Food for Life — Fruits, Grain and Vegetables

Hot and humid! One more month and it will be Fall again. This has been quite a year—the world blames all these disasters on El Nino, but we who look for the soon coming of our Lord know that these are sure signs of the nearness of His coming and the end of the world. What a wonderfuljoyit is to have a hope, and to know that if we are faithful, we will soon, so very soon, see our Jesus coming in the clouds of Heaven to take us to our final reward! Oh, we must be there! Please do not let anything hinder you, for I pray everyday for this wide circle that this paper takes in and hope that if my articles in anyway have helped you to Eternal Life, that you will come up to me on those streets of gold, and say, “Thank you for being instrumental in writing out God’s will for His people, so that I could conform my life to His pattern before it was too late.” And we will embrace and then spend the rest of eternity serving our God, and loving Him and His Son for all they did that we might share in His glory.

“Our bodies are built up from the food we eat. There is a constant breaking down of the tissues of the body; every movement of every organ involves waste, and this waste is repaired from our food. Each organ of the body requires its share of nutrition. The brain must be supplied with its portion; the bones, muscles, and nerves demand theirs. It is a wonderful process that transforms the food into blood and uses this blood to build up the varied parts of the body; but this process is going on continually, supplying with life and strength each nerve, muscle, and tissue.

“Those foods should be chosen that best supply the elements needed for building up the body. In this choice, appetite is not a safe guide. Through wrong habits of eating, the appetite has become perverted. Often it demands food that impairs health and causes weakness instead of strength. We cannot safely be guided by the customs of society. The disease and suffering that everywhere prevail are largely due to popular errors in regard to diet.

“In order to know what are the best foods, we must study God’s original plan for man’s diet. He who created man and who understands his needs appointed Adam his food. ‘Behold,’ He said, ‘I have given you every herb yielding seed, . . .and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.’ Genesis 1:29, A.R.V. Upon leaving Eden to gain his livelihood by tilling the earth under the curse of sin, man received permission to eat also ‘the herb of the field.’ Genesis 3:18.

“Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator.” The Ministry of Healing, 295–296.

Until a few years ago, I was under the impression that vegetables were given after sin entered the Garden of Eden. Then as I was reading Confrontation by Ellen White, on page 10 it says, “Adam and Eve came forth from the hand of their Creator in the perfection of every physical, mental, and spiritual endowment. God planted for them a garden, and surrounded them with everything that was lovely and attractive to the eye, which their physical necessities required. This holy pair [obviously they had not sinned yet] looked upon the world of unsurpassed loveliness and glory. A benevolent Creator had given them evidences of His goodness and love in providing them with fruits, vegetables, and grains, and in causing to grow out of the ground every variety of tree for usefulness and beauty.” [All emphasis supplied.]


Rice Croquettes

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup bread crumbs or grape nuts

1/2 cup nut milk

4 T. chopped onions

1 cup chopped nuts

1/2 t. sea salt

Combine the nut milk, onions, nuts, and sea salt and pour over the crumbs or grape nuts, and let stand for 10 minutes. Then add the rice. Form into croquettes and place on a cookie sheet or baking dish and bake about 45 minutes at 350º.


SDA Roots, part 3

“Follow the fascinating, expanding course of a tiny rivulet. Fed at first from a single spring, it wends its solitary way down the broad valley from the highland. Soon it is joined by other brooklets, and is fed by streamlet after streamlet, until it expands into a modest river. This, in turn, is joined by other streams and rivers, large and small. And these are augmented by melting snows and swelled by drenching rains, until a giant continental waterway results—growing wider, deeper, swifter with each passing mile, and flowing resistlessly onward until it pours its impressive volume into the mighty ocean. Mill wheels are turned and power is developed on its banks, and sizable ships sail on its bosom. Such is the life story of a great river like the Mississippi.

“And thus it was with what became the great Millerite or second advent movement of America, starting in the early nineteenth-century. Perhaps no phenomenon in the history of American Christianity is comparable to aspects of the great nineteenth-century second advent, or Millerite movement. Without question it made a greater impress upon the consciousness of the American populace within the short space of thirteen years than any other religious development in the annals of the nation.” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 4. 443.

The founder of the Millerite or American Advent movement was William Miller, born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in February 1782. “He possessed a strong physical constitution, an active and naturally well-developed intellect, an irreproachable moral character. He had enjoyed the limited advantages of the district school but a few years before it was generally admitted that his attainments exceeded those of the teachers usually employed.” The Great Second Advent Movement, 118. By J. N. Loughborough.

He had an insatiable desire to read and spent many hours by the light of candlewood (splinters of pitchy wood and pine knots) reading books. This made an impression upon several men in Miller’s community, including Judge James Witherill, Congressman Matthew Lyon and Alexander Cruikshanks of White Hall, formerly of Scotland, and they offered him free access to their libraries. His parents had warned him not to stay up late reading but he persisted in reading before the fireplace after the family had gone to bed.

“He was blessed with a strong mind and a remarkably retentive memory, and earnestly longed to obtain an advanced formal education. But that was not to be, despite his earnest attempts. He was, nevertheless, fitted for vigorous living and became a leader among his fellows. He was unusually well read and self-educated, and conspicuously methodical in all his ways. He came to be recognized as on a parity with the best-trained minds of the community, with whom he constantly associated. He was also a kind of community scribe, an excellent penman and versifier.” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 4, 456.

At the age of 23, in 1803, he married Lucy Smith and they set up housekeeping in Poultney, Vermont. There was a large library in this town and Miller spent much time there. His ability to write verse made him popular at public occasions. He joined the Literary Society and also became a Mason. The men with whom he associated were deeply into deistic theories and principles. They rejected the Bible as the standard of religious truth and attempted to make this acceptable by referring to such writers as Voltaire, Hume, Volney, Paine and Ethan Allen, among others.

Voltaire’s concepts were built around the false idea of the ruin of human nature which completely ignored God’s redeeming love and provisions. Volney’s philosophy was concerned with the ruin of human habitation, not realizing that God did not design that man be in his present state or to leave him there forever. Paine argued against the supernatural, using pagan mythology.

Because of his keen mind and ready wit, Miller enjoyed philosophical discussions. He was perturbed over the inconsistencies he observed among professing Christians. He was even more perplexed over the seeming contradictions in the Bible, as asserted by his deist friends.

To solve these problems, Miller sought the counsel of various preachers, but he became more confused by their various conflicting and irreconcilable opinions. He studied writings of Voltaire, Hume and Paine, among others, and eventually declared himself a deist. But the study of these atheistic writers only brought more confusion to his mind. He came to look upon life as a gamble and the Bible as “a creation of crafty fabrication rather than a system of revealed truth.” Ibid., vol.4, 457. He continued in this vein of thinking for twelve years, beginning in 1804. In spite of all this he still believed in a Supreme Being that manifests Himself in providence and nature.

“Despite his playful mimicry of the devotional mannerisms and the very tones, words, and gestures of the preachers—and all done with the utmost gravity—Miller sought to be good and to do good, and gave liberally for the support of Christian objectives. He was honest, truthful, and clean. Even in the days of his greatest devotion to Deism he always desired something better. Despite his difficulties he could not rationally abandon his belief in the existence of God. At the outset of this conflict of soul, in 1803 he had expressed his outcry after God in a touching strain. It was in a bit of verse entitled ‘Religion’:

‘Come, blest Religion, with thy angel’s face, Dispel this gloom, and brighten all the place; Drive this destructive passion from my breast; Compose my sorrows, and restore my rest; Show me the path that Christian heroes trod, Wean me from earth, and raise my soul to God!’ ” Ibid., 458.

Having served as constable and justice of the peace, and sheriff from 1809-1811, he became familiar with the baser side of human nature, making him distrustful of all men. In spite of these experiences Miller still had a desire for good character more than for fame and money. He thought this could be attained by patriotic service so he joined the army, receiving the rank of captain, and served from 1812-1814.

By now he had become disillusioned with Deism and its principles and became disgusted with the sinful character of men. He was horrified by the deistic doctrine of total annihilation for everyone at death. Soon Miller was discharged and he returned to Poultney with a comfortable income. In 1816 he moved to Low Hampton, New York, following the death of his father, to take care of his mother and begin life as a farmer. Now he had more time to read and study the things which he had desired to for so long.

One day Miller found himself taking the name of God in vain, in an oath, and he was convicted that it was wrong. He pondered how a just being could save the violators of law and justice. The answer did not appear in nature or in providence. Only the Bible professed to be a revelation from God, and to offer a solution.

He said, “Annihilation was a cold and chilling thought, and accountability was sure destruction to all. The heavens were as brass over my head, and the earth as iron under my feet. Eternity! What was it? And death! Why was it? The more I reasoned, the further I was from demonstration. The more I thought, the more scattered were my conclusions. I tried to stop thinking, but my thoughts would not be controlled. I was truly wretched, but did not understand the cause . . . Soon after, suddenly the character of the Saviour was vividly impressed upon my mind. It seemed there might be a Being so good and compassionate as to Himself atone for our transgressions, and thereby save us from suffering the penalty of sin. I immediately felt how lovely such a Being must be; and imagined that I could cast myself into the arms of, and trust in the mercy of such a One.” The Great Second Advent Movement, 118, 119.

William Miller’s home was only a quarter of a mile from his uncle’s Baptist church, which he attended on a regular basis when his uncle was there. He excused his absence by saying that he was not edified by the faulty way in which the sermon was read by the substitute. He suggested that if he could read sometime he would attend, and the church elders agreed to this. That was the beginning of Miller’s public religious life. All the while he was groping for light and rest of soul.

One Sunday a visiting clergyman preached a sermon that made a profound impression on Miller. On the following Sunday, in the absence of his uncle, he was asked to give the sermon which the leaders selected for him. The selection was taken from Proudfit’s Practical Sermons, on Isaiah 53. “In the midst of the presentation he was overwhelmed by the sense of God’s goodness and His loving provision for lost sinners. The redemptive character of the Saviour as an atonement for sin was vividly impressed upon him. He was soundly converted, and accepted Christ as his personal Saviour. His mind was now satisfied, and his heart found rest.” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, 461.

“I saw that the Bible did bring to view just such a Saviour as I needed; and I was perplexed to find how an uninspired book should develop principles so perfectly adapted to the wants of a fallen world. I was constrained to admit that the Scriptures must be a revelation from God. They became my delight; and in Jesus I found a friend . . . The Bible now became my chief study, and I can truly say, I searched it with great delight. I found the half was never told me. I wondered why I had not seen its beauty and glory before, and marveled that I could have ever rejected it.” The Great Second Advent Movement, 118, 119.

“He at once erected the family altar and publicly professed the Christian faith, joining the Hampton Baptist church and becoming one of its staunch pillars.” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, 461.

