The book of Micah is a beautiful book. Micah lived about 700 B.C. At this time, the Children of Israel had been living in the Land of Canaan for about 700 years and were well established. Israel was all still intact. They thought that as God’s people, He would always preserve them. After all, there were no other people on earth who were preaching the truth. If they were wiped out, who would God have? They were the depositors, as Paul says, of the oracles of God.

In Micah 3:11 God, through the prophet says, “Her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay.” They were making a comfortable, secure living in the priesthood. “And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord. . .” Does anyone like to be used? We do not like to be used, but how often we are tempted to use God. The Children of Israel used God. They leaned on Him to their advantage. “We are His people. We do not have to listen or obey Him, but He must take care of us. He has promised us things and we are going to hold Him to those promises. All nations will be blessed through us.” They knew everything was not right, politics had entered the church, but they reasoned if there was anything wrong at the head of the church, God would right it.

God’s church was going through. Through conniving or politics or however else the leaders happened to get at the head of God’s church—since they were on top of the heap that was going through, they thought they were going to succeed, too. All they had to do was stay on top. “Are we not God’s people? therefore, no harm can come to us.” “Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest.” Micah 3:12. Because of this attitude, because of you who are entrenched in your offices, because of you leaders of the people who are working for pay instead of for a calling, Jerusalem will be devastated, will be plowed like a field and be left destroyed.

Micah 4:3 says, “Then they will cry to the Lord, but He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, because they have been evil in their deeds.” It is a hard thing for us to admit that God is not dependent upon us. Somehow we are determined that God has to be dependent on us. It is true, God wants to use us and it is even true that God has made His work dependent on some men, somewhere. God has suffered many losses because people have been untrue. He could have, many times, sent angels to do the work, but He has left it in the hands of men, and many times, unfaithful men.

And yet, never has God made His work entirely dependent upon people and never has He made it dependent upon any certain group of people. Hosea, a contemporary of Micah, says, “I will say to those who were not My people. ‘You are My people!’ ” Hosea 2:23. John the Baptist said, “God can raise up children to Himself from these stones. Do not think that He is dependent on you.” One of the most dangerous philosophies for the church, is to come to the place where we think that because we are God’s church , He is dependent on us. It is deadly and it destroyed the Children of Israel. Because they thought God was dependent upon them, the Children of Israel continued to carry out their ceremonies, rituals, and forms of worship. As apostasy deepened, the forms of worship increased. Their professions increased while their morality decreased.

Micah, in chapter 6, verse 6 speaking for the people says, “With what shall I come before the Lord, . . . Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?” Do you know why God required calves a year old? Because He did not want them to get the use out of them and then give them when they were old. A year old calf was a real sacrifice. “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” Isaiah, descibes what the people were saying in chapter 58, “Look God, we have done everything. We have fasted. We have come with our sackcloth and ashes and we have given offerings and tithes and we have worshipped and come before You day after day and You do not hear. How come?” Isaiah answers, “It is because your sins have hid His face from you.”

Buying God

How does mankind come to the place where he thinks he can do things to buy God’s love? God requires a change of character. Can we do something to buy our way into heaven? Can we attend enough meetings to somehow appease God, as though He needed appeasing? Can we give enough offerings, enough tithe, or fast long enough?

There is nothing we can do to atone for our sins but accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus. However, there is a condition. Jesus said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.” John 3:3. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9. Is that a fair condition? God says, “You cannot claim Me as your Lord unless you allow Me to come into your life.”

The Children of Israel leaned on the Lord, but did not want Him to come into their lives or to be subject to Him. Why? They were afraid He might change their lives and we do not want to be changed because we like the way we are. That is why the Bible says, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17. By faith, we know that God loves us and He will do nothing but what is for our own good. By faith, we know that God’s way brings peace and joy and happiness even though it may not look like it to the natural eye. “In the world,” Jesus said, “you will have tribulation.” John 16:33. You may suffer persecution for keeping the Sabbath. You may suffer loss of job, or be unpopular. Even family members may turn against you. But, by faith, we know that while we suffer persecution on the outside, God has promised to give us peace, joy, and happiness on the inside.

Now the Children of Israel asked Micah, “Doesn’t God want us to worship Him? Doesn’t He want our calves of a year old? What about our sacrifices of oil and calves and our convocations and our ceremonies and all these other things?” The gist of Micah’s answer is, “Unless these ceremonies are bringing you closer to God in character, why do them?” (See Micah 6:6–8.)

The Scribes and Pharisees read the Scriptures daily and Jesus said, “You study the Scriptures every day and they teach of Me and yet you refuse to come to Me.” (See John 5:39.) They went to church, they fasted, they gave, they prayed and they even kept the Sabbath of the Lord, but they were lost. They fooled everyone into thinking they were religious and yet, there was one thing they never did. They never surrendered or accepted the way God had worked out for them. God’s way involved the cross. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24

We must be broken on the Rock and yield completely to the Lord. I must come to the place where I am willing to yield all sin. But someone says, “I am not willing. So what do I do?” We are told if we pray, “Lord, make me willing to be made willing,” The Mount of Blessings, 142. He will do that. God will begin to work on our heart. God says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” Ezekiel 33:11

The Lord through Micah gives promises to encourage us in this work of surrendering. “Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; and I will receive His righteousness.” Micah 7:7–9

Promises and Warnings

God is merciful, yet the Children of Israel used these promises of God’s love and grace and goodness as excuses for sin. That is dangerous and presumptive. They said, “God is going to save us anyway. He will correct all our iniquity. Do not criticize. Do not cry aloud. Just trust in the Lord.”

“Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who make my people stray; who chant ‘Peace’” Micah 3:5. Why were they crying peace? Because they thought they were standing on the promises of the Lord. They said, “Peace! Everything is going to be all right. God’s going to see us through.” God said, “While they chew with their teeth, but who prepare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths.” Ibid. God was putting nothing in their mouth. “Therefore you shall have night without vision, and you shall have darkness with divination; the sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be dark for them. So the seers shall be ashamed, and the diviners abashed; indeed they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer from God. But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.” Micah 3:6–8. But they said, “Don’t do that. Just say peace. Stand on the promises of God.” (See Jeremiah 6:14 and Desire of Ages, 106.)

True prophets were not prophets of peace. They gave good courage and promises on condition of obedience, but they also warned against iniquities. These prophecies of Micah are given for today. Notice Micah 4:1, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days . . .” In Micah 4:6, 7, it says, “’In that day,’ says the Lord, ‘I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast and those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; so the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever.’” God has promised, in the last days, to gather the outcasts of Israel and to make of them a remnant.

The Remnant—His Church

Have we learned the lessons from Micah? Are we today in danger of crying “Peace! Peace!” when there is no peace? Or are we in danger of trying to appease God and earn our way into His favor? Are we standing on promises to our own destruction, not fulfilling the conditions? “Sins exist in the church that God hates, but they are scarcely touched for fear of making enemies. Opposition has risen in the church to the plain testimony. Some will not bear it. They wish smooth things spoken unto them.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 283, 284

“Just as long as God has a church, he will have those who will cry aloud and spare not, [like Micah] who will be his instruments to reprove selfishness and sins, and will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, whether men will hear or forbear. I saw that individuals would rise up against the plain testimonies It does not suit their natural feelings. They would choose to have smooth things spoken unto them, and have peace cried in their ears. I view the church in a more dangerous condition than they ever have been. Experimental religion is known but by a few. The shaking must soon take place to purify the church.” Ibid. The remnant in the last days are going to be made up of the poor, blind, lame and halt. “In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient and independent of God and He cannot use them. But the Lord has faithful servants who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal, but it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior that the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. Chaff like a cloud will be blown away on the wind even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but who are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness will appear in the shame of their own nakedness.” Testimonies to the Church, vol. 8, 80, 81

That was the message of Micah. God’s people are in danger of trusting in being God’s people. “We are the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.” And yet, being the temple of the Lord, they have not developed a Christian character. God says He will destroy them, but a remnant will be left of poor and humble people. The promises in Micah are made to the remnant, “I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the [what?] remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make a loud noise because of so many men.” Micah 2:12. “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the [who?] remnant of His heritage?” Micah 7:18. The remnant is going to increase, people will come in, but it is only going to be a remnant of the Children of Israel.

“‘In that day,’ says the Lord,‘I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast and those whom I have afflicted.’” Micah 4:6. There is coming a time when God will mold together a remnant. They are going to cry and be heard from one end of the earth to the other. It is described as three angels flying in the midst of the heavens with a fourth angel giving them power and that the earth was lightened with its glory. Then it is that God is going to receive the glory. Man’s wisdom will be made of none effect.

Many people are not going to be satisfied with this because God alone will receive the glory. All of man’s glory will be made of none effect. Look at Micah 4:9. “Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in your midst? Has your counselor perished? For pangs have seized you like a woman in labor.” People are going to be crying, “Look, we do not have any more kings in our midst. Where are our great counselors? They seem to be gone.” But it is at that time that Jesus will take charge of the church. It is that time that He and the Holy Spirit will receive the glory and He will be the head of the church. What God is looking for today is to become the head of His people. He wants to pour out upon His people, His Spirit. If we will yield ourselves to His character, to His Spirit, to His leading and guiding, God is willing to take charge of the church for His name’s honor and glory.

Today the Lord is inviting us to turn from the strongholds of men to the strongholds of God. May we each have the privilege to be among His remnant in that day when the Lord’s word will go forth with power to the world and He will come to judge the nations in truth and righteousness.

The End

Children’s Story – The Christian Dog

Born a Jewish lad in Bavaria, Germany, in 1796, Joseph Wolff, at the age of thirteen, embraced the Christian faith and was cast out by his family. Always seeking knowledge, he became one of the most learned men of his time. Not only did he have a knowledge of twenty-seven languages, in addition to many dialects, but he was a scholar in the sacred literature of Jews, Mohammedans, and Christians.

In 1831, the same year that William Miller began to preach, Joseph Wolff set out for a journey to Bokhara in the heart of Asia. It was very wild country, with a savage king. When they were about half way to Bokhara, his companions came to him and said: “Hadji Wolff [hadji means holy man], we are now coming to a very dangerous city, the city of Burchund. They will never allow a Christian within its walls. If they discover one, they will put him to death. Yet we must pass through Burchund to go to Bokhara.”

They decided that they would time their arrival to enter the city just as the gates were closing at sundown. If they were careful, they believed that they could stay at an inn, leaving in the morning as soon as the gates opened without attracting any attention.

The next morning they left the city without incident, believing that they had safely passed the city and that all danger was past; but this was not the case. Though Wolff had kept in the background, though he was dressed like all of those around him and could speak the language, there is something that Christians cannot hide; in their language and actions, they are like Jesus.

Someone suspected Wolff; and after he had left, this person went to the ameer, the ruler of the city, and told him: “Do you know that there was a Christian dog within the city of Burchund this night? He is on his way to Bokhara, and has left unpunished.”

