Bible Study Guides – “To Every Nation”

May 21-27, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies Vol. 8, 24–29.

INTRODUCTION: “Before the coming of the Son of man, the everlasting gospel is to be preached ‘to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.’ Revelation 14:6, 14. God ‘hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world.’ Acts 17:31. Christ tells us when that day shall be ushered in. He does not say that all the world will be converted, but that ‘this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’ By giving the gospel to the world it is in our power to hasten our Lord’s return. We are not only to look for but to hasten the coming of the day of God. 2 Peter 3:12, margin. Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would before this have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to our earth in power and great glory.” The Desire of Ages, 633, 634.

“The Power of God unto Salvation”

1 What is the work that Christ has committed to the church? Mark 16:15.

NOTE: “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people.…This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the Third Angel’s Message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure. The message of Christ’s righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel. The last message of mercy to be given to the world is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.” Last Day Events, 200, 201.

2 How does Paul define the Gospel? Romans 1:16.

NOTE: See Sons and Daughters of God, 349.

“For the Hour of His Judgment is Come”

3 As the final generation of God’s people proclaims the Gospel, what warning must they also give? Revelation 14:6, 7.

NOTE: See The Faith I Live By, 211.

4 In view of the fact that the time has now come for God’s judgment, what three things are all men called to do? Revelation 14:7.

5 What does it mean to fear God? Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14. See also Psalm 34:11–14; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 8:13.

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 436.

6 What does it mean to give glory to God? What is God’s glory? Exodus 33:18, 19; 34:6,7. Compare John 17:4 and Matthew 5:16.

NOTE: “To give glory to God is to reveal His character in our own, and thus make Him known. And in whatever way we make known the Father or the Son, we glorify God.” The Signs of the Times, October 17, 1892.

7 How does God ask us to worship ‘Him that made heaven and earth’? Exodus 20:8–11.

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 437.

“Babylon is Fallen, is Fallen”

8 What further message is the final generation of God’s people called to give? Revelation 14:8.

NOTE: “The term ‘Babylon’ is derived from ‘Babel,’ and signifies confusion. It is employed in Scripture to designate the various forms of false or apostate religion. In Revelation 17, Babylon is represented as a woman—a figure which is used in the Bible as the symbol of a church, a virtuous woman representing a pure church, a vile woman an apostate church.” The Great Controversy, 381. (See also Ibid., 389.)

9 What reason is given for Babylon’s fall? Revelation 14:8, last part. (To understand ‘fornication’, read Ezekiel 16.)

NOTE: “The great sin charged against Babylon is that she ‘made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ This cup of intoxication which she presents to the world represents the false doctrines that she has accepted as the result of her unlawful connection with the great ones of the earth.” The Great Controversy, 388.

10 What call must be given to those of God’s people who are still in Babylon? Revelation 18:1–5.

NOTE: “Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6–12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work.” The Great Controversy, 390.

11 What will be the danger for those who choose to stay in Babylon? Revelation 18:4.

NOTE: “After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation, and minds will be confused by many voices crying, ‘Lo, here is Christ, Lo, He is there. This is the truth, I have the message from God, He has sent me with great light.’ Then there will be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith. A more decided effort will be made to exalt the false sabbath, and to cast contempt upon God Himself by supplanting the day He has blessed and sanctified. This false sabbath is to be enforced by an oppressive law.” Maranatha, 189. (See also Prophets and Kings, 188; The Great Controversy, 464.)

“The Beast and His Image”

12 What warning is given to those who choose false worship? Revelation 14:9–11.

NOTE: “This symbol (the beast), as most Protestants have believed, represents the Papacy. The ‘image to the beast’ represents that form of apostate Protestantism which will be developed when the Protestant churches shall seek the aid of the civil power for the enforcement of their dogmas.” The Faith I Live By, 286.

N.B. “Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy.… Sunday must be sanctified.” Pope John Paul II, Dies Domini, point 67, July 7, 1998.

13 What is the wine of the wrath of God? Revelation 16:1–21.

14 By contrast with those who persist in false worship, how are the people of God described? Revelation 14:12.

NOTE: “Not one who is abiding in Christ will fail or fall. His followers will bow in obedience to a higher authority than that of any earthly potentate. While the contempt placed upon God’s commandments leads many to suppress the truth and show less reverence for it, the faithful ones will with greater earnestness hold aloft its distinguishing truths. We are not left to our own direction. We should consult His Word with humble hearts, ask His counsel, and give up our will to His. We can do nothing without God.” Maranatha, 28.

Bible Study Guides – “What Shall Be the Sign?”

May 14-20, 2000 

MEMORY VERSE: “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” John 14:29.

STUDY HELP: The Desire of Ages, 627–636.

INTRODUCTION: “After He had given the signs of His coming, Christ said, ‘When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.’ ‘Take ye heed, watch and pray.’ God has always given men warning of coming judgments. Those who had faith in His message for their time, and who acted out their faith, in obedience to His commandments, escaped the judgments that fell upon the disobedient and unbelieving. The word came to Noah, ‘Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me.’ Noah obeyed and was saved. The message came to Lot, ‘Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city.’ Genesis 7:1; 19:14. Lot placed himself under the guardianship of the heavenly messengers, and was saved. So Christ’s disciples were given warning of the destruction of Jerusalem. Those who watched for the sign of the coming ruin, and fled from the city, escaped the destruction. So now we are given warning of Christ’s Second Coming and of the destruction to fall upon the world. Those who heed the warning will be saved.’ The Desire of Ages, 634.

“Signs in the sun, moon and stars”

1 What sign of Christ’s coming was John first shown? Revelation 6:12, first part.

NOTE: “In fulfillment of this prophecy there occurred, in the year 1755, the most terrible earthquake that has ever been recorded. Though commonly known as the earthquake of Lisbon, it extended to the greater part of Europe, Africa, and America. It was felt in Greenland, in the West Indies, in the island of Madeira, in Norway and Sweden, Great Britain and Ireland. It pervaded an extent of not less than four million square miles. In Africa the shock was almost as severe as in Europe. A great part of Algiers was destroyed; and a short distance from Morocco, a village containing eight or ten thousand inhabitants was swallowed up. A vast wave swept over the coast of Spain and Africa engulfing cities and causing great destruction.” The Great Controversy, 304. (See also pages 304–306.)

2 What celestial signs did Jesus warn of? Mark 13:24. (Compare Revelation 6:12, 13.)

NOTE:: “Twenty-five years later appeared the next sign mentioned in the prophecy—the darkening of the sun and moon.” The Great Controversy, 306, 308.

3 What further celestial sign did Jesus warn of? Mark 13:25.

NOTE: “This prophecy received a striking and impressive fulfillment in the great meteoric shower of November 13, 1833. That was the most extensive and wonderful display of falling stars which has ever been recorded; ‘the whole firmament, over all the United States, being then, for hours, in fiery commotion! No celestial phenomenon has ever occurred in this country, since its first settlement, which was viewed with such intense admiration by one class in the community, or with so much dread and alarm by another.” The Great Controversy, 333.

“On the Earth Distress of Nations With Perplexity”

4 Besides the celestial signs, what did Jesus tell us of the state of mankind in the last days? Luke 21:25, last part.

NOTE: “The signs in the sun, moon, and stars have been fulfilled. Since that time earthquakes, tempests, tidal waves, pestilence, and famine have multiplied. The most awful destructions, by fire and flood, are following one another in quick succession. The terrible disasters that are taking place from week to week speak to us in earnest tones of warning, declaring that the end is near, that something great and decisive will soon of necessity take place.” The Review and Herald, November 22, 1906.

5 How is the reaction to the increasing disasters described? Luke 21:26.

NOTE: “Not long ago a very impressive scene passed before me. I saw an immense ball of fire falling among some beautiful mansions, causing their instant destruction. I heard someone say, ‘We knew that the judgments of God were coming upon the earth, but we did not know that they would come so soon.’ Others said, ‘You knew? Why then did you not tell us? We did not know.’ On every side I heard such words spoken. Soon grievous troubles will arise among the nations—trouble that will not cease until Jesus comes. As never before we need to press together, serving Him who has prepared His throne in the heavens and Whose kingdom ruleth over all. God has not forsaken His people, and our strength lies in not forsaking Him. The judgments of God are in the land. The wars and rumors of wars, the destruction by fire and flood, say clearly that the time of trouble, which is to increase until the end, is very near at hand. We have no time to lose. The world is stirred with the spirit of war. The prophecies of the eleventh of Daniel have almost reached their final fulfillment.” Maranatha, 25.

“Famines and Earthquakes and Pestilences”

6 What further calamities are signs of Christ’s coming? Matthew 24:7, last part.

NOTE: “Christ is coming soon. He declared that when there would be wars and rumors of wars, when there would be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places, we might know that the time of His second appearing is near. ‘When these things begin to come to pass,’ He declared, ‘then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.’ Christ represented this time by the parable of the fig tree. ‘Behold the fig tree,’ He said, ‘and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.’ The wickedness, the turmoil, the disturbances on every side, should be regarded by us as signs that the day of God is at hand. We are standing on the verge of the eternal world. We have no time to lose. It is high time to tell the people that Christ is coming. Let us warn them, visiting them at their homes, and talking and praying with them personally. By such efforts we shall win souls to Christ. If we come to God in faith, He will give us power and grace for every duty.” Peter’s Counsel to Parents, 33.

“Already the restraining Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the earth. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause. Men cannot discern the sentinel angels restraining the four winds that they may not blow until the servants of God are sealed; but when God shall bid his angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of His avenging wrath as no pen can picture.” The Review and Herald, January 11, 1887.

7 What restraining work was seen by John and what was its purpose? Revelation 7:1–3.

NOTE: “John sees the elements of nature—earthquake, tempest, and political strife—represented as being held by four angels. These winds are under control until God gives the word to let them go. There is the safety of God’s church. The angels of God do His bid-ding, holding back the winds of the earth, that the winds should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree, until the servants of God should be sealed in their foreheads.…Angels are now restraining the winds of strife, until the world shall be warned of its coming doom; but a storm is gathering, ready to burst upon the earth, and when God shall bid His angels loose the winds, there will
be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture.” Maranatha, 266. (See also Early Writings, 58.)

“Wars and Rumors of Wars”

8 How did Jesus tell His followers to react to political developments? Matthew 24:6, 7, first part.

NOTE: “The coming of the Lord is nearer than when we first believed. The Great Controversy is nearing its end. Every report of calamity by sea or land is a testimony to the fact that the end of all things is at hand. Wars and rumors of wars declare it. Is there a Christian whose pulse does not beat with quickened action as he anticipates the great events opening before us? The Lord is coming. We hear the footsteps of an approaching God, as He comes to punish the world for its iniquity. We are to prepare the way for Him by acting our part in getting a people ready for that great day.” Review and Herald, November 12, 1914. (See also Evangelism, 240, 241.)

9 What final alliance will take place among the nations and whom will they combine against? Revelation 16:13–16.

NOTE: “The battle of Armageddon is soon to be fought. He on Whose vesture is written the name, King of kings and Lord of lords, leads forth the armies of heaven on white horses, clothed in fine linen, clean and white. Every form of evil is to spring into intense activity. Evil angels unite their powers with evil men, and as they have been in constant conflict and attained an experience in the best modes of deception and battle, and have been strengthening for centuries, they will not yield the last great final contest without a desperate struggle. All the world will be on one side or the other of the question.…On one side stands the Creator of heaven and earth. All on His side bear His signet. They are obedient to His commands. On the other side stands the prince of darkness, with those who have chosen apostasy and rebellion.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 982, 983.

“And Then Shall the End Come”

10 What work is to be accomplished before the end comes? Matthew 24:14.

NOTE: “Long has God waited for the spirit of service to take possession of the whole church so that everyone shall be working for Him according to his ability. When the members of the church of God do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and abroad, in fulfillment of the gospel commission, the whole world will soon be warned and the Lord Jesus will return to this earth
with power and great glory.” Acts of the Apostles, 111. (See also The Desire of Ages, 633, 634.)

11 What preparation is necessary before God’s people can complete their work? Ephesians 5:25–27. Compare Hebrews 10:22–25, 1 Corinthians 1:7, 8.

NOTE: “He [Paul] reminded them of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which they had received, and showed that it was their privilege to make continual advancement in the Christian life until they should attain to the purity and holiness of Christ.” Acts of the Apostles, 301. (See also Ibid., 600.)

