Children’s Story – God Will Take Care of You

It was late summer and extremely hot. In our backyard was living the prettiest bluebird pair that you have ever seen, and they had hatched four baby bluebirds that were doing great. It was indeed a perfect time—plenty of food in the bird feeders and fresh water in the birdbath. There were cardinals, chickadees, titmice, and blue jays that ate at the bird feeders at the edge of the property. The bluebirds had already taught the squirrels to go around and not to cut across the yard close to their bluebird box.

Then it happened. On a fatal day in August, a hawk swooped down on the mother bluebird, killed her, and carried her off. There was still a week and a half before the four little bluebirds would fledge (have the feathers necessary to fly)! Daddy Bluebird went into overdrive. He flew back and forth with food! He didn’t stop! His feathers were ruffled, and he was tired by the third day. It looked like his dedication was going to do him in. I thought, he needs help, and he needs help now, so I started digging worms for him.

The first time I put the worms down, three-fourths of them got away. What could I do? I decided that if I cut the worms in thirds, that would slow them down and make it easier for Daddy Bluebird to get them and feed his little ones. Digging became a chore, so I started buying fishing worms and cutting them up and placing them in the same feeding area at the same time each day. It got to the place that he would be waiting for me. He started looking better, and the little ones were thriving.

The anticipated day arrived for the little ones to fly! The first three were successful, but that fourth one came out of the nesting box, fell to the ground, and could not get off the ground. Thinking I could still be helpful, I got a board, let him jump up on it, and held it up so he could get into a tree. Now, Daddy Bluebird did not like this at all. He made the little fellow get back on the ground and told me, in his own way, to mind my own business, that I was in the way. Finally, the little fellow managed to get into the tree on his own and Daddy Bluebird was satisfied.

On a warm day in September, I looked out in my backyard and saw a flock of bluebirds. It was as if Daddy Bluebird had been telling his story everywhere, and they all came to see. They were all around that hard spot on the ground where I had put the worms every day. It seemed that he was telling them, “It was here on this hard, hard ground that the worms would appear at the same time every day. It was a miracle! Life is good where we live.”

Life is always good when we live in the sheltering arms of God. God tells us to trust Him and not to be afraid. “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6, 7. As I cared for a little bluebird that needed extra food for his brood, God takes care of me, and He will take care of you. We serve a mighty God! We will be able to bring our friends to that “hard spot on the ground” and say to them, “Here, right here is where God did a miracle for me!”

The Power of Speech, Part VIII

[Editor’s Note: This article continues a compilation of counsel given to strengthen and encourage anyone who is struggling through a crisis caused by the “Power of Speech.”]

What is one time when we should not speak?

“God lives and reigns, and if you take hold of His work cheerfully and willingly, He will bless and sustain you. When you are tempted to murmur and complain, keep your mouth closed. Remember that at such times silence is eloquence. Speak no words that you will not be willing to meet in the judgment. And remember that, when God sends His servants to do a hard work in a hard field, He does not want you to make their work harder by criticism and faultfinding.” Ibid., April 14, 1903.

“Silence is the greatest rebuke that you can possibly give a faultfinder or one whose temper is irritated.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 271.

If we are busy looking at the imperfections of others, what will be the result?

“But if any do not take upon them the yoke of Christ, if they do not cast away the yokes and burdens of their own manufacturing which gall so, they will be filled with dissatisfaction, complaints, faultfinding, and evil speaking. They will be so engaged in looking upon the imperfections of others that they will fail to see and appreciate that which is desirable and precious. They will fail to fill memory’s hall with the pictures of that which is pure and lovely and of good report.” Review and Herald, August 8, 1893.

To what should we open our hearts?

“My brethren, I charge you to close your ears to faultfinders, close your hearts that they shall not be recipients of evil seeds of suspicion and distrust, and open your hearts to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. In the fold of Jesus Christ the sheep and the lambs are to be gathered in one flock, to be nourished, to be defended from the attacks of wolves.” Ibid., October 24, 1893.

Instead of faultfinding, what kinds of words are we to speak?

“If we have been critical and condemnatory, full of faultfinding, talking doubt and darkness, we have a work of repentance and reformation to do. We are to walk in the light, speaking words that will bring peace and happiness. Jesus is to abide in the soul. And where he is, instead of gloom, murmuring, and repining, there will be fragrance of character.” Ibid., June 12, 1894.

“ ‘They that feared the Lord,’ writes the prophet Malachi, ‘spake often one to another; and the Lord harkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.’ Were the words spoken, words of complaint, of faultfinding, of self-sympathy?—No; in contrast to those who speak against God, those who fear him speak words of courage, of thankfulness, and of praise. They do not cover the altar of God with tears and lamentations; they come with faces lighted up with the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and praise God for his goodness.” Ibid., January 5, 1897.

“Satan works untiringly to thwart the purpose of God, and he tempts the children of God to be severe upon the errors of others, while they themselves are careless in regard to their own course of action, and mingle defects with their work. There will always be something which we can criticize; but when we view things as God views them, we shall not look at the work of others with a critical eye, eager to find some flaw, but will seek to find something of which we can approve. Let him who makes criticism and faultfinding his first duty, who spends his God-given time in speaking words which sow the seeds of doubt and unbelief, take heed lest defects far more serious be found in his own character.” Ibid., February 16, 1897.

There are some workers whom Christ does not accept because of their speech.

“The Lord is displeased with many who claim to believe the truth. They act like unreasonable, passionate children. Christ can not accept their work. He does not need the service of those who are inspired by the enemy of all good. Many connected with the work of God give way to their temper. They fret and grumble when things do not move in a way that pleases them. The Lord is dishonored by this discontent and faultfinding. Those who give way to these traits of character can not inspire confidence as Christians.” Ibid., July 11, 1899.

Why we do not need to fight for our way:

“If those who fight for their own way would take time to think; if they would plead with God to give them self-control; if they would watch unto prayer, their words of complaint and faultfinding would be much fewer. They would not find pleasure in criticizing. Thankfulness would take possession of their poor, worrying, fretting hearts, and they would rest in God, trusting in him to steer the ship. God could manage if we had nothing to do or say, but he permits us, yes, he invites us, to cooperate with him.” Ibid.

What are three classes of words we should never speak?

“As a sacred trust the voice should be used to honor God. It should never utter harsh, impure words, or words of faultfinding. The gospel of Christ is to be proclaimed by the voice. With the talent of speech we are to communicate the truth as we have opportunity. It should ever be used in God’s service. But this talent is grievously abused. Words are spoken that do great harm. Christ declared, ‘Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of Judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.’ [Matthew 12:36, 37.]” Ibid., September 12, 1899.

What is the greatest cause of our weakness?

“The greatest cause of weakness among those who are looking for the Lord’s second coming is lack of love and confidence. This causes suspicion. There is a lack of frankness; the way is hedged up by supposition. Some one discovers a supposed defect in a brother or sister, and he acts on this supposition, as if it were true. When criticism and faultfinding, and a desire for the highest place enter the church, the serpent, disguised, enters with them, leaving a trail of evil wherever he goes. The leaven works, and the men God has appointed to do a certain work are regarded with suspicion and distrust, although there may not be the slightest cause for this. Unless this evil is uprooted, unless the Holy Spirit works to cast out the enemy, the life God designs to be a success will be a failure. Satan will make the mind a depository for his insinuations, and the man will lose the battle, when he might have gone forward to victory.” Ibid., October 17, 1899.

“My brother, my sister, be afraid to find fault, afraid to talk against your fellow workers. You have enlisted to fight against Satan’s forces, and you have no time to fight against your fellow soldiers. The truly converted man has no inclination to think or talk of the faults of others. His lips are sanctified, and as God’s witness he testifies that the grace of Christ has transformed his heart. He realizes that he can not afford to talk discouragement or unbelief. He can not afford to be harsh or faultfinding. He has not received orders to punish the erring and sinful by heaping abuse upon them.” Ibid., November 24, 1904.

Should we try to find someone to criticize? Should we say nothing when we see something wrong?

“I ask you never to find fault with what has been done here; for I have seen the angels of God working here, encouraging the workers, and leading them to lift their eyes to see their Redeemer and be strengthened. I have seen the angels of God on this ground with the youth and with the other workers. I have seen the power of God at work here, and I wish to tell you that I want this meeting to be an everlasting cure of your faultfinding and murmuring and trying to find some one to criticize. May God help us all to humble our hearts before him and be converted.” Ibid., May 25, 1905.