The ameer immediately sent armed horsemen to bring Joseph back. By the end of the day, they had overtaken Wolff. Dragging him from his horse, they forced him to walk all of the way back to Burchund. When they arrived, Wolff, bruised and worn, was given no rest. The ameer called his counselors around him in his council chamber. They brought Wolff in, and standing him before them, began asking questions.

“What is your name?”

“It is Joseph Wolff.”

“Where do you come from?”

“I come from the great kingdom of England.”

“How far is that?”

“In a direct line, through Constantinople and then by land, it is seven thousand miles; but as I have come, it is fifteen thousand miles.”

“And where do you go?”

“I go to the kingdom and city of Bokhara.”

“For what purpose?”

“I go to find my people, the Jews, and to carry to them the glorious message of a soon-coming Saviour, even Jesus Christ the mighty, Who shall bring judgment to the good and the evil and restore all things in perfectness, as at the beginning.”

The ameer, astonished that anyone would confess Christ when such a confession meant death, exclaimed in amazement, “You are a Christian, then?”

Wolf replied, “I am a humble follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Still more amazed, the ameer asked, “Why do you mind what they believe in Bokhara? Why do you not stay at home with your family, eat, drink, and be merry?”

To this Wolff replied, quoting first a Mohammedan poet: “Sadi says, ‘The world, O brother, remains not to anyone. Fix therefore thy heart on the Creator of the world, and it shall be well with thee.’ I have found out by the reading of this Book, and he held out his Bible, that one can bind one’s heart to God only by believing in Jesus; and believing this, I am like one who walks in a beautiful garden and smells the odor of the roses and hears the warbling of the nightingales; and I do not like to be the only one so happy. Therefore I go about the world inviting others to walk with me arm in arm in that same beautiful garden.”

When they heard this, all the room rose as one man, clapping their hands and crying, “A holy man! A holy man! Drunk with the love of God! Sit down! Read to us from your Book.”

Suddenly, by the wisdom of the reply that God had given him, Wolff’s state was changed from that of a prisoner about to be condemned to death as a “Christian dog,” to that of an honored guest.

Wolff opened his Bible to Isaiah and to the Gospels and read to them the prophecies and stories of Jesus: how He was born a babe in Bethlehem while the shepherds watched and the angels sang; how as He grew up He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; how wicked men took Him and slew Him upon the cross on Calvary, but God raised Him from the dead on the third day; how He ascended to heaven, where He now sits on the right hand of the throne of God, soon to come as a glorious King and bring his reward to the faithful and His judgment to the wicked. At last, overcome with weariness, he could go on no longer.

They then asked him if he had any more Books like the one from which he was reading. “Oh, yes,” Wolff replied, “I have many of them.” He sent his servant, who returned with armloads of books. Wolff gave a Bible to all of the men in the room, who were, perhaps, the only men in the whole city who could read.

They then said to him, “Hadji, Wolff, you cannot leave us now. You must stay with us and teach us.” For two whole weeks Wolff stayed with them and taught them. When at last he said that he must go on his journey, they brought him in honor to the gate of their city, the ameer and all of his chief men accompanying him, to bid him farewell. They loaded him with gifts; and as he departed they cried; “God go with you! Allah be with you, Hadji Wolff. You came to us. We thought that you were an enemy, but God has shown us that you are our friend; for you are a man who is drunk with the love of God!”

Sanctuary, part 2

The priesthood of the worldly Sanctuary of the first covenant belonged to the sons of Levi; but that of the heavenly, of the better covenant, to the Son of God. He fulfills both the priesthood of Melchisedec and Aaron. In some respects, the priesthood of Christ resembles that of Melchisedec, and in others that of Aaron or Levi. 1.) He was “made an High Priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec.” Taxis, rendered order, properly signifies “series, succession.” Christ, like Melchisedec, had no priestly descent of pedigree; (See Hebrews 7:3 [margin] i.e.) he never followed nor will have a successor in office; and “because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable Priesthood,” (which passeth not from one to another; margin.) Verse 24. The priesthood of Levi to be continuous had many and a succession of priests, “because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death.” Verse 23. 2.) Being after the order of Melchisedec, He is superior to the sons of Levi because he blessed and received tithes from them in Abraham. Verses 1, 7, 9, 10. 3.) He is King and Priest; a King by birth, being from the tribe of Judah, and a Priest by the oath of His Father. Verses 14, 21. 4.) Being Himself perfect, and His priesthood unending, He is able to “perfect forever” and “save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Verse 25. He was not called after the order of Aaron, i.e. not in his succession but this does not at all prove that the priesthood of Aaron was not typical of the priesthood of Christ. Paul distinctly shows that it is.

1.) After calling upon us to “consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession (religion), Christ Jesus,” he lays the foundation of the investigation by drawing the analogy between Moses over his house (olkos, people) and Christ over His (Hebrews 3:1-6), and says: “Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after.” This clearly shows that the Mosaic economy was typical of the divine. 2.) He shows that He was called of God to be an High Priest “as was Aaron,” Hebrews 5:1-5. 3.) Like Aaron and his sons, He took upon Him flesh and blood, the seed of Abraham, “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” was made “perfect through suffering,” and “in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren; that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:4. 4.) Both were ordained for men in things pertaining to God: that (they might) offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” Hebrews 5:1, 8:3

Typical of Christ’s Ministry

5.) Paul evidently considered the Levitical priesthood typical of Christ’s from the pains he takes to explain the analogies and contrasts between them. 6.) “And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death, but this Man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.” 7.) “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the people’s for this He did once when He offered up Himself.” 8.) “For the law maketh men high priests which have infimity; but the word of the oath which was since the law, maketh the Son who is consecrated (perfected, margin) for evermore.” Hebrews 7:23-28. 9.) “But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry” than theirs. Hebrews 8:6 10.) “By how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant” than theirs; Hebrews 8:6. 11.) “But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle” than theirs. Hebrews 9:11. 12.) “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once into the holy place.” Verse 12. 13.) “For if the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, Who, through the eternal spirit offered Himself without spot to God purge your conscience.” Verses 13, 14. 14.) “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself. Verse 24. 15.) “Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;” but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Verses 25, 26. 16.) “And as it is appointed unto [the] men [priests] once to die, but after this the judgment: 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.” Verses 27, 28

17.) “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually, make the corners thereunto perfect;” but “by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14. 18.) “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins,” “but a body hast Thou prepared Me.” Verses 4, 5. These are a part of the contrasts or comparisons the apostle draws between the Levitical priesthood and Christ’s, and there is a resemblance in every instance; but Christ’s is superior to Levi’s.—I add one more. Hebrews 8:4, 5. “For if He were on earth He should not be a priest, seeing that there (many, they) are priests that offer gifts according to the law: who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.”

The Substance and its Shadow

The features of the substance always bear a resemblance to those of the shadow, hence the “heavenly things” referred to in this text must be priestly service “in the heavens” (see verses 1, 2) performed by our High Priest in His Sanctuary; for if the shadow is service, the substance is service also.

As the priests of the law served unto the example and shadow of the heavenly service, we can from their service learn something of the nature of the heavenly service. “Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle; for, See saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.”

None can deny that, in obedience to this admonition, Moses made or instituted the Levitical priesthood; it was then “according to the pattern” which the Lord showed him, and that pattern was of heavenly things. (See Hebrews 9:23.) If there was not another text to prove that the Levitical priesthood was typical of the Divine, this would abundantly do it. Yet some are even denying this obvious import of the priesthood; but if this is not its import, I can see no meaning in it. It is an idle round of ceremonies without sense or use, as it did not perfect those for whom it was performed; but looked upon as typical of the heavenly, it is replete with the most important instruction. As this is the application made of it by the New Testament, so we must regard it, while we examine the atonement made under the Levitical priesthood.

“Now when these things [the worldly Sanctuary with its two apartments and the furniture in each] were thus ordained, the priests went always [daily, Hebrews 7:27; 10:11] into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

“But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.” Hebrews 9:6, 7

Daily and Yearly Services

Here Paul divides the services of the Levitical priesthood into two classes—one daily in the Holy and the other yearly in the Holy of Holies.

Their stated daily services, performed in the Holy and at the brazen altar in the court before the tabernacle, consisted of a burnt offering of two lambs, one in the morning and the other at even, with a meat offering which was one tenth of an ephah of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and a drink offering which was one-fourth of an hin of strong wine. The meat-offering was burnt with the lamb, and the drink offering was poured in the Holy. (See Exodus 29:38-42; Numbers 28:3-8.) In connection with this, they burned on the golden altar in the Holy, sweet incense, which was a very rich perfume, when they dressed and lighted the lamps every evening and morning. (See Exodus 30:34-38; 31:11; 30:7-9.) The same was afterwards done at the Temple. 1 Chronicles 16:37-40; 2 Chronicles 2:4; 13:3, 4-12; 31:3; Ezra 3:3.)

This did not atone for sins either individually or collectively. The daily service described was a sort of continual intercession, but the making of atonement was a special work for which special directions are given. Different words are used both in the Old Testament and New to express the same idea as Atonement.

Examples—From the following texts we learn that the words atone, cleanse, reconcile, purify, purge, pardon, sanctify, hallow, forgive, justify, redeem, blot out, and some others, are used to signify the same work, viz., bringing into favor with God; and in all cases, blood is the means, and sometimes blood and water. Exodus 29:36: “Thou shalt cleanse the altar when thou hast made an atonement for it.”—Leviticus 12:8: “The priest shall make an atonement for her and she shall be clean.” Leviticus 14:2: “This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing.” Verse 21: “The priest shall make an atonement for him and he shall be clean.” Leviticus 14:2: The atonement could not be made for him till after he was healed of the leprosy, (see Leviticus 13:45, 46.) Till he was healed, he had to dwell alone without the camp. Then, Leviticus 14:3, 4. “The priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and behold if the plague of the leprosy be healed in the leper; then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean,” etc. The law was the same in cleansing a house form the leprosy. (See verses 33-57.) The stones affected with the plague were removed and the house “scraped within round about” and then repaired with new material.

Physical uncleanness is now all removed and we would call it clean, but not so; it is only just prepared to be cleansed according to the law. Verse 48: “And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds” etc. Verse 48: “And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird” etc. Verses 52, 53: “And make an atonement for the house, and it shall be clean.” Leviticus 16:18, 19: “And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.” Leviticus 8:15: “And Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his fingers and purified the altar round about with his fingers and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it.” 2 Chronicles 29:29. 2 Chronicles 29:24: “And they made reconciliation with their blood upon the altar, to make an atonement for all Israel,” Jeremiah 33:8: “I will cleanse them from all their iniquities…and I will pardon all their iniquities.” Romans 5:9-11: “Being now justified by His blood….by Whom we have now received the atonement.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-19: “Who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 2:16: “And that he might reconcile both unto God.” Hebrews 9:13, 14: “The blood of bulls sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; but the blood of Christ shall purge our conscience from dead works.” He is the Mediator for the “redemption of the transgressions,” and to “perfect forever them that are sanctified,” Hebrews 10:14. Ephesians 1:7: “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins.” Acts 3:19: “Be converted that your sins may be blotted out.”