“This right about-face was, of course, much to the chagrin of his former deist friends who began to assail his new faith and allegiance. He became the butt of sharp ridicule and the subject of their mirth. But all this proved a blessing in disguise. He came to know their mode of attack and their processes of thought, as well as their arguments. This doubtless accounts for his later skill in successfully handling deists. He had considered every conceivable objection, more than his opponents were able to muster, and was unable to find one really valid objection to the Christian faith. Thus it was that his faith was established.” Ibid., 461.

“Miller publicly professed his faith in the religion which he had despised. But his infidel associates were not slow to bring forward all those arguments, which he himself had often urged, against the divine authority of the Scriptures. He was not then prepared to answer them; but he reasoned that if the Bible is a revelation from God, it must be consistent with itself; and that as it was given for man’s instruction, it must be adapted to his understanding. He determined to study the Scriptures for himself, and ascertain if every apparent contradiction could not be harmonized.” The Great Controversy, 319, 320.

For the next two years the Bible became the center of his studies and meditation. He had discovered that God was a Being that he could trust. His unbelieving friends accused him of being blind in his faith, just as he had done to others while he was involved in Deism. He had gained great joy in propounding perplexing questions to Christians and triumphed over their discomfiture. Now he received the same and must meet the issue. His answer was to ask for time and he would harmonize the apparent contradictions. It was the challenges of the deists and his own desire to know the truth which drove him to earnestly study the Bible for himself.

Miller now began his study by laying aside all commentaries and preconceived opinions and using only the Bible, Cruden’s Concordance, marginal notes of the Bible and history books. His studies were so intensive that he would often spend all night followed by whole days in study. His determination was to methodically and systematically examine the Bible to find the answers to his questions. So he began at Genesis, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and proceeded no faster than the meaning became clear.

“At times Miller was delighted with truth that soon became apparent. At other times he was puzzled by the imagery of the prophecies, and was still troubled by seeming contradictions. This prolonged study eventuated in the formulation of a set of rules to be noted later. Symbols and metaphors became clear, and parables and similes were satisfactorily defined. He became profoundly and intelligently convinced that the Bible is ‘a system of revealed truth.’ ” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, 462.

As Miller studied the prophecies, he became convinced even more of the inspired origin of the Bible. Though they were expressed symbolically, they were obviously fulfilled literally and could be proven from history. He reasoned that the past fulfillments were the guarantee of the integrity of the portions of the prophecies not yet fulfilled. He was sure that the Second Advent was near. He said: “Finding all the signs of the times and the present condition of the world, to compare harmoniously with the prophetic descriptions of the last days, I was compelled to believe that this world had about reached the limits of the period allotted for its continuance. As I regarded the evidence, I could arrive at no other conclusion.” Ibid., 463.

The next time we will continue with the story of William Miller: his methods of study, his findings and his preaching experiences.


Reverence in the House of God

To the humble, believing soul, the house of God on earth is the gate of heaven. The song of praise, the prayer, the words spoken by Christ’s representatives, are God’s appointed agencies to prepare a people for the church above, for that loftier worship into which there can enter nothing that defileth. From the sacredness which was attached to the earthly sanctuary, Christians may learn how they should regard the place where the Lord meets with His people. There has been a great change, not for the better, but for the worse, in the habits and customs of the people in reference to religious worship.

The precious, the sacred, things which connect us with God are fast losing their hold upon our minds and hearts, and are being brought down to the level of common things. The reverence which the people had anciently for the sanctuary where they met with God in sacred service has largely passed away. Nevertheless, God Himself gave the order of His service, exalting it high above everything of a temporal nature.

The house is the sanctuary for the family, and the closet or the grove the most retired place for individual worship; but the church is the sanctuary for the congregation. There should be rules in regard to the time, the place, and the manner of worshiping. Nothing that is sacred, nothing that pertains to the worship of God, should be treated with carelessness or indifference. In order that men may do their best work in showing forth the praises of God, their associations must be such as will keep the sacred distinct from the common, in their minds. Those who have broad ideas, noble thoughts and aspirations, are those who have associations that strengthen all thoughts of divine things. Happy are those who have a sanctuary, be it high or low, in the city or among the rugged mountain caves, in the lowly cabin or in the wilderness. If it is the best they can secure for the Master, He will hallow the place with His presence, and it will be holy unto the Lord of hosts.

When the worshipers enter the place of meeting, they should do so with decorum, passing quietly to their seats. If there is a stove in the room, it is not proper to crowd about it in an indolent, careless attitude. Common talking, whispering, and laughing should not be permitted in the house of worship, either before or after the service. Ardent, active piety should characterize the worshipers.

If some have to wait a few minutes before the meeting begins, let them maintain a true spirit of devotion by silent meditation, keeping the heart uplifted to God in prayer that the service may be of special benefit to their own hearts and lead to the conviction and conversion of other souls. They should remember that heavenly messengers are in the house. We all lose much sweet communion with God by our restlessness, by not encouraging moments of reflection and prayer. The spiritual condition needs to be often reviewed and the mind and heart drawn toward the Sun of Righteousness. If when the people come into the house of worship, they have genuine reverence for the Lord and bear in mind that they are in His presence, there will be a sweet eloquence in silence. The whispering and laughing and talking which might be without sin in a common business place should find no sanction in the house where God is worshiped. The mind should be prepared to hear the word of God, that it may have due weight and suitably impress the heart.

When the minister enters, it should be with dignified, solemn mien. He should bow down in silent prayer as soon as he steps into the pulpit, and earnestly ask help of God. What an impression this will make! There will be solemnity and awe upon the people. Their minister is communing with God; he is committing himself to God before he dares to stand before the people. Solemnity rests upon all, and angels of God are brought very near. Every one of the congregation, also,who fears God should with bowed head unite in silent prayer with him that God may grace the meeting with His presence and give power to His truth proclaimed from human lips. When the meeting is opened by prayer, every knee should bow in the presence of the Holy One, and every heart should ascend to God in silent devotion. The prayers of faithful worshipers will be heard, and the ministry of the word will prove effectual. The lifeless attitude of the worshipers in the house of God is one great reason why the ministry is not more productive of good. The melody of song, poured forth from many hearts in clear, distinct utterance, is one of God’s instrumentalities in the work of saving souls. All the service should be conducted with solemnity and awe, as if in the visible presence of the Master of assemblies.

When the word is spoken, you should remember, brethren, that you are listening to the voice of God through His delegated servant. Listen attentively. Sleep not for one instant, because by this slumber you may lose the very words that you need most—the very words which, if heeded, would save your feet from straying into wrong paths. Satan and his angels are busy creating a paralyzed condition of the senses so that cautions, warnings, and reproofs shall not be heard; or if heard, that they shall not take effect upon the heart and reform the life. Sometimes a little child may so attract the attention of the hearers that the precious seed does not fall into good ground and bring forth fruit. Sometimes young men and women have so little reverence for the house and worship of God that they keep up a continual communication with each other during the sermon. Could these see the angels of God looking upon them and marking their doings, they would be filled with shame, with abhorrence of themselves. God wants attentive hearers. It was while men slept that Satan sowed his tares.

When the benediction is pronounced, all should still be quiet, as if fearful of losing the peace of Christ. Let all pass out without jostling or loud talking, feeling that they are in the presence of God, that His eye is resting upon them, and that they must act as in His visible presence. Let there be no stopping in the aisles to visit or gossip, thus blocking them up so that others cannot pass out. The precincts of the church should be invested with a sacred reverence. It should not be made a place to meet old friends and visit and introduce common thoughts and worldly business transactions. These should be left outside the church. God and angels have been dishonored by the careless, noisy laughing and shuffling of feet heard in some places.

Parents, elevate the standard of Christianity in the minds of your children; help them to weave Jesus into their experience; teach them to have the highest reverence for the house of God and to understand that when they enter the Lord’s house it should be with hearts that are softened and subdued by such thoughts as these: “God is here; this is His house. I must have pure thoughts and the holiest motives. I must have no pride, envy, jealousy, evil surmising, hatred, or deception in my heart, for I am coming into the presence of the holy God. This is the place where God meets with and blesses His people. The high and holy One who inhabiteth eternity looks upon me, searches my heart, and reads the most secret thoughts and acts of my life.”

Brethren, will you not devote a little thought to this subject and notice how you conduct yourselves in the house of God and what efforts you are making by precept and example to cultivate reverence in your children? You roll vast responsibilities upon the preacher and hold him accountable for the souls of your children; but you do not sense your own responsibility as parents and as instructors and, like Abraham, command your household after you, that they may keep the statutes of the Lord. Your sons and daughters are corrupted by your own example and lax precepts; and, notwithstanding this lack of domestic training, you expect the minister to counteract your daily work and accomplish the wonderful achievement of training their hearts and lives to virtue and piety. After the minister has done all he can do for the church by faithful, affectionate admonition, patient discipline, and fervent prayer to reclaim and save the soul, yet is not successful, the fathers and mothers often blame him because their children are not converted, when it may be because of their own neglect. The burden rests with the parents; and will they take up the work that God has entrusted to them, and with fidelity perform it? Will they move onward and upward, working in a humble, patient, persevering way to reach the exalted standard themselves and to bring their children up with them? No wonder our churches are feeble and do not have that deep, earnest piety in their borders that they should have. Our present habits and customs, which dishonor God and bring the sacred and heavenly down to the level of the common, are against us. We have a sacred, testing, sanctifying truth; and if our habits and practices are not in accordance with the truth, we are sinners against great light, and are proportionately guilty. It will be far more tolerable for the heathen in the day of God’s retributive justice than for us.

A much greater work might be done than we are now doing in reflecting the light of truth. God expects us to bear much fruit. He expects greater zeal and faithfulness, more affectionate and earnest efforts, by the individual members of the church for their neighbors and for those who are out of Christ. Parents must begin their work on a high plane of action. All who name the name of Christ must put on the whole armor and entreat, warn, and seek to win souls from sin. Lead all you can to listen to the truth in the house of God. We must do much more than we are doing to snatch souls from the burning.

It is too true that reverence for the house of God has become almost extinct. Sacred things and places are not discerned; the holy and exalted are not appreciated. Is there not a cause for the want of fervent piety in our families? Is it not because the high standard of religion is left to trail in the dust? God gave rules of order, perfect and exact, to His ancient people. Has His character changed? Is He not the great and mighty God who rules in the heaven of heavens? Would it not be well for us often to read the directions given by God Himself to the Hebrews, that we who have the light of the glorious truth shining upon us may imitate their reverence for the house of God? We have abundant reason to maintain a fervent, devoted spirit in the worship of God. We have reason even to be more thoughtful and reverential in our worship than had the Jews. But an enemy has been at work to destroy our faith in the sacredness of Christian worship.

The place dedicated to God should not be a room where worldly business is transacted. If the children assemble to worship God in a room that is used during the week for a school or a storeroom, they will be more than human if, mingled with their devotional thoughts, they do not also have thoughts of their studies or of things that have happened during the week. The education and training of the youth should be of a character that would exalt sacred things and encourage pure devotion for God in His house. Many who profess to be children of the heavenly King have no true appreciation of the sacredness of eternal things. Nearly all need to be taught how to conduct themselves in the house of God. Parents should not only teach, but command, their children to enter the sanctuary with sobriety and reverence.

