God The Father, The Judge

God the Father is in His own right the supreme Judge of man and of angels. He proposes to bring all mankind into judgment. Yet this work is only done in part by Himself in person. It is by Jesus Christ that God is to perform the larger part of His immense work. The following proposition is worthy of serious consideration.

  1. God the Father opens the judgment in person, then crowns His Son king, and commits the judgment to Him.

“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him, thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him, the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominions, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:9–14.

The Ancient of Days represents God the Father. That one like the Son of man, who comes to the Ancient of Days, is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:61, 62. It is, therefore, not the Son, but the Father who sits in judgment as described in this vision. Those who stand in his presence either to minister, or to wait, are not men, but angels. This is a very important fact. Every student of the Bible is aware that the book of Revelation is a wonderful counterpart to the book of Daniel.

This very phraseology respecting those in the presence of the Ancient of Days, is made use of in the Revelation, and with the evident design of showing who are the persons intended by Daniel. Thus John says: “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” Revelation 5:11.

Daniel describes the opening scene of the final judgment. The Father presides as judge. The angels of God are present as ministers and witnesses. At this tribunal the Son of man presents Himself to receive the dominion of the world. Here He is crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. But men are not present to witness this part of the judgment, or to behold the coronation of Christ. It is the Father and the Son and the holy angels who compose this grand assembly. Our Lord cannot act as judge so long as He ministers as high priest to make intercession for them that come to God through Him. Hebrews 7:24, 25. Nor can He act as judge until He is clothed with kingly power, for it is by virtue of His authority as king that He pronounces the decision of the judgment. Matthew 25:34, 40. The coronation of our Lord at the judgment-seat of His Father marks the termination of His priesthood, and invests Him with the sovereign authority by which He shall judge the world.

  1. It is not upon the earth that the Ancient of Days holds the session of the judgment described in Daniel 7.

Those who think this session of judgment by the Father is to be held upon our earth, understand that the “ten thousand times ten thousand” who stand before Him are the vast multitude of the human family, standing at His bar for judgment. But as this vision represents the Son as coming to the Father when He is thus seated in judgment, it follows that if the Father is already upon this earth judging its inhabitants when the Son of God comes the second time, then the Father does not send his Son to the earth, but he comes first, and then the Son comes and joins him. Yet Peter said of the Father concerning Christ’s Second Advent, “He shall send Jesus Christ.” Acts 3:20.


Great Sound of a Trumpet


It would also follow that instead of the Son of man coming to gather His saints from the four quarters of the earth, He comes to find all mankind gathered at His Father’s bar. But we do know that when the Saviour comes He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and shall gather His elect from the four winds, even from the uttermost parts of the earth. Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:1.

But should this difficulty be avoided by adopting the truth that those who stand before the Ancient of Days are angels, as those certainly must be who minister unto Him? It follows that our Lord is coming back to our earth thus preceded by His Father and the holy angels, comes unattended and alone. But this cannot be true, for when Jesus comes again it will be with all the holy angels. Matthew 25:31; 17:27; 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8.

Again the Saviour is crowned king at the judgment-seat of the Father. But that judgment-seat cannot be upon our earth, else the Saviour would have to return to this earth to be crowned; whereas He receives His kingdom while absent, and returns as king of kings, sitting upon the throne of His glory. Luke 19:11, 12, 15; Matthew 25:31; 2 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 19:11–16.

It is certain; therefore, that the judgment scene described in Daniel 7 does not take place upon our earth. Indeed, were it true that immediately preceding the descent of the Saviour to our earth, God the Father should Himself descend in His own infinite majesty, and summon mankind to His bar, and enter into judgment with them, the subsequent advent of Jesus would hardly be taken notice of at all by men. But such is not the truth in this case. Matthew 24:29–31; 25:31, 32; Mark 13:26, 27; Luke 21:25–27, 36; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–10.

  1. This session of the judgment by the Ancient of Days precedes the advent of Christ to our earth.

When the Lord comes again He is a king seated upon His own throne. Matthew 24:31; Luke 19:11, 12, 15; Revelation 19:11–16. But the tribunal of the Father is the very time and place where His coronation occurs. Daniel 7:7–14. It must then precede His advent.

When he comes the second time it is “in the glory of his Father.” Matthew 16:27; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; 2 Thessalonians1:7, 8. But it is when the Father sits in judgment that He gives this glory to His Son. Daniel 7:14. Indeed, the very majesty of the Father as displayed at this tribunal, will attend the Son when He is revealed in flaming fire to take vengeance on His enemies. 2 Thessalonians 1:7–10; Matthew 24:30, 31; 25:31. We are certain; therefore, that the revelation of Christ in His infinite glory is subsequent to that tribunal at which that glory is given to Him.

On this occasion, the Father is judge in person, and the Son presents Himself to receive the kingdom. But when the Son of man comes to our earth, having received the kingdom, He acts as judge Himself. 2 Timothy 4:1. But it is evident that our Lord’s work as judge is at a later point of time than that judgment scene at which the Father presides. We are certain, therefore, that the tribunal of Daniel 7:9–14 precedes the descent of our Lord from heaven. 1 Thessalonians 4:14–18.

  1. The coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days is not the same event as His Second Advent to our world.

This has been proved already in the examination of other points. Thus it has been shown from the coronation of Christ that the second advent must be at a later time than the Saviour’s act of coming to His Father in Daniel 7:13, 14, to receive the kingdom. Again, to make this the Second Advent we must have God the Father and the host of His angels here upon our earth when the Saviour comes again. But this, as has been shown, involves the contradiction of the plainest facts. We cannot, therefore, doubt that the coming of Jesus to the Ancient of Days as He sits in judgment, is an event preceding His Second Advent to our earth.

  1. The coming of the Ancient of Days, in this vision of Daniel’s, is not to this world, but to the place of His judgment scene. With regard to the place of His tribunal we will speak hereafter. We have already proved that this session of the judgment precedes the Second Advent, and that it is not held upon our earth. This fact establishes the truthfulness of this proposition.


Destruction of the Little Horn


  1. The destruction of the power represented by the little horn does not take place at the time when the Ancient of Days sits in judgment, but at a point still later, when the Son of man descends in flaming fire.

We have proved that when our Lord comes to this earth the second time, He comes as king, and must therefore come from the tribunal of His Father, for at that tribunal the kingdom is given to Him. But the man of sin, or the little horn, is destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1:7–10. Whence it follows that the destruction of the Papacy is not at the Father’s judgment seat, but at the advent of his Son, at a still later point of time. But were it true that the judgment scene of Daniel 7 is opened by the personal revelation of God the Father to the inhabitants of our earth, we may be sure that there would be no man of sin left to be destroyed afterward by the brightness of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have already proved that the destruction of the wicked power is when Christ comes to our earth, and that he does not thus come till he has first attended in person this tribunal of his Father. And to this statement agree the words of verse 11: “I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” It appears that even while this grand tribunal was in session, the attention of the prophet was called by the Spirit of God, to the great words, which the horn was speaking. “I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake.” But Daniel does not represent his destruction as coming at once even then. He said, “I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” The period of time covered by this “till” is thus filled up. The Son of God comes to his Father’s judgment-seat and receives the dominion, and the glory, and the kingdom, then descends to our earth in flaming fire, like that which comes forth from before his Father, and by the brightness of his advent destroys the little horn. 2 Thessalonians 1, 2. It is when our Lord thus comes that this wicked power is given to the burning flame.

And this is really the very point marked in verses 21 and 22 for the termination of the war against the saints. “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” But even while the Most High sits in judgment to determine the cases of his saints, the little horn is, according to verse 11, uttering great words against God. When, however, the saints have passed the test of this examination, and are counted worthy of the kingdom of God, their Lord, being crowned king, returns to gather them to himself. It is at this very point of time, the advent of the Lord Jesus, that judgment is given to the saints of the Most High, as proved by comparing 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3 with 1 Corinthians 4:5. And thus we have marked again the advent of Christ as a point of time for the destruction of this wicked power.

  1. The destruction of the Papacy is not the same event as the taking away of his dominion. Compare Daniel 7:11 and 26. The one follows after the sitting of the Ancient of Days in judgment; but the other precedes it by a certain space of time. Yet, if we read the chapter without strict attention, we would be very likely to conclude that not the little horn alone, but each of the first three beasts, had their dominion taken away at the judgment. See verses 11, 12, and 26. This, however, cannot be. For the dominion of the first beast was taken away by the second, though his life was spared; and so of each one to the last. But the little horn has a special dominion over the saints for “a time and times and the dividing of time,” or 1,260 prophetic days (see verse 25; Revelation 12:6, 14), which is taken away at the end of that period. There remains even then a space of time to “the end,” during which his dominion is consumed and destroyed. He wars against the saints, however, and prevails until the judgment is given to the saints at the advent of Christ (1 Corinthians 4:5, 6:2, 3; Revelation 20:4), when he is given to the burning flames. Daniel 7:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:8.
  2. The coronation of Christ at the judgment-seat of the Father is the same event as the standing up of Michael (compare Daniel 7:13, 14; 12:1); for Michael is Christ, and His standing up is His beginning to reign. Michael is the name borne by our Lord as the ruler of the angelic host. It signifies, “He who is like God.” This must be our Lord. See Hebrews 1:3. He is called the archangel. Jude 9. This term signifies prince of angels, or chief of the angelic host. But this is the very office of our divine Lord. Hebrews 1. Michael is the great prince that standeth for the children of God. Also He is called our prince. See Daniel 10:21; 12:1. But this can be no other than Christ. Acts 5:31.

The standing up of Michael is his assumption of kingly power. So the use of this term in Daniel 11:2, 3, 4, 7, 20, 21. But it is Jesus, and not an angel, who takes the throne of the kingdom. Daniel 7:13, 14; Psalm 2:6–12. Our Lord receives His dominion at His Father’s judgment-seat. Daniel 7. A great time of trouble follows, at which Christ delivers everyone found written in the book. This is a plain reference to the examination of the books shown in the previous vision. Compare Daniel 12:1; 7:9, 10. This shows that the judgment scene of Daniel 7 relates to the righteous, and that it precedes their final deliverance at the advent of Christ. The thrones of Daniel 7:9 will be noticed hereafter.


Lessons on Reformation, part 3

The promise made to Abraham concerning a son was fulfilled in the birth of Isaac and it was through his descendants that the Savior was to come. We pick up the narrative of God’s continuing attempts at reformation in His followers. Isaac has grown into manhood and married Rebecca who gave him two sons, Esau and Jacob. It was God’s plan that the firstborn receive the birthright, but Esau was too self-centered to submit himself to such a restriction on his activities. Coming home one day, tired and hungry, he sold his birthright to Jacob for a “mess of pottage.” “‘Thus Esau despised his birthright.’ In disposing of it he felt a sense of relief. Now his way was unobstructed; and he could do as he liked.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 179. Jacob, later named Israel, at the insistence of his mother, practiced deception on his father to gain that birthright for himself.

As the result of this deviousness, Jacob paid a heavy price. Laban, his father-in-law, deceived him with regard to Leah and Rachel, and changed his wages many times during the years he spent working for him. In addition, he never saw his mother again, and his sons lied to him about their treatment of Joseph. But God did not reject Jacob and blessed him throughout his life. He lived long enough to see Joseph and his sons and be reunited with them in Egypt where Joseph was the governor.

After Joseph’s death, “there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.” As this king viewed his kingdom, he saw that the Israelites were growing in number. He feared they would become strong, join the enemies of Egypt in a war and leave the country, depriving the Egyptians of their workforce.

At first the king tried to keep the Israelites from increasing in number by issuing a decree that all male babies were to be destroyed at birth. This cruel law failed and Israel continued to increase. He also made them work under severe conditions. The hard work only made the Israelites grow stronger and continue to increase.