“Take Heed That No Man Deceive You”

12. What repeated warning did Christ give to His people? Matthew 24:4, 11, 23–26. Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

NOTE: “Said Paul: ‘There’ shall ‘come a falling away…and that man of sin be revealed.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:3. So apostasy in the church will prepare the way for the image to the beast. Satan will work with all power and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.’ (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10.) His working is plainly revealed by the rapidly increasing darkness, the multitudinous errors, heresies, and delusions of these last days. Not only is Satan leading the world captive, but his deceptions are leavening the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. The great apostasy will develop into darkness deep as midnight. To God’s people it will be a night of trial, a night of weeping, a night of persecution for the truth’s sake. But out of that night of darkness God’s light will shine.” Maranatha, 165.

13 What defenses do God’s people have against the prevailing deceptions? Matthew 24:26. Compare Ephesians 4:13, 14.

NOTE: “Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures, and who have received the love of the truth, will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. The Saviour has warned His people…and has clearly foretold the manner of His Second Coming. ‘There shall arise false Christs.…Wherefore if they shall say unto you, ‘Behold, He is in the desert;’ go not forth: ‘behold, He is in the secret chambers;’ believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ Matthew 24:24–27. This coming, there is no possibility of counterfeiting. It will be universally known—witnessed by the whole world. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His Word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible, and the Bible only?” The Faith I Live By, 346.

Bible Study Guides – “The Hour of His Judgment”

May 7-13, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12.

STUDY HELP: The Great Controversy, 423–425.

INTRODUCTION: “Says the prophet: ‘Who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.’ Malachi 3:2, 3. Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14. When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing.” The Great Controversy, 425.

“The Judgment Was Set and the Books Were Opened”

1 What vision was Daniel given of the judgment? Daniel 7:9, 10.

NOTE: “Thus was presented to the prophet’s vision the great and solemn day when the characters and the lives of men should pass in review before the Judge of all the earth, and to every man should be rendered ‘according to his works.’ The Ancient of days is God the Father.…It is He, the Source of all being, and the Fountain of all law, that is to preside in the judgment. And holy angels, as ministers and witnesses, in number ‘ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands’ (Revelation 5:11,) attend this great tribunal.” The Faith I Live By, 209.

2 What are the books by which we are to be judged? James 2:10–12; Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; Revelation 20:12; Malachi 3:16.

NOTE: “The books are opened—the book of life and the book of death. The book of life contains the good deeds of the saints; and the book of death contains the evil deeds of the wicked. These books are compared with the statute book, the Bible, and according to that men are judged.” Early Writings, 52. (See also, The Faith I Live By, 210.)

“And Behold I Come Quickly”

3 How are we shown that the decisions of the judgment are made before Christ returns? Revelation 22:11, 12.

NOTE: See Christ’s Object Lessons, 310.

4 What warning are God’s people called to give the world as they preach the everlasting Gospel? Revelation 14:6, 7.

NOTE: “The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. For many years this work has been in progress. Soon—none know how soon—it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behooves every soul to heed the Saviour’s admonition, ‘Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.’ Mark 13:33. ‘If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.’ Revelation 3:3.” The Faith I Live By, 211.

“One Like the Son of Man”

5 Who did Daniel see appearing before the throne of God in the judgment? Daniel 7:13.

NOTE: “Attended by a cloud of heavenly angels, our great High Priest enters the Holy of Holies, and there appears in the presence of God to engage in the last acts of His ministration in behalf of man—to perform the work of investigative judgment, and to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 307, 308.

6 How does Paul express the confidence that we may have in the intercession of Jesus on our behalf? Hebrews 4:15, 16.

NOTE: “Jesus does not excuse their sins, but shows their penitence and faith, and, claiming for them forgiveness, He lifts His wounded hands before the Father and the holy angels, saying, ‘I know them by name. I have graven them on the palms of My hands.’ ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.’ [Psalm 51:17.] And to the accuser of His people He declares, ‘The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?’ [Zechariah 3:2.] Christ will place His own signet upon His faithful ones, that He may present them to His Father ‘a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.’ Their names stand enrolled in the book of life, and concerning them it is written, ‘They shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.’” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 310.

“I Will Not Blot Out His Name”

7 What work is required of us if our sins are to be blotted out of the books of record? Acts 3:19.

NOTE: “The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin.…but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy. Repentance includes sorrow for sin, and a turning away from it. We shall not renounce sin unless we see its sinfulness; until we turn away from it in heart, there will be no real change in the life.” The Faith I Live By, 127. (See also The Great Controversy, 483.)

8 What must the grace of God achieve in our lives in order for our names to remain in the Book of Life? Revelation 3:5.

NOTE: “The expression, ‘He that overcometh,’ indicates that there is something for every one of us to overcome. The overcomer is to be clothed in the white raiment of Christ’s righteousness, and of him it is written: ‘I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.’ O, what a privilege it is to be an overcomer, and to have our names presented before the Father by the Saviour Himself!” Sons and Daughters of God, 369. (See also Historical Sketches, 181.)

“His Bride Hath Made Herself Ready”

9 What triumphant proclamation in heaven will announce the end of the judgment? Revelation 19:6–8.

NOTE: “If we knew that in just one year from now, the Lord would come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, what a feeling of solemnity would rest upon us! How earnestly we should strive to prepare for His coming, that, clothed in the wedding garment, we might go in unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 109.

“And you that have not sanctified your souls by obeying the truth, do you expect that Christ at His appearing will make you ready? There will then be no atoning blood to wash away the stains of sins. It is while it is called today that you may, if you will, hear His voice, and harden not your heart, as in the day of provocation. It is today that the Spirit of God invites. It is today that the sweet voice of mercy is falling upon your ears. It is today that the heavenly invitation comes to you. It is today that in Heaven everything says, ‘Come.’ And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely.” The Review and Herald, August 17, 1869.

10 How does Paul describe that readiness? Ephesians 5:25–27.

NOTE: “Do you want to find Jesus? He is at the feast. You may find Him here. He has come up to the feast. There are men and women that have brought Him with them; and now we want you to press through, and touch the hem of His garment, that you may receive of the virtue that is found in Him, and triumph in the God of your salvation. The waters of the fountain are freely opened for you; and will you drink? Will you come? Will you obey the gracious invitation? Come, for all things are now ready. Whosoever will, let him come and partake of the waters of life freely.…We make appeals to you, in the name of our Master, to get ready. We make appeals to you to rid yourselves of the pride of the world, the pride, and vanity, and folly, of life. Jesus loves you. Jesus pities you. The angelic host He sends to minister unto you. And now, while all Heaven is interested for you, will you be interested for yourselves? Will you begin to seek God earnestly for your own salvation? Will you work it out with fear and trembling? Will you be careful how you step before God? Will you have the approbation of Him whose arm moves the universe?” The Review and Herald, August 17, 1869.

“Let Him be Holy Still”

11 What solemn pronouncement will mark the close of the judgment? Revelation 22:11.

NOTE: “Jesus is in His holy temple, and will now accept our sacrifices, our prayers, and our confessions of faults and sins, and will pardon all the transgressions of Israel, that they may be blotted out before He leaves the sanctuary. When Jesus leaves the sanctuary, then they who are holy and righteous, will be holy and righteous still; for all their sins will then be blotted out, and they will be sealed with the seal of the living God. But those that are unjust and filthy, will be unjust and filthy still; for then there will be no priest in the sanctuary to offer their sacrifices, their confessions, and their prayers before the Father’s throne. Therefore what is done to rescue souls from the coming storm of wrath, must be done before Jesus leaves the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary.” Early Writings, 48.

12 How does Paul emphasize the need for us to make our decision for Christ today? 2 Corinthians 6:1, 2.

NOTE: “We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon coming. This is not a fable to us; it is a reality. We have no doubt, neither have we had a doubt for years, that the doctrines we hold today are present truth, and that we are nearing the judgment. We are preparing to meet Him who, escorted by a retinue of holy angels, is to appear in the clouds of heaven to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When He comes, He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our characters, or to cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honor, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. But those who are unjust, unsanctified, and filthy will remain so forever. No work will then be done for them to remove their defects and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue His refining process and remove their sins and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us.” Maranatha, 221.

13 How does the Bible picture the distress of those who put off the decision too long? Jeremiah 8:20.

NOTE: “O, that we would remember that it is court week with us, and that our cases are pending! Now is the time to watch and pray, to put away all self–indulgence, all pride, all selfishness. The precious moments that are now by many worse than wasted should be spent in meditation and prayer. Many of those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God are following inclination instead of duty. As they are now, they are unworthy of eternal life. To these careless, indifferent ones, I would say, ‘Your vain thoughts, your unkind words, your selfish acts, are recorded in the book of heaven. The angels that were present at Belshazzar’s idolatrous revelry stand beside you as you dishonor your Redeemer. Sadly they turn away, grieved that you should thus crucify Him afresh, and put Him to open shame.’” Maranatha, 39. (See also See The Great Controversy, 490.)

Bible Study Guides – “He Shall Appear the Second Time without Sin unto Salvation”

April 30 – May 6, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28.

STUDY HELP: Christ’s Object Lessons, pages 155–163.

INTRODUCTION: “We are looking for the Second Coming of Christ. Our hope of His soon appearing in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory fills our hearts with joy. When the Saviour comes, those who are prepared to meet Him will exclaim, ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation’ (Isaiah 25:9.)” Sermons and Talks Vol. 2, 179.

“The End of Your Faith”

1 What is the aim or purpose of the Christian’s life of faith? 1 Peter 1:8, 9.

NOTE: “Only those who practice holiness in this life will see the King in His beauty. Put away all vain, trifling talk, and everything of a frivolous and sensational nature. Do not engross your mind with thoughts of worldly entertainments and pleasures. Engage in the work of saving your soul.…You may use every moment of this God–given life to His name’s glory. Strengthen yourself to resist the powers of darkness, that they shall not obtain a victory over you.” Sermons and Talks Vol. 2, 176. (See also Acts of the Apostles, 387.)

2 When will our salvation be revealed? 1 Peter 1:5.

NOTE: “We must begin in earnest to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. There are many who give no decided evidence that they are true to their baptismal vows. Their zeal is chilled by formality, worldly ambition, pride, and love of self. Occasionally their feelings are stirred, but they do not fall on the Rock, Christ Jesus. They do not come to God with hearts that are broken in repentance and confession. Those who experience the work of true conversion in their hearts, will reveal the fruits of the Spirit in their lives.” Educational Messenger, September 4, 1908.

“Blessed Are They”

3 How does the Lord Himself describe those who will have the right to enter the City of God? Revelation 22:14.

NOTE: “None who have had the light of truth will enter the city of God as commandment–breakers. His law lies at the foundation of His government in earth and in heaven. If they have knowingly trampled upon and despised His law on the earth, they will not be taken to heaven to do the same work there; there is no change of character when Christ comes. The character building is to go on during the hours of probation. Day by day their actions are registered in the books of heaven, and they will, in the great day of God, be rewarded as their works have been. It will then be seen who receives the blessing.” Faith and Works, 43.

4 What heavenly proclamation is made concerning God’s people prior to the Second Coming of Jesus? Revelation 14:12.

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 435.

“The Hope of Salvation”

5 What preparation should the Christian make to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ? 1 Thessalonians 5:8–9.

NOTE: “…It is the duty of every servant of God to withstand firmly and decidedly these perverters of the faith and by the word of truth fearlessly to expose their errors.” Acts of the Apostles, 387.

6 What counsel did Christ give to one who sought to receive eternal life? Matthew 19:16, 17.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 518, 520.

“The Faith of Jesus”

7 How may we be kept from sin until the time when our salvation shall be revealed? 1 Peter 1:5.

NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 530.

8 Does the faith of Jesus free us from obedience to God’s Law? Romans 3:31.

NOTE: “There are two errors against which the children of God—particularly those who have just come to trust in His grace—especially need to guard. The first.…is that of looking to their own works, trusting to anything they can do, to bring themselves into harmony with God. He who is trying to become holy by his own works in keeping the law, is attempting an impossibility.…It is the grace of Christ alone, through faith, that can make us holy. The opposite, and no less dangerous, error is that belief in Christ releases men from keeping the law of God; that since by faith alone we become partakers of the grace of Christ, our works have nothing to do with our redemption. But notice here that obedience is not a mere outward compliance, but the service of love. The law of God is an expression of His very nature; it is an embodiment of the great principle of love, and hence is the foundation of His government in heaven and earth.…Instead of releasing man from obedience, it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render obedience. As Jesus was in human nature, so God means His followers to be. In His strength we are to live the life of purity and nobility which the Saviour lived.” The Faith I Live By, 93.