The atonement is the great idea of the Law, as well as the Gospel; and as the design of that of was to teach us that of the Gospel, it is very important to be understood. The atonement which the priest made for the people in connection with their daily ministration was different from that made on the tenth day of the seventh month. In making the former, they went no further than into the Holy; but to make the latter, they entered the Holy of Holies—the former was made for individual cases, the latter for the whole nation of Israel collectively—the former was made for the forgiveness of sins, the latter for blotting them out—the former could be made at any time, the latter only on the tenth day of the seventh month. Hence, the former may be called the daily atonement, and the latter the yearly; or the former the individual, and the latter the national atonement.

Individual Atonement

The individual atonement for the forgiveness of sins was made for a single person, or for the whole congregation in case they were collectively guilty of some sin. The first chapter of Leviticus gives directions for the burnt offering, the second for the meat offering, the third for the peace offering, and the fourth for the sin offering, which, as its name implies, was an offering for sins, in which he who offered it attained forgiveness of his sins. The trespass offering, Leviticus 5; 6:1-7, was similar to the sin-offering. “If a soul sin through ignorance,” Leviticus 4:2, “when he knoweth of it, then shall he be guilty,” Leviticus 5:3. “And it shall be when he shall be guilty in any of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing.” Verse 5

From Numbers 5:6-8, it appears that confession and restitution are necessary in all cases before the atonement could be made for the individual. “When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord, and that person be guilty; then they shall recompense his trespass with the principle thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.”

Then he or the elders (if it was for the congregation) brought the victim for the sin or trespass offering to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation on the north side of the altar of burnt offering in the court (see Leviticus 4:24; 1:11; 17:1-7); there he (or the elders) laid his hand on its head and killed it. (See Leviticus 4:2-4, 13-15, 22-24, 27-29.) Then, the victim being presented and slain, the priest that was anointed took some of the blood into the Holy, and with his finger sprinkled it before the veil of the Sanctuary and put some of it upon the horns of the altar of incense, then poured the remainder of the blood at the bottom of the altar. Thus he made an atonement for the individual, and his sin was forgiven. (See Leviticus 4:5-10, 16-20, 25, 26, 30-35.) The carcasses of the sin offering were taken without the camp and burned “in a clean place.” Leviticus 4:11, 12, 21

It should be distinctly remembered that the priest did not begin his duties till he obtained the blood of the victim, they were all performed in the court (the enclosure of the Sanctuary), and the atonement thus made was only for the forgiveness of sins. These points are expressly taught in this chapter and the following one on the trespass offering. Here is an atonement, to make which, the priests only entered the Holy; and to make it they could enter that apartment “always” or “daily.” “But into the second [the Holy of Holies] went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people [laos, nation].” Hebrews 9:7. This defines the yearly to be.

National Atonement

The Lord “speaks particularly” of the national Atonement in Leviticus 16: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron, thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat:” Verse 2. For what purpose and when could he enter it? “To make an atonement for the children of Israel [the whole nation] for all their sins once a year” “on the tenth day of the seventh month.” Verses 34, 29. This was the most important day of the year. The whole nation, having had their sins previously forgiven by the atonement made in the Holy, now assemble about their Sanctuary, while the High Priest, attired in his holy garments for glory and beauty (see Exodus 28:4) having the golden bells on the hem of his robe that his sound may be heard when he goeth in before the Lord, the breast plate of judgment on his heart, with their names therein that he may bear their judgment, also in it the Urim and Thummim (light and perfection), and the plate of pure gold, the holy crown, (see Leviticus 8:9: Exodus 28:36), with “Holiness to the Lord” engraved upon it, placed upon the forefront of his miter that he may bear the iniquities of the holy things, enters the Holy of Holies to make an atonement to cleanse them that they may be clean from all their sins before the Lord.” Verse 30. The victims for the atonement of this day were, for the priest himself, a young bullock for a sin offering (see verse 3), and for the people, two goats; one for a sin offering and the other for the scapegoat, and a ram for a burnt offering. (See verses 5-8. He killed or caused to be killed the bullock for a sin offering for himself. (See Verse 11.) “And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bringing it within the veil; and he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not; and he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy sea eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times,” Verses 12-14. So much, in preparation to make an atonement for the people; a description of which follows:

“Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat; and he shall make an atonement for [cleanse, see marginal references] the holy place [within the veil, verse 2], because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for [i.e. atone for or cleanse] the tabernacle of the congregation [the Holy], that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.” Verses 15, 16. “And he shall go out [of the Holy of Holies] unto the altar that is before the Lord [in the Holy], and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood [for himself] of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat [for the people], and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.” Verses 18, 19. The altar was the golden altar of incense in the Holy upon which the blood of individual atonement was sprinkled during the daily ministration. Thus it received the uncleanness from which it is now cleansed. Exodus 30:10: “Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements.” We see from Leviticus 16:20 that at this stage of the work, “he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar,” i.e. the Holy of Holies, the Holy, and the altar in the latter.

We have before seen that atone, reconcile, cleanse, etc., signify the same hence, at this stage he has made an end of cleansing those places. As the blood of atonements for the forgiveness of sins was not sprinkled in the court, but in the tabernacle only, the entire work of cleansing the Sanctuary was performed within the tabernacle. These were holy things, yet cleansed yearly. The holy place within the veil contained the ark of the covenant , covered with the mercy seat and overshadowed by the cherubim’s, between which the Lord dwelt in the cloud of divine glory. Who would think of calling such a place unclean? Yet the Lord provided at the time, yea, before, it was built, that it should be annually cleansed. It was by blood, and not by fire, that this Sanctuary, which was a type of the new covenant Sanctuary, was cleansed.

The high priest on this day “bore the iniquities of the holy things which the children of Israel hallowed in all their holy gifts.” Exodus 28:38. these holy things composed the Sanctuary. Numbers 18:1 “And the Lord said unto Aaron, Thou, and thy sons, and thy father’s house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the Sanctuary.” This “iniquity of the Sanctuary” we have learned was not its own property, but the children of Israel’s, God’s own people’s, which it had received from the them. And this transfer of iniquity from the people to their Sanctuary was not a mere casualty, incident on scenes of lawless rebellion, bloodshed or idolatry among themselves, not the devastation of an enemy; but it was according to the original arrangement and regular operation of this typical system. For we must bear in mind that all the instructions were given to Moses and Aaron before the erection of the Sanctuary. Provision was made to make atonement for sins committed in ignorance; but not till after they were known; (See Leviticus 4:14, 5:3-6); then, of course, they became sins of knowledge. Then the individual bore his iniquity (Leviticus 5:1-17; 7:1-8) till he presented his offering to the priest and slew it. The priest made an atonement with the blood (see Leviticus 17:11), and he was then forgiven and free from his iniquity.

Sin Transferred

Now at what point did the individual cease to bear his iniquity? Evidently, when he had presented his victim slain, he had then done his part. Through what medium was his iniquity conveyed to the Sanctuary? Through his victim, or rather its blood, when the priest took and sprinkled it before the veil and on the altar. Thus the iniquity was communicated to their Sanctuary. The first thing done for the people on the tenth day of the seventh month was to cleanse it, thence by the same means, the application of blood. This done, the high priest bore the “iniquity of Sanctuary” for the people “to make atonement for them.” Leviticus 10:17. “And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place [within the veil], and the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar [or when he hath cleansed the Sanctuary], he shall bring the live goat: and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities into a land not inhabited (margin, of separation). Leviticus 16:2-20. This was the only office of the scapegoat, to finally receive and bear away from Israel all their iniquities into an uninhabited wilderness and there retain them, leaving Israel at their Sanctuary and the priest to complete the atonement of the day by burning the fat of the sin offerings and offering the two rams for burnt offerings on the brazen altar in the court. (See verses 24, 25.) The burning without the camp of the carcasses of the sin offerings closed the services of this important day. (See verse 27.)

Food for Life – Fiber

Nutritional research discovers more each year about the chemistry of food and the intricate ways in which it is utilized by the body to keep us healthy and strong.

Investigation has revealed that the fashionable, highly refined diet that has become so popular over the years is often lacking in fiber. As a consequence, researchers have observed a corresponding increase in health problems.

Constipation, colon cancer, diverticulitis, varicose veins, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and hardening of the arteries are a few of the common conditions that are the result of an inadequate fiber intake. The incidence level of these diseases and abnormalities was dramatically lower at the turn of this century. Most cereal products were in a less refined state. For this reason, an increasing number of people are reverting back to a natural, unrefined diet that is rich in fiber.

An adequate fiber intake offers many benefits, especially for those who wish to lose weight. Fiber, often referred to as roughage or bulk, is found only in plant foods and characteristically passes through the system without being digested and absorbed into the blood stream. Dispensing with refined foods and increasing the intake of natural, unrefined food will provide the volume to achieve satiety with a reduced caloric content. Such a revitalized diet, coupled with a regular fitness program, can go a long way in resolving a person’s weight problem.

In addition, fiber adds “body” to waste food residues enabling the bowel to convey them more easily along within the digestive tract. It also ensures that waste is not able to accumulate within the colon for long periods of time, increasing the risk of disease.

An astronomical amount of money is spent on laxatives and stool softeners each year in the United States by millions of people who fight a never-ending battle with constipation. In most cases, a natural, high-fiber diet would quickly resolve the problem.

Greater affluence over the last several decades has seen more people to afford richer and more expensive animal foods. Apart from meat and dairy foods containing a high level of cholesterol and saturated fat (not to mention other detriments), they are notoriously low, or completely devoid of fiber intake. Low intake can also, in part, be attributed to drinking the juice of fruit or vegetables instead of eating the items themselves. While there may be nothing wrong with juices, they should not be used to the exclusion of whole fruits and vegetables.

The perfect way to ensure an abundant fiber intake, along with all of the nutrients necessary for life, is to eat a variety of fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables. Whole-wheat bread is an example of one basic food within this category which is rich in fiber. Wheat bran can also be added to certain items, such as homemade granola and cookies, or even sprinkled onto salads. It should be remembered, however, that while a little extra bran taken in this way may be helpful for those who need it, an excess may prove far from beneficial. Moderation is the key principle here in order to avoid the digestive upset that can result from too much of a good thing.

Legumes such as beans and garbanzos are also rich in a fiber that differs from the type found in wheat and which especially enables the body to manage fats and cholesterol in a beneficial way. Eating potatoes in their jackets is another example of how a food can be eaten more naturally without dispensing with its valuable fiber content.

Many books and tables are available which provide information about the fiber content of various foods. Also, with the increasing awareness of the importance of fiber among consumers, more and more food packaging contains fiber information. While such information can be very useful, as a general rule, a vegetarian diet of unrefined foods will supply adequate fiber to the diet.

