Food For Life – Christmas Fudgies & Cashew Cream

Let us remind ourselves that we must treat our bodies with the same care and self-denial that we would treat our animals or anything else that we love supremely! In Counsels on Diets and Foods, 17 we read, “Every law governing the human machinery is to be considered just as truly divine in origin, in character, and in importance as the word of God. Every careless, inattentive action, any abuse put upon the Lord’s wonderful mechanism, by disregarding His specified laws in the human habitation, is a violation of God’s law.” On the same page, “It is as truly a sin to violate the laws of [ health ] our being as it is to break the ten commandments. To do either is to break God’s laws.”

So with these pertinent statements in mind let us continue last month’s discussion about the cancer link between what we eat and this dread disease. What is the solution? “Avoid eating the foods that are the biggest culprits (that is, animal products.) And help your body get the antioxidants it needs to fight off the free radicals that you do come in contact with through the food you eat.

“The best food sources of antioxidants are organically grown fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. These foods have low fat contents, no antibiotics, and few preservatives. They are also excellent sources of protein–without the risk of excessive free radical damage

“In addition to these food sources of antioxidants, you should be supplementing your diet with antioxidant herbs, vitamins, and minerals.

“New scientific evidence shows that cell changes in breast tissues (which lead to cancer) are caused by bile acids. What exactly, does that mean? Namely, that there is a mechanism for the food we eat to move from the gut to the blood stream to the ducts and cysts of the breast. Or, breast cancer comes from food.

“Poor diet is linked to many diseases, breast and colon cancer being just two. In my estimation, diet may be responsible for 60% to 70% of all cancers.” Robert D. Willix Jr. MD

So you see that over one hundred years ago, God knew what He was talking about when He said that the majority of tumors and inflammatory diseases were caused by meat eating.

A statement form Dr. Clive McKay, former Professor of Nutrition at Cornell University: “Among the thousand historical acquaintances in my files, one of the most worthwhile is Ellen G. White. As near as one can judge by the evidence of modern nutritional science, her extensive writings on the subject of nutrition and health in general, are correct in their conclusions. This is doubly remarkable: not only was most of her writing done at a time when a bewildering array of new health views–good and bad–were being promoted, but the modern science of nutrition, which helps us to check on views and theories, had not yet been born. Even more singular, Mrs. White had not technical training in nutrition, or in any subdivision of science that deals with health. In fact, because of her frail health from childhood she completed only a part of grammar school education . . . Whatever may be the reader’s religion, he can gain much in the midst of this confused world in which we live, by a study of the writings of Mrs. White. Also every thoughtful modern nutritionist must be impressed by the soundness of Mrs. White’s teachings in spite of the fact that she began to write nearly a century ago. (this article was written in 1981) When one reads such works by Mrs. White as Ministry of Healing or Counsels on Diets and Foods he is impressed by the correctness of her teaching in the light of modern nutritional science. One can only speculate how much better health the average American might enjoy, even though he knew almost nothing of modern science, if he but followed the teachings of Mrs. White.”

December’s Recipes:

Cashew Topping

(whipped cream substitute)

1 Cup White Grape Juice

1/3 Cup Granular Fruit Source

1/4 Tsp. Sea Salt

2 Tsps. Vanilla

2 Cups Cashews

Blend thoroughly on high speed, and refrigerate.

Christmas Fudgies

1/3 Cup Millet Powder

1/2 Cup Soy Powder, sifted

1/2 Cup Carob, sifted

2/3 Cup Fruit Source Syrup

2-3 Tbsps. Hot Water

1/2 Cup Chopped Peanuts

2 Tsps. Vanilla

2/3 Cup Chopped Peanuts (coating)

Combine soy and millet flour and carob. Add syrup–stir in hot water–then peanuts and vanilla (any nuts may be used.) Form into balls and roll in chopped nuts. Store in refrigerator–makes approximately two dozen balls. If you have a problem with securing this Fruit Source you may use any good grade honey or rice syrup.

Martin Luther, part XIII – The Marburg Conference

The Protest of the Princes had clearly stated the ground that the Reformation claimed and planted for battle the flag of Protestantism. “No one then living suspected how long and wasting the conflict would be–the synods that would deliberate, the tomes that would be written, the stakes that would blaze, and the fields on which, alas! the dead would be piled up in ghastly heaps, before that liberty which the protestors had written up on their flag should be secured as the heritage of Christendom. But one thing was obvious to all, and that was the necessity to the Reformers of union among themselves.” The History of Protestantism, 554.  Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, was especially anxious to see unity among the parties of the Reformation. He was most active in his efforts to strengthen the cause and worked day and night to that end. He was rough, fiery, fearless, and full of energy. Elector John was prudent and somewhat timid. They complemented each other in much the same way as Luther and Melancthon. But Philip’s main concern was to unite the parties so as to combine the strength of their forces for military might.

One Issue of Disunity

There was one area and one alone where there was discord. This was concerning the manner in which Christ is present in the wine and bread–corporally or spiritually? On the fundamental truths the whole body of Protestantism was as one but for this point only. The Reformers of Switzerland and the Reformers of Germany could not find union over this question.

Philip grieved over this division and longed to see it healed as he believed it was not really two opinions but one opinion stated differently. Especially now was unity needed, he felt, when they were waiting for the attack from their foes so sure to come. “They had just flung their flag upon the winds; they had unfurled it in the face of all Christendom, in the face of Rome; they had said as a body what Luther said as an individual at Worms–‘Here we stand; we can do no otherwise, so help us God.’ Assuredly the gage would be taken up, and the blow returned, by a power too proud not to feel, and too strong in armies and scaffolds not to resent the defiance. To remain disunited with such a battle in prospect, with such a tempest lowering over them, appeared madness.” Ibid., 555.

“Ere this several pamphlets had passed between Luther and Zwingli on the question of the Lord’s Supper. Those from the pen of Luther were so violent that they left an impression of weakness. The perfect calmness of Zwingli’s replies, on the other hand, produced a conviction of strength. Zwingli’s calmness stung Luther to the quick. It humiliated him. Popes and emperors had lowered their pretensions in his presence; the men of war whom the Papacy had sent forth from the Vatican to do battle with him, had returned discomfited. He could not brook the thought of lowering his sword before the pastor of Zurich. Must he, the doctor of Christendom, sit at the feet of Zwingli? A little more humility, a little less dogmatism, a stronger desire for truth than for victory, would have saved Luther from these explosions, which but tended to widen a breach already too great, and provoke a controversy which planted many a thorn in the future path of the Reformation.” Ibid.

The Marburg Conference

Philip quickly acted to bring about a reconciliation between the German and the Swiss Protestants who had come to be called the Lutheran and the Reformed respectively. Shortly after returning from the Diet of Spires he sent invitations to the leaders of the two parties to come to his Castle of Marburg to discuss their differences. Zwingli was joyful at the invitation and anxious to mend the breach. Luther was not. He declined the offer. “He did not like that the landgrave should move in this matter; he suspected that there was under it the snake of a political alliance; besides, although he did not confess it to his friends, nor perhaps to himself, he seemed to have a presentiment of defeat.” Ibid. He felt that minds that loved things that they could understand would find Zwingli’s arguments attractive. He himself believed that this great mystery of the miracle of Christ’s real bodily presence in the Lord’s Supper was in the Gospels to test the faith of the believer. “This absurdity, which wears the guise of piety, had been so often uttered by great doctors that Luther could not help repeating it.” Ibid.

After second thoughts, Luther and Melancthon realized that they could not decline. Rome would believe them to be cowards and the Reformers would lay the cause of the breach at their door. They tried to convince Elector John to veto their trip but he refused. They even proposed that a Papist should be chosen as umpire for the discussions as an “impartial judge.” When all failed they planned their journey.

With Luther came Melancthon, Jonas, and Cruciger; Zwingli was accompanied by CEolampadius, Bucer, Hedio and Osiander. Philip entertained them in princely fashion bringing them together for meals in hopes that this would help to draw them together. The first day he planned that they should have private conferences two by two. The following day the debate was to be public with a table for the members of the debate and the hall filled with a few of the many distinguished men who had come to Marburg for the occasion.

Zwingli Fails To Convince Luther

The proceedings opened with Luther taking chalk and writing on the velvet table cloth “HOC EST MEUM CORPUS.” He lifted the cloth to show it to those around him and declared, “These are the words of Christ–‘This is my body’. From this rock no adversary shall dislodge me.” Ibid., 556.

All acknowledged that these were the words of Christ, but what was their meaning? Was this meaning to be learned by following the great Protestant principle that the Word of God is the supreme authority and that the obscure and doubtful passages were to be interpreted by other passages which were more clear? If they followed this principle they would have no trouble understanding the meaning of those words.

The Swiss argued that the Bible has many figures of speech. Luther recognized this point but denied that this was such an instance. They continued to point out that if these words are taken literally then there is a contradiction between the teaching of Christ in John 6 and his teaching in the Lord’s Supper. In John 6:62, 63, concerning His instruction for His followers to “eat His flesh and drink His blood,” Christ said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Here Luther’s arguments were so weak as to surrender the argument. He said that there was both a material eating and a spiritual eating and that the material eating was what Christ said profited nothing. This seemed to make a clear point as to the uselessness of believing in the value of a real presence, but Luther replied that we are not to question the value but just to do it.

The Swiss pointed out that the body cannot be present in two places at one time. They even used quotes from some ancient theologians to show that it was believed that this applied to the body of Christ since He took a human body. Luther said that there were more on his side than theirs. The Swiss said that they were not attempting to show authority from church Fathers for their beliefs, but to show that they were not inventing the belief. They went on to show that in numerous passages a sign is put for a thing signified. But to all arguments Luther answered little more than to repeat again and again the words that he had written on the tablecloth. He would assert that it was a matter to be believed and not understood. It might be against nature and science, but he was not concerned.

The Swiss arguments were not in vain. Many minds were opened. What had been so mysterious was now seen with the same clearness as the other institutions of the Economy of Grace and like them, as working spiritual effects by spiritual means. Luther remained unconvinced but in the audience there were many conversions. The ex–Franciscan, Francis Lambert was one notable convert. He who had enjoyed friendship and respect with Luther did not let this prevent him from taking his side with Zwingli. “The Wittemberg doctors bewailed his defection. They saw in it not a proof of the soundness of Zwingli’s argument, but an evidence of the Frenchman’s fickleness.” Ibid., 561.

Wittemberg Doctors Refuse Unity

“Two days had worn away in this discussion. The two parties were no nearer each other than at the beginning. The Swiss theologians had exhausted every argument from Scripture and from reason. Luther was proof against them all. He stood immovably on the ground he had taken up at the beginning; he would admit no sense of the words but the literal one; he would snatch up the cover from the table and, displaying triumphantly before the eyes of Zwingli and CEcolampadius the words he had written upon it–‘This is my body’–he would boast that there he still stood, and that his opponents had not driven him from this ground, nor ever should. Zwingli, who saw the hope so dearly cherished by him, of healing the schism, fast vanishing, burst into tears. He besought Luther to come to terms, to be reconciled, to accept them as brothers. Neither prayers nor tears could move the doctor of Wittemberg. He demanded of the Helvetian Reformers unconditional surrender. They must accept the Lord’s Supper in the sense in which he took it; they must subscribe to the tenet of the real presence. This the Swiss Protestants declared they could not do. On their refusal, Luther declared that he could not regard them as having standing within the Church, nor could he receive them as brothers. As a sword these words went to the heart of Zwingli. Again he burst into tears. Must the children of the Reformation be divided? Must the breach go unhealed? It must.” Ibid.