Moses, a Reformer


It was under these circumstances that Moses now appeared upon the scene. Having grown up in the house of Pharaoh, he was to be the next ruler of Egypt. The time had come for Israel to be delivered from bondage, and Moses decided that since he was chosen by the Lord to deliver his people, he would proceed to do it. When he saw an Egyptian attacking an Israelite, he put into motion the only method he knew to carry out that deliverance. He killed the Egyptian. This was not God’s plan for the deliverance of His people, and Moses had to flee to Midian. There he spent the next forty years herding sheep and learning the lessons of humility and patience.

“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11. These are lessons that we are to learn; lessons of truthfulness and openness, of maintaining a humble spirit and exercising patience at all times under all circumstances. With that kind of spirit the Lord can use us to bring the message of salvation to a lost world.

Moses came back to Egypt ready to lead his people out to the Promised Land. Now God could use him to bring reformation to His people. Moses did not know it, but there was a long, arduous and frustrating journey ahead of him. There would be many occasions where his patience would be severely tried. When asked to go before Pharaoh and demand that he let Israel go into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord, he hesitated, giving the excuse that he had a speech impediment. The Lord was patient with Moses and consented to have Aaron,his brother, speak for him to the Egyptian ruler.

It was at Sinai that the attempt at the reformation of Israel was begun in earnest. The Ten Commandments were given to Moses on the mount to help the children of Israel understand God’s character as well as His requirements for their salvation and work. The people promised to obey every word spoken by God. However, they failed to realize their own shortcomings and inability to do as they had promised. They were tested many times before arriving at the borders of the Promised Land. Most of the time they failed those tests, but the Lord continued to work with His people in spite of these failures. He wanted them to evangelize the world in order to save lost humanity.

At Kadesh-barnea Israel refused to go into Canaan. Because of unbelief and insubordination they spent the next forty years wandering in the wilderness until all those who had been twenty or older at the Exodus from Egypt had passed off the scene of action. “It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed. God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander forty years in the wilderness. He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there a holy, healthy, happy people. But those to whom it was first preached, went not in ‘because of unbelief.’ Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them . . . We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel; but for Christ’s sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action.” Evangelism, 696.

In the history of the Advent Movement there have been several occasions when we have come to a Kadesh-barnea experience and have refused to go into the Promised Land. The most notable of these events occurred in 1888 at the refusal by many at that conference to accept the messages of righteousness by faith. We turned into the wilderness and have been there ever since.

“How sad, how deeply regrettable, it is that this message of righteousness in Christ should, at the time of its coming, have met with opposition on the part of earnest, well-meaning men in the cause of God. The message has never been received, nor proclaimed, nor given free course as it should have been in order to convey to the church the measureless blessings that were wrapped up within it. The seriousness of exerting such an influence is indicated through the reproofs that were given.” Christ Our Righteousness, 47. By A. G. Daniels, 1941.

At the close of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness, Israel once again came to the borders of Canaan. The devil was working furiously to frustrate God’s plans for Israel. He was successful once more and seduced the Israelites into idolatry and infidelity. Through the efforts of some that stood for principle, this problem was solved and Israel finally entered the Promised Land.

“God had placed His people in Canaan as a mighty breastwork to stay the tide of moral evil, that it might not flood the world. If faithful to Him, God intended that Israel should go on conquering and to conquer. He would give into their hands nations greater and more powerful than the Canaanites. The promise was: ‘If ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, . . . then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.’ Deuteronomy 11:22–25.

“But regardless of their high destiny, they chose the course of ease and self-indulgence; they let slip their opportunities for completing the conquest of the land; and for many generations they were afflicted by the remnant of these idolatrous peoples, that were, as the prophet had foretold, as ‘pricks’ in their eyes, and as ‘thorns’ in their sides. Numbers 33:55.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 544.


Israel Desires a King


“Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 1 Samuel 8:5. Israel desired to be like the heathen nations around them. This was one of the consequences of not driving out the inhabitants of Canaan when Israel first entered that land. Up to this point God had been their king, but they were not satisfied with that arrangement. They wanted a king to rule over them the way the other nations were ruled. The Lord sent a warning to them regarding the consequences of having an earthly king, but they refused to listen and demanded a king. The Lord granted their wishes and Israel was led down the path into idolatry.’

The principle of becoming changed into that which we behold is one of the reasons we have been counseled to get out of the cities into a country setting. Our children would be contaminated with the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the cities and as a result would be lost. And we as adults are not immune to the influences of city life. The devil uses such settings to cause us to become so engrossed in our daily living that we lose sight of our purpose for being, that is giving the Three Angels’ Messages to the world.’

It seems that we, as modern Israel, have come to the same place as they. We desire to be like the churches around us. Two Union Conferences and one mission have joined the Council of Churches as guest members in their respective areas. That requires payment of dues. The two Unions are the North and South German Unions and the Mission is Vanuatu. Seventh-Day Adventists in the Solomon Islands have also joined as guest members. Both the German and South Pacific Councils are arms of the World Council of Churches. Will we ever learn the lessons that Old Testament history attempts to teach us? We are to be a separate and peculiar people, peculiar in that we have a unique message for fallen man.

God says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14–18.


Results of Kingly Power


Because of this demand for an earthly king, the ten tribes were led deeper and deeper into idolatry and eventually were scattered over the earth and lost to history. Judah fared better but they too were finally taken captive to Babylon for seventy years. After returning to Jerusalem, rebuilding the city and temple, they failed to continue their reformation and were almost lost sight of, for the next four hundred years, until the time Jesus was born.

When Christ arrived as a babe in Bethlehem, the Jews were looking for a messiah but not as the one portrayed by the prophets. They were expecting a great general to free them from the Roman yoke and establish Jerusalem as the leading city of the world. Because Jesus did not fulfill their desires, He seemed to them to be a usurper of the throne of David. So they decided to eliminate Him. He interfered with their plans. His gospel included humility, which hurt their pride. Caiaphas said, “Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” John 11:50.

The Messiah had come to bring salvation and greatness to the children of Israel and they crucified Him. Yet the Spirit of God continued to plead with them until the stoning of Stephen. Then the Lord accepted Israel’s rejection of Him, and He rejected them as a people and turned to the Gentiles. Will we as a people suffer the same experience as they did and be rejected also? God is waiting for a people that will finish the Reformation that was begun in the fourteenth century with Wycliffe. He will use people; will it be you and me? If not, then who will it be?

The disciples and apostles did their best to fulfill the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18–20and they were able to reach the whole world. (See Romans 10:18.) But there came a falling away even before Paul died. He said: “the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

The work Jesus had begun while he was upon the earth reached a plateau of development at the death of John and then began a steady slide down into a paganistic religion.

This descent into a false religion continued until the evils of paganism once more entered the church, leading to the establishment of the Papacy by the year 538 A.D. For the next one thousand years, that papal power ruled the consciences of men all over the world. However, there were, in various parts of the earth, groups of people that remained untainted by the false doctrines of the Papacy. These faithful souls stood steadfast and loyal to God’s Ten Commandments, including the fourth commandment.

Throughout the period known as the Dark Ages, when the Papacy was in control of most of the world, there were those who refused to be obedient to the papal demands. In many areas of the world there were people that not only obeyed the Commandments of God but also propagated the Gospel message any way they could. Because of extreme persecution by the papal power, the spread of the Gospel was limited as long as Roman Catholicism was in control. But the time was approaching when this control was to be broken. There were signs of disintegration of Papal supremacy, visible at different times and various places in the earth, revealing that God was moving upon the hearts of people. When the break came, it was like a thunderbolt to the Papacy and was to shake the Triple Crown upon the heads of the popes at Rome.

In our next article we will pick up this story of the broken shackles, and follow its movement in the world and in the hearts of men.


That Thy Days May Be Long

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12. This is a promise from God, that refers not only to your happiness and life here on earth, but also your life in the heavenly Canaan. God was talking about your days being forever.

God asks us a question in Malachi 1:6: “A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is my reverence? Says the Lord of Hosts to you priests who despise My name.”

Just as we are to honor our parents, we are to honor our Heavenly Father. What is the basis of the honor, the respect, which we give to our parents or to God? Honor runs parallel with obedience, for the Bible says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1.

When you obey and honor someone, it is because they have authority, and you respect them. God has authority—authority above everyone else. In this article we will study to discern what God’s authority is based upon. This is vital because the devil has deliberately confused a large portion of the world on this question.

First of all let us look at the oppose question. What is the authority of the devil based upon? What is authority in this world based upon? Jesus said: “Jesus called them to Himself and said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.” Matthew 20:25. Authority here on earth is based on the fact that the lords or rulers have power—they “lord it over them.” God’s authority is not like that. His authority is not based on power, unreasoning submission or control. Nevertheless, the devil would like people to believe that God somehow tells you what to do, and you have to do it because He is more powerful than you are.

It is amazing how many Christians believe the devil’s lie and ascribe to God the character traits of the devil. “From the beginning it has been Satan’s studied plan to cause men to forget God, that he might secure them to himself. Hence he has sought to misrepresent the character of God, to lead them to cherish a false conception of Him. The Creator has been presented to their minds as clothed with the attributes of the prince of evil himself, as arbitrary, severe, and unforgiving.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 738. [All emphasis supplied.]

The devil has presented God as clothed with the attributes of the prince of evil—arbitrary, severe, and unforgiving. He created the theory of eternal hellfire just to support that. He wanted men to believe that God would punish someone eternally for what they did in their seventy or eighty years of life. This is an example of just how severe a picture Satan has painted of God.

The first character trait the devil applies to God is that He is arbitrary. God has never in all eternity done one arbitrary thing. Look in the Bible account. It is completely against His character. God never asks anyone to do anything, “just because He said so.”

If God never exercises arbitrary authority, would God give me arbitrary authority? No! However, it seems that many today feel He has. This is one of the main reasons we are losing our young people today. Is it any wonder that youth have no interest in religion when they have been taught that God is arbitrary, or we have shown them an example of arbitrary authority? We turn our children away for, “arbitrary words and actions stir up the worst passions of the human heart.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 134.

We ask, If God is not arbitrary and He never exercises arbitrary authority, what kind of authority does He have? God clearly defined it in Deuteronomy 6:24: “And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always.” Our young people need to understand this, and we need to demonstrate it in all of our dealings with other human beings.

All God’s commandments are given for our good always. When the Lord said, Do not commit adultery or do not steal, there was a reason. For every command He has a reason in mind. You and I may not always understand His reason, but that does not mean it is not there. Eve could not figure out why God told her not to eat the forbidden fruit. So she decided to try it. People have been trying it ever since. God says not to do something, and they decide to see what will happen if they do. Sooner or later they find out, and suffer the consequences.

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good.” Deuteronomy 10:12, 13.


God Exercises Only Moral Authority


All the authority that God exercises is moral authority—never arbitrary, never severe or unforgiving. What does the word moral mean? It has to do with right and wrong. Something moral is right; something immoral is wrong. In other words, God’s authority is based on a principle of right or wrong.

Abraham understood this and he questioned the Lord about it. “And Abraham came near and said, ‘Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? . . . Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth be right?’” Genesis 18:23, 25.

Abraham knew that God was just, and would not let the righteous die with the wicked. So God promised Abraham, if He could find ten righteous people in the city of Sodom, he would spare the city. Sadly, there were not even ten righteous in Sodom, but God in His justice, spared as many righteous people as He could find, taking them out of the city before it was destroyed.

Moses said about God: “He is the rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice. A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32:4.

We need this firmly fixed in our minds. God’s Word is not a list of “do’s” and “do nots.”Following it is the only true road to happiness. We are doing the greatest injury to ourselves when we think or act contrary to the will of God. We need to teach our children this from the time they are little babies, so that when they grow up, they realize that anything God says to do is for their good.


Absolute Authority


In addition to being moral, God’s authority is absolute. God has the right to have absolute authority first of all because He has infinite knowledge. The Bible says that very clearly. “In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3. Because He has infinite knowledge, He never makes a mistake, and He will never err in any of His judgments.

