Sanctification is a Bible subject, and as such it demands our serious attention. The importance of this subject appears from the fact that it is God’s will that we should be sanctified. Says inspiration: “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3. The object of God in giving a revelation to man, was to sanctify a people unto Himself; and as many as have spoken and written by inspiration, have dwelt on the necessity of sanctification.

Anciently God commanded His people to be holy. Leviticus 11:44. Jesus prayed the Father to sanctify His followers, and those who should believe on Him through their word, and died that a people might be sanctified unto God; (John 17:17, 19; Hebrews 12:2) and under this dispensation the Lord says, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” 1 Peter 1:15; Hebrews 12:14. In the face of these plain truths, it cannot be expected that those who love the Bible will be disposed to let this subject pass unnoticed.

In the Holy Scriptures, sanctification sometimes consists in setting apart or consecrating to a sacred or religious use. In this sense the seventh day, the firstborn, Mount Sinai, the priests, the sanctuary and its utensils, the temple at Jerusalem, and the prophets, were sanctified. Genesis 2:3; Exodus 13:2; 19:2, 3; 28–30; 2 Chronicles 29:7; Jeremiah 1:5. In this sense even Christ was sanctified, when He was set apart to the work of man’s redemption. John 10:36; 17:19.

Sanctification consists, moreover, in cleansing from sin, in making pure and holy that which is impure and unholy. In this sense Christians are sanctified, and in the progress of their anctification, there is a setting apart to holy purposes —a self-consecration to the glory of God.

The depravity of our race is the doctrinal fact upon which rests the necessity of our being sanctified. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. All are naturally inclined to love the ways of sin and to do evil. The power of sin has so affected the human family, that they may, in their natural state, be called the servants of sin. But sanctification purifies and alienates us from the dominion of sin; destroys the corrupt propensities of our fallen natures; rectifies our affections and inclinations, and brings our entire being into subjection to the will of God, so that we may properly be called the servants of righteousness.

This is indeed a great work, and the Scriptures plainly teach that God sanctifies His people. Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12; John 17:17; Hebrews 2:11. God graciously provides and urges the means of sanctification, and helps His people to use them. It is impossible for man to devise means whereby he can sanctify himself, or to attain to holiness by his own strength. Man must accept the means which God has devised, and the gracious assistance which He affords.

The plan of God is such that we must co-operate with Him in this work. This is seen in the following texts: “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you. Leviticus 20:7, 8.

“Cleanse your hands ye sinners, and purify your hearts ye double-minded.” “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.” “Every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself even as He is pure.” “Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly.” James 4:8; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 John 3:3; 1 From this view of the subject, it is evident that we cannot be sanctified, or become holy, without making special efforts to overcome sin. If men could be sanctified irrespective of the course they pursue, we might conclude that sanctification depends wholly on the will of God; and as God is no respecter of persons, we might also conclude that if He sanctifies one, He will sanctify all, and that all mankind will be saved.

It is also evident that those greatly err who think that sanctification rests solely in the power of men, and that they can of themselves turn from sin to holiness. To say the least, they do not realize the depth of their degradation and misery, and have not felt the force of this humbling truth, that they are carnal, sold under sin.

Sanctification is effected through the truth. Says Christ, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth . . .. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” “Now ye are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you.” John 17:17, 19; 15:3. And Peter says, “Seeing ye have purified your hearts in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” 1 Peter 1:22.

Genuine sanctification follows the channel of Bible truth. It is not grounded on flights of feeling, but on the immutable truths of God’s word. It is the truth received through the mind, and practically carried out in the life. When the truth is thus received and carried out, there is a radical work, a change indeed; and those who receive and obey the truth are not destitute of good feeling. They have an inward satisfaction for well doing, and enjoy the approbation and blessing of the Lord to encourage and strengthen them in their great and glorious work.

Some would try to evade the truth with the idea that they have the Spirit, and consequently the sanctification of the Spirit. But what is the leading office of the Spirit that sanctifies? It is to guide into the truth. Said Christ, “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.” John 17:13. The Spirit and the truth agree. The Spirit is the great agent that God employs in sanctifying men. Hence Bible sanctification is called the sanctification of the Spirit. 1 Peter 1:2. The Spirit helps our infirmities. It helps us to understand, receive and practice the truth. Therefore that spirit which is not in harmony with the truths of God’s word is not the sanctifying Spirit of truth, and the sanctification which is based on the leadings and teachings of such a spirit is a false one.

Sanctification is a progressive work. Says Paul, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1. Those whom Paul is here addressing were Christians, yet they needed to cleanse themselves and perfect holiness or sanctification. The same sentiment is expressed in the following texts: “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and faith toward God.” Hebrews 6:6. “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12–14.

2 Peter 1:5–9: “And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things, is blind and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”

In this passage the apostle addresses those who have obtained like precious faith, (verse 1) and urges a progressive advancement in holiness toward completeness in the Christian character. In conversion a blow is struck at the corrupt propensities of fallen human nature, and a great change takes place. But the work of sanctification is not then complete. The young convert stands on the platform of faith. He has seen sin in its true light, has repented of his sins, and has been cleansed from the same by faith in the merits and efficacy of the blood of Christ, and now rejoices in his Saviour. But he must advance in holiness by adding to his faith virtue and to virtue knowledge and the rest of the Christian graces.

Thus it appears that sanctification is not the work of a moment. It is to be regretted that some, believing sanctification to be an instantaneous work, will fall back on some past blessing or excitement, and will even affirm that they have been months and years in a state of perfect love without committing a single sin, and scoff at the idea that they can be in a better condition, in a holier state. The spirit of such, is different from that of many pious and devoted men and women in the past, who often wept over the remains of inbred sin, and in whose lives we trace progress in sanctification.

The position that sanctification is an instantaneous work, has a tendency to discourage the conscientious and desponding, and to induce many to believe that they are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and is a great hindrance in the way of true sanctification.

Says the apostle, “He that lacketh these things is blind and cannot see afar off.” He that has had an opportunity to improve and has not advanced in Christian virtues, is in a backslidden state, and being deprived of the enlightening influences of the Holy Spirit, is in a great measure blind in regard to his own condition and in regard to the truth, and cannot see afar off, or cannot see far in the way of holiness.

Sanctification may be well represented by the growth of plants. It commences with the seed, the grain, and grows up into the lofty tree. It is receiving with meekness the ingrafted word, and growing thereby, or growing in grace and in the knowledge of the truth, or growing up into Christ our living head, or being changed from glory to glory into the image of Christ.

As the child of God contemplates the truth, he gradually beholds in it the glory of the Lord, and falls in love with His lovely character. Under the influences of divine truth, he sees some beautiful trait in the Christian character and conforms to it, and thus far grows up into Christ and becomes assimilated into His likeness. Light shines on another excellence, and then on another, and he overcomes and overcomes, growing stronger and stronger, becoming more and more holy in imitating the perfect Pattern, and thus he is changed from glory to glory into the image of Christ.

This view is further strengthened by those texts in which God’s people are exhorted and encouraged to be perfect, to overcome, to mortify the deeds of the flesh, etc., also by those passages where prayers and desires are offered for the sanctification and perfection of the saints.

The fact that Christians in the Scriptures are designated as holy, sanctified, perfect, and saints, does not militate against our position. Christians are sanctified or perfect as far as they understand and practice the truth; and even those who are called holy, sanctified, perfect and saints, are exhorted to cleanse themselves, to perfect holiness, to be perfect, to go on to perfection, etc. Compare 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 7:1; 13:11; Philippians 3:12–16; Hebrews 3:1;6:1.

It is manifest that light increases on the truth as the work of sanctification progresses, and that sanctification involves the necessity of advancing in the knowledge of the truth. For this reason we should cry after knowledge, and lift up our voice for understanding; seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures. Proverbs 2:3, 4. And “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.

Says the wise man. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. And what is it that thus causes the path of the just to shine,unless it is the word of God? David says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. Again Peter says, “We have a more sure word of prophecy (or the word of the prophets which is very firm, French translation.); whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the day-star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19.

The word of God was given to be a light unto the just, to show them their duty and whereabouts in this dark world. The idea that this word is a revelation of God to man which should be studied, is proof that God designed it should be understood. Strong and numerous have been the efforts of the powers of darkness to extinguish this light of heavenly birth; but it shines today. And is it not reasonable to expect that light will increase on the word of God, and that the prophecies will be better understood as those prophecies relating to the last days are fast fulfilling, and as the end toward which they point approaches? Said an angel while speaking to the prophet Daniel concerning the last days, or the time of the end, “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4. And in the same connection we read, “Many shall be purified, and made white and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Verse 10.

It would not be necessary to enter into a lengthy argument to convince the candid that we are living in the last days. By comparing the sure word of prophecy with history and the signs of the times, we see clearly that we are occupying the last link in those great chains of prophecy which were to reach to the end; that the leading signs which were to be the precursors of Christ’s second coming, and which were to bring us to the last generation, have been fulfilled, and that the present signs of the times show conclusively that the great drama of this world’s history is about to wind up, and that the Lord is near even at the doors.

It is clear that we have reached the time when a flood of light is shining from God’s word on the path of the just, and that this light relates to that great event which is immediately impending—the coming of the Lord, and to a preparation to meet it. This we denominate present truth, because it applies to the present time, and is adapted to the wants of the present generation; and it is through this truth that the last church will be sanctified.

But some do not see the necessity of receiving the truths applicable to the present time in order to be sanctified. They think they can be sanctified by living as other good Christians have lived. But how have good Christians in the past been sanctified?

Have they not been sanctified by living up to the light that they had in their day? And if we are favored with more light than they were, if God has other duties for us to perform, can we be sanctified by merely living as they lived? Does God cause light to shine on His word in vain? Can men understandingly treat any portion of God’s word with indifference or impunity without incurring guilt? Can men avoid performing known duties and yet be free from sin? Said Christ, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin.” John 15:22.

When John the Baptist was preaching the first advent and preparing a people to meet the Lord, he said to the Jews, “Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Matthew 3:9. From this it appears that the Jews fell back on good father Abraham to excuse themselves for not receiving the testimony of John. They overlooked the fact that Abraham rejoiced to see the day of Christ, and that he would have gladly received John’s testimony if he had lived in his day. They did not realize that they could not be Abraham’s children indeed, without possessing the Spirit with which he was imbued.