Writing about the conference a few days later, Luther described the scene, “They supplicated us to bestow upon them the title of ‘brothers.’ Zwinglius even implored the landgrave with tears to grant this. ‘There is no place on earth,’ said he, ‘where I so much covet to pass my days as at Wittemberg.’ We did not, however, accord to them this appellation of brothers. All we granted was that which charity enjoins us to bestow even upon our enemies. They, however, behaved in all respects with an incredible degree of humility and amiability.” Ibid.

Philip was extremely disappointed at this turn of events. He had worked hard and had such hopes of resolving the difficulty. When he looked toward the enemies of the Reformation he saw a strong union forming to crush both Wittemberg and Zurich, but these two camps in Protestantism were standing apart.

A terrible plague was sweeping Germany and leaving thousands dead. As it now approached Marburg there was another reason to end the conference. “Philip had welcomed the doctors with joy, he was about to see them depart in sorrow.” Ibid., 562. Charles and Clement were meeting nightly to make plans to exterminate the Protestants; the Moslems were marching on the Danube; and in Germany thousands of swords were ready to attack the adherents of the Reformation. “All round the horizon the storm seemed to be thickening; but the saddest portent of all, to the eye of Philip, was the division that parted into two camps the great Reformed brotherhood, and marshalled in two battles the great Protestant army.” Ibid.

Philip Attempts Unity Once More

Philip questioned to himself whether they were not all brothers even if Luther would not acknowledge it. He thought that if Rome saw them all as enemies then they must indeed be brothers. He made another attempt. He spoke to each participant one by one as to the advantages of unity in view of the troubles on the horizon. Out of a desire to satisfy the landgrave the parties agreed to meet again.

The interview presented a touching scene. Hundreds were dying all around from the plague. The Popish opposition was preparing for battle, eager to spill the blood of Zwinglian and Lutheran both. They cared not that Luther believed in the real presence and Zwingli differed. They saw both as heretics. Since they were all hated of men, was this not proof that they were all the followers of Christ?

“Taught by his instincts of Christian love, Zwingli opened the conference by enunciating a truth which the age was not able to receive. ‘Let us,’ said he, ‘proclaim our union in all things in which we are agreed; and as for the rest, let us forbear as brothers.’ adding that never would peace be attained in the Church unless her members were allowed to differ on secondary points . . .‘With none on earth do I more desire to be united than with you,’ said Zwingli, addressing Luther and his companions. CEcolampadius, Bucer and Hedio made the same declaration.

“This magnanimous avowal was not without its effect. It had evidently touched the hearts of the opposing rank of doctors. Luther’s prejudice and abduracy were, it appeared, on the point of being vanquished, and his coldness melted. Zwingli’s keen eye discovered this: he burst into tears–tears of joy–seeing himself, as he believed, on the eve of an event that would gladden the hearts of thousands in all the countries of the Reformation, and would strike Rome with terror. He approached: he held out his hand to Luther: he begged him only to pronounce the word ‘brother’. Alas! what a cruel disappointment awaited him. Luther coldly and cuttingly replied, ‘Your spirit is different from ours.’ It was indeed different.” Ibid., 563.

The Wittemberg doctors consulted together and agreed with Luther. ” ‘We,’ said they to Zwingli and his friends, ‘hold the belief of Christ’s bodily presence in the Lord’s Supper to be essential to salvation, and we cannot in conscience regard you as in communion of the Church.’

” ‘In that case,’ replied Bucer, ‘it were folly to ask you to recognize us as brethren. But we, though we regard your doctrine as dishonouring to Christ, now on the right hand of the Father, yet, seeing in all things you depend on him, we acknowledge you as belonging to Christ. We appeal to posterity.’ This was magnanimous . . .

“Their meekness was mightier than Luther’s haughtiness. Not only was its power felt in the conference chamber, where it made some converts, but throughout Germany.” Ibid. Their doctrine began, from this day, to spread throughout the Lutheran church. Even Luther’s last words to the conference revealed the effect, ‘We acknowledge you as friends; we do not consider you as brothers. I offer you the hand of peace and charity.’

The Marburg Confession

“Overjoyed that something had been won, the Landgrave Philip proposed that the two parties should unite in making a joint profession of their faith, in order that the world might see that on one point only did they differ, namely, the manner in which Christ is present in the Lord’s Supper, and that after all the great characteristic of the Protestant Churches was UNITY, though manifested in diversity.” Ibid. Both parties agreed and Luther was selected to draw up the articles of the Protestant faith. ” ‘I will draft them.’ said he, as he retired to his chamber to begin his task, ‘with strict regard to accuracy, but I don’t expect the Zwinglians to sign them.’ ” Ibid.

He wrote the Wittemberg view of the Christian system with fourteen points. After reading them before the assembly he was amazed when the Zwinglians cordially said Amen and were ready to sign them. Was it possible that they were so near to each other. But he had saved the argument on the Lord’s Supper till the last article. This brought the parties to an impasse and they could not advance further. They did agree however to walk together so far as they could agree and to avoid all bitterness and to regard each other with Christian charity.

They signed a joint profession of faith which marked them as distinct from the Romanist and from the enthusiasts. This document was to the oneness of Protestantism.

“But if the Church of the Reformation still remained outwardly divided, her members were thereby guarded against the danger of running into political alliances. This line of policy the Landgrave Philip had much at heart, and formed one of the objects he had in view in his attempts to conduct to a successful issue the conferences at Marburg. Union might have rendered the Protestants too strong. They might have leaned on the arm of flesh, and forgotten their true defence. The Reformation was a spiritual principle. From the sword it could derive no real help. Its conquests would end the moment those of force began. From that hour it would begin to decay, it would be powerless to conquer, and would cease to advance. But let its spiritual arm be disentangled from political armour, which could but weigh it down, let its disciples hold forth the truth, let them fight with prayers and sufferings, let them leave political alliances and the fate of battles to the ordering and overruling of their Divine Head–let them do this, and all opposition would melt in their path, and final victory would attest at once the truth of their cause, and the omnipotence of their King.” Ibid., 564.

The End

Children’s Story – Ned’s Trust

“Boy wanted.”

That was the neatly written sign that had hung so long in the window of Mr. Drake’s grocery store that people wondered why it was that it seemed to be so difficult for him to secure a boy, when the place was such a good one, with chances of promotion. But Mr. Drake could have told them that there were plenty of boys anxious and ready for the position, but that it was hard for him to find one with all the necessary qualifications.

In the first place, Mr. Drake required exceptional references, and in addition to that, good security for the boy’s honesty; and though most of the applicants for the position could bring references, none of them were able to furnish the necessary security.

Ned Bown’s face lighted up with hope one morning when he saw the notice on his way down town. Here was just the very chance he had been looking for, and he determined to apply for the vacancy at once.

“Mr. Drake, I want a place very much,” he said, as the merchant looked up from the newspaper he was reading when the boy entered the store.

“And I want a boy very much.” Mr. Drake answered. “So perhaps we can make a bargain. Can you bring me any references and security?”

“I can bring you references Sir,” Ned answered, his hope beginning to diminish at the mention of security.”

“That is good, but I have resolved never to take a boy unless some one has confidence enough in his honesty to be willing to go his security.”

“I am afraid I couldn’t furnish any security, Sir,” Ned answered sadly, as he realized that he had no friend from whom he would like to ask such a favor.

“Then I am afraid we can’t make any bargain,” and Mr. Drake took up his paper again, as if the matter was conclusively settled.

Ned walked slowly out of the store, thinking regretfully of the position he would have been so glad to obtain, and wondering whether in any way it would be possible to get the needed security.

He had almost forgotten about the matter two weeks later, when he went to a confectioner’s store with a school-mate who wanted to buy some candy.

It was a warm day, and the boys were heated with their walk. Presently Ned’s companion exclaimed,– “Wouldn’t this be a good time to get some ice-cream? Let’s get some . I haven’t enough money myself, but can’t you lend me some?” Ned shook his head.

“I only have the club money in my pocket, and of course I couldn’t use that.”

“Why not?” Harry asked. “It wouldn’t be any harm just to use it for a little while, and you could put it back again afterwards. You’re the treasurer, so it wouldn’t matter if you did use it, as long as you put it back again. Come on, like a good fellow, and stand treat. Some ice-cream would cool us off nicely,” and he made a move for the door of the ice-cream saloon that was at the end of the store, shut off by lace curtains.

But Ned shook his head resolutely.

“No, I can’t use it,” he answered firmly. “I don’t want to be disobliging, Harry, but it wouldn’t be right of me to touch a cent of this money. I’m sorry, for I would like some ice-cream as well as you, but indeed I can’t.”

“I think you’re altogether to particular about a few cents,” grumbled Harry. “Any one would think I was asking you to steal it to hear you talk. You can replace it as soon as you go home if you like, so what can possibly be the harm, I would like to know?”

“Well, you see it’s a trust fund,” Ned answered. “It’s money that has been put in my care, and I must be worthy of the trust. Mother says that’s just the way people begin, that end up stealing large sums. They take just a little at first, and think they will only borrow it and then put it back; and so they keep on taking a little more every time, until at last they take so much that they can’t replace it, and then they are disgraced. Now, if I don’t ever take the first step, I shall not go on to anything worse; and so though I could replace this money long before it will be wanted by the club, yet I would not touch a penny of it for anything. I’ll keep my trust.”

“I suppose I’ve got to go without the cream then, since you’re so mighty particular,” Henry answered rather ill-humoredly. “But you’ll find out that you won’t gain anything by being so much more honest than other people.”

A gentleman who had been sitting in the ice-cream saloon, hidden from the boys by the lace curtains looked after them as they passed out of the store, while a satisfied look rested on his face.

The next day, when Ned was passing Mr. Drake’s store, he was surprised at being called in, while Mr. Drake inquired,–

“Well, my boy, do you still want to work for me?”

“Yes, Sir, indeed I do,” Ned answered eagerly. “But I can’t furnish any security.”

“Well, I have determined not to wait any longer for the right boy to make his appearance, and I have made up my mind to give you a trial, and see how you suit me. I have reason to feel satisfied as to your honesty since I overhead your conversation with a friend in the confectioner’s yesterday. A boy who will not violate his trust in the smallest particular, may be trusted without any other security than his own word.”

“Don’t you think it pays to be honest, now?” Ned asked Harry, when he saw him a few hours later, and told him that Mr. Drake had engaged him.

“Well, maybe it did this time,” Harry grudgingly admitted, “but it won’t always.”

He had to confess his mistake, as he found that Ned was soon promoted to a position of responsibility, because his employer learned that he always kept his trust, and could be relied upon.