The moral taste of the worshipers in God’s holy sanctuary must be elevated, refined, sanctified. This matter has been sadly neglected. Its importance has been overlooked, and as the result, disorder and irreverence have become prevalent, and God has been dishonored. When the leaders in the church, ministers and people, father and mothers, have not had elevated views of this matter, what could be expected of the inexperienced children? They are too often found in in the presence of God, and His eye is looking upon them, they are light and trifling, they whisper and laugh, are careless, irreverent, and inattentive. They are seldom instructed that the minister is God’s ambassador, that the message he brings is one of God’s appointed agencies in the salvation of souls, and that to all who have the privilege brought within their reach it will be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death.

The delicate and susceptible minds of the youth obtain their estimate of the labors of God’s servants by the way their parents treat the matter. Many heads of families make the service a subject of criticism at home, approving a few things and condemning others. Thus the message of God to men is criticized and questioned, and made a subject of levity. What impressions are thus made upon the young by these careless, irreverent remarks the books of heaven alone will reveal. The children see and understand these things very much quicker than parents are apt to think. Their moral senses receive a wrong bias that time will never fully change. The parents mourn over the hardness of heart in their children and the difficulty in arousing their moral sensibility to answer to the claims of God. But the books of heavenly record trace with unerring pen the true cause. The parents were unconverted. They were not in harmony with heaven or with heaven’s work. Their low, common ideas of the sacredness of the ministry and of the sanctuary of God were woven into the education of their children. It is a question whether anyone who has for years been under this blighting influence of home instruction will ever have a sensitive reverence and high regard for God’s ministry and the agencies He has appointed for the salvation of souls. These things should be spoken of with reverence, with propriety of language,and with fine susceptibility, that you may reveal to all you associate with that you regard the message from God’s servants as a message to you from God Himself.

Parents, be careful what example and what ideas you give your children. Their minds are plastic, and impressions are easily made. In regard to the service of the sanctuary, if the speaker has a blemish, be afraid to mention it. Talk only of the good work he is doing, of the good ideas he presented, which you should heed as coming through God’s agent. It may be readily seen why children are so little impressed with the ministry of the word and why they have so little reverence for the house of God. Their education has been defective in this respect. Their parents need daily communion with God. Their own ideas need to be refined and ennobled; their lips need to be touched with a live coal from off the altar; then their habits, their practices at home, will make a good impression on the minds and characters of their children. The standard of religion will be greatly elevated. Such parents will do a great work for God. They will have less earthliness, less sensuality, and more refinement and fidelity at home. Life will be invested with a solemnity of which they have scarcely conceived. Nothing will be made common that pertains to the service and worship of God.

I am often pained as I enter the house where God is worshiped, to see the untidy dress of both men and women. If the heart and character were indicated by the outward apparel, then certainly nothing could be heavenly about them. They have no true idea of the order, the neatness, and the refined deportment that God requires of all who come into His presence to worship Him. What impressions do these things give to unbelievers and to the youth, who are keen to discern and to draw their conclusions?

In the minds of many there are no more sacred thoughts connected with the house of God than with the most common place. Some will enter the place of worship with their hats on, in soiled, dirty clothes. Such do not realize that they are to meet with God and holy angels. There should be a radical change in this matter all through our churches. Ministers themselves need to elevate their ideas, to have finer susceptibilities in regard to it. It is a feature of the work that has been sadly neglected. Because of the irreverence in attitude, dress, and deportment, and lack of a worshipful frame of mind, God has often turned His face away from those assembled for His worship.

All should be taught to be neat, clean, and orderly in their dress, but not to indulge in that external adorning which is wholly inappropriate for the sanctuary. There should be no display of the apparel; for this encourages irreverence. The attention of the people is often called to this or that fine article of dress, and thus thoughts are intruded that should have no place in the hearts of the worshipers. God is to be the subject of thought, the object of worship; and anything that attracts the mind from the solemn, sacred service is an offense to Him. The parading of bows and ribbons, ruffles and feathers, and gold and silver ornaments is a species of idolatry and is wholly inappropriate for the sacred service of God, where the eye of every worshiper should be single to His glory. All matters of dress should be strictly guarded, following closely the Bible rule. Fashion has been the goddess who has ruled the outside world, and she often insinuates herself into the church. The church should make the word of God her standard, and parents should think intelligently upon this subject. When they see their children inclined to follow worldly fashions, they should, like Abraham, resolutely command their households after them. Instead of uniting them with the world, connect them with God. Let none dishonor God’s sanctuary by their showy apparel. God and angels are there. The Holy One of Israel has spoken through His apostle: “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

When a church has been raised up and left uninstructed on these points, the minister has neglected his duty and will have to give an account to God for the impressions he allowed to prevail. Unless correct ideas of true worship and true reverence are impressed upon the people, there will be a growing tendency to place the sacred and eternal on a level with common things, and those professing the truth will be an offense to God and a disgrace to religion. They can never, with their uncultivated ideas, appreciate a pure and holy heaven, and be prepared to join with the worshipers in the heavenly courts above, where all is purity and perfection, where every being has perfect reverence for God and His holiness.

Paul describes the work of God’s ambassadors as that by which every man shall be presented perfect in Christ Jesus. Those who embrace the truth of heavenly origin should be refined, ennobled, sanctified through it. It will require much painstaking effort to reach God’s standard of true manhood. The irregular stones hewed from the quarry must be chiseled, their rough sides must be polished. This is an age famous for surface work, for easy methods, for boasted holiness aside from the standard of character that God has erected. All short routes, all cutoff tracks, all teaching which fails to exalt the law of God as the standard of religious character, is spurious.

Perfection of character is a lifelong work, unattainable by those who are not willing to strive for it in God’s appointed way, by slow and toilsome steps. We cannot afford to make any mistake in this matter, but we want day by day to be growing up into Christ, our living Head.

Taken from Testimonies, vol. 5, 491–500.


Editor’s Note: We are not in the habit of publishing E.G. White writings that are easily accessible. We feel a burden however, to bring the topic of reverence before God’s people. We pray that this article will help each reader to worship God with the respect and reverence which He is due.


The Song of Moses and of the Lamb

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgements are made manifest.” Revelation 15: 2–4.

Just before John describes the seven last plagues poured out upon those who worship the beast and his image, he shows us a picture of what will happen to the righteous. Having been shown the struggle and suffering of the 144,000 against the mark of the beast, he is permitted to look ahead to see their ultimate triumph. We need to be certain in our minds that God will triumph in His people. No matter how dark the prospect may appear to us, God is in control and His purposes will triumph. “The Lord will work in behalf of all who will walk humbly with Him. He has placed you in a position of trust. Walk carefully before Him. God’s hand is on the wheel. He will guide the ship past the rocks into the haven. He will take the weak things of this world to confound the things that are mighty.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 267.

What was the song of Moses? You can read it in Exodus 15:1–19. The children of Israel had been brought out of Egypt with unprecedented evidence of the Lord’s power. The might of Egypt, the mightiest empire on earth, had been humbled by the power of God. So demoralized were the Egyptians by the manifestations of God’s power that they begged God’s people to go, and loaded them with riches. (Exodus 12:33, 35–36.)

So the people of Israel marched out of Egypt. But instead of going toward the Promised Land by the direct road of the way of the land of the Philistines, as they might have expected, God led them another way by the southerly route, by the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. (Exodus 13:17–18.)

Then, to make things worse, God told them to turn off the road and go toward the Red Sea. They were to make their camp by the seaside. (Exodus 14:1–2.) The sea was before them, behind them were the mountain fastnesses through which the Lord had brought them, a maze of deep canyons. To their south, on the right hand, the mountains reached to the very edge of the sea. (See Patriarchs and Prophets, 283.) To the north, on their left, barring their way, was a large Egyptian fortress. And pursuing them was the army of Pharaoh, six hundred chosen chariots, together with all the chariots of Egypt, an army which Josephus says consisted of 50,000 horsemen and 200,000 infantry. Even if, by some miracle, they could cross the sea, what awaited them? On the other side of the sea was barren desert, nothing to eat or drink. What possible human hope was there of salvation?

At this point, the faith of the people failed. They were hemmed in by dangers. They could not see the purpose of God. They fully expected to die on the beach, slaughtered by the Egyptian army. They longed to return to the slavery from which God had freed them. (Exodus 14:11–12.) But the words of Moses expressed utter confidence in the power of God. “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you to day: for the Egyptians, whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13–14.

As Moses prayed, the Lord answered. “Wherefore criest thou unto Me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get Me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” Exodus 14:15–18. Now the Egyptians would know that the God of Moses was the true and only God.

Suddenly, with awful splendor, the great cloud which had gone before them in their journeyings so far, swept over their heads and placed itself between the people of Israel and the Egyptians. “But lo, they see the pillar of fire rise from the front, and pass grandly to the rear of the Hebrew host; as a massive wall between them and the Egyptians, a bright light to the Hebrews, a cloud of thick and awful darkness to their enemies.” Signs of the Times, March 10, 1881.

All that long and fearful night, it shone upon the people of Israel lighting their way as they hurried into the channel cut through the deep waters by that strong east wind. To the Egyptians, it was a cloud of deep darkness. As they realized that the Israelites were escaping across the sea, they hurried to pursue. In the midst of the sea, their chariot wheels became detached from their chariots and they tried to turn and flee. (Exodus 14: 25.) The resulting confusion, as that enormous army jostled and pushed, the rear going forward and the vanguard trying to turn and come back, caused a total catastrophe, as the morning light broke. Moses stretched out his rod over the sea and the waters, which had been congealed into high walls (Exodus 15:8), collapsed into the dry channel. The Egyptian army was overwhelmed in the midst of the sea.

Paul described this experience as a kind of baptism for God’s people. (See 1 Corinthians 10:2.) The Israelites were faced with a choice, to go forward in faith through the waters to a new life of trust in the power of God, or return to the old life of slavery and death. They could hearken to the voice of God’s prophet (Hosea 12:13) or give in to their doubts. This is the choice every person who contemplates baptism faces. The people of Israel chose to go forward as Moses, the prophet of God, directed them. And they experienced the saving power of God. (2 Chronicles 20:20.) The Lord did not leave them to die. Everyone had a real experience of the saving power of God when he passed through the sea.

It was then that Moses led the people in a great song of rejoicing, the song of Moses. It was clear to all whose power had won the victory. “The Lord is my strength and song and He is become my salvation.” Exodus 15:2. “Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” Exodus 15:11. “Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed. Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy holy habitation.” Exodus 15:13. “Thou shalt bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which Thou hast made to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established.” Exodus 15:17.

The people of Israel never forgot the events of that night. Moses, in his closing message to the people he had led for forty years, rehearsed to them the main facts of their deliverance from Egypt. With the exception of Caleb and Joshua, the entire generation of men that passed through the Red Sea had died in the wilderness. Those who were now men had been but children when the Lord had so marvelously demonstrated His power.