God also has infinite love. He loves those whom He has created, and He will never use His authority or His power in a way that will hurt them. “All the paternal love which has come down from generation to generation through the channel of human hearts, all the springs of tenderness which have opened in the souls of men, are but as a tiny rill to the boundless ocean when compared with the infinite, exhaustless love of God.” Maranatha, 77. Because His knowledge, wisdom and love are infinite, He alone has the right to absolute authority.

All genuine authority is derived from the authority of God. At times God delegates authority to others. Before John the Baptist was born, God sent the angel Gabriel to talk to Zacharias. He told Him that he and his wife were going to have a son. Gabriel had authority because he was delivering a message from God.

When Zacharias did not believe, the angel said to him, I am Gabriel and I stand in the presence of God and I have come to deliver this message to you. Because you do not believe, you will be dumb until the child is born. Gabriel had authority. He did not have absolute, infinite authority as God has, but when God sent him on an errand, the message he delivered had divine authority.

God delegates His authority, not only to the angels, but also to His people. The church hasP> authority, and His ministers have authority. Where does their authority come from? It comes from the Bible. Paul said to Timothy, “Preach the Word.” 2 Timothy 4:2. If I preach the Word of God to you, that message has divine authority.

It is the same Word that gives the church divine authority. This was lost sight of by many during the Dark Ages. The Roman Church said, The Church produced the Word, therefore we have ultimate authority. If you study the history of the martyrs, you will find that they had debates on this question many times.

The relationship between the Church and the Bible is found in the Bible itself. The following is a text that the Protestant Apologists used in their debates against the Roman Catholic theologians: “Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of truth.” James 1:18.

The church did not produce the Word. The Word produced the church. The commandment says that it is the father who is to be honored, not the child. In the same way, the Bible is to be honored above the church, because the Bible was parented, or produced by the Word. Therefore, if we are going to keep the fifth commandment, the church has to honor the Word which brought it forth.

God not only gave authority to His church or to His ministers, but He also gave authority to parents over their children as revealed in the fifth commandment. What kind of authority do parents have over their children? We have just studied that it is not to be arbitrary, but instead authority that is in subjection to God’s Word.

Consider this. In some countries, if a child becomes a Christian against the parent’s wishes, the child could lose his life. Should that child become a Christian? Yes, he should, and he might, if necessary, need to flee from home to have liberty to follow God. A child is only to obey His parents in the Lord. He has a higher power to obey.

Moral authority always has a moral reason. I am amazed that the God of heaven, when dealing with sinful people, condescends to say to us, “Come now, and let us reason together.” Isaiah 1:18. The God of heaven does not exercise authority over His children in an arbitrary, severe, unforgiving manner.

If you want your children to open up their hearts to religion and Jesus, help them to understand this. It will completely change their religious experience. There are homes, churches, organizations and schools all over the world that tell our young people, “You do this because I said so.” That is Satanic. The devil is the one who is arbitrary. Arbitrary commands, with no moral reason, are part of the antichrist power.

Arbitrary authority is one of the reasons why so many marriages break up. As a pastor, people come to me constantly, seeking counsel because their marriages are breaking up. You ought to hear the stories that I hear. It has become clear to me that one of the reasons for this is because we are arbitrary with each other. Remember, arbitrary words and actions arouse the worst passions of the human heart.

When Jesus came to earth, he came to a world where arbitrary authority reigned. The people were accustomed to leaders like Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great, who came with an army and you did what they said or else! Husbands ruled their wives this way, and parents their children. When Jesus came to the people, He did not come with an army, a dagger. When Jesus came, He said, “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me. For I am meek [gentle] and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30. The authority of Jesus was only exercised with love and kindness.

Where is our love, our spirit of compassion? How many times has our wife or our child done something, and we have become angry and said “that’s it.” Consider God’s longsuffering with you. How many times has He forgiven you? We must learn the lesson found in Luke 6:37, 38: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Do not let the devil deceive you about God’s character, or about what your character must be like to enter heaven.


Kindness to Sinners


It is tragic the way Adventists treat each other. If God treated us the way we are treating one another, we would all be lost. I am astounded at how ready we are to condemn our brothers and sisters. And when someone stops to help these sinners, the report spreads all over the country. “This man is too easy on sin.” Was Jesus easy on sin? Jesus said to the woman who had been involved in prostitution, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8:11. He forgave all of her past sins and gave her the power to live a new life.

I have preached the gospel to rapists, murderers and others who are in prison for committing terrible crimes. I came to them in Jesus’ name, and told them Jesus could take away all their guilt. That He could give them the power to live a new life and that they could have eternal life. Some were converted and baptized from these prisons. Did I make a mistake? Should I have turned away because they were sinners?

Jesus had the same problem in His day. He got in trouble for preaching the gospel to people condemned by the Pharisees. Jesus said to the paralytic man, “Your sins be forgiven you.” This man had been to the priests and the Pharisees. They condemned him to hell, and told him that because of his sin there was no hope for him. But Jesus said, I forgive you, and I offer you eternal life.

Recently, a lady in California told me her experience. She was working with some people who had been involved in drugs. She told me of the miracles that happened in their lives. She started studying the gospel of John with them, and they gave their hearts to the Lord. Within a few days they wanted to go to church with her. So she took them to church. But there was a problem. They had just come off the street. They did not have a suit or tie, or a nice dress shirt. They were wearing jeans and T-shirts. It was obvious when they arrived at the church that they were not welcome. Nobody was friendly to them. They were from the wrong side of the tracks, the wrong part of society.

The cry of my own heart is, “Lord, I want to be all done with Pharisaism. I no longer want to be arbitrary or severe. Please make me gentle and lowly in heart and give me a forgiving spirit.” If we allow the Lord to make these changes in our hearts, our homes will be like a little heaven here on earth. When our homes become like heaven, our churches will become like heaven. When people come in wearing blue jeans and with long hair, they will see that we do have something that they do not have, and they will want it. Then our churches will become evangelistic centers. When we have put away variance, strife and fighting and arbitrary authority, God will be able to pour His Holy Spirit out on us.

Do you want it to happen? Are you willing to pray, “Lord, help me to give up all this arbitrariness, severity and unforgiving spirit and help me to wear the yoke of Christ and have His spirit and character”? We must pray about this day by day. God wants to give it to us. He has been waiting to deliver us from everything that is Satanic and put His own character into our spirit, life and homes.


Children’s Story — On Freedom’s Soil

I wish I might have known my grandfather, Valentine Leer, but he died before I was born. I can see him, though—a short, stout German farm boy, plowing the gently rolling fields of his father’s land in Russia’s southern Ukraine.

It was good land, rich black soil. Valentine Leer stopped the horses and squatted on his heels to rub the dirt between his fingers. It was still moist from the winter rains. The best growing land in Russia, he smiled proudly to himself. And his father’s farm the best kept, the most productive.

Straightening up, he looked out across the upturned furrows behind him to his little village nestled in the poplars among the low hills. Kassel, just fifty miles north of Odessa on the Black Sea, had been home to his people ever since they left Germany maybe fifty years ago in the early eighteen hundreds. They had come in response to the Czar’s call for more thrifty, hard-working German farmers, with the modern methods of Western Europe, to settle these thousands of fertile acres.

Valentine loved the little village which his people had named after their hometown in Germany. He could see the Lutheran church where he helped with the younger boys, the school, and his white-washed mud cottage in the cherry orchard under the great endless blue of the sky. Someday he would have his own cottage, and he knew who would share it with him—at least, he hoped he knew!

Putting up the horses for the night, Valentine strode toward the welcoming lamp light, hungry for a bowl of his mother’s Borsch. Or maybe there would be Kase Knepf or Strudel tonight. Whatever it was, he knew there would be plenty.

But when he came in, the kitchen was empty. From the next room, he heard his father’s angry voice.

“But, officer, I have already paid my taxes down at Odessa.”

“I did not make the law. I just follow my orders. Fifty more rubles to the Czar this year. After all, there is a war going on.”

There had been a war going on as long as Valentine could remember.

“I cannot pay it now,” his father said.

“I do not have the money.”

“If you do not have it in by Monday night, you either go to jail, or we take five desiatine of your land.”

There was a scraping of chairs and boots and the front door closed.

Valentine saw his father sink heavily into a chair. His mother sat in the corner wiping her eyes. He waited for his father to speak.

“Ach, so. Another freedom gone.”

“But I do not understand, Father.”

“You are young, my son. Tonight you have seen two of the promises in Catherine the Great’s manifesto broken.

First, the taxes. She promised us freedom from taxation. But year by year they have become heavier until I can hardly pay them. And then this Russian officer! We Germans were to have our own government, with an administrative board appointed by the Czar. One of our own officers should be collecting the taxes. But now the only question is: Where do I get the money? If I do not get it, I will lose the land.”

For the first time, Valentine realized the heavy burden his father carried. He ate his supper silently, wishing there was some way he could help. Scarcely had they finished their meal when Conrad Schmidt, their neighbor to the east, came in. He looked so old and beaten that Valentine’s father exclaimed, “Conrad, what is wrong?”

“They have taken my land,” he almost whispered. “You know I did not have much. My wife has been sick and I had a poor harvest last year. There were other expenses and I could not pay the taxes. So they have taken the last.”

“If I were younger,” Conrad continued slowly, “Yes, if I were younger and my wife strong, you know what I would do? I would go to America!”

Valentine slipped out the back door. He had to think. What was happening to the German colony? How could the Russians take their land away from them? It was not right.

He looked up to see Herr Wall, their Lutheran school teacher, swinging briskly down the road, bulging satchel in hand. Herr Wall was always hurrying. “Where are you going?” Valentine called.

“To America,” he answered. Then he stopped and laughed. “Ach, lieber, Valentine, you look surprised! Yes, but it is true. The Russian officers brought me orders from the Czar to turn over our Lutheran school to the Ministry of Education. We were to be free to control our own school, but now it is to be taught and controlled by the Russians!”

“But, America, Herr Wall,” Valentine protested. “What do you know about America? It is so far away.”

“But it is free, my lad. No one will take my school away from me in America. Yes, I am going. I will write and tell you all about it.”

During the following years Valentine thought often about Herr Wall and America. As he became responsible for more of the duties and problems of the farm, and built the little cottage to which he brought his bride, Fredricka Hieb, he treasured the occasional letter which came from his teacher.

But there was much to keep him busy at home and in the community. As Valentine and his bride walked slowly home over the muddy road one spring evening, avoiding the deep ruts left by the farm wagons, they talked about the Baptist preacher who had recently come to their village.

“You know, Fredricka, I feel that this teaching is more like what I have studied in the Bible myself. I believe I must accept it and be baptized.” He saw her face whiten in the dusk. “But Valentine, you know it is forbidden to change your religion. You know how the Orthodox Church and the government are working together to clamp down on Protestants. I just know you will be put in jail!”

“When something is right to do,” he answered, “then the only thing is to go ahead and do it.”

In spite of Fredricka’s fears, he was baptized. That was when his life of active service really began: A word of comfort to a downhearted Russian peasant here, a pamphlet on the love of God to an educated Russian officer there, and guidance and help to the new little Baptist Church in the German community.

But Fredricka had been right. It was not long before these activities brought him persecution. During the next few years he began to feel that he knew the interior of the Velva jail, five miles away, almost as well as his own home. When he returned from jail, discouraged, he could always find comfort in his children, Karl and Carolina.

“Father!” called little Karl, running out through the lean-to one night, “there is a big, big man in the house!”

Valentine dropped the plow and hurried in. What could it be this time? Surely not more taxes.

Fredricka stood at the kitchen door, tears in her eyes. “It was an officer, Valentine,” she choked. “He is taking a census for . . . for military service. Sometime this year you will have to go!”

Valentine picked up baby Carolina and put his arm around his wife. “Come, Karl,” he said, “it is time to go in to worship.” He took the big German family Bible from the shelf and sat down.

“That breaks the last promise, does it not? Exemption from military service. But we must remember, Fredricka, that God has a purpose behind all this. Though we cannot see what it is yet, we can trust Him.”

Valentine remembered the confidence and peace of that worship period the next evening when the heavy door of the little jail in Velva slammed behind him.