“We are not to watch for an opportunity to find fault, if a brother does not speak exactly as we wish him to speak. Perhaps God does not want him to speak as you want him to. His words may cut you to the quick, but even then you are not at liberty to find fault. The talent of speech was given to us that we might speak, not words of faultfinding, but words of counsel, words of encouragement, words of reproof. Because we are not to find fault, this does not mean that we are to pass by things that are wrong, without saying a word. If you see one doing wrong, go right to him, and tell him his fault in the way outlined in the Scriptures. In the meekness of Christ tell him the truth, and you may save his soul from death. But if you gloss over the mistakes, leaving those who have made them to think that they have done nothing wrong, you must share in the punishment, because you were unfaithful to your trust.” Ibid., July 20, 1905.

God is not in the “differences.”

“My dear brethren and sisters, God is not pleased with a spirit of criticism and faultfinding. We must humble our hearts daily before God, and seek for a new conversion, that we may be brought into right relationship with Christ Jesus. Those who are striving to keep the commandments of God, ought to be in harmony, and to show a spirit of humility and love. God is not in any of the differences that are so apparent. He does not inspire words of faultfinding. He is now calling upon us to humble ourselves under the hand of the Almighty, in order that he may lift us up.” Ibid., December 13, 1906.

We have better ways to spend our time and energies than to engage in slander.

“Few have felt a heavy burden for souls. How much more might have been accomplished had the time spent by God’s people in faultfinding been spent in encouraging one another, and in active service! How much better for voices to blend in prayer, in holy unison, than to be employed in finding fault! We have no time for faultfinding or criticism.” Ibid., January 3, 1907.

“Do not find fault and criticize. Thus you spend your energies in Satan’s cause. Do not give way to anger because you think that you are misunderstood. Was not your Master misunderstood? Speak no word of doubt or unbelief. The more you talk of the difficulties in the way, the larger will they appear. Do not accuse your brethren. Rather accuse yourselves. An untold amount of mischief is done by words of faultfinding and slander. Never tear down the reputation of a fellow being.” Ibid., November 10, 1910.

The surest way to become weak spiritually:

“There is no surer way of weakening ourselves in spiritual things than to be envious, suspicious of one another, full of faultfinding and evil-surmising. ‘This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.’ [James 3:15–18.]” Ibid., July 27, 1911.

God wants us to appear at our best always.

“Satan is an accuser of the brethren. He is on the watch for every error, no matter how small, that he may have something on which to found an accusation. Keep off of Satan’s side. It is true that you should give no occasion for faultfinding. A moment’s petulance, a single gruff answer, the want of Christian politeness and courtesy in some small matter, may result in the loss of friends, in the loss of influence. God would have you appear at your best under all circumstances, in the presence of those who are inferior to you as well as in the presence of equals and superiors. We are to be followers of Christ at all times, seeking his honor, seeking to rightly represent him in every way, that we may be lights in the world, showing forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. We are not to exalt our own opinions above those of others. If our ideas are superior to those of others, it will be made manifest without special effort on our part.” Ibid., November 7, 1912.

To be continued . . .

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at: or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Becoming Like Jesus

Many people lose their physical lives because they believe a lie. Years ago, it was not uncommon for physicians to advise patients with a sore throat or chronic bronchitis that they should smoke. It was thought that smoking would be like breathing in steam, that it would warm up the lungs and help clear up the bronchitis or whatever the related ailment was. Physicians used to prescribe cigarettes and other tobacco products, and people died because they believed a lie. The physicians did not intentionally lie—it was not a malicious lie, but it was a non-truth. People are lost for believing a lie.

Need to Know Truth

We need to know the truth. God has told us and promised us that He will guide us into all truth. (John 16:13.) That is a very important promise, because the Bible says that in the last days there will be every wind of doctrine blowing. (Ephesians 4:14.) What makes it especially critical is that God wants to guide us into a fuller understanding of Bible truth than we now have. So, we cannot just overthrow everything that we do not understand and say that since we have never seen something a certain way before we will not listen to new or different understandings. We cannot do that. Yet we cannot just run off after every tangent that comes along. Nevertheless, as the Holy Spirit leads us, we need to be willing to investigate new truth. We must do it carefully and prayerfully, because it is very, very easy to be deceived.

When we are investigating something, we need to read the whole context. If it is quoting from the Bible, read from where it is quoted—read the entire chapter and the surrounding chapters. Many people quote a certain aspect from the Bible, but they only quote a little phrase or sentence, and by taking that one thought out of context, sometimes they change the whole meaning of it.

Purpose of Study

Truth is very important. It is vital to salvation. But as important as that may be, that is not the most important thing we can study in our daily devotions. The thing that must happen in our devotional lives with the Lord is to become like Jesus!

It does not matter what truth we may know; if we are not like Jesus, we have not accomplished anything. In our devotional lives, we must have our characters changed. That is why in our devotions it is important to spend some time every day in studying about Jesus. We may not be learning all kinds of wonderful theology in studying about Jesus, but we will be becoming like Him. We need to, as well, find time to study Daniel and Revelation and Malachi and Zechariah and Isaiah—all of these wonderful books—but we find Jesus scattered all through all these books. We must spend some time every day in just looking at the life of Jesus, trying to meditate on His character, and asking Jesus to make us like Him. That is the most important thing that can happen.

It is much more important to be able to live a Christian life than to preach a good sermon. When we live Christian lives, lives like Jesus, then God is going to pour out His Holy Spirit upon us.

When Jesus was here, He preached all kinds of wonderful sermons, but the Holy Spirit was never poured out. But when the disciples got together at Pentecost, and spent time in prayer and put away their sins and became like Jesus, then the Holy Spirit came. There is a place for sermons, and there is a place for evangelistic meetings, but the first thing that must happen in our lives every day is that we must look at Jesus and try to become like Him.

Why Jesus Came

Jesus came down to this earth to teach us new truth, but the biggest reason Jesus came down to this earth was to show us the love of God, to demonstrate a Christian life. When we read the Bible stories from the gospels, we read some of the sermons that Jesus gave. Matthew records quite a few sermons. John records some of His teaching. What most of the gospel writers recorded, however, are not so much His sermons as His life. It was Jesus’ life that shows us the love of God.

Consider Jesus on the cross. Why is it that so much of the Bible is written about Jesus’ experience on the cross? There was no sermon there at all, was there? God’s love was demonstrated there. It showed that God loved us enough that He was willing to send His own Son to die for us. That is the same kind of love we must have. When we have that love, then we will have the same kind of power that Jesus had.

Secret of Witnessing

Surely you, like I, have been impressed with various mission stories. I love mission stories! Sometimes I have heard stories of people who have gone out and witnessed who had not been trained for public speaking, who did not have very many skills, but the Holy Spirit led them to souls, and because the Holy Spirit was working through them, the people were converted. I have watched people that I have thought really did not do a very good job at preaching or giving Bible studies, but they had a Christian character, and the Lord used these people to win souls. The greatest thing we need is not more truth. We need truth, but the greatest thing we need is to be more like Jesus, to have His character.

Dwell in the Midst

In Exodus 25:8, it mentions how God asked the children of Israel to make Him a sanctuary that He might dwell among them. The sanctuary was put right in the middle of the camp of the children of Israel, so every day when they got up, wherever they were, they could see the sanctuary. John tells us that that sanctuary was a type of Jesus. John 1:14, in some translations, says, “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” That is the way the Revised Version translates it, and that is the translation Ellen White often used for that verse—“The Word became flesh and tabernacled,” referring back to the tabernacle of the children of Israel that was put right in the middle of the camp. Jesus came and dwelt among us. Instead of a tabernacle of goat’s skin, Jesus came and dwelt in our midst, so God might dwell among us and we might see what God is all about.

In the first few verses of John 1, it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” What happened to that Word? It came down to this earth and dwelt among us so that we might observe and see what God is really like, so we might become like God in character.