August Recipe:

Old Fashioned Bread Pudding

Mix together gently in a bowl:

6 cups 1″ bread cubes

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

½ cup raisins

1 cup chopped apples

4 cups sweet cashew milk

Sweet Cashew Milk

Blend until smooth:

1 cup cashew pieces

1 cup hot water

Then add:

3 cups water

¼ cup honey

2 tsp. vanilla

pinch salt

1 tsp. orange rind

Pour into an 8X8 lightly oiled baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. This recipe will serve 4-5 people.

Martin Luther, part IX – Diet of Worms Aftermath

After the Diet of Worms, Charles had returned to Spain. To conduct the affairs of state during his absence, had had appointed a Diet of Regency to administer from Nuremberg. The main business which brought the diet together was the inroads of the Turks. Soliman’s armies had made progress to a degree that it struck terror to the nations of Europe. At the diet, Chieregato, the papal nuncio, presented himself. Through Adrian VI, in common with the rest of Europe, was concerned about the Turks, his greater concern, and the one he sought to share with the diet, was for the rapid spread of Luther ‘s ideas in Germany. He longed to see them deal with Luther as Peter had struck Ananias and Sapphira with sudden death for lying against God.

On entering Germany, the nuncio found himself met with less than overwhelming enthusiasm. As Chieregato passed along, he raised his two fingers, after the usual manner, to bless the people, only to have them respond by raising theirs, to show how little they cared for either himself or his benediction. Though this was mortifying, greater mortifications awaited him.

Arriving in Nuremberg, he found, to his great dismay, that the pulpits were occupied by Protestant preachers and the churches were filled with attentive listeners. Upon presenting the diet with his concerns, they informed him that Nuremberg was a free city and that the magistrates were largely Lutheran. Frustrated, he next intimated that he might take matters into his own hands and, on his own authority, apprehended the ministers himself, in the pontiff’s name. The Archbishop of Mainz, and others, informed him that if he embarked on such a risky course, they would immediately quit the city and leave him to deal with the indignant burghers as best he could.

Greatly baffled and humiliated by the little reverence that he had received, the nuncio approached the diet. He admitted to past abuses by the Church but pointed out that Adrian was sincere in his desire to work reform. He was even ready to admit that corruption extended throughout the whole church; but he went to great lengths to urge that those who would push for reforms with too great haste should have nothing but the stake. He therefore urged the diet to execute the imperial edict of death for heresy upon Luther . As regarding the reforms that Adrian proposed to work out, he would neither move too precipitously nor too extremely; it must be done gently, and by degrees. Luther , in translating the papal brief into German, with marginal notes, interpreted this to mean a few centuries between each step.

The Diet Favors Reform

The diet responded by telling Adrian that the idea of executing the Edict of Worms against Luther would be madness. To put to death the Reformer for advocating the very changes that Adrian admitted of being necessary would be no less unjust than dangerous, as it would certainly deluge Germany in blood. Luther must be refuted from the Scriptures, since Luther ‘s writings were in the hands of the people. They knew of only one way that his controversy could be settled, and that was by a General Council. They therefore called for such a council to be held in a neutral town in Germany within the year and included a demand that both laity, as well as clergy, would have a seat and voice in it. Such an unpalatable request was made even more odious by the addition of “Hundred Grievances,” a terrible catalogue of the exactions, frauds, oppressions, and wrongs that Germany had suffered at the hands of the popes.

Chieregato, sensing that he had overstayed his welcome, promptly left Nuremberg, leaving it with someone else to be the bearer of the unwelcome tidings to the pontiff.

In due time, the decree of the diet reached Rome. The otherwise meek Adrian was beside himself with rage. Not only had the diet refused to execute the Edict of Worms and burn Luther and called for a General Council, but they had enumerated a hundred grievances that needed to be addressed. Only thinly veiled was the threat that if the pope failed to act, there were others who would. Seating himself, Adrian poured forth a torrent of threatenings that was more bitter than anything yet to have emanated from the Vatican. Frederick of Saxony, against whom the denunciation was aimed, placed his hand on the hilt of his sword when he read it. Luther, however, who was the only one of the three who was fully in control of his temper, quietly but firmly insisted that no one was to fight for the gospel. The peace was preserved.

Charles V would gladly have brought luther to the stake, had he the power to do so; but in Germany, he could act only so far as the princes would go with him. Consequently, it was the low countries to which he directed his displeasure. In Brussels, on July 1, 1523, three stakes were erected and the first of many martyrs were burned for their faith. This apparent victory for the powers of darkness was but the signal for its defeat. Luther received the news of their death with thanksgiving, knowing that a cause which had produced martyrs bore the seal of Divine authentication and was sure of victory. In the words of Erasmus, “Wherever the smoke of their burning blew, it bore with it the seeds of heretics.” Wylie, History of Protestantism, book 1, 490

Adrian’s Policies Reversed

Adrian lived to hear of the death of these youths, but in September of the same year, he died; and with him passed all interest in reforming the Church. Cardinal Guilio de Medici, an unsuccessful contender for the papal crown in the previous election, was more successful this time. Ascending to the pontifical throne under the name of Clement VII, he hastily reversed the policy of his predecessor.

As Clement assumed his duties, wherever the eye might turn, there was trouble. Two powerful kings were fighting in Italy; the Turks were threatening the Austrian frontier; but the most troublesome, and that which caused the greatest concern, was the situation in Wittenberg. Leo X had underestimated the threat. Adrian had thought to blunt it by working reforms in the church, but both had met with signal failure. Clement determined that for his part, he would prove himself an abler pilot; he would act as a statesman and a pope.

In the spring of 1524, Nuremberg was the scene of the second Imperial Diet. The pope’s first concern was to choose the right man to represent the interests of the Church. The man of his choosing was Cardinal Campeggio. An astute envoy, his great ability and experience seemed to qualify him as best. His journey to the northern Italian border was like a triumphal march; but upon crossing the German border, all tokens of public enthusiasm forsook him. Upon his arrival at Nuremberg, he looked in vain for the usual procession of magistrates and clergy to bid him welcome. As an ordinary traveler, the proud representative of Clement made his way, unescorted, through the streets and entered his hotel.

Campeggio’s instructions were to first of all soothe the Elector of Saxony, who was still smarting from Adrian’s furious letter. Second, he was to make any promise necessary and use whatever diplomacy that was required to bring the diet into submission. Having accomplished these preliminary tasks, he was to attend to Luther. If only the monk could be brought to the stake, all would be well.

A Plea for Loyalty to Rome

The papal nuncio presented himself to the diet. In addressing the princes, he alluded to his devotion to Germany, which had led him to accept this difficult mission when all others had declined. He described the tender solicitude of the pope for his flock. He could not, however, refrain from expressing wonderment that so many great and honorable princes should suffer the religion wherein they were born and in which their father’s had died, to be ill-treated and trampled upon. He begged them to consider what the end of such a course must be, namely, a universal uprising by the people against their rulers and the destruction of Germany. As for the Turks, it did not seem necessary that he should say much, as all knew of the threat that they posed to Christianity.

The princes listened with respect and thanked him for his goodwill and kindly counsel. The matter most pressing, however, and that for which they desired an answer, was the matter of the list of grievances which they had submitted to Rome; they would like to know if the pope had returned an answer and what that answer might be.

Feigning surprise, Campeggio replied that, “As to their demands, there had been only three copies of them brought privately to Rome, whereof one had fallen into his hands; but the pope and college of cardinals could not believe that they had been framed by the princes; they thought that some private persons had published them in hatred of the court of Rome; and thus he had no instructions in that particular.” Ibid., 491. Campeggio’s answer was met with mixed indignation and anger.

Charles had been prevented from attending because of his war with France, but he sent his ambassador, John Hunnaart, to complain that the diet had not enforced the Edict of Worms and to demand that it be put to execution—in other words, that Luther be put to death and the gospel proscribed in Germany.

The deputies, realizing the impossibility of such a thing, dissented; but Campeggio and Hunnaart insisted that they should put into effect the edict to which they had been consenting parties. The diet was in a quandary as to what course to pursue.

The Edict of Worms Nullified

Though they did not dare to repeal the edict, they finally hit upon a clever device for appeasing the pope without arousing the wrath of the people. They passed a decree saying that the Edict of Worms should be rigorously enforced as far as possible. For all practical purposes, it was a repeal of the edict, for the majority of the German states had already declared that it was not possible to enforce. While seeming to have gained a victory, Campeggio and Hunnaart had in reality met defeat, the first of more to come.

Undaunted by the signal failure of past councils to be an end in settling abuses and ending all controversies, the princes, haaving successfully nullified the emperor’s ban, next moved to demand a General Council. The papal legate and the envoy of Charles V both offered stout resistance, but to no avail. They presented to the princes what an affront such a resolve would be to papal authority, what an attack on the prerogatives of the pontiff. The princes, however, remained unchanged in their determination to call for a council and decreed that a diet should assemble at Spires in November. In the mean time, the free towns of Germany were encouraged to express their minds relative to the abuses to be corrected and the reforms to be instituted so that when the council met, the diet might be able to speak in the name of the Fatherland, demanding the reforms that the nation wished.

Sensing a political climate that favored the spread of the gospel, the Protestant preachers continued to preach the gospel with increased zeal. There were two cathedrals in Nuremberg and both were filled to overflowing with attentive audiences. The mass was forsaken, as were images, and the Scriptures were explained according to the early church fathers. The papal legate had the humiliating experience of being jostled in the streets by the throngs hurrying to the Protestant meetings, but there was nothing he could do about it. Germany seemed closer than at any previous time to a national reformation.

It was not only Clement’s authority that was tottering in Germany for if the German states should break away from the Roman faith, the emperor’s influence would be so greatly weakened as to be irreparable damaged. The imperial dignity would be so shorn of its splendor as to threaten the emperor’s schemes, leaving their implementation impracticable.

As alarmed as were the papal nuncio and Charles’s representative, it paled relative to the concern in the Vatican. Clement comprehended at a glance the full extent of the disaster that was threatening the full extent of the disaster that was threatening the papal throne; the half of his kingdom was about to be torn from him. He determined to leave no stone unturned to prevent at all costs the meeting scheduled to take place at Spires. Meanwhile, all eyes now turned to Spires where the fate of popedom was to be decided.

As preparations for the fateful meeting were in progress, the consternation of the Romish party was in proportion to the success of the princes friendly to the Reformed faith. To meet the challenge, Campeggio adopted the old policy of “divide and conquer.”

The Ratisbon Reformation

Withdrawing from the diet, Campeggio retired to Ratisbon where he set to work to form a party among the princes of Germany. Drawing around him Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria; the Dukes of Bavaria; the Archbishop of Salzburg; the Bishops of Trent and Ratisbon; and later the princes of southern Germany; he represented to them that should Wittenberg triumph, it would spell the end of their power as well as the dissolution of the existing order of things. He assured them that the prosperity of the papacy was closely linked with their own welfare. To avert these terrible evils, the princes passed a resolution that called for a ban on the printing of all of Luther’s books, the recall of all youth from their dominions, and no toleration for changes in the mass or public worship. In short, they determined to wage a war of extermination against the new faith. Offsetting these stern measures, they promised a few mind reforms.