Now is not this the condition of those who refer to good Christians in the past to justify themselves for not receiving those truths that apply to the present time? But if the Jews who lived at the close of the former dispensation could not be sanctified without receiving John’s preaching, can the last church be sanctified without receiving those truths relating to Christ’s second coming?

It will require a special preparation to meet the Lord when He comes. It will be necessary for the last church to look for Christ; for it is to them that look for Him that He will appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Hebrews 9:28. “And it shall be said in that day, ‘Lo this is our God’ we have waited for Him and He will save us.” Isaiah 25:9.


Children’s Story — Miraculous Deliverance of Doctor Adam Clarke

“A missionary who had been sent to a strange land to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God, had passed through many hardships. He was often in danger of losing his life through the persecutions excited against him. One day, taking his life in his hands, he went to a dangerous place where he had often preached Christ crucified. About fifty believers came to hear the missionary preach.

“He began his sermon, and after he had preached about thirty minutes, a blood thirsty mob surrounded the house, all armed with different instruments of death, and shouting the most murderous purposes. Some that were inside shut the door, and the missionary and the group of believers knelt in fervent prayer.

“The mob attacked the house, and began to throw stones against the walls, windows, and roof. In a little while almost every tile on the roof was destroyed, and the roof nearly uncovered. Before they left the premises, scarcely one square inch of glass was left in the five windows in the house. While this was going on, one of the mob came to the window opposite where the preacher stood. He had a pistol. (The missionary was encouraging the small congregation to be steady, to resign themselves to God, and trust in Him.) The man with the pistol pointed it at him, and pulled the trigger. But it only flashed!

“As the house was a wooden building, the mob took crowbars and shovels to destroy the foundation and knock the house down. The preacher then told his little group: ‘These wicked people seek not you, but me. If I stay in the house, they will soon tear it down, and we shall all be buried in the ruins. I will, in the name of God, go out to them, and you will be safe.’

“He then went towards the door. The distressed people surrounded him and begged him not to venture out, as he would be instantly massacred. However, He went calmly forward, opened the door, and instantly a whole volley of stones and dirt was thrown right in his face. But he was not hurt.

“The people were crowded in front of the door, and filled the road for a long way, so that there was no room to get through. As soon as the preacher made his appearance, the savages became instantly as silent and as still as night. He walked forward, and they divided, to the right and to the left, leaving a path about four feet wide for the missionary and a young man who followed him. They passed on through the whole crowd. No one lifted a hand, or spoke a word, until he and his companion had walked through the whole mob.

The narrator who was present on the occasion goes on to say: “This was one of the most dramatic spectacles I ever witnessed; an infuriated mob without any visible cause (for the preacher spoke not one word), became in a moment as calm as lambs! They seemed struck with amazement bordering on stupefaction. They stared and stood speechless; and after they had fallen back to the right and left to leave him a free passage, they were as motionless as statues!

“They assembled with the full purpose to destroy the man who came to show them the way of salvation; but he passing through the midst of them, went his way. Was not the God of missionaries in this work?”

In the book, the Life of Adam Clarke, the “missionary” referred to above, is identified as Clarke himself.*

“During the whole time of his (Clarke’s) passing through the mob, there was a death-like silence, nor was there any motion, but that which was necessary to give him a free passage! Either their eyes were holden that they could not know him; or they were so over-awed by the power of God that they could not lift a hand, or utter a word against him. The believers, finding all was quiet, came out a little after, and passed through the mob, not one of them being either hurt or molested! In a few minutes the mob seemed to awake as from a dream, and finding that their prey had been plucked out of their teeth, they knew not how, attacked the house afresh, broke every square of glass in the windows, and scarcely left a whole tile upon the roof. Clarke afterwards learned that the design of the mob was to put him in the sluice of an overshot water-wheel, by which he would have been crushed to pieces.”

Yes, the God of the missionaries is still in control!

Doctor Adam Clarke (1762-1832) lived in Londonderry, Ireland. He became a Methodist preacher and worked in Ireland, Scotland, Channel Islands and Shetland Islands.

This true story was taken from the book, Miraculous Powers, by M. E. Cornell. Modernized by Ken and Lois McGaughey.


The Mind Will Be Hypnotized

No greater effort will be exerted by Satan in the last times than in the area of hypnotism. It is the most effective method of drawing men and women under his control and power. It is well known that some people are far more suggestible than others, and therefore much more vulnerable to hypnotic suggestion. It may well be that there are some so resistant to suggestion that no human being could hypnotize them. However, we must recognize that the master hypnotist, Satan, is able to hypnotize every single human being. There is only one way that we can have certainty that we will not be deceived by Satan, and that is by inviting Christ to take full control of our lives. Thus the Scripture says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5.

The mind of Christ could never be hypnotized by Satan, and therefore could not be deceived. If we invite Christ’s mind to be our mind, then that alone will preserve us from the hypnotic presentations of Satan. The servant of the Lord warned us:

“The experience of the past will be repeated. In the future Satan’s superstitions will assume new forms. Errors will be presented in a pleasing and flattering manner. False theories, clothed with garments of light, will be presented to God’s people. Thus Satan will try to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Most seducing influences will be exerted; minds will be hypnotized.” Maranatha, 59.

This passage is not talking about the world at large; it is talking about members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is fair to deduct that every individual on the face of this planet will be hypnotized by Satan with one group excluded—those whose names are written in the book of life.

In Satan’s last great effort, all are going to be deceived by his hypnotic influence and the influence of his representatives. Thus, there will be an apparent unison that will bring the world together to worship the Papacy, referred to as the beast power in Revelation 13.

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8.

Surely only mass hypnotism could lead the inhabitants of this world into one bond of worship. This brings together the Atheists and the Agnostics, the Animists, the Muslims, the Shintoists, the Taoists, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Zoroastrians, the Protestants, the Catholics, and every non-committed person in the world. This will be the greatest mass-hypnotism of all ages. Sadly, myriads of those who once walked in the light of the Advent faith, but who have not surrendered their lives to Christ, will also be hypnotized at this point.

Almost ninety years ago Sister White sensed the great inroads of hypnotism in the Adventist Church: “This same hypnotic influence is seen working among our people today. Ever since my return to America a heavy burden has rested upon me. Everywhere I see the power of the enemy. Were it not for the armies of the Lord’s host, led by Michael, the destruction that Satan would be pleased to witness would come to the people of God. They would be discomfited and brought to shame. But the Lord will work for His people. He will not suffer them to be defeated.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, 248.

As the decades have passed, the intensification of Satan’s efforts to hypnotize have unquestionably led to more and more Adventists coming under his hypnotic spell. As men and women move more and more to the world, and less and less place their confidence in Christ, there are deep inroads of Spiritism in the church through the power of hypnosis.

As early as 1870, Sister White referred to the efforts of Satan to hypnotize God’s people. She remarked, “Some seem to have no power to keep their eyes open in meeting. Satan seems to mesmerize them when important truths are presented.” Review and Herald, March 29, 1870.

Thus the inroad of Spiritism into our church is not new.

Again during the first decade of this century, Sister White refers to the hypnotic influence exerted by Dr. Kellogg: “The men who sustain Dr. Kellogg are in a half-mesmerized condition, and do not understand the condition of the man. They honestly believe that he is to be trusted.” Arthur White, The Later Elmshaven Years 1905–1915, vol. 6, 72.

You may have wondered why it is that you can present the clearest, most unambiguous statement of the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy to men and women, and somehow they do not seem to be able to understand its meaning or its significance, or they are able to rationalize it away. Surely already so many have been hypnotized by Satan that they cannot perceive the certainty of God’s truth.

“Satan is waiting to steal a march upon everyone who allows himself to be deceived by his hypnotism. He begins to exert his power over them just as soon as they begin to investigate his theories.” Medical Ministry, 101, 102.

This statement indicates the danger of even exploring areas of error and apostasy. Satan is there to try to draw us into his trap by the use of hypnotism. Colin remembers three of his former friends or colleagues, all of whom decided that they would help people who had moved away from the truth and who had accepted the evangelical concepts of the New Theology. All three of them have joined the ranks of these evangelicals. Rather than helping the one who was deceived, they were themselves equally deceived. It is a wholly unsafe practice to dabble in the artifices of Satan. One has an obligation personally to investigate; but once error is detected, it is unsafe to continue such a study.

Predicting what would take place right at the end of time the servant of the Lord said, “This entering in of Satan through the sciences is well devised. Through the channel of phrenology, psychology, and mesmerism, he comes more directly to the people of this generation, and works with that power which is to characterize his efforts near the close of probation. The minds of thousands have thus been poisoned, and led into infidelity.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 351.

How important it is that we do not allow our minds to come under the control of others, for in so doing we are coming under the power of Satan.

“Satan often finds a powerful agency for evil in the power which one human mind is capable of exerting on another human mind. This influence is so seductive that the person who is being molded by it is often unconscious of its power. God has bidden me speak warning against this evil, that His servants may not come under the deceptive power of Satan. The enemy is a master worker, and if God’s people are not constantly led by the Spirit of God, they will be snared and taken.

“For thousands of years Satan has been experimenting upon the properties of the human mind, and he has learned to know it well. By his subtle workings in these last days, he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts; and he is doing this work in so deceptive a manner that those who accept his guidance know not that they are being led by him at his will. The great deceiver hopes so to confuse the minds of men and women, that none but his voice will be heard.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 352, 353.

On a number of occasions Ellen White wrote testimonies to physicians who were using hypnosis and other mind control techniques. She indicated the danger of these, and yet today there are some of our Seventh-day Adventist doctors who are routinely exercising an hypnotic influence over their patients all in the name of medicine.

In Medical Ministry she wrote as follows:

“Now, my brother, I consider you to be in positive peril. I present this because I know that you are in great danger of being seduced by Satan. We are living in a time when every phase of fanaticism will press its way in among believers and unbelievers. Satan will come in, speaking lies in hypocrisy. Everything that he can invent to deceive men and women will be brought forward.