“We Deceive Ourselves”

9 What solemn warning does John give to those who claim to have been saved from their sins? 1 John 1:8.

NOTE: “Those who accept Christ, and in their first confidence say, ‘I am saved,’ are in danger of trusting to themselves. They lose sight of their own weakness and their constant need of divine strength. They are unprepared for Satan’s devices, and under temptation many, like Peter, fall into the very depths of sin. We are admonished, ‘Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.’ 1 Corinthians 10:12. Our only safety is in constant distrust of self, and dependence on Christ.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 155. (See also Faith and Works, 121.)

10 What counsel is given to those who think that they are in no danger of falling into sin? 1 Corinthians 10:12.

NOTE: “We are never to rest in a satisfied condition, and cease to make advancement, saying, ‘I am saved.’ When this idea is entertained, the motives for watchfulness, for prayer, for earnest endeavor to press onward to higher attainments, cease to exist. No sanctified tongue will be found uttering these words till Christ shall come, and we enter in through the gates into the city of God. Then, with the utmost propriety, we may give glory to God and to the Lamb for eternal deliverance.” Maranatha, 236.

“We Will be Glad and Rejoice”

11 When will the people of God know that their salvation has arrived? Isaiah 25:8, 9.

NOTE: “As we behold Christ we shall be changed into His image and made fit to meet Him at His coming. Now is the time to prepare for the coming of our Lord. Readiness to meet Him cannot be attained in a moment’s time. Preparatory to that solemn scene there must be vigilant waiting combined with earnest work. The union of these two makes us complete in Christ. The active and devotional must be combined as were the human and divine in Christ. So God’s children glorify Him. Amid the busy scenes of life their voices will be heard speaking words of encouragement, hope, and faith. The will and the affections will be consecrated to Christ. Thus they prepare to meet their Lord; and when He comes, they will say, with joy: ‘This is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.’” In Heavenly Places, 250.

12 As we see the signs of Christ’s soon coming, what should be the reaction of God’s people? Luke 21:28, Romans 13:11.

NOTE: “There is great need that our weakening faith should be quickened, and that we should ever keep before the mind the evidences that our Lord is soon coming, that we may ever be found not only waiting, but watching and working. We are not to be found in idle expectancy; for this leads to carelessness of life, and deficiency of character.” Review and Herald, November 22, 1892.

“This knowledge of the nearness of Christ’s coming should not be allowed to lose its force, and we become careless and inattentive, and fall into slumber—into an insensibility and indifference to realities. In slumber we are in an unreal world, and not sensible of the things which are taking place around us. Dangers very great may threaten, but there is no sign that they are appreciated. This spiritual sleep is to be avoided. The exhortation is given by the apostle, ‘The night is far spent, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore put off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.’” Youth’s Instructor, August 25, 1886.

Food for Life – And Strong Drink is Raging

Sweet April Showers do bring May flowers. —Tusser

So be patient with the elements! God has His own way of perfecting everything according to His will. Even our bodies— if we live according to His plan and design for our lives—will be healthful and beautiful as long as we serve Him and do His will and do the tasks He has given us to perform.

“Some who are never considered really drunk, are always under the influence of mild intoxicants. They are feverish, unstable in mind, unbalanced. Imagining themselves secure, they go on and on, until every barrier is broken down, every principle sacrificed. The strongest resolutions are undermined, the highest considerations are not sufficient to keep the debased appetite under the control of reason.”

“The Bible nowhere sanctions the use of intoxicating wine. The wine that Christ made from water at the marriage feast of Cana was the pure juice of the grape. This is the ‘new wine found in the cluster,’ of which the Scripture says, ‘Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it.’” Isaiah 65:8.

“It was Christ, Who, in the Old Testament, gave the warning to Israel, ‘Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.’ Proverbs 20:1. He Himself provided no such beverage. Satan tempts men to indulgence that will becloud reason and benumb the spiritual perceptions, but Christ teaches us to bring the lower nature into subjection. He never places before men that which would be a temptation. His whole life was an example of self-denial. It was to break the power of appetite that in the forty days fast in the wilderness He suffered in our behalf the severest test that humanity could endure. It was Christ who directed that John the Baptist should drink neither wine nor strong drink. It was He who enjoined similar abstinence upon the wife of Manoah. Christ did not contradict His own teaching. The unfermented wine that He provided for the wedding guests was a wholesome and refreshing drink. This is the wine that was used by our Saviour and His disciples in the first Communion. It is the wine that should always be used on the Communion table as a symbol of the Saviour’s blood. The sacramental service is designed to be soul-refreshing and life-giving. There is to be connected with it nothing that could minister to evil.

“In the light of what the Scriptures, nature, and reason teach concerning the use of intoxicants, how can Christians engage in the raising of hops for beer making, or in the manufacture of wine or cider for the market? If they love their neighbor as themselves, how can they help to place in his way that which will be a snare to him?” The Ministry of Healing, 333, 334.

This weekend I was rereading a little book that has meant a great deal to me through the years, and in it I read a statement that I cannot imagine not noticing before! “God, in counsel with His Son, formed the plan of creating man in His own image. Man was to be placed upon probation. He was to be tested and proved; if he should bear the test of God, and remain loyal and true through the first trial, he was not to be beset with continual temptations, but was to be exalted equal with the angels and made, thenceforth, immortal.” E. G. White, Confrontation, 10.

What a statement! What sad consequences to Eve’s departure from God’s express commands, and what a fearful doom has resulted for the inhabitants of this old earth as a result.

Recipe – Baked Nut Rice (A favorite recipe of Ellen G. White)


2 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup peanut butter

4 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon sage

sea salt to taste

The mixture should be thin-baked at 400º for 20-30 minutes. Delicious to fill baked green peppers.

Children’s Story – The Open Door Part II

Last month we read how Nellie had been badly burned, The doctors said if she lived, she would be blind, deaf, and unable to use her hands.

The news of our tragedy quickly spread through the little farming valley where we lived, and the following day the true story of God’s miraculous working in our behalf was told.

Arthur had been out working in his fields. It was only mid-morning, but he felt a strong urging to return to his house. It did not make sense to him, so he shrugged it off. He had planned to be out in the field until dark, and had even packed a lunch so he could work straight through the day. But the feeling to return home persisted, so he stopped work, climbed into his pickup and drove home.

“What am I here for?” he mused. Perhaps his old Aunt Kate needed him. So, impressed by this thought, he picked up the phone to call her.

Meanwhile, Clairece had reached his Aunt’s house and knocked on the door. No answer! She knocked again, pounding upon the door. Still no answer, so she reached down and turned the doorknob. Finding that the door was not locked, she walked into the kitchen, picked up the phone to call Arthur at the same instant that Arthur was picking up his phone to call his Aunt. They were connected without either of them ever dialing the phone.

“Please come quickly,” Clairece begged, “my sister has been seriously burned and we have to get her to the hospital.”

“I’m on my way!” he responded, bounding out the door and jumping into his truck. He met Bruce on the way to our house, picked him up, and heard the rest of the story as they drove back.

The following day, Aunt Kate came to call. After hearing the story of Nellie’s accident, she turned to Clairece. “How did you get in my house to use the phone?”

“The door was unlocked, so I just walked in, made my call, and left.” Clairece replied.

“But, that is impossible!” the old lady sputtered, “I locked that door before I left for the fields yesterday, and dropped the key right here,” she said as she patted her apron pocket. “That door was still locked when I got home. I know, because I had to use my key to get in!”

My Mother smiled and softly quoted a verse from the book of Acts, “But the Angel of the Lord—opened the door.”

Although Nellie’s struggle was long and difficult, and though there were times we were not sure she would make it through another operation, God was with her. She was not left blind, however, her eyebrows never grew back and she has had to use a pencil just to create eyebrows. Although the tops of her ears were burned off, she can still hear. And those hands that the doctors thought would never be used again; although badly scarred, still play God’s praises on the piano. She continues to use her beautiful, soprano voice to praise a loving Father who walks beside us, even through the valley of the shadow of death, and leads us into green pastures of safety.

Easter Eggs, Bunnies & Religious Freedom

For some reason, there is great confusion among God’s professed people today about some very fundamental principles. If you study sacred history, you will find that God’s people have a poor track record in recognizing when prophecy is fulfilled.

Jesus got into great difficulty with God’s professed people in His day because He said to them, “This day is this word fulfilled in your ears.” And a little bit after He said that, they decided to kill Him. You see, I think all churches have a tendency to do one of two things with prophecy. We tend to say it was fulfilled in the past, or it is going to be fulfilled in the future. Is there no prophecy being fulfilled today? Is all prophecy either in the past or in the future? Very often prophecy is being fulfilled right in front of our eyes but we do not recognize what we see.

We want to look at Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, and religious freedom. Have you ever wondered how Easter eggs and Easter bunnies came into the Christian Church? Have you read anything about it in your Bible? I never have.

Here is a more difficult question. Have you ever wondered how a worldwide Virgin Mary Cult got into the Christian Church? Did you know that the images of the Madonna and her son are over four thousand years old, yet Jesus was not born until two thousand years ago? It is a documented fact. If you would like to see pictures of some of those images, look at The New Illustrated Great Controversy and you will see pictures of the Madonna.

The Son of the Sun

It started back in Genesis, a short time after the flood, with Nimrod and his wife, Semiramis. Nimrod died a violent death. After he died, Semiramis became pregnant. She was the queen and wanted to retain her power, so she told the people her dead husband had gone up into the sky. He was now the sun god and she was carrying his child. She bore a son, the “son of the sun,” she said, and he was named Tammuz. You can read about Tammuz in the Old Testament. Those images of the woman and the child, are actually images of Semiramis and Tammuz, and they were taken into the Christian Church. There were people in the Christian Church who had been taught by the followers of the apostles. These people had been taught both the Old and the New Testament, and they knew about idolatry. So the people who wanted to bring these things into the church, had to figure out a way to get them accepted. Do you know what they did? They changed the names of the images! They no longer called the woman, Semiramis, or the queen of heaven, they called her the Virgin Mary, and the son, of course, would no longer be Tammuz, but Jesus Christ.

The symbol for Tammuz was a cross, and all the Pagan people had crosses. They also had fertility gods and goddesses, and these things came into the Christian Church, too. That is where we got Easter. The egg was a symbol of fertility, and the rabbit, being prolific, was also a symbol of fertility, so the Easter egg and the Easter bunny were also brought into the Church.

“That which Satan has led men to do in the past he will, if possible, lead them to do again.” Review and Herald, November 22, 1892.

Pagan Christians?

Let me ask you a question, and remember, we are studying fundamental principles here. We want to understand the significance of what happened then and its relevance for us today. What did they do in the past? In the past they combined Paganism and Christianity. They took Pagan philosophy and combined it with the Christian Church.

Have you heard the theory that is in many Christian Churches today concerning the immortality of the soul? They teach that man has an immortal soul and that when you die, your immortal soul goes on living forever. Of course, if it can live forever, it can burn forever.

Do you know where that idea came from? It did not come from Scripture! It came from Plato! Plato was a Greek philosopher, and he believed that man had an immortal soul. Plato got his theory from the Egyptians, and he taught others that man had an immortal soul, and when man died, he had some entity that went on living forever. The Bible does not say that. According to the Bible, only God has immortality! (See 1 Timothy 6:15, 16.) But Plato’s teachings came into the Christian Church. And so, all of these Pagan ideas were joined to the Christian Church and they made it all one.

If you had been living back then, what would you have done? Here you are, going to church, and you come to church one Sabbath morning and there stands an image of a woman and child, right in the church. You might say, “What is that? I am a Christian, I don’t worship images,” and the response would come back, “Oh, that is just to remind us of the Virgin Mary and her Son, Jesus.” What would you have done? Do you think there were any people back then who saw those images in the church and said, “I cannot go to a church that is worshipping images. I am getting out of here?” There were a few, but not very many.