“The thrilling incidents of this night passage had been oft repeated to the Israelites; but never before had it been so vividly portrayed. All who had taken an active part on this occasion, with the exception of Moses and Aaron, Caleb and Joshua, had died in the wilderness. Those who were now responsible men, were children at the time of their passage through the Red Sea, and they had not correct and distinct ideas of this wonderful manifestation of God’s power in their deliverance. This important event, rehearsed by Moses with earnestness and solemn eloquence, softened their hearts, and increased their love, their faith and reverence for God. Moses repeated the song of thanksgiving which he had composed, and which thousands of the Hebrew host united in singing on the shores of the Red Sea, not only men, but women also lifting up the voice of praise, joining to pour forth their exultant, Heaven-inspired gratitude. This song is one of the most sublime and thrilling expressions of triumph and of praise to be found in all the annals of history. Moses recounts the wonderful deliverance which God has wrought for His people and extols His justice and faithfulness and love.” Signs of the Times, March 10, 1881.

Many times in the Old Testament, this wonderful story is recounted. Joshua 4:23, Psalm 77:19–20, Psalm 106:7–12, Psalm 78:13, Psalm 114:3. The New Testament writers also recalled this mighty deliverance. 1 Corinthians 10:1, Hebrews 11:29.

“This song and the great deliverance which it commemorates, made an impression never to be effaced from the memory of the Hebrew people. From age to age it was echoed by the prophets and singers of Israel, testifying that Jehovah is the strength and deliverance of those who trust in Him. That song does not belong to the Jewish people alone. It points forward to the destruction of all the foes of righteousness and the final victory of the Israel of God. The prophet of Patmos beholds the white-robed multitude that have ‘gotten the victory,’ standing on the ‘sea of glass mingled with fire,’ having ‘the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.’ Revelation 15:2–3.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 289.

The redeemed will one day sing the same song. But, before we can sing that song, we must have that experience. For this song is a song of experience. ” ‘Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake.’ Psalm 115:1. Such was the spirit that pervaded Israel’s song of deliverance, and it is the spirit that should dwell in the hearts of all who love and fear God. In freeing our souls from the bondage of sin, God has wrought for us a deliverance greater than that of the Hebrews at the Red Sea. Like the Hebrew host, we should praise the Lord with heart and soul and voice for His ‘wonderful works to the children of men.’ Those who dwell upon God’s great mercies and are not unmindful of His lesser gifts, will put on the girdle of gladness and make melody in their hearts to the Lord. The daily blessings that we receive from the hand of God, and above all else the death of Jesus to bring happiness and heaven within our reach, should be a theme for constant gratitude. What compassion, what matchless love, has God shown to us, lost sinners, in connecting us with Himself, to be to Him a peculiar treasure! What a sacrifice has been made by our Redeemer, that we may be called children of God! We should praise God for the blessed hope held out before us in the great plan of redemption, we should praise Him for the heavenly inheritance and for His rich promises; praise Him that Jesus lives to intercede for us.

” ‘Whoso offereth praise,’ says the Creator, ‘glorifieth Me. ’Psalm 50:23. All the inhabitants of heaven unite in praising God. Let us learn the song of the angels now, that we may sing it when we join their shining ranks. Let us say with the psalmist, ‘While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.’ ‘Let the people praise Thee, O God; let all the people praise Thee.’ Psalms 146:2; 67:5.

“God in His providence brought the Hebrews into the mountain fastnesses before the sea, that He might manifest His power in their deliverance and signally humble the pride of their oppressors. He might have saved them in any other way, but He chose this method in order to test their faith and strengthen their trust in Him. The people were weary and terrified, yet if they had held back when Moses bade them advance, God would never have opened the path for them. It was ‘by faith’ that ‘they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land.’ Hebrews 11:29. In marching down to the very water, they showed that they believed the word of God as spoken by Moses. They did all that was in their power to do, and then the Mighty One of Israel divided the sea to make a path for their feet.

“The great lesson here taught is for all time. Often the Christian life is beset by dangers, and duty seems hard to perform. The imagination pictures impending ruin before and bondage or death behind. Yet the voice of God speaks clearly, ‘Go forward.’ We should obey this command, even though our eyes cannot penetrate the darkness, and we feel the cold waves about our feet. The obstacles that hinder our progress will never disappear before a halting, doubting spirit. Those who defer obedience till every shadow of uncertainty disappears and there remains no risk of failure or defeat, will never obey at all. Unbelief whispers, ‘Let us wait till the obstructions are removed, and we can see our way clearly;’ but faith courageously urges an advance, hoping all things, believing all things.

“The cloud that was a wall of darkness to the Egyptians was to the Hebrews a great flood of light,illuminating the whole camp, and shedding brightness upon the path before them. So the dealings of Providence bring to the unbelieving, darkness and despair, while to the trusting soul they are full of light and peace. The path where God leads the way may lie through the desert or the sea, but it is a safe path.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 289–290.

How does John describe the song of the redeemed? “Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty.” They know by experience the wonderful works of God. They have experienced the miracles of God’s providential power. “Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.” They recognize that God has dealt justly with them and with all men. “Who shall not fear Thee?” To fear God is to keep His Commandments. (See Revelation 14:7. Compare also Psalm 34:11–14, Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 8:13, Ecclesiastes 12:13–14.) “And glorify Thy name?” To give glory to God is to reveal His character in our own. (See Revelation 14:7.)

“For Thou alone art holy.” (These are holy people who say these words. See Revelation 14:5, Revelation 22:11.) But all is ascribed to God. Nothing is theirs. “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory.” Psalm 115:1.

“The power of an ever-abiding Saviour is greater now than ever before, because the emergencies are greater; and yet we are weak in spiritual life and experience. Oh, how much we have lost as a people by our lack of faith! We have suffered loss to our own souls, and have failed to reveal to others, by our words and in our character, what Christ is and will be to everyone who comes to Him believing. He is ‘made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.’ To give glory to God is to reveal His character in our own, and thus make Him known. And in whatever way we make known the Father or the Son, we glorify God. False views of God, and hence of Christ, are largely entertained today. Well may we offer the prayer of Moses, ‘Show me Thy glory.’ What did the Lord answer? ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee.’ God might have answered Moses: ‘Why do you ask this question? Have I not revealed to you my glory in the deliverance of my people from Egyptian bondage? Did I not deliver you by the right arm of my power, and lead you dry shod through the midst of the Red Sea? Did I not reveal My glory in giving you bread from heaven? Did I not bring you water out of the flinty rock? Have you not looked upon My glory in the pillar of fire by night, and the cloud by day?’ Moses might have answered that all this only kindled his desire for greater manifestations of God’s power. The Lord granted the prayer of Moses, and He desires to answer us in the same way. We need to have our perceptions quickened, our hearts enlarged, that we may comprehend His glory—His goodness, His forgiveness, His forbearance, His inexpressible love.” Signs of the Times, October 17, 1892.

It will only be those who have a genuine, experimental knowledge of Christ’s saving power who will sing the song of Moses. They know the wonder-working power of God; they know that God is totally fair in His dealings with them; they have learned to fear the Lord. In their lives they glorify God, and they ascribe all the credit for their victory over the power of sin to God and nothing to themselves. Their only concern is that all they do will be to the glory of God. This is why they will also sing the song of the Lamb, the song of praise for the self-denying, self-sacrificing love of Jesus.

They will say, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever.” Revelation 5: 9–14.

Why is Jesus worthy? Because of His self-denying, self-sacrificing love, a love that must be manifested in the lives of all those who would sing the song of the Lamb. May each one of us know the power of God to deliver us from the slavery of self and sin. May each of us manifest in our every thought, word and action, the self-denying, self-sacrificing love of Jesus. Then we will truly be able to sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.

Judas Felt a Desire to Be Changed

In the book Christ’s Object Lessons, page 73, we are given the names of a number of the tares who were found in the church. We find Ananias and Sapphira listed, who, when their sin became open, were removed from the church by death. Also listed are Simon Magus and Demas, both of whom were at one time welcomed into church membership, but who, when their sin became open, were later removed from fellowship. In this infamous list is also Judas, who is perhaps the best known of all and whose name has become closely associated as a prime example of a tare. When his sin became open, Judas took his own life, effectively removing himself from the church. (It is interesting to note, however, that Caiaphas, assumed* by many to rank close to Judas in notoriety is not mentioned.)

For at least the last year of His ministry, Jesus knew what was going on in the heart of Judas and that he was a tare, though no one else suspected his real motives.

“Christ’s discourse in the synagogue concerning the bread of life was the turning-point in the history of Judas. He heard the words, ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.’ He saw that Christ was offering spiritual rather than worldly good. . . .

“In all that Christ said to His disciples, there was something with which, in heart, Judas disagreed. Under his influence the leaven of disaffection was fast doing its work. The disciples did not see the real agency in all this; but Jesus saw that Satan was communicating his attributes to Judas, and thus opening up a channel through which to influence the other disciples. This, a year before the betrayal, Christ declared, ‘Have not I chosen you twelve,’ He said, ‘and one of you is a devil?’” The Desire of Ages, 719, 720.

The history of Judas presents a sad ending to a life that might have been honored of God. By becoming the slave of one vice, he gave himself to be driven to any lengths in sin.


Rich Opportunities Lost


In his work with Jesus, Judas had some precious experiences which should have helped him in his conquest with sin and self. His life is a warning to us. We cannot rely on our connection with the work of God or our association with a godly man to assure us of salvation. We can never rest secure in this world of sin, believing that we have nothing to beware of.

How many of us have had as rich an opportunity and experience as Judas had? “Judas saw the sick, the lame, the blind, flock to Jesus from the towns and cities. He saw the dying laid at His feet. He witnessed the Saviour’s mighty works in healing the sick, casting out devils, and raising the dead. He felt in his own person the evidence of Christ’s power. He recognized the teaching of Christ as superior to all that he had ever heard. He loved the great Teacher, and desired to be with Him. He felt a desire to be changed in character and life, and he hoped to experience this through connecting himself with Jesus.” Ibid., 717. (All emphasis supplied.)

Do you have “a desire to be changed in character and life”? Do you hope to experience this change through connecting yourself with the work of God? Judas had those same desires and aspirations.

“But Judas did not come to the point of surrendering himself fully to Christ. He did not give up his worldly ambition or his love of money. While he accepted the position of a minister of Christ, he did not bring himself under the divine moulding. He felt that he could retain his own judgment and opinions, and he cultivated a disposition to criticize and accuse.” Ibid.

Jesus gave every possible benefit to Judas, even endowing him with power to heal the sick and cast out devils; but Judas failed of fully surrendering himself to Jesus. Consequently, he failed to overcome sin.

The all-important question is how do we overcome the sin in our lives? Inspiration answers: “The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God.” Ibid., 466.