The legate had done his work well, and now the pope urged Charles to act against a threat that was a greater detriment to the throne than was Rome. Charles needed no urging, having been stung to the quick by what he viewed as a usurpation of his authority by the princes in seeking to convene a diet. He informed them in sharp terms that it belonged to him as emperor to demand of the pope that a council be convoked and that he and the pope alone were the judge as to a fitting time to convoke such an assembly. Furthermore, he informed them that until such a council should be summoned, it was their responsibility to confine themselves to enforcing the previous Edict of Worms. He further forbade the meeting of the diet at Spires under penalty of high treason and the ban of the empire. The princes eventually submitted, and the proposed diet never met.

Persecution Renewed

Archduke Ferdinand and the papal legate, journeying together to Vienna, determined that to successfully carry out the league, the sword must be unsheathed. Gaspard Tauber of Vienna was charged with the crime of circulating Luther’s books. The idea was circulated that he was disposed to recant. Two pulpits were erected in the churchyard of St. Stephen’s. From the one Tauber was to read his recantation, while from the other a priest was to magnify the act as a new triumph for the Roman Church. Tauber arose and to the amazement of the waiting crowd, made a bolder confession of his faith than ever before. He was immediately dragged to execution, decapitated, and his body thrown to the flames.

This fanatical rage continued for some time and extended even to some parts of northern Germany. From the humble peasant to magistrate on his bench, there was no safety to be found. The countryside swarmed with spies.

While its enemies were forming leagues against the Reformation, new friends were stepping out of the ranks of the Romanists to place themselves on its side. No sooner had the members of the league left Ratisbon, than the deputies of the towns, whose bishops had taken part in the alliance, in surprise and indignation, met at Spires, declaring that their ministers, in spite of the prohibition of the bishops, should preach the gospel. Before the end of the year, the deputies of these cities, with many nobles, met and swore a mutual defense pact.

While the cities were aligning themselves with the Reformation, many princes were also joining the cause.

In early June of 1924, as Melancthon was returning from a visit to his mother, he met a brilliant train near Frankfort. It was Philip, the landgrave of Hesse, who three years earlier had met Luther at Worms. Philip was on his way to Heidelberg, where all the princes of Gemany were to be present at a tournament. Being informed by one of his attendants that it was Melancthon approaching, the young prince quickly rode up to the doctor and asked, “Is your name Philip?” “It is,” replied the surprised scholar. Somewhat intimidated, Melancthon prepared to dismount. “Keep your seat,” said the prince; “turn around, and come and pass the night with me; there are some matters on which I desire to have a little talk with you.” D’Aubigne’s History of the Reformation, book 10, chap. 8

The two Philips rode side by side, the prince asking questions, and the doctor answering them. The landgrave was impressed by the clear answers he received. Upon parting, the landgrave asked that Melancthon, upon further study, send him a replay to his questions in writing.

Shortly after returning from the tournament at Heidelberg, the prince published an edict, in opposition to the league of Ratisbon, allowing the free preaching of the gospel in his territory.

Other princes, including the King of Denmark soon followed in the same direction, lending their influence to the Reformation.

Charles V and the pope had opposed a national assembly at Spires for fear that it would release the Word of God, but, like the dawn spreading across the land, it made itself manifested in every part of the empire, attesting to the truth that the Word of God cannot be bound.

Christian Patriotism, part 1

The complete separation of religion and the State is Christian. Unswerving loyalty to this principle is Christian patriotism. This is not a mere sentiment of side issue of Christianity. It is one of the fundamental principles and chief characteristics of Christianity.

The Bible, not merely the New Testament but the whole Book, is the Book of Christianity. The New Testament is not a revelation new and distinct from the Old; it is the culmination of the revelation begun in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament and the New are one book—one consistent, harmonious revelation of God through Jesus Christ—because Jesus Christ is the revelation of God before the world was made, when the world was made and through all the history of the world from the beginning to end.

The first chapter of Genesis is Christian as certainly as is the first chapter of John. The book of Genesis is Christian as really is the book of Revelation, or any other book in the Bible. We repeat, therefore, that the whole Bible is the book of Christianity, the Book of the Christian religion, the revelation of God through Jesus Christ.

And the separation of religion and the State is one of the great thoughts of this great Book. It is one of the leading principles of that Book which for man is the source of all sound principle.

Many people think that the two or three expressions of Christ as recorded in the New Testament are all that the Bible contains on the subject of the separation of Church and State, and many others are disposed even to argue against these passages and to modify them by other passages from the Old Testament. But separation of religion and the State is one of the original thoughts of the Bible and reaches from the beginning to the end of the Book. Neither the Book nor this subject can be fairly understood in reference to this matter till this is clearly defined in the mind.

We purpose here to give a series of studies of the Bible, from beginning to end, on this great subject of Christian patriotism or the separation of religion and State.

Being one of the great thoughts of the Bible, one of the great thoughts of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, this subject is of vital importance to men everywhere in their relations to God, and not merely in their relations to the State. It is a principle that is involved in the daily experience of the Christian in his relation to God and not merely an abstract question that man can stand, as it were, apart from and view simply as a speculative question of the relations between religion and the State.

The ways of God are right. His Word is the only certain light, the only sure truth. The principles which He has announced are the only safe principles for the guidance of men. We hope, and shall seriously endeavor, to make each study so plain that every reader can easily see and readily grasp the truth of it in very principle. We shall begin at the beginning.

“The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel… thou shalt love the Lord our God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment.

“And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:40. These two commandments exist in the very nature, and circumstances of existence, of any two intelligent creatures in the universe.

When the first intelligence was created and there was not creature but himself; as he owed to his Creator his existence, as he owed to God all that he was or could be, heart, soul, might, mind, and strength; it devolved upon him to render to God the tribute of all this and to love God with all his heart, and all his soul, and all his mind, and all his strength. And this is the first of all the commandments. It is first in the very nature and existence of the first, and of every other, intelligent creature.

But in the second of these would have no place if there were but one intelligent creature in the universe; for then he would have no neighbor. But when the second one was created, the first of all the commandments was first with him equally with the other one; and now the second great commandment exists in the very nature and existence of these two intelligent creatures, as certainly as the first great commandment existed in the nature and existence of the first one.

Each of the two created intelligences owes to the Lord all that he is or has and all that he could ever rightly have. Neither of them has anything that is self-derived. Each owes all to God. There is between them no ground of preference, and this because of the honor which each owes to God; because to each, God is all in all. Therefore, the second great commandment exists as certainly as the first; and it exists in the nature and circumstance of the very existence of intelligent creatures. Consequently, “There is none other commandment greater than these.”

These two commandments, then, exist in the nature of cherubim, seraphim, angels and men. As soon as the man was created, the first of all the commandments was there, even though there had been no other creature in the universe. And as soon as the woman was created, these two great commandments were there. And there was none other commandment greater than these.

The Pledge & Peter’s Ladder

“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:1-4

Peter was one of the apostles, and he states that he is writing to those who have obtained the same faith that he and the other believers have. Do you have the faith of the apostolic church? If you do, then this book, written by Peter, is for you. In the book, The Great Controversy, we are told that the religion of these early Christians was a terror to evil doers. If your faith is a terror to evil doers, this book is written to you. And, if you truly have this faith, Peter says that grace always comes first and is followed by peace. You will never find the order reversed, because peace comes as the result of grace.

Did you notice how we receive grace and obtain peace? “In the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” There is only one way by which people are able to gain a knowledge of God. When the Jews rejected that one way, they were lost. There is no other way—no spare tire in the system of salvation. “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Matthew 11:27. The only way that you can know anything about the Father is through the Son. Any religion that denies Jesus and yet professes to worship God is a fraud.

“He who by faith lays hold firmly upon the invisible One, will reveal the character of Jesus. With lowliness of heart he will accept Christ’s invitation to the weary and the heavy laden. Instead of unloading his burdens upon his neighbor, with whose heart-sorrows he is unacquainted, he will seek rest by taking upon himself the yoke of Christ. Let us abide in Jesus. Then He alone—formed within, the hope of glory—will appear in our every word and deed.” Review and Herald, May 26, 1904

This is not to say that we should never seek counsel from another person; but if you have a spiritual problem, you need Divine help. Another human being can solve an accounting problem; but if you are experiencing a spiritual problem, the solution is for the other person to direct your mind to the divine-human burden bearer.

Cause for Spiritual Weakness

Think this matter through. If God has given me all things that pertain unto life, if He has promised me grace and peace, is it really excusable for me to spend my time unloading all of my troubles upon my neighbors? Inspiration tells us that when we do this, we are really insulting God, as He is the only One who can help us. Our failure to follow this plan is the reason behind so much of our spiritual weakness.

“Is not this why there is among us so much spiritual feebleness. Why do we not take everything to the Lord in prayer? He stands at the head of humanity enabling men through His sacrifice to become partakers of the divine nature, to lay hold upon infinite power that will transform them into the likeness of the divine.” Ibid.

We can become partakers of the divine nature through God’s promises if we choose to accept them by faith and ask the Lord to make us partakers of His divine nature. This opens the way for a miracle to take place in our character development. There follows a progression of change in our lives that Peter marks out, which has become known as “Peter’s ladder.” “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” 2 Peter 1:5-9

Remember that Peter is writing to people who have obtained like faith as himself. These are baptized Christians. When you are baptized, you make a public confession to the whole world that you have forsaken your sins and you are starting a new life. Peter says, however, that if you do not climb this ladder, adding to your faith moral excellence, to moral excellence knowledge, you are not walking the Christian path. You have forgotten the significance of your baptism. It is only when we follow this progression that we may know the certainty of our salvation. “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.” Verse 10

In cooperation with Christ, each one of us is to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (See Philipians 2:12, 13.) Doing the works He bids us to do, trials will come to us; but we are to learn to depend completely upon Him for grace and for guidance. We are to learn to live as in the presence of Christ because perfection of character only comes through the gift of His righteousness. He says here in verse 4 that we are to become partakers of the divine nature.

Have you tried to comprehend in your mind what it means to become a partaker of the divine nature? What does the word nature mean? Now this has been a matter of debate among Adventists for a long time. You have all heard of the debate over the nature of Christ. When you talk about the nature of anybody, what are you talking about? What does it mean to become a partaker of the divine nature?

It is natural for you to do according to your nature. As you become a partaker of the divin nature it will become natural for you to think, speak and act like Jesus would if He were in your place. If I am partaking of the divine nature, that will affect, first of all, the way that I think; and as a result of that, it will affect the way that I speak and act.

The Pledge

Ellen White said that we should take the following pledge:

“I choose to guard against speaking words that discourage and resolve never to engage in evil speaking and backbiting. I choose to refuse to serve Satan by implanting seeds of doubt. I choose to guard against cherishing unbelief or expressing it to others. I solemnly promise to speak only those words that are pleasing to God, choosing to discipline the tongue by disciplining the mind; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Review and Herald, May 26, 1904. Speaking of this pledge, she said that we need to take this pledge just as much as we need to have a pledge against the use of intoxicating liquor. The exciting thing is that if the Lord tells us to pledge something, then He is going to give us the ability to fulfill that pledge.