Why were there not very many? Because most of the people said the same thing they are saying today. They said, “Jesus Christ said that the gates of hell will not prevail against My church. So all I have to do is stay here and I will be saved.” That is what the majority said.

The Faithful Few

There were a few who felt they could not stay in a church that was worshipping idols, because that really was not the true church. It could not be! We can find out who the church is by turning to Scripture. The apostle Paul writes to a young minister, and he tells him who the church is: “But if I am delayed, I write so you will know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and the ground of the truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15. Notice the house of God is the church, and it is “the pillar and the ground of the truth.” That could also be translated, “the foundation, the ground or the foundation of the truth.”

The Foundation, the Rock, on which the church is built, is the truth. That is what it says, and that is what Jesus said. “On this Rock (that is Himself) I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” The church is built on the truth. There were a few people who knew from the Scripture that the church is built on the truth, and the church cannot go into idolatry and keep being the true church. That just cannot happen.

There was something else that happened about the same time that all of this was going on. “That which Satan has led men to do in the past, he will, if possible, lead them to do again. The early church was deceived by the enemy of God and man, and apostasy was brought into the ranks of those who professed to love God; and today, unless the people of God awake out of sleep, they will be taken unawares by the devices of Satan.” Ibid.

The Day of the Sun

At the same time that they were bringing these images into the church, people noticed that the Pagans got together to have a wild solar holiday on the first day of every week, and that is where the name Sunday comes from, it was the day of the sun.

Monday was the day of the moon, Wednesday, the day of Wardes [a German Pagan god], Saturday, the day of Saturn. All of our days of the week are named after the Pagan gods of that day. So the Pagans worshipped different heavenly bodies and different Pagan gods every single day of the week. But the greatest of all, was the sun god and Sunday. The Christians wanted to incorporate this into the Christian religion along with everything else they were bringing in, and they found a ready excuse to remember Sunday; it was the day that Jesus came out of the tomb. The Pagans worshipped the sun at sunrise on Sunday morning, and they worshipped toward the east. You will find, when you study the Sanctuary, that when God had the Sanctuary erected, He told Moses which direction it was to face. When you entered God’s Sanctuary, you were facing west. This was God’s instruction because the whole Pagan world faced east and worshipped the sun. (See Ezekiel 7, 8, 9.)

That had been going on for thousands of years, and it was going on by the latter part of the second century. So much so, that by 200 a.d. there were Pagan philosophers who told the Christians they were no different than them! The Christians claimed they were different, even though it was true that they were worshipping the rising sun on Sunday, they claimed they were actually worshipping the “Son of righteousness.”

The Shaking Has Begun!

Remember, that which Satan did before, if possible, he is going to do again. I want to tell you, he is doing it right now! He is doing it in Adventism; and Seventh-day Adventists are looking into the future saying there is going to be a national Sunday law sometime, and then everything is going to be shaken out. What they do not realize is, the shaking out has already begun, and the national Sunday law is the end of the shaking, not the beginning.

What would you do if you came to church some Sabbath and there was an image standing in your church? Pray to God that we will never have images in our church! That is why we do not have crosses in our church. Not because the cross itself is wrong, but it is wrong when people start worshipping it. You cannot find any place in the Bible where we are instructed to worship a cross. Of course, people claim they are not worshipping the cross, they are worshipping the Son of God, Who was on the cross. Be careful!

The Name of the Game is Compromise

What would you do if you came to church and found that the majority of the people had gotten together and decided to compromise to have more influence in the community?

This is the way it happened in early times. They wanted to have more influence with the Pagan world, thus they would have more converts, more influence. “We are going to have more converts if we accommodate ourselves to the customs of the people,” they said. It is not wrong to accommodate yourself to a culture or custom, if it does not involve the violation of the Word of God. But they decided to accommodate themselves to the Pagan world by doing what the Pagan world was doing. They were still going to worship on Sabbath, but they would join the Pagans in the customs of their sun day. If you study history, you will find that it was very insidious the way Sunday-keeping came into the Christian Church. It started really early in Alexandria [in Egypt], and in Rome. But for most of the Christian world, Sunday-keeping took hundreds of years to become established.

Ten years ago, I was in one of the largest Seventh-day Adventist Churches in the Midwest, and I listened with astonishment as the pastor announced that they were going to start having services on Sabbath and Sunday, because they would be able to get the community to come on Sunday. I was amazed!

The reason I was so astonished was that I had read a little bit of history. Some people do not like history, but when you do not know history, you can make the same mistakes made fifteen hundred years ago and not even know what you are doing.

That is what the early Christian church did. There were churches in the Roman Empire that kept both Sabbath and Sunday for hundreds of years. You could not tell them they were breaking the Sabbath, because they kept the Sabbath. But eventually the time came when Sunday was elevated more and more, and the Sabbath was pushed down. It took a long time, but it finally happened, and it is happening again!

People were saying this is God’s church and Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. So if you stay in here, you are going to be all right and are going to wind up on the heavenly shore. The fact of the matter is, the great majority of those people lost their souls. (See Early Writings, or The Great Controversy.)

“There is no union between the Prince of Light and the prince of darkness, and there can be no union between their followers.” The Great Controversy, 45.

Who were the followers of the Prince of Light and the followers of the prince of darkness? Remember they all called themselves Christians, so you could not divide them that way. How do you tell the difference between a follower of the Prince of Light and the prince of darkness? Is it what church they go to? Is it what organization they belong to? Absolutely not!

“When Christians consented to unite with those who were but half converted by Paganism, they entered upon a path which led further and further from the truth.” Ibid. They consented to unite with those who were not totally converted, they would become one church. They would baptize people who were not yet converted. In this way, they brought into the church a mass of “professors” of Christianity who were still worshipping idols and doing things contrary to the Bible.

Has that happened in Adventism? Yes, it has! What does that do to the church? It takes you on a path that leads farther and farther from the truth, but you do not realize it because it is only one step at a time.

The Majority is Never Right

There were a few people who decided that they were not going to go along with this program. There is no question that they tried to persuade their brethren against this move because they knew it was not in harmony with the Word of God. They tried, but they could not persuade them because they were in the minority. If you study religious history, you will find that there has never been a time recorded in the Bible, since Adam and Eve sinned, when the majority was in the right. That just never happens.

“It required a desperate struggle for those who would be faithful to stand firm against the deceptions and abominations which were disguised in sacerdotal garments and introduced into the church.” Ibid., 45. What happened to those who decided to stand firm? It required a desperate struggle.

Have you ever been involved in a desperate struggle? Have you ever seen someone involved in a desperate struggle? Have you ever seen anyone who is about to drown, flailing around trying to get out? That is a desperate struggle, and it required that same kind of struggle for those who would stand firm against these deceptions. We are in that kind of struggle again today.

Deceptions are flooding into the churches all over the world, including the Adventist Church. What has happened? “The Bible was not accepted as the standard of faith. The doctrine of religious freedom was termed heresy, and its upholders were hated and proscribed.” Ibid.

Just think that over. First, the Bible was not the rule of faith. The same thing is happening today with the Spirit of Prophecy. Secondly, they did not believe in the doctrine of religious freedom. Where did the religious freedom go?

The Pagans had a custom that was thousands of years old, and as the church combined with Paganism, this custom applied to them. You can read about it in Scripture, and in early Christian history. The ruler of the country dictated what religion you were going to follow, and you had to comply.

That is what Nebuchadnezzar did. It is what the Medo-Persians did. That is why Daniel got thrown into the den of lions. It is what the Greeks did. That is why forty thousand Jews were killed in Egypt during the time of the Greek wars. During just one war, forty thousand Jews were killed. Read the Macabees, the history of God’s people during that period.

How about the Roman Caesar? The Roman Caesar was called the personification of the sun god, and they would build an altar in the center of the city. They had town squares in Roman times, and they put an altar right in the middle of it. They would light a fire on the altar and burn incense there. The people of the town were required to walk by, take a pinch of incense, throw it in the fire and say, Caesar es corius. Meaning, Caesar is lord. They did this to find out who the Christians were. Can a Christian say that? No! When a Christian would come by, he would not take the incense, because that would be offering incense to the sun god, but he would say, Cristos es corius, meaning, Christ is Lord. We will never know, until the Day of Judgment, how many were martyred on that one point alone, just because they would not acknowledge Caesar as lord.

You see, in the Pagan countries, you had a state religion and you had to be of the same religious persuasion as the president or the king, or you could lose your head. As you study religious history, you find this went on in Europe all during the dark ages. In England, in the sixteenth century, when the Protestant ruler died and a Catholic Queen came to the throne, over a three-year period they burned at the stake, or got rid of, almost all of the Protestant leaders in the country.

When Elizabeth became queen, all of a sudden the Protestants could exercise their religion without getting killed any more. What was it that they took from Paganism? The idea that the state could dictate in regard to religion. Is that happening today? Yes! And it is not finished yet. It is going to get worse.

Clasping the Arm of the State

When you go into a court and ask them to make a ruling on something about religion, you have done the same thing they did back there. We are doing it, and we have been for several years.

When it gets so bad that you no longer have religious liberty, what should you do? The same as they did. The majority went along with it, but there were a faithful few that said we are not going to go along with this, no matter what, because it is wrong.

Do you believe that there are, in God’s government, moral absolutes? A moral absolute is a principle that is always wrong to violate—no matter what. It is even wrong to violate it to save your life. The world today does not believe in moral absolutes. The thing that made America a great nation was, as late as World War II, most of our population still believed in moral absolutes. But since World War II, the majority in our country have changed their minds.

In 1967, I was listening to a religious radio program. The speaker said, “In front of every one of the Ten Commandments you should put the word ‘ordinarily.’” Now if you put the word ‘ordinarily’ in front of every single one of the Ten Commandments, what does that do to them? It takes away their moral absolute character. It makes them say, you can do it most of the time, but you do not have to do it in certain situations. Today, we call this ‘situation ethics.’

People are living in fornication and adultery. When a Christian pastor goes to plead with them, they say things like “God does not expect me to be unhappy all my life and live in loneliness.” Do you see? Once you put the word “ordinarily” in front of any one of the Ten Commandments, you have no idea where you are going to end up.

Today there are people who are professional killers, claiming to be Christians. They go to confession, confess their sins, and would tell you they expect to go to heaven. But I want to tell you that, according to the Bible, they will not. (See Revelation 22:15.)

What do people do, who decide to resist this “after a long and severe conflict?” Has it been going on in Adventism? Yes, it has. I meet people all the time that have been going through a long and severe conflict for years and years in their churches. And the church is going into more apostasy and worldliness, and they cannot stop it. Notice what Christians did in the past. “After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and adultery.” Ibid., 45.

A Harlot Church

The apostate church decided to unite with the state. Read this carefully. What I am telling you now is something that I have thought through for many years and I do not expect to back down on this, because I know from history, and God’s word, it is so. When any church decides to unite with the state, that church has become a harlot church. That church is in apostasy. And it is not something to happen in the future, it is happening now.

Let me explain that for someone who has not thought that through before. Do you believe in marriage? Does the Bible teach that marriage is holy? Yes, it is so explicit in the Bible: “Marriage is holy in all things and the marriage bed is not defiled.” Hebrews 13:4. But in regard to marriage, Paul said, “What I am really talking about is Christ and the church.” (See Ephesians 5:32.) “The two [quoting from Genesis 2:24 where God instituted the marriage relationship] shall be one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31. So if the two are one flesh it is holy. But what if it is three? Is it holy then? No, it is not holy any more. It is wicked. Now let us think this through. Paul says, what I am really talking about here, when I talk about the two being one flesh, is Christ and the church.

The church is the bride of Christ. Is that what the Bible says? Yes, and Paul says, I have espoused you to how many husbands? One. God gave Adam only one wife and He gave Eve only one husband. Now the church is to be espoused to Christ and Christ says, “My kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36. What if the church that is to be espoused to Christ, instead of having her relationship totally with the Lord, develops a relationship with a civil government in this world? What then? The church has two husbands. Can you have two husbands and be holy? No. Would you agree that a woman who has two husbands is a harlot? So, anytime any church develops a union with the state, that church has become a harlot because the church is to be united with the Lord only.