“Ivanovitch!” He heard the towering, fur-capped office bellow. “Take this … this Baptist and lock him up. I do not know for how long. Forever, for all I care!”

“But officer,” fussed the balding little jailer, “you know this Valentine Leer makes nothing but trouble in here. He is always converting . . .” The nervous little jailer’s voice trailed off. The door was shut and the officer gone.

“All right, all right, Valentine Leer,” he sighed, “what is it this time?”

Valentine sank down wearily on the hard slat-covered bed and began to unlace his muddy boots.

“This time, Mr. Ivanovitch, your officers on horseback drove me five miles on foot through the mud to you here because I was reading from the Bible to my Russian neighbor. I was reading from the Book of John, you know, the part where our Savior says . . .”

“You mean you were out making converts for the Baptist Church again. Proselytizing. That is against the law!”

“Yes, you are right. It is against the laws of Russia, and I am sorry for that. I do not like to disobey laws, especially the laws of a country which has been so good to our people in the past. But if God’s laws tell me to preach, and man’s laws say not to, then I must obey God’s laws.”

The jailer slid down beside Valentine, his eyes on the curious faces of the other inmates as he scooted nearer.

“Tell me something, Leer,” he half whispered. “I do not know much about the laws of God, but I would like to know why it is so important for you to do this—to keep preaching this gospel you talk about, always ending up in jail here. Why are you so different from the rest of us anyway?”

“Valentine leaned against the wall, closing his eyes for a moment. He was very tired. Being marched five miles through deep mud had not been easy, especially after a hard day’s work in the fields. He wanted to be alone to rest and think. To think about the letter which had come that day from Herr Wall in America. He would really prefer to talk to the jailer later.

Then a picture of Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail came to his mind. They had been tired, too, and had been beaten besides, when they sang their triumphant hymns. He turned to the jailer.

“Mr. Ivanovitch, I am glad to tell you why I seem different. It is just a matter of faith. I see you have an icon over there. You have a fine one, my friend, the gold frame is beautiful and the picture of Jesus is lovely. Now when the priest has blessed this icon, you say it is sacred and you pray to it. You have faith in the icon, do you not?”

The jailer nodded.

“Now I have faith, too, but not in a picture made by a man like myself. I have faith in God and His Son, Jesus. I can pray directly to Him. I know that God hears me, that His Spirit is with me,always, wherever I am. I do not have to buy an expensive icon, and then a more expensive one, hoping that it will bring me blessings. I talk with the Creator who made the universe, and yet Who loves and cares for me. Is that not wonderful?”

“Look,” he said, “I will read it to you just as our Savior said it.”

He took his German Bible from an inner pocket and slowly translated several sweet promises into Russian. He could see that the other prisoners were straining to hear, and he wished he could read louder so that they would be sure to get the meaning.

“Come now,” he said finally, “I will teach you how to pray directly to your heavenly Father. We will kneel together.”

As he knelt, Valentine rejoiced to see four of the men climb from their bunks and slip to their knees on the floor. “Now I will teach you the prayer our Savior taught His disciples.” And Valentine slowly repeated the words of the Lord’s Prayer. Soon others were joining in with, “Our Father, which art in heaven . . .”

Suddenly they heard the tramp of boots outside and the grating of a big key in the lock. Before the jailer could get to his feet, the heavy door swung open revealing the overseer of the southern Ukrainian prisons.

The overseer cursed in anger.

“Ivanovitch, you swine, what is going on here? Oh, yes, now I see. It is that Valentine Leer here again. These Baptists,” he roared, “when you have one, you have two. If there are two, there will be four. And now look we have six, and one of them is my jailer.”

“All right,” he sighed, “let him go. And do not bring that little Leer into one of my jails again. He makes as many converts inside as he does outside!”

Well, I am free to go home again, Valentine thought, pushing along through the mud. Home to what? A few acres of land which could be taken from him at any time, Russian schools for his children where they would be indoctrinated with the Orthodox belief, military service which might take him from home for many years to fight in wars of conquest he could not conscientiously support, and most important, to a total lack of understanding of what religious freedom should be.

He realized that he had come to the place where he must either give up his spiritual work for others or be prepared for a future which could include not only the Velva jail, but also a Siberian prison.

He had almost memorized the words of Herr Wall’s letter—”There is freedom here in America, Valentine. You can worship or not, as you please. You can change your religion, preach any message you wish—no one hinders you in any way.”

Valentine turned to look at the fields of home. He would miss the rich acres and the mild climate as well as the Russian people. But when he would plow and plant and preach again, it would be on freedom’s soil.

Sequel: Valentine Leer did come to America. He was a Baptist at that time. In America he met an English speaking man who shared the Ten Commandments with him. That was all it took. The Holy Spirit gave him understanding as he studied for himself.

Valentine Leer raised up twenty-five Seventh-day Adventist churches in North and South Dakota. He also raised $70,000 for the College of Medical Evangelists to give young people the opportunity he did not have—to learn.

The American branch of the Leer family prospered and grew over the years. Many of them are missionaries, ministers and teachers carrying on the family tradition of active service for the Lord like their progenitor, Valentine Leer.


Food for Life — Exercise and it’s Benefits

Happy New Year! How was 1997 for you? Were you proud of everything you accomplished, or are there some dark pages in your past? Have you decided to observe all the health habits that God has so graciously given you, or are you “tempting God” to let you go on as you have in the past, trusting that He will overlook your small mistakes and rebellious hearts and still grant you Eternal Life? Oh how far we do go when we tempt God. It is a very dangerous pathway to be following, and one that eventually will prove ruin to your soul if you do not confess your wrong habits and reform. So let us endeavor this new year to give God a year of perfect obedience to all His laws, that we may reap the many benefits of this program in this life and then be found faultless before His throne in the hereafter.

Exercise and its benefits are in so many of the modern health journals. I am reminded of the statement in the Spirit of Prophecy, “There is no exercise that will prove as beneficial to every part of the body as walking.” Healthful Living, 130. Action is the law of our being. Every organ of the body has its appointed work, upon the performance of which its development and strength depend. The normal action of all the organs gives strength and vigor, while the disuse leads toward decay and death. Bind up an arm, even for a few weeks, then free it from its bands, and you will see that it is weaker than the one you have been using moderately during the same time. Inactivity produces the same effect upon the whole muscular system.

“Inactivity is a fruitful cause of disease. Exercise quickens and equalizes the circulation of the blood, but in idleness the blood does not circulate freely, and the changes in it, so necessary to life and health, do not take place. The skin, too, becomes inactive. Impurities are not expelled as they would be if the circulation had been quickened by vigorous exercise, the skin kept in a healthy condition, and the lungs fed with plenty of pure, fresh air. This state of the system throws a double burden on the excretory organs, and disease is the result . . .

“Exercise aids the dyspeptic by giving the digestive organs a healthy tone. To engage in severe study or violent physical exercise immediately after eating, hinders the work of digestion; but a short walk after a meal, with the head erect and the shoulders back, is a great benefit.

“Notwithstanding all that is said and written concerning its importance, there are still many who neglect physical exercise. Some grow corpulent because the system is clogged; others become thin and feeble because their vital powers are exhausted in disposing of an excess of food. The liver is burdened in its effort to cleanse the blood of impurities, and illness is the result.

“Those whose habits are sedentary should, when the weather will permit, exercise in the open air every day, summer or winter. Walking is preferable to riding or driving, for it brings more of the muscles into exercise. The lungs are forced into healthy action, since it is impossible to walk briskly without inflating them.

“Such exercise would in many cases be better for the health than medicine” Ministry of Healing, 238.

This New Year let us make a new resolution—EXERCISE.


Corn Pones

1/2 c. date sugar

1/2 t. sea salt

1 c. flour

1 T. soy flour

3 c. corn meal

2 T. nut butter

1 1/3 c. nut or soy milk

Mix, beat well, and drop batter from spoon into flat cakes. Bake in hot oven at 400° for about 25 minutes. This recipe may also be used as the crust for Pizza, just reduce the date sugar and press into a Pizza pan. Do not pre-bake.


Non Prophet Institutions

Within the system of the Israelites, to forward the education that heaven counts most profitable, God established the schools of the prophets. Thereby, God’s wisdom could be passed along through His messengers. As long as those who professed the truth believed and followed the counsel, their spiritual prosperity would be sure. God loved, and still loves, His children so much that He is willing to oversee all aspects of their lives. He cares not alone for their spiritual well being, but also their mental and physical health. For these reasons, the schools of the prophets were raised by God’s guiding hand. These institutions were not only an expression of God’s guidance but would also build the faith of His people. God had purposed to educate His people about His loving care through these schools and through the parents and grandparents in every Hebrew home. Thus, He planned to pass on the gospel from a converted people to their children and then out into the rest of the world. It was never God’s purpose that strangers with strange theories should be entrusted with the education of His people or their children. This would, and has always, proved disastrous to the faith of God’s people.

Within the providence and avenues of God’s Word, history, personal testimony and nature, God’s people can find a better way of education. By searching these paths of God’s grace, we are ever to learn additional and deeper truths.

But as true as this is, there is also one who is bent on bringing death and disaster to all that God has pronounced good. That which is good he means to make bad. That which is lovely he means to make vile. That which builds faith he destroys by presumption. In other words, he has one thing in mind. To make of none effect the testimony of God.

In the days of Samuel things were much different in the educational system than they are today. “The chief subjects of study in these schools were the law of God, with the instructions given to Moses, sacred history, sacred music, and poetry. The manner of instruction was far different from that in the theological schools of the present day, from which many students graduate with less real knowledge of God and religious truth than when they entered. In those schools of the olden time it was the grand object of all study to learn the will of God and man’s duty toward Him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 593.

In contrast here is a small sample of what is important to those getting their education at what is considered the top Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary on earth. “It is high time that our church consider that ‘Category A’ sex (known as solo sex, self sex, or partnerless sex) might be a reasonable sexual alternative for today’s singles. The best sexologists and medical experts now agree that solo sex is not physically harmful, and even conservative Christians . . . suggest that since scripture is silent on the matter, occasional self stimulation is no big deal.” Andrews University—John Berecz, Professor of Psychology.

Does this shock you the way it shocked me?! I sure hope that it does. But as alarming and blatantly false as this is, it is being brought to bear on the belief system of the youth who go to Andrews and other “official” SDA institutions around the world. Can one imagine this sort of counsel ever coming out the mouth of any of God’s prophets?

For this professor to make the claim, or try to, vicariously through other “conservative Christians,” that God has remained silent on this subject is pure heresy and falsehood. Here are just two of many, many inspired quotations. “His case was shown me in vision. I saw that he was deceived in regard to himself, that he was not in favor with God. He had practiced self-abuse until he was a mere wreck of humanity. This vice was shown me as an abomination in the sight of God.” Child Guidance, 70. [All emphasis supplied.]

The faculty in educational employment would do well to give special attention to this next inspired quotation: “Steady industry upon a farm would have proved a blessing to these children, and constant employment, as their strength could bear, would have given them less opportunity to corrupt their own bodies by self-abuse, and would have prevented them from instructing a large number in this hellish practice.” Special Testimony for the Battle Creek Church, 19, 20.

Today many are seeking a knowledge that is not from God, but from popular circles of men. This is just where the trouble started in the ancient system. The Israelites could not be content with being peculiar unto the Lord. They had to be like everyone else—like the other nations. This has always proved ruinous to God’s people. It has never been a blessing to seek the approbation and accreditation of men not of our faith.

It is obvious that those who are going to these schools and universities, which have already compromised our distinctive calling and faith, are being polluted by the open encouragement to do those things which God has plainly stated are an abomination in His sight! How can anything good come of such blatant counter-productive education when inspiration clearly declares: “Satan deceives many with the plausible theory that God’s love for His people is so great that He will excuse sin in them; he represents that while the threatenings of God’s Word are to serve a certain purpose in His moral government, they are never to be literally fulfilled. But in all His dealings with His creatures God has maintained the principles of righteousness by revealing sin in its true character—by demonstrating that its sure result is misery and death. The unconditional pardon of sin never has been, and never will be. Such pardon would show the abandonment of the principles of righteousness, which are the very foundation of the government of God. It would fill the unfallen universe with consternation. God has faithfully pointed out the results of sin, and if these warnings were not true, how could we be sure that His promises would be fulfilled? That so-called benevolence which would set aside justice is not benevolence but weakness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 522.