Have we been on our knees and agonized with God, as did Jacob, that our hearts may be broken on the Rock? Have we fully surrendered ourselves to Christ? It is not enough to be a worker for God. It is not enough that we are connected to God’s work, or even that we have felt His power in our soul. It is not enough that we are hoping for a change in character. If we never come to the point of a full surrender to Him, there is still a connection between our souls and Satan. “Many while hoping and desiring to be saved will be lost.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 265. “If one sin is cherished in the soul, or one wrong practice retained in the life, the whole being is contaminated. The man becomes an instrument of unrighteousness.” The Desire of Ages, 313.

Jesus is full of mercy and He works untiringly for man’s recovery from sin. Even if we are blind to our sinful condition, God works for us as He did for Judas. “Judas was blinded to his own weakness of character, and Christ placed him where he would have an opportunity to see and correct this.” Ibid., 717. If you are deceived, it is impossible to know it, because if you knew it, you would not be deceived.


Clinging to Doubts


It was a source of frustration to Judas that Jesus always seemed to be dwelling on the negative and discouraging side of life, talking of trial and persecution. He was offended when Jesus presented the spiritual nature of His kingdom, and he allowed doubts to begin running through his mind. Though Judas had not yet decided that Jesus was not the Son of God, he began questioning and seeking to find some explanation of His mighty works. In spite of all this, “Judas made no open opposition, nor seemed to question the Saviour’s lessons.” Ibid., 720.

Judas’ experience was not all one-sided. Even though he was plagued with doubts and uncertainty, we are told that, “He felt the satisfaction that always comes in service to God.” Ibid., 718. But those feelings were not sufficient to save him. If we begin to rely on our feelings as a barometer of our experience, we are on dangerous ground. Our only standard is the law of God. It matters not how good you may feel about helping the homeless and giving Bible studies; if your heart is not fully surrendered, it is of no avail. Until the root of selfishness is pulled out of the heart, we are blind to our real condition.

“John and Judas are representatives of those who profess to be Christ’s followers. Both these disciples had the same opportunities to study and follow the divine Pattern. Both were closely associated with Jesus and were privileged to listen to His teaching. Each possessed serious defects of character; and each had access to the divine grace that transforms character.” Acts of the Apostles, 558. Though Judas might have comprehended the methods of Christ, his selfish desires blinded him and he found only disappointment and confusion.

Because of his disappointment in Jesus’ failure to fulfill his expectations in setting up a worldly kingdom, Judas decided that he was not going to unite himself with Christ so closely but that he could easily draw away. From that time he expressed doubts that tended to confuse the other disciples.


Reasoning of the Pharisees


As Judas began questioning if Jesus was the Son of God, he started using the deceptive reasoning of the Scribes and Pharisees. They “had misinterpreted God’s promise of eternal favor to Israel: ‘Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever. Thus saith the Lord: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that theyhave done, saith the Lord.’” Jeremiah 31:35-37. The Jews regarded their natural descent from Abraham as giving them a claim to this promise. But they overlooked the conditions which God had specified.” The Desire of Ages, 106. They had taken the promise of God’s everlasting favor to be an unconditional promise by which God had bound Himself. They believed that no matter what the Jewish people did, they were still the people of God.

“Many who were convinced that Jesus was the Son of God were misled by the false reasoning of the priests and rabbis. These teachers had repeated with great effect the prophecies concerning the Messiah, that He would ‘reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously;’ that He would ‘have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.’ Isaiah 24:23; Psalm 72:8. Then they made contemptuous comparisons between the glory here pictured and the humble appearance of Jesus. The very words of prophecy were so perverted as to sanction error.” Ibid., 458. Because Jesus failed to meet their false expectations, they concluded that He was an imposter and sent messengers all over the country to warn the people about Him. (See Ibid., 213.) Incredibly, the Author of the Scriptures was among them and yet they used the very words He inspired the prophets to write, to turn the nation against Him. Just imagine the Bible studies that were given throughout the land and the Bible based sermons that were given, all with the determined purpose of turning a nation from the truth.

The scribes and Pharisees false reasoning lay in their failure to understand the spiritual nature of the true church, and, they were offended that Christ did not have the due regard that they supposed He should have for the priesthood. Judas picked up the flawed theological thinking of the church leadership and was found “repeating the arguments urged by the scribes and Pharisees against the claims of Christ.” Ibid., 719. “Christ’s oft-repeated statement that His kingdom was not of this world offended Judas.” Ibid., 718. In all that Christ said to His disciples,there was something with which, in heart, Judas disagreed. Jesus saw that Satan was communicating his attributes to Judas, and thus opening up a channel with which to influence the other disciples. He would introduce texts of Scripture that had no connection with the truths Christ was presenting, yet he did so in such a way as to make it appear that he was conscientious. (See Ibid., 719.) In taking the truths that Jesus taught and presenting them in a different light, he was attaching to the words of Jesus a meaning that He had not conveyed.

If we come to the Word of God with the selfish desire to prove our own point or to lift up ourselves we are certain to come up with a false reasoning, just as Judas did. So, when you see anyone lining up theologically with the scribes and Pharisees of today, repeating their arguments about the nature of Christ’s kingdom (His church) — be careful!

And so it was that a year before the betrayal, Christ declared, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” John 6:70. It was generally Judas who began the contention as to who should be the greatest. “His suggestions were constantly exciting an ambitious desire for temporal preferment, and thus turning the disciples from the important things they should have considered.” Ibid., 719.


Just One Sin


All the evil manifested in Judas came from just one sin — the sin of covetousness. If we allow one sin to be cherished in the heart, all the good traits we have will not do any good in the long run. “We may flatter ourselves that we are free from many things of which others are guilty; but if we have some strong points of character, and but one weak point, there is yet a communion between sin and the soul. The heart is divided in its service, and says, ‘Some of self and some of Thee.’ The child of God must search out the sin which he has petted and indulged himself in, and permit God to cut it out of his heart. He must overcome that one sin; for it is not a trifling matter in the sight of God.” Review and Herald, August 1, 1893.

“How many are betrayed into sin, because they have not, through prayerful study of the Word of God, realized the sinfulness of sin, and found out how they may steadfastly resist it. When temptation comes upon them, they seem to be off guard, and ignorant of the devices of the enemy. We are living in perilous times, and as we draw near the close of earth’s history, there will be no safety for those who do not become familiar with the Word of God. I would warn the disciples of Christ of the impending days of peril, and beseech you to prepare for the time of test and trial; for everything that can be shaken, will be shaken. Do we now obey the Word of God, and live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God? Are we established and settled in the present truth? There is need of closely examining yourselves whether you are in the love of God; for except Christ be in you, you are reprobates. Self-deception is dangerous, and no one of us can afford to go on in delusion.” Youth’s Instructor, May 18, 1893.

Of ourselves we cannot know our errors. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. We may even attempt to express our poverty with words, while all the time it goes unacknowledged by our proud hearts as they swell with conceit at their own superior humility.

“When sin has deadened the moral perceptions, the wrong-doer does not discern the defects of his character, nor realize the enormity of the evil he has committed; and unless he yields to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, he remains in partial blindness to his sin. His confessions are not sincere and in earnest. To every acknowledgement of his guilt, he adds an apology in excuse of his course, declaring that, if it had not been for certain circumstances, he would not have done this or that, for which he was reproved.” Signs of the Times, March 16, 1888.

Judas was a leader among leaders in the church, for he was more capable than all the other disciples. (See Education, 86.) Judas had precious traits of character that might have been a great blessing to the church. He was polished. He possessed financial ability. Christ saw great possibilities in Judas. “Christ connected Judas and impulsive Peter with himself, not because Judas was covetous and Peter passionate, but that they might learn of Him, their great Teacher, and become, like Him, unselfish, meek, and lowly of heart. He saw good material in both these men. Judas possessed financial ability and would have been of value to the church had he taken home to his heart the lessons which Christ was giving by rebuking all selfishness, fraud, and avarice, even in the little matters of life.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 486.

Have you taken home to your heart the lessons which Christ has given you? Has His rebuke of selfishness and covetousness expelled those traits from your heart? Are you becoming like Jesus? Or, are you desiring to be changed, like Judas did, but instead of expelling the sin from your soul, you are secretly fostering covetousness? Turn, oh turn, before it is forever too late.

*As students of the Word, we need to be very careful that by a lack of careful study we do not come to some conclusions for which we have no inspired support. These ideas, though we fail to realize it, are assumptions. An assumption is an idea that is so taken for granted that it is not thought necessary to prove it. Assumptions, once accepted, become very powerful as they bypass the critical faculty in the thinking process, shaping all of our other thoughts and decisions. It matters not how sincerely we hold them; false assumptions cannot help but lead us to wrong conclusions.


Children’s Story — The Head Nurse’s Story

When little Jem was first brought to the hospital, it was in a carriage with liveried servants.

His father was a mill-owner in Pennsylvania, and Jem was an only child. He had the largest room in the private ward.

His parent’s brought the boy fruit, flowers, and books. “Please take them to that cripple in the next room, and to children in the free wards, with my love—little Jem Bruce’s love,” he would say, raising himself in bed, with flushed cheeks and shining eyes.

In two months he recovered and went away, but two years afterward Mrs. Bruce brought him back. She was dressed in black, and asked for a cheap room. Mr. Bruce, I heard, was dead, and had left his widow little money.

Jem’s knee was worse than ever, but what a cheery, happy fellow he was! He soon learned the story of all the patients in the neighboring rooms, as he had done before. And when his mother brought him a bunch of pinks or a basket of apples, he would eagerly divide them.

“Maybe they will make some one feel happier just for a minute,” he would say, with his rare smile.

His right leg was taken off at the knee. Then I lost sight of Jem for three or four years. Last winter he applied for admission to the free ward. His mother was dead. The disease had appeared in the other leg some months before. Jem had been supporting himself by typewriting, but was now no longer able to work.

He met me as if I had been his old, dear friend, —as indeed, I was, —and then hobbled round the wards to see if he knew any of the patients, stopping to laugh and joke and say some kind word at each bed.

The doctors amputated the other leg that day. It was the only chance for his life, but in a week they knew that it had failed.

“Make the boy comfortable,” the surgeon said to me; “it is all that can be done for him now.”

Jem knew the truth from the first. But he never lost courage. This was his bed (pointing to the middle one of a long row of white cots in the great ward). He learned to know all the men, and took keen interest in each case.

When Johnny Royle died, Jem took out the few dollars remaining in his pocket, and gave them to me. “They’re for his little children,” he whispered. “They have nothing.” And when old Peter was discharged, cured, he came to Jem’s bed to say good-bye as if he had been his brother. Jem wrung his hand, and said: “Take my overcoat, Peter; yours is gone, and—I’ll never need mine again.” He waved his hand, and cheered feebly as Peter went away.