I think all boys may learn a lesson from Ned. Remember that a trust fund should always be held sacred, and never appropriated to any other uses. If this lesson was only deeply implanted in the hearts of all our boys, we would not hear so much about the dishonesty of those who hold positions of trust.

The End

Lost in Eden, part 2

And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. Adam and Eve were lost in Eden but, horrifying thought, could it be possible that while we are within God’s true church, surrounded with the loving care of God and His marvelous doctrines of truth and His precious standards, that we might personally become separated, disconnected from God and totally lost? Well, let me awaken you to reality; this is what will happen to millions within the Adventist church. We have been warned of this by God’s servant. The majority within our church will think they are connected with God but will believe the lies that are now being preached from some of our pulpits, and they will find out too late that, while they thought they were connected to God, they have become separated from Deity and are under a power and a control of another spirit.

Ellen White wrote of this because she saw in vision that it would happen in the end time. “I saw that Satan was working through agents in a number of ways. He was at work through ministers who have rejected the truth and are given over to strong delusions to believe a lie that they might be damned. While they were preaching or praying, some would fall prostrate and helpless, not by the power of the Holy Ghost, but by the power of Satan breathed upon these agents, and through them to the people. While preaching, praying, or conversing, some professed Adventists who had rejected present truth used mesmerism to gain adherents, and the people would rejoice in this influence, for they thought it was the Holy Ghost. Some even that used it were so far in the darkness and deception of the devil that they thought it was the power of God, given them to exercise. They had made God altogether such a one as themselves and had valued His power as a thing of nought.” Early Writings, 43, 44.

Just a few days ago I had one of our good, faithful Seventh-day Adventist ministers phone me from the East. He said, “You don’t know me. We have never met, but I have listened to some of your tapes.” He said, “Let me tell you what is happening in the area where I live. In one of our large churches they have brought in a minister who has so many degrees back of his name that whenever he speaks they think that he talks as God. They believe everything that he tells them.

“On Sabbath afternoon he is now having healing services. He strikes these people who come forward to be healed, on the head, and they fall backward. Somebody has to grab them, and they lay on the floor sometimes for 30 minutes. I just couldn’t believe that this would ever happen in my church. If you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about,” he said, “just turn on the television and look at some of these Pentecostal healing programs, and this is exactly what this man is doing in the Seventh-day Adventist church today.” I said, “Elder, I believe we are beginning to come into a great false revival within this church. Not only will there be healing such as you have seen, but you will see these men speaking in tongues and preaching doctrines of devils in these last days.”

“I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God’s people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing stiffly for present truth. Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not firmly planted on the truth, and the covering of Almighty God could not be drawn over them while they were thus trembling. Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, until the covering was drawn over God’s people, and they left without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues.” Ibid., 44.

“I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders and false reformations would increase and spread. The reformations that were shown me were not reformations from error to truth.” Ibid., 45. If ever we needed a Divine power, we need it today to discern error from truth in the coming crisis that is breaking upon this church. In last month’s article, “Lost in Eden” part one, we discovered that the human race, whether before or after the fall of Adam, must reach above the level of humanity by divine power in order to maintain a vital connection with God. This connection is absolutely necessary if we are to overcome Satan’s masterful temptations. Why did Adam fall? “Adam did not reach above his humanity for divine power.” Signs of the Times, December 3, 1902. You see, he believed Satan when he said, “Each of you are gods.”

Jesus left heaven, came down to earth, and took upon Himself fallen, human nature. Yet, because He maintained a daily connection with God His Father, He never once broke His Father’s law. He accomplished this wonder, which Satan said was impossible, because He daily partook of the Holy Spirit.

Earnest Prayer

“Christ during His life on earth sought His Father daily for fresh supplies of needed grace.” Acts of the Apostles, 56. This is why we read in the Scriptures that Christ often spent the entire night in communion with God. We read of Him getting up early before the sun came up, spending time with God.

Jesus did not come to earth to demonstrate that a man, separated from God, sold into sin, could live a sinless life. Jesus came to demonstrate just the opposite—that only humanity connected with divinity would find it possible to overcome as He overcame. “Christ left His heavenly home and came to this world to show that only by being connected with divinity can man keep the law of God. In itself humanity is tainted and corrupted, but Christ brought moral power to man and those who live in communion with Him overcome as He overcame.” Signs of the Times, December 3, 1896.

The following statement makes it very clear. “Christ came to this earth taking humanity and standing as man’s representative to show in the controversy with Satan that man, as God created him, connected with the Father and the Son, could obey every divine requirement.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 926. We can understand how Christ demonstrated by His connection with His Father that a man having a fallen, human nature is enabled to obey every divine requirement if he truly becomes a partaker of divine nature. “He [Christ] assumed the liabilities of human nature, to be proved and tried. In His humanity He was a partaker of the divine nature.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 226. “In Christ were united the human and the divine.” Testimonies to the Church, vol. 2, 201.

Born of the Spirit

Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit, and as we compare inspired writings, we discover that “a connection with God” and the new birth are synonymous terms. “There must be a new birth, a new mind through the operation of the Spirit of God . . . This connection with God fits man for the glorious kingdom of heaven.” Signs of the Times, November 15, 1883.

Are you following me? When sinful man repents and chooses to connect with God, we refer to this experience as a new birth, having been born of the Spirit, which makes it possible to declare such a person as being “a new man in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus was born with a connection with God. Notice how clearly this is revealed as to the source of His power. “The Father gave the Spirit without measure to His Son.” Signs of the Times, February 24, 1888. That is tremendous. All heaven was given, but then notice these words, “And we also may partake of Its fullness.” Ibid. Marvelous, how God has made provision for us to be overcomers. “In Christ dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily. This is why although He was tempted in all points like as we are, He stood before the world from His entrance into it untainted by corruption, though surrounded by it.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 907. Then these words, “Are we not also to become partakers of that fullness and is it not thus, and thus only, that we can overcome as He overcame?” Ibid.

The divine secret of Christ’s victory over sin, from the moment of His entrance into this world as a human, was because He was filled with the Holy Spirit. “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:7, 8. Jesus was connected with God, not sold unto sin, even though He voluntarily bore our sins. “Satan charmed the first Adam by his sophistry . . . He believed the words of Satan. But the second Adam was not to become the enemy’s bondslave.” Signs of the Times, December 3, 1902.

Fallen Man to Have Power Over Sin

Christ proved that man bearing a fallen, sinful nature may obey and live without sin. “The only begotten Son of God came to our world as a man, to reveal to the world that men could keep the law of God.” Selected Messages, vol. 3, 136. “Christ came to this world as a man to prove to the angels and to men that man may overcome; that in every emergency he may know that the powers of heaven are ready to help him.” Signs of the Times, December 3, 1902. What a promise! Oh, praise God!

All the fullness of the power of God is available to us. “The Lord Jesus declares, ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ ” Selected Messages, vol. 3, 138. And then Mrs. White continues. “How? As a man.” Ibid. “He [God] sent His Son to this world to bear the penalty of sin. Why? To show men how to live a sinless life.” Signs of the Times, March 30, 1904. Why am I dwelling on the fact that we must have in our humanity the power of divinity connected with us? Because I believe that Jesus is coming soon and we must get ready. The sealing will soon be over, and only those who have taken of this divine power and learned to live as Jesus lived are going to make it. “His life declares that humanity, combined with divinity, does not commit sin.” Ministry of Healing, 180. “Christ came to reveal the Source of His power, that man might never rely on his unaided human capabilities.” Review and Herald, February 18, 1890.

Do not let anyone ever mislead you by reading the following passage which may at first appear to contradict what I have just said. “Let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether human such a one as ourselves for it cannot be. The exact time when humanity blended with divinity is not necessary for us to know.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1129. We do not need to know the exact moment, but if this quotation perplexes you in any way, would you notice the clue: In Christ “humanity was blended with divinity. In His humanity He was a partaker of the divine nature.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 226. “Christ did not possess the same sinful, corrupt, fallen disloyalty we possess, for then He could not be a perfect offering.” Selected Messages, vol. 3, 131.

Again and again this is so plainly revealed. “Laying aside His royal crown, He condescended to step down, step by step, to the level of fallen humanity.” Ibid., 128. “His human nature was created, it did not even possess angelic powers.” Ibid. He did not even have the power when He was here as a human that the angels have. “It was human, identical with our own.” Ibid. Never could it be written more plainly. In Romans 1:3 the Scripture says the same; “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” And in Romans 8:3, “God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”

Not a Lesser God

The obedience of Christ was not that of a god, but that of a man who was connected with divine power. “Christ’s overcoming and obedience is that of a true human being. In our conclusions we make many mistakes because of our erroneous views of the human nature of our Lord. When we give to Him, His human nature, a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, we destroy the completeness of His humanity. His imputed grace and power He gives to all who receive Him by faith. The obedience of Christ to His Father was the same obedience that is required of man. Man cannot overcome Satan’s temptations without Divine power to combine with his instrumentality. So with Jesus Christ, He could lay hold of divine power. He came not to the world to give the obedience of a lesser god to a greater, but as a man to obey God’s holy law and in this way He is our example. The Lord Jesus came to our world, not to reveal what a God could do, but what a man could do through faith in God’s power to help in every emergency.” Manuscript Releases, vol.1, 1892.

That is wonderful! We have an example Jesus has shown us. “Man is through faith to be a partaker in the divine nature, and to overcome every temptation wherewith he is beset. The Lord now demands that every son and daughter of Adam through faith in Jesus Christ, serve Him in human nature which we now have. The Lord Jesus has bridged a gulf that sin has made. He has connected earth with heaven and finite man with the infinite God. Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, could only keep the commandments of God in the same way that humanity can keep them.” Ibid. That gives me courage. And I trust it gives you courage. Wonderful! Oh, praise God! We are assured that every son and daughter of Adam when connected with the infinite God through faith may obey God in the human nature which we now have.

Forever let it be known that the Spirit of Prophecy clearly makes a distinction between sinful nature and sinfulness. “In Him was no guile or sinfulness; he was ever pure and undefiled, yet, He took upon Him our sinful nature.” Review and Herald, December 15, 1896. “He began life, passed through its experiences and ended its record with a sanctified, human will. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet, because He kept His will surrendered and sanctified, He never bent in the slightest degree toward the doing of evil or toward manifesting rebellion against God.” Signs of the Times, October 29, 1894. Here then is the key that unlocks this mystery. Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

Of every true Christian it must be said before He comes that “We have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16. Why? Because Christ came to this earth. “That He might restore to man the original mind which he lost in Eden through Satan’s alluring temptations.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 926.

I would like to recap for you what Christ did when He came to this earth to demonstrate victorious living. What did Christ come to earth to demonstrate? Christ came to this earth to show that man, as God created him, connected with the Father and the Son, could obey every divine requirement. His life declares that humanity, combined with divinity, does not commit sin.

And so my friends, this is no time to be lost in the church. We need a connection with Christ that the divinity of God can be combined with our humanity; for in such an experience we will not commit sin. How is it with you, brother? How is it with you, sister? Young man? Young woman? Are you reaching out for this divine power? The divinity of God is promised to us in its fullness that we might be ready to meet Jesus. I appeal to you now to make this most important decision. Give your heart fully to God; allow the Holy Spirit to write His law within you and fill you with the power of divinity.