To an alarming degree, the people at these universities of “higher learning” are educating the “future of Adventism” to believe that sin is acceptable with heaven. It is amazing that they can continue to openly operate in this fashion with virtually no cry of “foul” from within the organization! Where are those who claim to be the “leaders” in this denomination? What is being demonstrated is not faith, which understands the importance, sanctity, and security of God’s combination of mercy and justice, but presumption that encourages flagrant sin.

Dear friends, we may wish that we could gratify ourselves any way we choose. We may want to “have our cake and eat it too” as the saying goes. Certainly we all have struggled with these things because of our sinful natures, but to encourage others to sin and commit abominations against God is to succumb to the “cheap grace” theories of the popular masses that make claim to Christianity. This is not only without honor but is self-destructive. We need to know that genuine faith is built on a “thus saith the Lord,” and anything short of this is its satanic counterpart—presumption. Surely, the agenda of apostasy moves forward from within and nothing will be allowed to stand in the way of the movement. (See Selected Messages, vol. 1, 204.)

“Like Israel, Christians too often yield to the influence of the world and conform to its principles and customs, in order to secure the friendship of the ungodly; but in the end it will be found that these professed friends are the most dangerous of foes. The Bible plainly teaches that there can be no harmony between the people of God and the world . . .Satan works through the ungodly, under cover of a pretended friendship, to allure God’s people into sin, that he may separate them from Him; and when their defense is removed, then he will lead his agents to turn against them and seek to accomplish their destruction.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 559.

Because we, as a people, have gone to the world to seek their applause and accreditation, and in so doing have lowered our distinctive standards, we are filled with the “mixed multitude” and are paying severely for it. It is sadly all too true that: “The justice and mercy, the beauty of holiness and the sure reward of right doing, the heinous character of sin and the certainty of its terrible results, are not impressed upon the minds of the young.

“Are there not some lessons which the educators of our day might learn with profit from the ancient schools of the Hebrews? He who created man has provided for his development in body and mind and soul. Hence, real success in education depends upon the fidelity with which men carry out the Creator’s plan.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 595.

And what else are our students learning in the modern-day “school of the prophets?” Let us look at the kind of music our young adults are being “educated” with. The following is a quotation from the newspaper at Andrews University: “On a late September morning, this past fall, I sat at a large wooden table in the Little Bakery with Ice, Tim Gillespie (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Mike Knecht (lead guitar) and Jeff Wright (bass). These four men were all students at Andrews University at one time or another . . . Over this summer, they continued rehearsing and defining their sound, an interesting mix of rock-n-roll, acoustic textures and a bit of funk. “Gillespie, Ice and Knecht are youth pastors and Wright is an anthropologist.” Andrews University Student Movement—Mark Feldbush, 1/29/97 page 10.

Next from Adventist Today: “Most of the five hundred or so who attend the two worship services [at Grace Place SDA Church] each Sabbath are former or inactive Adventists. Attracted by the warm-hearted fellowship they encounter and a worship service planned with them in mind, many non-Adventists also attend. The two Sabbath morning services are ‘very contemporary’ . . . According to Aldo Ramos of Grace Place, the debate is not about Grace Place, ‘This debate is not about Grace Place, but about the denomination as a whole.’ ” [He goes on to say that the traditional style of the SDA Church is outdated and needs to be overhauled in many ways.] Adventist Today, May-June 1997, 12, 13.

By now, many of us understand what “contemporary” worship services or “contemporary Christian music” means. It is another way of saying music that is upbeat and has strong elements of Rock-N-Roll, Jazz, or Pop. In the devil’s attempt to ruin Adventism, he is too smart to come right out and say, “I don’t care what your books say, I’m coming to your church next Sabbath and we’re having Rock -N- Roll music,” at least not at first. The fact though, that these things are becoming more blatant and not being challenged in the official organization should tell us something about how far the agenda of apostasy has advanced.

Several years ago when Cathy and I were bringing forth the agenda of apostasy, for the first time, we exposed a document which was written by an Adventist pastor entitled “Selling the Celebration.” This five-page letter outlined the plan for getting the “Celebration Style of Worship” into the local churches. It clearly states that being subtle about things is very important to the success of establishing these programs.

The Conference, world-wide, has disfellowshipped many people for standing against these abominations and we know of not one single case where God’s Word was used as a basis for these excommunications. It has always been the Church Manual which has been the chosen decree of abuse.

What you read next should tell you at least two things: 1.) The movement of apostasy is going forward no matter what and 2.) The Church Manual is completely worthless even in the eyes of these leaders who are bringing the apostasy in. In their thinking the Church Manual is only valuable as far as it has control over the common laity. By their actions, not by what they say, they show the real worth of the Church Manual. Here is one proof: “Music is one of the highest arts. Good music not only gives pleasure but also elevates the mind and cultivates the finest qualities. Spiritual songs have often been used of God to touch the hearts of sinners and lead to repentance. Debased music, on the contrary, destroys the rhythm of the soul and breaks down morality.

Great care should be exercised in the choice of music. Any melody partaking of the nature of jazz, rock, or related hybrid forms, or any language expressing foolish or trivial sentiments, will be shunned by persons of true culture. Let us use only good music in the home, in the social gathering, in the school, and in the church.” SDA Church Manual, 1990 edition, page 146.

You can see that, even to the church leadership, the Church Manual is worthless, because they don’t even follow it. It is worthless except for one very large group. Please allow me to demonstrate. All of us know that a Rooster’s claw severed from its owner and dipped in blood has no real power to place a curse on anyone. But try and tell that to the one who has allowed himself to believe that the Rooster’s claw of the witch doctor has power over him! Why does it have power over some and not over others? The reason is a matter of belief or unbelief. I hope you see the point. The only reason the Church Manual holds any power over the vast majority who profess Adventism is because of their unbelief in God’s counsel and their unholy belief in the power of men!

In the closing hours of this earth’s history and the Adventist movement, we must realize that the only institutions which will retain their value in the sight of a holy God are those which follow the prophet. Those institutions, no matter whether they are Independent or Conference, which are non-prophet (reject the Spirit of Prophecy) will not stand in the very end. The only element which gives any religious institution value is God’s presence.

Brothers and sisters, if God has left the building then it has absolutely no value. Far too many today are forgetting that “if they speak not according to the law and testimony then there is no light in them” Isaiah 8:20.

It has been very amazing and disturbing to see the number of people, who make claim to a higher understanding of God’s truth, that follow after men who mix truth and error. Friends those who continue to give support to these will be lost in the end. They will fall on the wrong side in the judgment. It is not charisma that will save, but the Word of God. It is our continued wish and prayer that we all seek only those things which are indeed “prophetable” for our eternal welfare.


The Enemy in Our Midst

We are at war. Just before us is the final phase of this war of all wars. The remnant church is being invaded by a terrible power. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. Since we are the only church on earth that keeps the Ten Commandments and has the Spirit of Prophecy, this warning is for you and me. It is a wake-up call and is described like this: “The present activity of Satan in working upon hearts, and upon churches and nations, should startle every student of prophecy.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 537. “Ours is not a conflict with mere flesh and blood, but with despotisms, the empires, the forces that control and govern this dark world with the spiritual hosts of evil arrayed against us in heavenly warfare.” Ephesians 6:12. Weymouth’s Translation.

Surely, this should awaken us out of our sleep. We are being confronted with wicked spirits, unseen but real, ruthless and deadly. In order to stand successfully against such powers, we must know and trust our heavenly resources beyond any doubt. But we must also know about the enemy, his purposes, his methods, his plans and especially the agencies he uses to attack us. We should never underestimate any of his satanic plans.

First, we should be aware that our day is like the days when Christ was on earth. He was continually in combat with the evil one, both within and outside the church. Daily, Christ was surrounded by spies watching His every move to find something that He said or did that might be used to destroy Him.

Some years ago, as a representative of the General Conference, I visited one of our churches behind the iron curtain to encourage our youth to share their faith. One Sabbath during the preliminaries of the church service, the elder pointed out three different spies whom he recognized in the audience. He told me that they would go immediately to the government headquarters and report every word that I spoke. Then the elder went over a list of things that I must not mention, including our church youth organization or anything that might be misconstrued, such as the second coming of Christ (which would end the reign of the present political powers). He handed me a list of eighteen subjects that I should not mention unless I wanted to be deported out of the country before the next sunrise. That was one of the most difficult sermons I ever presented. Today, I am again aware of a similar situation. I know that every audiotape and book that I prepare is finding its way to the conference headquarters. But what is more alarming, they are being gathered by the agencies of Catholicism to use against me. How do I know this to be a fact?

During my days of active evangelism, I well remember a certain evening when I spoke on the subject of the Beast of Revelation 13 to a packed hall in a mid-west town. At the conclusion, I was shaking hands with the people as they left and I noticed one lady lingering so that she might be the last in line. When she finally stepped up, she said she had been sent to talk to me by the Knights of Columbus. I shall never forget her words. “Are you not afraid to speak as you do? I have been sent here to warn you that we are keeping a file of every sermon you preach and all the printed material you have ever written. Think it over.” With that she turned and walked away.


Satan in Our Homes


Generally speaking, we expect to find Satan in such places as the night clubs, the gambling hells (as Ellen White called them), the brothels and the dope joints. But now Satan has found his way into our homes, our Adventist homes, and into our everyday activities! Satan” is intruding his presence in every department of the household, in every street of our cities, in churches, in the national councils, in the courts of justice, perplexing, deceiving, seducing, everywhere ruining the souls and bodies of men, women and children, breaking up families, sowing hatred, emulation, strife, sedition, murder.” The Great Controversy, 508.

What a list! This is happening today. “Satan is intruding his presence in every department of the household.” I believe no true Sabbath-keeper will enter a theater. Yet, the majority of Adventists allow Satan to enter their homes by way of the television. “Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater. Instead of being a school of morality and virtue, as it is often claimed, it is the very hotbed of immorality. Vicious habits and sinful propensities are strengthened and confirmed by these entertainments. Low songs, lewd gestures, expressions, and attitudes, deprave the imagination and debase the morals. Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions will be corrupted in principle. There is no influence in our land more powerful to to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements. The love for these scenes increases with every indulgence, as the desire for intoxicating drink strengthens with its use. The only safe course is to shun the theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of amusement.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 652, 653. (See also the E.G. White Index under the topic “Theater.”)

Here is why millions within the Adventist Church seem to have no desire to leave this world of sin for a better heavenly land. This is the real reason why so many youth are leaving our church today. They have been educated in the Television Theater since they were in diapers. Many of our churches bring the evils of the theater into the church by drama and so-called Christian rock music—which accelerates the youth down the path to hell.

I am not a fanatic. I have a television in my home. But I can say before my God, I never look at movies or anything theatrical. I watch news broadcasts and occasionally some wonderful nature programs. I hope that you, too, are able to control your TV. If you can’t, get rid of it as soon as possible! Do not trust your children or teenagers to make right decisions regarding the television. The temptations are far too great.

Satan is introducing his presence in the streets of our cities. The streets of our metropolitan cities are controlled by thousands of gangs who engage in open warfare over territories to control drug sales. There are one hundred thousand gang members in Los Angeles and in New York City. Hundreds of innocent civilians, including children, have been murdered in their drive-by shootings.

Satan is introducing his presence in the church. “Satan and his angels are in the assemblies where the gospel is preached. While angels of heaven endeavor to impress hearts with the word of God, the enemy is on the alert to make the word of no effect.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 44. When the pastor stresses an important truth that could change your life and help you prepare for the kingdom, the devil tries to distract your mind, or suddenly you become sleepy and doze off, or a baby cries and this confuses your thinking ability.