“Just in proportion as men lose their sense of the need of vital religion, so they become filled with common, earthly ideas, which they exalt as wonderful knowledge. Physicians who lose their hold on Christ become filled with ideas of their own, which they look upon as some wonderful science, to be brought into the medical profession as something new and strange.” Medical Ministry, 114.

Some Seventh-day Adventists have thought nothing about going to a hypnotist to seek help in psychological problems, and even for various forms of child and marriage counseling. But such is the work of Satan. We are to have nothing to do with these practices.

Colin recalls talking on the telephone in 1974 to John Roth, whose life was almost destroyed by his attendance at a mind-control program. Mr. Roth was at the time, an orthodox Jew and in middle-management in an oil company. Wanting to improve his status in life, he accepted the recommendation of a friend to attend a Silva mind control program. Having paid several hundred dollars for the program, he eagerly attended. The first night a very well-presented man stood before them and explained that we only use approximately six percent of all the neurons we have during our lifetime and that this program was to help to expand dramatically the use of the neurons in our brain.

It all sounded very good and Mr. Roth couldn’t wait until the second day. On the second day, all those who were in attendance were asked to imagine that they had a counselor and to decide what kind of questions they would like to ask such a counselor. By the third night the instructor was not talking about an imagined counselor, he was talking about “your counselor.”

Being an Orthodox Jew, Mr. Roth was rather disturbed by this and called his friend who invited him over to his place and told him that this was the best part of the program; that he got such wonderful advice from his counselor. He then asked Mr. Roth, “What question would you like me to ask my counselor?” Mr. Roth almost off-handedly said, “Ask your counselor what I will be doing in twelve months time.” He watched his friend go into a trance-like state, no doubt built upon auto-hypnosis. After a while he was deeply concerned by the obvious agitation of his friend, and wondered what was taking place. Shortly afterward, his friend came out of the trance-like state and said, “I don’t know what happened. My counselor has been so kind and so helpful to me, but when I asked your question all he did was curse and swear.” This did not encourage Mr. Roth, but having paid so much money for the course he attended the fourth and fifth nights. Before the program was over, they had been led into levitation and astral projection (out-of-body experiences).

Almost immediately Mr. Roth became ill; in fact, so ill that he had to be admitted to the hospital. But there the doctors could find no physical problem. And yet, clearly, his vital forces were diminishing and they had to concede that he was dying. This, you can understand, brought great worry to himself and to his wife. One night they were visited by Christian friends. The friends were shocked to see the state of Mr. Roth and as they talked with the wife, she told them what had taken place and that they had associated this sickness with the program that he had attended. The Christian friends said, “There is one answer to this, but you may not like it, and that is to pray in the name of Jesus.”

Eventually she agreed and they went back to the bedside of Mr. Roth and asked if he would agree, which he did. So that night they prayed in the name of Christ that he would be released from the satanic power that was destroying his life. Virtually immediately, he began to recover. The physicians could give no explanation for his recovery any more than they could of his original illness. The Roths accepted Christianity and Mr. Roth became a major speaker around the United States telling people of his salvation from the satanic influence over his life.

No doubt, some way, somehow, the spirit that was the counselor of his friend, who had cursed and sworn when asked what Mr. Roth would be doing in twelve months time, realized what would take place.

In his book, The Seduction of Christianity, David Hunt quotes one of the world’s leading occult authorities and historians, Manly P. Hall, who declared, “There is abundant evidence that in many forms of modern thought—especially the so-called ‘prosperity psychology’ ‘will power building’ metaphysics and systems of ‘high-pressure’ salesmanship —black magic has merely passed through a metamorphosis, and although its name may be changed, its nature remains the same.” David Hunt, The Seduction of Christianity, 14.

More and more Seventh-day Adventists seek worldly help for their spiritual problems, which often are designated emotional problems. In reality, these stress and emotional issues are the symptoms of a lack of spiritual depth in the life. What men and women need much more than human counselors and psychologists is the power of the indwelling Christ in the life.

Colin well knows the simple means that Satan uses to hypnotize people. As an undergraduate student of the University of Sydney, he studied a little into the areas of suggestion and hypnosis. One night, in a group of Adventist youth, he was asked if he could hypnotize. Foolishly, he responded, “Of course,” never thinking that anything would take place. As he chose one of the young ladies and used the very simplest of techniques that had been explained in class, he was terrified by the fact that she soon entered a deep hypnotic state. Also, the young people watching from the darkness outside the window were terrified when they saw what took place. They came rushing into the room, urging Colin to bring the young lady out of the hypnotic state. Colin was uncertain of what to do, but in the end, given the command to wake up, she did wake up. He had to ask the forgiveness of the Lord and to make a commitment never to allow such a thing to happen again.

Most people unfamiliar with hypnosis believe it is an extraordinarily difficult art. But in reality it is simple and commonly used today in all sorts of aspects of life, including advertising, interpersonal relations and counseling.

If ever there was time when God’s people needed the mind of Christ, it is now. Hypnotism is surely the strongest avenue to lead men and women to be deceived by Spiritism. Indeed, the two are indivisibly linked one with the other. God’s people are called to keep clear of any form of hypnotism, mind control or human methods of handling the problems and issues of life.

The Sanctuary

The finishing of the mystery of God involves the opening of the second apartment of the sanctuary in heaven, wherein is the ark of God’s testament. This is the place where our Lord finishes His priesthood, and hence this apartment of the heavenly temple must be the place of that tribunal at which the righteous are acquitted, their sins blotted out and themselves accounted worthy of the kingdom of God. The temple of God in heaven, and especially its second apartment, is therefore worthy of our most attentive study. The Scriptures contain many explicit testimonies to the existence of the heavenly temple.

“The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men.” Psalm 11:4.

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God; and He did hear my voice out of His temple, and my cry did enter into His ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because He was wroth.” 2 Samuel 22:7, 8. See also Psalm 18:6, 7.

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:1–4.

“Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is; and let the Lord God be witness against you; the Lord from His holy temple. For, behold, the Lord cometh forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.” Micah 1:2, 3.

“And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” Revelation 11:19.

“And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire”. Revelation 14:17, 18.

“And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.” Revelation 15:5.

“And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.” Revelation 16:17.

Many other texts might be quoted in which this building is mentioned either as God’s temple, tabernacle, sanctuary, or holy habitation. To some of these texts we shall refer in the further study of this subject.

The heavenly temple consists of two holy places. This is proved by many conclusive arguments. The first of these is drawn from the statements respecting the tabernacle erected by Moses. When God called Moses into the mount to receive the tables of the law (Exodus 24:12), he first bade him make a sanctuary that He might dwell among them, and that the priests might minister in His presence. Exodus 25, 26, 27, 28. He also bade him to make an ark to contain the tables of the law, to be placed in the second apartment of the sanctuary. This building consisted of two holy places (Exodus 26), and both itself and its sacred vessels were made like the pattern showed in the mount.

“And let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Exodus 25:8, 9.

“Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle; for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” Hebrews 8:5. See also Exodus 25:40; 26:30; Acts 7:44.

The tabernacle thus constructed was a pattern of the heavenly temple. Thus Paul bears testimony:

“It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true [the images of the true holy places, Macknight’s translation]: but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Hebrews 9:23, 24.

This establishes one plain, incontrovertible argument, that the heavenly temple has two holy places. The temple erected by Solomon furnishes the second argument, and it is of the same character as that drawn from the tabernacle. The temple was a larger and grander building than the tabernacle, and differed from it in being an immovable structure, but it was constructed on the same plan, in that it was an edifice consisting of two holy places, with sacred vessels of the same kind, and occupied with the very same ministration, as that which had previously served in the tabernacle. 1 Kings 6, 7; 8:2; 2 Chronicles 3, 4, 5. This building with its two holy places was a pattern of the heavenly temple, as the words of David and of Solomon declare:

“Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlors thereof, and of the place of the mercy-seat, and the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the Lord, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things.” “All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.”1 Chronicles 28:11, 12, 19.

This is a second decisive argument that the heavenly sanctuary has two holy places. The third is drawn from the fact that the plural term “holy places” is used in the designation of the greater and more perfect tabernacle.

Thus when Paul says, as expressed in our common version (Hebrews 8:2), “A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man,” it is literally in the original, “a minister of the holy places.” And thus also when we read respecting the heavenly temple, “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing,” it is literally in the Greek, “the way of the holy places.” Hebrews 9:8. So also where we read of the greater and more perfect tabernacle, in verse 12, that Christ “entered in once into the holy place,” it is also literally “holy places.” Again, in verse 24, we read in our common version the same thing, literally rendered, “the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true,” which the last word is plural in the original, showing that there are holy places in the heavenly temple. And again in Hebrews 10:19, the term “holiest” is not, in the original “holy of holies,” as in chapter 9:3, but simply “holy places.” These passages form a most convincing argument that there must be two holy places in the heavenly temple. A fourth argument is found in the fact that each of the two holy places of the heavenly temple is definitely set forth in the description of that building not made with hands.

The first apartment is identified by the things which it contains. When John was called in vision to ascend to the place of God’s throne, the heavenly temple, a door was opened in heaven, and the throne of God was revealed to his view. This is manifestly the door of the heavenly temple, for the throne of God, which is disclosed to view, is within that temple. Psalm 11:4; Revelation 16:17. That it was the first apartment of that temple, into which he looked, is evident from what he saw therein. “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices; and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Revelation 4:5. Here is a plain reference to the seven lamps which burned in the first apartment of the earthly sanctuary. Leviticus 24:2–4.

And again, when the seven angels receive the seven trumpets, the scene of vision is still the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. Thus we read: “And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” Revelation 8:2, 3.

The golden altar stood in the first apartment of the sanctuary, i.e., in the same room with the candlestick on which were the seven lamps. Exodus 40:24–26. The place of God’s throne, at the time when the book with the seven seals was delivered to Christ, and also when the seven trumpets were given to the seven angels, is the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. But when the seven vials are delivered into the hands of the seven angels who have the duty of pouring them out, the second apartment of the heavenly temple is opened, and they come out from thence to execute the wrath of God upon men. This opening of the holiest takes place under the seventh trumpet.