Hebrews 1 begins almost the same as does the Book of John. In verse 3, speaking of Jesus, it says, “Who being the brightness of [His] glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Jesus was the express image of the Father. He came to earth in the brightness of His Father’s glory. What was that glory when Jesus came down? Did people have to hide their eyes because He was so bright they could not look at Him, like Moses was when he came down from the mountain? Moses was a type of Jesus, but that was only the type. When the real brightness came, it was a totally different kind of brightness than a literal brightness. The Old Testament always shows something literal, and the New Testament always shows what was literal in the Old Testament in a spiritual sense. In the Old Testament, when Moses, who was a type or a figure of Christ, came down from the mount, his face was radiant with glory, so the people could not even look at him. In the New Testament, Jesus came down from heaven, and He was radiant with glory but with spiritual glory instead of a literal glory—spiritual brightness instead of a literal brightness.

What was the brightness that lighted up the face of Jesus? Paul tells us in 11 Corinthians 4:4, 6: “Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” What is that glory? “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” It is God’s character that is revealed in Jesus. What was that character, in 1 John 4:8? “God is love.” That character was revealed through Jesus Christ.

Love Revealed

Somehow we, day by day, must develop the character of love that Jesus had. We must show love—love to our husbands and wives, to our children, to our parents, to church members, to our neighbors, to one another. Things do not always go in a way that makes us want to be loving. It is when things go wrong that love is really revealed. Love is not revealed when everything is going right. That is how Jesus revealed His love.

Where did Jesus really reveal the most love? Was it when He was sitting down at dinner with Mary and Martha and enjoying a good meal, or was it on the cross when people were spitting in His face and hammering the nails in His hands? Where was the love shown the most? He had the same love both places, but we did not see all of it until He was put on the cross. His love was there with Mary and Martha, too, and we could see that it was there, but the worse the situation became, the more the love was revealed.

Ellen White wrote about Jesus: “The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; force or authority cannot win it. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan.” The Desire of Ages, 22.

“Only by love is love awakened.” If we are going to have a church that will exemplify the character of God, that is, the character of love, how are we going to become that way? Is it by the board deciding that it is going to be that way and making a rule that we are all going to be loving from now on? How about a sermon? Could that do it? The only way that the church can become loving is by individual members becoming like Jesus and demonstrating that love to others.

Character Development

The only way God’s love can be demonstrated is for God to allow Satan to bring a certain amount of hardship and trouble into our lives—not because He wants us to suffer anything but so our characters can be developed and we can demonstrate that God is living in our lives. One thing about the trials that God sends us or even the ones He allows Satan to send us, He always brings us through. We never lose anything when we are all done. We only gain. In fact, the Bible says that “everything works together for good to those who love God.” Romans 8:28. We never lose anything, if we remain true.

Every test that comes our way does one of two things: it either makes us more like God, or it makes us more unlike God. We either turn away from Him, or we turn towards Him. We cannot stay neutral when trials and tests come. So it is that if we are really going to demonstrate the love of God, very likely God will allow certain trials and troubles to come into our lives to develop our characters so we can demonstrate His love. That is one reason why, after Jesus talked about trials and troubles and persecutions and revilings and all those things in the Beatitudes, He said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” Matthew 5:10, 11.

Verse 16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” You see, it is when people say unkind things about us that we have a chance to let our lights shine and that we can demonstrate the love of God.

Developing Love

None of us, of course, have the love of Jesus by nature, do we? Neither can we develop it on our own. That is why we must spend time with Jesus every day in prayer and Bible study. Remember, the most important aspect of prayer and Bible study is not to learn truth but to become like Jesus.

If we are just trying to rush through a book and we have a certain schedule to follow to finish it, and when we get done, we check that book off the list—have our characters changed much? How much better it would be to read half as much and to kneel down and really ask Jesus to make us like what we are reading, to spend time thinking about it, and to become like what it says, letting our lives be changed.

Ellen White said, “The Lord desires me to call the attention of His people to the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Read this chapter every day, and from it obtain comfort and strength. Learn from it the value that God places on sanctified, heaven-born love, and let the lesson that it teaches come home to your hearts. Learn that Christlike love is of heavenly birth, and that without it all other qualifications are worthless.” Review and Herald, July 21, 1904. Read that chapter not to learn some great new thing but to look at Jesus’ love. What is love? What is it that God wants us to become?

The Love Chapter

This is a chapter that probably describes Jesus’ character better than any other chapter in the Bible. It is a chapter that describes what we are to become. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” Verse 1. This is really speaking to preachers or Sabbath School teachers or evangelists. We can have silver tongues; we can speak like angels; we can be the greatest orators in the entire world; but if we do not have love, what good is it going to do? It is worthless.

“And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge . . .” Do you see why I said that learning truth is not the most important thing? Paul says we can know all the truth in the world; we can have even the gift of prophecy; and we can understand all the mysteries and all the knowledge and even have all faith so that we could remove mountains; but if we do not have love, we are nothing. Verse 2.

A Balance

We do not have to make these two things exclusive. We can still learn a little knowledge while we are getting a little love. I am not saying we should not try to get a little knowledge along the way. We ought to know the Bible. That is very important, but the first thing is love.

“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” Verse 3. Nothing in the Bible is written without truth, and no illustrations are given without merit. Do you suppose that there could have been people who gave their bodies to be burned or eaten by the lions that really were not totally converted? Ellen White wrote, “We may obtain a knowledge of the truth and read its most hidden mysteries, and even give our bodies to be burned for its sake; yet if we have not love and charity, we are as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 133.

What Love Is

Then Paul tells us what love is: “Love suffers long [and] is kind.” It does not say that love just suffers a little while—it will suffer and suffer. People saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing or misunderstanding—that will continue. Life goes on. As long as life lasts, it will continue to manifest love no matter what the situation may be. And it is kind. That little four-letter word kind is such a nice little word. It is nice when people are kind to one another.

“Love does not envy.” Now that is a tall order! It is so easy to envy—especially when you think you are better than the other person is, but the other person is getting all the attention. That is what Satan did in heaven; he envied Jesus; he thought he could do a better job than Jesus. “Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.” Verses 4, 5.

“[Love] does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” Verse 6. That really cuts right across gossip! Times do come when we need to know about certain situations. We need to be warned, but just plain rejoicing, just cannot wait until somebody stumbles or somebody does something so we can report it, is wrong.

Demonstrate His Love

“Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether [there are] prophecies, they will fail; whether [there are] tongues, they will cease; whether [there is] knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Verses 7–13.

What Paul is saying in these last few verses is this: All the prophecy we know of is just dimly understood. We do not really understand prophecy very much. We understand a little bit. We do not even know ourselves. We do not know one another very well. Just dimly do we really understand each other. We do not really read the hearts of one another. But there is one thing that we can demonstrate, regardless, and that we can have. We may not be able to have perfect faith or perfect hope or perfect knowledge, but we can become like Jesus in character, and we can demonstrate His love. That is what God wants in the church today. He wants the church to demonstrate the love and the character of Jesus.

It is interesting that 1 John, the book that talks about how Jesus came down to earth and lived, ends with what it is that God is like. “God is love.” That is what we are to become—like God—and God is love. How is it that we can develop this kind of character? It is not something that happens overnight. We can gain knowledge much quicker than we can gain character. It takes time to develop character. That is why God gives us a time to live. We need to use every moment we have to be developing that character. Every time a trial comes our way, we need to realize that this is a chance to develop the character that God wants us to have. We will miss all those opportunities, however, unless God is helping us.

The Fruit of Love

Jesus said, in John 15:1, 2, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away.” What is the fruit? One part of the fruit is winning other souls, but that is not all of the fruit. What is the fruit of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, longsuffering. (Galatians 5:22.) As we study John 15, we see that Jesus is talking about the fruit of the Spirit as well as the fruit of other souls. First and foremost, He is talking about the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of our character.

Verses 12 and 13 tell us the fruit with which He is especially concerned: “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Throughout the chapters of John, Jesus talks about the fruit of our characters, the fruit of love especially. In chapter 13, He said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Verse 35.

Every branch that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He prunes that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2.) “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” Verses 3, 4. Think of the one fruit that He is really addressing here. He is addressing all the fruit, of course, but consider the one He comments upon later, the fruit of love. Insert that in these verses and read it to get the full import. We could insert other fruits of the Spirit, too, but we will just use love.