We are at war. Satan our enemy is trying his best to distract us from God’s saving truth. I had a personal experience with devils when I was in evangelism. Each night two spiritualistic mediums would come early. As I was preparing the hall for the meeting, straightening the chairs and doing the details, they followed me and told me the stories, the names of individuals I was going to mention, the texts and all about the subject matter that I had planned to preach that night.

How did they know? I had told no one, not even my wife. “As he (Satan) sees the messenger of God searching the Scriptures, he takes note of the subject to be presented to the people. Then he employs all his cunning and shrewdness so to control circumstances that the message may not reach those whom he is deceiving on that very point.” The Great Controversy, 518.

I am writing this to arouse you so that you will flee to God for help. “There is nothing that the great deceiver fears so much as that we shall become acquainted with his devices.” The Great Controversy, 516. This is why I must warn you of what is to come and even now is appearing.

No longer can we believe every word printed on our presses. Not too long ago I sat in my pastor’s study with my six church elders. The Conference President had come to persuade me to preach differently because he did not like what I was telling the people. He stated clearly that he could find nothing wrong with my theology, but he felt that I was divisive because I was warning the flock about things that were taking place. I replied, “Tell me why the Pacific Press prints The Desire of Ages one day and the next day they will print a book that is contrary to what Ellen White wrote?” It is interesting to note that the President had brought with him the former president of the North Pacific Union Conference to put pressure on me. To this day I admire him for his honesty. He said, “Brother Nelson, I can answer that question. I am well acquainted with the policy of the Pacific Press, for I was the Chairman of the Board for many years. The Pacific Press used to print nothing contrary to our beliefs, but the present policy is to give complete freedom to write without censor.”

I will never forget those words: “to give complete freedom to write without censor.” He plainly admitted that there are new books coming off their presses that contain theology absolutely contrary to our belief. Inspiration has warned us, “The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 204.

As a result of these policies of “non-censorship,” we hear sermons by leaders in the church denying the Sanctuary in heaven with a Holy and Most Holy Place, claiming all we need to be saved is to believe. They say, “Christ obeyed for us on the cross and all have been saved by the cross. So, relax, sit back and enjoy your church religion for we are all saved by faith alone.” These words from God’s Book are ringing in my ears: “faith without works is dead.” You know as well that a dead faith can save no one, so let us beware. Every kind of doctrine is blowing today. Satan’s purpose is the same as it was in Jesus’ day. Satan was determined to crush the life of God’s dear Son. He has not changed. His aim today is to crush the followers of Christ.

God admonishes us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. And again, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11. Oh, how we need the help of heavenly angels every day as we meet the commander of thousands of evil angels.

If we only realized what is coming, our family worship would take on a far different meaning. “Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard.” The Great Controversy, 589. “Evil angels are upon our track every moment.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 302.

I live in Oregon in a small country community of about three thousand people. Recently there were six burglaries within a couple of miles of where I live. A prowler, who was going up the stairs of someone’s home, just two blocks away, was shot to death. I was checking the locks of my home and these words came to my mind, “We carefully secure the houses with bolts and locks to protect our property and our lives from evil men; but we seldom think of the evil angels who are constantly seeking access to us, and against whose attacks we have, in our own strength no method of defense. If permitted, they can distract our minds, disorder and torment our bodies, destroy our possessions and our lives.” The Great Controversy, 517.

This is what evil angels do. As a spiritual watchman on the wall of Zion, I urge you to know what the devil is doing. “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” 2 Corinthians 2:11—or are we? “The followers of Christ know little of the plots which Satan and his hosts are forming against them.” The Great Controversy, 528.

“His rage increases; we do not realize his power.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 302. And again, “While men are ignorant of his devices, this vigilant foe is upon their track every moment.” The Great Controversy, 508.


He is Working Through Calamities


“Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power.” The Great Controversy, 589.

In The Youth’s Instructor, April 18, 1967, a survey was made regarding floods, hailstorms and hurricanes over a period of twenty-six years. The damage resulting from each disaster was astounding. Tornadoes, from 1916 to 1964 doubled yearly. Earthquakes increased in destructive power some seven hundred percent.

During the years since the time of that survey the number of natural disasters has continued to skyrocket. We have seen the greatest hurricane ever to hit America. It hit Florida and caused thirty billion dollars worth of destruction. We have also had the greatest floods in the history of America, and Los Angeles and San Francisco had catastrophic earthquakes.

Satan’s power to destroy is constantly increasing. “Apparently these calamities are capricious outbreaks of disorganized, unregulated forces of nature, wholly beyond the control of man; but in them all, God’s purpose may be read. They are among the agencies by which He seeks to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger.” Prophets and Kings, 277.

The most tragic news is that the worst is yet to come. We have not seen anything yet. “I have been shown that Satan has not been stupid and careless these many years, since his fall, but has been learning. He has grown more artful. His plans are laid deeper, and are covered with a religious garment to hide their deformity. The power of Satan now to tempt and to deceive is ten-fold greater than it was in the days of the apostles. His power has increased and it will increase.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 277.

Satan’s power to deceive has increased ten-fold since the days of the apostles? That is a thousand percent! In order to withstand successfully the devil and his angels, we should be spending a thousand times more time in prayer and study than the disciples did.

In reality, we are only now in what we might call the Cold War. Soon will come the all-out last offensive by the devil in a time of trouble. “The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 11.

“Satan is standing ready, burning with zeal to inspire the whole confederacy of satanic agencies, that he may cause them to unify with evil men and bring upon the believers of truth speedy and severe suffering.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 241, 242. The servant of God, our own prophet, Ellen White, told us over one hundred years ago what world leaders are now telling us—that everything in this world is soon to change?

I believe the serpent is coiling for the final strike against the followers of the Lamb. Now is the time to prepare our hearts by heeding the counsel of God. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always.” Ephesians 6:13–18.

“If God has ever spoken by me, the time will come when we shall be brought before councils, and every position of truth which we hold will be severely criticized.” The Review and Herald, December 11, 1888. Over and over, again and again, she stresses the terrible ordeal just before us. “In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off. Because they refuse to break His law in obedience to earthly powers, they will be forbidden to buy or sell. It will finally be decreed that they should be put to death.” The Desire of Ages, 121. How thankful we are to our God that He has revealed fully, in the Book of Revelation and the inspired writings of Ellen White, all that is needed to know.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1. Not all the power of evil can conquer the soul that trusts in the sufficient grace of Jesus. Stronger is He than a strong man armed. “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4.

“Not one cloud has fallen upon the church that God is not prepared for; not one opposing force has risen to counterwork the work of God but He has foreseen. All has taken place as he predicted through His prophets. He has not left His church in darkness, forsaken, but has traced in prophetic declarations what would occur, and through His providence, acting in its appointed place in the world’s history, He has brought about that which His Holy Spirit inspired the prophets to foretell. All His purposes will be fulfilled and established. His law is linked with His throne, and satanic agencies combined with human agencies cannot destroy it. Truth is inspired and guarded by God; it will live, and will to be overshadowed. The gospel of Christ is the law exemplified in character. The deceptions practiced against it, every device for vindicating falsehood, every error forged by satanic agencies, will eventually be eternally broken, and the triumph of truth will be like the appearing of the sun at noonday. The Sun of Righteousness will shine forth with healing in His wings, and the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 108.


No Time for Celebration

Celebration” worship began to surface in the Seventh-day Adventist church less than a decade ago. Today it is rampant. “Celebration” worship is the inevitable result of the “new theology.” The following article was written by Marshall Grosboll about 8 years ago. What is the “Seventh-day Adventist Movement” that is written of in this article? We all believe that the Seventh-day Adventist movement is God’s remnant church and is going through to glory. But the question is: are those involved in this type of apostasy, unconditionally a part of God’s church? We believe that the only ones that are a part of God’s final movement are those who teach and practice the Three Angels’ Messages. What is wrong with “Celebration” worship and what will be the result? God has answered these questions in His Word. Study the verses given in this article for yourself.

The Seventh-day Adventist church is God’s true and remnant movement of Bible prophecy. As such, it is the special target of the enemy of truth and righteousness. God thus calls for His watchman to maintain a constant vigil over His purchased property. When danger is perceived within the church, it is the duty of every true and faithful Seventh-day Adventist to put personal interests and ecclesiastical positions behind him, and give the warning message necessary to protect the church, however unpopular that warning may be.

“As they [God’s people] assimilate their character to the divine Pattern, men will not guard their own personal dignity. With jealous, sleepless, loving, devoted interest, they will guard the sacred interest of the church from the evil which threatens to dim and cloud the glory that God intends shall shine forth through her.” Testimonies to Ministers, 406.

As members of His church, God holds us each responsible for its health and well being. “If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 281.

Many consider that our church is today facing the worst danger and crisis it has ever faced with the arrival of the celebration movement. The celebration movement is a new attempt, within the church, to receive the Holy Spirit. The meteoric rise of this new passion within the church is too phenomenal to be taken lightly. It is indeed either the manifestation of the true Holy Spirit or the false, counterfeit manifestation of the Spirit. If it is the true outpouring of the Holy Spirit, it would be disastrous to reject it. But if it is the counterfeit working of satanic agencies, it would be equally disastrous to receive it, or even to remain neutral about it. In this situation, as between Christ and Barabas, there is no neutral ground. The celebration movement is not part good and part bad; it is one or the other. There is no accord between Christ and Belial, or between Christ’s spirit and Satan’s. To remain neutral is as bad, or even worse than to decide the wrong way! “Christs followers have no right to stand on the ground of neutrality. There is more hope of an open enemy than of one who is neutral.” Review and Herald, February 25, 1902.


The Timing of the Movement


In considering this movement, let us analyze two aspects: The timing of the movement and the philosophy behind it. The Bible says, “There is a . . . time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh.” Ecclesiastes 3:1–4 NKJV.

To do a good thing at a wrong time can be the worst of evils. To prune a tree at the wrong time can kill it. To prune it at the right time can save it. To be happy when someone dies, or to be sad when someone is healed, is the wrong timing. To worship God is a duty, but to worship Him on Sunday instead of Sabbath is rebellion. “It is the very essence of all right faith to do the right thing at the right time.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 24. In fact, doing a good thing at the wrong time is often worse than open evil—it is more deceptive. Worshipping on Sunday instead of Sabbath deceives many people who would not be deceived by atheism.

One of the greatest concerns about the celebration movement is the timing. As we shall see, the Lord says that for us to celebrate at the wrong time, when we should be mourning for our own sins and for the sins of Israel, becomes an unpardonable sin!

In the Old Testament Day of Atonement, that prefigured our day just before the second coming of Jesus, those who celebrated instead of afflicting their souls were “cut off” from Israel. Leviticus 23:29. To us living during the antitypical Day of Atonement, the Lord says; “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:8–10.

It is no time to celebrate when a church is in apostasy. Those who make celebration the focal point of worship during this time of crisis will not receive the seal of God. In speaking of the time just before the close of probation, the Bible says: “Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub [which were on the ark], where it had been [since 1844], to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; and the Lord said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.’ To the others He said in my hearing, ‘ Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity.’ ” Ezekiel 9:3–5. “The time will soon come when the prophecy of Ezekiel 9 will be fulfilled; that prophecy should be carefully studied, for it will be fulfilled to the very letter.” 1888 Materials, 1303.

After quoting the above verses from Ezekiel 9, Ellen White comments: “These sighing, crying ones had been holding forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated. Some who had been dishonoring God repented and humbled their hearts before Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.

“In the time when His wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings.

While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for Gods honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. Their righteous souls are vexed day by day with the unholy works and conversation of the unrighteous. They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, who prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored and the truth is made of none effect.

The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 210, 211.

What God is calling for today is the straight testimony, such as John the Baptist gave. “In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time, God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not acknowledge as His shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 321. This calls for serious contemplation and heartfelt repentance, rather than jubilation and gaiety.


