something that anyone would want to have anything to do with. We see when we study the cross, it would be better for us to lose our lives than to be involved in sin.

“Great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifested in the flesh . . . seen by angels.” Is this mystery going to change your life? Are you studying about it, thinking about it, praying about it? Are you saying, “Lord, I want this salvation that was worked out for me in the life of Jesus on the cross. I want this salvation to change my life. I do not want to follow the devil any more. I do not want to live a life of sin any more.”

Has this been your experience? It is a great mystery. It is beyond our understanding. But we serve a God of mysteries, a God of miracles, a God that wants to work a miracle in your life and mine.


Editorial — Week Of Prayer

Do we need to assemble together and have prayer? Let the Messenger to the Remnant answer:

“A clear revelation has been given me in regard to the need of our people assembling together, confessing their sins, repenting before God, and continuing in prayer until the Lord manifests himself to them with power. If ever a people needed to offer a prayer such as Daniel offered, it is our people. There is among them such self-confidence, such presumption! The Lord has been sending light to them, but the testimonies of his Spirit have not been heeded. There has been a departure from his expressed commands, a working contrary to the messages that for many years he has been giving relative to the different features of our work. There has been a selfish gathering of facilities to a few favored places, and a neglect of other parts of the field . . . This need not be, and it will not be when those who claim to believe the truth practice the truth.” Spalding Magan, 346.

The following excerpted sections from the Review and Herald in October 1898 show the value and importance that Ellen White placed upon weeks of prayer, not only for students and church members but even for herself:

“For some weeks beforehand, Elders Haskell, Hughes, W. C. White, and I had united with the officers of the Union Conference in making plans and preparations for the week of prayer. Letters containing information regarding the progress of the work, manuscripts that might be read in families and churches, and appeals for help to carry forward the work, were sent to leading workers in all the colonies. As we studied what would be for the best interests of the New South Wales churches, and for those students in the school who had had an experience in working for Christ, it was thought best to encourage persons of some experience to leave the school, and spend the week in visiting in the churches, in helping to conduct the meetings, and uniting with the workers in these churches in earnest work for those needing help.”

“When this matter was first considered, by some it seemed a serious thing to lose one week out of the school term. It had cost much to reach the school, and apparently this was the last opportunity for attendance, and each lesson was very precious. But after consideration, the service was accepted cheerfully; the cross was lifted, and as it was lifted, it lifted the bearer. None of the workers settled down to have an easy time, but they moved rapidly from place to place. They met a hearty reception. They found lonely souls hungry for spiritual encouragement; as they watered others, their own souls were watered.”

“When these workers returned to the school, they were full of joy and courage. Their faith had developed with labor, and they were ready to cheer and help their fellows. Just then there was throughout the colony a visitation of the influenza, in a severe form. It appeared first in the cities, and then worked its way through the country. As might be expected, the school was one of the last places visited. There were many sick all around us; and the students who are in the class of practical nursing, freely offered to go, when needed, and care for the sick. So they were sent out, two and two, to give treatments, and to nurse those who were very feeble.”

“These experiences prepared their hearts to appreciate and receive instruction regarding the value of missionary effort as a part of their education. As this subject was presented in the school and in the church, during the week of prayer, students and teachers sought to act upon the suggestions, and opportunities for labor were found in all directions. Sabbath and Sunday afternoons, from sixteen to twenty students are engaged in holding prayer-meetings, Bible readings, young people’s meetings, and preaching services, in from six to ten different places.”

“In all our planning and preparations for the week of prayer, we sought to make the meeting a blessing to the largest number possible. We desired that this season should be a season of refreshing, not only to our churches, but also to the communities in which we lived. Therefore, the plan and the purpose of the meetings were advertised as widely as possible.”

“The week of prayer was a busy time for me, and for all our workers at the school and at ‘Sunnyside.’ For several weeks I had been engaged in writing out matters that had been presented to me regarding our denominational institutions, and the spirit that must be cherished by the managers and workers, and also many matters regarding our educational work, which I hope soon to publish; but now I laid all other work aside, and gave my entire strength to the various meetings held in and around Cooranbong.”