“Every branch in Me that does not bear love He takes away; and every [branch] that bears love He prunes, that it may bear more love.” Pruning means to cut or take away unnecessary things—those extras that we do not really need, but we think we need, that God sometimes takes away. He may take it out of our checkbook or He may take it out of our time. We may have our day all planned, and God takes away some of that time for something else—our day may get pruned.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear love of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you [are] the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much love; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw [them] into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much love; so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in my love.” Verses 4–9. Is He talking about love?

To the Point

He comes right down to the point at the end. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and [that] your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Verses 10–12.

More than anything else, I want to see all of God’s people perfectly demonstrate the love of God towards one another. When we have that, we will have joy, Jesus said, and we will have the gift of the Holy Spirit. We cannot have it of ourselves. We can only have it as we abide in Jesus day by day. Our daily devotions are especially for the purpose of our becoming more like Jesus.

Yes, we need to study and understand Daniel and Revelation. We need to study Isaiah and Deuteronomy and Leviticus as well as the other books of the Bible, but we need to make the first part of our study specifically something that will help us to become more loving like Jesus. Study about the life of Jesus.

Ellen White says, “It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.” The Desire of Ages, 83.

Pastor Marshall J. Grosboll, with his wife Lillian, founded Steps to Life. In July 1991, Pastor Marshall and his family met with tragedy as they were returning home from a camp meeting in Washington state, when the airplane he was piloting went down, killing all on board.

Out of the Darkness of Error

For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I [am] of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who [is] Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” 1 Corinthians 3:4–10.

In the Corinthian church, they were having a bit of a controversy. Paul had raised up the church at Corinth; he had evangelized and started a church. Apollos was chosen by the church to do follow-up work by continuing to sow seeds and to water, or nurture, the church. Some church members were claiming to be of Paul and others were claiming to be of Apollos. Paul said, “You are yet carnal.” Paul was trying to make it very clear to the Corinthian church that no matter who did the sowing of the seed, all people are under the control of God. He said they were still carnal, because they were still looking to man.

Paul had sown seeds; Apollos had sown seeds, but the One that gave the increase, the One that transformed the characters of the Corinthian believers was God. It was His grace, shed in their hearts, that made that transformation. Not one soul will be converted unless the Holy Spirit is working on their heart, and that is what Paul is trying to get across to the brethren in Corinth.

Under God’s Control

Paul goes over the principle, time and again, that we do not own ourselves. We are only under the control of God. “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s building.” We need to understand that when God sheds light upon our paths we are then made stewards of the truth that God has given us. Paul states, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” 1 Corinthians 4:1. If God has worked within us, we are then made stewards of what He has done for us. We are made stewards to share it with other people “. . . according to the grace of God which is given unto me . . . .” When God gives us something, He then makes us stewards over that, and we will be held accountable in the Day of Judgment for what He has given us. What a precious opportunity God has given us to become laborers with Him, but what a weighty responsibility! The grace and the truth that He has given us make us want to become laborers together with Him, to sow the seeds of truth.

We are told, in 1 Corinthians 3:9, that we are God’s husbandry, or farmer. A farmer tills the ground, preparing it for planting; then he plants and waters. Those tasks are also our responsibility. We are to go out and sow the seeds of truth that God has given us.

God’s Building

In the verses given above, Paul was talking about our work, about the foundation that we lay, and upon what it is laid—whether earthly possessions such as gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or stubble. These texts are useful when studying health principles with people: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.” Verses 16, 17. The context in which Paul was speaking is our work. How can we defile our soul temples, our bodies, where God’s Spirit is to dwell? We defile it by not sowing seeds of truth, by locking up all of the grace and all of the truth inside, and not giving it to other people.

Think of the responsibility that we have, with all of the truth that we have been given. We can be like the Laodiceans, rich and increased with goods and feeling we are in need of nothing, not even knowing that we are poor, blind, and naked. We do not even understand our true condition. Keep these texts in mind—your body is God’s building.

Glorify God

Again Paul shows that God possesses us. “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” We do not own ourselves; God owns us by creation and by redemption. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.

Consider Jesus for a moment. How did He glorify His Father? “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John 17:3, 4. Paul was telling the Corin-thians that they had accepted another Jesus. People can know some type of Jesus, but it does not mean that they know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent. In Acts 4:13, it says that “they took knowledge of them [the disciples], that they had been with Jesus.” By their very acts, their words, and by the expressions on their faces, the people knew that they had been with Jesus. They were showing the true Jesus to the world through their characters because of what God had done for them in their lives. So Jesus says, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”

A Work

The time of this statement was right before Jesus went to the cross. What work is it that He had finished? John 17:8 tells us, “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received [them], and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”

At the end of your life, can you say with Jesus, “I have finished the work that You have given me to do; I have done everything in my power to spread the gospel, to reflect Your character; I have done everything, by God’s grace, by the grace that has been given me; to reflect Your character and glorify Your name, and I have also spread the gospel truth”?

Live the Truth

If this is Jesus’ work, what is our work? “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” John 17:17–20. This is our responsibility as a church. Jesus has given us a commission that we give to others the words that have been given to us. What a responsibility we have of sharing this truth! Jesus said that we have to be sanctified through the truth in order for that truth to have any effect when we give it to other people. It has to be a living reality in our lives; we have to be living it out every day, because the truth that we give to others will have no power if we are not living it ourselves.

“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” Verse 21.

Do you know what the world is looking for today? An unbeliever told me that they are looking for some people who live out the truth. There is nothing this world needs more today than a manifestation of the love of God in those who are claiming to be His people. We need to pray, asking the Lord to fill us with that kind of love. We must be living out that truth in our lives, sanctified by the truth that we know, or it will not do a bit of good, because we will be holding the truth in unrighteousness.

People in the world are looking at us, watching us. Paul says we are epistles known and read of all men. (11 Corinthians 3:2.) Are they taking knowledge that we have been with Jesus? Have we spent time with Him on our knees? The truth that we read every day—are we living it out in our lives? That is what the world wants to see.

From Darkness into Light

“Every truly converted soul will be intensely desirous to bring others from the darkness of error into the marvelous light of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.” Review and Herald, July 21, 1896.

That is a wonderful quote, but it is a hard one, because it shows whether or not we are truly converted. We have to ask ourselves, “Am I truly converted to the Lord, or am I connected to the vine but have no vital fluid running through it to bear fruit?” How do we know? If we are truly converted, we will be intensely desirous to bring others out of the darkness of error into the righteousness of Christ. This will take a searching of heart.

When I first came to the Lord, I could not help but share with others. I could not help it! I did not care who they were, what was their status, or what they looked like—I wanted to share with them! Why? Because I knew what God had done for me in my life. I have to ask myself if I am as intensely desirous now as I was then. Has that intensity lessened, or has it grown greater? It should grow day by day so that every truly converted soul will be intensely desirous of bringing others out from the darkness of error into the marvelous light of the righteousness of Christ.

Mrs. White continues: “The great outpouring of the Spirit of God, which lightens the whole earth with His glory . . .” Do you remember what His glory is? It is His character. It is going to be fully exhibited in His people, and it will fill the whole earth. That is what people are waiting for today—a people who will shine forth with the light of truth that will lighten the entire earth. “. . . His glory will not come until we have an enlightened people, that know by experience what it means to be laborers together with God.” Ibid.

Waiting for the Latter Rain

Do we have an experience of bringing souls out of darkness? We can all say that we are waiting for the Latter Rain, and we can say that we want it, but it will not come unless we have an enlightened people that know by experience what it means to be laborers with God. First of all, we need to be converted, and if we are converted, we will be intensely desirous of bringing others out of the darkness. We will do that by leading them step by step out of darkness into His marvelous light through God’s Word. It will not come, however, unless our people are enlightened and are sharing in the experience of bringing others out of darkness.

“When we have entire, whole-hearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of his Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God.” Ibid.

If we have that burden for souls, we will start bringing people out of the darkness of error into the marvelous light of Christ. What a responsibility we have! “God cannot pour out His Spirit when selfishness and self-indulgence are so manifest; when a spirit prevails that, if put into words, would express that answer of Cain—‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ (Genesis 4:9).” Ye Shall Receive Power, 310. We can labor all we want, we can pass out literature and do all of the things that God wants us to do, but we must ask ourselves, “Am I truly converted? Am I intensely desirous for souls? Does selfishness and self-indulgence defile the soul temple?” It most certainly will, because “if the truth for this time, if the signs that are thickening on every hand, that testify that the end of all things is at hand, are not sufficient to arouse the sleeping energy of those who profess to know the truth, then darkness proportionate to the light which has been shining will overtake these souls.” Ibid.