He had nothing left to give now—I think that cut him sharply, but one day he began to sing. He had a remarkable voice, clear and tender; it would force the tears to your eyes. Every head in the ward was turned to listen. That delighted Jem. “I can sing for them occasionally,” he said, “if the doctors will allow it.”

So, whenever it was possible, Jem’s sweet voice was heard, sometimes in a humorous song, sometimes in a hymn. I used to think he was at heaven’s gate when he sang those hymns. But one morning his voice was gone, and before night everyone in the ward knew he was dying. The patients were silent, many of them crying, for they all loved the boy. He died at sundown, sitting up in bed, leaning against my shoulder. He glanced around the ward, and they nodded, and smiled.

“Give them,” he whispered, then stopped, remembering, poor child, that he had nothing to give. Then he said, suddenly, aloud, his eyes brightening, “Give them my love—Jem Bruce’s love.”

Taken from The Youth’s Instructor, January 29, 1903.


Ichabod, God’s Glory is Departed

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Matthew 23:37, 38

These words of Christ to the priests and rulers struck terror to their hearts. Could it be that their magnificent temple would soon become a heap of ruins? As Jesus spoke these alarming words, in divine pity, He cast one more lingering look upon the temple and in a voice choked with anguish, Jesus exclaimed, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often would I have gathered thy children together…and ye would not.”

These words were part of the separation struggle of the long-suffering love of Christ. Israel as a nation had finally divorced herself from God. The natural branches of the olive tree were broken off. Jesus looking for the last time upon the interior of the temple, said with mournful pathos, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” God’s last day messenger wrote in 1882: “The glory of the Lord had departed from Israel.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 210.

In order to have a clear understanding of this statement, we need to first understand what “glory” is. God’s glory has always been equated with His character. In Eden, a glorious light enshrouded the holy pair, for they had been given a character pattern much like their Creator. They were to develop and improve their characters, to be fashioned like unto God’s character. But when they sinned, the glorious external light left and they were naked—a fit symbol of the loss of their God-like characters. But God did not forsake them. Immediately, the plan of salvation was activated and the work for character restoration was begun.

In Moses’ day, God proposed to visibly dwell with His people. This is why the Shekinah glory abode in the most holy place of the Sanctuary. Moses was so enraptured with this glory that he wanted to see God fully. He prayed, “I beseech Thee, shew me Thy glory.” Exodus 33:18. And God answered, “I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by.” Exodus 33:22. “I will make all My goodness pass before thee.” Exodus 33:19. God’s glory is equated with His goodness—His character.

When Eli was the priest, the spirituality of the nation and the priesthood had become desperately corrupt. Eli’s sons thought that the ark would win a war with the Philistines. But Eli’s sons were killed and the ark captured. When Eli heard this tragic news, he fell backward, broke his neck and died.

The wife of Eli’s son, hearing that the ark was taken, gave premature birth to a son. As she died,she called the child “Ichabod,” which means “The glory is departed from Israel.” And indeed it had. For God’s character was no longer mirrored in the character of His people, but He did not forsake them. He raised up Samuel to lead His people back into a Christ-like experience.

Over and over through the centuries, God’s people deserted Him. But God never deserted His faithful few. When Solomon completed the temple in Jerusalem, God again visibly filled the temple with His glory. “The glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.” 1 Kings 8:11. This glory remained in the Holy of Holies until the days of Jeremiah, when the glory of the Lord departed from the temple.

This departure is described by God’s prophet as similar to Christ’s ascension to heaven after His resurrection. “As the place of His ascension, Jesus chose the spot so often hallowed by His presence while He dwelt among men. Not Mount Zion, the place of David’s city. Not Mount Moriah, the temple site was to be thus honored. There Christ had been mocked and rejected. There the waves of mercy, still returning in a stronger tide of love, had been beaten back by hearts as hard as rock. Thence Jesus, weary and heart burdened, had gone forth to find rest in the Mount of Olives. The holy Shekinah, in departing from the first temple, had stood upon the eastern mountain, as if loath to forsake the chosen city; so Christ stood upon Olivet, with yearning heart overlooking Jerusalem.” Desire of Ages, 829.

Jeremiah records why the temple was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar. “Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.” Jeremiah 17:21, 22. At that time they were totally disregarding the Sabbath. They were carrying on business as usual.

“But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear,nor receive instruction . . . If ye will not hearken unto Me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.” Jeremiah 17:23, 27.

Jeremiah sensed the coming destruction because of the apostasy in breaking the Sabbath. He removed the ark of God from the Sanctuary, hiding it in a cave. “Among the righteous still in Jerusalem, to whom had been made plain the divine purpose, were some who determined to place beyond the reach of ruthless hands the sacred ark containing the tables of stone on which had been traced the precepts of the decalogue. This they did. With mourning and sadness they secreted the ark in a cave, where it was to be hidden from the people of Israel and Judah because of their sins, and was to be no more restored to them. That sacred ark is yet hidden. It has never been disturbed since it was secreted.” Prophets and Kings, 453.

God called Ezekiel to be a prophet among the captives in Babylon. He describes the various stages through which the glory of the Lord passed as it left the doomed temple and the city of Jerusalem. In chapter one, Ezekiel was given a vision of God’s throne room in heaven where he saw “the likeness of the glory of the Lord.” Ezekiel 1:28.

Again in Ezekiel 3:23 he sees “The glory of the Lord.” Then in Chapter 5, he is given a message concerning the sins and abominations of God’s people and of the Jewish leaders who were defiling God’s earthly sanctuary in Jerusalem, so that he might understand why Jerusalem had been destroyed. In Chapter 8, Ezekiel beholds the glory of the Lord (verse 4). In spite of continued abominations, God had not taken His glory fully out of the sanctuary. But in Ezekiel 9, you read that God’s glory started to leave the sanctuary (verse 3). “And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub.”

Then in Ezekiel 10, the glory now stands over the threshold of the door. Then looking down over the courtyard, it passes over the doomed city. “And the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.” Ezekiel 10:19.

God is patient and merciful; reluctant to remove His glory from His rebellious people. Nevertheless, slowly and surely, the glory of God was removed. In Ezekiel 11, God shows Ezekiel why the glory of God was departing. In chapter 8, he saw twenty-five priests worshiping the sun right within the sanctuary of God.

“And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and, behold at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.” Ezekiel 8:16.

“And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountainwhich is on the east side of the city.” Ezekiel 11:23. This is exactly how Mrs. White describes it in The Desire of Ages, 829. The glory of God departed from the temple, and then the city, and finally from the people, never to return. Still, God did not utterly forsake this wayward people.

“Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations; for I will deliver My people . . .and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 13:23. Thus God delivered His faithful, a small remnant out of the hands of the oppressors. After the captivity, the temple was rebuilt. Some of the old men who had seen the glory of God displayed in the Most Holy temple, now wept at the lesser grandeur of the second temple, and because the Ark of the Covenant was missing. However, a greater glory had been promised. “The Shekinah had departed from the sanctuary but in the child of Bethlehem was veiled the glory before which angels bow.” The Desire of Ages, 52. Thus was fulfilled the words of Haggai 2:9: “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former.” But so few recognized the glory, in Jesus Christ, veiled in human flesh. He came to His own, but His own received Him not.

Once again the glory of God was to depart from His people and the city was again to be destroyed. As with the first temple, the second withdrawal of God’s glory was not abrupt but gradual, conducted in patience and in reluctance. “Alas for those who knew not the time of their visitation. Slowly and regretfully Christ left, forever, the precincts of the temple.” Ibid., 626. And the angel of mercy was about to fold her wings, never to return to the doomed city.

“Israel as a nation had divorced herself from God. The natural branches of the olive tree were broken off. Looking for the last time on the interior of the temple, Jesus said with mournful pathos, ‘Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.’ Hitherto He had called the temple His Father’s house; but now, as the Son of God should pass out from those walls, God’s presence would be withdrawn forever from the temple built to His glory. Henceforth its ceremonies would be meaningless, its services a mockery.” Ibid., 620.

After Christ’s crucifixion and His resurrection, He led His disciples to the crest of Olivet. Jesus lingered before departure, as did the Shekinah of old. Once again, the divine glory departed gradually. “The holy Shekinah in departing from the first temple, had stood upon the eastern mountain, as if loath to forsake the chosen city; so Christ stood upon Olivet, with yearning heart overlooking Jerusalem.” Ibid., 829. Christ will stand on the Mount of Olives when He returns after the thousand years of the millenium. “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south . . .And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.” Zechariah 14:4, 5.

Now that we have a better understanding of what God’s glory is, we can move on to see how it applies to our day. According to inspiration, what is God’s glory in our day? “The glory of God is the piety of its members for there is the hiding of Christ’s power.” Review and Herald, March 24, 1891. Will piety totally depart from the people of God in the end time? “A new life is coming from heaven and taking possession of all of God’s people. But divisions will come in the church. Two parties will be developed.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 114.

One group will contend for the faith and the other party will depart from the faith. “God never forsakes people or individuals until they forsake Him. Outward opposition will not cause the faith of God’s people, who are keeping His commandments, to become dim. The neglect to bring purity and truth into practice will grieve the Spirit of God and weaken them because God is not in their midst to bless. Internal corruption will bring the denunciations of God upon this people as it did upon Jerusalem . . . The least transgression of God’s law brings guilt upon the transgressor, and without earnest repentance and forsaking of sin he will surely become an apostate. If as a people we do not keep ourselves in the faith and not only advocate with pen and voice the commandments of God, but keep them every one, not violating a single precept knowingly, then weakness and ruin will come upon us.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 378.

“The little company who are standing in the light,” Testimonies, vol. 5, 209, remain faithful to God. They are like the five virgins who alone had the inward piety. We have been cautioned over and over, “Do not be content with superficial piety.” Sons and Daughters of God, 317.

“It is with reluctance that the Lord withdraws His presence from those who have been blessed with great light.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 212. “From those who have rejected truth, the light [the glory] of God has departed.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, 18. Spiritual declension in modern Israel has been long in developing. Today we express concern over ecumenism, but it was making inroads a hundred years ago. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 76.) God has always had His faithful few. There is no scriptural evidence that He has withdrawn His glory from them.

In the days of the first temple there were Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and a small group of others, who were faithful. They lived amid the glory of God in their piety. So it was in the days of Christ and in the days of the martyrs during the dark ages. And God will have a little company today who will become evident in His church triumphant. God’s light and glory will never depart from them. But this is not so with the majority. “When the religion of Christ is most held in contempt, when His law is most despised, then should our zeal be the warmest and our courage and firmness the most unflinching. To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 136.

“Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous prove to be ringleaders in apostasy.”Ibid., 212. How sad!

Seventh-day Adventists correctly recognize Ezekiel 9 as describing the sealing of God’s people, soon to come. Few have studied chapter 8, describing the abominations which Ezekiel saw taking place in Jerusalem, God’s church. This was just prior to the departure of God’s glory.