Jesus is very clear about this. (See Matthew 22:21.) “They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar.” Who is Caesar? He is the state government. In those days it was the government of the whole world. Caesar had a world empire and Jesus said, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” In other words, it is lawful for you, as a Christian, to pay your taxes and to abide by the laws of Caesar. However, did Jesus make it clear that there are some things that do not belong to Caesar? Look at what the end of the text says, “And to God, the things that are God’s.” Ibid.

Are there some things that belong to God, that do not belong to Caesar? God does not forbid you, but He tells you to render to Caesar those things that belong to him. The New Testament spells out exactly what is due to the state government. (See Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2.)

As Christians we attempt to follow the Word of God and so we are loyal citizens—as long as the state government does not interfere with what belongs to God. You see, when a church unites with, and starts working through the government to get her way, she has become a harlot church. If you are in such a church and you cannot get that church to stop doing what it is doing, you are going to have to get free, or you are going to be a member of a harlot church too. You are going to be part of the harlotry, the spiritual adultery. That is the problem in the last days. (See Revelation.) The whole world is gone after this thing and the kings of the earth have committed fornication. It is not talking about physical fornication, even though there is plenty of that going on, it is talking about spiritual fornication. Spiritual fornication is when you claim that you are united with the Lord, but you are united with something else—a state government. It is union of church and state.

Separate—Dissolve all Union

“After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and adultery. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the Word of God.” The Great Controversy, 45.

“Oh, no,” someone says, “you are teaching separationism!” I just quoted it from The Great Controversy. I never cease to be amazed at how frightened people are of what they call separationism. If the early Christian church had been afraid of separationism, they would have stayed in the organization and would have wound up being part of Babylon.

When a church becomes a harlot church, you cannot stay in it, participate, support and fund it, and not be contaminated. It is like living in a commune with a group of men and women who are living together in sin. You may think you will just live there, and not participate, but you will be taken by surprise after a while.

“They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the Word of God.” Ibid. Are you and your family obedient to the Word of God? If you want to stay that way, if you want to be ready for Jesus to come, you have to separate from apostasy and not participate in it.

They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls, and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and children’s children.” Ibid. Praise the Lord there were people like this. They were from all nations. Rome became the center, and in Italy those people who could not tolerate this went into the northern part of Italy, into Milan, and later on to Deuteron, and even later into what we call the Waldensian Valley. They became the Waldenses.

The Waldenses were a group of people who actually came from many different nations, part of the true church, but they were not the only group. There were the Albagenses and Paulicians. We do not know how many Paulicians there were, but we do know, from historical records, that in the middle ages, the Paulicians were farther up in the eastern Roman Empire. We also know that during the reign of just one queen, she had one hundred thousand of them killed. So we know there were a lot of them. But they were not very many in proportion to what the whole church was, because the whole church was in the many millions.

Peace at the Sacrifice of Principles?

“To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle.” Ibid.

Oh, friend, do you have some moral principles based on the Word of God that you are not going to sacrifice, no matter what happens? I hope you do. Because if you do not, if you are willing to purchase peace by compromising, you are on a downhill run and will end up in Babylon and not even know what happened.

You may not think you will ever do that because you are part of Zion, but remember that is what all those people, who called themselves Christians, thought, and the great majority lost out. What we are talking about has caused the loss of billions of souls.

This idea of trying to keep peace by compromising your principles a little bit is dangerous. As time goes on, you have to compromise a little bit more, and a little bit more, until there is no end.

You may think that the Lord is going to sort it out when the National Sunday Law comes. The Lord is going to sort it out, all right. Do you think the people who are compromising a little bit here and there right now will, all of a sudden, turn around and go the opposite direction when the National Sunday Law comes?

Think! If we cannot stand up and not compromise the truth in a relative time of peace, what do you think we are going to do when the pressure is put on us?

Let There be Difference—Even War!

Ellen White writes about the feelings of this small, faithful few. “If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war.” Ibid.

Do you mean a Christian would say, “Let there be war?” That is exactly what it said. “Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God’s professed people.” Ibid., 46.

What were the principles that actuated these steadfast souls? They decided that they were going to absolve all union with an apostate church and would not listen to anyone that was united with the world. They would not be part of it.

Do you know what the apostate church called them, and has been calling them for over fifteen hundred years? They called them separationists!

In Vatican II, the Pope called them “separated brethren.” The Papacy is still calling them that, and they are not going to be content until they get them all back.

Who Really are the Separationists?

All Protestants are separationists according to the Pope. Who really are the separationists?

“Romanists have persisted in bringing against Protestants the charge of heresy and willful separation from the true church.” In other words, they accuse Protestants of being separationists because of willful separation from the true church. Now look at the next sentence. “But these accusations apply rather to themselves.” The Great Controversy, 51.

Who were the separationists? It was the majority, not the minority. The majority kept the church building, the pastor, the organization, the finances, the name, the collusion with the government, everything. They had worldly peace and prosperity, but Inspiration says they were the separationists.

How do you know that they were the separationists? There are two things that make a person a separationist. If these apply to you, or me, then we are separationists. But whoever they apply to, they are separationists.

They are the ones who lay down the banner of Christ and departed from the ‘faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’ Jude 3.” Ibid.

They did two things. They laid down the banner of Christ! They did that by accepting Pagan customs and teachings. They laid down the truth and picked up Pagan ideas and brought them into the church. They laid down the banner of Christ and “They departed from the faith, which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 3.”

That is why I personally like the term Historic Seventh-day Adventist, because I want the historic Seventh-day Adventist faith that the saints of all ages knew, what the pioneers of Adventism, who understood the judgment hour message, accepted.

Our Pioneers said, “We do not have any creed. The Bible is our creed.” When I was a young boy, I was taught this in the Adventist Church, and as a young preacher, I used to tell people, when I was studying the Bible with them in their homes, the Bible is the only creed that I have, and I am very sincere and I can say it in public today. I am still sincere when I say it. If you could show me anything in the Bible that is contrary to the way I am living, I am willing to change, starting today.

I want to live according to the Bible. The faith once delivered to the saints is in the Bible. The separationists are the people that lay the banner down and start following other teachings, customs, or traditions of philosophy. The separationists are the majority. The faithful few, who keep the faith that was once delivered unto the saints, are not the separationists, they are the true church.

The Future Brings the End of the Shaking

The same thing that happened back there is happening right now. Do not let somebody fool you and tell you it is going to happen some time in the future. It is going on right now. The future will not bring the beginning of the shaking, it is going to bring the end of the shaking. Are you ready?

There were a faithful few back then, and we know through prophecy (See Revelation 12:17,) there is going to be a faithful few again at the end. It says so. “The woman fled into the wilderness.” (See verse 6) It was the faithful few that fled into the wilderness.

At the end there is going to be a faithful few again, just a small group in proportion to the world’s population. Although, it will be a large group in terms of total numbers. I want to be part of 1the remnant that is talked about in Revelation 12:17, who still keep the commandments and have the testimony of Jesus. If that is what you want, and you want to dedicate your life to the Lord today, say, “Lord, whatever it takes. I am willing to go through the desperate struggle. I am willing to be called a separationist. I am willing, whatever people want to call me, I want to be part of the remnant that keep the commandments and have the faith of Jesus.” Pray and ask Him to help you be part of that group today.

An Open Letter to our Constituents

We recently received some startling information which shows, despite denials, how the General Conference is connected with the ecumenical movement today. This information came to us from one of our constituents who found it on the Internet. The General Conference may not be publishing it, but others certainly are. We are reprinting it for you, because we feel that every Seventh-day Adventist needs to be informed on the end-time issues involving their church.

Before disclosing this information, we would like to share some quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy. These are taken from Testimonies, vol. 5, 211, 212 and 214.

“The abominations for which the faithful ones were sighing and crying were all that could be discerned by finite eyes, but by far the worst sins, those which provoked the jealousy of the pure and holy God, were unrevealed.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 211.

“No superiority of rank, dignity, or worldly wisdom, no position in sacred office, will preserve men from sacrificing principle when left to their own deceitful hearts. Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous prove to be ring-leaders in apostasy and examples in indifference and in the abuse of God’s mercies. Their wicked course He will tolerate no longer, and in His wrath He deals with them without mercy. It is with reluctance that the Lord withdraws His presence from those who have been blessed with great light and who have felt the power of the word in ministering to others. They were once His faithful servants, favored with His presence and guidance; but they departed from Him and led others into error, and therefore are brought under the divine displeasure.” Ibid., 212.

“However high any minister may have stood in the favor of God, if he neglects to follow out the light given him of God, if he refuses to be taught as a little child, he will go into darkness and satanic delusions and will lead others in the same path.” Ibid., 214.

We have, in our possession, documentation for all of these statements.

Brothers and Sisters, surely our Lord must weep as He sees this wonderful movement that He called forth, clasping hands across the abyss. Pray, as you have never prayed before, that the Lord will grant spiritual eyesight to the blind. The end of all things is at hand, are we preparing to meet our Lord? Only those who are ‘sighing and crying’ over the apostasy will be saved. We need men of God who will stand in the breach and defend the honor of the Lord. Will you be one of them?

May God help us, is my prayer.

Barbara Bender, Managing Editor

The first document is entitled “Ecumenical Links, Church and Ecumenical Organizations.” It lists those churches that are affiliated with the World Council of Churches. We quote, “Christian World Communions. International organizations of churches of the same tradition or confession have been formed since the middle of the 19th century. Since 1957 there have been annual informal gatherings of the secretaries of such organizations; and it is from among the bodies represented at these meetings that this list is taken, although not all of them would define themselves as ‘Christian World Communions.’” [Emphasis supplied]. The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is listed here, as part of the “Christian World Communions!” This group works closely with the WCC.

The second document is entitled “World Council of Churches, Faith and Order, Towards a Common Date for Easter.” This document was compiled through the WCC which comprise approximately ten “participants,” including B. B. Beach and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. This document promotes Sunday worship! Item 3 says, “Besides the work already done on baptism, eucharist and ministry, the churches need to address the renewal of preaching, the recovery of the meaning of Sunday and the search for a common celebration of Pascha as ecumenical theological concerns. This last is especially urgent, since an agreement on a common date for Easter—even an interim agreement—awaits further ecumenical developments.” [Emphasis supplied]. Item 16, “This consultation also recommends that the churches now undertake a period of study and reflection towards the goal of establishing as soon as possible a common date for Easter/Pascha along the lines set forth above. In the year 2001 the paschal calculations now in use by our churches will coincide. Together, Christians will begin a new century, a new millennium, with new opportunities to witness to the resurrection of Christ and to proclaim their joy in his victory over sin, suffering and death. The unity that will be reflected as Christians celebrate Easter/Pascha on the same date will be for many a sign of hope and of witness to the world. This celebration of Easter/Pascha on the same date should not be the exception but the rule.” [Emphasis supplied]. Every Historic Seventh-day Adventist should be aware of this paper so they can share it with conference supporters.

The third document is entitled “Seventh-day Adventists Should Not be Treated as a Sect,” and is dated Geneva, 4 June 1998. This is a final report on four years worth of conversations between the Lutheran World Federation and the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This report says, in part, “…both partners recommend the mutual recognition of ‘the basic Christian commitment’ of each other’s faith communions. Both sides are urged in their public teaching and theological education to present the other faith communion’s view of church authority ‘truthfully and unpolemically’ and in a manner which corresponds to their self-understanding. …Although the four-year series of conversations is concluded, Lutherans and Adventists should ‘meet in occasional bilateral consultations.’ The theological foundations and the spiritual dimension of our observance of the day of rest ‘with particular reference to modern society,’ is a possible topic for next year.” [Emphasis supplied]. “The Lutheran/Seventh-day Adventist series of conversations began four years ago in November 1994 in Darmstadt, Germany….The fourth concluding meeting in Cartigny was co-chaired by the Adventist representative, Dr. Bert B. Beach (USA), and the Lutheran representative, the Oslo dean, Ole Chr. Kvarme. One of the highlights of this year’s consultation was the visit of President Robert S. Folkenberg of the Adventist General Conference headquartered in Maryland, USA, and of LWF General Secretary Ishmael Noko.”