Where are we?

Are we at the end of time? The signs are definitely thickening around us, and they should arouse the sleeping energies. We can become so accustomed to disasters and everything else that they just become a part of life, but we need
to look at these occurrences in a different light. We need to be thinking about the fact that Jesus is coming soon. Do we have selfishness and self-indulgence manifested in our lives? Have we backslidden a little bit? Are we still as intensely desirous of sharing God’s truth as when we first came to the Lord?

If we do not share the light that has shown upon our pathways, it is going to go out in darkness. Jesus said, in Luke 8:16–18, that if we have hidden our light under a bushel, it will go out, and it will be taken from us. “There is not the semblance of an excuse for their indifference that they will be able to present to God in the great day of final reckoning. There will be no reason to offer as to why they did not live and walk and work in the light of the sacred truth of the Word of God, and thus reveal to a sin-darkened world, through their conduct, their sympathy, and their zeal, that the power and reality of the gospel could not be controverted.” Ibid.

My Prayer

I pray that we can have a true experience and true conversion in the Lord every day, and that the love that has been implanted in our hearts by God will be a well of water, springing up into everlasting life for those weary people in this world who are suffering under the bondage of sin. We can have this experience, and I pray that as we look back to our beginnings with the Lord, we will ask ourselves, “Am I as intensely desirous now as I was then?”

I pray that we each may have this experience, so we can have the out-pouring of the Latter Rain power to finish the work and go home. Are you not sick of this world? The signs are thickening around us, so let us work, for the night is coming when no one is going to be able to work. Let us not hear the words from our neighbors, “You knew these things and you did not tell us.” (See John 9:4; Review and Herald, August 15, 1907.) What excuse are we going to give in the day of final reckoning? Are we going to say, “Oh, yes, I could have given them a book, but I was too afraid of what they would think about me; I was afraid I would offend them; I was afraid I would not have good relations with them”? Friends, it is better that we tell them now than at that time when it will be too late.

“God has appointed His children to give light to others, and if they fail to do it, and souls are left in the darkness of error because of their failure to do that which they might have done, had they been vitalized by the Holy Spirit, they will be accountable to God. We have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light, in order that we may show forth the praises of Christ.” Review and Herald, December 12, 1893.

Mike Bauler pastors the Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. He may be contacted by e-mail at:

The Robe of Christ’s Righteousness

In 11 Timothy 3:12, we find an absolute. It says, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” It has always been the case, since Abel, and it will continue to be the case. We have before us, before the world comes to an end, a time of persecution such as never was.

“Because we are now settled here, we seem to think that we shall never be moved. But there will come a time when there will be a great scattering, a scattering that we do not now dream of, and it will be brought about in unexpected ways. Some of you will be taken away to remote regions, but God will have a work for you there.” Publishing Ministry, 92, 93.

“The time is coming when we shall be separated and scattered, and each one of us will have to stand without the privilege of communion with those of like precious faith; and how can you stand unless God is by your side, and you know that He is leading and guiding you?” This Day With God, 93.

Preparing for the Inevitable

What will prepare us for the inevitable? It will come. We can see it on the horizon today. That, which we have been told will come, is coming. It is coming, and it will take this world and everyone who is walking in harmony with the world by overwhelming surprise. But God does not want to have His children surprised.

Jesus said, in the Sermon on the Mount, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:31–33.

Jesus admonishes us in this life to first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness all the time! We should be seeking first His righteousness, because His kingdom is involved in His righteousness. If we expect to someday walk into God’s kingdom, it will be through His righteousness. That is why Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

What is righteousness? Righteousness is doing what is right. Can a child understand what righteousness is, based on that definition? Yes, a child can understand that righteousness is right doing, as opposed to wrongdoing.

Righteousness Revealed

Two verses tell us where God’s righteousness is revealed: “Thy righteousness [is] an everlasting righteousness, and thy law [is] the truth.” “My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments [are] righteousness.” Psalm 119:142, 172. So we can find God’s righteousness, if we are seeking for it, in God’s Law or His Word. In the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, we are going to find God’s righteousness; it is going to be fully distinct from what the world calls righteous.

To what will the man or woman who seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, finds it, and lays hold on it be likened? “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Why is this person so taken up with the Law of God that he meditates upon it day and night? It is simply this: he has found in that law the righteousness of God. “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1–3.

Are we like that? Are we fresh, alive Christians? Do we have fresh fruit to offer people? If we do not, then we have not found the righteousness of Christ. We are told to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. His righteousness is what we need.

There is another place that we can find the righteousness of God revealed. The law ends somewhere. Did you know that? There are many Protestant churches today that would say, Yes, we are in perfect agreement; the law ended at Calvary. That is not what I am saying, and that is not what God’s Word says. It says, “Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:4. Did Jesus, in His life, honor God’s Law? Yes, He did. The Law of God was written upon the heart of Jesus. (See Psalm 40:8.) Jesus was the perfect embodiment of God’s Law in humankind. For 33 years on this earth, He lived out the law. Did He ever sin against God’s Law? No, we are told that He had no sin. Could He have sinned? Yes, He could have transgressed God’s Law, but He did not; He chose not to sin. Jesus Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. Does that mean the law ends? No, it means that Jesus is the embodiment of the Law of God, and when we choose to accept Jesus into our lives, we are accepting the fullness of God’s Law and its righteousness.

What then is the genuine quality of all righteousness? What is the essence of all righteousness? The answer is found in Christ’s Object Lessons, 97, 98: “The essence of
all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right—because right doing is pleasing to God.”

Faith an Attribute

That leads us to Hebrews 11:6. Paul said, under the inspiration of God, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” That means that a part of righteousness is faith. You see, that is a quality of righteousness, His righteousness. Does He give that to us? Yes, He does. He gives a measure of faith to every person that comes into this world, but what you do with that faith is up to you. Faith is an attribute of righteousness.

Garment We Choose

Unto what is His righteousness likened? What is this righteousness that is found in God’s Law and is found in the life of Jesus likened unto? “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Revelation 19:7, 8. God’s righteousness is likened unto a garment that we wear, a robe—His robe of righteousness.

There is only one other garment that we can wear. We are wearing one of two garments. “But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6. We are either clothed in filthy rags that represent our own righteousness, or we are clothed in the robe of Christ that represents His righteousness. Let us verify, from Scripture, whose righteousness is the righteousness of the saints. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Corin-thians 1:30. Christ is made our righteousness if we have chosen to follow Jesus Christ. That means that we have done something with the filthy rags. Can we be wearing both at the same time? No, we cannot.

Righteousness Received

When will the saints, spoken of in Revelation 19:7, 8, be clothed with this righteousness? The message to Laodicea, the last church, the last remnant of God’s people upon the face of the earth before Jesus comes, tells us. Unbelievably, these people are naked—that is the same thing as being clothed in filthy garments. “I [Jesus, the end of the Law for righteousness] counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:18. Based on this text, the saints receive the righteousness of Christ before Jesus comes.

Why do they have to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ before He comes? “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” Revelation 3:5. When does Jesus do the blotting out of the names? In the judgment—the judgment that takes place before Jesus comes. That is shown in Revelation 14:7: “The hour of his judgment is come.” It happens before the Second Advent that is revealed in Revelation 14:14. So the judgment takes place before the blotting out of names.

Revelation 3:5 shows that God’s people have received the righteousness of Christ before He comes the second time. In fact, that righteousness, which is His righteousness that clothes them, allows Jesus to blot out their sins and retain their names in the heavenly books.

A Gift

Notice one thing more in Revelation 3:5: “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment.” The process of sanctification brings us to the point where we are overcomers so we can receive clean, white robes of righteousness. Justification and sanctification are a combined process that produces righteousness. Righteousness is right doing by faith. The whole plan of redemption revolves around God seeking to get humanity back to doing what is right.