How would you ever fulfill this pledge? I do not know how. All I know is that God says to make the pledge; and if He tells me to make it, He is going to help me to fulfill it because every command is a promise. There is divine power in this because God has said to do it; and when you choose to do something that God says to do, you are going to have divine power come into your life and help you to do that thing. Get down on your knees and say, “Lord, You told me to do this. I may never have done it one day in my whole life before this; but You told me to do it, and I am choosing to do it.”

In the very next paragraph she writes, “Through the help that Christ can give, we shall be able to learn to bridle the tongue.”

Do you know what would be the result if we were all to climb the whole ladder every day? Ellen White says that when this scripture actually comes to pass in the church, we are going to have conversions like they had on the Day of Pentecost.

For a long time I have been praying that something would take place similar to what happened during the sixteenth century Reformation. When Martin Luther preached, fifty million people walked out of the Catholic Church. We have been promised that when we are living out what we have been studying in these first ten verses here in 2 Peter, there are going to be hundreds and thousands of people converted like on the Day of Pentecost.

Are You Predestinated?

There are some people who are concerned about predestination. In fact, there is only one election that you will find in the Bible. The elect are the people who follow Peter’s instructions. He says, “If you do this, you make your calling and election sure.” You will be part of God’s elect. The good news is that not one person needs to fail of having everlasting life.

Do not let the devil convince you that are so wicked that the Lord cannot save you. That is not true. If you choose to learn daily of Jesus, no matter how bad your past has been, no matter what you have done or how vile you have been, the Lord can save you. This is the plan. Follow the instructions. He says that if you do these things, you will never stumble. “For so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:11

Peter then goes on to say, If you do this, (the things that we have been reading about in the first ten verses), you are not going to stumble or fall; you are going to have an entrance, and it is going to be abundant. You will not just squeak through; you are going to have an abundant entrance into the kingdom. This is a divine, life insurance policy. This is a life insurance policy that insures that you are going to have eternal life if you follow these instructions. This is the contract; this is the agreement.

Peter then continues, “I know that I am going to be put to death soon, as the Lord has told me; but as long as I am here, I’m not going to be negligent to keep on reminding you about this.” (See Verses 12-15.)

No Unpleasant Words in Heaven

A few years ago when I was reading the book Upward Look for the first time, there was a statement on page 163 that caught my attention so much that I have never forgotten it. In fact, I have used it many times in counseling people. Ellen White said, “In heaven no unpleasant words are spoken.” Would you like to be in a place where there are no unpleasant words spoken? The people who go to heaven when Jesus comes are going to be people who, before that time, have learned to talk like they talk in heaven. I want to learn; how about you?

“Oh,” somebody says, “you have to rebuke sin.” Jesus rebuked sin. I want to learn to do it in the way that He did it. Somebody says, “Well, you have to warn people.” I believe that. That is the loving thing to do. I want to learn to warn people in the way that the angels and Jesus warned people. We are not talking about not facing reality. But in heaven, no unpleasant words are spoken. What could happen in our homes if we learned to speak like they speak in heaven? If we start putting this into practice, what could happen? Let me tell you one thing that would happen. The Adventist pastors all over the world would not have to spend so many thousands of hours that they are spending right now trying to counsel people to mend their broken marriages. That is one of the things that would happen just right away. We would start spending more time in evangelism all over the world; because what I am talking about is a worldwide problem.

Why do they never speak unpleasant words in heaven? Why? She tells us why on that very same page. Because “no unkind thoughts are cherished.” Friend, it is so easy. Let me tell you what the devil is trying to do. The devil is trying to get you to concentrate on my character defects and me to concentrate on your character defects so that in our minds we will pour forth a torrent of words. If we are not going to speak unpleasant words, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, we must not cherish unkind thoughts. I do not claim to come up to the standard, but I am determined by the grace of God to reach it. How about you? I want a change in my tongue; and to have a change in my tongue, I know that I will have to have a change in my mind and my spirit. I am determined, by the grace of God, that what He says can be done in my life because He is not a respector of persons. He is willing to do it for me; and He is willing to do it for you, if we are willing.

From what we have studied, I hope that nobody can ever deceive you by telling you that your character has no relation to your salvation; just believe and everything will be all right. From what we read in the Bible, nobody should ever be able to deceive you on that point. It is too plain!

I want the change in my mind that will result in a change in my tongue, that will result in a change in my behavior. Do you want it, too? I am just simple enough to believe that if we pray and are sincere, the Lord will answer our prayer. Let us pray for that miracle to start happening in our lives.

Philosophy of Education

God, by the abundance of life, is as a great magnet, drawing humanity to Himself. So close is the union that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In one Man—a Man made of flesh and blood like all men now living—there dwelt the spirit of wisdom. More than this, in Him are “hid all the treasures of wisdom;” and hence the life of Immanuel stands a constant witness that the wisdom of the ages is accessible to man. And the record adds, “Ye are complete in Him.” Colossians 2:3, 10

This wisdom brings eternal life; for “this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God.” John 17:3

Christ, at Jacob’s well, explained to the woman of Samaria, and through her to you and me, the means of gaining wisdom. The well of living water, from the depths of which the patriarch had drawn and which he bequeathed as a rich legacy to generations following, who drank and blessed his name, symbolized worldly wisdom. Men today mistake this for the wisdom described in Job 28, of which God understandeth the way and knoweth the place. Christ spoke of this latter when He said, “If thou knewest the gift of God and Who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.” “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” John 4:10; 7:37

Why, then, if wisdom may be had for the asking, are not all fulfilled? Only one reason can be given: men in their search accept falsehood in the place of truth. This blunts their sensibilities, until the false system seems true and the true false.

There is a distinction between the wisdom of God and that of this world. (See 1 Corinthians 1:20; 2:6.) How, then, can we attain to the real and true wisdom?

To man, if born of the Spirit, is given a spiritual eyesight which pierces infinitude and enables the soul to commune with the Author of all things. No wonder the realization of such possibilities within himself led the psalmist to exclaim, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.” Psalm 139:6. And Paul himself exclaimed, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” Romans 11:33

Dealing with wisdom is education. If it be the wisdom of the world, then it is worldly education; if, on the other hand, it is a search for the wisdom of God, it is Christian education.

Over these two questions, the controversy between good and evil is waging. The final triumph of truth will place the advocates of Christian education in the kingdom of God.

That education which links man with God, the source of wisdom and the Author and Finisher of our faith, is a spiritual education and prepares the heart for that kingdom which is within.

The Heavenly School

God’s throne, the center around which circled the worlds which had gone forth from the hand of the Creator, was the school of the universe. The Upholder of the worlds was Himself the great Teacher; and His character, love, was the theme of contemplation. Every lesson was a manifestation of His power. To illustrate the workings of the laws of His nature, this Teacher had but to speak, and before the attentive multitudes there stood the living thing. “He spake, and it was, He commanded and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:9

Angels, and the beings of other worlds of in countless numbers, were the students. The course was to extend through eternity; observations were carried on through limitless space and included everything from the smallest to the mightiest force, from the formation of the dewdrop to the building of the worlds, and the growth of the mind. To finish the course, if such an expression is permissible, meant to reach the perfection of the Creator Himself.

To the angelic host was given a work. The inhabitants of worlds were on probation. It was the joy of angels to minister to and teach other creatures of the universe. The law of love was everywhere written; it was the constant study of the heavenly beings. Each thought of God was taken by them; and as they saw the workings of His plans, they fell before the King of kings, crying, “Holy, holy, holy.” Eternity was all too short to reveal His love.

The Father and Son were often in council. Wrapped together in that glory, the universe awaited the expression of Their one will. As one of the covering cherubim, Lucifer stood the first in power and majesty of all the angelic host. His eye beheld, his ear heard, he knew of all except the deep counsels which the Father, from all eternity, had purposed in the Son.

Hitherto all eyes had turned instinctively toward the center of light. A cloud, the first one known, darkened the glory of the covering cherub. Turning his eyes inward, he reasoned that he was wronged. Had not he, Lucifer, been the bearer of light and joy to worlds beyond? Why should not his might be recognized?

The Rival System

While Lucifer thus reasoned, Christ, wrapped within the glory of the Father, was offering His life for the world at its creation. Sin had not yet entered; the world was not yet created; but as the plans were laid, the Son had said, “Should sin enter, I am, from this time, one with those We now create; and their fall will mean My life on earth. Never has My heart gone out for any creation as I put it into this.”

Here was born the rival system,—selfishness facing the utter self-forgetfulness of Christ, reason over against faith.

God planted a garden eastward in Eden and from the beauties of the earth chose the most beautiful spot for the home of the new pair. In the midst of the garden stood the tree of life, the fruit of which afforded man a perfect physical food. Beneath its spreading branches God Himself visited them and, talking with them face to face, revealed to them the way of immortality. As they ate of the fruit of the tree of life and found every physical want supplied, they were constantly reminded of the need of the spiritual meat which was gained by open converse with the light from heaven. The glory of God surrounded the tree; and enwrapped in this halo, Adam and Eve spent much time in communing with the heavenly visitors. According to the divine system of teaching, they were here to study the laws of God and learn of His character. They were not only His children but students receiving instruction from the all-wise Creator.

Divine Method of Teaching

As new beauties came to their attention, they were filled with wonder. Each visit of the heavenly teachers elicited from the earthly students scores of questions which it was the delight of the angels to answer; and they in turn opened to the minds of Adam and Eve principles of living truth which sent them forth to their daily tasks of pleasure full of wondering curiosity, ready to use every God-given sense to discover illustrations of the wisdom of heaven. “So long as they remained loyal to the divine law, their capacity to know, to enjoy, and to love would continually increase. They would be constantly gaining new treasures of knowledge, discovering fresh springs of happiness, and obtaining clearer and yet clearer conceptions of the immeasurable, unfailing love of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 51

The divine method of teaching is here revealed,—God’s way of dealing with minds which are loyal to Him. The governing laws of the universe were expounded. Man, as if looking into a picture, found in earth, sky, and sea, in the animate and inanimate world, the exemplification of those laws. He believed; and with a heavenly light, which is the reward of faith, he approached each new subject of investigation. Divine truths unfolded continually. Life, power, happiness,—these subjects grew with his growth. The angels stimulated the desire to question, and again led their students to search for answers to their own questions. At his work of dressing the garden, Adam learned truths which only work could reveal. As the tree of life gave food to the flesh and reminded constantly of the mental and spiritual food necessary, so manual training added light to the mental discipline. The laws of the physical mental, and spiritual world were enunciated; man’s threefold nature received attention. This was education, perfect and complete.