“And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened; and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth forever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” Revelation 15:5–8.

This opening of the heavenly temple, which is followed by the pouring out of the unmingled wrath of God, is an event connected with the closing up of human probation. And it is certain that we have in this case the opening of the holiest of all, here called the tabernacle of the testimony. The expression, “tabernacle of the testimony,” is a familiar term taken from the Old Testament, and is precisely equivalent to “tabernacle of the ten commandments.” In proof of this, take the use of this term in the Bible. We begin with the first use of the Hebrew word gehdooth, and trace it through the books of Moses. Thus is occurs for the first time in Exodus 16:34: “Aaron laid it up before the testimony.” That is to say, he laid up the pot of manna before the ark of the ten commandments. (See Hebrews 9:4.) The next is Exodus 25:16: “Thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.” This was the ten commandments. (See Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 10:4, 5.) Again (Exodus 25:21), “In the ark thou shalt put the testimony,” i.e., the ten commandments. (See 1 Kings 8:9.) And now the ark itself takes its name from what was put in it. “The two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony.” Exodus 25:22. “And thou shalt hand up the veil under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony; and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. And thou shalt put the mercyseat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.” Exodus 26:33, 34. Here we have the ark of the ten commandments assigned to the most holy place of the tabernacle and the mercyseat placed over the ark. Presently we shall find that this testimony gives name to the tabernacle itself. As we read onward, we find in Exodus 27:21; 30:6, 26, 36; 31:7, 18; 32:15; 34:29, the terms “testimony,” “tables of testimony,” ” ark of the testimony” each time by testimony meaning definitely the ten commandments. The term, “tabernacle of testimony,” occurs for the first time in Exodus 38:21.

Thus we see that the testimony of the Almighty gives name to the tables on which it was written, to the ark in which the tables were placed, and to the tabernacle itself, whose second apartment received the ark. Next, we thrice read of the ark of the testimony. Exodus 39:35; 40:3, 5. And now we are brought to the acts of Moses in setting up the sanctuary. It is said (Exodus 40:20), “He took and put the testimony into the ark,” i.e., he put the law of God therein. Then he placed the ark itself within the tabernacle, and covered the ark of the testimony by hanging up the second veil. Exodus 40:21. In Leviticus 16:13 the mercy-seat is said to be upon the testimony. In Leviticus 24:3, the veil which hides the ark is called the veil of the testimony. Next, we read of the tabernacle of the testimony, in Numbers 1:50, 53. Next, of the ark of the testimony,Numbers 4:5; 7:89, Joshua 4:16. Next, of the tent of the testimony. Numbers 9:15, and of the testimony itself. Numbers 17:10. Next, of the tabernacle of witness, or testimony (for the two words are synonymous). Numbers 10:11; 17:7, 8; 18:2. In all these texts it is certain that the ten commandments are called the testimony, and that they give name to the tables, to the ark, to the veil, and to the tabernacle, especially to the second apartment.

This term has, therefore, a well defined meaning in the Scriptures. By the testimony, the tables of the testimony, the ark of the testimony, the veil of the testimony, and the tabernacle of the testimony, are meant respectively the ten commandments. (Exodus 31:18), the tables of the ten commandments (Exodus 32:15), the ark of the ten commandments (Exodus 40:20), the veil of the ten commandments (Exodus 40:21; Leviticus 24:3), and the tabernacle of the ten commandments (Numbers 9:15; 10:11). The term, “tabernacle of witness,” or “testimony,” does therefore definitely signify the tabernacle of the ten commandments. Now it is remarkable that this term occurs twice in the New Testament. In Acts 7:44, the tabernacle of witness, i.e., of the ten commandments, is mentioned, referring to the earthly sanctuary; and in Revelation 15:5, the heavenly sanctuary is designated by this same term, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven; and we have proved conclusively that this is equivalent to the temple of the tabernacle of the ten commandments in heaven.

This text is therefore a plain reference to the most holy place of the heavenly temple, and to the law of God deposited therein, which gives name to the building. This apartment of the heavenly temple is opened just prior to the pouring out of the plagues. But we have a second statement of the opening of the most holy place of the temple in Heaven. Thus we read of the events under the seventh trumpet: “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and earthquake, and great hail.” Revelation 11:19.

Here is disclosed to our view the second apartment of the heavenly temple, and here is shown the grand central object, which gives name to the tabernacle itself. It is the ark of God, sometimes called the ark of the covenant, or testament (Numbers 10:33; Hebrews 9:4), and sometimes the ark of the testimony (Exodus 25:22). It is because the heavenly temple contains the ark of God’s testimony that it is itself called the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven. And the ark itself is not empty; it contains what Revelation 11:19 calls God’s testament, and what Revelation 15:5 calls “the testimony in heaven.” And these two terms must signify the ten commandments, and cannot signify anything else.

The existence of the temple in heaven, and the fact that it has two holy places, like the sanctuary of the first covenant, have been clearly proved. The judgment work in the second apartment remains to engage our attention.

When Paul says, in Romans 2:6, that God “will render to every man according to his deeds,” he adds in the next verse this important statement: “To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life.” Now it is manifest that this work of rendering to every man according to his deeds can only be wrought after the examination of those deeds in the judgment. It must be in consequence of the decision of the judgment that the things promised are rendered to men. It is also evident that the gift of immortality is one of the things thus rendered. As the righteous receive this gift in the very act of being resurrected from the grave, it is certain that the decision of the judgment passes upon them before the voice of the archangel and the trump of God awaken them to immortal life.

This part of the judgment work takes place where our Lord finishes His priesthood; for His last work as priest is to secure the acquittal of His people, and to obtain the decision that their sins shall be blotted out. We have learned from the Scriptures that the heavenly temple has two holy places. A further examination will evince the fact that there are two parts to the ministration of Christ, and that His last work is at the tribunal of His Father, in the tabernacle of the testimony, where it is determined who shall receive immortality.

The Levitical priests served “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.” Hebrews 8:5. The most important part of the service pertaining to the earthly sanctuary was that which was performed within the second apartment on the tenth day of the seventh month. Leviticus 16. This is generally considered as typifying the events of the whole gospel dispensation. But we think the evidence conclusive that this chapter is a typical representation of that part of our Lord’s work which is embraced in the hour of God’s judgment, or in the days of the voice of the seventh angel when he begins to sound.

The sixteenth chapter of Leviticus is devoted solely to the work of finishing the yearly round of service in the earthly sanctuary. This was wrought on the great day of atonement, and was of the most impressive character. First, the high priest was solemnly admonished that he was such only in a typical sense and not such in reality. For on this day, which was by far the most impressive of all, and when he entered the most holy place of the sanctuary, he must put on the plainest and humblest dress, laying aside that splendid dress which the law prescribed for him to wear on other occasions. Leviticus 16:4 compared with Exodus 28. He was also to make a public acknowledgement of his own sinfulness by proceeding to offer a sin-offering for himself. Leviticus 16:3, 6, 11–14. No part of this can be typical of our Lord’s work, for it was expressly designed to impress upon the mind the infirmity and sinfulness of the high priest.

But this being accomplished, the high priest entered upon that work which directly shadowed forth the work of atonement. He took from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin-offering. Leviticus 16:5. On these two goats he was to cast lots; one lot was for the goat to be sacrificed, and one for the scapegoat. Then he slew the goat upon which the lot fell for a sacrifice, and with his blood he entered into the second apartment of the sanctuary. This blood he sprinkled before the mercy-seat and upon it. He did this for two purposes: (1) To make atonement for the people; (2) to cleanse the sanctuary by removing from it the sins of the people of God. Then the high priest returned into the first apartment and cleansed the altar from the sins of the people. The sanctuary being cleansed, the high priest comes out of the door of the building, and, having caused the live goat to be brought, he lays both his hands upon his head and confesses over him all the transgressions of the children of Israel and all their sins. These he puts upon the head of the goat, and sends him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. And the goat thus sent bears away all their iniquities into a land not inhabited. Leviticus 16:7–10, 15–22.


Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

“And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:2, 3. In other words, this first beatitude says: “Happy are they who recognize their spiritual poverty.” The Desire of Ages, 299. The beatitudes are an advancing line of Christian experience, and the very first step is to recognize our spiritual poverty, then we will seek for help. (See Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 13.) “We no less than they need to learn the foundation principles of the kingdom of God.” The Desire of Ages, 299.

The Lord has warned us, “The lips may express a poverty of soul that the heart does not acknowledge. While speaking to God of poverty of spirit, the heart may be swelling with a conceit of its own superior humility and exalted righteousness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 159. With our lips we may speak of humility, but in our hearts we may be proud of our humility. This is a fatal state of mind because it negates the only way of cleansing that is available for us.

“One fountain only has been opened for sin. A fountain for the poor in spirit.” The Desire of Ages, 300. We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Everyone that will be saved needs this fountain to cleanse them from sin and this fountain is open only to the poor in spirit.

As the multitude gathered on the mountain by the town of Gennesaret, Jesus presented this new idea to the people. This is something they had never heard from the scribes and the priests, and it startled them. However, this new idea was taught in the Old Testament.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10. Notice the word “beginning.” You cannot gain any true wisdom without the fear of the Lord. Without the fear of the Lord we are self-deceived if we think we are smart.

“Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18. “When pride cometh, then cometh shame, but with the lowly is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2. Where is wisdom to be found? It will be seen at last that it is only with the lowly—the poor in spirit.

We need to settle in our minds that we are not smart enough to manage life. We are sinners and sin has robbed us of our good sense. The only source of wisdom is found in the Bible, which contains the principles that are the guidelines of life. Without these, not one of us has any wisdom.

Sometimes we are foolish enough to compare our judgment, discernment, maturity level or abilities with those around us. But even before sin Adam and Eve were infinitely lower than God was. How foolish of us to look at the sinful people around us and begin making comparisons among ourselves— how we are wiser, smarter, more mature and have more ability than someone else.

Paul says those who do this are not wise. “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12. Instead of looking at others, we need to look up and compare ourselves with our human Example—Jesus. Then we will have nothing to boast of.