Here is a people who have the robe of Christ’s righteousness on them, they are overcoming sin in their lives as a result, and this is their testimony: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation.” What are these garments of salvation? They are the robe of His righteousness. Salvation does not come apart from this robe. There are people today who say it really does not matter if you do right or wrong, as long as you have good desires toward God. That is wrong! That is not what God says. “He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh [himself] with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth [herself] with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10. Notice who imparts this righteousness to us. It says, He, the One who is righteous, has covered us with His robe of righteousness. Jesus Christ does everything right and at the right time for us. It is a gift to us. “The wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ.” Romans 6:23. What is that gift? It is His robe of righteousness.

Working For or With

No doubt this robe is a gift, but our next text reveals that we must choose to put it on. Job says, “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment [was] as a robe and a diadem.” Job 29:14. What is Job saying? He is saying, I put on Christ’s righteousness. Isaiah just said that Jesus puts the robe on us, but this points out the fact that we must cooperate with God in receiving this robe of righteousness. We must put it on; we must receive it. How do we do that? How do we put the robe of Christ’s righteousness on and yet receive it as a gift from Him?

Remember 1 Corinthians 3:9, “For we are laborers together with God.” It does not say for God, it says with God, and there is a difference in those prepositions. There is a difference between working for God or working with God. Jesus points out the distinct difference in Matthew 7:22, 23. He there addresses a people who were working for Him. They stand in the day of His coming clothed in their own righteousness. Jesus says that many will come to Him in that day and say, “Lord, Lord, were we not working for you?” And in essence Jesus says, yes, you were working for Me for your own glory, but you were not working with me for your salvation.

Putting On; Putting Off

“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. . . . Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another.” Colossians 3:8–10, 12, 13 (first part). Paul says that if you are going to put on, you are going to have to put off.

Is this not practical admonition? He names things that are part of the robe of man’s righteousness, that are, in the sight of God, as filthy rags. Man can justify himself, even in anger, and believe he is right. That is man’s righteousness, and it amounts to self-justification, but self-justification in God’s eyes amounts to nothing. Man has no reason to justify himself in his own filthy rags and be satisfied with his righteousness when God has revealed so clearly His righteousness, which we so badly need.

This putting on and putting off is learning to say yes to righteousness and to say no to sin.


“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. . . . 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.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 187. These testing points are defects of character. That is what this robe of righteousness is all about. God is going to reveal to us where we are deformed so that we can reform.

God leads each one of us, step by step. All transgression of God’s Law and of His righteousness comes right back to selfishness. If there was ever a time for God’s people to have revival and reformation in their midst, it is now! Do you know where it begins? It begins with each one of us individually. God will point out things in our lives, things with which we have become comfortable; things with which we have been satisfied. We think we are all right, but God is going to point out things, and we will discover that we are not all right. How do we make it right? Paul says we make it right by putting off that which is wrong and putting on that which is right. I like the thought that God is willing to spend enough time with me to show me where I am wrong, because I am coming to a determination that I want to be right with Him; I want to have on that robe of righteousness. I want to experience the full intention of His mind for me in my creation. We can do that, if we are willing to accept the life that He gives us, even if it points out something that we need to put off.

The Wedding Garment

How important is the subject about which we are studying? The Bible answers that question in the parable of the guests who came to the wedding supper. The invitation first went to the nation of Israel, and they treated it with indifference. Eventually, when Jesus sent another message to Israel, they killed him, and judgment fell upon Israel. At that time, He told His disciples to go into the highways and the byways and call any who would listen, because He wanted someone to come to His supper. Jesus wants as many as will to come to Him and have supper with Him. The disciples went out and gathered in people of all different kinds—bad and good, sincere and insincere. This represents His church! Jesus is going to make a distinction some day; it has not been made yet.

The Bible says, “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment.” What is this wedding garment? It is the robe of Christ’s righteousness, but this man did not think it mattered whether he had on the robe or not. He thought that if he praised God and said he believed in Jesus, that would be enough, but when Jesus came in to investigate the guests, he found this man empty; he was naked; he was clothed in his own filthy garments of self-righteousness.

“And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.” He was speechless, because he knew better. The light that had shined upon this man’s pathway was the same light that shines upon our pathways, and we will be inexcusable in that day, if we have on our own robe of righteousness and not the robe of Jesus’ righteousness.

This man said nothing. He could not say, Well, let me tell you why; have a seat, it is a long story. He had nothing to say—not a long story or a short story but no story. We will be condemned of ourselves on that day, because we sit and listen to God’s Word, and if we are going away and not doing, we will be found as speechless as was this man.

“Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast [him] into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few [are] chosen.” Matthew 22:11–14.

Brothers and sisters, our righteousness will not cut it. This is the strongest language that Jesus could portray regarding what is going to happen to the lost. Jesus does not want us to be lost. Can we be among the few who are chosen? Yes, we can. But can we be among the many? Yes. It does not matter whether or not you call yourself a Christian, because many who call themselves Christians are going to find themselves in the same situation in which this man found himself when Jesus comes again.


Paul finishes his admonition about putting on and putting off by telling what is the highest quality—the ultimate quality—of God’s righteousness. Remember, you will have to take off something before you can put this on. He says, “And above all these things, [put on] charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” Colossians 3:14. What is charity? It is love. It is a principle of righteousness, and the highest quality of righteousness is love—to be robed in God’s love.

If righteousness is right doing, and the essence, or the greatest quality of God’s righteousness is love, is it right, then, to love God? Yes. Would it be right to love our neighbor as ourselves? Yes. Paul says, in Romans 13:10, “Love [is] the fulfilling of the law.” He is saying the same thing that John says in 1 John 5:3, “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” Do you know why they are not grievous? Because they are right. Nothing that is right is wrong, and nothing that is right is grievous.

God is righteous, and He wants us to be righteous. The cost of being what He intends for us to be is only the putting off of all the filthy rags. Some of those rags will be engulfed with cherished idols, and we are going to have to sacrifice everything. When we sacrifice everything for Jesus, we eventually get everything, but when we sacrifice for sin—and there is a sacrifice involved when we sin—we get nothing. Always remember that—we get nothing. We are going to be lost.

A sobering text, of which we need to ask God to make us mindful, is Revelation 22:11. We are living in the hour of judgment. (See Revelation 14:7.) That is the first angel’s message. Within the context of that hour, the curtain will come down—probation will close. The door will close; mercy will no longer plead for the sinner. We are living in that hour. “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.”

There is coming a time when we will no longer have an opportunity to remedy anything in our experience. We shall stand where we are. If we are lost, we are lost; if we are saved, we are saved. It is a sobering time in which we find ourselves living.

Motivation of Love

What is the only thing that can motivate us to do what is right for the right reason? The right reason is to be loyal to Jesus. In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Ellen White echoes the same sentiments: “The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer.” That is the only thing that will motivate us to put off and to put on, to be determined to shed our filthy rags and have on the robe of His righteousness. The only motivation is His love.

Do you know how to get His love? There is only one way. “We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. Until we come to the recognition that Jesus Christ has loved us personally, individually, with an everlasting love, apart from every soul in this world, until we recognize and accept that reality in our lives, we will never love Him as we should. Once we recognize that He has given everything for us—when we lay hold of the reality of Calvary, when we see what He did for us and the love that He has for us—we are going to be moved to a higher calling. God is ready to lift us up to that higher calling.

Ellen White wrote: “The days of our probation are fast closing. The end is near. To us the warning is given, ‘Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.’ Luke 21:34. Beware lest it find you unready. Take heed lest you be found at the King’s feast without a wedding garment.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 319.

Craig Meeker is Director of the Bible Correspondence School at Steps to Life. He may be contacted by e-mail at: or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Parallel Prophecies of Daniel, Part I

In this article, I want to study with you some of the most critical, serious items having to do with the Adventist faith; items in which we are under attack by our theological opponents; items in which former Seventh-day Adventist ministers, who have left the Adventist faith, think that they can destroy our faith and make us look like we are foolish and do not even believe what the Bible teaches.

That is by way of introduction. We, unfortunately, cannot cover everything in the limited space of this article. Since we can cover just a few things, you need to study and know thoroughly this subject for yourself. I hope that you are on a Bible study program of your own. Do not think that you will be able to go to the end of time and be ready for the Second Coming of Christ just by attending church and studying whatever is studied there. You cannot do it. You have to study the Bible at your own home every day. I would rather see a Christian that studies the Bible every day for 20 minutes than to see a Christian that only studies the Bible for 3 hours on Sabbath. You will get more good out of it if you study it every day. A few points will be covered briefly in this article. Hopefully, they will stimulate your thinking so that you can study them out more in detail.