The End

Hard Heart, part 3

The effect of sin is to make the heart hard. The more a person sins, the harder the heart becomes. This is truth that the Bible expresses repeatedly. Jesus talked about it a lot. When the disciples asked Jesus why He spoke in parables, He said, “Because this people’s heart has become hard.” Ellen White says that men’s hearts today are harder than they were in the days of Christ. When you understand the cure for hardness of heart, you not only know what to do so that your marriage will not end in divorce, but you will know how to win souls to Christ.

I was studying to be a minister and after I had studied for a while and had my first district, I realized that I still did not know anything about what I was supposed to be doing. I knew a lot of history, had studied public speaking, biblical languages, sociology, and psychology, but I still did not know what I was doing. When I first went to work as a pastor, I was pastoring churches alone. I prayed and said, “Lord, You’re going to have to help me. I don’t know what I’m doing out here. I don’t know what to do.” And in His providence, I believe, the Lord sent to me a man who was a very experienced evangelist, and I had an opportunity to work with him on several occasions, sometimes for weeks at a time. He had won thousands of people to Christ and he taught me something that I have never forgotten. When we were out visiting he used to quote to me repeatedly. “You should not feel it your duty to introduce arguments upon the Sabbath question as you meet the people. If persons mention this subject, tell them that this is not your burden now. But when they surrender heart and mind and will to God, they are then prepared candidly to weigh evidence in regard to these solemn, testing truths.” Evangelism, 228. This evangelist would say that until a person had surrendered his heart, mind, and will to the Lord, he was not prepared to hear any doctrines.

There are millions of people in America today who believe that the seventh day is the Sabbath and are not keeping it. They know truth, why do they not follow it? Because they have not surrendered heart, mind, and will to the Lord. Their hearts are hard.

Reach the Heart

“God’s plan is first to reach the heart.” Ministry of Healing, 157. Their hearts are hard and God’s plan is first to reach the heart. When you understand this principle, it starts to make sense why Ellen White said that a Christian family could do more good than all the sermons that could be preached. When you walk into a home and there is no bickering, fighting, and hard-heartedness, but the people in that home express affection and sympathy toward each other and are courteous and kind, it is like the atmosphere of heaven. This is so powerful that Ellen White says the influence of a Christian family can do more good than all the sermons that can be preached because it reaches the heart, and “The truth expressed in living, unselfish deeds is the strongest argument for Christianity.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 240.

Jesus spent more time healing than He spent preaching. Until the door to the heart is open, preaching does no good. “Even the most hard hearted and apparently sin-encased souls may be approached in this way and understand something of the mystery of godliness and become so charmed that they will not rest until they have a knowledge of Jesus Christ and His saving grace.” Counsels on Health, 537.

The most hard hearted can be reached by helping where they need help. Different people need different kinds of help. Everywhere, people are in distress. Now people may not think you are doing evangelism when you go to help people in distress, but that is the first step. Because until the door of the heart is open, anything else is of no avail.

If a person has surrendered his heart to Jesus, everything else is going to come along. Because if you have somebody’s heart, you have all of them. Helping people where they need help; when they are sick and when they are in distress, opens the door to their heart. It softens the heart.

Point Them to Calvary

Ellen White instructed, “The minister should come close to the trembling one, and point him to Calvary, lifting up a crucified and risen Saviour as the sinner’s only hope.” Review and Herald, May 31, 1892. Often times we come into contact with people and we do not realize their condition or the struggles of their mind. They feel discouraged and stuck in a rut of sin. They need to be pointed to Calvary. This is what will happen, “There are many whose hearts are as hard as the beaten highway, and apparently it is a useless effort to present the truth to them; but while logic may fail to move, and argument be worthless to convince, let the laborer for Christ come close to such in Christlike sympathy and compassion, and it may be that the love of Christ will subdue and melt the soul into tenderness and contrition.” Ibid.

Sin makes us hard-hearted. As long as we are living a life of sin, our heart is getting harder. But when a person comes to Calvary, something happens in the heart. Sin is seen in a different light. It does not look so wonderful anymore. It completely changes your mind about sin. Ellen White said that the cross of Christ is the theme around which all other truths cluster. The cross of Christ needs to be dwelt upon in every sermon. Why? Because our hearts are hard and if they are not melted, all the truth that we can preach and teach, will do no good. She said, quoting from the apostle Paul, “The world by wisdom, knew not God. Let the wayward and hard-hearted be led to the feet of Jesus; here they may learn precious lessons of love of their Creator and Redeemer, and hope will spring up.” Ibid.

Jesus’ own disciples were hard-hearted. Luke says their hearts were still hardened. Eventually they were cured except for Judas. Peter thought he knew his own heart, but he did not. He denied his Lord, a very hard-hearted thing to do. It cut Jesus to the heart to realize that Peter would do that to Him. After Peter denied Him, Jesus looked straight at Peter. If Jesus had been angry with him, Peter would have committed suicide. But he saw no anger, only love.

A Broken Heart?

One of the things that has to happen to the hard heart before that person can be taken to heaven is, his heart has to be broken. The Bible teaches that our hearts have to be broken or we cannot be saved. Jesus said, “And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” Matthew 21:44. Those are the two choices that every person must make. If you fall on the rock, your own hard heart will be broken, but if the rock falls on you, it will grind you to powder. When Peter ran out of the judgment hall back to Gethsemane, his heart was broken. “Then he went out and wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:75. Peter went right to the place where Jesus had prayed a few hours before, and he fell down, weeping. It was there that he was converted. He was cured from his hardness of heart and he never again was a boastful, arrogant person like he had been.

If we come to Calvary and understand what really happened, it will break our heart. The reason it will break our heart is because we are sinners. When your heart is broken, then it can become soft and tender; not hard-hearted anymore. Until your old heart is broken, you cannot receive a new heart.

“There is a sad lack of tenderness and sympathy among the servants of Christ. They do not love as brethren. They are harsh and dictatorial. Especially is their conduct toward the erring destitute of pity or compassion. Said the apostle, ‘Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.’ We shall surely be judged by our Heavenly Father in the same manner that we have judged others. ‘With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.’ ‘He shall have judgment without mercy that hath showed no mercy.’ Oh that these hard-hearted, exacting ones would fall upon the Rock and be broken, lest theirs be the terrible alternative, that the Rock shall fall upon them and grind them to powder.” Review and Herald, December 20, 1881. If I am harsh, dictatorial, or exacting, what is my problem? I am hard-hearted and I have to fall on the Rock and be broken so that I can become tender and sympathetic and receive a new heart.

Do Justly and Love Mercy

We need to cultivate mercy and the love of God among us as Adventists. One of the things that I am most concerned about in the Historic Adventist movement today is the way that we treat each other. I want us to think very seriously about our condition and realize that we may not be in as good a condition as we think. It is evident by the way that we treat each other in our homes and churches that we are not ready for heaven. The way we talk about one another, the way we act toward one another is not Christlike. We have to be changed in heart if we are going to heaven.

“We must deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before God. We must let Christ into our hearts and homes. We must cultivate love, sympathy, and true courtesy one to another. The reason that there are so many hard-hearted men and women in the world is that generous affection has been regarded as weakness. If we would have tender hearts such as Jesus had when He was upon the earth and sanctified sympathy such as the angels have for erring mortals, we must cultivate the simple, unaffected affections of childhood, then we should be directed by heavenly principles which are refining and elevating in their tendency.” Signs of the Times, November 10, 1887.

A heart like the Pharisees had, Ellen White says, is the natural human condition because of sin. Have you received a new heart? That is what it means to be born again. When that happens, I am not so concerned about whether my wife makes me happy. I am not thinking of getting rid of her. I think completely opposite. My thinking is that I vowed before God to make this woman happy and I am going to be true and faithful to her and make her happy. What happens to me is not of the most consequence. The other person is of the most consequence because my heart is tender, sympathetic and I cannot stand to see that person hurt. When we can stand to see our spouses and our families and our church members hurt, that is proof there is something the matter with our heart. Jesus could not endure it. Ellen White says that He could not witness a wrong word or act without pain which showed in His countenance. He could not hurt anybody! Has your heart been changed? Have you fallen on the Rock and been broken?

If I Be Lifted Up

God was providing everything the Children of Israel in the wilderness needed, but they were hard in heart and were murmuring and complaining. So God gave them a bigger problem. He removed His protecting hand. Poisonous snakes in that wilderness began biting and Israelites started to die by the thousands. God told Moses to make a serpent of brass and put it up on a pole and to tell the Children of Israel, “If you will look at that serpent, you’ll be saved.” Jesus told Nicodemus that the serpent represented Jesus. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3: 14, 15. In the same way that they had to look at that serpent, Jesus said, the Son of Man had to be lifted up and if you will look at Him and keep looking at Him, and put your trust in Him, something will happen in your heart. It is a divine science that we cannot explain. The Bible says, “Look unto Me and be saved all the ends of the earth for I am God and there is no other.”

What happens when a person comes to Calvary and starts to meditate on what it means? To most Christians today Calvary is just a story. They have a crucifix in their car, they have pictures in their homes of Christ on the cross, but they do not understand. Ellen White says that if we are going to be saved at last we must learn the lesson of penitence and contrition at the foot of the cross. We have to stay there long enough so that our heart gets changed, the old heart is broken, and we receive a new heart. We need to spend time studying the life of Christ, especially the closing scenes. It would be well for us to spend an hour a day, Ellen White says, studying His life, taking it point by point, especially the closing scenes.

What will happen if you do that? “Look alone to Jesus as your righteousness and your sacrifice. As you are justified by faith, the deadly sting of the serpent will be healed.” Sons and Daughters of God, 222. We have been stung by the serpent. The sting of sin makes the heart as hard as stone. People can be hurting all around and you do not know it. By familiarity with sin we become accustomed to it.

The Devil Wants to Destroy Your Family

The devil is trying in every way to destroy the church of God today, and the most effective way he has is to destroy the family. The way to save the church is to save the family. The way to destroy the church is to destroy the family. It is that simple. “No unpleasant words are spoken in heaven. There no unkind thoughts are cherished. There envy, evil surmising, hatred, and strife find no place. Perfect harmony pervades the heavenly court. Well does Satan know what heaven is, and what the influence of the angels is. His work is to bring into every family the cruel elements of self-will, harshness, selfishness. Thus he seeks to destroy the happiness of the family. He knows that the spirit governing in the home will be brought into the church. Let the father and mother always be guarded in their words and actions. The husband is to treat his wife, the mother of his children, with due respect, and the wife is to love and reverence her husband. How can she do this if he treats her like a servant, to be dictated to, ordered about, scolded, found fault with before the children? He is forcing her to dislike him and even to hate him.” Upward Look, 163.