The following is from a letter I received. “In my early years I can never remember hearing the word ‘Easter’ mentioned from the pulpit. Yet last Sabbath Pastor _________ announced, ‘This is the beginning of the Passion Week. And we must remember ‘Good Friday.’ There were Easter lilies and a wooden cross on the platform and some of the children marched down the center aisle with palms and placed them at the foot of the cross. Today our pastor was in the height of his glory with his two sessions of the pageant that he supervises each year in which the group of people wander about the neighborhood to places depicting various aspects of the Passion Week.

“Pastor ____________ sent out a letter to his members several weeks ago informing them that on April 5, noon to 2:00 p.m. the various pastors of the local churches, including a Catholic Priest would be at the ______ SDA Church to celebrate Good Friday and requested all the members to be present.”

Not only is Good Friday being celebrated in Adventist churches, as we see here, but many Adventist churches are even promoting Easter sunrise services. Many are in the out of doors, where the people await the rise of the sun over the horizon to begin their worship service—like the pagans as they worshipped the sun.

There are theologians among us who claim that they are not honoring the Sun god. They believe that they are honoring the resurrection of Jesus at the very moment that He arose from the grave. However, they have failed to read their Bible, which teaches that Jesus arose very early, while it was yet dark, and that the women who reached the tomb at sunrise, learned that He had already risen and departed. “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth,and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him.” John 20:1, 2.

Sunday sacredness is to be our final test. How sad to see Seventh-day Adventists joining in this form of ecumenism. This is nothing but modern Baal worship. Books now are being published on our presses preparing God’s people to keep Sunday. Such is the book, Beyond Belief, by Jack Sequierra, which states, on page 185, that the Sabbath-Sunday issue is not the final test: “The issue then in the final conflict will not be between two groups of Christians or even between two rest days, but between two opposing methods of salvation.” Of course, he is talking there about the New Theology against “legalism,” what he calls keeping God’s law.

The General Conference President teaches the same false concepts as Jack Sequierra. “If we consider Sabbath-keeping a requirement for salvation, we have turned the commandment on its head.” We Still Believe, 64, by Robert S. Folkenberg. Sabbath keeping is a requirement of God’s salvation. The New Theology is constantly avoiding the word “obedience” and preaching instead unconditional love. In the plan of salvation there is no such thing as unconditional love. The condition for eternal life is perfect obedience. (See Steps to Christ, 62.) “There will be, even among us, hirelings and wolves in sheep’s clothing who will persuade the flock of God to sacrifice unto other gods before the Lord. Youth who are not established, rooted and grounded in the truth, will be corrupted and drawn away by the blind leaders of the blind; and the ungodly. The despisers that wonder and perish, who despise the sovereignty of the Ancient of Days and place on the throne a false god…. These will be the agents in Satan’s hands to corrupt the faith of the unwary.” Selected Messages, vol. 3, 398.

“The Sabbath would be lightly regarded.” Testimony B, no. 7, 40. “The Lord has shown me clearly that the image to the beast will be formed before probation closes; for it is to be the great test for the people of God, by which their eternal destiny will be decided. This is the test that the people of God must have before they are sealed.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 80.

God will allow deceitful Hazeals to come in our midst to be a scourge to His people. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 79.) “But He will also not entrust the keeping of His flock to the proud andunfaithful shepherds.” (See Ibid., 80.) “The time is not far distant when the test [the Sunday law] will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us.” Ibid., 81.

These events are just before the Loud Cry and the beginning of the judgment of the living. This is when the glory of the Lord will have left the unfaithful majority of God’s people. Many leaders that we have looked up to for their brilliance will then go out in darkness and clouds of chaff will be blown away from the church when we thought all along that we were looking at piles of rich wheat. (See Ibid., 81.)

Multitudes of false brethren will be cut down as cumberers of the ground. (See Ibid.) The end result of all of this cleansing (shaking) will be that a little company of faithful will remain. God will not withdraw His glory from His pious ones. There will be no united church composed of wheat and tares during the outpouring of the seven last plagues. For the unfaithful will hardly be hiding within the purified church!

The slaughter depicted in Ezekiel 8 and 9 is wholly symbolic. No swords or guns will be used. When one receives the mark of the beast, it will be the sentence of eternal death. It will begin with the ancient men, the guardians of God’s people. They are likened to dumb dogs that would not bark to warn the people of the coming danger.

Three times the Bible records that there has been weeping over Jerusalem (which represents God’s church). First, Jeremiah, weeping over Jerusalem shortly before its first destruction. Second, Jesus wept over Jerusalem a few years before its second destruction. The third weeping over Jerusalem [God’s remnant church], will take place in our day in accordance with the sighing and crying foretold in Ezekiel 9, just before the sealing of God’s people. It will be done by a faithful few. (See Ibid., 210.)

The seal of God, we read, will never be placed upon the foreheads of those who are not ready. “The seal of God will be placed upon the foreheads of those only who sigh and cry for the abominations.” Ibid., 212. And where is this sighing and crying to take place? “Those that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the church.” Ibid., vol. 3, 267.

“The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 380. The chaff will be sifted out, leaving but a little company as a nucleus for the church triumphant. But God’s glory will not be with the majority. The majority forsake us.

Company after company will drop the standard of truth to desert the Lord’s army. (See Testimonies, vol. 8, 41.) But the small remnant does not fall. We have seen the promise that if we constantly behold God’s glory we can become changed into the Son’s image from glory to glory, from character to character, till we become like that which we adore. (See Manuscript 8A, 1888.)

“And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun.” Ezekiel 8:16. This will happen again in our church.

“The Lord reads the heart as an open book. The men who are not connected with God have done many things after the imagination of their evil hearts. The Lord declares concerning them, ‘They have turned unto Me their back and not their face, though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them; yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.’ We are amid the perils of the last days, the time will soon come when the prophecy of Ezekiel 9 will be fulfilled . . . to the very letter.” 1888 Materials, 1303.

Let us have nothing to do with the ecumenical movement being encouraged by church leaders. “In churches and in large gatherings in the open air, ministers will urge upon the people the necessity of keeping the first day of the week.” Review and Herald, March 18, 1884. ahead for God’s remnant, be sure that you are living within the glory of God and keeping His commandments by His grace. Let it not be said of any of us, “Ichabod.” The glory of God has departed.


From Mourning to Celebration

The Vatican II Council and the Celebration Movement


Have you ever wondered why, in recent years, people have begun to celebrate in Adventist churches at funeral services? When I was a boy, people mourned at funeral services. But of late we find Adventist clergymen and Adventist relatives of the deceased talking about celebrating the life of their loved one. Where and when and how did people get indoctrinated that they should celebrate at a funeral?

To delve into the answer to this question we must go back almost forty years. After Pope Pius XII died in 1958, a man was chosen to be pope who was elderly, and many people thought he would be more or less a stand-in pope for a few years until his death. However, Pope John XXIII convened the second Vatican council in 1962 and, in this council, Rome planned the beginning, growth and development of the celebration style of worship. The documents of the Vatican II council were published and the 1975 edition was analyzed by Elder Bob Trefz. It contained the following major points or objectives:

  1. Introduce celebration terminology and the celebration concept into all churches so that every function of the church becomes a celebration.
  2. Get the churches accustomed to a new style of worship. Through the celebration service obtain reduction of inhibition and vastly increase congregational participation verbally and through physical gestures and bodily attitudes of movement.
  3. Promote in the celebration service dialogue between the celebrant (that is the pastor or priest) and people as external signs of celebration in common and to engender and foster unity between celebrant and people.
  4. Use as much variation as possible in these celebration services to encourage active and willing participation.
  5. Use music in celebration services as a most effective celebration utilizing popular religioussongs and relating the music to the various cultures and temperaments of the people.
  6. Narrow the gap between eucharistic celebration and the Lord’s supper, soon to be called communion celebration in the other churches. Educate the people that this service forms the basis of all Christian unity and fellowship.
  7. Demonstrate the inextricable tie between the eucharistic celebration as the foundation of all unity and the Lord’s day, or Sunday celebration.
  8. Perform any endeavor necessary to promote Sunday observance involving rest from work.

As we look around today, we find that almost all of these eight points have been introduced and implemented in various Protestant churches of the world and in many Seventh-day Adventist churches. The fact that these eight points from the Vatican II documents have been largely implemented in many Seventh-day Adventist churches should cause the serious reader to ask a number of questions. First of all, we can ask if it would be possible for such a thing to happen by chance? And the answer is no. It would be impossible that within a 25 year period the very objectives outlined in the Vatican II documents would spontaneously develop in Seventh-day Adventist churches if there were not people in these churches, leaders or laity, who were promoting these concepts. However, there are more serious questions than this to ask. What is the final objective that the Vatican has in introducing this worship style in the various Protestant churches? By promoting a universal worship style, Rome can strengthen ecumenical ties among Protestants and between Protestant churches and herself so that eventually, either through direct or indirect influence, she can influence all the Christian churches in the world. According to these Vatican II documents it is evident that it is the intent of Rome that all churches should be gathered together ecumenically under one leader, namely the pope of Rome. It is also their purpose that these concepts should be introduced into all institutions of higher education including Adventist colleges and universities.

When the time comes that most of the Christian churches in the world have accepted the same liturgical format it will be easy to suggest that since we are all one in practice why not join together as one. That development would exactly fulfill the prophecy in Revelation 13. Evangelicals and Pentecostals were some of the first to embrace these celebration ideas from Rome. Adventists, in turn, pattern their celebration formats after these Protestant churches. It is openly admitted by our leaders that they have gone to Pentecostal or other Protestant churches to learn this new science of celebration worship all in the name of church growth. The garden of prayer ceremony, which includes walking from person to person during prayer and the laying on of hands, is a charismatic ceremony of Roman Catholicism.

One of the effects of these celebration services is to excite the participants into a more emotional state of mind and in this emotional excitement a person can more easily be led to make theological or experiential changes.

The purpose of promoting celebration services is simply to establish ecumenical ties. And it is one of the steps leading the various churches to a single worldwide church under the leadership of the papacy. For students of Bible prophecy, especially those who have become Seventh-day Adventists and are studying and attempting to follow the Three Angels’ Messages, this celebration worship has several apparent fatal flaws. Number one, the First Angel’s Message proclaims the fact that the investigative judgement is in progress. In the celebration style worship, nothing is taught about the judgement. People are taught about love, acceptance and forgiveness, but nothing is said about the judgement that is in progress and how to be ready for the Second Coming of Christ. No matter how much one worships, no matter how much one goes to church, no matter how much singing or praying a person does, if they are not ready for the judgement, their religion is all in vain.

Living in the time of the investigative judgement means that our lives are coming up for review before God. The criteria that decides the verdict in the judgement is not whether a person goes to church, nor is it even what church one belongs to, not his profession of faith—the verdict reached in the judgement is based on a person’s character. The Bible teaches, throughout, that we are judged according to our works in reference to God’s law. (See Revelation 20:11–15 and James 2.)