Ellen White says that we are all called to be students of prophecy. (Testimonies, vol. 5, 708.) You do not have to have the Spirit of Prophecy to know that, because Jesus said to His disciples, “When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the Holy Place, whoever reads, let him understand.” Matthew 24:15. We have a Divine command that we are to understand prophecy. Particularly are we to understand the prophecy of Daniel. That is a Divine injunction. Jesus is the Son of God, the Majesty of heaven. When He says, “You are to study and you are to understand,” we should take that to heart and really study to understand. The early Adventists took that to heart. They began to study prophecy. Adventism is a result of those Protestant Christians. There were even some Roman Catholic Christians that engaged in the study of prophecy in the late 1800s and the early 1900s. Adventism is the result of the study of prophecy—particularly the prophecies of Daniel, as Jesus commanded us that we were to do.

Dismantling Adventism

Ellen White wrote, “The scripture which above all others had been both the foundation and the central pillar of the advent faith was the declaration: ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ Daniel 8:14.” The Great Controversy, 409. The devil today has not only attacked Adventism, but he is trying to dismantle Adventism by destroying its very foundation. The devil started this demolition work hundreds of years ago. It was well under way by the Council of Trent, which was the Roman Catholic Council that met between 1545 and 1563. Adventists today are specifically under attack concerning Daniel 8:14.

The controversy over the six things that we will study did not begin in the last ten years with these new attacks by former Seventh-day Adventist ministers who are trying to destroy the Adventist faith. It began a long time ago and really erupted in Adventism nearly 25 years ago, in October 1979, at Pacific Union College [Angwin, California]. A teacher there by the name of Desmond Ford presented a lecture in which he said that he was going to debunk the whole idea of 1844 as a mistake. All of the attacks now are actually reruns of attacks made in 1979 and 1980.

The leadership of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists gave Desmond Ford several months to outline his views, and then the top scholars of the Seventh-day Adventist Church met together at Glacier View Camp in Colorado during the summer of 1980, and they reviewed with Desmond Ford these different things. If Desmond Ford was correct with these different charges, there would be no reason for a Seventh-day Adventist Church.

My wife and I were living in Texas when those meetings took place. I was teaching at Southwestern Adventist College in Keene, Texas. I remember the discussions that were taking place among the faculty during this time. Some people used to say, “If you really knew what the Greek language says in Hebrews 6 and if you really knew what the Hebrew words mean in Daniel 8, then you would know that the Adventists are wrong.” I was hearing things like this, and such thoughts were even being published. A leading Seventh-day Adventist theologian published as fact the idea that a two-apartment sanctuary is not taught in the Book of Hebrews.

Others were saying, “If you could read the texts in the Greek or in the Hebrew, you would find they do not say exactly what we have thought they said,” and I thought to myself, “If that is so, I am going to find out.” I was an ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister at that time, and I decided to find out for myself what these Scriptures say.

Study of the Original

I happened to have studied Greek between three and four years at Walla Walla College [Walla Walla, Washington] and at the Adventist Seminary [Berrien Springs, Michigan]. I also studied Hebrew at the Adventist Seminary. I got my books, and I obtained more lexicons, additional analytical materials, and interlinear Bibles, and I bought a new Hebrew Bible. I wanted to find out if I had been confused my whole life. I now have a Hebrew Bible and a Greek Bible, which I use regularly. If it had not been for the Ford controversy, maybe I would not know Hebrew and Greek as well as I do today.

Do Not Stumble

The Adventist faith is anchored in the Greek and Hebrew texts of the Old and New Testaments. Do not let someone tell you that, because you have to read the Bible in English, you do not know what it says. There are a few mistakes in the best English translations. Ellen White acknowledges that in Selected Messages, Book 1, 16: “Some look to us gravely and say, ‘Don’t you think there might have been some mistake in the copyist or in the translators?’ This is all probable, and the mind that is so narrow that it will hesitate and stumble over this possibility or probability would be just as ready to stumble over the mysteries of the Inspired Word, because their feeble minds cannot see through the purposes of God. . . . All the mistakes will not cause trouble to one soul, or cause any feet to stumble, that would not manufacture difficulties from the plainest revealed truth.” Notice that she says those few mistakes will not cause one soul to be lost! If we take the Bible, read it, and study it, there is no mistake in the translations of the Bible that will cause us to be lost.

Nobody will be able, in the Day of Judgment, to say, “Lord, I am lost because I read the King James Version of the Bible, and there was a transcription error in Romans 14:6, and because of that transcription error, I did not know that the seventh day was the Sabbath, so now I am lost.” There is a bad mistake in Romans 14:6 in the King James Version, but that will not cause any honest soul to be lost. Why? Because there are hundreds of texts in the King James Version that point out what the true Sabbath is. Even if there is a mistake in the translation in Romans 14, nobody will be lost over that, if they look at the whole Bible.

No one will be able to come to the Lord in the Day of Judgment and say, “Oh, Lord, I read the New American Standard Bible and now I am lost, because it translated from a different text or manuscript in Revelation 22:14.” (The two different texts or readings in the Greek manuscripts for Revelation 22:14 are almost certainly the result of a scribal hearing error since they rhyme.) Why cannot anyone use that as an excuse to the Lord in the Day of Judgment? Because in the New American Standard Bible or in the New International Version, there are many other texts that show exactly what the commandments are, what the Sabbath is, and that we should keep them.

The fact that there is a mistake in translation here or there will not cause anyone to be lost, unless they choose to base all their doubts on that one mistake. We are to look at the whole Bible, and if we take the evidence of the whole Bible, there is no mistake in the King James Version, there is no mistake in the New King James Version, there is no mistake in the New American Standard Bible, and there is no mistake in the New International Version that will cause us to be lost—if we look at the whole Bible.

Back to Basics

My faith was challenged in 1979 and 1980. I was told, “If you knew what the Greek and Hebrew said, you would know that we are wrong.” I decided that if that was so, I would find out. I found out! I read the whole Bible in the original languages—Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. Let me tell you, friends, the Adventist faith is anchored in exactly what the prophets wrote.

It is true that in the Book of Daniel there are a few translation difficulties. Daniel is one of the most difficult books of the Old Testament to translate, because the translators did not understand what they were translating. If you have ever translated from one language to another, you know that sometimes you could translate something more than one way. When that occurs, you look at the context to determine whether the word should be translated this way or that way. That is true with all translation. If you do not know the meaning of what you are translating, it makes the translation much more difficult.

The translators did not know the meaning of what they were translating in the Book of Daniel, so they made a few mistakes. Ellen White refers to that. She talks about the fact that the word sacrifice was added in Daniel 8 and also in Daniel 11 and 12. She says that was added by human wisdom and that it is not part of the Word of God. She makes that very clear. (See Early Writings, 74, 75.) That is a critical point to our understanding of the Book of Daniel.

Pioneers Understood

When I went through the Book of Daniel in Hebrew and Aramaic, I found something very interesting. This will give you encouragement. Every time that I found a mistake in translation and I went back to the Hebrew text, I found that the Hebrew text agreed exactly with what the Adventist pioneers worked out! The Hebrew text agrees exactly with what the Adventist pioneers worked out about what the Book of Daniel means. Now that is just astounding and amazing, because most of our pioneers did not know Hebrew and Greek. Surely the Lord led them to understand the truth.

The Attack

Now, let me tell you what the attack is about. Former Seventh-day Adventist ministers, through their web sites, videos, and published books, are spearheading this attack. As a result of their teachings, Adventists that are following them are becoming Sunday worshippers or Sunday-keepers. This is where the attack is focused.

These former ministers say that Adventists are a cult. I do not mind being called a cult, because Christians have been called a cult since the days of the apostle Paul. Act 28:22 talks about the Christians being a sect. We are going to be called a sect at the end of time, so I am not worried about being called a cult or a sect. All I want to know is, “Am I living according to the Word of God?”