The devil’s plan is to destroy the church. How does he do it? He destroys the home first and he gets us to treat each other in a hard-hearted way. And as we keep doing it, our hearts just become harder and harder. God’s plan is for me to come to the cross, and as I keep studying it day by day, the contrast between His heart and my heart becomes painful. It breaks my heart and when my heart is broken, then God can give me a new heart that is merciful, loving, sympathetic, and tender. A heart that cannot bear to see somebody in my family or in my church hurting. I have to go and try to help them if anybody is hurting. That is the way Jesus was. And when you have a heart like that, you are never asking the question, “Is my wife making me happy or not?” The question you are asking is, “Are my wife and children happy?” If they are not happy, what should I do so they will be happy?”

We will have the same care for people in the church. We will not be able to see people in the church hurting and not do anything. And what will that do to the church? You will start having brotherly love grow up in the church. We have a desperate need today in our churches for brotherly love. Our hearts are hard. They need to be broken and we need a new heart. Jesus wants to give me a new heart that is tender, merciful, loving, sympathetic, kind; a heart that is so tender that I cannot bear to see somebody in my family or my church hurting. When we get it, there will be all kinds of problems in our churches that will be solved. Pray earnestly and ask the Lord to give you that new heart, He has promised to do it!

The End

Born Loser: Woman at the Well

I want to share some thoughts about a lady who I call “the born loser,” and I want to introduce the subject by pointing out that Jesus sometimes did not give the same answer to what was essentially the same question. We are going to look at three situations in which three different persons asked Him the same question, “Who are you?” and He gave a different answer to each one; which is interesting to think about, is it not?

The first one is where Jesus has been brought to trial for His life. Before Pilate really wanted to be out of bed, they have come clamoring to have him condemn Jesus. Pilate is not in a good mood. He is not interested in what is going on except that there is a certain routine that must be gone through. He asks Jesus an indifferent question and he gets an indifferent answer. “Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, ‘Art thou the King of the Jews?’ And Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou sayest.’ ” Matthew 27:11. “Are you the King of the Jews? So what, let’s get it over with.” An indifferent question and an indifferent answer.

Pilate gradually becomes convicted by his conscience that Jesus was an innocent man. Pilot did not really want to be involved in condemning an innocent man. He seized upon an opportunity to pass the problem on to somebody else. He sent Jesus to Herod because He had learned that Jesus was from Galilee and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee. “And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.” Luke 23:6–8. Herod, at first, was alarmed and thought it was John the Baptist whom he had beheaded coming back to life, but gradually that fear faded away. As Jesus comes before him he simply wants to satisfy his curiosity. “Then he [that is Herod] questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.” Verse 9. Jesus had only a few words for the governor Pilate, but He had no words at all for Herod. This is what I would call the idly curious question and the stony, stern answer.

Pilate asked his indifferent question and he got an indifferent answer. When the priests and elders began shouting their accusations, Jesus had not a single word for them. Neither had He a single word for Herod. All of which says a great deal about their condition, does it not?

Who Are You?

John, chapter 4, finds somebody else asking Jesus, “Who are you?” This is the woman at Jacob’s well. Jesus was resting. The disciples have gone into the village of Samaria to buy food. While Jesus is sitting at the well, the woman of Samaria comes to get water. He asks her for a drink which surprises her very greatly. A Jew would not do that because the Samaritans were an anathema to the Jews.

This deep animosity goes way back in history to the time when Solomon died and Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, took the kingdom. Finally Jeroboam took ten of the tribes to the North and rebelled against the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah in the South. Israel was in what we call, Samaria. A separate capital was set up for Samaria under the leadership of Israel. Israel’s kings, most of them, were very wicked kings. The tensions grew and the gulf widened. When the Babylonians came and took captives, there were a few people in Samaria who were not taken captive. These people left, gradually united their thinking, lives, and cultures with the pagans who lived around them. By the time the great captivity was over 70 years later, when Ezra and Nehemiah came back to rebuild the temple, these Samaritans were probably less than half Jewish in their religion and probably more than half pagan. They worshipped idols and other things forbidden by the law of God. They volunteered to help build the temple, but their idolatrous attitudes caused the Jews to refuse them that permission. So tension and bitterness between Jew and Samaritan remained through the ages. Beyond buying or selling, the Jews would have nothing to do with a Samaritan.

I Divorce Thee! , I Divorce Thee!,  I Divorce Thee!

The conversation that takes place between Jesus and this Samaritan woman is interesting and revealing. “Jesus saith unto her, ‘Go, call thy husband, and come hither.’ The woman answered and said, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said unto her, ‘Thou hast well said, I have no husband: for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.’ ” John 4:16–18. Some have an idea that she was having a wonderful time flitting around gaily from husband to husband. I am afraid that is not very realistic. There was certainly nothing happy about this woman’s situation.

In that culture, in that time, in that place, what would cause five men to have enough feeling toward this woman to propose marriage to her, establish her as the queen of the home, and then change their mind and drive her away from the home? I think the reason would be because she had no children. That was an unforgivable fault in that culture, because a man’s lineage must be preserved, his name must be preserved, there must be children born. She was having a wretched time, a miserable time. She had been established as the queen of a home, the exalted position of a Hebrew wife, and then dethroned five times. I spoke on this subject once in a church and afterward a lady going out the door said, “You surprised me, Elder Larson. I thought she was a prostitute.” I said, “Well, I’m not an authority on the subject, but so far as I know, they don’t marry their customers. They just move on.” Five times she had to stand before the elders and listen to her husband pronounce those words of doom, “I divorce thee. I divorce thee. I divorce thee.” You say that three times and you are divorced.

What could she do? Go down to the dime store and get a job? There was no dime store. If there had been, they would not have hired a woman. Go down to some office in town and get a job in an office? There were no offices in town. And if there were, they would not hire a woman. Women did not get office jobs until the earliest part of the last century.

“I Want to Talk to You”

Now I am interested in the fact that Jesus, who has very little time for Pilate, the governor of the Jews, He who wasted not a single word on Herod, when this lady came along said, “Hey, come on, sit down, let’s talk. I want to talk to you.” He had plenty of time for her. Desire of Ages, 184, says, “The King of heaven came to this outcast soul.” And He did her a tremendous amount of good. He caused her life to turn completely around. She was, of course, living in sin. She was breaking the rules. Her sense of personhood was gone, her sense of self-worth was gone, she was just a piece of wasted, worthless, useless, human garbage, cast out on the garbage dump of humanity. And Jesus, King of heaven, who brushed Pilate off with a quick answer and who just scorned Herod, this same Jesus said to her, “Hey, let’s talk. I want to talk to you.” This was an altogether different experience for her.

Jesus Says to the Woman “I am He”

You may be wondering, did this woman ask Jesus who He was? Oh yes, look at John 4:25, 26; “The woman saith unto him, ‘I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus saith unto the woman, ‘I that speak unto thee am He.’ ” He took her words as a question. He answered her question. It was implied. Oriental courtesy is not too direct. Oriental people think that we are horribly discourteous and direct in the way that we speak to each other. They go carefully around in devious ways in what they say one to another. “Jesus saith unto her, ‘I that speak unto thee am He.’ ” In the Greek it is a linear verb, like a line, showing continuous action. “I that am continually speaking to thee am He.” So He had been speaking to her for a long time by the Holy Spirit. “I continually speak to thee.” When are you going to start listening to Me? That is when things are going to be different. I like the way Jesus handled this and the way He handles every case of human need.

I do not know how old she was; probably not too young, not too old. Men were still attracted to her. But in any case, she was so messed up, she was so worthless, she was so wasted, she was useless, and it did not matter what happened to her. People come to that situation in different ways.

God Heals Hearts

We held evangelistic meetings in the state of New Jersey way down on the coast at a little place called Cape May Court House. That was the name of the town. The only place we could find to hold our meetings was a firemen’s hall in which bingo games were held on other nights of the week than when we were there. Part of the arrangement was that when we left after our weekend services, we had to set the place back in order for the bingo games. I thought it was interesting to watch a Seventh-day Adventist pastor carefully going around and setting up a room for a bingo game. I had never seen that before.

We had quite an interest there, for a little town. One gentleman who came, we learned, was the city engineer. It took us a little while to get acquainted with him because he would leave during the closing song. So we went to his home and visited him. We found that he was very interested in what he was hearing. We learned also that some while before, less than a year before, he had found it necessary to go out to the front of his house and pick the body of his wife up from the street, where she had been hit and killed by a car. He said later, “Life was over for me. It was finished.” And he began to drink heavily. Different persons in town who knew him talked to us, hoping we could do something for him. He was just drinking himself to death.

The meetings made a difference. He came all the way through. He had decided that if these two ministers have come once, they will probably come again, so I better be prepared. He went downtown and bought two very expensive bottles of brandy to serve to us when we came again. When we explained that we did not use brandy, he was very surprised. He had been an engineer in the navy, and he said he had seen lots of chaplains drinking brandy in the navy. We had to explain that Adventists were kind of different on some of these things and he accepted that. I do not know what he did with the brandy, but he did not offer it to us anymore. His interest grew, and he identified himself with the message, and he began to say, “Hey, life is beginning all over for me again.” He was beginning to get a different look on his face.

Because of the exceptional interest that we had in this small town, we decided to extend the meetings one week longer than the normal length of the series. And to put in something special, we sent for Barbara Morton to come and sing for us every night. She came, and when we picked her up at the airport and listened to her talk, we learned that things were going a little bit hard for her. Her daughters had gone from home. She was alone, so she had put all of her furniture in storage, and she was just living in a station wagon, going from church to church to present concerts.

Empty People

For the first meeting she sang a beautiful series of songs. But our engineer did not show up. I went to see him the next day because I wanted to know what was wrong. It seemed that when he was a child he had been neighbor to the home where Madam Schumann Heink lived. She was a terrific opera singer of her time. Well, he listened to her practice and vocalize, and he did not appreciate lady singers at all after hearing Madam Schumann Heink practice. He thought that Barbara Morton was probably going to be something like Madam Schumann Heink, and he was not going to expose himself to that. We told him, “Well, you are making a mistake, man, you better come down and listen to her and see her.” So he did. The next night he was there and you should have seen what happened. This naval engineer went down like a mast in a high wind. They just took to each other automatically. Some things can happen really fast at times, and this week was one of those times.

We came to the last Sabbath. We had a baptism on Sabbath and a church dinner afterwards, honoring the newly baptized people. We got over to the school building where they were having the dinner set up, and everything was ready, but for some reason Barbara was not there. We looked around and our engineer was not there either. I finally went back from the dinner hall to the church and sure enough there were Barbara and Russell having a conversation about some subject. So I told them dinner was ready. She went to get her purse and as he walked out the door with me he said, “You know Ralph, that woman is lonely.” I said to myself, “Well, she’s lonely, huh?” I took a plate from another table and put it down by Barbara’s plate for Russell. You know that worked fine. She did not show any signs of loneliness through the whole dinner.

After dinner, it had been arranged that she would go to the old folks’ home in town and sing for the people there. Russell, our engineer, volunteered to take her to the old folks’ home, but in spite of the fact that he was the city engineer, he lost his way and could not find it and wound up down at the beach somehow. So they spent their whole afternoon at the beach and barely got back in time for the meeting that night. To make a long story short, they finally were united in marriage, and lived very happily as long as the Lord gave them life. They have both gone to their rest now.