The fourth and final document is called “Syrian Orthodox Leader for Cooperation with Adventists,” and is dated August 4, 1998. This document promotes unity between the Seventh-day Adventist and the Syrian Orthodox Churches. It reads, “Silver Spring, Maryland, USA (ANN/APD) Metropolitan Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim (Aleppo) of the Syrian Orthodox Church welcomed the opportunity for greater cooperation with the Seventh-day Adventist Church during a visit to the Adventist World Church Headquarters on July 2. …Responding for the Adventist Church, Gerry Karst, assistant to the president, welcomed the group from Syria, which also included Reverend Fayiz Hunain of the Presbyterian Church in Syria, as well as Razic Syriani, youth director for the Middle East Council of Churches, and Dr. Mekhael Asaad, head of the Ephraim dispensary in Aleppo. ‘We have looked forward to this meeting for a long time,’ said Karst, who previously worked in the Middle East. ‘We hope this friendship will grow as we are brothers in Christ.’ The group has visited Adventist institutions in California, Michigan, and Florida.”

Ironically, we have also received a document written by Nicolaus Gomes da Silva, bishop of the vicariate, rector of the holy Syrian Orthodox Churches [Does that name sound familiar? It is the same church the General Conference has just been hosting in Maryland, California, Michigan, and Florida.] of Antioquia in Brazil, who has the authority as a member of the association of the Catholic-Apostolic-Orthodox Churches of the West, inviting delegates to an extraordinary Synod and Council to study the “Dies Domini” letter recently written by the Pope. Just to highlight a few items in this document, Bishop da Silva states:

Item 1. “The keeping of any other day, by any other religion, without the full knowledge of the Holy Father, the Pope, cannot be tolerated

Item 3. “We cannot tolerate Jews, Sabbathkeepers, Adventists, or any other sects which do not keep the Day of the Lord, Sunday…

Item 4. “We cannot tolerate those who do not seek to understand or accept the precepts as ordained by the Holy Father, the Pope, in regards to the day of the Lord’s resurrection, Sunday…

Item 6. “We cannot tolerate any observer of another day except the holy Sunday…

Item 7. “We cannot tolerate the transgressors of the day of the Lord, Sunday, who will receive judicial penalties through the Justice of the Court, to stop and restrain the liberty of conscience of those who are disobedient and who are agitators against the law imposed by Rome…

Item 8. “Because we do not tolerate these transgressors, we will request the United States (UN), to severely punish the disobedient, who have since 1844 converted to their fold our Catholic People.…They have also attempted throughout the whole world to contradict the Holy Father, the Pope, with their spurious doctrines, like the observance of the Sabbath day and non-Immortality of the soul, the two principle pillars of their heresies.

Item 9. “Because we will not tolerate these transgressors, we will beg the authorities in the USA, to systematically dispossess these transgressors of their publishing houses, their orphanages, their hospitals, their schools, and this with the utmost expediency.” [all emphasis supplied].

The Ship

Seventh-day Adventists have always had a great appreciation for the books of Daniel and Revelation. This is because these books are books of prophecy. It is prophecy that established us as a people. It gives meaning and understanding to us concerning end-time events. Those times, when they come, will bring the world into crisis and then to an end. We have studied and studied these books until the pages have become worn. We have interpreted and re-interpreted them until it seems that nothing new could come. But in our study of these books we have, to a great extent, neglected other books, which have great prophetic relevance to us also.

One of the books to which I am referring is the book of Acts. Have you ever thought of the book of Acts as a prophetic book, which deals with end time events? Normally, we do not see this book as apocalyptic. We only see it as the history of the early Christian church. We see it recording the acts of the elders, deacons, and apostles, showing the events of how the early church got under way through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I would like to take you on a journey through a passage of Scripture, which I believe has prophetic significance. I hope by doing this, it will help you to read the book of Acts with a greater degree of interest in the future.

It is the normal understanding that as we look at a book of prophecy, that as we get closer to the end of that book, the more relevant it is to us, as far as the time is concerned. The closer we come to the end of the book of Revelation, for instance, the closer we come to the end of time and its importance to us as a people. I believe the same is true of the book of Acts. With this in mind, we want to look at the next to the last chapter, Acts 27.

Paul’s Arrest and Arraignment

The setting for this chapter centers on Paul’s arrest and arraignment before Agrippa. It is here that we have Agrippa’s famous statement, after listening to what Paul had to say, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Paul’s response was, “I would to God, that not only you, but everybody who has heard me today would be like me, except for these chains with which I am bound.” Acts 26:28, 29.

But no one was interested. Life had too much to offer. Why should they restrict themselves by becoming Christians? No, they would continue on just like they had before. But they had to deal with Paul. What are we going to do with this man? He has not committed any offense worthy of death. He has not killed anyone. He has not violated any law that we know of, and if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar, we could have set him free. (See Acts 26:31, 32.)

I will have to confess, at this point, that I do not understand everything that God does. But there is one thing that I do understand, and that is that God is working to save as many souls for the Kingdom as possible. And many times, the route that God takes is not the route that man would take to accomplish the same thing.

Here is Paul, at one time a criminal to the Kingdom of heaven, but now he is a converted man, one whose only desire is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. And it seems, as a result of that service, that he has been arrested and charged with crimes that some have deemed worthy of death.

This is the way God works many times. Whatever trial we go through, however, He has promised to be with us. Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. This was no easy occasion for Paul, but God was with him. Paul was a double prisoner. He was a prisoner of the state and a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

The reason that this event took place was so that Paul would have an opportunity to stand before the emperor of the world and confess his faith in Christ. Paul had appealed to Caesar, and it was to Caesar he would go. And so, preparations were made for the trip. Paul, along with a couple of hundred others, would make their way to Rome.

On a Ship Heading for Rome

We see in Acts 27:1, 2 that Paul is beginning his journey…on a ship taking the gospel to Rome, there to testify before the emperor of the world. As you read through this chapter, you will find some words that have been used to hold Seventh-day Adventists in bondage, which, if they are rightly understood, will free us to be and to do what God would have us to do. “Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, ‘Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.’” Acts 27:31. It is this concept that has been distorted and turned on its ear and made to say what it does not mean.

We have taken this idea of the “Ship” and applied it to the denomination, and made it out to mean that unless we stay with the denominational churches, we can never make it through. But the truth of the matter is, that the “Ship” is not the church. I hope before we are through with this article, we will be able to see this concept, and also understand what the “Ship” is.

We want to go back and look at chapter 27 now. We want to take it apart in such a way as to understand what it is saying to those of us who are living in these last days. We’ll begin with Acts 27:2. Here we are told that Paul and his fellow prisoners boarded a ship of Adramyttium. This ship was just a regular ship, which was known for its stability and its serviceability for plying the seas, carrying cargo safely to its destination. It was dependable. It had a crew who was used to all kinds of travel, experienced seafaring men, the crew had wisdom, and when the going got tough they pulled into port so that the ship, crew, and cargo were kept safe.

There were at least three on this boat who had a mission for the Lord. There was Paul, Aristarchus, and Luke. Even though Luke does not mention his own name, he is writing in the first person, so we know that he was there recording these events.

Mark it down. Any time you are traveling for the Lord, the contrary winds are going to be blowing. Have you found this to be true in your own life? The Bible says that the winds blow. Satan does not want them to arrive safely, but the boat is sound. It is a solid, seaworthy vessel. Nothing is mentioned about leaks or problems which would cause them difficulties, and so they finally arrive at Myra, a city of Lycia.

They could not go any further at that time because the wind was blowing contrary to them. They had not yet arrived at their home port. I hope you are following me here, because there are things in this narrative, which should be speaking to us.

Changing Ships in the Midst of the Journey

Now Julius, the centurion who was in charge of the prisoners, had a decision to make. He could wait to complete his journey, which might mean spending the winter in Myra, or he could catch another ship and continue on. Here is where the story begins to take on meaning for us. They left the ship that was safe and sound, the ship that would have carried them to the destination of their journey without any difficulty. They left it and they boarded another ship. Now notice, the centurion was in charge. This centurion was an agent of Rome, and he made the decision to put everyone on board another ship. It was a ship from Alexandria. (See Acts 27:6–10.)

I do not know if this has any meaning for you or not, but let me give you some background. Alexandria was a metropolis of great learning. Alexandria had universities of higher education; a place where those of a simpler education could go and become introduced to greater depths of philosophy and theories of knowledge and critical study; a place where you could learn how to question what you had been taught as truth. It was Alexandria and its universities that prepared the way for the rejection of Jesus as the Messiah at His first coming. This happened after the Babylonian captivity. The Jewish nation had learned its lesson relative to the worshipping of false gods and idols. They had been chastised so hard during this time away from their homeland, that they would never be caught again doing that which would call for such punishment. They became so repulsed by the Gentiles and their worship of false gods, that they would not even go over and tell their neighbors about the soon coming Messiah. It finally came to the place where, if they had the shadow of the unclean [Gentile] fall across them during certain times of purification, they believed themselves to be unclean.

The Church Divided

As time went on, there were various parties that developed within the church. One group was very conservative…fundamental in their beliefs. They were known as the Pharisees. They had their problems, to be sure, but it was the Pharisees who preserved what truth the church of that day had. They rejected all attempts to introduce the new theology that was running rampant in those times.

As time drew near to the birth of Jesus, there was great persecution of the Pharisees. A persecution so great, that many of them were not only kicked out of their church offices and their memberships taken away, but many of them paid the ultimate price with their lives, because they believed in standing up for the truth as they understood it.

The other main party in the church at that time was the Sadducees. This group developed about the same time as the Pharisees. They were theologically similar, but they had some very major differences. The Sadducees came into being because those who were leading out in the Jewish denomination of that day felt that the membership, and those who they were trying to win to the faith, could be better served by an educated clergy. As a result of the vote of the committee, certain ones were chosen to go to Egypt, to Alexandria, to receive the benefits of higher education. They went, and they got what they went after, and what they learned they brought back to the nation of Judah and taught to others.

First of all, they learned liberal philosophies. Where the Pharisees were fundamental, the Sadducees were liberal. They learned, what today is called higher criticism, and this led them to reject most of the Scripture. The only books they accepted were the five books of Moses.

The Sadducees had no problem being of the world. The Pharisees were called separatists. They did not believe in being of the world. They knew we had to be in the world, but not get involved in all the trappings which came with it, so, they opted for traditions instead. It was here
that they ran head long into the teachings of Jesus.

The Sadducees loved the world and all that it had to offer them. They became involved in the politics of the day. They loved to rule. They had given up most of those characteristics which made them stand out from the rest of the Jews.

If you looked at a Pharisee, you could tell that he was a Jew. With the Sadducees it was a different story. They not only wanted to be in the world, but they wanted to look like the world and be everything that the world wanted them to be. They did not want to be too peculiar. Not being peculiar called for them to give up certain fundamental doctrines for the newer theology. This meant that they would no longer believe in the resurrection of the dead. They did not believe in angels or devils, or the punishment of those who were sinners. They were progressive and modernist in their thinking.

The Sadducees were the ones who held the ruling positions in the headquarters building of the Sanhedrin when Jesus began His ministry. It was a Sadducee who stood up during the discussion about what to do with Jesus and said it is better that one man die, than the whole nation perish. The Sadducees were thoroughly soaked in their new theology which they had obtained from Alexandria, down in Egypt.

Under the Direction of Rome, They Changed Ships

We are looking at Acts 27 as prophetic instruction to us in these last days just before Jesus comes again. They had changed ships here, under the direction of the leader of Rome. They boarded a ship from Alexandria, and after they had gotten under way, Luke records for us what was going on. “Now, when much time was spent and when much sailing was not dangerous because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them and said unto them, ‘Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage.…not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.’”

Acts 27:9, 10. This is a very significant verse. Paul goes to those who are in charge and he is, we notice, very respectful. He addresses them as “Sirs.” We have taken a boat that is going to cause us damage. We are not going to come out of this thing without loss. Three things were going to be damaged. The cargo of the ship, the ship itself, and the lives of those on board.

Now, it is at this point that we need to ask, “What is the Ship?” Many have tried to convince us that the “Ship” is the denomination. If we stay with the denomination, we are going to sail right into the harbor without a scratch. Just stay with the “Ship.”

I would like to suggest to you that the “Ship” is not the denomination at all, but the “Ship” is the truth of God! Jesus is the captain of this “Ship,” and truth is what carries us along. Let me share some quotations with you which I hope will clarify this issue.