Given here are six points upon which the attack centers:

  1. These former ministers say that the sanctuary of Daniel 8:14 is referring to the earthly sanctuary; we believe it is talking about the heavenly sanctuary.
  2. We are attacked over the 2300 days. First of all, the former ministers say that these 2300 days were fulfilled in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, 200 years before Christ. He is the one that defiled the sanctuary; then it had to be restored after his defiling it.
  3. We are attacked on the day-for-a-year principle.
  4. This is one of the big ones! We are attacked on the identity of the little horn. These former Seventh-day Adventist ministers, along with many liberal Protest-ant theologians today, say that the little horn in Daniel 8 is Antiochus Epiphanes, who was a Greek and king of the Seleucid (Syrian) Empire. Do you remember, in Daniel 7, it says that the Greek Empire would have four heads and out of those four heads two would become predominant? In Daniel 11, reference is made to the king of the north and the king of the south. The king of the north was the Seleucid (Syrian) Empire, which was a division of Alexander’s empire. The eighth Seleucid king (there were 12 after him) was Antiochus Epiphanes. These former ministers say that Antiochus Epiphanes is the little horn power and that the Adventists are wrong in their belief. If Antiochus Epiphanes is the little horn, we are about as deluded as any people could be, and Ellen White would have to be a false prophet. So we need to under-stand this.
  5. We say that the timing of Daniel 8:14 has to do with the time of the end of the world. These former ministers say the timing has to do with the Second Century before Christ.
  6. We say that the meaning of the cleansing of the sanctuary is the investigative judgment. They say that just means the cleaning up of the temple after Antiochus Epiphanes defiled it.

Those are some of the main items that are under attack. We need to know what we believe about all of those things.

In this study, we will look at a few things in regard to context and then take an overview of the prophetic parts of Daniel—chapters 2, 7, 8, 11 and 12. We will skip chapter 9.

End of . . .

Let us first look at the end of Daniel 8:17. I will give this text a word for word translation from the Hebrew Bible, so if it does not agree exactly with the Bible version you are using, do not get upset. What is given here is very accurate. In Daniel 8:17, the angel says to Daniel, “Consider then, O son of man, that to the time of the end is the vision.” This is a critical point. End of what—end of Antiochus Epiph-anes? End of what? “To the time of the end is the vision.” We need to understand something about the time. The angel repeats this fact—that this vision has to do with the time of the end—in verse 19. So, this vision has to do with the time of the end.

Prophecies Built on Each Other

We are now going to look at the whole Book of Daniel, because I want you to see that, in the Book of Daniel, the prophecies are built on each other. Prophecy is first given in Daniel 2; then the same thing is given with more detail in Daniel 7; then the prophecy, with much more detail, is recorded in Daniel 8; then the same prophecy is given, with much, much more detail, in Daniel 11 and 12. The prophecies in Daniel are parallel. However you interpret these prophecies, remember they are parallel prophecies, and everything has to fit. Daniel 2 has to fit; Daniel 7 has to fit; Daniel 8 has to fit; and Daniel 11 and 12 have to fit. You cannot pull out Daniel 8:14 and apply it to something unless you also have made it fit with everything else.

Daniel 2

Let us look at how it works. Open your Bible to Daniel 2:36, 37: “This [is] the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, [art] a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.” Notice three points in Daniel 2: 1) There are earthly powers. (See verses 37–43.) But these earthly powers come to an end. 2) There is a Divine intervention, and 3) All earthly powers come to an end. (See verses 44, 45.)

We learn that there are earthly powers, several earthly powers, but then there is a Divine intervention. How long do the earthly powers exist? Verse 44 says, “In the days of these kings.” “These kings” are the division of the fourth world empire, and “these kings” rule until a “stone is cut out without hands.” Verse 45. This is a stone that is cut out with-out hands. This is not a human intervention; this is a Divine inter-vention. This is a Divine intervention in human affairs, and the result is that all earthly powers come to an end. That should be simple enough that we could all figure it out.

Do you have the three points figured out in Daniel 2? You have earthly powers. These earthly powers continue until there is a Divine intervention, and the result of the Divine intervention is that all the earthly powers come to an end.

Daniel 7

Now look at Daniel 7. There you will see the very same thing that you saw in chapter 2, with some more detail added. In verses 17–25 of Daniel 7, you are going to see various earthly powers. Then, in verses 26 and 27, the specifics of the Divine intervention are given in more detail. As a result of the Divine intervention, all of the earthly powers are going to come to an end, and the saints of the most high are going to receive the kingdom.

So you see here in Daniel 7 the very same thing that is in Daniel 2. In Daniel 7:17–25 you have: 1) earthly powers with 2) Divine intervention in verses 26 and 27. As a result of that, 3) all of the earthly powers come to an end.

Daniel 8

In Daniel 8 we could go either to the first part of the vision or to the last of the vision where the vision is interpreted. The interpretation of the vision is given in verses 20 to 25. In these verses, you have the very same thing. 1) There is a series of earthly powers. 2) There are earthly powers, but then there is a Divine intervention.

Verse 25 says, “And by cunning, he shall cause deceit to prosper in his hand, and in his heart he shall magnify himself. And by peace he will destroy many, and against the Prince of princes he will stand up, but without hand he is going to be broken.” At the end, there are earthly powers, and then, as explained in the last part of verse 25, there is a Divine intervention. “Without hand,” he is going to come to an end. He does not come to his end because of something that human beings do. Did you see that in Daniel 2? In Daniel 2 there is a stone cut out without hand. In Daniel 8, there is intervention “without hand.” In other words, it is a Divine intervention. He is going to be destroyed. The Hebrew word shalvah means to be broken or destroyed. So without hand he is going to be broken or without hand he is going to be shattered or without hand he is going to be destroyed. All three translations are correct. What is the result? 3) The result is that all earthly powers come to an end.

To be continued . . .

[Bible texts quoted are literal translation.]

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at: or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Editorial – 1843, Part I

In this column last month, the attack by former Seventh-day Adventist ministers on the 1843 (later corrected to 1844) message of William Miller was introduced. We there briefly discussed the meaning of prophetic endorsement. Since Ellen White endorsed William Miller and his message, these attackers think if Miller’s exegesis or methodology of Scripture study can be proved wrong, then Ellen White is a false prophet for endorsing him and historic Adventism is no longer credible. It will take several months to address these unfounded attacks.

We are living in a time of the greatest religious confusion and delusion. Our theological opponents have believed that they can overthrow our faith by pointing out certain mistakes in the thinking of William Miller or other early Adventist pioneers. The fact that many mistakes were made by the pioneers is not anything of which to be ashamed. In the First Century, the pioneers of the first advent were more badly mistaken about some bigger issues than were the pioneers of the second advent movement. For example, John the Baptist and the apostles did not understand the nature of the kingdom to be set up, and worse than this, they did not even understand that the kingdom could only be established by the death of the Messiah! They did not understand the Old Testament prophecies about either the resurrection or the ascension! Yet the movement was inspired of the Holy Spirit and led by God! Ellen White describes the inspiration of these people who were deluded concerning some of the most major events of the Great Controversy in The Desire of Ages, 578, 579.

In the same way, the second advent movement was and is a movement inspired by God and led by the Holy Spirit, even though the pioneers made mistakes in their understanding of some Scriptures. If your faith in the historical fulfillment of prophecy can be destroyed because someone made mistakes in their understanding of some Bible texts, then it is absolutely for certain that you will not be among those who “endure to the end.” Matthew 24:13.

We must today study the prophecies like never before. The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are being fulfilled right in front of our eyes. Soon the world is going to be faced with the most overwhelming surprise of all time. While people are waiting for what they believe is yet to be fulfilled in the future, prophecy will be fulfilled in a way they did not expect, and the world will come to an end.

“Prophecy is fast fulfilling. More, much more, should be said about these tremendously important subjects. The day is at hand when the destiny of every soul will be fixed forever. This day of the Lord hastens on apace. The false watchmen are raising the cry, ‘All is well’; but the day of God is rapidly approaching. Its footsteps are so muffled that it does not arouse the world from the deathlike slumber into which it has fallen. . . . It overtakes the pleasure-lover and the sinful man as a thief in the night. When all is apparently secure, and men retire to contented rest, then the prowling, stealthy, midnight thief steals upon his prey. When it is too late to prevent the evil, it is discovered that some door or window was not secured. ‘Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.’ . . . Let no one feel that he is secure from the danger of being surprised. Let no one’s interpretation of prophecy rob you of the conviction of the knowledge of events which show that this great event is near at hand.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 335, 336.