God’s Delicate Work

Life can be just used up. Life can have no more future to it. Life can just appear like it is pointless, worthless, wasted, useless, and then it can start all over again. When? When we start listening to Jesus Christ. “When are you going to start listening to Me?” That is what He keeps saying over and over again. And that is the question we all need to take very seriously. I think most of us here, could tell a similar story. There are many times when we are in that condition. Everybody is an evidence of how God works with a single individual, bringing them through this life situation and that life situation, step by step, little by little, until finally that moment, when the decision is made, and life begins all over again.

The woman at the well was a born loser. But her life tells a marvelous story. Her life was hopelessly messed up. Then the woman met Jesus and her life began all over again. She was changed into something wonderful and new. Do not turn away from these outcasts with misunderstanding; do not turn away from them because you do not think there is much there. There is a lot there. This story tells of the Lord Jesus Christ as One who moves very close, doing exquisitely delicate work as He deals with human hearts. Bringing us to the place where we recognize that we can have a wonderful, wonderful life in Him.

The End

What Measure Ye Mete?

We live in a moral universe. What does that mean? The word moral has to do with right and wrong, with justice and with equity. To live in a moral universe means that there are consequences for everything, and these consequences cannot be escaped. Jesus dwelt considerably on this subject, and it was a major subject of the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 7:1, 2, Jesus says, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” This is a very interesting statement. We know that it is true because the Majesty of heaven spoke it. Whatever I dish out to you, that is what is going to come back. You may not give it back to me, but whatever I measure out to you is coming back. This principle not only can have some scary consequences, it can be one of the most exciting things in the world. Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies.” If I give out love, even to my enemies, that is what is going to come back. Do you want people to bless you or curse you? “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Ibid. I want to examine this subject as it relates to many different situations in which we find ourselves.

Over the Same Ground

How many blessings have we passed to somebody today? Tomorrow the blessings are going to come back. How many curses have we passed out today? They are going to come back, too. If we have been free to condemn or discourage, we are told what will happen. “Everyone who has been free to condemn or discourage, will in his own experience be brought over the ground where he has caused others to pass; he will feel what they have suffered because of his want of sympathy and tenderness.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 136. If I have been free to condemn or discourage, what is going to happen? I am going to be brought over the same ground.

The same way that I have treated others is going to come back to me. “Oh,” somebody says, “but there are these people who are making so many mistakes. Don’t you think they ought to be corrected?” There is more than one way to correct somebody. The manner that we deal with people who make mistakes, is going to be dealt back to us. An opportunity always comes, for none of us are perfect. We all have to be corrected.

Ellen White stated, “Frequently the truth and facts are to be plainly spoken to the erring, to make them see and feel their error that they may reform. But this should ever be done with pitying tenderness, not with harshness or severity, but considering one’s own weakness, lest he also be tempted. When the one at fault sees and acknowledges his error, then, instead of grieving him, and seeking to make him feel more deeply, comfort should be given.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 93. When somebody recognizes they made a mistake, it is not right to grind it in and add to his burdens. If you have to correct somebody, have you figured out what you are going to do to comfort them when they realize they have made a mistake? People who have erred, and realize they have made a mistake, do not just need corrections, they need comfort. The way I dish it out is the way it is going to come back. When you understand that divine law, you think, “How am I going to deal with this situation? How I deal with this situation, sometime later I am going to be dealt with the same way.”

Ellen White told a woman, “When you see yourself the way God sees you, you’re going to recognize that you are never going to get in the kingdom of heaven unless you have a thorough conversion.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 138–139. That is a sharp rebuke. She went on to point out to this lady, that what she was doing to other people was going to come back. She contrasted the way this lady was dealing with other people with the way Jesus dealt with those that He came in contact with in this world. After saying this to the woman, she says, “Bear in mind that whatever measure you mete to others it shall be meted to you again.” She continues, “If you would do this, [then she mentions three character defects this lady had] you would be more cautious in your speech.” Ibid. Do we need to be more cautious in our speech? Moses one time spoke unadvisedly with his lips and as a result did not go into the Promised Land on that account. James 1:19, 20 says, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” The first thing Ellen White advised this lady was, “If you would realize that the way you measure out to others is going to come back to you, you would be more cautious in your speech.”

Resentment and Apologies

“Christ came into the world to bring all resistance and authority into subjection to Himself. But He did not claim obedience through the strength of argument or the voice of command; He went about doing good and teaching His followers the things which belonged to their peace. He stirred up no strife, He resented no personal injuries. ” Ibid.

Have you ever wondered how Jesus, when people were spitting on Him, slapping Him, beating Him, cursing at Him, and making base remarks about Him in ridicule and sneer, never responded with one contemptuous or reviling word? Do you know how He could do that? Because He had no resentment inside. “He resented no personal injuries, but met with meek submission the insults, the false accusations, and the cruel scourging of those who hated Him and condemned Him to death. Christ is our example. His life is a practical illustration of His divine teachings. His character is a living exhibition of the way to do good and overcome evil.” Ibid. If we have resentment inside, sooner or later, it is going to come out and then we will have made work, perhaps, for much apologies. The Lord wants to teach us how to live so that we will not have to make the apologies. If we are not harboring any resentment in our heart, those kinds of words do not come out and there is no apology to make.

How are you going to overcome evil? Jesus knew that what you put out comes back and so He just kept sowing and planting the good seed. Many of our problems are caused because we do not know ourselves very well. Inspiration says, “We know but little of our own hearts and have but little sense of our own need of the mercy of God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 246. We do not understand our dire need of the mercy of God, and “this is why we cherish so little of that sweet compassion which Jesus manifested toward us and which we should manifest toward one another.” Ibid.

When we believe that there is somebody else who has some severe character defect, or has done or said something terrible that needs corrected, we need to always remember, that we ourselves are weak, sinful, and erring. We need to be careful that we do not pass judgment on somebody else who may not deserve even what we deserve.

Scene in a Council Meeting

In Matthew 7:3, Jesus talks about judging. He says, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?”

This principle is something that can send you and other people toward hell or toward heaven. Whatever you measure out, is going to come back. The devil tempts us to find fault with others. Ellen White had a vision on this very problem, “Last night I was in a sleepless state much of the time. Many representations passed before me. One was a scene in a council meeting where several were present. One man arose and began finding fault with one of his brethren. I looked at the speaker’s garments, and saw that they were very undesirable.

“Another person arose, and began to state his grievance against a fellow laborer. His garments were of another pattern, and they, too, were undesirable. Still another, and another, arose, and uttered words of accusation and condemnation regarding the course of others.

“Everyone had some trouble to speak of, some fault to find with someone else. All were presenting the defects of Christians who are trying to do something in our world. [See these are all Adventists and they are all criticizing each other.] They declared repeatedly that certain ones were neglecting this or that or the other thing, and so on. There was not real order, no polite courtesy, in the meeting. In their anxiety to make others hear, speakers crowded in while others were still talking. Voices were raised, in an effort to make all hear above the din of confusion . . .

“After many had spoken, One of authority appeared, and repeated the words: ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ . . . Christ Himself was present. An expression of painfulness came over His countenance as one after another would come forward, with uncouth dress, to expatiate upon the faults of various members of the church.

“Finally the heavenly Visitant arose. So intent were those present on criticizing their brethren, that it was with reluctance that they gave Him opportunity to speak. He declared that the spirit of criticism, of judging one another, was a source of weakness in the church today. Things are spoken that should never find utterance. Everyone who by word of mouth places an obstruction in the way of a fellow Christian has an account to settle with God.

“With earnest solemnity the Speaker declared: ‘The church is made of many minds, each of whom has an individuality. I gave My life in order that men and women, by divine grace, might blend in revealing a perfect pattern of My character, while at the same time retaining their individuality. No one has the right to destroy or submerge the individuality of any other human mind, by uttering words of criticism and faultfinding and condemnation.” Upward Look, 216

A Divine Law for God’s People

We should ask, “How many people have I blessed today by my speech?” Whatever you have said today, someday it is coming back because Jesus said, “With what measure you mete, it will be measured to you again.” Our eternal destiny is determined not by what we profess; it is character that determines it. As I measure out to others, it will be measured back to me. Jesus said, “Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these My brethren, you have done it to Me.” When I give bread, He will give to me the Bread of Life. When I give water, He will give to me the Water of Life. When I give to others clothing, He will give to me the garment of His own righteousness. When I visit those who are in prison, He promises to set me free from bondage in the prison house of sin. This is an eternal, divine law that always works, because God has ordained that this is the way the universe is going to operate.

Are you using this divine law so that you will be happy to receive what you measured out? How are you doing in regard to visiting? There should never be a time when a whole week has gone by since you have made your last Christian visit, contacting the sick, or those in prison, or those who are poor, or those who are orphans, or those who are widows, or those who are destitute, or those who are lame, physically or spiritually. There are people all around who are emotionally crippled who will never make it to the kingdom of heaven unless they get help. When you are walking up a mountain trail and there is a great big boulder in the path, you may be able to go over it, but a person on crutches cannot. Somebody needs to help him. Paul talks about the emotionally and spiritually crippled in Hebrews 12:13. He says, “Make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated.”

How to Be Happy to Receive What You Give

In addition to broken homes there are those that come from mixed marriages. As a result of this, we have people who are spiritually and emotionally crippled. It is not an excuse that we do not help one because we cannot help all. I cannot help everybody in the world either, but I can help one, and then another and another.

If every family in your church is making Christian visits every week, you are going to have a church that comes alive. If you have people in your church and all they ever do is come to church once a week and then go home and dissect the sermon and the preacher, you are not going to have a living church. To have a living church, you have to have a working church. Even if you are not trained, you can still get started.

  1. Can you pray? Can you pray out loud?
  2. Can you be friendly?
  3. Can you express sympathy?

Do you know what it means to express sympathy? It means that you are sympathetic to the feelings of other people. You do not have to agree with their feelings, but you can be sympathetic. If you know how to express sympathy, if you know how to be friendly, and if you know how to pray, you can make a Christian visit. If you have a Bible and can read, you can do that, too.

Can He Hold Out

What could happen in Adventist churches if every family, every week, was making at least one Christian visit? Remember, as you measure it will be measured to you again. Sometimes the gospel net is cast out and it gathers in “every kind.” Some of the people who are brought into the church have been the most sinful in the world. That was the way it was in the time of the apostle Paul. (Read 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.) When some great sinner is brought into the church, do you know what happens very often? There is some saint who says something to the effect, “Well, I’m just not sure that he can hold out.” By our passing by on the other side and by our showing coldness and neglect to people who are great sinners; they get discouraged and are lost instead of being saved.

“Often the newly converted soul has fierce conflicts with established habits or with some special form of temptation. Being overcome by some master passion or tendency, he is guilty of indiscretion or actual wrong. The scripture says, ‘Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted’ . . . Unless we cultivate the precious plant of love, we are in danger of becoming narrow, unsympathetic, bigoted and critical, esteeming ourselves to be righteous when we are far from being approved by Christ. Some are uncourteous, abrupt, harsh, these do incalculable harm by their misrepresentation of the loving Saviour.” Pacific Union Recorder, April 10, 1902

So what do you do if somebody comes into the church and they are battling with their old habits and trying to overcome, but they slip and they fall? Have you done these things?