“God’s people must give to the world a representation of the character of God, in Jesus Christ. The Christian churches are fast losing their knowledge of God. His character has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. But a message has come from God which must be proclaimed. The trumpet must give a certain sound. ‘I, Jesus, have sent Mine angel to proclaim these things to the churches.’ The truth, the revelation which Jesus gave to John, must be sounded forth everywhere. ‘Lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a Shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’” Signs of the Times, December 23, 1897.

“The only way in which men will be able to stand firm in the conflict, is to be rooted and grounded in Christ. They must receive the truth as it is in Jesus. And it is only as the truth is presented thus, that it can meet the wants of the soul. The preaching of Christ crucified, Christ our righteousness, is what satisfies the soul’s hunger.” General Conference Daily Bulletin, January 28, 1893.

The truth as it is in Jesus, is what carries us along in our experience of life as we go through this world. This is the only thing that makes any sense at all. We are not to depend upon anything here in this world to carry us through the various experiences of trial and torment as we go through life—it is only Jesus. We can depend upon the truth as it is in Jesus. It is with this in mind, that this next quotation can be understood.

“There is no need to doubt, to be fearful that the work will not succeed. God is at the head of the work, and He will set everything in order…” [Who is at the head of the work? God is!] “If matters need adjusting at the head of the work, God will attend to that, and work to right every wrong. Let us have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely into port.” The Review and Herald, September 20, 1892.

The Noble “Ship” is the Truth!

The “noble ship,” which bears the people, is the truth! Nothing else can carry us into safe port, but the truth, and when we say that the “Ship” is the denomination, we have missed the whole point of what is being said. Denominations fail—the truth never fails. Men can disappoint us, but the truth never will. God will see to it. We need to get our thinking readjusted.

When we give up the words and counsels of inspiration we are going to get into trouble fast. I would like to suggest right here, that if this man from Rome had listened to Paul, they would not have had the problem that they did. (See Acts 27:11.) Even the truth, distorted as it may be, is going to run into winds designed to destroy it, and everyone who might be connected with it. Never forget that Paul is being held captive here. He is on board, but he is a prisoner bound, as it were, in chains. Unable to counsel, unable to reason, unable to take any kind of command over what is going on, the only thing left to do was to let the wind drive the ship.

Did Paul know what was going to happen? Of course he did. He told them that they would experience damage. They had changed from a sturdy ship to a ship from Alexandria. They had taken the word of Rome over the counsel of the prophet, and as they began to run into opposition because of this, they started throwing the tackling of the ship overboard. They are frantic to find a way to get out of the mess that they are in, and they do not know how. They are plunged into darkness. There is no light. They cannot tell what is going on. Theological darkness is a terrible experience to go through, but here they were, right in the midst of it all, and the situation was so bad that they thought, “This is it!” (See Acts 27:16-20.) All hope that they would be saved was taken away.

Does that say anything to us? Are we going to have an easy time of it? Are we going to sail into the harbor standing on the deck, with clowns and balloons and the band playing? I do not think that we will!

Paul begins to give them some counsel. No one is going to die, but the “ship,” the truth, is going to be broken up. I will not comment about that right now, but we will see how this works out as we continue. (See Acts:27:21, 22.)

Now they begin to listen to the prophet. We will see that counsel was the only thing which saved their lives. But when some of them saw the change in things, they wanted to abandon ship. These were not the ones in Paul’s party. They were not part of an offshoot, as such. Inspiration tells us that they were the heathen soldiers of Rome. They did not have any better wisdom than to leave. Paul tells the centurion about this, and says, “Except these abide in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Acts 27:30, 31.

Here is an important point to remember. God does not save heathens just because they follow the counsel of the prophet. Every person must have a personal relationship with Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Truth, in and of itself, does not save. It is blessed by the Holy Spirit through the born again experience. Nicodemus had the truth. He was a Pharisee, but Jesus told him he had to be born again.

Staying With the “Ship”

To just stay with the ship was not enough. Sister White tells us that if these sailors had left the ship, it was certain death for them. They could not have survived the raging sea and the rocks where they would have ended up. Paul, wanting them all to be saved from death, said what he did. Staying with the ship was important. This was designed by God for giving them one last opportunity to see His wonderful grace. But seeing it still meant that they had to make their own decisions, not corporately, but individually!

In 1904, when the Alpha of apostasy was raging, Ellen White went to bed one night and God gave her a vision. She tells it this way, “A vessel was upon the waters in a heavy fog. Suddenly the lookout cried, ‘Iceberg just ahead!’ There towering high above the ship was a gigantic iceberg.
An authoritative voice cried out, ‘Meet it!’ There was not a moments hesitation.…The engineer put on full steam, and the man at the wheel steered the ship straight into the iceberg.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 205-208.

Under normal circumstances, if you tried that, you would go down for sure, but not with God. She says that the ship hit that iceberg with a tremendous crash, and it split the iceberg in such a way that ice thundered down upon the deck of the ship. The ship rebounded from the contact and was trembling like a living creature. It was damaged, but there were no lives lost, and it went right on through and kept on its course. Ibid.

The Iceberg of Error

Do you know what the iceberg represents? It represents error. What did the ship represent? The ship represents the truth. This comes through as you read the whole story. The ship had to meet error. The truth came into collision with error. Did the ship suffer some damage? Yes, it did, but she said that it survived. The “Ship” is the truth.

Paul and his shipmates’ problems were not over yet. It would take everyone at this point in time, working together, to pull this thing off. God makes it very plain, through inspiration, that the heathen will be used of God to further His cause, and here is another instance of it. They had been fasting, not eating anything, and now the time had come to take on some nourishment for what was just ahead. I believe this is prophetic. I believe we will experience this same thing before Jesus comes.

The Alexandrian ship had to lighten its load. That which had been taken on board, believing that it would be so profitable, now had to be abandoned, thrown overboard. The only way for truth to survive as truth, is to throw out all error. Cast it overboard, and then pray for God’s help.

I want to point out something else here. They began to cast out the ship’s load during the hours of darkness. That is when the search for truth seems to become the greatest. It is when it is the darkest. But even though they lightened the ship, they were still in a great deal of trouble. The darkness was beginning to give itself over to the light of day. Still, no one knew if they would be saved, even with all of the effort that had been put forth. (See Acts 27:33–38.) There comes a time when we have to take the words of the prophet, that we will make it through, by sheer faith. Pull the anchors, hoist the mainsail, and head for shore. (See Acts 27:39–40.)

This is going to be one of the most severe tests we ever endure at the time of the end. The Bible says that the just shall live by faith. It is not going to be because we have a clear picture before us. No! We are going to have to live by faith, because God said it.

The Broken “Ship” of Truth—A LifeSaver

And so, they hoist the sail and head for land. But notice what happens in Acts 27: 41–44. The ship runs aground. The truth is going to have to go through some terrible times. It is not going to go down to the bottom of the sea, but it will suffer some damage. The truth has already suffered damage. The only thing that went down to the bottom was the cargo and tackle. The ship, even though it was broken up, still served as a lifesaver to those who were willing to cling to it and who could not swim on their own.

What would have happened if no one listened to Paul, if his words fell on deaf ears? Evidently he made such an impression on the centurion, that this man from Rome was compelled, against the provision of the law, not to kill his prisoners. He spared their lives, and they all escaped to the safety of land. (See Acts 27:42–44.)

As we read this story, which I feel is prophetic, there is certainly enough here for us to make some intelligent decisions.

The “Ship” is not the denomination. The “Ship” is not even the people. The “Ship” is the truth of God, and it is this noble truth of God, which carries the people of God safely into port. The truth, as it is in Jesus, is the only thing, dear people, to which we need cling; we must cling, as we enter the raging seas of these last days. My prayer is that we will have the strength to cling to him in all things.

The Final Atonement – Conclusion

In our previous articles we looked at Pioneer Adventist teaching on the Final Atonement. This final article considers Contemporary Adventist teaching.

Erroneous Contemporary Adventist Teaching On the Final Atonement

Satan knew that to ensure victory in his battle plan against the Seventh-day Adventist truth, he must influence the leaders and teachers of the Church to falsify historical documents and to even lie about doctrinal positions once held by the pioneers of the Advent movement. Again we ask, how can we know what is the real truth when historical teachings have been falsified by modern teachers, ministry and church leaders?

“We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history,” Ellen White replies in Life Sketches, 196. “…the value of the evidences of truth that we have received during the past half century, is above estimate.” Review and Herald, April 19, 1906.

In 1957, the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church published their position on the “final atonement” in Ministry magazine, official organ to the ministry of the church. In this editorial, Roy Allen Anderson, then editor of Ministry magazine and Ministerial Secretary of the General Conference, stated that “the sacrificial act of the cross (was) a perfect, complete, and final atonement.” Ministry, February, 1957.

Is this statement in harmony with the article written by Crosier, endorsed by the Spirit of God, and taught by pioneer Adventists for over 100 years? No, it is not. “…Jesus entered the most holy of the heavenly, at the end of the 2300 days of Daniel 8, in 1844, to make a final atonement,” Ellen White replies. Spiritual Gifts, vol. I, 161, 162. In opposition to pioneer teaching, some leaders of the contemporary church say, “No, the sacrificial act of the cross was a perfect, complete, and final atonement.”

In the “official” book, “Seventh-day Adventists Answer, Questions on Doctrine, also published in 1957, can be found the following statement on the final atonement: “Adventists do not hold any theory of a duel atonement.” Representative Group of Seventh-day Adventists, Questions on Doctrine, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington D.C., 390. (emphasis theirs.) This book was endorsed by the highest authority of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Is this statement, by the highest authority of the contemporary Seventh-day Adventist Church, in harmony with the position held by Crosier, Ellen White and the pioneer Adventists? Not at all!

“But again, they say the atonement is made and finished on Calvary, when the Lamb of God expired…so the churches and world believes; but it is none the more true or sacred on that account.” Crosier replies. Day-Star, Extra, February 7, 1846.

“When, therefore, one hears an Adventist say, or reads in Adventist literature—even in the writings of Ellen G. White—that Christ is making atonement now,” contemporary church leadership concludes, “it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement He made on the cross.” Representative Group of Seventh-day Adventists, Questions on Doctrine, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington D.C., 354. (emphasis theirs.)

This was the official position of the church in 1957. Is this position still held today by the Seventh-day Adventist Church? Yes, it is. Note carefully the following statement from the official Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual.

Current Heretical Statements

“In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God’s law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness….The resurrection of Christ proclaims God’s triumph over the forces of evil, and for those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 1986, 25.

Is the “official” statement in the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual in harmony with the original statement written by Crosier? No, it is not. Is it in harmony with the writings of Ellen White? No, a thousand times no! “The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 357.

“There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man,” contemporary SDA Church leadership states. “In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross.” Seventh-day Adventists Believe…27 Fundamental Doctrines, 1988, 312.

These statements, beyond question, confirm the erroneous idea that the atonement was finished and completed on the cross. The contemporary church leadership say “the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross.”

“No, brethren, that is not the truth,” Ellen White would reply if she were alive today. “This teaching is one of the errors of Babylon.” How do we know Ellen White would speak thus? Because her writings speak thus. Note the following statement:

“The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin, it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 357.

This “new theology” first began to be taught in 1957, after more than 100 years of the existence of the Advent truth as taught by Ellen White and pioneer Adventists! Where is the proof of this statement? In the year 1952 the truth of the final atonement finalized in the heavenly sanctuary was still being taught by the Editor-in-Chief of the Review and Herald.

“Of those who charge us with teaching strange doctrines because we believe that Christ’s work of atonement for sin was begun rather than completed on Calvary, we ask these questions: If complete and final atonement was made on the cross for all sins, then will not all be saved? for Paul says that He ‘died for all.’ Are we to understand you as being Universalists? ‘No,’ you say, ‘not all men will be saved.’ Well, then, are we to understand that you hold that Christ made complete atonement on the cross for only a limited few, and that His sacrifice was not world embracing, but only partial? That would be predestination in its worst form.” Francis D. Nichol, Answers to Objections, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1952 edition, 408.

Ballenger’s Heresy Now Accepted By the Contemporary SDA Church

Satan has been very clever in his last-day deceptions. However, he made a serious blunder in 1905 when he directed his first assault on the “final atonement” phase of the sanctuary truth. His great mistake was the timing—the messenger of the Lord was still alive!