Isaiah Saw the Celebration Movement


In a striking prophecy of our day, when God is calling for heartfelt and tearful repentance because of the prevailing apostasy within the church, Isaiah predicted that some would be celebrating instead of repenting, and that this rebellion would constitute an unpardonable sin.

Isaiah 21 and 22 are Old Testament parallels of Revelation. In repeating the Second Angel’s Message, it says: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen.” Isaiah 21:9. This must be referring to spiritual Babylon, in a primary sense, for it refers to the second fall of Babylon. The Babylon of Nebuchadnzzar’s time fell but once, whereas the second fall refers to the fall of spiritual Babylon in Revelation.

While Isaiah 21 deals with spiritual Babylon, chapter 22 deals with spiritual Israel. It is “The burden against the Valley of Vision.” (Verse 1.) A “Valley” in prophecy often refers to people, whereas a mountain refers to worship, religion, God or gods. The Hebrew uses a word meaning a “wide valley” when referring to the wicked, but a word meaning a “narrow valley” when referring to the righteous. (See Isaiah 2:2; Joel 3:14; Psalms 121:1; Isaiah 22:1.) Possibly this symbolism comes from Sinai, where God spoke from the “mountain” to the people who were in the “valley” below. Here God has a message to the Valley of Vision, or the people of prophecy. In Revelation the people of prophecy, who keep the commandments, refers to God’s remnant church. (Revelation 12:17; 19:10.) This identification of the object of chapter 22 is further confirmed in verse 4, where the church is called “the daughter” of “my people.” In Isaiah’s day, God called Israel “My people”(Isaiah 51:16), whereas spiritual Israel is here identified as the “daughter” of “My people.” Isaiah 22 describes the condition of God’s people in the last days. It describes them as a “tumultuous city, a joyous city.” Yet their members are slain, though they “are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.” (Verse 2).

Today, as this prophecy predicted, our members are slain. Our young people are leaving the church in mass. Attendance figures in North America are generally on the decline. Most churches have less than half their membership even occasionally attending services. Even counting babies and visitors, most churches do well to have half as many in church as are on the books. Our people are slain, though not in martyrdom or from warfare with the enemy, but from apostasy. God’s power has seemingly been removed from the church and we are trying to replace that power with good public relations, exciting music, celebration worship, and colorful programs. Thus, while God’s people are “slain” though not “in battle” they are “a tumultuous city, a joyous city.” In order to secure themselves in the midst of these conditions, the leaders bind themselves together in a confederacy to support one another. (Verse 3.)

God and His people lament this condition within the church. He says; “I will weep bitterly; do not labor to comfort me because of plundering of the daughter of my people. For it is a day of trouble and treading down and perplexity by the Lord God of hosts in the Valley of Vision.” (Verses 4, 5.) God can no longer protect His people because of their spiritual condition. “He removed the protection of Judah. You looked in that day to the armor of the House of the Forest; You also saw the damage to the city of David, that it was great.” (Verses 8, 9.)

God’s people do everything to cover up their losses and to turn them around—except for one thing. They look to the institutions of man’s accomplishments, they number the homes of Jerusalem, they sacrifice some institutions to preserve others, they consolidate, they expertly plan for the future—but they do not seek the wisdom of the One who established the church in the beginning through the Spirit of Prophecy. (See Verses 8–11.)

“In that day the Lord God of hosts called for weeping and for mourning, for baldness and for girding with sackcloth.” (Verse 12.) “But instead,” what does He find in the church? He finds “joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating meat and drinking wine.” (Verse 13.)And what is the result of this apostasy of celebrating when the Lord calls for deep repentance? “Then it was revealed in my hearing by the Lord of Hosts,

Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, even to your death,’ says the Lord God of hosts.” (Verse 14.) As in Ezekiel 9 and Leviticus 23, this rebellion constitutes a sin that cannot be pardoned. Probation is soon to close, and those who are celebrating when the Lord is calling for sorrow for sin will find themselves without a mediator. “Satan invents unnumbered schemes to occupy our minds”—his goal is to keep us joyfully celebrating within the church, until probation’s door is forever closed and we are unprepared. (Great Controversy, 488.)That day is fast approaching.


New Theology for a New Movement


The celebration movement has its roots in the New Theology teachings that Desmond Ford and others brought into the church, starting in the 1950’s. The New Theology taught that, since Jesus had a different human nature than we do, we cannot be like He was. We can never hope to overcome sin and live a life like Jesus lived. “He is our substitute,” it was said, “not our example.”

The gospel, according to the New Theology, was the good news of justification. Sanctification was not a part of the gospel. Jesus forgives our sins without anything being done on our part except to accept Him as our Savior. We will continue to sin until Jesus comes, but we will still be saved because of Jesus’ righteousness. He accepts us just as we are. This was called “good news.”

I remember a prominent Sabbath morning speaker at a conference camp meeting I was helping with a few years ago. He spoke about the joy of Sabbath-keeping. Sabbath is supposed to be a day of joy, but this joy is supposed to come from having victory over sin, not because God permits us to continue in sin. But this speaker proclaimed that the Sabbath is to be a day of joy because God accepts us in sin, just the way we are. He affirmed that we are to rejoice and be happy whether we have character defects or not—not because God can help us to overcome these defects, but because God happily accepts us while we continue to sin.

The speaker gave examples from the Bible to prove his point. He said that Moses threw down the Ten Commandments from the mountain in a fit of anger, yet the Lord accepted him, without a word of reproof, and brought him back up into the mountain to talk with Him face to face, even though Moses was continuing to manifest anger. The speaker went on to say that if the Lord accepted Moses—even with his uncontrolled temper, He will accept you if you have a temper problem too. That is why the Sabbath is to be a joyful day! Thus, he taught we are to make Sabbath a day of rejoicing without worrying about our sins.

Either the speaker had not read the Spirit of Prophecy account of this story or he did not believe what it says, for there we are assured that when “he threw down the tables of stone and broke them . . . Moses did not sin . . . He was wroth for God, jealous for His glory.” Early Writings, 163. But the speaker used this story to falsely assure his hearers that sin is inconsequential—God doesn’t care!

The speaker used other illustrations. He said that Paul boastfully claimed to have kept the law. Since those who believe in the New Theology do not believe that anyone can keep the law, thisstatement of Paul’s is not believed. He claimed that Paul was just manifesting boastful self-righteousness, but God accepted him too. Thus, God even accepts the self-righteous and boastful, according to this speaker. Again, the thought was conveyed—forget about your shortcomings, simply rejoice in the goodness of the Lord. I was shocked and distressed over this perverted theology that taught people to rejoice in their sins, but was even more surprised to hear the comments of delight over the message by those attending.

This is superficial Christianity. “If they were really one with Christ, if His Spirit were dwelling in them, they would see the sinfulness of sin. Not only would they confess; but they would forsake that which God abhors.” The Youth’s Instructor, March 5, 1903. “He who is truly penitent does not forget his past sins, and grow careless about them as soon as he has obtained forgiveness. On the contrary, the clearer the evidence he has of divine favor, the more he sees to regret in his past life of sin. He loathes, abhors, and condemns himself, and is more and more astonished that he should have continued in rebellion so long. He renews his repentance toward God, while he grasps more decidedly the hand of Jesus Christ, and finds that repentance is a daily, continued exercise, lasting until mortality is swallowed up of life. He who thus repents, appreciates the righteousness of Christ as above silver and gold above every earthly tie and affection.” Signs of the Times, November 26, 1894.

“He who is truly repentant, he who is regenerated, hates sin. All manner of selfishness is distressing to him. Indifference to God on the part of those around him grieves him. He is not led to exalt self in the performance of his duty, but abhors self. ‘I abhor myself’ is the language of the godly of all ages, who have had a clear view of the purity and holiness of Christ.” Signs of the Times, August 13, 1894.

“When the church are united, they will have strength and power; but when part of them are united to the world, and many are given to covetousness, which God abhors, He can do but little for them. Unbelief and sin shut them away from God.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 149.

It is the spirit of Satan that leads to indifference to sin. And it is this indifference and blindness to sin, which has been steadily growing in the church since the New Theology was introduced, that has laid the foundation for the celebration movement. No one who truly understands the significance of sin and the Laodicean apostasy within the church today is going to join a celebration movement —rather they are going to become a part of the movement calling for contrition and repentance for sin.


The Movement Finds a Home


The New Theology laid the foundation for the acceptance of the celebration movement within the church, but what was the catalyst that caused it to materialize? For years there has been a growing interest in statistical growth, or “numbers,” within the organization, There was the “1000 Days of Reaping” program followed by “Harvest 90.” These programs encouraged the baptizing of large numbers of people throughout the world. Literally millions joined the church, often without adequate preparation.

In Inter and South America and the third world countries, dramatic growth was witnessed. In contrast to the explosive Adventist growth in these countries, the church in North America has grown at a snail’s pace. Once the mainstay of the Adventist denomination, North America is becoming more and more insignificant compared to the other divisions. It no longer dominates the world field during the General Conference session.

In my state of Kansas, there were 100 churches around the turn of the century. Today, Kansas has nearly a million more inhabitants, but the Adventist church has grown downward from 100 churches to 56! In church after church in thriving communities, I have asked how their church today compares to what it was thirty years ago—in nearly every instance there are fewer in attendance today. Somehow the power of the gospel has, for the most part, left the Adventist movement in the Western Countries. Though there are local exceptions, church schools, academies, pathfinders, evangelism, prayer meetings and ingathering are all floundering compared to the advances made in prior years. Seemingly every program that has promised revival has failed. In short, the condition of the church in North America, as well as in Europe and Australia, has become an embarrassment.

For years, in an attempt to turn things around, we have been inviting speakers from evangelical, non-Adventist churches and seminaries to speak to our ministers and share with them how we can grow like other churches. We have copied their programs, such as their New Testament Witnessing Concepts, thinking that what works for them will work for us too, but it hasn’t. The “Caring Church” concept was one such program that was primarily a disappointment. The “Lab 1” and “Lab 2” programs for conflict management have not produced the results hoped for either. Nor has Management by Objectives brought about the miracles hoped for in administration. As was predicted in Isaiah 22, we have looked in every direction for every solution to our problems, but we have not looked to the Maker of the church—to the One who fashioned it long ago. (See Isaiah 22:11.).

Isaiah says in verse 13, that the next solution sought would be one of celebration!

With each failure, the desire for a program that works has grown more intense. We have developed a great desire for the Holy Spirit to come and give us “numbers” in the developed countries as we have heard about in the other countries. We have already reached outside of our church for the expertise of the Sunday keeping churches that supposedly have manifestations of the Holy Spirit—that is, the Pentecostal churches—to make up for what we have not found in the evangelical churches. Several of our ministers have gone to the Pentecostal churches to learn the secret of their power. In years past, there was no confusion as to the source of their power. We always believed that it was a counterfeit manifestation of the Holy Spirit. We tested all manifestations of the Holy Spirit with such verses as Isaiah 8:20. We believed that the Pentecostal power was spiritualistic, and that it would help to unite apostate Protestantism and Catholicism together, and that under this three-fold power America would “follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” Great Controversy, 588.

Generally, in our past history, we would not consider renting a Pentecostal church for our own services, or renting out our facilities for a Pentecostal service. We loved the Pentecostal people dearly, but believed that the movement was a form of spiritualism. We could not worship in the same room where spiritualism reigned.

The result of this new endeavor to revitalize our church through the introduction of Pentecostalism is the celebration movement. It is of no small significance that the two most heralded celebration churches, the flagship churches of Portland, Oregon and Colton, California, are both conducted in Pentecostal churches.

How surprised I was to hear a sermon from a minister in one of our largest conferences,in a revival meeting, that had been promoted with a full color advertisement in the Union paper, say that his best friend was a Pentecostal minister. He shared how the Holy Spirit is being manifested in churches today, and is now even coming into some Adventist churches as well. But he said that most Adventists are so afraid of the Holy Spirit that if it should come, they would flee from the room. The conference president and other conference leaders heartily endorsed his speech. His purpose was to start a new celebration church in their conference.