Sometimes the devil tricks us into deceiving ourselves! He tricks us into believing that we have something good in ourselves. But every talent that we possess is given to us from God. We could learn a lesson from Dwight Moody. Seeing a drunk in Chicago, he pitifully turned him over and said, “Except for the grace of God, there lies Dwight Moody.” He was not saying in the language of the Pharisees, “How thankful I am that I am not as this man,” as he passed by. He recognized what he would be except for God’s grace.

Every blessing we have, every bright idea even in science, or in business has come from the mind of God. (See Fundamentals of Christian Education, 167.) We have nothing to boast of. Every good gift comes from God. We need to praise His name for what He has lent to us.

There is only one thing we completely own all by ourselves, that is our sinful hearts. (See Steps to Christ, 46.) Everything else is a gift of God. We need to plead with the Lord to help us see our true condition. We are in this world for seventy, eighty, ninety or one hundred years, on probation that by God’s grace we may yield ourselves to God to be healed of sin.

He died that we might live. If we become puffed up thinking we are something good when we are but sinners, we are defeating the purpose of His grace. “The Lord can do nothing toward the recovery of man until, convinced of his own weakness, and stripped of all self-sufficiency, he yields himself to the control of God.” The Desire of Ages, 300.

In the days of Christ, the religious leaders of the people felt that they were rich in spiritual treasure, reasonably good, and better than others. He who thinks that he is reasonably good has a problem.

We may intellectually accept the fact that we are spiritually poor, but actually we consider ourselves reasonably good. After all, we do not indulge in drinking or looking at pornographic magazines. We know that we are much better than that! According to the moral standard among men we judge ourselves good or at least better than average. But he who thinks that he is reasonably good and is content with his condition does not seek to become a partaker of the grace and righteousness of Christ.

Our “reasonable goodness” is worth absolutely nothing. We are poor. Sin made us bankrupt for eternity except the Lord stood in the gap and saved us. Our reasonable goodness needs to be laid at the foot of the cross because “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6.

“The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither nullified with ointment.” Isaiah 1:5, 6. Until we see this picture of ourselves, we cannot find forgiveness with God. But next we must realize that we are incapable to see our own condition. How then are we to find repentance and acceptance with God?

Repentance is a gift of God. (See Acts 5:31.) We need to come to Him and ask Him for this gift. Say, Lord, please show me myself as You see me. “Although it is painful for us to know ourselves as we really are, yet we should pray that God will reveal us to ourselves, even as He sees us. But we should not cease to pray when we have simply asked for a revelation of ourselves; we should pray that Jesus may be revealed to us as a sin-pardoning Saviour.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 312, 313. If we get the true picture of our condition, it will drive us to Him so that we may find forgiveness and cleansing.

The last night that Jesus was on earth, He explained to His disciples how they were to find this cleansing. He said, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” John 15:3. We are sick. We have open sores that are rotting. They have not been closed up or cleansed with ointment. The festering sores of sin need to be cleansed.

That cleansing takes place through the Word of the living God. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But who so looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:21–25.

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envyings, and all evil speaking, As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” 1 Peter 2:1–3.

Study the Word, memorize the Word. Let the words of Scripture be the sum and substance of your thoughts. That Word is what cleanses us. Young and old should not just be speaking their own words, talking out of the abundance of their own ideas. We should be speaking to each other in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Such should be our conversation. How does our conversation go on Saturday night when we are “letting our hair down”? It is nice to visit, but we need to keep the Lord in our visiting.

We have a high standard. We need to be encouraging each other to reach this standard. We have no time to be frivolous. We need to be raised to a higher plane. The thoughts of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy should fill our minds and our conversation so we have something profitable to talk to each other about.

There is temporal business to talk about and that is acceptable. We need to get counsel from one another. There is nothing wrong with these things as long as the point of everything we do is to uplift Jesus. When we realize how powerful the Word of God is, then we will want it in our daily conversation. We will not want to live without the Word of God. “The Centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only and my servant shall be healed.” Matthew 8:8. And Jesus said, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Verse 9. The Centurion understood that he was not worthy of Jesus’ mercy, but he never doubted Jesus’ power and Jesus healed his servant.

“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:38. Each one of us can plead with the Lord that it will be unto us according to His word. Not that we are worthy, but He has promised.

“When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick.” Matthew 8:16. He is the same today. He can conquer sin in your life with His powerful word. Let us each one go to our closet and lay hold of the promises of God and say, Lord, I will not let Thee go until Thou bless me. He will cast sin out of us if we claim His word.

“And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power.” Luke 4:32. His power has lost none of its strength with the passing of time. “As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: He is a buckler to those that trust in Him.” Psalm 18:30.

“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth . . . For He spake, and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6, 9. The question is not if God’s word is powerful enough. His word is quicker and more powerful than any two-edged sword, faster than any bullet. It is more powerful than the most ingrained human fault. The question is will we submit to God’s Word.

I once led out in a cooking school and worked with a wonderful lady who was an alcoholic. She wanted to be healthy. She and her husband were wealthy; and had all this world’s goods, but she could not leave off alcohol. As I watched the desperate struggle, it dawned on me that every one of us has a besetting sin that is just as difficult to give up as alcohol. Our besetting sin may be the misuse of our tongue.

Alcohol can be left on the shelf in the store, but we carry our tongues with us. With our tongues we often overeat. James said that out of the same mouth we bless God and curse our fellow men. Like the alcoholic, without God’s grace each one of us will perish in our sins, thinking we are righteous and holy.

Grace is infinitely more valuable than all the gold and silver and all the houses and lands in the world. While men are seeking with such desire for a good name, for wealth, fame, power and worldly greatness, heavenly messengers are trying to give them the “unsearchable riches of Christ.” Ephesians 3:8. When Jesus was on earth He refused earthly riches, lest men would be led to seek Him for temporal gain and miss the greater gift He came to give.


Harlots and Tax Collectors


Jesus looked at the religious leaders in His day and said, The harlot and the tax collectors and the publicans will go into the kingdom of God before you! Why was it that the prostitutes and the tax collectors would go in before those who thought they were so smart? Because these despised sinners were not satisfied with their lives, and some of them would turn to God and find grace to overcome prostitution, alcoholism and cheating.

They would overcome because they were willing to seek help from Someone who had the power that they did not have. Their sinful lives made them realize that they were destitute. That is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

By coming to dwell with us, Jesus was to reveal God both to man and to angels. He was the Word of God, God’s thoughts made audible. All the principles of God’s word are perfectly painted in Jesus’ life. This Word has been handed down to us that it may become our very being. This Word can become flesh again. It can be the sum and substance of every thought, word and action.

The Word of God, when it became flesh, lived in Jesus. What did the Word look like? He came to a family poor in this world’s goods, to a manger filled with hay. He came to live the life of a common laborer. To work as a common man worked, pound a hammer and use a saw. He came to soothe the ills of sorrowing humanity because He loved us. He loved us so much that He was willing to risk eternal life that we might be saved. (See The Desire of Ages, 49.) He was unrecognized and unhonored. He often went hungry because He shared His lunch with those who were less fortunate than He was.

Why did He not come dressed in royal robes to the palaces of this world? “He shunned all outward display. Riches, worldly honor, and human greatness can never save a soul from death; Jesus purposed that no attraction of an earthly nature should call men to His side. Only the beauty of heavenly truth must draw those who would follow Him.” The Desire of Ages, 43.

He does not want us to get so enamored with earthly attractions that He cannot give us something far more beautiful, more valuable and more costly than anything this world could offer. The most beautiful thing in the world to Christ is men and women, who have been made holy by His grace. To the holy ones of earth, all other blessings are theirs. “Honor and majesty are before Him: strength and beauty are in His sanctuary . . . Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth.” Psalm 96:6, 9.

He came to offer beauty to the ugly and wealth to the poor. Only in the wealth of His righteousness can we enter into His courts. Only in the beauty of holiness can we come into His presence and worship Him. Worship is something that only God can produce in the repentant heart. One can be at the right place and not be worshipping. Worship comes from holiness inside, the beauty of holiness. It is the rarest thing in the world but it is offered to each one of us. We can experience it, if we will recognize that we are nothing. Until we come to that place we can never experience His wonderful beauty and peace. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauty of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of Thy youth.” Psalm 110:3.

Are you willing? Is the beauty of holiness flowing from your life? It was with Jesus. The sweetness of divine love flowed from His very presence as the fragrance from a flower. Is that how it is in your heart? Jesus makes it happen—only for the poor in spirit.


Food For Life — Impurities

“Scrupulous cleanliness is essential to both physical and mental health.” Impurities are constantly thrown off from the body through the skin. Its millions of pores are quickly clogged unless kept clean by frequent bathing, and the impurities which should pass off through the skin become an additional burden to the other eliminating organs.

“Most persons would receive benefit from a cool or tepid bath every day, morning or evening. Instead of increasing the liability to take cold, a bath, properly taken, fortifies against cold, because it improves the circulation; the blood is brought to the surface, and a more easy and regular flow is obtained. The mind and the body are alike invigorated. The muscles become more flexible, the intellect is made brighter. The bath is a soother of the nerves. Bathing helps the bowels, the stomach, and the liver, giving health and energy to each, and it promotes digestion.

“It is important also that the clothing be kept clean. The garments worn absorb the waste matter that passes off through the pores; if they are not frequently changed and washed, the impurities will be reabsorbed.

“Every form of uncleanliness tends to disease. Death-producing germs abound in dark, neglected corners, in decaying refuse, in dampness and mold and must. No waste vegetables or heaps of fallen leaves should be allowed to remain near the house to decay and poison the air. Nothing unclean or decaying should be tolerated within the home. In towns or cities regarded perfectly healthful, many an epidemic of fever has been traced to decaying matter about the dwelling of some careless householder.

Perfect cleanliness, plenty of sunlight, careful attention to sanitation in every detail of the home life, are essential to freedom from disease and to the cheerfulness and vigor of the inmates of the home.

“In the teaching that God gave to Israel, the preservation of health received careful attention. The people who had come from slavery with the uncleanly and unhealthful habits which it engenders, were subjected to the strictest training in the wilderness before entering Canaan. Health principles were taught and sanitary laws enforced.