“There was in their midst one through whom the Spirit of God was able to point out what was truth and what was error.” E. E. Andross wrote. E. E. Andross, Bible Study, No. II, July 13, 1911, 14.

What erroneous concepts did A. F. Ballenger teach on the sanctuary truth? We must know, because Satan has introduced the same erroneous concepts again into the Seventh-day Adventist Church and because we have been admonished that we should not “forget how the Lord has led us, and His teaching, in our past history.” Life Sketches, 196.

Elder E. W. Farnsworth, who was also working in England with Ballenger and Andross at the time, reported on Ballenger’s erroneous teachings in a letter addressed “to the General Conference president, who in turn conveyed
the information to W. C. White on
March 16, 1905.” Arthur L. White, EGW: The Early Elmshaven Years, vol. 5, 407:

“There was another feature of the meeting which was really sad to me. Brother Ballenger has got into a condition of mind which would seem to me to unfit him entirely to preach the message. He has been studying the subject of the sanctuary a good deal lately, and he comes to the conclusion that the atonement was made when Christ was crucified and that when He ascended He went immediately into the Most Holy Place and that His ministry has been carried on there ever since.” Ibid.

Notice the three heretical concepts of Ballenger’s teaching.

  1. The atonement was made when Christ was crucified,
  2. and that when He ascended He went immediately into the Most Holy Place,
  3. and that His ministry has been carried on there ever since.

Astounding! This is exactly the teaching of the “new” theology currently devastating the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This erroneous concept is entirely at odds with the historic teaching of pioneer Adventists. Moreover, this teaching is in opposition to the Spirit of Prophecy.

“He [Ballenger] sees clearly that his view cannot be made to harmonize with the testimonies,” Farnsworth wrote in his letter, “at least he admits freely that he is totally unable to do so.” Ibid.

Farnsworth stated further that, in his own mind, Ballenger felt that “there is an irreconcilable difference” between his theories and Ellen White. “This, of course, involves the authenticity of the Testimonies and practically upsets them,” Farnsworth concluded. Ibid.

“Farnsworth reported that a number of Adventist ministers in Great Britain were taking up these new views on the sanctuary, and confusion was coming in,” Arthur White observed. He stated further that, “Early in the 1905 session Ballenger laid before the leading brethren what he felt was new light, but they were unable to accept his reasoning and pointed out the errors in his application of Scripture.” Ibid.

Ellen White’s Reply To Ballenger’s Teaching

What did Ellen White think of this “new theology” presented by A. F. Ballenger? What did she think of the erroneous concept that “the atonement was made when Christ was crucified and that when He ascended He went immediately into the most holy place and that His ministry has been carried on there ever since?” Did she have any light from heaven on the subject? What would she say if this erroneous concept was taught today?

It will be one of the great evils that will come to our people to have the Scriptures taken out of their true place and so interpreted as to substantiate error that contradicts the light and the Testimonies that God has been giving us for the past half century,” Ellen White replied to Ballenger. “I declare in the name of the Lord that the most dangerous heresies are seeking to find entrance among us as a people, and Elder Ballenger is making spoil of his own soul.” Manuscript Release, S 59, 1905. (For further EGW statements on the teachings of A. F. Ballenger, see Christ In His Sanctuary, 3-18).

“There is not truth in the explanations of Scripture that Elder Ballenger and those associated with him are presenting,” Ellen White cautioned. “I am instructed to say to Elder Ballenger, your theories, which have multitudes of fine threads, and need so many explanations, are not truth, and are not to be brought to the flock of God.” Ibid.

The attack of Satan on the sanctuary truth at that time came to naught because the Messenger of the Lord was alive and confronted the false doctrine. However, today Ellen White is no longer with the Church. As Israel of old, we only have the writings of the prophet. Has the Seventh-day Adventist Church fallen for the old erroneous concepts of Ballenger? Although Ellen White had warned that these dangerous concepts “are not to be brought to the flock of God,” that is exactly what has been promoted by the “new” theology.

Contemporary Scholars Endorse Ballenger’s Theories

In 1981 Roy Adams, currently assistant editor of the Adventist Review, wrote his Doctoral Dissertation at Andrews University. Adams wrote on the sanctuary doctrinal positions held by Uriah Smith, M. L. Andreason, and A. F. Ballenger. Notice carefully the following conclusion by Roy Adams on the position held by A. F. Ballenger:

“Ballenger’s treatment of Hebrews 6:19,20 is so strong, exegetically, that it has to be regarded as a significant movement towards a closer affinity to the biblical testimony in regard to the meaning of the phrase ‘within the veil.’ His argumentation, based as it was on solid scriptural indications, far surpassed the value of [Uriah] Smith’s on the same point. And inasmuch as the two positions were diametrically opposed to each other, Ballenger’s is to be preferred. Roy Adams, The Sanctuary Doctrine, “Three Approaches in the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” Andrews University Seminary Doctoral Dissertation Series, Andrews University Press, 1981, 245.

Notice that Roy Adams, speaking for contemporary Seventh-day Adventist theologians, states that Ballenger’s treatment of Scripture “is so strong,” and “that it has to be regarded as a significant movement towards a closer affinity to the biblical testimony.” On this point Adams concluded that Ballenger’s argumentations are “based as it was on solid scriptural indications.” Amazing! This man is currently the assistant editor of the Adventist Review, and will probably be the next Chief Editor.

“None of the figures [Smith, Andreason, Ballenger] appreciated the full implications of Hebrews 6:19,20,” Roy Adams concluded, “but it was Ballenger who came closest to recognizing it.” Ibid., 246.

“Now again our Brother Ballenger is presenting theories that cannot be substantiated by the Word of God,” Ellen White replies to Roy Adams’ statement. “It will be one of the great evils that will come to our people to have the Scriptures taken out of their true place and so interpreted as to substantiate error that contradicts the light and the Testimonies that God has been giving us for the past half century.” Manuscript Release, 59s, 1905, 409.

“Ballenger’s stress on the atonement at the cross and on Christ’s entry into the most holy place at His ascension,” Adams stated, “may be retained and shown to be compatible with the notion of an antipical day of atonement commencing in 1844.…” Ibid., 255.

In a biography of M. L. Andreason, is a publishers note which erroneously states, “While denominational literature has adopted the phrase `the benefits of His atonement,’ every effort is put forth to make clear to the world that Seventh-day Adventists believe that an important part of the atonement is taking place in the heavenly sanctuary.” Virginia Steinweg, Without Fear or Favor, 1979, Review and Herald Publishing Company, 183. This statement is just not true.

Seventh-day Adventist Church literature does not make “every effort. . .to make clear to the world that Seventh-day Adventists believe that an important part of the atonement is taking place in the heavenly sanctuary.” The heresy has been advanced in the new 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs.

Uriah Smith Again the Scapegoat

Once more we have come full circle. Notice how Roy Adams, in his effort to present Ballenger’s theories as truth, downgrades Uriah Smith: “His [Ballenger’s] argumentation, based as it was on solid scriptural indications, far surpassed the value of Smith’s on the same point.”

Roy Adams admits that Ballenger and Smith were at opposite ends of theology on the sanctuary doctrine, “And inasmuch as the two positions were diametrically opposed to each other…” The truth is that Ballenger was “diametrically opposed” to all pioneer Adventists. Indeed, E. E. Andross, who had worked with Ballenger in England, stated that, “He [Ballenger] sees clearly that his view cannot be made to harmonize with the Testimonies, at least he admits freely that he is totally unable to do so.” Even Ballenger himself had stated that “there is an irreconcilable difference” between his theories and Ellen White. E. E. Andross, Bible Study, No. II, July 13, 1911, 13.

Then Roy Adams, completely disregarding Spirit of Prophecy counsel, states that “Ballenger’s [position] is to be preferred,” to that of Uriah Smith. Adams could have chosen any other pioneer Adventist instead of Uriah Smith as an example of pioneer Adventist teaching on the sanctuary, because Uriah Smith’s writings on the subject are in perfect harmony with O. R. L. Crosier, James White, J. N. Andrews and others.

Notice that not one statement by Uriah Smith was quoted in our presentation of pioneer Adventist teachings on the sanctuary. Many of Smith’s statements could have been used to verify his unanimity with other pioneer Adventists. This was not necessary. Any serious research of Adventist history can plainly establish that Smith’s writings on the sanctuary are in perfect unanimity with those of his peers. Indeed, Roy Adams, in his conclusion, admits that there is little difference between Uriah Smith, M. L. Andreason, J. N. Andrews, and other pioneer Adventists. He champions the fact that there was a “radical departure in the area of the sanctuary” from pioneer writers such as Smith, Andrews, White, and Andreason.

“Ballenger’s radical departure in the area of the sanctuary was of immense significance to the purpose of this study,” Adams admits. The Sanctuary Doctrine, 256.

“But while it would be impossible to synthesize the sanctuary theology of these three figures [Uriah Smith, A. F. Ballenger, M. L. Andreason] into a unified whole, it is feasible to build a contemporary Adventist theology of the sanctuary, using their insights, however diverse they are in some points,” Adams reasons. “Such an eclectic approach would need to discard or modify some features while retaining others with profit.” Ibid., 255.

This is the real problem with contemporary Adventist scholarship. They wish to teach truth mixed with error. Why? Because Adventist leadership aspires to join the great Ecumenical movement sweeping the world. They wish to be considered “Christian brethren” by the fallen churches of Babylon!

Roy Adams’ Erroneous Conclusion

“Clearly, this does not mean that Adventism may not learn a great deal from the issues Ballenger raised and championed,” Adams concluded. “His many positive contributions to the theology of the sanctuary have already been noted.” Ibid., 256.

There is not truth in the explanations of Scripture that Elder Ballenger and those associated with him [Roy Adams] are presenting,” Ellen White cautioned. “I am instructed to say to Elder Ballenger [and Roy Adams], ‘Your theories, which have multitudes of fine threads, and need so many explanations, are not truth, and are not to be brought to the flock of God.’” Manuscript Release, 59s, 1905.

“Within the Veil”

In his statement, Roy Adams concluded that, “Ballenger’s treatment of Hebrews 6:19,20 is so strong, exegetically, that it has to be regarded as a significant movement towards a closer affinity to the biblical testimony in regard to the meaning of the phrase `within the veil.’” The Sanctuary Doctrine, 245. As seen before, Ballenger believed that, at His ascension, and not in 1844, Christ entered directly into the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary to perform the second phase of His priestly ministry. Pioneer Adventists believed and taught that Christ did not go into the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary until October 22, 1844, at the end of the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14. Contrary to pioneer Adventists, contemporary Seventh-day Adventists teach that all of heaven is a sanctuary, and that “there is no veil at all in heaven— and all of heaven is a Most Holy Place!” (Garry F. Williams, in a sermon at a major Seventh-day Adventist Church). If you ask a contemporary Seventh-day Adventist minister or theologian he will tell you there is no veil in heaven, no two compartments in the heavenly sanctuary. Some may deny that this is what they believe, but they do believe this to be true. They really do not believe in a literal heavenly Sanctuary, but that “all of heaven is a sanctuary and a Most Holy Place.” Ibid. Indeed, contemporary Adventist literature (and the official 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs), since the Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56, state that Christ is now ministering “the benefits of His atonement which He made on the cross.”

“I declare in the name of the Lord that the most dangerous heresies are seeking to find entrance among us as a people, and Elder Ballenger is making spoil of his own soul,” Ellen White warned. “Your theories…are not truth, and are not to be brought to the flock of God.” Manuscript Release, 59s, 1905.

“It will be one of the great evils that will come to our people,” Ellen White predicted, “to have the Scriptures taken out of their true place and so interpreted as to substantiate error that contradicts the light and the Testimonies that God has been giving us for the past half century.” Ibid.

“Let us all cling to the established truth of the sanctuary,” Ellen White concluded. Ibid. In 1905 this “truth of the sanctuary” would be the “established truth” presented by Crosier, James White, and other pioneer Adventists.

The contemporary Church is now teaching the false doctrines on the sanctuary that were first introduced by A. F. Ballenger. On the First Angel’s Message, the sanctuary truth, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is now in apostasy. How the Lord will choose to deal with the Church and this apostasy is a frightening possibility. Is it any wonder that Ellen White, commenting on this “Omega of Apostasy” stated that, “I tremble for our people.” Sermons and Talks, 341.

(All emphasis supplied by the author.)