  1. Have you felt a burden for the one you saw venturing into forbidden paths? Are you burdened for their soul’s salvation?
  2. Have you kindly admonished him?
  3. Have you wept for him? Do you really feel for him?
  4. Have you prayed with him and for him?
  5. Have you, by tender words and kindly acts, shown him that you love him?

Jesus says if we will forgive, then we will be forgiven. Do you want the Lord to forgive you? If the Lord does not forgive me, I am lost. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. If I want to receive a pardon from my heavenly Father, I must have a forgiving spirit.

As We Forgive

“We are not forgiven because we forgive, but as we forgive. The ground of all forgiveness is found in the unmerited love of God, but by our attitude toward others we show whether we have made that love our own. Wherefore Christ says, ‘With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’ ” Christ’s Object Lessons, 251.

In Historic Adventism today, we are in dire need of a forgiving spirit. “This talking against others must be stopped among those who profess to be the children of God.” Review and Herald, April 26, 1892. What we do to others is going to come back to us again, and therefore, we should be careful how we treat one another.

“For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.” James 2:13. If I want God to be merciful to me, I must show mercy to others. When do you have an opportunity to show mercy to somebody? If somebody has done a perfect job, do you need to show them mercy? No. They need mercy when they have blown it. That is what mercy is all about. The next time somebody in your family or somebody where you work messes everything up, that is your chance to show mercy. If you are going to develop a merciful character, you are going to do it now before you get to heaven, because in heaven no one will need mercy.

Since anything that you measure out is going to come back to you, what should you give? Mercy is one thing and love is another. If you are busy giving love, demonstrating the love of God, it may not come back to you immediately, but it is going to come back. It is safe to bless people even if they are cursing you. It is safe to love people even if they are your enemies. It is safe to do something good to people, even if they hate you. It is safe to pray for people even if they despitefully use you and persecute you. “He who loves God must love his brother also.” 1 John 4:21.

“God will deal with us as we deal with one another.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 93. If you have this sentence memorized in your mind, it will help you in your daily life in making decisions.
This principle, “as you measure so it will be measured unto you again” works in every relationship of life. Especially it works in the home and most especially it works in the marriage relation. If we could learn this principle, the great majority of these divorces could be avoided.

Victor Johnson

Ellen White makes an interesting statement about divorce and it has to do with this principle about measuring to others and getting the same thing back. It is about a man named Victor Johnson. “I was shown that Victor Johnson has truly loved his wife. She was dearer to him than any other one upon the earth. When the divorce was in progress his feelings were intense. He besought his wife to defer the matter. He promised amendment; he promised to not trouble her, but go away and reform. She [his wife] should have eagerly grasped even that feeble hope that it was possible that he might amend. And even if she had to suffer some time longer, given him another chance. There was an error in still pressing matters forward although those engaged in the matter thought they were taking the best course. Yet, they did not exercise the pitying love toward Victor that Jesus has shown them and they should have considered that ‘with what measure ye mete to others, it shall be measured to you again.’ ” Ellen White says she should have given him another chance. “You didn’t show him that same pitying love that Jesus has shown toward you. Remember, as you measure so it will be measured to you again. With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, 161. When you apply this law to your life, are you in line to receive a pardon of God? Are you in line to receive blessing and love and forgiveness? You need to keep praying, say, “Lord, help me to measure out what I would want somebody else someday to measure back to me.” The Lord has promised to work that miracle in your life.

The End

Birth of the King Jesus

From Wichita, Kansas to Kongsberg, Norway, and around the world, the colorful sights and delightful sounds of Christmas once again pervade the earth. Many Christians observe Christmas as a commemoration of the birth of Jesus in lowly Bethlehem. Though in all probability it is not His birthday, let us use this time of Christian awareness to review the events surrounding that glorious occasion.

“When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son” for whom it was proclaimed that, “of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” He was to sit “upon the throne of David, and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.” “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.” Galatians 4:4; Isaiah 9:7, 6.

Thus, according to Scripture, when Jesus was “born,” He was to sit upon the “throne of David” and to establish the kingdom in justice and peace. Though the chosen nation should suffer economic chaos, theological apostasy and political corruption, its members were sure it would ultimately recover, for the Messiah would once again bring justice and peace, prosperity and dominion to God’s people.

Was not “the government” to be “upon His shoulder”? And does the government not refer to the leaders and authorities of the nation? Thus the people confidently looked to their leaders to proclaim the Messiah King.

While the world of Israel thus looked expectantly toward Jerusalem for the birth announcement of their Saviour and King, a newborn babe lay sleeping on the beaten-down straw, under strips of linen, in a Bethlehem barn. He was a normal-looking infant, born of peasant stock. He was the Messiah, the Creator of the universe. The future of Israel’s prosperity and existence lay huddled beside Him.

Telling the News

Angels, bursting with eagerness to tell the good news, flew from house to house, synagogue to synagogue, throughout the length and breadth of Judea, searching for receptive hearts, to announce the birth of this newborn Son. They searched. Where were the 7,000 faithful of Elijah’s day? Though Elijah had not known their whereabouts, these angels had known every name and address. But now they searched in vain! Yet the people of Israel were zealous Sabbathkeepers. They sent their children to the rabbinical schools and daily studied the Scriptures. And most of all, they were of the lineage of Abraham, loyal Jews, as demonstrated by their loyalty to their human leaders.

In one classroom an angel lingers as a scholar lectures his students. “It is nearly time for the Messiah to come,” he says. The angel starts forward with breathtaking joy—has he found a worthy group? He readies to lighten the room and share the good news, but the teacher continues:

“Be aware, however, that the historic beliefs, based upon simple Bible statements, must today be balanced with modern scholasticism. Rabbi Benikel, for example, in his recent dissertation of the linguistic origins of Daniel, which has received the endorsement of Rabbi Honohan, points out several exegetical problems with the theory of the Babylonian origin of Daniel. He asserts that portions of Daniel were written during the early Maccabean period and that the Messiah prophecy was an attempt to strengthen the support of Judas Maccabeus in his resistance to the Antiochan occupation of Judea. The Sanhedrin Council has yet to decide on this theory, but Rabbi Benikel, understandably, has not wanted to submit it to their jurisprudence until he has more support in the council.”

The angel folds his wings and turns to leave. The professor drones on—Rabbi El-Sevens has also shown problems with the year-day theory. This theory, he says, developed as a result of Israel’s disappointment when the Messiah did not come when expected shortly after Cyrus’ decree . . . But the angel has gone. The rejection of the Messiah had already begun.

Thus it was that “angels came . . . unseen to Jerusalem, to the appointed expositors of the Sacred Oracles, and the ministers of God’s house . . . Yet Jerusalem was not preparing to welcome her Redeemer. With amazement the heavenly messengers beheld the indifference of the people whom God had called to communicate to the world the light of sacred truth . . . They rehearsed their meaningless prayers, and performed the rites of worship to be seen by men, but in their strife for riches and worldly honor they were not prepared for the revelation of the Messiah.” The Desire of Ages, 43, 44.

Searching in Vain?

The angel returns from his search to the hayloft headquarters of Bethlehem: “I’ve searched the classrooms of Judea,” he reports. “The teachers are expounding the Scriptures, but they are very proud and degree-oriented. ‘They love . . . to be called . . . Rabbi.’ (Matthew 23:6–7) The students’ minds are ‘crowded with material that . . . [is] worthless’ and they are so busy with their biblical studies that they have no time for ‘quiet hours to spend with God.’ Thus they do ‘not hear His voice speaking to the heart.’ The Desire of Ages, 69. They have elevated human philosophy above simple faith and have ‘set human teaching above God’s word.’ Christ’s Object Lessons, 304. They pray before every class, but there is no real desire for divine enlightenment. I am sad to report that I have not been able to find a single classroom of Judea within which I could give the glad tidings of Jesus’ birth. Even if I had told them, unless it was endorsed by the Sanhedrin and came through the official channels, they would not have believed it.”

“That’s the kind of reports we’re getting from all over,” was the answer from the coordinating angel. “It is pretty bleak. If we could even find some in individual dwellings with whom we could share the good news, but the angels visiting the homes report that the people have ‘respected the priests and rabbis for their intelligence and apparent piety’ for so long, that ‘in all religious matters they [have] yielded implicit obedience to their authority.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 611. They have almost made their human leaders infallible.

“We have found two persons, however, named Simeon and Anna, who are ‘just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel’ and filled with the Holy Spirit. See Luke 2:29, 36. Of course, they are so old that few will listen. What’s more, Anna is a prophetess, and you know how the testimony of the Spirit has been received of late. Completely made of none effect by many, I fear.

“Another detachment of angels have found some philosophers in Persia who are sincere seekers for truth. They have the writings of Balaam. Possibly we can reach them through their belief in astrology. Balaam said, ‘A Star shall come out of Jacob’ (Numbers 24:17); now, if we make a visible star arise over Bethlehem . . .”

Shepherds or Theologians

But the commander was interrupted by the entrance of another angel who appears radiant with joy—”I’ve found some who believe!” he announces. “There are some shepherds herding their sheep right outside this very city,” he says, “who are praying and meditating on the Scripture and are expecting the Christ to come!”

“But who will listen to shepherds?” asks one of the angels standing nearby. “They have no degrees, no preaching license, no literary or oratorical skills, no friends in the synagogue, no influence at all—if they preach this gospel it will turn many away!”

“But God is no respecter of persons” responds the angel. “They are worthy and I must tell them.”

“We’re all coming,” responds the commander. “You are the only one who has had success tonight—we’re joining you!”

That night the lowly shepherds became the best and only true theologians of Israel. They did not know four or five variant possibilities of prophetic interpretations; they could not quote rabbinical sources; they did not even know the dictionary definition of exegesis, but they knew the truth. True theology is the process of humbly arriving at truth, not the process of proudly elucidating human speculation.

Those who do not understand or believe in God’s holy Sabbath are not theologians. They may be sincere, but they are not theologians. The most common and illiterate person who understands and keeps the Sabbath is a greater theologian then the wisest scholar who is ignorant of such a basic, plain truth of the Bible. Those who do not understand the closing events of earth’s history as delineated in Daniel, the Revelation, and The Great Controversy, are not theologians. Those who do not understand the power of Christ to deliver from sin, of the plain and simple gospel story of who Jesus was—”the seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3)—are not theologians. Those who have known and rejected God’s voice through the Spirit of Prophecy may be applauded for their great speculative skills, but their wisdom is no greater than was that of the scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ day—they are not theologians. And if the church, or individuals, permit themselves to be educated by these broken cisterns, they will be deceived and rejected by God as were the Jews in Jesus’ day.

As in Jesus’ day, “There are men among us in responsible positions who hold that the opinions of a few conceited philosophers, so called, are more to be trusted than the truths of the Bible, or the testimonies of the Holy Spirit. Such a faith as that of Paul, Peter, or John is considered old-fashioned and insufferable at the present day . . . God has shown me that these men are . . . to prove a scourge to our people. They are wise above what is written. This unbelief of the very truths of God’s Word because human judgment cannot comprehend the mysteries of His work is found . . . in most of our schools and comes into the lessons of the nurseries.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 79.