Unable to reach the soul of man by direct means, Satan approached it through those outer channels, the senses. He had everything to win and proceeded cautiously. If man’s mind could be gained, his great work would be accomplished. To do this, he used a process of reasoning—a method the reverse of that used by the Father in His instruction at the tree of life. The mind of Eve was strong and quickly drew conclusions; hence, when her teacher said, “If ye eat, ‘ye shall be as gods,’ ” in the mind of Eve arose the thought, God has immortality. “Therefore,” said Satan, “if ye eat, ‘ye shall not surely die.’ ” The conclusion was logically drawn; and the world, from the days of Eve to the present time, has based its religious belief on that syllogism, the major premise of which, as did Eve, they fail to recognize as false. Why?—Because they use the mind to decide the truth instead of taking a direct statement from the Author of wisdom. From this one false premise comes the doctrine of the natural immortality of man, with its endless variations, some modern names of which are theosophy, spiritualism, reincarnation, and evolution. The sons and daughters of Eve condemn her for the mistake made six thousand years ago, while they themselves repeat it without question. It is preached from the pulpit; it is taught in the schoolroom; and its spirit pervades the thought of every book written whose author is not in perfect harmony with God and truth. Now began the study of “dialectics” so destructive to the Christian’s faith.

The Effects of Doubt

Having accepted the logic of the serpent and having transferred her faith from the word of God to the tree of knowledge, at Satan’s suggestion the woman could easily be led to test the truth of all his statements by her senses. A theory had been advanced; the experimental process now began. That is the way men now gain their knowledge, but their wisdom comes otherwise. She looked upon the forbidden fruit, but no physical change was perceptible as the result of the misuse of this sense. This led her to feel more sure that the argument used had been correct. Her ears were attentive to the words of the serpent, but when perceived no change as a result of the perverted use of the sense of hearing. This led her to feel more sure that the argument used had been correct. Her ears were attentive to the words of the serpent, but she perceived no change as a result of the perverted use of the sense of hearing. This, to the changing mind of the woman, was still more conclusive proof that the words of Christ and angels did not mean what she had at first thought they meant. The senses of touch, smell, and taste were in turn used; and each corroborated the conclusion drawn by the devil. The woman was deceived; and through the deception, her mind was changed. This same change of mind may be wrought either by deception or as a result of false reasoning.

Eve approached Adam with the fruit in her hand. Instead of answering in the oft-repeated words of Christ, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17), he took up the logic of the serpent. Having eaten, his mind was also changed. He, who from creation had thought the thoughts of God, was yielding to the mind of the enemy. The exactness with which he had once understood the mind of God was exemplified when he named the animals; for the thought of God which formed the animal passed through the mind of Adam and “whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” Genesis 2:19

The completeness of the change which took place is seen in the argument used when God walked in the garden in the cool of the evening. Said Adam, “The woman gave me to eat. Thou gavest me the woman. Therefore Thou art to blame.” (See Genesis 3:12.) This was another decidedly logical conclusion, from the standpoint of the wisdom of the serpent; and it was repeated by Eve, who laid the blame first on the serpent, and finally on God Himself. Self-justification, self-exaltation, self-worship,—here was the human origin of the papacy, that power which “opposeth and exalteth itself above all that is called God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4

Faith Versus Reason

God, through His instruction, had taught that the result of faith would be immortal life. Satan taught, and attempted to prove his logic by a direct appeal to the senses, that there was immortal life in the wisdom that comes as the result of human reason. The method employed by Satan is that which men today call the natural method; but in the mind of God, the wisdom of the world is foolishness. The method which to the godly mind, to the spiritual nature, seems natural is foolishness to the world.

There are but two systems of education,—the one based on what God calls wisdom, the gift of which is eternal life; the other based on what the world regards as wisdom but which God says is foolishness. This last exalts reason above faith, and the result is spiritual death. That the fall of man was the result of choosing the false system of education can not be converted. Redemption comes through the adoption of the true system of education.

Re-creation is a change of mind,—an exchange of the natural for the spiritual. “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2. In order to render a change possible, Christ must bruise the head of the serpent; that is, the philosophy of the devil must be disproved by the Son of God. Christ did this; but in so doing, his heel, representing his physical nature, was bruised. The result of the acceptance of the satanic philosophy, the more complete is the subjection of the race top physical infirmities.

After the Fall, man turned to coarser articles of diet; and his nature gradually became more gross. The spiritual nature, at first the prominent part of his being, was dwarfed and overruled until it was but the “small voice” within. With the development of the physical and the intellectual to the neglect of the spiritual have come the evils of modern society,—the love of display, the perversion of taste, the deformity of the body, and those attendant sins which destroyed Sodom and now threaten our cities. Man became careless in his work also, and the earth failed to yield her fullness. As a result, thorns and thistles sprang up.

True Science and Life

It is not surprising, after following the decline of the race, to find that the system of education introduced by Christ begins with the instruction given in the garden of Eden and that it is based on the simple law of faith. We better appreciate the gift of Christ when we dwell upon the thought that while suffering physically, while taking our infirmities into His own body, He yet preserved a sound mind and a will wholly subject to the Father’s; that by so doing, the philosophy of the archdeceiver might be overthrown by the divine philosophy.

Again, it is but natural to suppose that when called upon to decide between the two systems of education, the human and the divine, and Christian education is chosen, that man will also have to reform his manner of eating and living. The original diet of man is again made known; and for his home he is urged to choose a garden spot, away from crowded cities, where God can speak to his spiritual nature through His works.

God does use the senses of man; but knowledge thus gained becomes wisdom only when enlightened by the Spirit, the gateway to whose fountain is opened by the key of faith.

Beneath the tree of life originated the highest method of education,—the plan that the world needs today. Beneath the branches of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil arose the conflicting system, having ever one object in view,—the overthrow of the eternal principles of truth. Under one guise, then under another, it has borne sway upon the earth. Whether as Babylonish learning, Greek philosophy, Egyptian wisdom, the high glitter of papal pomp, or the more modest but no less subtle workings of modern science, the results always have been, and always will be, a savor of death unto death. As was the unassuming life of the Saviour of man when walking the earth unrecognized by the lordly Pharisees and wise men of His day, so has been the progress of truth. It has kept steadily on the onward march, regardless of oppression. Men’s minds, clouded by self-worship, fail to recognize the voice from heaven. It is passed by as the low mutterings of thunder at the gate Beautiful when the Father spoke to His son, and the halo of heavenly light encircling eternal truth is explained by natural causes. Man’s reason is opposed to simple faith, but those who will finally reach the state of complete harmony with God will have begun where Adam failed. Wisdom will be gained by faith. Self will have been lost in the adoration of the great Mind of the universe; and he who was created in the image of God, who was pronounced by the Master Mind as “very good,” will, after the struggle with sin, be restored to the harmony of the universe by the simple act of faith.

When God is Silent

The study of the providence of God has been highly recommended to us. We are told that John the Baptist, while living his retired life in the wilderness of Judea, studied the providence of God in nature. We are told that Jesus Christ Himself studied carefully the providence of God during His years at Nazareth. We are also told that He loved to go out into the mountains around Nazareth, into the forests and glens to find places to pray and to study the providence of God. We have an example of this providence in action recorded in Matthew 15.

Jesus was not always easy to understand, at least it seemed so to the disciples. But you have to look at it from His standpoint, too; they were not always easy to teach. He had a very difficult lesson that He needed to teach them at this point in their educational experience. To teach them this particular lesson, He set up what appeared to be a five—day seminar. He took them over the hill country from Galilee to the area of Tyre and Sidon, fifty or sixty miles to the northwest. I would estimate that it took them at least two days to go, two days to come back, with one day spent there.

What was this special effort all about? Was it for a woman who had a devil-possessed daughter? Well, yes; but that is only a small part of it. That was the easiest thing that Jesus had to do on this particular journey. His biggest job was not to deal with the devil-possessed daughter of a woman but to deal with the tradition-possessed minds of the twelve disciples. They thought like Jews; they lived like Jews, and they were Jews. They had imbibed the spirit of the rabbis, which had a particular view of the world that Jesus had to deal with. It was not appropriate for His cause and for His disciples to have the world view of the rabbis. The Jews had a saying, “Just as the best of serpents should be crushed, even so, the best of Gentiles should be slain.” This was an opinion that all of His disciples held. Before He could use them as missionaries to the Gentile world, Jesus had to get a new idea into their minds.

Preparation before Commission

Just before His return to heaven, Jesus said to His disciples, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8. If Jesus had not done some special educational work for them, they would have choked and sputtered when He said Samaria. When He said, “Unto the uttermost part of the earth,” they would have just been aghast. (Out there was where those curs, those mongrels, those horrible Gentiles lived.) He had a job to do before they would even consider such a thing.

We have now the woman to consider. We are told that she was a woman of Canaan. The Canaanites, were the oldest race of people who lived in that area. Actually, however, she probably did not know herself who her ancestors were. Centuries before, the Assyrians, a small but ambitious nation of people, sought to control the whole country. To accomplish this, they first used force and cruelty, believing that if they were mean and cruel enough, nobody would ever dream of rebelling against their power. This did not work, however, and people rebelled anyway. Later in their history, they resorted to the practice of relocation people. By taking them away from their homelands and mixing them all up, they hoped to leave them without sufficient strength in numbers to be able to mount a rebellion. This resulted in the people encountering, and to a large degree assimilating, various types of cultural and religious attitudes.

Many years later, when Cyrus permitted the Jews from Babylon to go back to Jerusalem, secular historical tell us that he did the same thing for many other people. Under his rule, if you could still remember and if you had a desire to do so, you were allowed to return to your ancestral homeland. This resulted in another great transmigration of people all over the vast area. There had been a great deal of inter-marriage with the different peoples. So if you lived in the area of Tyre and Sidon, like this woman did, and you were referred to as a woman of Canaan, that did not mean very much. It would be very, very difficult for you to be sure whose blood was in your veins; but for certain, it was not the blood of Abraham.

On the other hand, before a Jewish boy learned to read and write, he learned his pedigree. He learned to prove that he was descended from Abraham; so by groups of seven, he memorized the most outstanding ancestors of his ancestral line. He did not try to remember all of the but enough to show you that he was indeed in line with Abraham. If you called upon him to tell you who he was, he would not just say, “I am Joseph, ” or “I am David.” He would say, “I am Joseph, son of, son of, son of, son…” all the way back to “son of Abraham.” That is what counted. You had to be a son of Abraham. So people with an attitude like this looked at this woman as if she were just a cur, or mongrel. Because of this situation, she was ideally suited to be the subject of this seminar.

The stage is set; the players are there: the pagan, the prejudiced disciples, and the compassionate Saviour. But as we watch the action unfold, we may be at first as puzzled and bewildered as the disciples were.

The woman comes with her first appeal to Jesus. “Lord, have mercy on me; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” Jesus’ first answer to her is silence. So what does the silence mean? The disciples think, of course, that it means rejection. That is what they understand his apparent indifference to mean. They cannot understand why He does not finished the job and get rid of the woman. But Jesus knows what He is doing, and He works carefully in this educational situation.