“Not only in their religious service, but in all the affairs of daily life was observed the distinction between clean and unclean. All who came in contact with contagious or contaminating diseases were isolated from the encampment, and they were not permitted to return without thorough cleansing of both the person and the clothing . . . No impurity was to be tolerated in the presence of God.” Ministry of Healing, 274–279.

Give this some serious thought as you enter the house of God each week to worship your Great Creator, and make sure that you meet His requirements physically as well as spiritually!

Nut, Lentil and Rice Loaf


1–2 T. water

2 cups steamed brown rice

1 cup mashed lentils

2 T. chopped onions

1 T. whole-wheat flour, browned

3 T. cashew milk

1/2 t. sage

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Salt to taste


Sauté onion and sage in a small pan with distilled water. Mix browned flour and milk, stirring until smooth. Add this to the onion. Add the remaining ingredients. Pack into a loaf pan and bake at 350° for 20–30 minutes.


Christ or Caiaphas

“Why should ye be stricken anymore? Ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.” Isaiah 1:5–10.

Recently my eyes caught the following headline: “Time to close down the smaller churches.” Yes, the time has come. That is what the North American Division says in an issue of Plus Line Access, a special eight-page newsletter for Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders and pastors in the United States and Canada. The problems are spelled out and the solution is simple enough: Close the local churches. What are the problems? Any one of four is sufficient for the Conference President to close a church and pocket the key:

  1. Weekly attendance is low. The congregation does not have lots of members, and usually most of the members are aged. Such churches should be loosed so the pastor can dedicate his energies to more populous areas.
  2. Newly started churches do not get above thirty or forty members within a couple of years.
  3. The church is not sending in enough tithe to the conference office.
  4. A church becomes controlled by an independent ministry that is unsupportive of Seventh-day Adventist churches and its leadership. Such churches are like a cancer among other churches. The above four points include almost every small denominational congregation that is below thirty or forty members.

Why are the leaders so anxious to close down the small churches? The reasons are obvious, yet profound in their significance.

  1. It is invariably the smaller churches that will be the most conservative. They are the ones which stand as fortresses in defense of our historic beliefs and standards.
  2. It is the delegates from the small churches, which lead out in opposing apostasy at Conference constituency meetings.
  3. It is the delegates from smaller churches, which are the most dangerous to the agenda of getting worldly leaders elected and re-elected in the Conference.
  4. It is the smaller churches that want New Theology pastors transferred out.
  5. By eliminating the small churches, the way is cleared for the Conference leadership to more rapidly take its churches into modernism.
  6. By disbanding local churches, the members will have to join a larger church, where, because they are in the minority, they will have less influence over Board and Committee actions.

This Division-wide plan was disclosed in the January 1996 issue of the publication sent to church leaders and pastors throughout the North American Division. You were not supposed to know about this plan yet.

Our concern is the plan to close the churches of the faithful. Once these little flocks are scattered,leadership will have more control over that which remains. But there is an interesting question. What will be done with those padlocked buildings? In some incidences they will remain closed until a Conference evangelist comes along and brings in New Theology trained members.

But the temptation will be great to sell the buildings, which local church members in earlier years paid for. For over a decade Conference funds have been drying up, as the faithful have been crowded out by New Theology pastors. Throwing off these small churches will help subsidize Celebrations, Youth Congresses, Festivals and other activities intended to hold the shallow, who think more of entertainment than they do of serious study in the inspired books or in missionary work.

I must confess that as I read this amazing disclosure of what the North American Division plans to do, I felt a real heartbreak pain within me. This is what is called “institutional planning” and such a decision to close down the smaller churches demands an answer. Is such a plan ordained by God and baptized by the Holy Spirit? Or has Satan so infiltrated his leaders into God’s ranks that it is now possible to seriously wound the very small remnant that Isaiah saw that were left within God’s remnant church?

This article was taken largely from a sermon presented in 1963 by Elder Arthur L. Bietz, who was faced with a situation within his church regarding Conference leadership involved in institutional problems.

Please notice the parallel between then and now, and you decide where you should take a stand regarding such directives that are handed down from today’s structure.

I want you to be able to use your imagination to catch the meaning, the drama, the heart throb, the intensity of this situation for these are days of crisis, days of tremendous meaning.

In some ways, Caiaphas is one of the most tragic figures of the New Testament. Yet in another way he is a man of tremendous splendor. A man who was loved and probably in some respects greatly adored. The historical facts are that the people stood in awe before him, for he was indeed the symbolization of the great heritage of Israel. He embodied everything that Israel had fought for, all that Israel had prayed for, and theirs was indeed a glorious heritage.

Caiaphas had been chosen by the children of Israel as a “custodian,” of the great religious institution, but now something had happened.

Suddenly, the world, that then was, found itself polarized in two centers; on the one side stood Caiaphas, the high priest, on the other side stood Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The loyalties had congealed and the crisis was on.

This was a tragedy with a degree of splendor in it, for Caiaphas was a very notable person, with an impressive personality. Indeed, he was the most powerful man in Judaism at the time of Christ. He had not only the ecclesiastical power, but he also held the civil authority.

People have always responded to those who stand in authority. There is something splendid, something awe inspiring, about a man in this position. The children of Israel looked to Caiaphas for guidance.

Caiaphas was feared by some, greatly respected by others. Do not ever think for a moment that this man was despised, for he was not. He was the symbol embodying all religious leadership at that time. He had under him some twenty thousand priests over whom he was the absolute head and they moved under his command. They were the spiritual leaders of the nation who are now suddenly faced with a desperate situation.

Caiaphas, on the one side, leads a great religious institution with a marvelous religious heritage, while opposing him stands Jesus Christ. One or the other must go. Who shall be crucified? Can you feel the drama in your own life and heart? Where would you have stood before these two opposing powers? Would you have cast your vote with the recognized religious institutional authority? Or would you have accepted Jesus Christ?

Caiaphas who headed the religious parades in all the Jewish festivals and on the annual Day of Atonement caused all Israel to tremble before his presence. This was the high priest, their representative before God. It was to him that God would speak and bring His message of forgiveness to the people. He stood between God and the people as their representative.

When Jesus spoke to Caiaphas, He did not speak with the respect or the esteem that the people thought he should give a religious leader. This is why one of the very devout Jews struck the Lord in the face. That was a tense moment. This was a day of choice, a day of salvation. It was a day when human hearts and minds were hanging in eternal destiny. Where would you have cast your vote?

“And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Him with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?” John 18:22. Our Lord, the one whom we worship, is struck with a forceful blow. I can see our Lord weaving as the blow struck Him. Then came the words, “You do not speak to our religious leader like that.”

Caiaphas had only one purpose and that was to save the religious institution that he represented. He said, “We must save the church.” Yet, on the other hand there stood the Son of God, who also came to save the church. Two forces are represented; both want to help save the church.

But Jesus had often spoken concerning the heartlessness of the religious leaders of His time. He did not mince words. Jesus had said, “They make up heavy yokes and packs and pile them on men’s shoulders.” About Himself Jesus had said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

On another occasion, Jesus said of Caiaphas’ institutional leadership, “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces.” Can’t you just see the high priest stand up in disbelief and shout, “This is blasphemy, I am the high priest and I am the head of the religious organization that opens the kingdom of God to mankind. But this man Jesus comes and says that we shut the door in the face of the people!”

Christ had also said that Caiaphas and the religious leaders were more interested in power and prestige and status than in the shepherding of the flock. Although there were twenty thousand religious priests paid out of the temple taxes, Jesus said, “Look at the people. There is nobody interested in people. All are serving the religious institution, but they have no shepherds.” That really stepped on some toes. Preachers do not like to hear that they are not doing their job correctly.

There is an old Negro spiritual that goes something like this: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there? Oh sometimes it causes me to tremble, yes, tremble. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Were you? Are you there today contemplating that great sacrifice and following in the steps of Christ? We have before us the destiny of our souls.

Jesus revealed the motives of the Jewish leaders when He said, “Everything they do is done for show. Places of honor at the feasts and the chief seats at the synagogue are taken by your leaders and they do it for show.”

Jesus even dared to expose the corruption in the financial structure of their organization. He said, “You eat up the properties of the widows while you say long prayers for appearance sake. But you are going to receive a severe sentence.”

Jesus also had something to say about their mission program. He said, “You travel over sea and land to win one convert and when you have won him, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are yourselves.”

Such a situation could not go on any longer. This had to come to a showdown and everyone knew it. All the people in Jerusalem and the surrounding territories recognized the moment of destiny had come. And so we will have to stand before the Almighty God and before religious institutions and give an answer.

Christ said, “You are not at all ministers of spiritual insight or spiritual values. You are blind. You are blind guides of the blind. You are falling into the ditch and the people are falling into the ditch with you. You swear by the sanctuary. You swear by the gold. You swear by the altar. You strain at a gnat, yet you gulp down a camel. The organization of the temple is more important to you than God. You are tombs covered with whitewash, full of dead men’s bones.”

Was it any wonder that these two had to meet when Christ had said, “All of your religious organization, all of your twenty thousand priests ministering in the temple, all of your financial structure and your spiritual leadership is absolutely blind and your organization, house and institution has become desolate, for God is not in it.”

For the Jews, the temple symbolized their entire religious heritage. It was very dear to the people, yet Jesus said, “It is forsaken of God.” The temple house is needed but there needs to be a loving family within it. The institution, the organization is necessary, but only as a means in helping to shepherd the people. If you have lost contact with the needs of the hearts of the people, your house is desolate.

This is a terrible indictment. Finally the high priest speaks to those who have gathered to make a decision about this man who claims to be God. He says, “You know nothing whatsoever. You do not use your judgment. The trouble with you is that you do not have good judgment. It is more to your interest that one Man should die for the people than that the whole nation should be destroyed.” And thus, the decision is made. But where would you have stood? The decision has to be made. It was religious institutionalism versus a personal human being, Christ our Saviour. It was an organizational religionism versus the gospel. It was organization versus a Person. It was vested interest against Christ, for the earthen vessel had become more the object of devotion than the treasure within the vessel. And herein lies the universal tendency of human beings toward idolatry.