Who Can We Trust?

Few so-called scholars are true theologians, and few theologians are recognized scholars. Jesus said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.” Matthew 11:25.

As with ancient Israel at Christ’s first coming, so with modern Israel “in the last solemn work” before His Second Coming—”few great men will be engaged.” They “have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent . . . [and] did not keep pace with the light . . . God will work a work in our day that but few anticipate. He will raise up and exalt among us those [like the shepherds] who are taught rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the outward training of scientific institutions . . . God will manifest that He is not dependent on learned, self-important mortals.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 80, 82.

In Jesus’ day the people had been led to believe that God’s work depended upon the priests and rabbis, as “we have been inclined to think that where there are no faithful ministers there can be no true Christian, but this is not the case. God has promised that where the shepherds are not true He will take charge of the flock Himself. God has never made the flock wholly dependent upon human instrumentalities.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 80.

The Jewish people could not fathom the Lord ever forsaking them. Their leaders had emphasized the texts that spoke of their eternal heritage to the exclusion of texts that spoke of the conditions of prosperity. This led to a false sense of security in the system. They forgot that God has not made Himself dependent upon any man, nation or church. Anyone, such as John the Baptist, who said, “God can raise up children to Himself from these stones,” was thought of as a schismatic and separationist. The question they asked both John and Jesus was, “By what authority do you do these things?”—What rabbi, priest, or synagogue has endorsed you?

The Path to Rejection

The rejection of Jesus and the destruction of a nation followed a very simple path: 1) The leaders became political with only an outward appearance of piety in order to retain the people’s confidence and support. 2) The educational system elevated the human above the divine. 3) The people were taught that all questions of administration or policy must be submitted to ecclesiastical authority and that only those under such authority could preach, write or teach. 4) The people were taught that the chosen nation would continue to be blessed regardless of what it did. 5) The people were led to believe that the work of the Lord consisted totally of the political system then in control of the nation. God was not recognized as the Head of His church as stated in Ephesians 1:22–23. The Lord Himself was obliged to go through the “proper channels” of the church. No one could ever hope to be the Messiah without the Sanhedrin’s recognition.

Following the anointing of Jesus at His baptism, the Father gave proof after proof of Jesus’ Messiahship. But the one proof He was lacking was the official approval of the church—or at least what the people thought was the church.

Of course, Jesus was the church. He was the government. For “where Christ is, even among the humble few, this is Christ’s church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church.” The Upward Look, 315.

No human council or organization, either today, in Martin Luther’s day, or in Jesus’ day can either establish or annul a church body by mere human fiat. The true church in Jesus’ day was not the temple in Jerusalem, but the believers that surrounded Jesus. This has constituted the church “in every age.” This is the church that “the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against,” and “is the one object upon which God bestows in a special sense His supreme regard.” Acts of the Apostles, 11, 12. But to even suggest such a thing in Jesus’ day would have been considered divisive, insubordinate and apostate. Thus the leaders were able to take a whole nation with them to ruin in their rejection of the humble King of Israel. The leaders were too proud, entrenched and educated to follow Jesus or to submit to His authority, and the people cast their lot with the priests.

Accepting the Proof

Witness one of the most dramatic of Jesus’ healings. The man was born blind, the result, supposedly, of a curse from the parents’ or grandparents’ sins. But Jesus made clay, packed it upon his eyes, and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam.

The man came seeing and rejoicing. Though he had never seen Jesus, he knew that He was the Messiah, and acknowledged Him so before the priests. The priests knew this man. They knew he had been blind from birth. They had tried to suggest in previous healings of Jesus, that it was by sleight of hand, but they could not deny this miracle. Neither could they accept the One who performed it, for it was done by Jesus, who was not under their authority or jurisdiction. To acknowledge Him would mean to humble themselves. It could possibly lead to the whole moral and economic collapse of their system. Tithes and offerings would probably start flowing to Jesus. Their own authority would be limited. If they should yield their authority here, what would prevent any and every other upstart from beginning his own ministry? What would preserve the “purity” of the church? To their way of thinking, the whole prosperity of a nation depended upon their handling of this case in such a way as to deprive Jesus of His glory and yet retain the confidence of the people. It would require the utmost skill in administrative tact and crisis management.

“So they . . . called the man who was blind, and said to him, ‘Give God the glory! We know that this Man [Jesus] is a sinner.’ ” But the healed man would not relinquish his faith in Jesus. “Then they reviled him and said, ‘You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples.’ ” John 9:24, 28.

As one last attempt to break through the stubborn resistance of the Jews, Jesus raised a man to life who had been dead for four days. The priests knew that they could not refute this miracle. In their hearts they knew that He was divine. But to acknowledge Him now would destroy their whole social, economic and political system. And to their way of thinking, it would therefore destroy God’s church. That, as “faithful stewards,” they could not allow. Thus Caiaphas said, “It is [more] expedient for us that one man should die for the people, . . . [than] that the whole nation should perish.” John 11:50.

Corruption and political maneuvering they could permit; but someone calling for repentance, someone speaking without their authority, they could not tolerate. When the decision came to choose between Barabbas or Christ, they unanimously, save for Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, demanded Barabbas, and the multitudes followed suit.

Following in Their Footsteps

“At the time of the first advent of Christ to our world, the men who composed the Sanhedrin exercised their authority in controlling men according to their will,” and the people blindly accepted their dominion. Testimonies to Ministers, 301. In their acceptance of human authority they rejected God’s. And though the true church of Israel never fell, the human machinery that the people thought was the church did.

“The sin of ancient Israel was in disregarding the express will of God and following their own way according to the leadings of unsanctified hearts. Modern Israel are fast following in their footsteps and the displeasure of the Lord is as surely resting upon them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 94.
“The religion of many among us will be the religion of apostate Israel, because they love their own way, and forsake the way of the Lord . . . I know that a work must be done for the people, or many will not be prepared to receive the light of the angel sent down from heaven to lighten the whole earth with His glory.” Testimonies to Ministers, 468–469.

When the earth was lightened with the glory of the angels at Jesus’ first coming, few were ready to receive it—only the humblest were lightened by their glory. Just so, another angel is to lighten the earth before Jesus’ Second Coming. Again, only the humblest will receive His glory. The church, purified, is going through. But not everything that purports to be the church today is going to triumph with it. Only the pure and holy are going to triumph. Nothing that in any way bespeaks corruption or political maneuvering will survive.

“The Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people rejected Christ, the Prince of life, He took from them the kingdom of God and gave it unto the Gentiles. God will continue to work on this principle with every branch of His work. When a church proves unfaithful to the work of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are then chosen to bear important responsibilities.” The Upward Look, 131.

“Let a church become proud and boastful, not depending on God, not exalting His power, and that church will surely be left by the Lord, to be brought down to the ground.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 127.

Throughout the land it is Christmas time again. Though the origins of Christmas preceded the Christian Era, let us review the meaning of the Bethlehem scene. While all eyes were fastened upon Jerusalem for the official birth announcement of their Saviour and King, a newborn babe lay sleeping on beaten-down straw, under strips of linen, in a Bethlehem barn. While the church went on with its forms and ceremonies and Sabbath rituals, the lowly shepherds were bowing beside His cradle. They were the true theologians of Israel, but none would accept their inspired announcement. There in that cradle of Bethlehem lay the government of Israel. The prosperity of a nation, a church, a people, lay huddled beside Him. Though many rejected Him, God’s true church accepted Him. That church still lives!

The End

Editorial – The Goal

Jesus . . . gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a special people.” Titus 2:13, 14. “They are without fault before the throne of God.” Revelation 14:5. She will be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:27. Without spot and blameless. 2 Peter 3:14.

This is the goal to be attained by everyone who will be saved, and it is possible for us all, “being confident of this very thing that He who has begun a good work in you will finish it unto the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6.

Concerning the goal Ellen White comments much:

“The result of union with Christ is purification of heart, a circumspect life, and a faultless character. Yet those who have attained to this degree of Christian perfection are the last to claim that they have any merits of their own.” Signs of the Times, March 10, 1887.

“The thorough work of preparation must go on with all who profess the truth, until we stand before the throne of God without fault, without a spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. God will cleanse you if you will submit to the purifying process.” Maranatha, 90.

“When tempted to murmur, censure, and indulge in fretfulness, wounding those around you, and in so doing wounding your own soul, oh! let the deep, earnest, anxious inquiry come from your soul, Shall I stand without fault before the throne of God? Only the faultless will be there. None will be translated to heaven while their hearts are filled with the rubbish of earth. Every defect in the moral character must first be remedied, every stain removed by the cleansing blood of Christ, and all the unlovely, unlovable traits of character overcome.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 705.

While we must keep our eye on the goal we must never be discouraged if we should stumble on the way:

“Cease the contemplation of others’ mistakes and errors. We should remember that our own ways are not faultless. We make mistakes again and again . . . No one is perfect but Jesus.” That I May Know Him, 136.

“No one is perfect but Jesus. Think of Him and be charmed away from yourself, and from every disagreeable thing, for by beholding our defects faith is weakened. God and His promises are lost from sight.” Manuscript Release, vol. 11, 263.

“Jesus loves His children, even if they err. They belong to Jesus and we are to treat them as the purchase of the blood of Jesus Christ. Any unreasonable course pursued toward them is written in the books as against Jesus Christ. He keeps His eye upon them, and when they do their best, calling upon God for His help, be assured the service will be accepted, although imperfect. Jesus is perfect. Christ’s righteousness is imputed unto them, and He will say, Take away the filthy garments from him, and clothe him with change of raiment. Jesus makes up for our unavoidable deficiencies. Where Christians are faithful to each other, true and loyal to the Captain of the Lord’s host, never betraying trusts into the enemy’s hands, they will be transformed into Christ’s character. Jesus will abide in their hearts by faith.” Letter, 17A, 1891.

“We may take courage, and believe that we shall overcome every imperfection of character. Our Redeemer has taken our nature, fought our battles, and in his name we shall conquer. Human nature may take hold of the strength of God, and be victorious.” Youth’s Instructor, December 28, 1899.

“When He sees men lifting the burdens, trying to carry them in lowliness of mind, with distrust of self and with reliance upon Him, He adds to their work His perfection and sufficiency, and it is accepted of the Father. We are accepted in the beloved. The sinner’s defects are covered by the perfection and fullness of the Lord our righteousness. Those who with sincere will, with contrite heart, are putting forth humble efforts to live up to the requirements of God, are looked upon by the Father with pitying, tender love; He regards such as obedient children, and the righteousness of Christ is imputed unto them.” Our High Calling, 51.

“All who desire to be among the number who will stand before God without fault must begin without delay the practical work of overcoming. The Lord permits trials to come in order that we may be cleansed from earthliness, from selfishness, from harsh un-Christlikeness of character. He desires to create in every heart a deep and earnest longing to be cleansed from every stain of sin, that we may come forth purer, holier, and happier from every trial which He permits. Our souls become darkened by selfishness, but if we can only see Jesus, there will be a dying to self. Changes will be made in word and action.” Upward Look, 298.

The End