Now as we look on and see somebody appealing to the Saviour and His answer is silence, we possibly can identify with that because we have had that experience, have we not? Have we not presented some request to the Lord and received silence as an answer? A young college girl was talking to me about some of her problems one day. I asked her, “Have you talked to the Lord about it?”

She answered, “Yes, I have. But it seems like God just doesn’t say anything.” That is not so uncommon. I think that it is really quite common that we talk to the Lord about something and the answer appears to be silence. What does the silence mean? This is a question that we can reflect upon with profit.

Why Silence?

Does it mean that God does not hear? Does it mean that He does not care? Does it mean that the answer is no? Well, certainly it cannot mean that He does not hear. We know that He hears. Certainly it does not mean that He does not care, whether we are looking at this situation or our own situation. After all, He had walked fifty miles or more just to get to this woman to take care of her problem; so He certainly cares. In our case, we know that He died for us; He lives for us, so He cares. So it cannot mean that He does not hear; it cannot mean that He does not care. Well, does it mean that the answer is no? Not necessarily. What, then, does it mean?

We may get a clue from Romans 8:26 where we are told, “We know not what we should pray for as we ought.” In The Desire of Ages, 200, we find these words: “The Saviour longs to give us a greater blessing than we ask.” The Saviour wants to give us something bigger and better than we are asking for. Well, why does He not do it? What is holding Him back?

We need to think about that for a moment. Physical things can be given by surprise, but spiritual things cannot. We can surprise somebody with a gift of money or property or land or personal things. We even have surprise parties where everything is a total surprise to somebody. And that works. You can put something physical in a person’s hand, but you cannot put something spiritual into someone’s heart by surprise. That is impossible. The heart must be wanting that spiritual gift before it can be given. I think that if you will just do a little thinking about it, you will see that this is true. How can you give a spiritual gift of peace or happiness or joy or anything like that to somebody whose heart is just far, far away and not concerned about peace or happiness or joy? It cannot be done. Because a spiritual gift cannot be given unless it is desired, God sometimes finds it necessary to delay an answer to our prayers. You see, we are carnally minded.

Here is a simple illustration. Suppose the pastor of a church says, “Wednesday evening at 7:30 there is going to be prayer meeting and everybody who comes is going to receive a blessing. The Lord has promised it.”

So we go to the pastor and ask, “What did you say that we are going to receive Wednesday night?”

He answers, “A blessing.”

“What can I do with a blessing? Can I eat it?”

“No, you cannot eat it.”

“Can I wear it?”

“No, you cannot wear it.”

“Can I put it in the bank?”

“No, you cannot put it in the bank.”

Suppose that on Sabbath morning the pastor were to say, “We are going to have prayer meeting on Wednesday night and everybody who comes is going to get a new $20 bill.” Do you think that you could make it to prayer meeting? On, yes! We understand this. We would be there, everyone of us, young and old. We put so much more value on money than we do on what the Lord has promised, and that is a problem. That is a problem that God has to deal with, and one of His ways of dealing with it is with His silence.

“Lord, I need a new pair of shoes.” Silence. “Lord, this is the second time that I am telling You that I need a new pair of shoes.” Silence. “Lord, pardon me for mentioning this third time, but I need a new pair of shoes.” Silence. “What is the matter with God?” Silence. “I wonder if it could be something the matter with me.” “Now we are getting somewhere,” God says.

Better Answers

You see, God delays the answer to our prayer because He wants to give us something better than we ask. Why do we always have to talk about shoes?” He asks. “Why can’t we talk about something important? Did I not promise you that I would take care of all things? Did I not say, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you?’ Why do you always come to Me with a list of physical things that you want?”

Record, or try to remember all of your praying for a week, making a list of all of the physical things that you ask the Lord for and a list of all of the spiritual things that you ask for. I suspect that the list of physical things will be quite a bit longer because we have to talk about shoes, clothes, our house, and all of our other things. All the while, God is saying, “Talk about something important. You need the joy of Christ in your life far more than you need new shoes. Why can you not talk about that?”

As we move along, we take notice of His disciples’ confusion on this point. You see, He answered the lady twice and He spoke to the disciples once. When they noticed that He was not answering her, they interpreted it to mean rejection and they said, “Send her away; for she crieth after us.”

He said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” That throws them into confusion and this is what He wanted to do. You see, His body language, if we want to call it that, and His speech did not agree. “I am only sent unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Therefore, I am not sending her away.” What? “What is He saying?” the disciples mutter one to another. He should be saying, “I am only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; therefore I am sending her away.” That would make sense. But He says one thing with His body language and He says something else with his words; so they begin to puzzle, and that is what He wants.

Weakening Prejudice

It was with this point that He drove His first wedge and opened a crack in that big wall of prejudice. “He is surely not suggesting to us that this mongrel, this cur, is a lost sheep of the house of Israel, is He? Or is He? Could that be what He is saying?” This is the thought that He wanted to be forming in their minds.

We now come to His second answer to her, and it seems even worse than the first. He had just been ignoring her as if He did not even see her, but now He stops and looks at her and she pleads again, “Lord, have mercy on me.”

Looking at her, He says, “You are a dog.”

Well that is even worse than the silence. We wonder that she even held on. We are told that she saw something in His face that He could not hide (see The Desire of Ages, 184), so she latched on to that. If you have ever worked among third-world people, you may have discovered something. They may not have the greatest education, but it is very difficult to fool them. They are very shrewd judges of human nature. They read your face, your eyes, your actions. This Canaanite woman probably had very little education; she may not have known how to read or write, but she could read His face. She saw something there that she latched on to. So when Jesus said to her, “You are a dog,” instead of walking away, she replied, “You say I’m a dog and I do not deny it; but if I am a dog, where are my crumbs? You do not look like a man who would starve His dog to death.”

Jesus answered, “Okay, okay, you win.” What else could He do when she said, “I am not basing my plea on my character; I am placing it on Your character?” As Martin Luther said, “She threw His bag of promises down in front of Him, and He couldn’t step over it.”

Well, she got what she wanted and the disciples learned something. This was a hard lesson to learn, but they learned it. As the Jewish nation hardened itself and raised more and more barriers against the gospel message and the disciples were called upon to move farther and farther out into the Gentile world, they remembered this experience. They remembered that a mongrel cur can be a child of Abraham.

Originally, Paul and the disciples believed, “If ye be Abraham’s seed, then you can approach Christ.” Christ turned it right around. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:27-29

We often experience the silence of God when we pray. Does it mean that He does not hear? Oh, no. Does it mean that He does not care? Oh, no. It means that He wants us to think. He wants us to think about something that we are not thinking about because our mind is so taken up with shoes and socks and all of the physical things of life. “The Saviour longs to give us a greater blessing than we ask; and He delays the answer to our request that He may show us the evil of our own hearts, and our deep need of His grace.” The Desire of Ages, 200. He deliberately chooses to answer us with silence.

“Sometimes answers to our prayers come immediately, sometimes we have to wait patiently and continue earnestly to plead for the things that we need. We are to keep on asking, even if we do not realize the immediate response to our prayers.

“There are precious promises in the Scriptures to those who wait upon the Lord. We all desire an immediate answer to our prayers and are tempted to become discouraged if our prayer is not immediately answered…this is a great mistake. The delay is for our special benefit.” Counsels on Health, 380

“The God of providence still walks among us. Though His footsteps are not seen, though His positive and direct workings are not recognized or understood, the God of providence is still walking among us making journeys to reach us perhaps.” Reflecting Christ, 98

Thank God for His providence. Thank Him for His mercy, for His understanding, for His willingness to go anywhere, to do anything to bring any one of us to the salvation of the Lord. Thank God for the fact that every one of us has a page in the book of providence where every detail is numbered. Nothing happens to us except by His permission.

Editorial – The Voice of God, part 1

Since the fall of man in Eden, the tempter has been most successful in reaching men when he is able to deceive them into thinking that his voice is the voice of God. “Men must be in close connection with God, or the enemy will interpose himself between them and God, that they will take his suggestions as the voice of God.” 1888 Messages, 939

In order to avoid being shaken out of with any device of our adversary who is much wiser than we are, we must know with certainty the voice of God and then obey it.

Many times in the book of Genesis God spoke to individuals but in Exodus, He speaks not only to individuals but to the entire world from Mount Sinai in giving His Law. “The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. Psalm 68:8. Amid the most terrific convulsions of nature the voice of God, like a trumpet, was heard from the cloud. The mountain was shaken from base to summit and the hosts of Israel, pale and trembling with terror, lay upon their faces upon the earth. He whose voice then shook the earth has declared, ‘Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.’ ” Patriarchs and Prophets, 340. Concerning what He spoke, He declares “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.” (The Ten Commandments are called is covenant. See Deuteronomy 4:13; 5:22.)

Any voice with any message can be compared to the Law of God. God’s voice will never contradict His Law and any voice that does contradict His Law is not His voice no matter what claim may be made. It is this stabilizing knowledge that will be one of the main factors that will keep the elect from being deceived in the times of trouble just ahead. (See The Great Controversy, 622-626.) There are mysteries in the Bible that the wisest minds cannot fathom, but this is not true concerning the law of God. “There is no mystery in the law of God. The feeblest intellect can grasp these rules to regulate after the Divine Mode.” Review and Herald, September 14, 1886

But God’s voice is heard not only in the Ten Commandments. “Do we receive the testimony of the Scriptures as the voice of God? Through the Scriptures, the voice of God comes to us as veritably as it came to Israel when He spoke on Sinai in the audience of all the people. How many of us regard it in this light? If we did regard it thus, what a change would be seen in our daily words and actions. With what reverence and awe would we search the Word of God to know the truth, the medium through which the souls sanctification is accomplished.” Signs of the Times, April 6, 1891. If we could fully realize the truth of this statements, how the Holy Bible would be prized. It would be considered the greatest of any material possession that could be acquired in this world. It would be realized that this Book allows us to have an audience with our Maker Who holds the destiny of every living thing in His hands and has in this Book graciously shown to us how to live so as to obtain life’s best results.

“The Lord has uttered His voice in His Holy Word. Those blessed pages are full of instruction and life, harmonious with truth. They are a perfect rule of conduct. Instructions are given, principles are laid down, which apply to every circumstance in life, even though some particular case may not be stated. Nothing is left unrevealed which is essential to a complete system of faith and a correct line of practice. Every duty that God requires at our hands is made plain…None will err from the right path who meekly and honestly take the Bible as their guide, making it the man of their counsel.” Our High Calling, 36

There are other ways in which the Lord speaks to the children of men, but it is basic to understand that the voice of God will never contradict the Scriptures, especially the Ten Commandments. If the voice of any person, organization, or group of persons, no matter how many miracles are performed or how many signs and wonders, are worked proclaims a message contrary to the established and certain vice which has stood the test of many centuries of criticism and abuse and has given unmistakable evidence of its source, the we may know that, however pleasing, this voice is neither the voice of God nor speaking for God. (See Matthew 7:21-23.)