Man wishes to make himself secure within religious institutions and therefore he hides himself from the presence of God. Laodicea thinks that she has everything, but Jesus Christ stands outside the door and knocks and knocks. But the question is as alive today for you and for me as it was two thousand years ago, because Caiaphas is very much alive in every one of us.

The issue is before us today and you will have to make your own decision, if you have not already made it. Antiorganizationalism is of the rudest of follies, because we need order and organization. But when the organization becomes the means as well as the end of our devotion, then we have crucified once again our Saviour Jesus Christ. It can happen today just as verily as it happened then.

Tell me, what could have happened if Caiaphas, the high priest, had said, “Look, we are confronted with God. Let us accept Him?” What a help and inspiration for the repenting souls that could have been. If he could have only said, “Let us use this institution, this money, everything in order to glorify God, but let it be God who is the center.” Unquestionably this is what the Seventh-day Adventist Church needs now. All institutionalism becomes corrupt with itself. It begins to build and build until we have forgotten the purpose of its building and we seek security in everything except God Himself.

When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, let us remember that there will be a unity of our hearts, the binding of mind to mind, of heart to heart and spirit to spirit. Institutionalism can provide us with an outward uniformity, but only the baptism of the Holy Spirit can give us an interior union of our spirits.

Oh, that God would help us to understand that religious institutionalism can become the greatest tool of the devil. Dr. Henry P. Van Dolson who wrote in The United Church Herald, states, “The Holy Spirit has always been troublesome to officialdom and to institutionalism because He is unruly, unpredictable and radical. The call to the ministry is to be alert, to discover every moment of the living, confounding, uncontrollable Spirit of God in what someone has called His Sovereign Unpredictability. We want security but we do not want to be shaken out of our false securities. When our false securities are shattered and we stand helpless before a superior person who vitalizes our lives, suddenly we recognize ourselves to be under the guidance of the Spirit of God. When you are under the guidance of the Spirit, you cannot control it. And, of course, institutionalism is built on control. So there is an everlasting problem here.”

This is what Caiaphas had to face. How can you attack an institution and still retain it? How can you shatter that which you love? I happen to be one who has been reared in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and all my tenderest emotions and feelings are tied into Adventism. This can also become my greatest curse and damnation, because I begin to trust in it instead of the living God. If I begin to think that the structure is what makes me a Christian instead of a personal friendship with my God and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, my faith is resting on an institution instead of the Lord.

I think I can say concerning institutions that I love none better than Adventism. I was nurtured in it. I was cradled in it. I loved it. But this can also be my damnation unless I know that all of this is but for one purpose and that is to bow my head and my mind before the living Jesus and say, that unless Christ lives within the institution, it has become only desolation and hostility—nothing but empty institution.

Oh, that God would help us today to once again understand the issues clearly and make right choices. The people two thousand years ago had to make a tremendous choice and their choice was a devastating decision effecting their eternal destiny. If you have never gone through such an experience, you do not know what I am talking about. But those of you who know what I am speaking about realize the gravity of such a situation. It has shaken you completely until you have experienced a kind of death. The very thing in which you have trusted has been shattered before you and you will never be the same again, because the basis of your life now is Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ.

“God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.’ Matthew 18:20. Where Christ is even among the humble few, this is Christ’s church, for the presence of the high and holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church.” The Upward Look, 315.


All Ye Shall Be Offended

In Matthew 26:31, Jesus made a most startling prediction to His disciples. He said, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night. For it is written, I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” In the King James Version it says, “All of you will be offended because of Me this night.” The word translated “offended” comes from the Greek word skandalizo, from which we get the word scandalize. It literally means that you will be caused to trip up, to stumble, or to fall down. In this warning, Jesus was not talking about physically falling down, He was talking about their spiritual experience. That night the disciples would stumble. They would become offended and angry. Eventually they would all forsake Christ.

Before we look at why Jesus gave this warning, we need to understand the significance of who these men were. Back in Old Testament times, God had a chosen people. When He was rejected by the descendents of Adam, and all the world was destroyed by a universal flood, except for a family of eight people, those eight were His chosen people. After the almost universal apostasy at the tower of Babel, God chose Abraham and his descendents as His people. Alas, Israel too apostatized, and the two remaining tribes were called Judah. When the Messiah arrived over a thousand years later, almost all of the Jewish nation rejected Him!

The time has come, the night when Jesus is to be betrayed. His followers have been winnowed time and time again, and there are only eleven men present who have remained faithful. (There were also a few men and women who still followed Him, but they were not present.) If you had been watching Jesus’ popularity decline, until there were just eleven followers remaining, what would you have said? Some were saying that Jesus could not be the Messiah, because if He was He would be more successful. “Look,” they said, “If He was really the Messiah, crowds would be following Him, and His disciples would be the rich and learned, not a bunch of scrappy fishermen.”

Of these eleven men who followed Jesus, Matthew was a tax collector (the group despised by the Jews as the lowest class of society), another was Simon the Zealot who belonged to a sect that wanted to overthrow the Romans. Then there was Peter who was always sticking his foot in his mouth, and James and John, who were so hot headed that Jesus Himself called them the sons of thunder.

Not only were there just eleven men left, but these eleven could not even seem to get along. That very night they had been quarreling and bickering over who would be the greatest in the earthly kingdom that they envisioned. In the middle of this Jesus makes the startling announcement, “All of you will be offended because of Me this night.”

This was incomprehensible. They are the eleven faithful ones who had gone through everything with Christ. Everyone else forsaken Him, but they still held on. And yet Jesus says to them, “You will all be offended. You will be caused to stumble because of Me this night.”

We need to understand how this could be. What reasons are revealed in Scripture for this remnant group becoming offended and losing their hold on Jesus? Here are three:

  1. Events were going to develop that night which they did not expect. It is bad to meet a crisis, when you expect it, but it is even worse when it comes as a total surprise.

I remember in 1976, my wife and I and her family went to Hawaii. There we took a tour of the memorial to what happened on December 7, 1941, in Pearl Harbor. The memorial was built on top of the sunken battleship U.S.S. Arizona. On a white marble monument are engraved the names of all the people who were on that battleship and died that morning. It was terrible what happened there, but it was worse than it needed to be because it was unexpected.

  1. The crisis the disciples would face that night was severe and they were not prepared for it.

They had no idea that in less than twenty-four hours Jesus would be dead. That night Jesus would be betrayed, mocked, scourged and spat upon. They did not know that the next morning He would be lead to the cross and crucified. They should have known, they had been given several opportunities, but they did not.

  1. The severe, unexpected trial that they would face would seem to them to be totally unexplainable and unreasonable. They would not be able to explain how or why they were going through these awful trials.

Have you ever been through a terrible experience and you could not find any reasons why? As a Pastor I hear from people in situations like this often. Sometimes a person will come to me and say, “My wife (or my husband) decided to divorce me, and until they told me they wanted to file for a divorce, I did not know that anything was wrong in our marriage.” A person in that kind of situation is in a terrible dilemma. They cannot explain what is going on, and it seems totally unfair and unreasonable.

When you have severe, unexpected trials, that seem unexplainable and unreasonable, you are tempted to become discouraged and overwhelmed with the blackness of despair. The temptation is very strong to just give up. Not just to give up on yourselves, but to give up on God.

I cannot count how many times people have asked me a question like, “If there is a God in heaven and if He is so powerful, why am I going through such an awful experience?” So often our first reaction is to blame God for all of our problems, and give up on Him because we doubt His mercy and love for us. But if this temptation is not resisted, you will lose your hold on God. As a result of despair and hopelessness, your faith will be lost and you will become a victim of unbelief. Then you are really in trouble because you are in a mental condition where the devil’s angels can tremendously influence your mind.


Who Would Be Offended?


Now that we have seen why the disciples were offended, we need to consider another part of this text. Jesus said to them, “ALL of you will be offended because of Me this night.” Why did Jesus say all? The reason that every member of the church at that time would be offended was because they all had imperfect characters. The events that would unfold that night would cause everyone in the church, who had an imperfect character, to become offended.

Why did Jesus make this statement? Was it because He just wanted to rebuke them? “Jesus stood ready to reveal Himself to Peter. In His great love, He told Peter of his denial. He sought to reveal the defects of his character and his necessity for the help which Christ alone could give.” Signs of the Times, November 11, 1897. [All emphasis supplied.]

Jesus gave Peter, and the other disciples, this warning because He loved them. This is a lesson that we need to learn as well. God speaks to His people because He loves them—even when He rebukes them, it is for their own good. Jesus wanted the disciples to know that something terrible was about to happen, and they needed to get ready for it. He revealed to Peter his character defects in hopes that he would come to Him and ask for help. By this time, He had already told Peter that he would deny Him three times before the cock crew. Peter should have said, “Lord, if you see that I am going to do this, please do something so that I can be changed and I will not deny you.” But instead he turned self-confidently away.

If the disciples had gone to the Lord and asked for special grace to resist the temptation, He would have heard their prayers. He wanted them to turn to Him for help and that is why He gave them this solemn warning.

Remember the story of Jonah? God sent Jonah to tell the nation of Nineveh that they were going to be destroyed in forty days. Why did God send this message through Jonah? He wanted the people of Nineveh to know that if they continued in the path they were taking they would be destroyed. They started praying, repenting of their sinfulness, and begging for mercy, so God gave them another chance. And that is what Jesus was trying to do for His disciples.

These men had been with Jesus for over three years. They had seen His miracles, and watched as He read the hearts and minds of men. They should have known by this time that Jesus knew them better than they knew themselves, but they were too self-confident to listen.

Later that same evening when they were in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus came to the disciples and all of them were asleep. Jesus told them, “Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation.” But did they listen? No, they were too self-confident. When Jesus warned Peter that he would deny Him, Peter self-assuredly said, “Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you.” Matthew 26:35. He had already made his decision. He thought he knew himself, but did he really?


Could We Become Offended ?