Many of the Adventist celebration books and materials are simply re-writes from straight Pentecostal books and materials. And the whole order of service in these churches is Pentecostal in style.

In preparation for this article, I visited one church. I heard the reports from others, and am not the one to visit questionable places just to see for myself. But I thought that maybe the reports had been exaggerated. I was pleasantly surprised in the foyer at the conservative attire of the greeters—no jewelry or frivolous dress (though I soon found that other leaders in the church were not similarly attired). But inside I was in for a shock. A musical drama was in progress, with the lights off and spotlights on the “actors.” Following was music by the band and lead singers from up front. The music had the definite beat of rock music. When the pastor called people to come up for prayer, hundreds went forward. There was the laying on of hands by elders while the pastor and his wife prayed, and many others waving their hands back and forth in a Pentecostal manner. Throughout the service there was clapping, joking, laughter, and a happy feeling. At the conclusion the band and lead singers let loose with the loudest music of the day, with a beat that was becoming harder all the time. The lead singers clapped their hands and swayed back and forth.

Those attending appeared to be an interesting amalgamation—everything was acceptable. Many think that this is wonderful. I, too, enjoy seeing people who represent a melange of philosophy and dress in a church if the people are non-Adventists looking for truth, but that was not the case in this church. While God accepts each one where they are initially, when they first find the Lord, He expects practical, spiritual growth to ensue from that point on. The road to heaven is not the broad road that includes every brand of Christian practice and life-style, it is the narrow road that Jesus walked.

I wondered what Jesus would have said if He had attended. I am sure He would have called the service sacrilegious. I will not go back, for I do not believe the Lord could protect me from the evil influences that there prevailed. Is that too old-fashioned; too far fetched? Haven’t we always told our members not to attend spiritualistic meetings and Pentecostal services because the Lord could not protect us in such places?


Celebration Spreads


Ellen White says that “the final movements will be rapid ones.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 11. We have seen the rapidity with which Eastern Europe has turned from Communism to the Pope. But nowhere have final events moved faster than they have in the celebration movement. Who even heard of a celebration church two years ago? But today it is world-wide. Pastors from all over America have been trained in the celebration concepts. Pastors from Australia and New Zealand,on the way to the General Conference, have stopped off and been trained in the celebration concepts. Celebration churches are springing up everywhere, as though empowered by some special force.

Twice before, Satan has tried to bring this kind of spiritualistic experience into the church—after the disappointment of 1844 and again after the turn of the century. In both cases it was supposedly the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and was associated with music, drums, and the swaying of the people. Ellen White predicted that this phenomenon would again come into the church. “The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 36. The Lord here said that this would take place just before the close of probation”! Isaiah 22 says there would be no atonement made for those who join in, for probation will close. Surely, we are seeing the final events of history being enacted! This is no time to be a sleeping Christian, but as Paul said, “knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep.” Romans 13:11.

“But,” someone may say, “Our church is becoming a celebration church and we don’t see all the extremes mentioned above manifested in our church. Our church is just incorporating the good parts of the celebration movement.” But let us consider the source. Eve found it impossible to separate the good from the bad when she partook of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Let us consider one other thing: The two flag-ship celebration churches were started as celebration churches. It is impossible to change an existing, traditional church into a full-fledged celebration church immediately. There must be a conditioning process. Many times I have heard conference presidents counsel us ministers not to go too fast with the people. As in every other area of life, change comes one step at a time.

A person doesn’t become an alcoholic over-night. At first it appears that alcohol is quite a pleasant entertainment. The one who drinks doesn’t consider that he will ever go to the “excesses” of the alcoholic, but one must look at the alcoholic to see where alcohol consumption ultimately leads. And so, if one wants to see the end result of the celebration movement, he must see the character of the churches that have been started as celebration churches, without the baggage of traditional Adventists in the congregation to slow the process down. The pastor of the Colton California celebration church, found that he could not introduce all of his ideas into the Azure Hills Seventh–day Adventist church, because too many of the members objected to his ideas, as they should have done. Therefore, pastors who introduce the celebration concept into established churches must progress slowly, step by step—but the end result, though it will take a little longer to achieve, will be the same as the full–fledged celebration churches. Thus, even the first vestiges of the celebration concept must be vigorously opposed in every congregation. Once a church becomes a celebration church, it is the duty of every true and faithful Seventh-day Adventist to leave that apostate congregation.


Time to Speak Up


Today it is time for every true and faithful Seventh-day Adventist to raise his voice against this apostate movement within the church. This will bring persecution.

“It needs something besides theory to reach hearts now. It needs the stirring testimony to alarm and arouse; that will stir the enemy’s subjects, and then honest souls will be led to decide for the truth. There has been and still is, with some, a disposition to have everything move on very smoothly. They see no necessity of [a] straight testimony.

“Sins exist in the church that God hates, but they are scarcely touched for fear of making enemies. Opposition has risen in the church to the plain testimony. Some will not bear it. They wish smooth things spoken unto them. If the wrongs of individuals are touched, they complain of severity, and sympathize with those in the wrong. As Ahab inquired of Elijah, ‘Art thou he that troubleth Israel?’ they are ready to look with suspicion and doubt upon those who bear the plain testimony, and like Ahab overlook the wrong which made it necessary for reproof and rebuke. . . Just as long as God has a church, He will have those who will cry aloud and spare not . . . whether men will hear or forbear. I saw that individuals would rise up against the plain testimonies.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 283, 284.

Already persecution has arisen against those who speak out against the celebration movement. At least one has been disfellowshipped for this, and undoubtedly other disfellowshippings will follow.

When persecution arose in Battle Creek against the straight testimony, Ellen White wrote to the leaders of the church and recalled how she and others had been persecuted in their previous denominational churches and for this reason had to leave, and to call others out of these churches, too. Then, in referring to our own church, she said: “We hoped that there would not be the necessity for another coming out.” 1888 Materials, 357. But Ellen White found that she did have to call people out of the Battle Creek church, and tell students not to attend school there. We, too, must recognize that we must not attend a place where God’s Spirit has left. The Seventh–day Adventist movement is going through, but, as in Ellen White’s day, there is proving to be a need for a calling out from certain congregations and institutions within the church.

In commenting on Adventists who had not accepted all the truth, the messenger to the remnant said: “I was shown the necessity of those who believe that we are having the last message of mercy, being separate from those who are daily imbibing new errors. I saw that neither young nor old should attend their meetings; for it is wrong to thus encourage them while they teach error that is a deadly poison to the soul and teach for doctrines the commandments of men. The influence of such gatherings is not good. If God has delivered us from such darkness and error, we should stand fast in the liberty wherewith He has set us free and rejoice in the truth. God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go; for unless He sends us to those meetings where error is forced home to the people by the power of the will, He will not keep us. The angels cease their watchful care over us, and we are left to the buffetings of the enemy, to be darkened and weakened by him and the power of his evil angels; and the light around us becomes contaminated with the darkness.

“I saw that we have no time to throw away in listening to fables. Our minds should not be thus diverted, but should be occupied with the present truth, and seek wisdom that we may obtain more thorough knowledge of our position, that with meekness we may be able to give a reason of our hope from the Scriptures. While false doctrines and dangerous errors are pressed upon the mind, it cannot be dwelling upon the truth which is to fit and prepare the house of Israel to stand in the day of the Lord.” Early Writings, 124, 125.




Ellen White was shown the final struggle of God’s remnant people: “I saw some, with strong faith and agonizing cries, pleading with God. Their countenances were pale and marked with deep anxiety, expressive of their internal struggle. Firmness and great earnestness was expressed in their countenances; large drops of perspiration fell from their foreheads . . .

“Evil angels crowded around, pressing darkness upon them to shut out Jesus from their view . . . As the praying ones continued their earnest cries, at times a ray of light from Jesus came to them, to encourage their hearts and light up their countenances. Some, I saw, did not participate in this work of agonizing and pleading. They seemed indifferent and careless. They were not resisting the darkness around them, and it shut them in like a thick cloud. The angels of God left these and went to the aid of the earnest, praying ones. I saw angels of God hasten to the assistance of all who were struggling with all their power to resist the evil angels and trying to help themselves by calling upon God with perseverance.” Early Writings, 269, 270.

Some day soon, before Jesus comes, each Christian must go through a Gethsemane experience. Those who have developed a shallow experience based upon emotionalism will not go through. But those who have learned to stand for truth and principle now, will be helped to stand true then.

There is coming a true outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But it will not be accompanied by worldly music, clapping of hands, lightness and triviality and fanaticism —it will rather lead to deep contrition of soul. But before the genuine outpouring of the Holy Spirit will come a counterfeit movement, just as before the Second Coming of Christ will come a counterfeit second coming. I would rather choose to wait for the genuine Holy Spirit, and the genuine Second Coming.

Someday there will be a genuine celebration church. There will be most beautiful, holy music in this church. There will be rejoicing and jubilee. There will be no sin within this church, and no tempter to destroy, for it will be the celebration of the redeemed of all the ages celebrating around the throne. Just as I can wait for the true Holy Spirit, and the true Second Coming, so I can wait for the true celebration church.

“And it will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.’ “Isaiah 25:9.


Editorial — To All the Believers Around the World

The year of 1997 has slipped into the annuls of history. What is on the record? What have we done for Jesus? Have we strengthened the feeble knees that hang down? Have we dared to risk everything to spread the Three Angels’ Messages? Have we stood boldly against apostasy?

Another year has now come. What will we do for Jesus this year? We must take a united stand against error. It is time for us to gird on the armour of God and take up our charges against the enemy of truth. It is not time to be downcast and discouraged. We must lift up our heads, for our redemption draweth nigh. Jesus is coming soon. When it looks as though all is lost, then it is that God will work. David said, “It is time for the Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void Thy law.” Psalms 119:126.

As we look around us, we can surely see that that time has come again. The world is trampling on the law of God, and worse yet, those who profess to be God’s elect are teaching that God’s law cannot be kept. I am ashamed to hear of it and ashamed to write it. God’s professed people have dishonored His name. The barriers of God’s holy law are being weakened and torn down within God’s professed church. “Those who have had the greatest light and privileges have become contaminated by the prevailing iniquity. Influenced by the unrighteous around them, many, even of those who profess the truth, have grown cold and are borne down by the strong current of evil. The universal scorn thrown upon true piety and holiness leads those who do not connect closely with God to lose their reverence for His law. If they were following the light and obeying the truth from the heart, this holy law would seem even more precious to them when thus despised and set aside.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 209.

It is time to raise a cry of warning, a cry full of love and entreaty. It is a time to expose the prevailing iniquity in the world and the church, in hopes that some may be saved. “While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any.” Ibid., 210.

Do we love the souls for whom Jesus died? Then, in the name of our all powerful Redeemer, tell them (and show them) that through His grace we can and must keep His law. Warn them that those who despise His law will perish in their iniquities. Assure them that the only way of peace is to turn from sin and to learn to love and obey God’s law. Jesus will never turn one weeping, contrite one away. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3. But those who cling to sin and worldliness will eventually pass the boundaries of His grace.

The day is coming when even respected ministers and leaders, who have been indifferent to the prevailing apostasy, will cross that fearful boundary. “Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous prove to be ring-leaders in apostasy and examples in indifference and in the abuse of God’s mercies. Their wicked course He will tolerate no longer, and in His wrath He deals with them without mercy.” Ibid., 212.

Oh, what a fearful day that will be! Only those who are sheltered under God’s wings of truth, those whose minds are fortified with the Bible, will be saved. Will you and I be among that blessed number?

Let us make 1998 a great year of preparation to meet Jesus. “It is now that we must keep ourselves and our children unspotted from the world. It is now that we must wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. It is now that we must overcome pride, passion, and spiritual slothfulness. It is now that we must awake and make determined effort for symmetry of character . . .

“What are you doing, brethren, in the great work of preparation? Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast. Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth—these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads. When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity.

“Now is the time to prepare. The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts. All who receive the seal must be without spot before God—candidates for heaven.” Ibid., 215, 216.

May you be among that blessed number!