If a person has broken God’s law, of course he will be lost. But if, during the time of probation, he repents and confesses his sins, his guilt can be taken away by the blood of Jesus Christ. However, he is not then saved because he is forgiven; forgiveness is a necessary component of salvation, but it does not prepare you for the judgement. There are no texts anywhere in the Bible that say that the verdict in the judgement is based on whether our sins are forgiven. After a person’s sins are forgiven he must then be cleansed from his sins or, in other words, sin must cease to be a part of his life. He must not only be delivered from the guilt of sin (forgiveness, pardon, justification), but he must be delivered from the power of sin within (sanctification, holiness of life, purification of character). His life must come into harmony with God’s law.

This transformation is the proof that the Holy Spirit is working in his heart and his life, giving him a new heart and new mind. (See Romans 8:1–14.) If this does not happen and, as a result of this lack of a spirit-filled life there are no spirit-filled works and no spirit led living, then any profession of religion is vain. This has always been true. However, it is even more critical today because we are living in that time when probation will close not only for people who have died, but for people who are still alive upon the earth. The celebration style of worship does not at all address this most fundamental fact of the judgement, which is a central theme of the First Angel’s Message. That is just the beginning. The Second Angel’s Message, in Revelation 14:8, is a call to come out of Babylon. Babylon is a woman according to Revelation 17:1–5 and a woman is the Biblical symbol of the church. This church is a harlot church, or an apostate church, which commits spiritual fornication. (Revelation 17:1–5.)

God’s ancient people (His church), the Jewish people, were also referred to by this symbol of a woman, and when they taught people to break the commandments they were referred to as a harlot. We read in Ezekiel 23:37, 38: “For they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them. Moreover they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and profaned My Sabbaths.” Israel committed adultery by breaking the Ten Commandments. Babylon is a church, a mother church who has daughter churches who are harlots, churches that teach people to break God’s commandments. And these churches who are teaching people to break God’s commandments are world-wide in their influence. Revelation 18:23 says, ” The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.”

What is Babylon condemned for? Revelation 18:4 says, “And I heard another voice from heaven saying ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.’” Sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4.) Babylon, then, is a church that breaks God’s law, and her daughter churches also teach people to break God’s law. Those who will be saved from the last generation must all come out of Babylon. God does not give people a warning to do something if it is not important, and Revelation 14:8 says that Babylon is fallen and has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication and Revelation 18:4 says that all people are to come out of her lest they share in her sins and also receive of her plagues.

Since sin is the transgression of the law, sharing in her sins has to do with co-operating or participating with these churches in breaking one or more of the Ten Commandments. These churches which are teaching people to break the fourth commandment, the second commandment and other commandments, have been rejected by God and He is calling His true people to come out of them. But the celebration style worship service does not call people out of Babylon, rather it is derived from Babylon and leads the participants closer and closer to full fellowship with Babylon, making it impossible for them to be part of the group who will be saved from the last generation.

The Third Angel’s Message is a call to keep the commandments, as you can see in Revelation 14:12. It is a strict warning against engaging in image worship —worshipping the image to the beast. It is a strict warning against receiving the mark of the beast. The characteristics of the beast power are outlined in Revelation 13:1–10, in 2 Thessalonians 2 and in Daniel the seventh chapter. In Revelation 13, we see that this beast power is a religion, because people worship it. (Revelation 13:4.) We see that this beast power was not one of the nations of the earth, but rather a super-power which would have influence over all the nations of the earth, because it says that authority was given him over every tribe, tongue and nation. (Revelation 13:7.) Also we see that it has been a persecuting power, because it makes war with the saints and overcomes them. (Revelation 13:7.) It is a blasphemous power (Revelation 13:6) that blasphemes God, His name,His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.

The special mark of this power, given in Daniel 7:25, is that it would attempt to change times and laws. There is only one time in the Ten Commandments, and that is the seventh day Sabbath and this is the time that men have attempted to change. This attempt to change times and laws is the mark of Babylon’s authority. If a person accepts the authority of men, instead of the authority of God, in the last generation, they will receive the mark of the beast. The Third Angel’s Message includes a call to worship God by keeping His commandments, which would include the seventh-day Sabbath. By contrast, the Vatican II documents, with the celebration concept, were established to induce everyone to celebrate on Rome’s day—Sunday. We can clearly see that the foundational objectives of the celebration style worship are directly contrary to the most fundamental principles of the Third Angel’s Message.

A final objective of the Vatican II council was to unify liturgical functions and celebration and thereby focus attention on Sunday as the Lord’s day. When we study history, we find that the adoption of Sunday worship is not something that happens instantly. It is something that creeps in over a long period of time and there are many steps leading eventually to Sunday observance. That which took generations in the second and third century has been refined so that the same process can take place much more quickly in our day. It would be well, at this point, to review briefly some of the ways that Sunday keeping was introduced into the Christian church in the second and third centuries.

At the time of the Passover every year, it was common for Christians to remember the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ. It is natural and easy for us to see how that they would do this, because for 1500 years, in the Jewish system, the greatest feast of all the year, in the spring, was the Passover feast. It was at the time of the Passover that the real Passover—Jesus, the lamb of God—was sacrificed for the sins of the world. (See John 19.) It was on the third day, two days following this, that the wave sheaf was offered when Christ arose and took with Him to heaven a group of resurrected saints from every generation as the first fruits of the plan of redemption.

It has been the devil’s design, ever since the Garden of Eden, to mix good and evil together. It is in this way that the devil has succeeded, in every generation, to deceive most of the world’s population. The good is emphasized and applauded, but with it is mixed the evil. Jesus rose on the first day of the week and the devil discovered in this fact a way to mix good and evil in the Christian church. His purpose was to eventually persuade the professed followers of Christ to break the law of God, which commands worship on the seventh-day Sabbath. (See Exodus 20:8–11.)

The heathen nations, who were sun worshipers, had adopted the day of the Sun as a festival day and it is for that reason that the first day of the week was called Sunday. The devotees of the sun worshipped with their faces toward the east, at sunrise, on Sunday. Scarcely were the last of the apostles dead when certain bishops in the church, in order to make easier the conversion of the heathen and by this to increase their own influence and authority, began to adopt heathen customs and forms. One of these heathen customs and forms that was early mixed with the practice of Christianity was an imitation of Sun worship.

One of the church fathers defended the Christian’s practices around 200 A.D. in the following words: “Others again certainly with more information and greater verisimilitude believe that the sun is our god. The idea no doubt has originated from our being known to turn to the east in prayer, but you, many of you also under pretense sometimes of worshipping the heavenly bodies move your lips in the direction of the sunrise. In the same way if we devote Sunday to rejoicing from a far different reason than Sun worship we have some resemblance to those of you who devote the day of Saturn to ease and luxury.” His argument is in effect, “You do the same thing and you originated it so you have no right to blame us.”

As a result of the influence of Rome, the entire western empire adopted the practice of celebrating the resurrection of Christ on Sunday instead of the Passover day which would occur at different days in the week. The bishop of Rome ruled that the celebration of the resurrection of Christ must always be on a Sunday, the Sunday nearest to the Passover. If the Passover should itself be on Sunday, then the celebration was not to be held on that day but upon the next Sunday. This was the origin of Easter. Victor, who was bishop of Rome, A.D. 192–202, wrote a letter to the Asiatic Christian clergy commanding them to imitate the example of the western Christians with respect to the time of celebrating Easter. But the people in Asia declared that they would by no means depart in this manner from the custom handed down to them by their fathers. The result was that Victor, the bishop of Rome, broke communion with them and pronounced them unworthy of the name brethren; He excluded them from all fellowship with the church of Rome. This happened around the end of the second century.

It is evident, from a cursory examination of these facts from history, that the celebration worship style lies very close to the foundation of the development of Sunday observance by the Roman church. It was not a long time until the yearly celebration of the resurrection of Christ, on one Sunday a year, was replaced by a weekly celebration of the resurrection of Christ on the first day of the week. Adventists for several years have been taking the initial steps into Sunday observance. The fact that Adventists, for many years and in many places, have joined ecumenically with Sunday churches in worshipping on Easter Sunday, often out of doors as the sun emerges over the eastern horizon, is a replica of what was done in the early church when Sunday was introduced. When people take the first steps into Sunday observance, just as they did back in the second century, unless they repent and are converted, there is no question that eventually they will take the last steps and will receive the mark of the beast, maybe without even knowing what they are doing.

We are living not only in serious times, but in very deceptive times. We have been warned that the mark of the beast will come in some form to every institution and every individual. Many Adventists who receive the mark of the beast will not understand what has happened until it is too late. (Early Writings, 71.) Will you be in that group? It is a very solemn thought. May God help us to live by every word that proceeds out of His mouth and not to be deceived by the sophistries of the devil, even when they look harmless.

Next month we will look deeper into this topic and see some of the weighty spiritual issues that surround the celebration movement in Adventism.

Editor’s Note: Much of the material for this article was taken from the book Adventist Carnivals by Dr. Rosenvold. A much fuller description of the topic covered in this article is given in his book.


Editorial — Preparation for the Latter Rain, part 3

Not all Christians or Adventists will receive the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit. Only those who have been purified in character—in thought, word and action, by the Early Rain of the Holy Spirit, will receive it. This makes the work of purifying ourselves as He is pure (I John 3:3) of paramount importance as we draw near the end of time. Ellen White emphasized this Biblical truth many times in her writings:

“The refreshing from the presence of the Lord will never come to hearts filled with impurity.” Review and Herald, April 21, 1891.

“The Third Angel’s Message is swelling into a loud cry, and you must not feel at liberty to neglect the present duty, and still entertain the idea that at some future time you will be the recipients of great blessing, when without any effort on your part a wonderful revival will take place. Today you are to give yourselves to God, that He may make of you vessels unto honor, and meet for His service. Today you are to give yourself to God, that you may be emptied of self, emptied of envy, jealousy, evil-surmising, strife, everything that shall be dishonoring to God. Today you are to have your vessel purified that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement.” 1888 Materials, 959.

“I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of “refreshing” and the “latter rain” to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God. Those who refuse to be hewed by the prophets and fail to purify their souls in obeying the whole truth, and who are willing to believe that their condition is far better than it really is, will come up to the time of the falling of the plagues, and then see that they needed to be hewed and squared for the building. But there will be no time then to do it and no Mediator to plead their cause before the Father. Before this time the awfully solemn declaration has gone forth, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” I saw that none could share the “refreshing” unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence.” Early Writings, 71.

“God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advanced point the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome, if they would not be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord. Said the angel: ‘God will bring His work closer and closer to test and prove every one of His people.’ Some are willing to receive one point; but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back, because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished idol. Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. They prize something higher than the truth, and their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus. Individuals are tested and proved a length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols and heed the counsel of the True Witness. If any will not be purified through obeying the truth, and overcome their selfishness, their pride, and evil passions, the angels of God have the charge: ‘They are joined to their idols, let them alone,’ and they pass on to their work, leaving these with their sinful traits unsubdued, to the control of evil angels. Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 187.