Is there any chance that something like this could happen again? Not only is there a chance, but it is a matter of prophecy that what happened at the end of Jesus’ first coming will happen again just before His second coming. Jesus talked about it in His discussion with His disciples which is recorded in Matthew 24. He said, “All of these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended (skandalizo) and will betray one another and will hate one another.” Matthew 24:8–10. The first step in becoming offended is when you get irritated with someone. Before the irritation is passed, you do not like them and eventually you hate them so much that you are willing to betray them. These are exactly the steps that Judas took when he became offended.

Continuing on in Matthew 24 Jesus said, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many and because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:11, 12. We are in that time right now when lawlessness is abounding. It is sickening to see how wicked this world has become, but Jesus concludes this passage with a wonderful promise: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Verse 13.

Here in Matthew 24 there is a prediction that the same thing that happened to Jesus’ disciples is going to happen in the Christian world at the end of time. The following is a comment on the parable of the ten virgins and it sheds some light on this subject. “The coming of the bridegroom was at midnight, the darkest hour. So the coming of Christ will take place in the darkest period of this earth’s history. The great apostasy will develop into darkness deep as midnight, impenetrable as sackcloth of hair.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 414.

We are approaching that midnight right now, as the Second Coming of Christ is very near, and Jesus says to every person in His church who has an imperfect character, “This night all of you will be offended.” Many people, like Peter, are saying, “Oh, no, Lord, not me. I am going to be faithful to the end.” But Jesus says to everyone who has an imperfect character, “This night you will be offended, all of you.” Unless you have a perfect character, events will develop that will cause you to be offended.

There are some that are especially in danger of being offended. Let us look carefully at some of these classes.


The Youth


Just before the end of the world, many young people will be offended. These are people that have gone through many shaking experiences with God’s people, but they are finally going to say, “We have worked hard trying to do the work of the Lord. We have invested our lives, given the strength of our blood, sweat and tears for God’s work and yet nobody appreciates our efforts. We have given everything we have to become qualified to do God’s work, and we have not gone back on the historic, New Testament teachings. We have endured many times of apostasy and trouble and now it is all for naught because no one trusts us.”

Young people have different temptations than adults. In a commentary written on this text in The Youth’s Instructor, June 5, 1902, Mrs. White said this: “Filled with self-sufficiency they make no effort to correct the objectionable traits of character that have been handed down to them as a birthright. They are constantly making mistakes, but when corrected, they show impatience.”

This is a great temptation for young people. Often young people will say to me, “Pastor John, the person that is correcting me does not know enough about the situation. He does not know as much about it as I do.” That may be true. It is possible that in certain situations a person fifty years old may not know as much as a person eighteen years old. It is possible that someone may make a mistake no matter how old and wise they are. But suppose that you are absolutely sure that you are right and that the person who is trying to correct you is wrong, can you still be patient?

Sometimes a young person says something like this, “Well, even though I am young, I am not stupid,” or “even though I am young, that does not mean I do not have any talents.” Inspiration admonishes us, “It is the superficial thinker who deems himself wise. Men of solid worth and high attainments are generally most ready to admit the weakness of their own understanding. Humility is the constant attendant of true wisdom.” Ibid. Do not be self-confident. (That applies to everyone.) There is nothing so offensive to God as a person who is full of pride and self-sufficiency.


The Aged and Wise


Young people are not the only class who are going to be offended at the end of the world. The second group in the church who are going to be offended are the aged and the wise. They are prone to say something similar to this: “We have given wise counsel to keep men and women from making serious mistakes, but no one is listening. And as a result, the work of God seems to be disorganized and in shambles.”

Many who esteem themselves experienced Christians will become offended because events are not taking place, as they believed they should. They will say, “This cannot be God’s church because if it was there would not be all this dissention and division.” And these “wise” men will seek a human organization in which to place their confidence.


The Rich and the Poor


At the end of the world, the rich people in the church are going to become offended. They will say, “We invested all these resources in God’s work because we wanted to see God’s work finished quickly. However, the people that we asked to manage the projects were not faithful to their trust, because they did not follow our instructions, and look at the terrible losses that are happening! I do not think I want to be involved any more financially in finishing God’s work because every time I try to help, the resources I give are mismanaged.”

Every poor person who does not have a perfect character is going to be offended, too. They are going to say, “I have invested my life in God’s work with no financial remuneration at all. I have sacrificed my time, my strength and all my talents in God’s work—not expecting any remuneration in this world. After I have given my entire life to God’s work and done the best that I can, all I get is criticism. I am told that I have not managed it right, or that I should have spent the money more wisely.” And so they too are offended.


The Ministers


Every minister that does not have a perfect character before Jesus comes is going to be offended. What are they going to say? I have already heard it over and over. “I have invested my whole life, gone to colleges and universities to get a training to help in God’s work for a very low salary. I have invested my whole life in God’s work and when I give people counsel, they will not listen, but when things go wrong, I get the blame for it.”

And the common people of all nations will be offended because Jesus said, “The sheep will be scattered.” Everyone that has an imperfect character will be offended.


The Solution


What is the answer to this dilemma that all of us face? What can we do when we are faced with an unexpected severe trial? What could Peter have done? Peter was always the first one to talk. The first thing Peter could have done was realize that this was the time when silence would be eloquent, and it was not the time to talk until he had done some serious thinking.

When Jesus said, “You are all going to be offended,” what He was saying to Peter was, “Look, Peter, you are a lot weaker than you think you are.” Is there any danger that we could be weaker than we think we are? If we begin to feel our personal weakness, is there anything that can be done about this weakness? There is plenty that can be done if you realize that you have a problem and you go to the Lord and ask for help.

Paul knew about this kind of experience: “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me and a messenger of Satan to buffet me lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me and He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7–10. Paul went to the Lord and said, “I am in trouble. I want you to take me out of this trouble.” The Lord said, “No, I cannot take you out of the trouble, but I will give you sufficient grace to endure.” In other words, He is going to give you of His divine power and provide all the help you need.

We are rapidly approaching the midnight of earth’s history and while theologians are arguing over whether character perfection is necessary, Jesus says to every Christian who has an imperfect character, “This night all of you will become offended because of Me.” We must be praying night and day that the Lord will impart to each one of us a perfect character so that no matter what happens, we will not become irritated with our wife or our husband or a church member or someone we work with. No matter how unreasonable they are, no matter how unexpected the trials are, no matter how fiery the trials are.

Do you want this to happen in your life? Do you want it to happen in your home? The principles that we have looked at, if they are applied, could save a lot of marriages. If you want these principles to be applied in your life, if you want Jesus to bring His love into your heart and life, ask Him today. He has promised that He will never turn a sincere seeker away.


Editorial — Are you Going To Make It

Heaven is a far more wonderful place than feeble, frail, sinful mortals can imagine. We know the negative things that will not be there—no sickness, no crying, no sorrow, no pain, no sighing, no death. We often think of the absence of these awful things and know that Heaven is a wonderful place. But the real bliss and joy of heaven far surpasses anything that we can imagine. It has not entered into the heart of man. (1 Corinthians 2:9.) Heaven is worth everything. “He [the devil] knew well the value of Heaven far exceeded the anticipation and appreciation of fallen man. The most costly treasures of the world he knew would not compare with its worth. As he had lost through his rebellion all the riches and pure glories of Heaven, he was determined to be revenged by causing as many as he could to undervalue Heaven and to place their affections upon earthly treasures.”

“He had knowledge of the inestimable value of eternal riches that man had not. He had experienced the pure contentment, the peace and exalted holiness of unalloyed joys of the heavenly abode. He had realized before his rebellion the satisfaction of the full approval of God. He had once a full appreciation of the glory that enshrouded the Father, and knew that there was no limit to His power.” Review and Herald, March 3, 1874.

Not only is heaven worth everything, but heaven costs everything. (Luke 14:33.) Although eternal life is spoken of as a gift it is also referred to as costing everything a man has. (Matthew 13:44–46.) The only people who will make it to heaven are those who pay the price and this is the reason that so many professed Christians will lose eternal life. This all-out cost can be listed as:

  1. The chains of our defects of character must be broken moment by moment and hour by hour at any cost to ourselves. “By a momentary act of will you may place yourself in the power of Satan, but it will require more than a momentary act of will to break his fetters and reach for a higher, holier life. The purpose may be formed, the work begun, but its accomplishment will require toil, time, and perseverance, patience and sacrifice. The man who deliberately wanders from God in the full blaze of light will find, when he wishes to set his face to return, that briers and thorns have grown up in his path, and he must not be surprised or discouraged if he is compelled to travel long with torn and bleeding feet. The most fearful and most to be dreaded evidence of man’s fall from a better state is the fact that it costs so much to get back. The way of return can be gained only by hard fighting, inch by inch, every hour.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 165.
  2. We must learn the lesson of self-denial—this is a lesson of the cross that we must learn if we are to enter heaven. “Some hardly know as yet what self-denial is, or what it is to suffer for the truth’s sake, but none will enter heaven without making a sacrifice . . . Those who are willing to make any sacrifice for eternal life will have it, and it will be worth all that it costs. The far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory will eclipse every earthly pleasure.” Review and Herald, August 5, 1884.

Everyone can be saved but most will not, because they are not willing to meet the condition upon which the gift of eternal life is promised. This condition stated in simple language is that each of us, by a conscious decision, choose to surrender our own way, our own will, our own plans, our own ideas, everything that belongs to us and accept in exchange the will and mind and life of Christ. This means a rejection of our past sinful life (repentance) and trustful acceptance of an altogether new life that begins to be lived out and continues to be lived out moment by moment, by faith, until we attain “to perfection of Christian character, a full preparation for the finishing touch of immortality.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 505.

“If heaven is gained by us at last, it will be only through the renunciation of self, and the receiving of the mind of Christ. Pride and self-sufficiency must be crucified, and the vacuum supplied with the Spirit and power of God. Are we willing to pay the price required of us for eternal life? Are we ready to sit down and count the cost, and conclude that heaven is worth the sacrifice of dying to self, of having our will brought into perfect conformity with the will of God? Until we are willing, the transforming grace of God will not be manifested upon us. When we present our emptied nature to God, He will by His Holy Spirit supply the vacuum made by the renunciation of self, and give us of His fullness.” Signs of the Times, November 21, 1892.


Will you make it to heaven? Only if you choose now to pay the price.